Cost Comparison of Pellets Vs. Coal in Maine

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rberq
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Location: Central Maine

Post Mon. Dec. 20, 2010 7:45 pm

I am speaking heresy today, I know. In Northeast PA coal will always be less expensive. But here in Maine ...

I was talking today to a friend who loves his pellet stove. He bought high-quality wood pellets this season for $210 per ton. I bought bagged Blaschak for $300, a good price for this area where the shipping costs are high. BTU for BTU, that is roughly equivalent in cost. He recently saw good pellets selling for $178, and his prediction is $150 per ton within a couple seasons. New pellet plants have opened in Maine. It's too early to say for sure, but indications are that supply and price for pellets is stabilizing as the infrastructure is built up.

My friend's ash drawer is about twice the size of mine, and he empties it 2 or 3 times a season, as opposed to 2 times a day. His stove auto-ignites, has a big hopper, has needed no repairs in the five years he has owned it, runs off a standard room thermostat, and has a wide range of burn rates like the good coal stokers. Yes, coal has the advantage of easy long-term storage. But other than that -- in Maine -- what?

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wlape3
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Post Mon. Dec. 20, 2010 8:19 pm

I thought there was a coal deposit in Canada which may be closer. It's probably bituminous but may be a high quality bit.

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av8r
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Post Mon. Dec. 20, 2010 8:35 pm

Ask him to show you how he cleans the flues and how often he has to do that. Everyone I know with a pellet stove complains of the weekly or bi-weekly cleanings.

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Rob R.
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Post Mon. Dec. 20, 2010 9:03 pm

Pellet stoves make sense for a lot of people...but not for me. It would take three or four pellet stoves to heat my house (not including DHW) and I don't have enough dry storage for a season's worth of pellets. Some of our friends have pellet stoves, they like the stoves but did mention the required weekly cleanings. Whatever works in your application I guess.

-Rob


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SMITTY
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Post Mon. Dec. 20, 2010 10:02 pm

My buddy had a pellet stove for 2 weeks, then put it on Craigslist. :lol: He said he had to constantly shut down & clean the thing. Then when it did run, they froze. Said it was easier to just cry to the state for public heating assistance. Now he gets free heat.

Welcome to MA! :|

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CoalHeat
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Post Mon. Dec. 20, 2010 10:06 pm

My friend's ash drawer is about twice the size of mine, and he empties it 2 or 3 times a season
What? Are you sure?

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Richard S.
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Post Mon. Dec. 20, 2010 10:12 pm

Blasphemy!
rberq wrote:He recently saw good pellets selling for $178, and his prediction is $150 per ton within a couple seasons
I would be willing to bet the price of Natural Gas goes up, 6 gazillion people are clamoring for pellet stoves and pellets. You can't get pellets and if that happens they are back at $300. ;) I've seen this movie before, there is always fluctuations in the prices for home heating fuels with the exception of coal. You might have small seasonal fluctuations but you will never see it go up or down 50%..

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CoalHeat
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Post Mon. Dec. 20, 2010 10:19 pm

I noticed the price for pellets around these parts has dropped a bit, I'm still not interested.


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coaledsweat
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Post Mon. Dec. 20, 2010 10:20 pm

rberq wrote:I was talking today to a friend who loves his pellet stove.
Here is a clue, he must be new at this. We have been hearing about the price of pellets plummeting since they were introduced. That was what, 40 years ago?

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SMITTY
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Location: West-Central Mass

Post Mon. Dec. 20, 2010 10:26 pm

Richard has a point. Back when #2 went up to $4.00 around central MA, people went into absolute panic mode. Lines out the door at every stove shop. Every pellet dealer was completely sold out, & these poor shmucks had to bite the bullet & buy $900 worth of oil. :shock: I see that happening again ... at any time. People have a very short memory these days. The next one will be even worse, due to all the added demand. :shock:

I always liked being the guy who did things no one else did. In MA, I still enjoy that in my coal burning. Very few of us around here. 8-) That's my own Homeland Security! Plenty of fuel for me.

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whistlenut
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Post Mon. Dec. 20, 2010 11:14 pm

Pellet stoves are expensive, DO require cleaning, and do produce less ash. HOWEVER they DO NOT produce 105K in the same size stove as a coal stove. 44K is a big pellet stove and 3K ready to burn is a good number. Many like them, and that will not change until they see the 'light'. Know anyone who has a pellet boiler? Try pricing one of them! Coal is not for everyone, and that leaves more for the rest of us!
The logic is the same as the new Federal Regs for electric vehicles: They are sooooo quiet, that they will now have to install a 'noise emitter' to warn other folks they are close by. Noise pollution, light pollution, air pollution, groundwater pollution.......we are doomed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :lol:

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whistlenut
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Post Mon. Dec. 20, 2010 11:24 pm

Actually I do know of two pellet boiler in my town. They had hoped for bulk delivery, but are using bagged pellets. Boilers were over 10K installed for each person. ouch! :shock: Pellets for them this winter are 240/ton for 'hardwood bunny turds.'

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blrman07
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Post Tue. Dec. 21, 2010 6:31 am

IMO pellet stoves are good for SUPPLEMENTAL heat and unless you have a small house and lots of dry storage space, they are too small. They have a nice clean front glass area and it's kinda hyptonizing to sit and watch the little pellets cascade into the burn cup and the little sparks go up in the plume of fire, followed by another pellet, followed by the sparks,,,,,,,yes master what do you require of me,,,,,,

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