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Thread: RE: Outdoor wood boilers

  1. #11
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    Jun 2004
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    Brewer, Maine
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    Default

    I know that wood is cheaper (especially if you have your own woodlot) but the thing I like about pellets is that I can run the stove 24-7 and don't have to be there when it's on. They have an auto ignitor and turn on and off with a thermostat, just like an oil furnace. The pellet price per BTU isn't much more than wood as it's very dry and has a lot of heat energy. Having said that, there's nothing like curling up in front of a nice roaring fire in the dead of winter!

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Albion, Maine
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    324

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    Pellet production will not meet supply this year with current predictions. As mill prices go up, firewood prices will too. Mill prices for hardwood are the highest they have ever been. A load of "mill" wood brings more money with less headaches than a load of "firewood." Trust me when I say less headache, for those that drive wheelers imagine some of the places people want their firewood placed versus driving up to a crane and having your wood offloaded for you. Also, as the mills look toward bio-mass to generate their own electricity, the prices will increase even more. I'm not off topic here; Pellets are made of all wood products, like branches, softwood and hardwood and that material is compressed under high pressure with an adhesive so BTU wise their is negligible difference between "hardwood" pellet or "softwood" pellet. Because pellets are made out of "the whole tree" eventually the price will settle/stabilize and be lower than "round" firewood BUT this may be several years in stabilizing as mill capacity in the state is minimal at best. Therefore, between high demand for the pellet stoves (which are currently getting premium prices because of the demand) and low supply of locally made pellets (which are also at a premium price because low supply/transportation from out-of-state) I would look at a pellet stove as a sort of "market speculation." I don't think they are a good "deal" yet but in 4 or 5 years they may be one of the few inexpensive options.

    My understanding is they work great! I am "market speculating" My firewood is essentially free but pellets look like a clean and economical option for the future
    There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.~~Albert Einstein
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  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Brunswick, ME
    Posts
    64

    Default A pellet stove investor

    We just got our Harmon top loading pellet stove installed. We bought 3 tons of pellets and they are sitting in the garage. If the price of oil goes up to over $5 a gallon we may pay this off in one season.

  4. #14
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    Jul 2005
    Location
    Unity, Maine
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    Anyone have any experience with heat pumps?
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  5. #15
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    Jun 2004
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    Brewer, Maine
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    Quote Originally Posted by firefighterjake View Post
    Anyone have any experience with heat pumps?
    There was an editorial letter in todays BDN that covered heat pumps. Looks like quite low cost/BTU, but not sure how much installation is or if the technology is "quite there" yet. I talked to someone at the Bangor Home Show in April about them, they are intriguing.

  6. #16
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    Unity, Maine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sudonim View Post
    There was an editorial letter in todays BDN that covered heat pumps. Looks like quite low cost/BTU, but not sure how much installation is or if the technology is "quite there" yet. I talked to someone at the Bangor Home Show in April about them, they are intriguing.
    That letter is what got me thinking . . . and like you I too thought that they might not be "quite there" for having working heat pumps in this climate.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Bangor, ME
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    Quote Originally Posted by firefighterjake View Post
    That letter is what got me thinking . . . and like you I too thought that they might not be "quite there" for having working heat pumps in this climate.
    Jake, on my experince... don't go with a heat pump... in the seasonal temps, it will work fine, but when it gets down to being cold, you'll be running off of secondary heat 90% of the time...
    Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.

  8. #18
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    Unity, Maine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hiram357 View Post
    Jake, on my experince... don't go with a heat pump... in the seasonal temps, it will work fine, but when it gets down to being cold, you'll be running off of secondary heat 90% of the time...
    Well you're the HVAC expert . . . so I will cease exploring this option for alternative heating.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."

    "Death is only one of many ways to die."

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Bangor, ME
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    6,059

    Default Don't forget insurance costs...

    I would assume your fire insurance rates would go down if you switched from indoor wood or pellet burning stoves to an outside boiler, And go up if you install secondary wood or pellet stoves.

    Neither Lee or I are fans of wood or pellets, but we are going to install an electric water heater in the next few weeks since it'll cost less than a quarter of the cost (during the non-heating season) to run that compared to oil.
    DNFTT! DNFTT! DNFTT!

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  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Auburn, Maine
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    621

    Default and then there's Propane

    We are considering another propane space heater. Some models will continue to operate if the electricity goes out and there is no ash to dispose of. I think the price of LP falls somewhere between pellets and oil but nobody has to feed/clean the propane stove. Turn it on with a remote?? That's for me!
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