A Hot Investment For Your Home
By Nancy Russell, Vice President Select GMAC Real Estate
Summer in New England is in full swing, it’s hot and it’s humid. Many seek relief at the Cape or one of the many beautiful beaches along the coastline. In this heat it’s hard to think ahead six months when the daily average temperatures in Central Massachusetts will plummet almost 50 degrees. However, the 2008 spike in crude oil should get you thinking ahead. In 2000, the annual average domestic crude oil price was $34.16. By 2007, it nearly doubled to $66.40. Shockingly, as of the writing of this article the price per domestic crude oil is $140 per barrel. Whether you heat your home by oil or natural gas you will be paying more this year.
As a Real Estate agent, I am constantly guiding my clients as to which home investment might be recouped at the time of sale. Whether it’s redoing a kitchen, adding granite or building a deck it’s difficult to recover 100% of your investment. However, here is an investment that not only will add value to your home, but help cut your heating costs and is eco-friendly. And that is adding a Pellet Stove. I felt so strongly about this that I added a pellet stove insert to my basement fireplace last year.
A pellet stove uses an electronically controlled combustion, blowers and highly effective heat exchangers to provide reliable, efficient heating. Pellets are added to a holding bin commonly referred to as a hopper. Hoppers typically hold 35 to 130 pounds of pellets. Most stoves have an auger that delivers pellets from the hopper to the combustion chamber. The auger is set by an electronic control which is manually set or by an optional wall mounted thermostat. Depending on type and installation gases can be vented through a fireplace’s chimney or horizontally out through a wall.
If you had a rabbit growing up then you will be familiar with what a pellet looks like as you could easily mistake the pellet for rabbit food. Pellets are actually recycled sawdust, wood shavings, corn, walnut, peanut shells or other similar biomass waste that are ground up, compressed, and extruded. There are many vendors of pellets that use some or all of the above ingredients. During the compression and extrusion process moisture is squeezed out of the pellet dropping moisture content below 8%. The drier the fuel the more heat that can be produced and the high temperature fire burns more of the fuel. In a comparison with an EPA certified wood stove which typically gives off 5 grams of particles per hour, a pellet stove gives off less than 1 gram per hour. Most importantly, the combustion efficiency, how much fuel is converted to heat, approaches a staggering 90%.
Pellet stoves range in price from about $1,500 to $3,000. Price will be determined on heating capacity and decorative upgrades. Heating capacity typically range from 8,000 to 90,000 BTUs. If you are handy you will be able to complete the installation yourself. If not, expect to pay in the neighborhood of $400. Pellets are sold in 40 lb bags. One bag will cost around $5, but if you purchase by the ton (50 bags); I recently saw prices range from $150 to $200.
My basement pellet stove insert choice was based on the total area in square feet that I was heating. I have an entertainment room, home office and laundry room. It was sized to comfortably heat the three rooms. Although I do get the added benefits of the heat rising to the first floor. During the coldest winter weeks, I burned one 40lb bag in about a day and a half. During most of the winter and early spring I went through two 40 lb bags a week. The savings in comparison to oil heat or natural gas can be significant and is determined by your specific installation and life style. Here is something to think about as you sip your favorite frozen drink on a beach chair with your feet immersed in the lapping Atlantic Ocean. Last year, I ordered my stove from a dealer in December. They were so busy delivery was six weeks off. With the current price of heating oil don’t wait too long too make this very worth while, economic and eco-friendly investment. It will surely pay off now and at the time you decide to sell your home.
Whatever Nancy touches turns to “SOLD” . Call me at 508-389-1902 or by e-mail NancyR@SelectGMACRealEstate.com . Visit my website for more information www.nancyarussell.com or stop by the office located at 45 S. Quinsigamond Avenue in Shrewsbury.