I just got back from helping D&L unload a full pallet of wood pellets into their garage…
I get that pellets can let a stove run for hours on one load. I get that there’s less mess and labor than with cut wood. I don’t get where pellets offer any particular advantage over propane.
A pellet stove needs electricity to work – absolutely won’t function without it. When you live off-grid, there are going to be times when electricity is something of a luxury. Your basic home heating should not require electricity.
Even out here where services are often of … suspect quality, I know of three places that will trundle out to the boonies to sell you propane if you have one of those big tanks. There is no reliable supply of decent quality wood pellets. Oh, yeah: It turns out that pellet quality is variable between manufacturers, and makes a big difference in how well your stove runs. So when D&L can score a pallet-load of the good stuff, they run to nail it down.
D&L’s house is huge and has tons of thermal mass beyond number: they can’t afford to let it get cold the way I do nightly. In a really cold spell they go through sixty pounds – one and a half of those sacks – daily. So that big row of 40-pound pellet sacks might not be much more than a month’s supply. Leading to the last item in my list of “why do people use pellets:” It’s by far the most expensive option.
Lots of people use pellets around here – not so much in the actual boonies, but lots of townies do. There must be some advantage. I surely don’t know what it is.