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Thread: Pellet stove for off grid

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Central Maine
    Posts
    116

    Default Pellet stove for off grid

    Does anyone know of a pellet stove that will work off grid. It seems that a lot of them are power hogs and can use upwards of 100kwh per month. Should I just stick with my wood stove with propane backup. I can get pellets for a very good price from a local mill.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    NW Nebraska, USA
    Posts
    131

    Default Re: Pellet stove for off grid

    There will be some additional power use with a pellet stove over a conventional wood stove. Auger fans etc, but for me it's worth it for the convenience and the amount of heat they produce.
    NOT going to start mine at 90 plus degrees to measure the amount of watts with my meter today tho.
    One thing to consider is the manufacturer, I use only Harman stoves, we clean them once a month or so whether they need it or not, others require daily cleaning.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Willits, CA
    Posts
    5,577

    Default Re: Pellet stove for off grid

    some of the pellet stoves use a big glow coil to insure the pellets lite off. the little auger motor and fan likely don't use much power.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Pellet stove for off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by tmarch View Post
    There will be some additional power use with a pellet stove over a conventional wood stove. Auger fans etc, but for me it's worth it for the convenience and the amount of heat they produce.
    NOT going to start mine at 90 plus degrees to measure the amount of watts with my meter today tho.
    One thing to consider is the manufacturer, I use only Harman stoves, we clean them once a month or so whether they need it or not, others require daily cleaning.
    I'd bet there will some help at this site:

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.../viewforum/22/

    Bill

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Pellet stove for off grid

    Had a pellet stove once and it didn't use much power as long as I lit it with a propane torch. The little ignitor rods use a lot until they burn out which was often in my case. Got rid of the stove and went to a soapstone stove. Hated the blower running all the time on the pellet stove and the dust it stirred up. Love the soapstone stove. Of course the firewood is free.
    5 Evergreen ESA 210's mounted, 4 Evergreen ESA 215's in the closet, Outback FM80, Xantrex Prosine 2, 4 Sunextender 8D batteries. 1 TLG wind generator. WB8ZMY Kirk

  6. #6

    Default Re: Pellet stove for off grid

    Other have spoke about energy but I would suggest you also research compatibility while you're at it.

    I would make sure the stove worked on your inverter before you purchased either one. Sounds like already have the inverter though. The sensitive electronics and variable speed drives of pellet stoves are not always compatible with inverters, especially mod sine wave.

    Best. Altnrgy

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Nova Scotia canada
    Posts
    2,614

    Default Re: Pellet stove for off grid

    Anyone considering a pellet stove, should be very sure they can get a long term supply of pallets at a reasonable price. About 3 years ago in these parts, at the height of winter when people needed them the most, pellets were not available at any price, there just weren't any to be had. There would be rumors of this store, or that store possibly receiving a shipment the next day, and come morning, there would be big lineups hoping to stock up, but alas it often turned out to be all talk. Last year there didn't seem to be a problem, but now one of the biggest pallet makers in the Province has just gone out of business. We'll see what that brings to this winter. Heat pumps are looking better all the time. What to do, what to do. I can't find a dealer for the Sanyo mini-split in Canada.
    By the way, re auger power use, I had heard horror stories of the augers sucking back 500 watts more or less, so had a chance to investigate one on active display last year. Was quite surprised, The auger motor was the size of a small fan motor and the electronics would supply it with short power bursts, to "bump" the motor a few turns every few seconds. The motor was chain driven to the auger, which turned much slower than the motor. The motor was the typical size of a small fan motor as mentioned, and it's consumption, while it was being "bumped" ahead, would be less than 100 watts, and since it only got "bumped" for approx 1/2 second roughly every 10 seconds (depending on how much heat was required) it's average consumption I would expect to be less than 10 watts. The blower motors however would be a whole different thing, constantly working hard to force air under some pressure into the burner, and the other blower circulating air around the outside of the heat exchanger.
    Last edited by waynefromnscanada; August 29th, 2011 at 19:23 PDT.
    1900 watts PV, (1000 watts PV feeding MidNite Classic 150; 900 watts PV + 160 watts micro hydro both feeding into a single shared Morningstar TS-MPPT-60) ; Xantrex Pure Sine 1800/12 for heavy loads; Xantrex Pure Sine 1000/12 on 24/7 for everything else; six Rolls Surrette 2 volt L16 @ 12 volts.
    Domestic hot water totally provided by the sun 8 months out of every year via thermal panel.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Quetico, Ontario
    Posts
    5,025

    Default Re: Pellet stove for off grid

    Do a calc figuring net BTUs into the room. Depending on what you pay for pellets, and if you have other optiions ( especially nat gas) you might actually be surprised.

    Wood heat isn't always the bargain we think it is, if you have to buy and/or transport wood!

    Tony
    Please note, being a moderator does not add any weight to my opinions 300 watts Siemens/BP panels,plus a Sun 90,, making ~400. ~30 amps into Rogue MPT-3024, 450 ah of Trojan T-105, Morningstar ts300 inverter, a Tri-Metric meter.a collection of antique generators, plus 2 Honda eu-1000i's (also a BS2512 IX controller) and assorted other stuff!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Pellet stove for off grid

    It's been a while since I tested this, but these numbers should be very close.

    Starting pellet stove (highest fan): ~550W
    Running pellet stove with highest fan speed: ~125W

    I have a thermostat wired into my pellet stove to control the temperature more precisely, but this means that the stove has to shut off and restart periodically. If the grid was down and I was running off grid, then I'd peg out the thermostat control to the highest temp possible and just run the stove at the lower heat setting (pellet feed rate) and the highest fan setting. I figure that this should help maximize the heat extracted from the pellets, and also prevent the stove from having to constantly restart and use the coils to ignite the pellets. That's what really draws the power. It can take quite a while for the coil to heat up enough to ignite the pellets, so it's a big waste of power. I'd guess that it can take at least a minute if the stove is cooled down.

    As someone else said, it's too hot (90+F) out for me to even think about firing up the pellet stove and test this again.

    Edward
    On-grid with RE backup power. HY-2000 2kW wind turbine charging 48V 600Ah Concorde Lifeline battery bank. Wind power diversion heats water in an auxilliary 80 gal hot water heater. 2.1kW Evergreen solar panels & TS-MPPT-45. XW6048 inverter, Onan 6kW 6DJE diesel generator, and Yanmar YDG3700 diesel gen as backup.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Pellet stove for off grid

    Quote Originally Posted by keyturbocars View Post
    If the grid was down and I was running off grid, then I'd peg out the thermostat control to the highest temp possible and just run the stove at the lower heat setting (pellet feed rate) and the highest fan setting. I figure that this should help maximize the heat extracted from the pellets...
    Yes, slower burn = more total BTUs from the same amount of wood. Your stragegy sounds good.
    12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is, 4.2 kw APC UPS powered either by battery or a Prius. Really.

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