July 5, 2008

Are wood pellet stoves financially practical?

Both my uncle and one of my friends have wood pellet stoves to heat their homes. Wood pellet stoves are basically just wood stoves that burn small pellets made of wood. The pellets are sold in bags and you dump them into the stove which then burns the pellets as needed over time to provide heat for your home. Last winter my friend told me he uses about 1 bag of pellets a day and the bags run him $4 each. Thats about $120 in heating costs a month and he lives in a fairly cold area and has a decent size home.

The Pellet Fuels Institute has a calculator to compare the costs of wood pellets versus other forms of heat. In general wood pellets are less expensive than oil, electric or propane. Natural gas is of comparable cost to wood pellets. Burning hardwood or coal are both cheaper than wood pellets.

If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter and wood pellet stoves are available in the market then you might want to look into one. Natural gas heat might be the cheapest option overall, but if gas isn't available then wood pellets might work well for you.

If you think about wood pellet stoves at all then I'd look first to see if wood pellet stoves and the pellets themselves are readily available in your area. If you can't buy the wood pellets locally then using a wood pellet stove becomes pretty impractical.

More on wood pellet stoves:

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