Easy to start and operate. Uses natural draft that will ramp the stove up to temperature. Window lets you see the flame. Uses no electricity. Also approved for mobile home use.
Needs a propane torch to light it.
Besides being easy to clean, this affordable model is programmable, which means you can be in full control of how much heat you get and when you get it. This feature allows you to save on energy costs at times when heat may not be needed.
The unit may need to be filled up to twice per day when it is continually running.
It can heat up to 800 to 1,200 square feet of space and has an 18-pound hopper. There’s a digital control panel and a remote. The blower is whisper quiet.
Some purchasers were uncertain of the electronics’ reliability, but a 1-year warranty covers them.
The hopper is top-mounted and when full can let the stove burn for up to 35 hours continuously. The thermostat can be set between 61 and 82 degrees. It has 1-touch ignition.
It’s huge and expensive. Some had issues with the combustion blower.
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A pellet stove is an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly way to heat your home. Rather than burning logs of wood, these compact stoves produce heat by burning pellets of recycled materials, which burn more efficiently and produce fewer particles than wood.
Pellet stoves may be freestanding models or inserts, which vary in their price, installation, and design. They may also be electric, with an electricity-powered auger to feed pellets into the furnace and a blower to disperse heat. The size and output of pellet stoves will vary, so it’s important to find the right stove for the size of your home and the area you need to heat. Though it’s easy to keep a pellet stove running with no need to chop wood, pellet stoves require a fair amount of maintenance due to their complex inner workings.
A pellet stove is a major investment, so you should have a clear idea of your needs and wants before you buy. To learn more about the types of pellet stoves available, continue reading our shopping guide. If you’re ready to buy, consider one of our recommended models.
Pros: Pellet stoves have grown in popularity for their ease of use, energy efficiency, and environmentally friendly design. The pellets are made of compressed materials, such as sawdust, wheat bran, and corn stalks. These materials are dried out during the compression process, resulting in dense pellets with little moisture. By comparison, firewood contains significantly more moisture even when properly seasoned, resulting in a less efficient burn that produces far more particulates per hour.
Cons: However, there are cons to pellet stoves. First, you have the difficulty of installation, which may require a professional. Then you have the ongoing cost of bags of pellets and the difficulty of storing them. While the bags themselves are not expensive, you will need to buy them regularly if you plan to keep your pellet stove running, and you will need to either keep them in their plastic bags or find a suitable container that is devoid of moisture.
Pellet stoves are zone heaters — they warm the air in one area but do not circulate air. For this reason, they should be paired with another central heating system.
When shopping for a pellet stove for your home, you should consider the space you intend to heat (as a pellet stove likely cannot heat your entire home) and where you plan to install the stove.
The output of pellet stoves (and other heating devices) is measured in British Thermal Units or BTUs. Pellet stoves usually provide between 8,000 and 80,000 BTUs, which is a similar range to wood-stoves — however, wood-stoves require more fuel to burn efficiently.
For every 100 square feet, you need around 3,000 BTUs to provide sufficient heat.
A freestanding pellet stove sits away from the wall and can be located anywhere in your home where it has access to ventilation just like a wood-stove. These models have a larger hopper, allowing them to burn for longer without requiring more pellets. In addition, installation is easier and more flexible.
Most pellet stoves require electricity to operate two internal motors:
The auger is the part of the stove that pushes pellets into the burn pot, which is the area where the pellets are ignited and burned. Depending on how you have adjusted your heat settings, the auger will periodically load pellets into the pot or stop loading.
The blower uses a fan to push heated air into your home to provide heat more efficiently.
Note that there are also a few nonelectric models, which use gravity to feed pellets into the pot and tubing to heat your home.
You may not think it matters much where the pellets are put into your stove, but the location of the feeder can affect the efficiency and safety of your stove.
Top-fed stoves are highly efficient and unlikely to ignite due to their design. However, the burn pot may become clogged with ash.
Due to their various safety precautions, pellet stoves are incredibly safe. However, their safety features may vary:
A backup battery can keep essential motors running in the event of a loss of power. This battery charges continually while the stove is plugged in and is used if the stove loses power.
Many stoves have an automatic shut-off that kicks in when triggering events occur, such as the burn pot reaching a certain temperature or the front door being opened.
A thermostat allows you to set a specific temperature at which point the stove will stop feeding pellets to the burn pot. This allows you to let your stove run without frequent monitoring.
Inexpensive: Pellet stoves for $1,000 to $1,500 are usually more compact and have lower heat outputs. They may be freestanding designs or inserts. At this price, additional features like thermostats and automatic ignitions may not be present. These stoves are best suited to smaller spaces.
Mid-range: Stoves for $1,500 to $2,250 tend to have higher BTU outputs and may have additional features like backup batteries and larger hoppers.
Expensive: For $2,250 to $3,000, you’ll find larger pellet stoves that have high heat outputs and larger hoppers that require less frequent refilling. These typically have excellent safety features as well as automated features.
Installing, maintaining, and operating a pellet stove can be a complicated business, but we have a few tips to help you along:
Installing your pellet stove in a room with a ceiling fan can increase circulation and heating efficiency.
Hiring a professional to install your stove is the safest and best way to ensure that it operates properly.
When considering costs, don’t forget to take installation and pellets into consideration. Don’t forget the cost of installing a vent as well.
Consider purchasing an ash vacuum to thoroughly clean out any debris and ash from your stove.
Clean out the ashtray as regularly as the manufacturer recommends, and vacuum parts, like the tray and fan, as well to keep your stove operating smoothly.
If you opt for a manually ignited stove, you will need a proper starter material — another additional cost.
Clinkers are chunks of hardened ash. These can interrupt airflow and cause your stove to burn inefficiently. As a result, they should be removed during maintenance.
Q. Can a pellet stove be connected to a forced air system?
A. It is possible but challenging. Some pellet stoves may be specially designed to connect to forced air systems, but these are uncommon.
Q. Do you need a chimney to have a pellet stove?
A. No. Unlike fireplaces, pellet stoves use venting systems that can be installed to output exhaust through a wall.
Q. Do I need a permit of any kind before installing a pellet stove?
A. This depends on where you live. Many U.S. states require building permits before you can install a pellet stove.
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