How trouble free are the pellet stoves?
I'm considering getting a pellet stove insert for my 1st floor LR fireplace because I want to feel warm at less cost. Are these units relatively trouble free?
I now have a 5700 Quadrafire in a basement with an open stairway. It takes at least 20 good sized pieces of wood a day to keep this rascal fired properly but it has cut my heating costs significantly. My house is a sieve. I live in the country and have access to wood which helps. I also wanted something that doesn't require any electricity.
I should analyze exactly how much this QF has saved me as I have incrementally changed my heating over the years.
I once had a hydro heater which is a fireplace heat exchanger that heated enough water to heat three baseboard hw zones at 0 degrees but it consumed a huge amount of wood.
My main heat source is a 40+year old Slant Fin approx 150KBTU op oil fired boiler with domestic hot water coil. The hw coil has since been decommissioned and I now use electric HW. That change saved me 400 g over the non heating season.
Now I have in addition to the oil boiler and QF wood stove two ductless units at the extremities my house. I can keep my house tolerably warm with only the WS and 2 ductless units. But nothing is nicer than having my boiler running and baseboard HW set at 72.
Ductless heat pumps might save but the heat doesn't feel as warm. Sorry for the rambling.
Pellet stoves require electricity. Most aren't trouble-free. You would better spend your money on insulation & weather-proofing
Thanks. My original post was confusing. I know pellet stoves take electricity. I was looking for a brand that users have found to be at least semi reliable.
My house leaks because it has a lot of Andersen sliding doors instead of windows which aren't that efficient or air tight, but they would be very costly to replace. Now I'm looking for some supplemental cheaper heat.
I got my original Quadrafire woodstove because I wanted one that didn't need electricity to run. I do use a fan blowing over it to increase efficiency but it is not necessary.
The Quadrafire "OE" units have proven to be very reliable when maintained properly. This would be the SantaFe, Castile, and Classic Bay (CB1200). We just got word the Castile is being relaunched and the current model is being discontinued. At this point I am not sure if it is switching to the "AE" technology or they are just updating it, regardless, be on the lookout for some display models for sale.
Also, the new Heatilator Eco-Choice pellet units use the same technology as the Quad units but are sold at a budget price. Very similar to the Quad units but very plain-jane to save on manufacturing costs.
Just about any pellet stove can be very reliable if you maintain is properly and understand how it works.
Quad Castile upgrade
The Castile is not being converted to the AE platform but is undergoing some improvements:
The convection fan mount will now have 4 rubber grommets with a thumbscrew attachment to reduce noise
The 'can' parts around the hopper have been eliminated or tightened up to reduce noise
The hopper lid is now 'tip & pull' to better facilitate access and loading
The trim panels now fit tighter again to reduce noise. This is a SKU change so the old panels won't fit the new units
New units are scheduled to ship from the RDCs on 15March 2011 so you might get them by the Fall. ;-)
I agree w/ JTP that across the market most brands are very reliable but do require an investment in homeowner participation and maintenance.
I leave for the HPBA EXPO Tues at dawn and back midnight Sat. If anyone is going, ping me.
Keep the fire inside the fireplace.