I'm beginning to realize that having a stove is more work than what I anticipated. I'm writing this as retrospective as to how I got here...soon to be followed by where I am :)
When Robyn and I were thinking about alternative heat sources to replace our Fuel Oil supplied Base board heaters, we discussed several options.
We first discussed just replacing the fuel source: Put in a gas burning boiler and get rid of Fuel Oil entirely.
This would be the easiest from a "Living Room Modification" standpoint, as we could use the existing heat pipes, pumps and thermostats. In the basement, we would have to remove the old boiler and the fuel oil tank...two daunting tasks.
Unfortunately, this task was outweighed by an even more dissuading one: The fact we have no natural gas lines into the house. I spent a good deal of time during the summer researching what it would take to get Gas lines run to the house. Our local provider, RG&E would run a line (100' max) to our house for free. From there, we call in a contractor to then run the lines inside the house. The only requirement They had is the Gas appliance has to be purchased prior to them running the line. I get that, they don't want to run a line for a promise, but a guarantee.
Having Gas in the house would also be nice in case we wanted to ever switch our our Electric range or dryer for a gas equivalent.
We ultimately decided that we WILL run a gas line someday, but probably not for a year or two.
Next, we briefly talked about a furnace. This talk broke down real quick as it would require extensive duct work, and something to heat the air. They make Electric Furnaces, but they are expensive.
Wood burning stoves was the next avenue we went down. Robyn's Parents have a wood stove in their house, and have for over 30 years. The heat that the stove is capable of is great, and the range seems to be significant. Starting the fire is simple, and if you get a big enough stove, it can be packed at night and last until the morning.
The thought of having to buy, and potentially split enough wood to heat our home started to give us reservations. It isn't that we are unable to do it, it is more a question of do I want to do it. I enjoy splitting wood on camping trips or during the occasional fire in our backyard. Getting up and going out to the cold garage everyday to split? Not the most exciting idea. The other show stopper for the wood stove was the lack of a good chimney that could be utilized for the exhaust.
By the time we arrived at the Pellet Stove idea, it seemed like we reached the Zenith of our talks. It provided us with the output similar to a wood stove, yet more convenient. Loading bags of sawdust pellets every day is pretty simple, and if need be, Robyn could do it. The Exhaust requirements are straight forward, and easy to do (as long as you have the correct tools, and Patient friends and family).
We committed ourselves to the Pellet Stove idea, and began down that path. Which leads us to....