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Pellet vs wood burning insert

 
Posts: 37
Location: Glasgow, KY zone 6b
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I’m thinking about replacing my ventless gas logs with a wood burning or pellet insert. It would be for backup and supplemental heat in the main living area to lower the electric bill.

My electric coop sells it for about $.10kw hr. Also, we have a geothermal heat pump. So we can heat pretty cheaply.

Are there any inserts or maybe a freestanding unit that would be efficient enough to actually save some money? I have a Rural King close by that sells 40lbs bags of pellets for $4. Can also cut wood from time to time when neighbors are logging.!

What do I look for in a stove/insert? Does the efficiency rating tell the whole story?
 
Jared Blankenship
Posts: 37
Location: Glasgow, KY zone 6b
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If you have any specific recommendations that would be great.
 
Posts: 85
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If you have wood than its hard to beat wood heat....a modern unit with a catalytic combustor will reduce your wood consumption by about 30%.
Pellet stoves are even more frugal, and can be easily tied to a thermostatic control but..(IMHO) the heat is not as satisfying, the pellets about break even with a good heat pump for operating costs, the units are far from trouble free. Still they beat huddling around a milk house heater.
If you have the time and own the property than a  batch type Rocket Mass Heater seems like the mark to shoot for ...not that I've had one to compare, but on paper they seem like an improvement.
I've had outdoor wood furnaces and would recommend them heartily ....if you have significant resources to invest.

If your young...and hearty enough to get your own wood in, significant health benefits follow that level of exercise!....providing no extinction level accidents befall you in the woods.
If your sixty five plus and swallowing enough pills to allow your pharmacist to know you by name, than a smiling delivery man will fetch out a ton of fourty pound sacks of pellets that will remind you how wise you were to avoid wandering in the woods alone!
 
Jared Blankenship
Posts: 37
Location: Glasgow, KY zone 6b
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I should’ve mentioned that I’ve shown my wife countless pictures of rocket mass heaters, masonry heaters and any other rocket stove that google would show me. And she’s not going for it.

I hadn’t considered an outdoor boiler for a while so I may look into them again. It’s a significant investment for a new one that’s hard for me to make since I spent so much on the geothermal unit. Maybe I can find a used one.

Thank you for the help!
 
master pollinator
Posts: 1542
Location: southern Illinois.
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composting toilet food preservation homestead
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I am locked on on your statement that you presently have a ventless heater.  Hopefully, you are intending to vent whatever wood burner you put in..... otherwise things are going to get exciting,
 
Bill Haynes
Posts: 85
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Dudadiesel.com   ......is the most economical place I know of to get heat exchangers, etc.

If you go for an outdoor boiler remember you can put your domestic hot water heating on it,
And rig an exchanger to your clothes dryer and a switch to turn off the heating element and generate significant savings there too.
If you go whole hog and install water baseboards you get silent heat and even better flameproof heat. You can safely allow clothes and detritus to accumulate on the heaters and all it does is dry the clothes and desiccate the forgotten pizza.
A damp towel over a small baseboard and a mixing bowl of dough creates an ideal atmosphere for dough to raise.
 
Jared Blankenship
Posts: 37
Location: Glasgow, KY zone 6b
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We have a “berm house”. I actually insulated under/around the slab and the inside/outside of the walls. Put radiant tubing in the floor am just in case I ever bought a boiler. I’ve heard of people hearing this always and having a hard time regulating the temps because of the huge thermal mass.
 
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