Pellet stoves are similar to wood stoves in concept, but they have automated operation and burn processed biomass for fuel. The pellets are manufactured from compacted sawdust, wood chips, agricultural crop waste, wastepaper and other materials.
How Pellet Stoves WorkPellet stoves are designed to heat a space directly. The flue in a pellet stove can be directly vented through a wall, which means that no chimney is required. This makes them easy and convenient to add to any home. Pellets are stored in a hopper that can generally hold enough pellets for the stove to run for more than a day.
Pellet stoves use electricity to run three motorized systems that operate automatically:
- A screw auger feeds pellets into the fire at a controlled rate
- An exhaust fan vents exhaust gases and draws in combustion air
- A circulating fan forces air through the heat exchanger and into the room.
Pellet stoves require maintenance, but less maintenance than a wood burning stove. They should be inspected regularly. The hopper must be filled and the ashtray should be emptied on a weekly basis.
Additionally, the stove should have a yearly check-up to ensure that the doors, gaskets, electric connections and seals on the stove are in good condition. The chimney should also be checked for creosote, rust and corrosion.
Pellet stove efficiency ratings are published by the manufacturers. The efficiency ratings combine electrical efficiency, combustion efficiency (which is a measure of the heat produced while burning), and heat transfer efficiency. Efficiencies can range from 78% to 80%. More efficient stoves lose less heat up the chimney and deliver more heat into the home.
For more information on pellet stoves, contact The Woodstove Fireplace & Patio Shop.