When the cold of the winter strikes, there are countless options to bring warmth to your interior. Choosing a heating appliance for a new home can be quite an undertaking! Now, if you’re looking to reduce your heating costs and keep your carbon footprint in check, as many homeowners nowadays, a pellet stove may be a superb alternative to traditional fireplaces and wood burners. This dedicated guide will take a look at what pellet stoves are, how they work, and whether it’s worth getting one for your home.
Pellet Stoves: What Are They?
Pellet stoves are a type of residential heating appliance. Their popularity has been growing tremendously as of late. Contrary to regular wood heat stoves and fireplaces, pellet stoves are more easily transportable, space-spacing, and require less effort to get a fire going (no kindling or tending). Rather than firewood, they use organic pellets such as fuel that are made from materials like wood or food wastes, which take less space to store and burn cleaner than wood logs.
Main Components and Operating Principle
A pellet stove, which needs electricity to operate, is made of different internal parts. First of all is the hopper, namely the area where the pellets are stored (hoppers can hold between 35 to 150 lbs of pellets) and that can be located either on top or at the bottom of the appliance. The pellets then fall into a firebox (also called the burn pot), the combustion chamber where they’re heated to create warmth. Pellet stoves typically have an automatic igniter to start your fire, which might not be the case in budget models.
These appliances also have a thermostat to adjust the temperature thanks to an auger screw that controls the number of pellets released into the firebox. A thermostat set high will release more pellets for combustion, whereas a lower one will release fewer pellets. Lastly, you’ll find two integrated fans. One will blow air through the fire to maintain a steady temperature while the other blows directly in the exchangers for heat diffusion. Exhaust gases are then vented outdoors through a narrow duct.
Given their size and compactness, pellet stoves are easier and cheaper to set up compared to other heating appliances. The evacuation or vent system is less bulky, making installation far less complex than a fireplace, for instance. That said, you’ll need to bring in a qualified technician to ensure that the pellet stove is well-installed and connected to avoid maintenance issues down the line.
Speaking of which, another significant advantage of acquiring a pellet stove for your home is that they’re relatively easy to care for. In fact, experts explain that pellet stove cleaning is a breeze because organic pellets produce less buildup and ash volume when compared to wood-using appliances. In any case, some online research should get you acquainted with everything you need to know on how to clean and maintain your pellet stove.
Cost, Lifespan, and Efficiency
As of 2021, a good-quality pellet stove can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000. The price will mainly depend on its size, capacity, build, and overall efficiency. High-end models will be a slightly more expensive investment than a traditional stove or having a fireplace installed. However, they’re far cleaner and eco-friendly, energy-efficient, and can last a good while (up to 15 or 20 years, with proper maintenance and regular cleaning).
Are They Worth It?
It’s fair to say that with all these attributes, a pellet stove is bound to be a superb home addition. Their charm and efficiency will make any space gain in visual appeal and convenience. Be aware, though, that because they work with electricity, you won’t be able to use your pellet stove in the event of a power outage; you’ll most likely need an emergency generator, which isn’t accessible to all homeowners.
All in all, getting a pellet stove for your residential heating needs is generally considered a smart move. Think of it this way: If you’re the kind of person who can’t be bothered with starting a traditional wood fire, tending it, and keeping it going, a pellet stove can be your go-to to gain in comfort and convenience. As we’ve seen, these modern appliances are less bulky, more energy-efficient, and are very easy to have installed.
Although they come with heftier price tags, they’re definitely worth the investment in the long run. Ultimately, make sure to keep reading on the benefits of pellet stoves and to consult comparative reviews when the time comes to make a purchase.