Alternative Heating Options: An Interview With Chris Smith of Abundant Life

Posted on Aug 28 2013 - 7:32pm by Nicole Smith

Cold weather is just around the corner, and for many of us that means scrambling to find money to pay for heat during the cold winter months. With many of us living paycheck to paycheck, it can be extremely hard to find the money to pay for heat. Oil and K-1 prices are extremely high, and if you live in a drafty home, it’s not hard to go through three, if not more, tanks of oil/k-1 each year. That adds up to several thousand per winter. And for many, they don’t have that kind of money laying around. I know my ex-husband and I didn’t. We struggled every year, as did my parents. I remember many times when we only bought 5 gallons of K-1 at a time because it’s all we could afford. That can be stressful, especially when a winter storm hits and there’s no way to get out to buy more fuel.

My dad found a solution to the rising cost in fuel prices. Whenever we would go to the fair, my dad was always drawn to the corn and pellet stove displays. Eventually he ended up buying one and my parents’ heating costs dropped significantly.

When my ex-husband and I lived in my grandfather’s old house, we also used a pellet stove that was given to us to heat it, and it worked better than the furnace we’d had. And it saved us a TON of money, also.

There are many people, though, who don’t understand what other heating options are out there. I recently spoke with Chris Smith of Abundant Life Stoves & Spas, located in Chichester, New Hampshire, about other heating options, with a focus on wood and pellet stoves.

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I have to disclose that Chris is my boyfriend. The reason I interviewed him, though, is because I’m clueless about stoves. Whenever I watch him with a customer at his work, I’m in awe of him because he’s very knowledgeable about the products sold at Abundant Life. Because of that, I thought all of you who aren’t familiar with some of the other options out there for you could benefit from his knowledge. If you have any questions for him, you can either leave a comment below or contact him at the email listed at the end of this post.

Me: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me about Abundant Life and what other heating options are out there that homeowners may not be familiar with.

Chris: You’re very welcome. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

Me: First off, can you tell me how long have you worked at Abundant Life and what your position is?

Chris: I’ve been at Abundant Life for 10 years, and I’m one of their salesmen.

Me: Why should customers purchase their stoves at Abundant Life? What do you offer that other places don’t? What sets you apart from the rest?

Chris:  Well, we have the largest display of stoves in the New England area, so customers are able to see different stoves firsthand so they can make an informed purchasing decision. We also offer installation and service on our stoves throughout all of New Hampshire. In addition, our sales staff is thoroughly trained and installers are all NFPI certified, which means we provide our customers with the best possible service.

Me: So what other heating options are there for consumers to consider besides electric heat, oil, including k-1, propane and natural gas?

Chris: Other than those, there are wood, coal, corn and pellet and multi-fuel stoves.

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Me: Wow. That’s a lot more than people realize. I’m not familiar with multi-fueled stoves. Can you explain what those are?

Chris: Multi-fuel stoves are capable of burning corn pellets, wheat and barley all in the same stove. However, you need to change out the auger for each.

Me: Thank you for explaining that. It’s neat to know that there are stoves like that.  Can you tell me why so many consumers are turning to alternative heating solutions?

Chris: Sure. It’s because the prices to heat their homes don’t fluctuate as much and products are usually locally made.

Me: That definitely sounds like a beneficial reason for switching. Are there any other benefits of using a wood or pellet stove?

Chris: They will also make your house feel warmer.

Me: That’s definitely important too. What type of savings can one expect from the stoves you carry?

Chris: For wood, most people reduce their wood consumption by half . Pellet stoves…most people spend around $800-$1,000 to heat their house for a year.

Me: As far as pellets go, how long does one bag last?

Chris: A bag of pellets will last the average customer 24 hours, unless it’s very cold out.

Me: And where can consumers purchase pellets and wood?

Chris: Customers can purchase pellets at big box stores, like Walmart, as well Tractor Supply, Home Depot, Lowes and small hardware stores. Some specialty shops carry them, as well.

Me: Who are pellet and wood stoves ideal for?

Chris: They’re ideal for a customer that owns their own home who is looking to save as much money as possible during the cold winter months.

Me: That makes sense. What is your top seller at Abundant Life?

Chris: Harman Pellet Stoves.

Me: Why is that?

Chris:  Harman is recognized as the best in the industry. They manufacture great quality stoves that are easy to maintain.

Me: Since money is tight for many people, are there any financing options available for them if they want to purchase a stove but don’t have the funds available to purchase a new one and have it installed?

Chris: We offer financing through Wells Fargo. And we also we offer an in-store layaway program. In addition, there are various times throughout the year that we offer discounts on our stoves.

Me: When is the best time to purchase a stove?

Chris: Our biggest sale is Labor Day weekend. We also have a sale during Deerfield Fair weekend.

Me: What kinds of deals do you offer during those sale weekends?

Chris: Labor Day weekend we offer up to 40% off of selected stoves. And Deerfield weekend is normally 10% off of selected stoves.

Me: Thank you for your patience. Just a couple more questions. How safe are wood and pellet stoves? Are there any safety concerns?

Chris: Wood and pellet stoves are very safe. They do need to be maintained. And they get very hot, so it’s recommended that homeowners use a Hearthgate if children and pets are present.

Me: How often do they need to be cleaned and serviced?

Chris: Pellet stoves should be cleaned at least once per month and serviced once a year. And wood stoves should have their chimneys cleaned once a year also.

Me: Last but not least, how can potential customers connect with you?

Chris: Customers can find us on Facebook. They can also email us with questions at sales@abundantlifestoves.com or call us at (603)798-5565. If potential customers would prefer to stop in and talk with our sales staff face-t0-face, that’s an option too! We are located at 328 Dover Road, Chichester, NH, just four miles east of Concord.

Me: Thank you, Chris, for chatting with me. Good luck this coming weekend.

Chris: Thank you.

1 Comment so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Colleen January 28, 2018 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Our pellet stove really helped us during the cold north eastern winters. Thanks for the Q&A. Great to know there are so many options out there.

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