Wood pellet fired heaters?

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14 years 4 months ago #21710 by Sue
Wood pellet fired heaters? was created by Sue
Has anyone got or had one of these that would care to comment on the pros and cons please?

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14 years 4 months ago #314044 by Kiwi303
Replied by Kiwi303 on topic Wood pellet fired heaters?
Never had one and never even looked at them seriously for one big Con: If your power goes out, so does your fire!

They use an electric Auger to trickle the pellets into the firebox... fine for good power supply areas, but not good for rural winter power cuts with snow damaged lines or iced roads sending cars into poles.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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14 years 4 months ago #314046 by Xartep
Replied by Xartep on topic Wood pellet fired heaters?
MIL has one, they love it, they buy a pallet load of pellets when on special and that lasts them the year. They are in CHCH. They turn it on for an hour or so in the am, and again in the evening or whenever it is very cold. They have a newish well insulated house. They like the ability to turn it on or off whenever it suits. They have also invested in a small inverter in case of a power cut.

I have gone into the shops and discussed them with the sales folk and it really irks me that they never mention the need for electricity.:(

3 Cocker Spaniels, 1 Huntaway, 3 Cats, Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Cows, Ducks, Chickens, Bunnies - small petting zoo?:rolleyes::cool:

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14 years 4 months ago #314068 by jen
Replied by jen on topic Wood pellet fired heaters?
We have one. The place we had in town had gas fires retrofitted so we didn't have the option of getting a log burner (clean air rules!).

Compared to gas, they put out a very 'nice' intensity of heat. I find gas fires put out whimpy heat somehow!? So they are comparable to a log burner in that respect. I don't miss stacking wood or fighting for an hour to get the fire going in a log burner. So they are definitely convenient.

The main down side I'd say is that they do make noise. Mainly fan noise, the pellet dropping noise is negligible. The model we have does a bit if a 'burst' of extra noise every 10 mins or so to blow some ash out of the burn pot, but we got used to it. Oh, also, I don't know if ours is different, but when we turn it off it does a 'shut down' cycle which does alot of blowing and makes more noise. Normally we're heading off to bed but probably wouldn't want to be sitting in the room while that happened (do ask though, ours is a newfangled very recessed unit which is quite different to other models out there so that may be a quirk of our model - ekotec model 'sara'). It also means that the unit is cooling itself, so yo ucan't really leave it smouldering slowly overnight and the room cools quicker than if you were winding down on a log burner.

We find cleaning easy, and the warm up time for the room is better than you'd get with a log burner thanks to the fan. For using it a few hours/night a bag of pellets lasted us about 6 days. Cheaper than gas but probably more expensive than a logburner.

About the electricity, we barely noticed any change in the power consumption after having the fire installed. (ie: it was negligible). Yes, you are dependent on power to some degree, but my partner did the wiring and we have access under the house (ie: semi-basement) so we've got a plug down there that we could switch to a generator if required (or use some sort of solar/wind storage or probably even run it off a car battery for a while if required!). It draws very little power so it wouldn't be hard to organise some alternative power source provided you plan ahead. Of course if you want total freedom from that than stick with a log burner.

Oh, lastly.. our model has a thermostat built into a remote, we set a room temperature and it adjusts itself accordingly. With our logburner, OH used to get too hot sitting by the fire and often had to go sit in the other room. So there's' much more immediate control of how much heat you put out.

We're really pleased with ours, but do still see benefits of a logburner.

jen (returned to townie life)
community.webshots.com/user/j_nepton

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14 years 4 months ago #314071 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Wood pellet fired heaters?
Good feed back, keep it coming!

Yes I know they need electricity to run, but my thoughts were the same as yours Xartep! The ability for it to come on on a time switch, say just before you get up, or come home is a good feature. They seem to be cheaper to run than other wood fired heating if you have to buy the wood. Depends if you count the labour time cutting and stacking your own wood as well! It runs on waste sawdust based pellets which sounds useful, just have to find out how readily available they are!

Not too much in the way of snow downed power lines and icy roads in Levin Kiwi303, though we do have power cuts due to downed trees and cars running off the road-the cold is survivable here!
Got a little project on the go and looking at all options!

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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14 years 4 months ago #314074 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Wood pellet fired heaters?
Thanks Jen, thats a good report. I wondered about the noise as it did mention that in the blurb I read.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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14 years 4 months ago #314086 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Wood pellet fired heaters?
We were seriously looking at these a couple of years back, the downside for us (and also heard about the fan noise) was that we wanted to turn our waste cuts into pellets for a pellet fire, but to find one of these became even more challenging and we were not going to pay for someone else's timber wastes when we have plenty of our own with 13 hect of pine.

However a rumour we did hear were some pellets being made were not uniform in shape and easily stuck, there seemed to be a limit as to who makes the pellets and we didn't want to be caught in an exclusive price controlled market if we couldn't get a pellet making machine.

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14 years 4 months ago #314116 by Hawkspur
Replied by Hawkspur on topic Wood pellet fired heaters?
Some pellet fires do have a battery backup as an option, but I believe this may only last for less than a day of constant use.

There is quality control on the pellet making, but dampness will affect the pellets and can make them go back to sawdust. I knew of someone who was buying the pellets rejected from the manufacturer for cat litter use!

There is some discussion and details of suppliers of mills for making pellets on this site:
www.thriftyfun.com/tf54503698.tip.html

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14 years 4 months ago #314131 by wino
Replied by wino on topic Wood pellet fired heaters?
The neighbours have one. I am told I am imagining things and it must be something else but I cannot sit in their living room when the pellet fire is going without getting a screaming headache within 20 minutes. If the fire isn't going I am fine. To me the room smells odd when it is going.

If you can 'test drive' one somehow I would - I would have been pretty peeved to buy one and find it gave me a headache.

Never have a hangover - stay drunk

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14 years 4 months ago #314136 by cantyguy
Replied by cantyguy on topic Wood pellet fired heaters?
Here in Hanmer where it gets down to -15 they have one as a sole source of heating in one of the local bars/restaurants. It gives out heaps of heat.
If it wasn't for the power issue I wouldn't hesitate in getting one.

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14 years 4 months ago #314144 by Jen - Featherston
we had one in our A1 showhome, it was nice, would "I" get one, no.

The ticking of the pellets going into the burner drove me mad, the whiring of the fan drove me mad - possibly because I like quiet when working with figures but those two things not so much.

The power thing for me was a biggie, when you add up the cost, + pellets over a year its cheaper to run a heat pump although you dont get the ambience with a heat pump you can turn it on in advance etc so do check out the cost of power v pellets

Sometimes its not only what you say, its the way you say it that counts.

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14 years 4 months ago #314151 by david brooks
Hi Sue,
There are many people out there with pellet fires and i have heard good comments, however i have heard from a reliable company, that because of the increased demand on pellets that the cost per pallet is going to rise to such that we may end up seeing a drop in the sale of appliances.

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14 years 4 months ago #314163 by 4trees
Replied by 4trees on topic Wood pellet fired heaters?
Hi, As Wino said she found that she got a headache when the fire was going, our neighbours put one in and the wife was really ill for days, and it wasn't until the fire wasn't going that she realised that she didn't get headaches, so they tried another week, but ended up after 8 weeks taking it out. A friend of ours who is involved in research pointed out that the ingredients are mixed with a glue solution to make them stick together to form the pellet. Cheers.

Cheers
http:treeandshrub.co.nz

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14 years 4 months ago #314164 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Wood pellet fired heaters?
This is all really good stuff and things that you don't always hear about in the sales guff. I've read the 2008 Consumer report on them as well.

We might just look at underfloor heating now!

We're mainly aiming on sunlight and conserved heat in concrete floors for heat, but as we all know, the sun doesn't always shine on a winters morning when you first get up to a frosty outlook and you want a bit of heat, and it takes too long to light the wood fire!

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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14 years 4 months ago #314170 by kate
Replied by kate on topic Wood pellet fired heaters?
If you get a woodfire like the Lady Kitchener, you don't need to light it, you let it burn really slowly all night then turn it up in the morning and it's hot in minutes :D

Web Goddess

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