Are you familiar with pellet stoves and inserts? Pellet stoves provide a cost-effective heating solution for homeowners especially within cold climates, where more than one-third of the annual cost for utilities goes toward heating. These appliances are the result of smart innovation. They provide the look of a wood stove but perform much more like a modern furnace. Let's learn a little bit more about this unknown appliance.
What is a Pellet Stove or Insert?
Pellet stoves and pellet inserts burn wood but in the form of small, highly compact pellets, made of milled wood byproducts, that burn with a great efficiency. Pellets are mechanically fed from a hopper into a burn pot area, keeping a constant flame going that requires almost no manual adjustments. The efficiency factor of a pellet stove can be as high as 85%, which is far superior to the efficiency of wood fireplaces, wood inserts, and EPA wood stoves.
For any homeowner who is interested in choosing heating methods that are environmentally friendly, there are no better appliances than pellet stoves and pellet inserts. The fuel is made from material that would otherwise be thrown out with the trash, if not used to make wood pellets. Wood pellets are 2 cm to 3 cm long and are made with sawdust as well as wood and bark chips. Very little ash is produced in a pellet stove. The pellets are a bit less efficient when too much bark is used in the making of the pellets, and you can recognize the presence of excess bark by higher production of ash from the flames.
The efficiency with which the pellets are burned is remarkable. A big part of the reason the pellets burn so completely is the overall design of pellet stoves and pellet inserts. These appliances are widely accepted because of the small amount of smoke they produce.
Your utility costs will be cut considerably when using a pellet stove or insert to heat your home in the winter. How? What sets pellet stoves apart from traditional wood stoves and fireplaces is its heat convection feature. Air passes through heat exchangers tubes located on top of the combustion chamber and warms up rapidly before going into the room. The ventilation system then spreads the warm air into the room. This mechanism creates a more even heat which turns into lower heating needs.
Unlike traditional wood requiring several steps in preparation including some inconveniences such as bugs, wood pellets are available in 40-pound bags which can be neatly stacked. They must be kept dry. Other than that, heating your home with a pellet stove is about as simple as pouring pellets into the hopper. Whereas fireplaces and wood stoves should be closely monitored, for safety reasons, pellet stoves require much less oversight and produces heat over long hours as long as you have pellets inside your hopper. Remember to order this fuel as early as April to avoid supply shortage.
Additional convenient features of pellet stoves:
- Pellet stoves don’t take up as much space as traditional wood stoves.
- Pellet stoves are easy to install, when compared to wood stoves.
For installation, a standard 3” diameter pellet chimney pipe works or, if your chimney has to go up over 12 feet, 4”diameter pipe is recommended.
There are many beautiful styles of pellet stoves to choose from. Pellet inserts are made to fit into an existing wood-burning fireplace, and inserts also have aesthetic appeal. The only sacrifice, as far as appearance, with a pellet stove is that the flames are intense and nowhere near the lazy, relaxing crackling wood fire.