Pellet Stoves Pt 1
Pellet Stoves Pt 1 – Introduction
Looking for a way to heat your home that is both reliable and economical? If so, you should consider a pellet stove. Although pellet stoves are relatively new to the heating appliance industry, they have gained a great reputation since they are not only an economical heat source, but also environmentally friendly. If you’ve never heard of a pellet stove before today, this three part series is going to be a great lesson on how pellet stoves work and why they make a great choice for homes across the country. In the first article for the series, we are going to introduce you to the pellet stove and it’s fuel source; pellets.
What is a Pellet Stove?
A pellet stove is a free-standing stove that burns compressed wood and biomass products that is formed into pellets. On the outside, they appear similar to a typical wood burning stove, but that’s where the similarities end. These appliances are electronically sophisticated and run off of electricity. Each unit contains a hopper, an auger, a burn pot, and an ash pot. The hopper is essential the storage bin for pellets and the auger, which resembles a long screw, is a motorized device that delivers the pellets from the hopper into the burn pot to feed the fire. The ashes from the burned pellets are then collected into the ash pot which will need to be emptied periodically.
Pellet stoves come in a number of different sizes, styles, and designs so you can choose the best unit that is tailored to your living space and preferences. These appliances are also available in different heat output levels ranging from 8,000 BTUs to 90,000 BTUs so you can choose a model that will be able to heat your space effectively & efficiently, allowing you to cut back on your utility usage during the cold, winter months. Some units even come with a number of “bells and whistles” like automatic ignition and electronic controls.
The Fuel Source- Pellets
Pellets are a renewable heating source consisting of compressed wood chips, saw dust, bark and other materials left behind from wood mils and other wood processes. They also have a very low emissions/pollution rate making them an eco-friendly heating choice. Pellets are also relatively inexpensive making them a great option for homeowners with a strict budget. Compared to wood, pellets are cleaner and easier to store. Most homeowners who have owned a wood burning fireplace, insert, or stove know that storing logs can be messy and can bring in unwanted insects and dirt.
Choosing Your Pellets
Homeowners will be able to select from two types of pellets; standard and premium. Check your pellet stove’s owner’s manual to see which type is recommended as some stoves are designed only to be used with premium grade pellets. In general, premium grade pellets are most recommended as they have low ash content and give off a higher heat output. There are a number of brands you can choose from, each containing different types of wood, binders, additives, and saw dust. Because some additives can cause blockages in your stove pipes, make sure to read the labels of each brand and choose one that has little or no bark and additives.
Pellets are typically sold in 40 pound bags that are easy to stack and store. An entire winter’s supply of pellets can generally be stored in a space as little as 6 feet by 6 feet. As with firewood, pellets must be stored in a sheltered location where the pellets will remain dry and free of moisture. Once the pellets get wet, they begin to swell and will not feed into the hopper properly.
If you have any questions regarding pellet stoves and pellets, contact our pros. We can help you find the perfect unit for your lifestyle and home. Make sure to check out the other two articles in this three part series for more information!
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