Comparing Pellet Stoves
Consider how you'll use and fuel your stove
By Sabah Karimi
Pellet stoves are an energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly alternative to wood stoves and fireplaces. When comparing pellet stoves from different manufacturers and brands, consider how you'll use the unit, fuel requirements, budget and maintenance requirements. Whether you're heating your living room or the entire home, a pellet stove can be an affordable investment for your home heating plan.
When comparing pellet stoves, choose from a freestanding wood pellet stove or an insert. Both types of wood pellet stoves work by burning small pellets made of wood, wood byproducts or other recycled biomass. to generate heat from an enclosed unit. Freestanding stoves are portable and are plugged into a wall outlet. Because these stoves are not embedded in a wall, they are relatively easy to clean and maintain. Wood pellet inserts are installed directly into a fireplace and must be cleaned regularly to avoid ash buildup.
When investing in a wood pellet stove, it's important to look for certain features. Smaller, compact styles designed with a double auger feed system are efficient. Some wood pellet stoves are designed with auto-ignite units so it's easy to light the fire. Pellet stoves may be designed with either an on-stove thermostat or a wall-mounted thermostat, so choose one that best fits your available space. A front-loading pellet depository will make it convenient to load pellets into the stove as needed.
Types of Construction
Wood pellet stoves are made with durable heat-sealing materials such as plate steel, cast iron, and stainless steel. Wood pellet stoves can add a decorative touch to the living space, so you may consider different styles and finishes to complement your decor. Choose from cast-iron potbelly stoves for a vintage or antique look, or a sleek and compact stainless-steel model for a more modern look.
Types of Fuel
An important consideration when comparing stoves is the type of pellets they can burn. Some models are designed to run on wood, biomass or corn pellets, while others run solely on one type of pellet. If you want more options in fuel sources, look for a high-quality model that can burn a variety of types of pellets efficiently.
Regardless of the type of pellet you burn, make sure the pellet stove is running at peak efficiency by having it inspected at least once a year by a Chimney Safety Institute of America-certified contractor. The contractor will inspect the chimney, vent system, flueways and the basic features of the pellet stove to make sure it's free of ashes, debris and dirt. When comparing pellet stoves, reviewing manufacturer's care and maintenance instructions will give you an idea of the types of cleaning tools and solutions you may need to invest in to keep the stove running properly.
About the Author
Sabah Karimi is a regular contributor to DexKnows.
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