Pellet stoves are gaining popularity because they offer the same heat output at a lower cost than natural gas or oil powered heaters. With such high energy efficiency, some home owners have opted to convert their primary heating system at home to wood pellet stoves. Others use this as an alternative or secondary source of heat as self standing stoves or inserts into their fireplaces. It is estimated that the average monthly heating bill will increase up to 30% every winter if a conventional heating system is used. This spiraling increase in heating bill costs can be dramatically lowered by using a pellet stove.
Related Articles on Pellet Stoves:
Pellet Stove Prices - Learn what the expenses involved with purchasing, installing, running and maintaining a pellet stove are.
Understanding Pellet Stoves - Learn a bit more about how feeders/augers work and can simplify your setup.
Pellets for your Stove - Learn how and why fuel pellets can save you money and provide a more comfortable winter heat.
Top-Fed or Bottom-Fed Stove
The two types of pellet stoves are the top-feeder and the bottom feeder. Each type of pellet stove has its advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of if you are considering purchasing a pellet stove for the first time.
The top-fed stove is often preferred because of its easy to use features. Home owners can easily feed the stove with pellets without getting burned since the heat will be contained at the bottom. The main disadvantage of the top-fed pellet stove is that the feeder area can become clogged. The ashes can accumulate and easily store on top of the stove and this is a major cause of clogging. Using premium fuel pellets that produce less ash and clinkers, along with regular cleaning this problem can be avoided.
The bottom fed stove requires placing the pellets directly into the fire area, but maintenance of bottom-fed stove is less because the ash falls directly into the ash tray area. You should be able to use it for months without maintenance. The ashes can be easily removed from the ash tray. Bottom feeders do not require premium because of the fact that the ash and clinkers are pushed directly into the ash tray.
Maintenance for Pellet Stoves
One of the many reasons why consumers are thinking twice before purchasing new pellet stoves is the maintenance required by this equipment. Pellet stoves ash should be cleaned out every month. The top-fed pellet stoves need weekly cleanups to ensure that it is in good condition consistently and please use premium fuel pellets.
Aside from constant cleaning, it is also recommended to do a continuous check up of the electrical and motor parts of your pellet stove. Servicing may be required for your pellet stove and you may not know it if you don't constantly check them. That is why it is highly recommended to purchase a pellet stove with an extended service warranty because of the complex moving parts.
Output and Estimate
If you are considering a pellet stove for your primary heat source, have an estimate on how much heat you would need in your house. The heating capacity is measured in BTU or British Thermal Units. Pellet stoves can range from 8,000 BTUs to over 90,000. Your pellet stove retailer should give you a rough estimate on how much heat you need in your home and the corresponding pellet stove you should purchase. You save money on your heating bill using pellet stoves but you must ensure that you select the right pellet stove to accommodate your needs.