Streaks on the ceiling

1996 and all I replace was the auger motor, not a piece of crap if you ask me and a bag of pellet last up to 2 days. 5 tons a year…are you heating a barn? I use 1 ton for heating my house through winter.

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That is running it 24 7 all winter.

That your only heat source? What are you paying/ton for pellets?

5 tons? That’s a lot.

Not really… for an outdated, 25 year old, inefficient, leaky unit… in Maine! :wink:

Morning, James.
Hope this post finds you well.

Those black streaks are referenced to as ‘thermal tracking, thermal bridging stains, thermal telegraphing stains’ which directly correlate to air movement, air leaks, points of heat loss increasing a homes overall conditioning energy cost.

InspectAPedia link. Thermal Tracking.

Best regards.
Robert Young

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Most of the time; I have a heat pump and an electric furnace. I turn on the heat pump when weather is mild and the electric furnace is seldom on. Last year I paid $4.99 per bag (40 lbs.), this year I paid $5.38 per bag + taxes.

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$5.19 at tractor supply here. Man those prices are climbing every year. They used to be around $200 T not long ago.
I just have oil and propane. The last oil price was $1.80 and now up to $2.00. I can live with that.

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Scott’s unit is only 6 years old.

Those prices are after the government rebate? What is your electrical bill averaging each month?

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Hi James,
It would be worth checking the ceiling with a moisture meter along the darkened areas.
Picture 2 appears to show some moisture staining.
If moisture is recorded, bore a small hole and use an Endoscope to check for moisture damage or possible mold.
Check relative humidity in the room.

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No government rebate here. I don’t see how my electrical consumption would affect anything as every one’s situation is different but I can say that its about half my neighbour’s.

There’s a government rebate on heating fuels here.

I will have to get a moisture meter as I start my home inspection biz. RH is 40.

both air supply and exhaust straight out the wall behind the unit. I dont know how old the heater is.

Home Depot sells an inexpensive moisture meter to get started with.

Also, if it is ghosting,find a local supplier that sells chemical sponges. They are used in fire restoration. It should move the dark staining.
Good Luck.
Richard Mullen

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Useful trick: If your oil burning appliance is roughly 85% efficient, the pellet stove 80%, the pellets are 8k BTU/lb, then take the price of oil per gallon and times it 2.18 Compare that to the price of a 40lb pellet bag and you will know what would cost you more to produce the same amount of heat :slight_smile: For example, $2 oil delivered x 2.18 = $4.36 vs $5.19 Oil is less expensive in that instance.

That’s pretty good Simon. That means when the cost of oil gets to about $2.38, you are equal to pellets at 5.19.
The average cost of oil right now in my area is about $2.10. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stay at those prices all winter.

Yeap, when the oil shot up to $4+ here (pre 2015) I came up with the formula to help me decide if burning pellets made sense. Also used it to negotiate a ton down to $150-175 few years ago when the stores overbought and the winter didn’t pan out as cold as they thought. I told them, look, right now the oil price collapsed and it’s cheaper to burn oil, you won’t sell them… they would have to store them the entire season until the next winter but they needed the shelf room. I showed them the math and they agreed.

The least expensive pellets here are obtained from Lowes using their CC $4.68 a bag.

You can try this spreadsheet for your energy cost comparison; simply make the adjustments (e.g. energy cost, heating load & system efficiency) to reflect your situation. For my situation, the heat pump is least expensive followed by the wood pellet stove.

Energy Costs Calculator.xlsx (17.5 KB)