By now, you’ve probably heard of pellet stoves, one of the growing trends in home-heating appliances. Like traditional wood-burning fireplaces and woodstoves, pellet stoves and fireplace inserts provide roaring flames that add ambiance to any room. But pellet stoves and fireplaces also bring added efficiency and convenience, and they’re considered among the most environmentally friendly fireplaces and stoves.
What exactly are pellet fireplaces?
Pellet fireplaces come in free-standing stoves, or they can be inserted to a hearth to provide the look of a traditional fireplace. Pellet stoves and inserts burn pellets made of compressed dehydrated sawdust or wood shavings. Some pellet stoves can burn a variety of eco-friendly fuels including corn, cherry pits, or wheat hulls. Pellets are filled into a storage hopper, from which they are automatically fed through an auger to a burn pan. A series of fans and vents feeds air through the system to be heated and pumps hot air back into your home from the stove. Pellets generally are sold in 40 pound bags at hardware stores and big-box stores.
One of the biggest advantages of pellet stoves is their heating efficiency. EPA-rated pellet stoves are 70 to 83 percent efficient, and can produce anywhere from 8,000 to 90,000 BTU per hour. Because of their efficiency, pellet stoves provide very clean heat. Along with the wood pellets, the fire burns most of the combustible gases. That means that pellet stoves put out very little air pollution, and pellet stove chimneys are less likely to build up with dangerous fire-causing creosote.
Pellet stoves also provide a great deal of convenience. Pellets can be purchased as needed, so operating a pellet stove does not require the extensive storage space needed to heat a wood-burning stove or fireplace. Because the stoves are fed from a storage hopper automatically by an auger, pellet stoves require very little tending once the fire is lit. Controls allow you to easily adjust the amount of heat you want. You can set it and forget it giving you the convenience of a gas and easier to control than wood. One hopper full of pellets will burn for a day or more, so no reloading heavy wood or going outside every few hours. This also means your pellet heating appliance will continue to heat your home at a continuous rate regardless of whether you’re home, at work, or sleeping.
With the exception of glass doors, most pellet stoves remain cool to the touch, so they don’t produce a burn hazard. Because the doors aren’t opened to tend a fire as they are with a traditional woodstove or fireplace, there isn’t a risk for burns from escaping embers.
How are pellet stoves maintained?
Pellet stoves some maintenance because to keep them operating cleanly and safely. Ash pans and other parts will need to be cleaned once a week or when full, and owners’ manuals generally will provide additional steps for monthly maintenance. As with any fireplace or stove, they should be cleaned and inspected by a certified technician at least once a year. Many new pellet stoves require an annual inspection to keep the manufacturers.
How can I learn more about pellet stoves?
If we’ve piqued your interest about the advantages of pellet stoves, stop The Cozy Flame showroom in Milford, CT and talk to our experts to see if a pellet stove or fireplace insert is right for your home.