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How do Pellet Stoves Work?

Many homeowners opt for fireplaces and stoves that retain the intense heat of a wood fire, but would like the convenience of a gas fireplace. Now there is a product that meets in the middle. Pellet stoves are highly efficient, don’t require cutting, storing, or hauling firewood, and are eco-friendly.

They burn pellets, which are a manufactured wood product. Pellets are created from all the byproducts that were thrown out or burned at the saw mills. These stoves offer the homeowner the convenience of a consistent burn, even if you aren’t there to feed the fire.

Parts of a Pellet Stove

Unlike a traditional open fireplace, a pellet stove has many different parts. Also, they work together to create consistent heat output and efficient performance.

  • Grille – Allows air from the room to be pulled into the stove by a convection fan.
  • Intake Vent – Pulls outside air into burn pot.
  • Hopper – Stores pellets to be burned.
  • Auger – Feeds pellets from hopper to burn pot where they burn.
  • Burn Pot – The area that pellets are burned.
  • Combustion Fan – Pulls in outdoor air and assists exhaust.
  • Exhaust Vent – Takes away combustion gases.
  • Heat Exchange Tubes – Sends air heated by the fire into the room.
  • Convection Fan – Circulates air through heat-exchange tubes to push into the room.
  • Ash pan – Collects the ashes from the burned pellets.

The different parts of the pellet stove serve a specific purpose. Some are to feed the fire and others are to vent the fire. Still, others are to convert the fire’s heat into home heat. If any part of this system breaks down, the pellet stove will fail to work properly. For instance, if the hopper stops working or runs out of pellets to feed the fire the fire will go out and the stove will not produce heat.

Pellet Fuel

Pellet stoves only burn pellets, which some may view as a downside. However, pellets are inexpensive and take out the hassle that comes with traditional wood burning. Wood requires cutting and hauling (or buying) and then storing it until it is properly seasoned. Also, pellets take out the headache and the convenience of the hopper lets you sleep or leave the house without worrying your home will get cold.

The Pellet Stove and Your Chimney

Because the pellet stove burns cleanly, it leaves less residue in your chimney. This creates less ash waste, and the stove itself is considered low maintenance. In addition, the only thing you need to do is keep it clear of combustibles, keep its surfaces clean with a regular dusting, and schedule regular maintenance appointments.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends homeowners keep their home safe and their fireplace efficient by scheduling annual chimney inspections and having it cleaned regularly. Keeping these important appointments is the best way to keep your pellet stove in the best shape possible.

How to Properly Clean a Pellet Stove or Insert

How to Clean a Pellet Stove - Milford, CT - The Cozy FlamePellet stoves and inserts are an increasingly popular fireplace option because of their ease of operation, energy efficiency, and low maintenance. However, many people who own these heating appliances may be incorrectly cleaning them.

Keeping your pellet stove or insert properly cleaned is an important factor in maintaining efficiency and safety standards for your unit. Below are some of the ways you can make sure your pellet stove or insert is being properly cleaned.

Annual maintenance

There are several annual maintenance items that should be completed at least once per year to keep your pellet stove or insert working its best. First, the venting should be taken apart and cleaned. This removes any soot, ash, or debris that has become trapped in the venting and allows the byproducts of combustion to freely vent to the outside. Likewise, the combustion fan should also be removed and cleaned.

While these maintenance items are important, we do not recommend that the average homeowner do it themselves. Many well-meaning people have permanently damaged their pellet stove or insert while attempting to take apart or put back together the venting, combustion fan, or other moving parts. Instead, trust the experts at The Cozy Flame to safely and correctly clean and service your heating appliance.

Weekly cleaning

When your pellet stove or insert is in regular use, weekly cleaning can help it continue to run safely and efficiently. Unlike the more intensive annual maintenance, this type of cleaning can be done by anyone using a simple set of hand tools, a bucket for ash, a scraper, and a fine bristle brush to clean up the soot. A vacuum is also recommended, but please make sure your vacuum has a proper filter; if not, soot and ash can easily go airborne and coat your interior furnishings!

First, shut off the stove and allow it to cool completely before attempting to clean it. Open the stove and begin by brushing off the glass; the idea is not to leave it sparkling, but rather to remove the majority of the soot and ash. Next, begin to clean inside the stove. Working from the top down, start by using the scraper to get the ash off of the combustion tubes. It is extremely important the combustion tubes remain clean as this is where the heat is generated.

Both the burn pot and burn pot liner can be easily removed and dumped into the bucket. Likewise, the fine bristle brush should be used to clean the walls of the stove as well as any nooks, crannies, or corners. The vacuum is an extremely helpful tool at containing soot as your clean. It is also recommended that you clean out your auger and hopper every couple of cycles. Pellets left in the stove can break down, leaving a fine dust that can affect the auger drive.

If you have questions about how to clean your pellet stove or insert or want more information about adding one of these heating appliances to your home, contact the experts at The Cozy Flame today!

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