Pellet Stoves: The Rundown Pt2
Installation and Operation of Pellet Stoves
A pellet stove employs advanced technology, utilizes a specific and unique type of fuel, and is an excellent option for home heating. To use a pellet stove for maximum benefit and safety, however, proper installation and operation are essential. Successful installation and operation of pellet stoves begins with choosing the right stove for your needs.
Pellet Stove Installation
The only mistake that might be made, as far as choosing a pellet stove for your home, is to buy one that is too large for the space being heated. Because of the amount of heat they generate, pellet stoves can be the sole heat source for many homes. Fuel and money are wasted when a pellet stove is too large because, even on a low setting, it will burn too hot. The capacity of a pellet stove to heat a home is not otherwise determined by the physical size of the stove. In other words, a small pellet stove can heat a large home; but it will run out of fuel more quickly.
We recommend seeking assistance from our professionals when buying a pellet stove, not only to choose the right size but also for advice on where to place the stove. Proper placement helps to ensure that the heat generated by the pellet stove will be able to circulate well throughout the space to be heated. Of course, you may plan to install the appliance where your chimney is. If there is an option of locations, our experienced professionals can help with that and all other aspects of proper installation.
For safety reasons, there needs to be adequate floor protection under the stove. In addition, the stove needs to be placed an adequate distance from nearby combustible materials, such as the walls.
Another consideration, as far as placement of a pellet stove, is that electricity from a 110-volt AC electrical outlet is required for its operation. (In the event of a blackout, a back-up generator or battery pack can work.) Very little electricity is needed for the pellet stoves, but it is necessary. The electricity powers fans, which, by the way, create low-level noise.
Operation of a Pellet Stove
Wood pellets are the only type of fuel that can be used in a wood-burning pellet stove. Pellets are made with wood waste, such as sawdust. Uniformly shaped into about 1-inch pellets that look like rabbit food, the unique fuel is very highly compressed. The pellets are also uniform in their density, energy content, and very low moisture content. The pellets are fed into the stove by way of a hopper that leads into the burn pot. Some hoppers use motorized augers to move the pellets into the burn pot and others feed fuel into the burn pot with the force of gravity.
The larger the hopper you have, the longer your pellet stove can burn continuously with virtually no need for further attention of any kind. The speed at which the pellets are delivered into the burn pot, when an auger is used, depends upon the setting on the stove’s thermostat.
The stove’s combustion chamber is the burn pot. Air and fuel mix in the burning process. The pellets, because of their high density and low moisture, create hotter fires than logs. Many styles of pellet stoves allow a view of the fire; but the extremely intense fires, which are partly fueled by air blowing on them, don’t much resemble the flames people enjoy watching in traditional fireplaces.
As the pellets burn, the small amount of ash that is created falls into an ash pot, which should be cleaned periodically.
Pellet stoves use a convection blower, which does the following:
- Pulls cool air from the room into the burn pot, causing flames to burn hotter and pellets to burn uniformly and efficiently.
- The heated air inside the stove travels across the heat exchanger, which moves clean, heated air into your home by way of the room blower. The heat exchanger is located in the combustion chamber and is comparable to a furnace. It also prevents the stove itself from becoming too hot.
- An exhaust blower is used, which works in a way similar to a chimney. The blower pushes combustion gases from the fire out through a narrow pipe at the back of the stove. The pipe is then vented either through an opening in the outside wall or through a chimney.
Some top-of-the-line pellet stoves have been deemed by the EPA to be smokeless appliances, because of their incredibly efficient operation. Contact our professionals for help choosing a pellet stove and for proper installation, which will make proper operation possible.