Pellet Stove Installation Requirements
Guidelines to safely install a new wood pellet stove
By Glyn Sheridan
Pellet stoves provide a clean source of heat by burning compressed wood pellets, loaded into an automatic hopper that dispenses the pellets into a combustion chamber. Installing a pellet stove requires attention to location and proper ventilation, as well as the installation of adequate nonflammable materials on the surrounding walls and floor. Your local building authority may have special installation requirements in addition to the basic safety precautions.
Depending on the size and potential heating value of the pellet stove, the manufacturer will recommend a minimum space surrounding the stove in which no combustible material may be present. The installer should meet or exceed the recommended surrounding space requirements. Because most pellet stoves automatically feed the pellets into the combustion chamber of the stove, an electrical outlet must be close by to plug in the automatic features on the stove.
Ventilation is the biggest concern with a pellet stove. The pipes that carry the exhaust gas and ash up and away from the home must sufficiently protect surrounding walls or ceilings from contact heat. Double- or triple-layer stainless steel vent pipe is required. Local building code may also require a layer of clay or masonry pipe where the venting pipe exits the wall or the roof. Venting pipe may run horizontally if the pellet stove is located close to an exterior wall, but vertical venting, which is often more expensive, is necessary if high winds are a consideration. Strong winds may blow exhaust gases back into the home through horizontal venting. An additional exhaust fan may be necessary in high altitudes where the air pressure is not conducive to easy venting, although some pellet stoves come with a powerful exhaust blower that effectively forces exhaust and water vapor through a long expanse of venting pipe. Check the stove's details for additional venting fan requirements. Straight venting ensures quick pipe clean-out. Most pellet stove manufacturers recommend cleaning out the venting at least once a year, often before the heating season, and a straight venting configuration will expedite the process. Vent ducts with angles and elbows may present cleaning difficulty.
Ensure the safe operation of your pellet stove by installing nonflammable flooring around the base of the stove and extending outward at least 3 feet. Although pellet stoves do not usually emit sparks, hot ash may fall out if the door is open. In addition, consider installing an iron or steel grate or barrier around the perimeter of a pellet stove if young children will be in the same room. Pellet stoves may become very hot to the touch during operation. Check with your local building authority in case you need a permit to install a pellet stove.
About the Author
Glyn Sheridan is a regular contributor to DexKnows.
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