1 x 40 lbs bag of pellets costs $4 at menards. 1 ton of pellets is equivalent to 1.5 cords (3000-4500 lb) of firewood.
According to the Internetz:
- With pellets as the only heat source, people typically use 3 tons to heat 1500 sq ft (the area of the seed home). That's $600 per year, the equivalent of 4 cords of wood at $150. This year I paid $540 for 3.5 cords.
- Another source says 2 to 3 tons per year (as the only heat source).
- Still another source says that a winter’s supply of wood pellets is about 100-150 bags—depending on climatic and lifestyle variations (2 to 3 tons)
- The Pellet Fuel Institute says that one 40 lbs of pellets provides up to 24 hours of solid heat.
- People reported 1 bag of pellets lasting anywhere between 12 and 24 hours (depending on time of the year).
- People reported using 4 tons per year.
All in all, it depends on: how long the winter is, how warm do you keep the house, the quality of the pellets, the stove's feed rate. We'll use more pellets in the dead of winter and at night of course.
1 bag of pellets is 25" long, 18" wide, 4" deep. So each bag is a little under 1 cu ft. 1 ton of pellets will be 50 cu ft. 150 to 200 cu ft to store 3 to 4 tons for the season. An 8 ft wide, 4 ft deep and 6 ft high shed would provide just about the right space for this. I could even build it as a lean-to on the west exterior wall of the utility room.
Pellets last up to a year, so we still use in the fall pellets that were bought the previous winter.
For this year, assuming the worst case scenario of 1 bag per night (as night heat), I'd need 60 bags for 2 months (january and february)—$240 and 60 cu ft of storage. But I think it would probably be half that: 30 bags at $120 for 2 months and 30 cu ft of storage.
Advantages of pellet stoves:
- Thermostat/temperature control (which we can't get with firewood).
- Doesn't die out in the middle of the night provided the hopper is full.
- Easy to start w/ auto-ignition.
- Less storage space. 1.5 cords of firewood occupy 192 cu ft, while 1 ton of pellets takes up only 50 cu ft.
- Probably less physically demanding to carry and load.
Menards has 1 for $830 (on sale) and there are 2 in stock at St Joe's. It's for up 1500 sq ft spaces, has a 60 lbs hopper, auto-ignition and temperature control.
- The air intake helps air inside house to be less dry? It is claimed that burn is better with cold outside air?