Jeffrey Rymer, Rymer Heating LLC, fills up one of the pellet stoves he has for sale at his showroom. <br>EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Jeffrey Rymer, Rymer Heating LLC, fills up one of the pellet stoves he has for sale at his showroom.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
CRIVITZ - A propane shortage throughout Marinette County has forced many people to dial down their thermostats, some to as low as 55 degrees. The shortage has also resulted in high prices, more than double what they were at the start of the season.
There is one business however that's heating up as the result of all this - the pellet stove biz. Jeff Rymer of Rymer Heating in Crivitz said he's been going at a hectic pace since the news broke about the shortage of LP gas.
"Business has increased greatly with a lot of stoves and repair work," he said. "All of a sudden people are bringing the stoves they weren't using back into use again and pellets are being sold here almost faster than I can get them in."
Rymer said he has a good supply on hand thanks to his latest shipment and that more will be coming in over the next two to three weeks.
There are several types of wood and pellet stoves and furnaces on the market. People who live in the country, surrounded by trees and an almost endless supply of fuel may opt for an outdoor wood stove.
"It's basically someone who has a big house and maybe a shed that they're heating too and also heating their domestic water," explained Rymer.
The average indoor pellet stove will set you back about $3,000 and can be used as either a primary or secondary heat source.
"I heat my whole house with a pellet stove and we keep it at 76 degrees," boasted Rymer. "When the front door opens up it almost looks like a sauna, people can't believe I can afford to keep it that warm."
Pellets normally come in 40-pound bags, 50 bags to a skid for a total of 2,000 pounds. On average, a typical home will use about that much each month during the heating season. Costs right now are about $220 a ton for hardwood and $240 a ton for softwood. Softwood burns hotter and cleaner and that's why it costs a little more. Pellets are normally stored in the basement, garage or someplace near the stove where it's dry. Rymer said those costs, especially now, are a lot better than the return on propane.
Stove users will often just pick up a dozen or so bags of pellets at a time, others will load their pickup trucks and some prefer to have the pellets delivered.
Zoning is something else to consider before making a purchase. Rymer said outdoor stoves are not allowed in the city limits but as far as he knows there are no restrictions for indoor pellet stoves.
"With a pellet stove your insurance usually does not go up because of how safe it is and the double wall chimney that's being used," he said.
As far as safety in the home, Rymer said the new stoves are a lot different than the ones your grandparents cooked on. The old fashioned wood stoves required the door to the flames be open to put more wood in, which could create a fire hazard.
"With a pellet stove, you virtually never open the door except for when you clean it out," he said.