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Our UFS Member Stores offer affordable Pellet Stoves and Pellet Stove Installation services all across North America. If you are looking for a low cost Pellet Stove or a top-of-the-line unit, speak with a Hearth expert at your local United Fireplace & Stove Member shop.
Everyone loves a glowing fire, but the chopping, storing and maintenance of a wood burning fire are less enjoyable. In addition to all the work with a wood burning stove, you need to be aware of the maintenance and safety aspects of keeping a fire burning in your home. Want to still enjoy a roaring fire without all the effort? There’s a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly option that fits the bill.
While pellet stoves and wood burning stoves may look similar, they are actually very different. Pellet stoves are rather sophisticated appliances that provide an energy efficient and eco-friendly heating option. Because of the environmentally and wallet friendly aspects of inexpensive pellet stoves, they have become much more popular in recent years.
What are wood pellets?
A wood pellet is about an inch long and the diameter of a pencil. They are typically made from bits of compressed sawdust and wood waste. The pellets are completely recycled, which means that these appliances allow you to heat your home with environmentally friendly materials. Pellets normally come packaged in 40-pound bags for easy handling and storage.
How does it work?
Pellet stoves need electricity to operate. Pellets are loaded into a bin or hopper that is usually located at either on the top or back on the stove. An auger moves the pellets from the hopper into a burn pot or platform. The speed of the auger will determine the burn rate and the amount of heat delivered to the house. Feeding pellets through the system quickly will mean more heat and a larger fire. Slowing the feed rate down means less heat and lower flame height.
Most free-standing pellet stoves will provide radiant heat. The majority of heat from a pellet stove is through convection. As air from the room is moved through hot heat exchange tubes designed into the stove, the heat is transferred from these steel tubes. A fan moves this heated air into the room.
The exhaust blower sends the remaining combustion by-products out through a pipe in the back of the stove. Pellet stoves are vented with a 3″ or 4″ vent pipe. This vent pipe can be installed through the ceiling and out the roof, directly out a side wall or through an existing chimney.
Many customers operate pellet stoves manually. To increase or decrease the amount of heat, simply increase or decrease the speed of the auger feed mechanism. A thermostat or remote control can be used to set and maintain the temperature in the room. The speed of the auger controls the amount of amount to the burn platform or burn pot.
What type of pellets should I use?
There are two different grades of wood pellets; premium grade and standard grade. The difference between standard and premium is the BTU heating value and the ash content. The best pellets will have the lowest amount of ash and the highest BTU.
Before purchasing a pellet stove, make sure that pellets are easily accessible in your area. Always purchase a stove from an authorized dealer. If the dealer you purchase from does not have a seal of approval from the manufacturer, then the manufacturer’s warranty may be void. Also, make sure that the stove you purchase has passed all inspections before you purchase it.
An Environmentally Friendly Option
The fire in a pellet stove is contained inside the heat box, which creates an efficient fire. In general, pellets create considerably less ash than burning wood and pellets also give off less creosote. All of this combined with the fact that pellets are made by condensing recycled wood materials into pellets makes for an environmentally friendly heating option. Many environmentalists even consider pellets to be carbon neutral.
High Up Front Cost, Minimal On-Going Costs
While the costs of keeping a pellet stove running are low, the actual cost of the stove is high. Also, all pellet stoves need to be installed by an installation professional in the hearth industry, which increases the price of the appliance as well. Because of the intricate system that allows the pellet stove to operate effectively, cheap pellet stoves may not provide the best value. The proper mechanics, venting and installation are important considerations that should come into play along with the price of the appliance.
The actual pellets that are burned in the pellet stove are very inexpensive to create and to purchase. For this reason, pellets can be purchased in small quantities on an as needed basis, which is in drastic contrast to wood, which is purchased by the cord as a large upfront cost to burning wood.
Pellet stoves may not be the cheapest option for a heating appliance, but when considering efficiency and the benefits to the environment, pellet stoves offer many advantages other appliances lack.