Ever since we made an offer on this house, I’ve been concerned about its heating situation. From what I could tell in the real estate listing, the place was outfitted with oil heat. Yes, that means a wonderful boiler in the basement and rooms lined with baseboards. While an oil boiler system does offer quite the snug heat source, it can be expensive to purchase the oil and expensive to maintain the boiler. So far, I’ve been blessed with three different boilers in various houses I’ve lived in and each and every one of them has has some issue or another. I can’t help but to remember the boiler failing to start on both Christmas and New Years mornings years ago. Those were very cold days and if I didn’t have the maintenance plan, I would’ve paid through the nose for the repair technician to come out and get things squared away. Needless to say, I’m not a fan of oil heat.
Also, all oil heat requires me to do is pay a bill and twist a thermostat. If you’ve gotten to know me, you’re aware that I like to be much more involved in the process than that.
We now live in Maine in pretty much the middle of nowhere. It was planned that way. The closest Home Depot is thankfully about 45 minutes away, through the hills and mountains and past the streams. It’s a long drive, but one I’m willing to take to maintain some sort of seclusion. If I need something, I simply have to plan better than if I lived close by. I need to make a list and pick up many things at once.
We’ve only been here a few days, but I did want to get out there and purchase at least a few items on my first list. I needed a new locking door knob (people around here don’t lock their doors), a snow shovel, a fire extinguisher, an automatic door closer (so the door doesn’t swing open and let the cats out) and a pellet stove with a few bags of pellets. The pellet stove and pellets were really why I went out there. My plan is to set up an alternative heating system to replace the boiler in that regard and then eventually set up a small electric hot water heater. If I can get this finished, I can turn off the boiler all together. And it’s important that I do this quickly. We have only a quarter tank of oil and I’m not planning on making a purchase for more. Let’s just say heating oil now costs around $4 a gallon. That, times 275 gallons – well, you get the idea. If I buy oil, I lose all my profit.
In the past few years, I’ve owned two pellet stoves. The first one was a Harman P38 and the second was a St. Croix Prescott series. I liked the Harman, but it didn’t have auto light and I didn’t care for the St. Croix at all. I had problems with that stove. This time, I decided to bypass the pellet stove dealers all together and head over to Home Depot for an Englander pellet stove. My brother purchased one of these years ago and it’s still running strong. He tells me he’s been very happy with it.
Since the house we live in is only around 1500 square feet, I felt like we would be good with the least expensive Englander model. The Home Depot description claims it heats up to that size and with the wood stove I’m planning on purchasing next season, I’m confident we’ll be all set as far as heating the house goes.
When I purchased the stove, the fellas at Home Depot loaded it in the back of my truck with a fork lift. While I was quite excited by the promise of good efficient heat, I was slightly concerned with how in the world I would get a 280 pound box off the truck. Well, a door as a ramp and an hour later had Laura and me looking at a brand new pellet stove sitting on the front lawn. I’ll tell you, we’ve adapted quickly to becoming crafty up here in these parts.
I’m going to make a long story short here. I installed the pellet stove yesterday. It took about two hours. I’ve been down this road before, so I know what I’m doing. I decided to go with pavers as a hearth pad. They were cheap and I think they look good. I’m going to expand the area of the pad in the future, but for now, they’re fine.
I’m not going to go through all the steps of the installation. If you have questions, leave a comment. I’m simply going to post pictures of the finished product. I will tell you this – the stove heats the entire house. It doesn’t “crazy” heat it, but it heats it. And since I only purchased five bags of pellets from Home Depot, I’m going to have to find my first ton very soon. I already have a source directly from the dealer, so when I run over to grab them, I’ll write a post about that. For those of you who aren’t aware, buying pellets directly from the factory is a very exciting prospect.