I’ve owned by Magnum Countryside pellet stove for almost six months. I know there are many more “seasoned” owners out there than me, but I look forward to joining the ranks of those who can say they’ve been heating with corn for years.
I was recently asked a question if I chose a pellet stove with fewer chores. The question came from another busy mom who was very interested in switching to alternative heat, but was leery of any extra work involved. Her question made me stop and think about how I view my pellet stove as a mom and how this choice has impacted my life.
Until we purchased our pellet stove, we used propane fuel to heat our home. Since we live in the country, we have a large tank in our yard. Each previous winter we’ve had to fill our tank more frequently than I’d like; about twice every 3 months. We went through fuel very quickly and had to keep an eye on the tank so it didn’t run out, which can be both dangerous and expensive. Since I dislike winter, trudging out to the tank every week to keep an eye on the fuel levels wasn’t my favorite chore. Now, I’ve only checked on our tank a couple times this whole winter! We simply haven’t used much fuel.
Obviously, there isn’t much involved with having to fill our large fuel tank. A phone call during office hours and some minor scheduling, and a fuel truck can bring us fuel. With our pellet stove, we opted to buy bags of corn and wood pellets this season to test out various local suppliers, learn about quality fuel, and get a good feel for how much fuel we’ll need for an entire heating season. It has been a wonderful learning experience for us, and we’ve enjoyed this process quite a bit. There is work involved with buying bags of corn, but I’ve always had someone willing to load it for me.
I have opted to unload my truck several times before my husband arrived home. It isn’t a big deal, and I enjoy the workout.
General maintenance of the stove is quite simple. The better the fuel you buy/burn, the less ash and mess there is to clean out periodically. I’m a bit of a neat freak, so I like to shut down my stove once a week and clean the glass and empty the ash. We’re not talking about much work here, just tasks that quickly become routine. Some items I always have on hand that make things easier: damp rag, dust pan and long handled little brush, small flashlight. I know some people love their “klinker” fuel pots, but for now, I love using the agitator/stirrer. It is one less thing for me to do with the stove, and again, if I burn quality corn there isn’t a need for the “klinker” pot.
I know that I made the right choice of pellet stoves. I love the warm heat it gives off, our ability to regulate the heat, save money on fuel, and enjoy the look and feel of a real fire in our family room.
About the Author: Beth Gasser of Confessions of a Mom wrote this article for American Energy Systems. Beth blogs about being a mom, parenting, saving money, frugal living, and more. Beth blogged about her corn stove buying experience, which you can read here. If you have specific questions of American Energy Systems, please leave a comment here.