As you might imagine, it's cold a lot here in Michigan. And people look at all sorts of ways to keep warm and heat their homes: oil, electricity, natural gas, wood, and on and on.
This Old House Magazine recently did a complete series on pellet stoves, a high-tech wood (pressed into pellets) burning option that many here use to heat their homes (either completely or in part.) We have several friends that use and swear by them.
I've always been enamored with pellet stoves (who wouldn't be? they are high-tech AND involve fire!). But I've also wondered if they are worth the cost or not -- if installing one would save us money. Well, TOH has the answer. Their thoughts:
As the sole heater for a 2,000-square-foot home in a cold climate, expect to spend $3,000 to buy and install the new stove, plus $980 for four tons of pellets. The time it takes for the stove to pay itself off depends on your current heating fuel.
Oil -- Runs $1,857 per winter, or $877 more than pellets. You can break even in about four years.
Electricity -- Costs about $2,306 a year, or $1,326 more than pellets. Expect a return on your investment in year three.
Natural gas -- This fuel is cheaper, at $623 annually, but if you're currently using a fireplace or an older woodstove for supplementary heat, you will save in the long run by switching to pellets.
So there you have it. We have natural gas and thus pellet stoves wouldn't be worth it for us. The fuel we have is simply cheaper than pellet heating.
But it looks like a viable option for those who have oil or electric heating. Any of you have pellet stoves? Do you like them? Are the saving you money?