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We heat our house with a Pellet Stove and we save $100s each year.

I can’t believe it is Spring 2012. This winter has been a very mild winter for the Northern Virginia area. Last year was a different story. I want to mention that we use a Pellet Stove to heat our house. Have you heard of a Pellet Stove? Not many people I talk to have heard of it especially around this area of the country. They are very popular in the Northeast or Northwest.

A pellet stove is a very efficient stove. It produces a constant dry heat. It is environmentally clean by burning small hardwood pellets completely and creating a very fine ash. The emissions are basically non existent because the smoke is very little that comes out of the chimney.  It uses hardwood saw dust which is a renewable resource. The top of the stove called the hopper holds a 40lb bag of pellets and burns it constantly during the day. This version of the Whitfield Profile Insert has a thermostat control feature so it can start and stop during the day on its own.  We try and keep the house at a comfortable 65+ degrees.

We love it! We have owned this stove since 2005 and we have another standalone in our basement when we spend time down there or if it is so cold that we need the extra heat. My husband’s family has been using pellet stoves for years. We have a house that has a heat pump which isn’t efficient when the temperatures are very cold. Our electricity bill would be very high if we didn’t have the pellet stove.  We keep our electric bill around $200 a month or less all year long.

The cost of a 40lb bag is anywhere from $4-$6 a bag.  We paid $5 a bag.   To lower the cost and make it easier on us we have them delivered to our house by the ton in the spring.  A ton is 50, 40 lb bags!  There are several companies including Ace Hardware that will do this type of service and it is worth it.  The cost per bag is lower because it is off season and the cost of delivery is cost effective since we don’t have to find the pellets and bring them home ourselves.   The cost per ton we paid last year was $253 including delivery.   We used 2 tons this year since it was the first year I stayed at home all day so we kept the house pretty warm.   We bought an extra ton last year so we still  have over a ton of fuel for next year.  We plan on ordering again in the spring at least 2 tons to have it ready for next winter.

That means this winter we used$506 worth of fuel to heat our home + the electricity costs to run the stove and heat pump.   We believe we would have spent much more in electricity costs and had a colder home if we didn’t use this stove.

If you are interested in a pellet stove I suggest looking at Craigs List and local Stove and Fireplace shops in the Spring/Summer when it is off season.   The price of the stove is cheaper as is the fuel to stockpile.

How do you heat your home?  What cost effective ways do you save on heating costs per year?

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Working Mom vs. Staying at Home Mom

How much does it cost to work vs. staying at home?  Or how much does it cost to stay at home vs. work?

These questions have popped in my head for awhile. I enjoy my job for many reasons. I also like staying at home with my daughter.  I work a 9/80 schedule so I get every other friday off.  This is great because I get a taste of what it’s like to stay at home.  However, those Fridays are very busy and I’m usually very tired because of the long week.

I really do wonder could we afford for one of us to stay at home?  I did some research and I found a couple interesting calculators that help figure out the answers.

Kiplinger – Can One of you Afford to Quit? – Stay at Home Calculator

So, far it looks like we would have to cut out a lot to make it work.  One other option that I need to calculate is if I worked part-time.  I would have to investigate the cost of daycare for 3 or 2 days a week.

It’s hard to be a working mom.  I love my daughter so much and want to be with her everyday during the day. I love to provide for her and see her grow with her friends at daycare (school) too.    Not an easy answer.