Prices for pellet stoves run from $1,700 to $3,000 for the stove and $150 to $400 for installation.
When comparing prices of pellet stoves with those of wood stoves, it’s important to note that pellet stoves offer a substantial savings in that they don’t require installation of a full-height conventional chimney or flue, the most costly part of most wood stove installations.
In fact, some are so incredibly efficient at extracting the heat from their emissions that they can be direct-vented out a wall. As a result, the complete installed cost of a pellet stove can be far less than the installed cost of a conventional wood-burning stove or fireplace.
How does the cost of pellets compare with the cost of wood? On face value, pellets are more expensive, at $130 to $200 per ton, compared with firewood, which runs $100 to $175 per cord. But comparing a ton to a cord is a bit like comparing a pound to an inch.
One ton of pellets consists of 50 bags weighing 40 pounds each. A cord of wood, which typically measures 4 by 4 by 8 feet (128 cubic feet) is purchased by volume, a measurement that includes the spaces between the logs when stacked and the moisture in wood that can’t be converted to heat (20 percent to 30 percent). As a rule, one ton of pellets is roughly equivalent to about 1 1/2 cords of wood.
It’s better to evaluate usage. Wood stove users burn from 3 to 4 cords of wood per year. An average pellet stove will use from 1 to 3 tons of pellets per year. Figuring in the costs cited above on a usage basis, pellets are less expensive than cord wood. Of course, with pellets you also save on the time and energy needed to stack and carry wood, and pellets can be stored in only one-third the space needed for cord wood.
Because freight is a big part of the cost of pellets, finding a source of pellets nearby can result in significant savings. Most of the pellet mills in the United States and Canada are located near lumber mills or furniture-manufacturing or millwork plants. Be sure to ask your pellet stove dealer about sources and prices. Also check large grocery and home improvement stores, discount chains, nurseries, and feed and garden supply stores.
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