If you live in a cold climate and rely on the high cost of propane, heating oil or electricity to heat your home, you are an excellent candidate for a pellet stove. A reduced heating bill is the clincher. Convinces homeowners to install a pellet appliance every time. Simply put pellet stoves are a great alternative to higher priced fuels. I’ll prove it.
To heat a 1500 square foot home with a pellet stove takes 2 and ½ tons of pellets per year. With the cost of wood pellets averaging $250 per ton at an average pellet mill, your heating bill can be reduced to $750 for the year. That is a considerable savings. Homeowners who currently rely on keeping their families warm eight months of the year with a higher priced fuel will be thrilled with a pellet stove.
Pellet stoves can be either free-standing units or fireplace inserts vented into an existing chimney. Over 2500 retailers sell pellet stove and pellet stove appliances with about 23 different brands of pellet stoves on the market today. Two of the biggest brands of pellet stoves are Harmon and Quadra Fire. Over a dozen states have recently passed tax incentives for consumers to purchase an alternative energy appliance such as a pellet stove and to receive a $300-$500 tax credit.
Pellets are not your traditional source of fuel. It is alternative energy. Pellet stoves allow you to burn a wide variety of bio fuels, including wood pellets in various grades, 100% corn (dried and shelled), sunflower seeds, cherry pits and wheat. Which ever source is the most economical in your area you can probably burn in your pellet stove. In fact, you probably can cut that yearly pellet bill down even further.
The pellet hopper holds between 35 and 150 pounds of fuel pellets. Pellets are then automatically and mechanically fed into the pellet stove’s combustion chamber from the hopper during burn time. This pellet feeding action is thermostatically based. The pellet stove “knows” when it’s time to reload its fuel and maintain a constant temperature. Metal heat exchanger tubes inside the pellet stove heat up as pellets burn. A convection blower blows warm air through the tubes and returns heat to the room.
Pellet appliances are about four times more cleanly burning than even some of the cleanest burning wood stoves. Wood stoves are extremely clean burning these days. On average you are getting one gram of particulate emission per hour out of a pellet stove. So, it’s mostly hot air.
Pellet stoves cost between $2,000 and $3,000. Venting and labor might be an additional $1,000. Then in addition you need to buy and store your fuel. Depending on what and where your fuel source is coming from, you can calculate a pay back of two to seven years for a pellet stove.
Whatever brand you choose a pellet stove requires some hands on labor. You have to load the appliance, clean the appliance and manage the ash out of the appliance. Most stoves need to be cleaned daily. In order to clean your pellet stove you need to shut off the thermostat and let it cool down completely. A back up heat source is needed until you have cleaned and refilled your pellet stove. A pellet stove requires some effort. But, for the majority of satisfied homeowners in the freezing winter states of this great country of ours, the reduced price for such reliable warmth makes a pellet stove worth it.