06-09-2013, 10:09 PM
Since I can't ski this summer, I am planning to move ahead w finishing my lower level.....shopping for a fireplace now cuz it is out of season.
Have 80k btu epa wood insert on main floor. Thinking pellet insert down stairs because it is easy for wife and daughters to fuel when I am not home and fires up with flip of a switch. Looking for experience of others w pellet stoves...
Not going gas as I have a very small propane tank and don't want to upsize it
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06-09-2013, 11:38 PM
We put one in our finished basement last fall and it was a great decision. Not an insert, but can give you my impressions of the stove. It stayed nice and cozy down there all winter, plus maintained the upstairs during the day (with furnace thermostat set back to 62 degrees). We run stove 24/7. I'm confident if run on one of the higher settings, it'd probably heat the whole house, but that wasn't the goal.
They do require some putzy weekly maintenance...emptying the ash pan, vacuuming ash out of flue cavities, and cleaning/scraping the burn pot. It takes around 20 minutes and if you get in the routine of doing it first thing on a Saturday or Sunday morning, it's a small price to pay for the warmth you get out of it. Once a year you need to sweep out the vent pipe. Beyond that, just add pellets! I built a hearth pad and installed the stove myself - not very difficult at all. HIGHLY recommend going with 4" vent rather than 3", and install an "outside air" kit so the stove sucks in combustion air from outside rather than the room itself.
No downsides I can see, other than the weekly cleanings, and having to buy pellets - my heat bills were easily cut in half, and factoring cost of pellets, we still came out ahead. The blower fan does make some noise, so keep that in mind if the stove will be in a common area. Ours isn't all that noticeable with the TV on, etc. Be happy to help with any questions you have - just shoot me a PM.