Wood Pellet Stoves

The Pros and Cons of Wood Pellet Stoves

By Mark J. Donovan

A wood pellet stove is an alternative heat system to the direct vent gas stove or traditional wood stove. Wood pellet stoves look very similar to both direct vent gas stoves and wood stoves however they burn different fuel and in general are more complicated.

Wood pellet stoves were invented in the 1980s, however their popularity has somewhat waned in recent years and they are not allowed to be used in manufactured homes.

A wood pellet stove burns saw dust or wood shavings that have been compressed into small wood pellets.

The wood pellets are automatically fed into the wood pellet stove through an electrically controlled auger system. Due to the fact that they require 110V to operate, a wood pellet stove is not necessarily the supplemental heat system of choice if you are concerned about a loss of electricity and your main home heating system.

Wood pellet stoves heat output capacity is measured in BTUs, as all other heat delivery systems are. Wood pellet stoves are available in a wide variety of BTU output levels, varying from 10-80K BTUs. Wood pellet stove prices typically range around $1,500 to $2,000 and they are available in top-fed and bottom-fed models, each with their own unique pros and cons. There are also two main styles of pellet stoves, free standing ones and fireplace insert ones. They are also available with a variety of options including remote thermostat control.

Compared to traditional wood stoves, wood pellet stoves are extremely efficient and produce little smoke and ash.

Therefore they do not require as big a chimney to expel the smoke and ash. In addition, they produce relatively little ash that needs to be cleaned out of the ash pan. That said, they should be cleaned fairly often to make sure the mechanical parts do not get jammed.

Due to the number of moving parts and complexity of wood pellet stoves they are prone to frequent maintenance issues and regular care. When buying one it’s often wise to sign up for a regular maintenance schedule.

Wood pellet stoves also tend to be a bit messy, at least around the hearth area. Similar to dried dog or cat food lying around a pet’s dish, so do pellets end up spilling and lying around wood pellet stoves.

From a cost of operation standpoint it is debatable about a wood pellet stove’s true energy cost savings. If you were to plan to heat your entire home on a wood pellet stove you could possibly need several tons of wood pellets for the year. Besides the actual cost of the wood pellets you also need to factor in the cost of delivery. Then there are the maintenance costs associated with a wood pellet stove that need to be taken into account.

In the end, the only way to assess if a wood pellet stove will truly provide more cost effective heating of your home is to compare your current actual oil, gas or electric heating costs with the expected costs of a pellet stove.

In addition, you need to factor in the storage of the wood pellets, particularly when you are buying it by the ton. Often a large bin needs to be constructed in a garage or basement to store them.

So before running out and buying a wood pellet stove its best to first do your math homework and carefully consider all the other non-financial aspects of owing one prior to taking the plunge.

For information on Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers, see the Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers eBook from HomeAdditionPlus.com. The Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to restore Baseboard Heating Element Covers so that they look new again. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

For information on how to maximize a wood stove’s heating efficiency, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Installation of Hood over Wood Stove eBook

Related Information

Additional Heating and Cooling Resources from Amazon.com

Free Heating and Cooling Price Quotes with No Obligation!

Fill out our 3-5 minute quick and easy form, and receive a free price quote on heating & cooling from one of our pre-screened and licensed HVAC contractors. This process is free and there is no obligation to continue once you receive your heating & cooling price estimate.