Posted by: Tony Carson | 2 November, 2009

In praise of the pellet stove

So I get this pellet stove, right? It’s a Harmon p68, supposed to be the best one out there. When torqued up it can throw out 87,000 btus. It’s pretty. Has a beautiful flame.

I stuck it in my basement and conveniently vented it out the side of my house; 8’ of insulated pipe coming out 6” above ground.


My own personal Hot Stove Lounge — just grab stuff from the wall and go.

I live in the Yukon, in northern Canada so I buy 3 tonnes of pellets, basically pressed sawdust that looks a bit like rabbit dropping. A tonne of pellets works out to be about a cord and a half of wood.

The pellets come in 40 pound bags, thus 50 bags to the tonne. I go through about a bag a day, which, with the punitive transportation costs to get the pellets up here from central BC, works out to about $8 a bag, so it costs me $8 to heat my two story, well insulated home during at least the milder winter days. I’ll have to crank it up at -40º, maybe a bag and a half.

So, I’m liking it, a lot. But there is more.

Have you ever sat on a log and gazed into a campfire? Ya, well I get to do this every day. And it’s a lot better than your standard fireplace because the flame in a pellet stove is really energetic, it’s dancing under the pressure created by the fans. I mean, if there is a story in the flame of the propane fireplace in my living room, there is a full-on thriller going on inside my pellet stove.

Me and the dogs hang out there all the time, especially after getting back from our winter walks and skis; just toasting up and marvelling at the complexity and depth of life in the window of my pellet stove.

And I’m a better person because of it. I’m relatively green. I’m puking out relative few emissions, I’m eschewing the fossil fuels and I’m using a wood by-product that might other wise be discarded.

I think I’m a pretty impressive guy and I thought you should know it.



  1. Good for you. I’m thinking of getting one for my basement. The upstairs fireplace keeps the main floor toasty, but downstairs – brrrrrr.
    Will have to check out that model and the cost of pellets here in eastern Ontario (probably about the same, I’m guessing.)

    • In your locale some folks are burning corn (kernels) just as one might use wood pellets. I’m not sure if the flame dance would turn Tony on and Klondike korn is really expensive. There may be a moral issue in using food to stay warm but the tree huggers would be happy. Dunno ’bout Jack Daniels.


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