I’ve been going back and forth with this question for some time now – which would I rather have, a pellet stove or a wood stove? I think it’s taken some chilly weather to answer what I’ve been looking for.
Last night, the temps dropped down to 34 degrees. Tonight, it’s supposed to go down to the 30s again and tomorrow night, 26 degrees with 1-3 inches of snow expected.
I guess things are right on track. A few days ago, Laura and I were talking to Don up the road and he told us that for years and years, everyone around here went snowmobiling on Thanksgiving. It’s only until recently that they’ve not had enough snow for that. Last year was a supposed fluke because the year before that, there was very little snow.
It got cold last year though – very cold. And because of that, heat has become a central part of my life. And like I mentioned above, I’ve been debating the question of where I want to put my money – to buy wood pellets for the pellet stove or to keep on collecting firewood. Eventually, I’ll have to buy firewood. What we have on the land here can only go so far.
I just picked up a ton of Tractor Supply brand wood pellets for $215 in Skowhegan, Maine. I think I mentioned somewhere on this blog that I had to haggle down for that price. They wanted around $250. In this area, I’ve seen cords of wood, delivered, going for $210. Somewhere out there, someone claimed that a ton of pellets is the equivalent of a cord of wood. Of course, that’s an impossible claim, not knowing what type of wood pellets you’re looking at and not knowing what species of wood your going to burn. But let’s ignore that.
We have both an Englander pellet stove and an Englander wood burning stove. For the past few chilly days, we’ve gone between them, seeing what gets the job done. In my mind, I keep track of how much wood we’re burning and how many bags of pellets we’re filling the pellet stove with.
Here’s what I’ve got to say about the whole thing: If someone out there could make a wood burning stove heat a home as consistently and as easily as a pellet stove can, we’d have the perfect solution. Until then, and even with the advantages of the pellet stove, I have to say that the wood stove takes it. It simply throws out more heat. And I’d also venture to say that it does so with less wood.
If it’s 35 degrees outside and above, the pellet stove is a really great item to have. You can pretty much set it and forget it. It’ll run all day and all you’ll be out is a bag and a half of pellets and a few cents on your electric bill. The problem is, and this is what we’ve been running into (especially in the midst of last winter), pellet stoves often can’t keep up as the main source of heat for a house. Wood stoves can. Especially wood stoves like our giant Englander.
Since this morning, we’ve been running the pellet stove. The temperature in the living room has maintained a constant 58 degrees. It’s almost as if the stove wasn’t doing anything. This is what happened to us last season as well. If we didn’t have the pellet stove running 24 hours a day, it would really struggle to get the house temperature up to where it should be. About an hour and a half ago, I lit a nice fire in the wood stove and shut the pellet stove down. Now, the wood stove is in a room off the main house, so all I’ve got to move the warm air is a small fan mounted in a doorway. Within an hour, the whole house temperature is up five degrees and I feel like I’m at the beach. This experience makes me wonder about spending any more money on pellets when I can just spend the same on cord wood.
Do you have either a pellet stove or a wood stove? What’s your experience? Which do you prefer? I’d really love to know because right now, for me, it’s the wood stove – hands down.
I’m going to do you a favor here. If you’re interested in the benefits or drawbacks of both the pellet stove and the wood stove, check out these links. Some skilled and talented bloggers out there have chimed in with their two cents.
Pros and Cons of Wood Pellet Stoves
Comparing Pellet Stoves with Wood-Burning Stoves (this one’s really good)
Wood Stove vs Pellet Stove, Which is better?
Pellet Stoves vs. Wood Stoves: Which is Greener?