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In order to meet your household warmth needs, you should get out of the ordinary by exploring the best pellet stove heating alternative. Unlike other wood combustion appliances, these stoves offer an easy and comfortable way to warm up your space. They burn compressed wood, corn, grass or any other biomass materials to emit heat hence a sustainable way to warm up your space. To store these pellets within the stove, the hopper is an important feature. Thus, with a big hopper capacity, you will only need to load the appliance with pellets at full capacity for the day and enjoy the warmth. These stoves occupy a smaller space and are energy efficient compared to the traditional models.
Types of pellet stoves and how to buy them
The pellet stoves exist in two major types: the top-feed and the bottom-feed stoves. This classification has its basis in the pellet feeding system the stove has. In both cases, the systems are automatic.
Top-feed system stoves: these stoves feature augers inclined at an angle. The augers feed the pellets into the combustion chamber from the hopper through the top or side. This angle is useful as it reduces the possibility of a burn backfires. The disadvantage of this system based stove is their inability to force ash away from the firebox grate. Thus, in these stoves, dust and ash may accumulate and form clinkers, harboring the air flow. To solve this problem, manufacturers, therefore, recommend the use of high grade but low ash pellets.
The bottom-fed system stoves: these stoves feature a horizontal auger that moves the pellet fuel horizontally into the combustion chamber. Thus, in this case, there is no accumulation of ash and clinkers. Purchasing stoves with this system, therefore, will not force you to use the high quality, low-ash pellets.
When it comes to purchasing any of the above stoves, factor in the following:
The stove’s purpose: This implies how you are going to use the stove. That is, are you going to use it for a single room or all the rooms in your small home?
The stove’s positioning: since the stove’s purpose is warming up your space, placing it in an ideal location will enhance heat circulation in the room. Also, make sure that this location is free of any obstructions like furniture.
Your preference: this will depend on how warm you want your space. If you’re going to heat your room faster, consider the fast heating pellet stoves. Remember, preference is personal and will vary between users hence if you live with other people in your home, a pellet stove with temperature controls will be ideal to ensure everyone is comfortable.
Special features to consider when buying pellet stoves
Purchasing the best rated pellet stove means more than walking into a dealer’s shop and picking one of those on display. Before purchase, analyze the stove features and narrow down on the special features which directly influence performance. These features include:
Type of pellet: Before buying your stove, ensure you have sustainable access to the fuel you choose to power it. These pellets include wood, grass and corn. Their usability in a compressed state implies the need to stock them in large volumes. Wood pellets are the most popular type and are available in the standard and premium grades. Standard grades are cheaper compared to the premium type. The premium pellets feature high quality and longer burning time. The corn and grass pellets, on the other hand, are limited in some localities. Whichever pellets you pick, ensure it matches your stove.
Maintenance: Besides being heating equipment, pellet stoves feature moving parts necessitating high maintenance levels for longer life. To ensure a longer lifespan, therefore, considering professional servicing of your stove is ideal. Also, on a weekly basis, clean your stove by removing the soot to prevent pile-ups which are difficult to clean in the long run. Alternatively, you can consider buying stoves with self-cleaning glass to reduce the number of times you clean the stove. While performing maintenance practices on your stove, it is vital to refer to your manufacturer’s manual to ensure you factor in all the necessary precautions depending on your stove brand.
Heat output and efficiency: The heat output of pellet stoves is in terms of a BTU rating. This rating features both the output and input. A single British Thermal Units (BTU) indicates the amount of heat output required to increase a one pound water temperature by one degree Fahrenheit. The BTU input indicates the maximum fuel the stove consumes in an hour while the BTU output shows how much heat the stove can release to warm the house. Thus, the ratio of input to output BTU gives the heat efficiency of the stove. The more efficient your stove is, the more cost effective it will be to run. As a range, consider stoves with a heat output between 10,000 and 40,000 as any value below this is inefficient.
Stove design and quality: Pellet stove designs include the polished, sleek finish or mirrored designs. Thus, if you want to match your home design with the stove, you have a wide range to pick from. Moreover, if you select the above designs with large sizes and heavy duty components, you should consider paying more for the quality. Also of importance in your purchase decision is purchasing models with outstanding physical features to retain the elegance in your home. For instance, consider stoves with bigger viewing windows to make the flame observation livelier and fun to watch. The outer casing of your stove should also be qualified with an attractive color to add your home’s aesthetic value.
Backup power: In order to run their motor, the stove requires electricity. In the event of an electricity blackout, your stove will not perform. Hence as a smart buyer, consider models with a backup battery to ensure consistent warmth in the event of a power shortage. Where power outages are common, a gas-powered generator will be a more efficient backup for your stove.
Safety: Unlike the wood stoves which easily catch fire, pellet stoves safety is top notch. However, if you have children or pets whose movement is difficult to control, secure the stove to prevent them from physical contact burns which can be severe.
Stove placement: Under this category, there exist the freestanding units and fireplace inserts. The freestanding units heat a single room but this heat can only spread out to the other rooms if you fan it. Fireplace inserts, on the other hand, fit into the designated fireplaces in a room hence ideal if you already have this fitting. However, as a safety measure, consider hiring a professional installer to inspect your fireplace for suitability rather than blindly placing the stove.
Ignition: Pellet appliances feature two ignition options: the manual and automatic options. The manual option requires the use of a starter material similar to lighting firewood. These models are now outdated. Automatic ignitions feature start buttons such that when you push the stove’s button, the pellets enter the burn pots and light up, warming the house.
Cost: Pellet heating appliances have price ranges between $1600 and $3400 in most dealer shops. This cost is exclusive of their installation. Therefore, while considering the purchase, incorporating these costs together with installation will be an effective purchase strategy to ensure you not only bring your stove home but also start using it. Where the costs are relatively high, quality is a guarantee. This, however, does not mean that you should rush for any expensive stove you see. Thus, before lamenting in the high stove costs, first assess its special features against what you have budgeted for.
Choosing the best pellet stove to match your lifestyle
The best rated pellet stoves: If you are constantly worried about the cold winter seasons, then end your worries by purchasing the Pleasant Hearth PH50CABPS Cabinet Style 50000 BTU’s Stove. This stove features a high heating efficiency with a capability to heat up to 2200 feet.
The Pleasant Hearth stove is rated the best for its energy efficiency features. The stove features five heat settings that enable you to change your settings with the auto temperature ignition in mind. The heat output is 50000BTU. Featuring a large hopper with a 120-pound capacity, this stove uses the premium pellets to release the heat output. The large capacity combined with a burning time of 72 hours thus saves you from the hustles of loading the pellets every time. Besides being efficient in operation, this stove is easy to maintain and clean. If you are a beginner also, this stove, featuring a minimum and maximum heating features with an automated ignition system, that is ideal for you to control especially in the event where power goes off.
The best pellet stove to use in large rooms: If your space is large, then consider the Comfortbilt Stove. This stove features a high heating efficiency of 50,000 BTU that warms up your space faster. This feature coupled with a big hopper capacity of 55 pounds saves you on the need to load up the stove constantly. The stove embraces a radiant material in its design, adding to the elegance in your room. The burning area has a transparent ceramic cover that gives you a beautiful view of the burning flames.
High-quality stove: if you are looking for a stove made with high-quality elements, then the Comfortbilt stove is an ideal selection. Besides the good performance, this stove features a warranty period of 12 months that guarantees quality. Upon purchase, you will also gain access to free technical assistance. To ensure ease of usage, the stove has a programmable thermostat and an auto-ignition feature that shuts off power when the room is too warm. The thermostat regulates heat dispersion either up or down.
Convenience: If you are looking for a stove that will serve you, then consider Comfortbilt. To ensure control over the temperatures, this stove features a built-in fan that disperses the heat evenly to other rooms. Comfortbilt stove offers a fast cleaning and maintenance options due to its easy to remove ash holding pan that allows easy emptying of any accumulated ash.
Flexible heating: while you may not always be available to set your stove to heat your space, buying the Castle 12327 pellet stove will solve your problem. Featuring the Smart Controller Feature, this heater offers flexible heating schedules. With this feature, it is possible to switch between the thermostat, manual and weekly operational modes depending on your presence in the house. The heater also incorporates calendar and time-based options allowing you to adjust settings in any one of the five barn levels.
The castle also features an attractive design. Its shape is attractive and space saving and conveniently fits in your room adding aesthetic value. The stove features a simple design that is whose maintenance is easy. This design lacks the hidden chambers, tubes and grooves which are difficult to access during cleaning. When it comes to heating efficiency, this heater is efficient, operating at 77watts and 120volts.The heat it emits is enough to warm up a 1500 feet room space.
Easy installation: Unlike other stove models, the Castle serenity stove is easy to assemble especially for the DIY homeowners. Featuring a compact design, this stove can fit in any space within your room. Being EPA certified and mobile home approved, the heater is also safe for you to operate.
Among the technical features to consider when making your stove purchase include:
Thermostat: stoves with thermostats are useful to ensure the control of power supply to the stove. Most of these stoves thermostats are adjustable and come together with a built-in fan to enhance heat distribution.
Safety: Before purchasing your stove, check for safety features such as the thermal overload protection, safety shut off, heat shields and whether the product is ETL listed.
Heating coverage: To ensure heating efficiency, go for stoves whose warmth can adequately cover your space.
Burning time: This refers to the time taken for the pellets to burn in the hopper. In this case, your hopper capacity is also an important factor to consider. A bigger hopper capacity will hold more pellets which can sustain the burning time. Depending on your stove quality and model, the burning time can be as low as 12 hours and last up to 72 hours in either the low or high settings before you can replenish the pellets.
Wattage: check for the operating, ignition and starting wattages to determine how efficient your stove is.
FAQs About Pellet Stoves
- How much savings can I accumulate by using the pellet stoves?
Pellet stoves, unlike the wood stoves, are energy efficient, saving you up to 65% utility bills. Thus, within approximately two years, you will be able to recover the costs you incurred in the initial purchase.
- What is the average lifespan of the top pellet stoves?
If well maintained, top pellet stoves can last a lifetime. Additionally, if your stove has a solid iron make hence rust free, proper maintenance is all you need for the heater to serve you as long as you want.
- Do I need electricity to operate my stove?
Pellet appliances features including the combustion blower and screw motor require electricity to operate. Thus without a backup in the event of power outage, it is impossible to operate.
- How does the quality of my pellets impact my stove performance?
The quality of the pellets you select for your stove will affect the ignition procedure. Damp pellets, for instance, will delay the ignition. On the other hand, low-quality pellets tend to have more ash content resulting in the formation of crusts that harbor air flow resulting in incomplete combustions and a drop in the overall stove performance.
- Can I use other fuel types on my pellet stoves?
No. pellet stoves are specifically designed to burn pellets and not any other fuel.
- Where should I place my stove?
Just like other room heater options, place the stove in a location that allows wide coverage and dispersion of heat. This location should also be free from obstacles and well ventilated to support the free flow of air into the system for complete combustion.
- Why is my stove’s flame sooty?
A sooty flame on this stove is indicative of incomplete combustion. This happens where air does not move freely into the stove because of too much ash or clinkering. To fix this problem, remove the bur pot from the stove and scrape off the clinkers. Clear the stove’s inlets and outlets to ensure proper ventilation.
- Which stove suits my home?
In order to settle for the best stove for your home, consult your dealer for the ideal size as well as functionality depending on your home’s ventilation and insulation.
In conclusion, pellet stoves offer the most sustainable heating option. With their advanced feature, you will be able to save your money by cutting down your utility bills. Thus if you are not sure of your purchase even after going through this guide, consider the services of your dealer.