I love pellet heaters and that’s why I created this website. I’m just an average Joe living in Tassie who wants more people to know about pellet heaters or pellet fires as some people like to call them. I moved to Tassie in 2014 and like most people installed a newly purchased wood heater in my house. I knew very little about pellet heaters and had not heard of them before moving to Tasmania. It was only after I moved to Tasmania did I hear about pellet heaters and actually saw them on display in a heating shop. I did a bit of research and looked into pellet heater running costs.
Pellets cost about $12 a bag at the time in Tasmania and after doing some quick math I thought pellet heaters were just too expensive to own and not worth it. Now, I had actually never seen a pellet heater running as the ones in the shops were switched off and just on display. Also, since I still knew very little about pellet heaters I was basing all my cost of running calculations on how you use a wood heater. If you’ve ever owned a wood heater you know it’s quite normal to light a wood heater and let it burn for days, weeks or months before it goes out.
So, I continued to use my wood heater. We live on a hill, so I quickly got tired of having to move firewood up a steep hill. Also, because we ran the wood heater basically 24/7 for 6 months of the year, it meant we were going through a lot of firewood. Unless you are paying top dollar for your dry firewood, most firewood you buy at a reasonable price needs to be split and dried for at least a year. This meant my backyard was full of firewood. This went on for a few years as I tried to buy firewood in un-split rounds to save money but it just meant more work for me.
It took a couple of years and I finally had enough. The wood heater was going and I decided to take another look at pellet heaters. We had two heat pumps installed for heating when it was cool and not cold, but the heat from a heat pump doesn’t feel natural. Yes, it warms the house up but for me it’s a stuffy, unpleasant kind of heat. Wood pellet prices in Tasmania had come down thanks to a new mill that opened up, so pellets ranged from about $8 to $12 depending on brand. I visited from pellet heater retailers again, asked a lot of questions and did some more calculations on running costs.
I learnt a few things. First, after actually seeing and feeling the heat from a pellet heater, it’s something I knew I wanted during winter. Real heat at the push of a button with none of the hassle of firewood. Also, I understood how to properly use a pellet heater. You don’t run them 24/7 because you don’t have to. You definitely can if you want but the wood heater mentality does not work well with a pellet heater. By this I mean I understood that pellet heaters can quickly heat up an area. So, I can leave the house, switch the pellet heater off, save money by not burning pellets and switch it back on when I get home.
That’s the complete opposite to how you use a wood heater. There’s no need to run a pellet heater at night while you sleep. I learnt that pellet heaters have timers, like a heat pump, and WiFi, so I could switch a pellet heater off at night before going to bed and have it come on in the morning. I’d still wake up to a warm house but would have saved money by not burning pellets while I slept. WiFi also meant I could switch the pellet heater on when I was not at home, so I came home to a warm house. To many these features are “toys” but they are what I realized made pellet heaters great.
It probably took about a year of me visiting retailers, doing homework, reading, watching videos before I got my pellet heater installed thanks to Pellet Fires Tasmania. I also learnt another important thing, the importance of insulation. My house in Tasmania was built in 1996, so it’s not old, but where’s it built and the lack of insulation meant the house was cold. It wasn’t cheap to insulate the walls, ceiling and floor despite doing most of it myself, but I learnt spending the money now to better insulation pays off in the long run by drastically reducing heating costs. After I had everything insulation as best I could afford, the pellet heater went in.
Our old wood heater was placed somewhere that was easy for the installer to run the flue but took up a lot of floor space, normally where a dining table would go, which is one reason I got rid of it. The pellet heater, however, goes in a corner in the middle of the house. That spot was previously dead space, something we couldn’t use because of where it was and it being a corner. However, the pellet heater installer had no problem installing it there and running the flue up through the roof to the outside. I was over the moon. I got back my dining table space and the pellet heater went in a space previously unused.
So now we heat our house with a pellet heater and I couldn’t be happier. I buy pellets, usually 30 bags at a time, and store them under the house. My backyard is no longer full of firewood. I don’t have to spend my weekends (I work full-time) splitting and stacking firewood. I also don’t have to worry about finding a reliable supplier of firewood. Despite having two brand new highly efficient heat pumps, we still primarily use the pellet heater. During the middle of winter it’s nice to see fire and feel real heat coming out of the pellet heater. I’m lucky because I can buy wood pellets in Tasmania almost anywhere and at great prices.
I think you can see how much I love pellet heaters. I understand they aren’t for everyone and compared with a heat pump they are more expensive to run. Heat pumps are super efficient and unless you can get your firewood for free, a heat pump is cheaper to run than a wood heater and has none of the mess or hassle. However, for me at least, I love to feel warm and warmth comes from fire. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about pellet heaters and while I know they aren’t for everyone I think there are a lot of people who would swap from a wood heater to pellet heater if they knew how good they were.
So that’s the purpose of this website. I run two Facebook groups for pellet heater owners one in Tasmania and one for Australia. I write articles and create videos to help people understand how pellet heaters work, what’s involved, how much they cost to run, where to buy pellet heaters and wood pellets from, what and how to clean them and much more. If you find this website useful please share with your friends or post links to it for others. I make absolutely no money from this site. I do it for fun and my love of pellet heaters. Also, I’d love to have you join either the Facebook pellet heater groups. Otherwise, thank you for reading this wall of text and happy heating 🙂