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Community and Q&A

Pellet stove to heat a workshop?

kenorakq | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I have a 24 x 30 garage that has been converted into a year round workshop.

2 x 6 construction (16″ centers: I didn’t know any better when I built it 12 years ago) with R20 fiberglass batts carefully fit into the stud bays. R60 blown cellulose in the attic *8 ft ceiling in the shop).

The 7 x 9 insulated garage doors (two of them on the N side) have carriage doors on the exterior with an additional R20 EPS foam: they are carefully air sealed as well making them like bank vault doors.

The three windows 36 x 48 dual pane double sliders (vinyl, low e argon from HD) have removable shutters R10 EPS foam.

The weak point in this building is the perimeter of the slab on grade concrete floor: there is NO insulation at the sides or under the slad. I plan on fixing that this summer with 4″ EPS vertically around the entire shop protected with 3/4″ pressure treated plywood and an aluminum drip edge to direct water past the foam.

I have a 5KW electric shop heater that maintains the shop at 32f. That is all I can afford given the high price of electricity in NW Ontario (Canada zone 7). It makes it uncomfortable to work in there even if I let the 5KW heater run for several hours to get the temp up to 40f or so.

I have NO access to NG.
I don’t want to use PROPANE if I can avoid it.
I will not use OIL.
I have a used 18KW electric furnace that I could hook up but I fear I would go broke feeding it elctrons.

So… I have been exploring pellet stoves, mostly because the cost of operating it (buying fuel) should be about $200/month estimated at a bag a day or so.

I did a manual J on the building and calculated 32000ish btu/hr at -30f outside and 50f inside.

Before I look any further I would like opinions as to whether the pellet stove idea is a rational one.


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  1. user-228058 | | #1

    Seems like a good idea to me, any issues with the building dept. approval?

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Assuming that you are willing to install a safe chimney, there is no reason your plan won't work.

    From your description of the building, I'm guessing that the actual design heat loss is less than 32,000 BTU/h. It is possible that there was a fudge factor somewhere in your calculations.

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