Alternative Heating, so what do you know about…

Pellet stoves and other alternate forms of heat?

Our dilemma.  We live in this drafty old 1850’s farm house.  It needs windows, but it has 23 of them to replace so that’s not going to happen any time soon.  We have covered them in the past and that’s helped, that’s a lot cheaper than the cost of new windows for us right now.

When we moved in, the cost of heating oil was $.68 a gallon  (68 cents).  That’s what we paid the first time we put oil in.   It’s now hovering at $4.20 per gallon.

Last winter we used 750 gallons of heating oil.  It was a cold winter, but for crying out loud.

750 gallons at $.68 to $1.50 a gallon would be something we could live with (and did).

At $4 a gallon (or more) it’s not happening.   $3k to heat a home is crazy, so we’re looking at alternatives.

The top of the list is a pellet stove, something that can hook into our existing ductwork and take over the bulk of the heat. 

At current prices it looks like this could save us about 1/2 the cost.

I need someone with smarts in this area to check my math and if you have any insight please share it.

Based upon the BTU’s available in a Gallon of heating oil, and our usage, it looks like we’d burn approximately 7 tons of pellets.

At current prices ($240/ton) that would run us $1680 vs $3200 in oil.   The popularity of pellets means they may be hard to get (so I’ve heard).

I also don’t look forward to manually moving around 7 tons of pellets (or 750 40lb bags).   That seems like a LOT of work to me.  Would I pay someone $1000 to move that around?  I don’t know, but I do know I already hate moving (4) 40lb bags of softener salt into the basement each month.

A wood burning stove offers the same issues.  I don’t want to spend my free time cutting/chopping/splitting wood.

A stand alone unit is fine for an occasional fire but it isn’t going to heat our house.  It’s only going to make the room it’s in hotter than hell and the rest of the house cold.

So I’m looking for advice.   Corn isn’t cheap, in fact it’s up there with heating oil right now so I don’t think a corn burner is the way to go.


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