Even though we’re making our way into the summer months, it’s never a bad time to think about your heating system–in fact, at That Fireplace Store, we’d argue that right now is the best time to invest in a new one! And we suggest trying out pellet stoves.
Pellet stoves have a whole range of benefits for your home, your wallet, and the environment. Want to know what they’re all about and why they’re worth investing in? We’ll cover everything below, from exactly how they work to the best ones out there for your home.
What is a pellet stove and how does it work?
Okay, so before you can believe that now is the best time to buy a pellet stove, you’ll probably want to know exactly what a pellet stove even is, how it works, and what the benefits are. No worries! Read on to find out.
All about pellets
Despite what the name may lead you to believe, pellet stoves aren’t designed for cooking in the kitchen. A pellet stove is actually a heating appliance that’s meant to keep your house warm during the colder months. They’re a lot like wood stoves, except, while wood stoves burn firewood, pellet stoves burn–you guessed it!–pellets of compressed hardwood.
These tiny pellets are made of compressed sawdust and waste wood. This is one of the reasons choosing a pellet stove is so great for the environment! It’s super sustainable; the production of the pellets saves all of this sawdust and waste wood from being dumped into landfills. The pellets are also carbon-neutral, thanks to the fact that when they’re burned, the stove exhausts a CO2 level that’s similar to the carbon released from decomposing wood on forest floors. Even better, they produce practically no creosote at all, which means they’re super safe and decrease the risk of chimney fires by a landslide. The pellets are generally about a quarter of an inch thick and ¾ inch long, and they most typically come in bags with 40 pounds each. 40 pounds of pellets will provide you about 24 hours of solid heating–so if you’re burning your pellet stove constantly to stay warm in the thick of winter, you’ll go through about a bag of pellets a day.
How pellet stoves work
Pellet stoves have storage hoppers at the top that the pellets are poured into. From there, the pellets will be delivered to the stove’s burn chamber by an electric auger. The stove contains sensors that will then monitor the fuel supply and know when it’s time to drop a new pellet into the chamber. At any given moment, the chamber will contain just enough pellets (a very small amount are needed) to keep a small, hot fire burning and keep your space heated! You can adjust the temperature on the thermostat and the stove will accommodate. The only thing you need to do to keep it working is making sure the hopper contains pellets and refill it as needed!
So how does the air and smoke move in, through, and out of a pellet stove? A combustion blower pulls the air in through a fresh-air vent and sends the smoke and fumes back out of the stove through a stainless-steel exhaust vent. In addition to this combustion blower, a convection blower also works to pull outside air into the stove. Once the air is heated and ready to be released, the convection blower then blows it back into the room through heat-exchange tubes.
Overall, pellet stoves are a great option to heat your home because they burn hot and clean, and they involve minimal maintenance due to the fact that they leave hardly any ash behind at all. You’ll just have to empty the ash pan once a week, no matter how often you use the stove.
What are the pros and cons of pellet stoves?
While we fully believe that pellet stoves are one of the best investments you can make for your home, it would be dishonest to say that they’re completely free of downsides. So we’ll cover the cons first before we move onto the ways in which the pros outweigh them!
For starters, pellet stoves can definitely be less appealing than traditional wood stoves and fireplaces just from an aesthetic standpoint–everyone loves watching the fire in a fireplace. Another issue you may find with pellet stoves is that they can be a bit noisy; the feeder rotating will cause some noise and the fan will make a low, mechanical sound that some could find bothersome. For this reason, you may not want to keep one in a high-traffic area like your living room. But while powerful models tend to be on the noisier side, other units are often built with systems that help to reduce noise and can be an option for anyone who’s concerned about the sound level. Another major factor to keep in mind is that pellet stoves will always require a backup system in case of a power outage–unfortunately, they cannot work without electricity, because of the automatic ignition system, pellet feed, and ventilation, and electronic controls.
While some of these downsides to pellet stoves may be concerns for you, we think you’ll find that the pros of pellet stoves absolutely outweigh the cons! Here are just a few reasons buying a pellet stove is such a great idea:
Pellet stoves benefit the environment
We touched on some of the environmental benefits of using pellet stoves when we went over how they work. As we said, they reuse waste wood, they’re carbon neutral, and they burn super clean. As it turns out, these stoves are seriously great for the environment compared to other kinds!
Pellet stoves are safe
Pellet stoves are some of the safest heating options out there. For one, extremely low creosote levels mean the risk of a house fire due to your pellet stove is minuscule, especially when compared to wood stoves. Plus, today’s pellet stoves come with tons of additional safety features like temperature sensors and vacuum switches to ensure optimal safety.
Pellet stoves are easy to manage and maintain
Like we mentioned before, pellet stoves are generally super easy to maintain, especially thanks to their electric igniters and thermostats. As long as you make sure to consistently fill your stove with pellets and do some cleaning and maintenance on a weekly basis, the upkeep is fairly simple! Some pellet stove models will even allow you to program them and control them with a remote, or even your phone! It’s a modern heating dream!
Pellet stoves are high performing
Did you know that pellet stoves can outperform classic wood fireplaces by up to 50%? That’s right: it turns out that when it comes to quality pellet stoves, their efficiency can exceed 90%, compared to wood fireplaces whose efficiency is only 40 to 50%! And an open fire is no competition at all–that efficiency rate can be as low as 5%.
Pellet stoves are affordable and cost-effective
Generally, a pellet stove will cost you somewhere between $1,700 to $3,000, but they tend to be much cheaper to install than your traditional wood-burning heaters. The fact that they don’t require expensive chimneys or flues can really save you big bucks when it comes to installation–probably around $500-$1000. That means that overall, they’re a cheaper option. Plus, they can save you on your energy bill! That’s because when you use pellet stoves as supplementary heating between seasons, you don’t have to restart your central heating at the beginning of winter, and you can turn it off earlier in the year, too. Plus, there’s a tax credit you’ll want to consider:
Take advantage of the pellet stove tax credit!
Maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, a pellet stove sounds like a good investment–but why do I need to make it right now?” That’s where the tax credit comes in! There’s a federal tax credit that will cover 26% of your pellet stove purchase and installation costs! And the best part is that there’s absolutely no limit. You’ll want to act fast to take advantage of this credit though; the 26% credit will only be an option for the remainder of 2021 and 2022. If you buy a pellet stove in 2023, it will cover 22% of your purchase.
To qualify for this federal tax credit, all you need to do is purchase and install a pellet stove between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2023 in a new or existing home–it doesn’t matter if it’s primary or secondary. So not only will you be saving on energy bills and spending less than you would on a traditional stove; if you act fast, you’ll cut those low costs even lower!
Types of pellet stoves
Now that you know how pellet stoves work and why you should buy one now, maybe you’re interested in finding the best one for your home. There are two main types of pellet stoves out there. Your first option is a freestanding model, but you can also purchase an insert that will fit right into the fireplace you already have in your home. Keep in mind that they’re generally used supplementally, in addition to a primary heating system. However, they can absolutely work to heat your home on their own as well!
Pellet stoves also come in a variety of sizes. Medium-sized ones can pump out anywhere from 40,000 to 50,000 BTUs an hour–that’s enough to keep more than 2000 square feet heated. While that’s the average, medium size, you can also find larger models and smaller ones if you only need to heat a smaller room.
Best pellet stoves to buy
Now that you’re sold on the idea of investing in a pellet stove, it’s time to choose the best one for your home! There are tons of options out there–you can check out just a few that we offer on our website. At That Fireplace Store, we provide the best in the business!
For a pellet stove insert that will provide steady heat for a large room, check out this Enviro M55 Cast Iron Insert. It’ll pack a punch by heating up to 2,5000 square feet. Plus, it’s gorgeous, with cast iron doors.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a free-standing stove, the Enviro MAXX Pellet Stove will get the job done for an even bigger space of 2,7000 square feet! As an added bonus, it has an incredible efficiency of over 77%.
For more high-quality options that pack in the BTUs, take a look at the Napoleon pellet stoves we offer, like the 55 lb hopper that can heat up to 2,000 sq ft at 40,000 BTUs!
And if you’re working with smaller spaces, don’t fret–there are tons of options for you, as well. Enviro, for example, offers a mini standing pellet stove that’s perfect for a space of 1,200 square feet or below.
The Fireplace Store for All Your Fireplace Needs
No matter what you’re looking for in a pellet stove, we have an option that will suit your needs at That Fireplace Store in Delaware.
By now, we know you don’t have to tell you again why pellet stoves are such a great investment, and why they’re an investment you should make as soon as possible. So if you’re ready to take the leap, visit our website at https://thatfireplacestore.com/ or give us a call today at 302-803-8765 to learn how we can help you choose and install the perfect fit for your home!
We’ll be there to help you every step of the way, providing high-quality service and ensuring you reap all the benefits of your new pellet stove.