Pellet stoves are an excellent option for heating your home and require far less maintenance than a wood-burning fireplace. You may be wondering, though, why you should use a pellet stove, what type of fuel it burns, how it works, and how to clean it. This complete guide gives you all the information you need to prepare your house for a stove heating source.
Do not make a big purchase such as a pellet stove before learning the ins and outs of owning this appliance. While they are easier to care for than a gas or wood fireplace, they still require unique care to keep them in working condition. As a general reminder, follow the stove’s manufacturer’s instructions if you are ever unsure how to operate or clean the device.
Why You Should Choose a Pellet Stove
There are many reasons why you would choose a pellet stove, but one of the most well-known is because the stove is environmentally friendly. The materials you burn to feed the fire in the stove are renewable resources, unlike some other fireplaces. This stove helps promote the recycling of materials and decrease the amount of waste we put into the world.
The main concern when purchasing a pellet stove is finding a place in your home to put it. Because it has a lot of motorized components, it needs an electrical outlet to run. Unfortunately, this means that if there were a power outage, you would not be able to use the stove like you would a gas or wood fireplace. Some pellet stove models can come with backup batteries, but owners will pay more for this extra feature.
What Kind of Fuel Does the Stove Use?
You must only utilize the appropriate fuel material in these stoves—wood or anything other material could be detrimental to the stove and your home. Pellet stoves use a pellet comprised of wood chips, sawdust, bark, crop waste, and other organic materials. Pellets will come in different grades, and you’ll generally want to go with the pellet the manufacturer recommends to avoid any damages or concerns with the stove.
However, the more expensive the pellets, the cleaner they will burn in your stove, the less waste they’ll produce, and the less maintenance and cleaning they’ll require. This fuel source is dense, which helps the pellet burn clean and hot inside the chamber, producing less smoke, soot, ash, creosote, etc.
Start-Up and Shutdown
You do not need to light anything within the stove to start it; it’s as easy as pushing a button through an automatic ignition system. Your main concern is whether there are enough pellets in the hopper to fuel the fire. To avoid operational problems, start the stove the way the manufacturer intended.
When you are done using the stove, never unplug it from the wall. These stoves need to cool down before you power them down completely. Use the automatic controls to set the shut-off on a timer and allow the stove to sit and cool down before touching it or removing it from a power source.
Heat Output Efficiency
The larger the room you place the stove in, the larger the actual component will need to be. Never start using an oversized pellet stove in a smaller space on a low setting because it could lead you to more problems with the device later. Consult with professionals to get an idea of what size stove you should buy for your space.
The amount of heat the appliance can give off depends on the insulation of your home and how many windows are in the area. Usually, pellet stoves give off a ton of clean heat that you can control through a temperature setting.
Hoppers or Fuel Chambers
The hopper is the area where you load the pellets into the stove and acts as a fuel chamber. You can find this chamber either at the top or bottom of the furnace. Most hoppers on a standard stove can hold between 35–130 pounds.
Hoppers at the top of the stove will minimize the chance that the fire will spread to the hopper, but it’s more likely to experience clogging issues from ash. To reduce ash and blockages, burn high-grade pellets. Bottom hoppers don’t require a high-quality pellet, but they are less efficient in feeding and burning fuel.
The venting and pipes on the pellet stove should fall under local building codes and requirements. Seal any seams and gaps in the venting with stove cement or caulk that can withstand high temperatures. It’s crucial to clean the vents yearly with a brush to free them of any fire hazards that could pose a threat to your home later on.
Just because this appliance uses a clean fuel source and is highly efficient does not mean you do not need to perform routine maintenance. If you plan to use the stove as the primary heating source in your home, you must follow the proper maintenance and cleaning protocols to keep the device in operating condition. If you are unsure how to clean the stove, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Typically, you’ll want to evaluate the burn pot daily for any substance build-up. Open the ash drawer weekly and clean it out as it fills with the burned material. The heat exchanger will also need cleaning. Still, pellet stove repair companies are the better option in some cases because the professional employee will have much more experience when it comes to keeping these stoves in the best condition.
The cost of using your pellet stove will depend on the location you are in. If you plan on running the appliance frequently, you can expect to burn through more pellets and spend more money on fuel. In this complete guide, we recommend buying the pellets in bulk during the colder months so that you can stock up on supplies. Other factors that will affect the cost are the size of the room, grade of pellets, how much electricity it takes to run the machine, etc.
This type of heating appliance is super simple, and understanding how they work is simple. The main concern will be to ensure the hopper has enough pellets to fuel the fire inside. If you have any issues or need the appliance looked at, do not hesitate to contact Chimcare with questions or concerns.