Authored by Sandy Rothra in Home Improvement
Published on 01-14-2010
Pellet stoves burn small pellets made of compacted corn waste, wood chips or sawdust. Because of their heating efficiency, they contribute very little to air pollution. The pellets are more convenient and cleaner to handle than wood. Heating your home with a pellet stove is much cheaper than heating with oil. Consequently, many people are turning to pellet stoves for supplemental heat.
Pellet Stoves – Pros
Pellet stoves are safer than normal wood stoves. Thermostatically controlled pellet stoves give a steady even heat in all types of weather. Because the fire and heat are electronically controlled, there is no danger to children or items inadvertently placed nearby. There is also less chance of chimney fire than with wood.
Pellets usually are purchased in 40 lb bags that are easy to handle and store. The pellets are not dirty or dusty. After burning, the few ashes can be cleaned out easily. Although pellet stoves require power, most have battery back-ups for use in power failures. Pellet stoves qualify for a tax credit until the end of 2010. Pellet stoves burn more cleanly than any other wood heating appliance. Because they burn cleanly, they usually do not create a problem for people with breathing problems. You can purchase them in sizes adequate for heating large homes or small apartments.
Pellet Stoves – Cons
Pellet stoves can be expensive to purchase and install, even with a tax credit. A stove must be vented to the outside. Although not as expensive as constructing a chimney, the venting cost must be considered. When considering operating costs, you must also take into account the cost of the electricity needed to operate the stove, as well as the cost of the pellets. Because the fans operate with electricity, your choice is to lose heat if you lose power, or provide back-up batteries.
The fans and moving parts require some maintenance and may be loud when operating. These moving parts may, on occasion, need repair or replacement. This may be inconvenient and expensive. Pellet stoves provide the best heat in the room where they are located. Other rooms in the house may become uncomfortably cool. The 40 lb bags of pellets may be too heavy for some people to handle. This can create a problem for some.
Pellet stoves can cause a problem for one who has severe respiratory problems. They also require constant attention. They must be loaded, ignited, watched and cleaned to keep them operating efficiently. Occasionally, pellets may not be available or may be difficult to find.
Clean burning pellet stoves appeal to those concerned about the environment. However, trucking pellets across the country takes energy and energy creates the pressure to compact them into shape. They are expensive to install but cheaper than oil to use. They provide the same ambiance as a wood stove, although neither is as pleasant to watch as a fireplace. You must consider your own circumstances before deciding on a pellet stove.
Buyer’s Guide to Pellet and Wood-burning Stoves