Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Efficient Pellet Heating

Traditional pellet stoves can look like a charming Franklin stove, but rather than burning wood they burn compact pellets. Pellet fuel can be made of wood chips, nutshells or corn kernels, offering a sustainable heat source. According to the EPA these pellets are the cleanest burning solid fuel technology.

The heat output for a pellet stove is determined by the rate of feeding pellets in from a fuel hopper.  Newer models can be controlled through a small computerized unit. The mechanical aspect consumes roughly $9 worth of electricity each month, based on typical utility rates. Pellets cost $180 to $240 per ton (they are sold in 40 lb. bags). Most households use 2 to 3 tons annually.

Installation for pellet stoves is less expensive than a fireplace. This is because they do not require a chimney to function. All that is needed is a simple vent. The exterior surface of the stove should remain cool, except for the glass door.

Pellet stoves require weekly cleaning, which can be a drawback for those who do not wish to adopt another household chore. Care must be taken to purchase appropriate pellets so that the ash output level of the pellet is compatible with the capability of the stove to handle the ash produced. Another concern is that they do tend to have complicated parts that are expensive to replace if they break, so attention to regular maintenance is important.

Pellet fuel technology is now available for operating traditional furnace and boiler systems. Although it may be less convenient than natural gas or fuel oil due to the volume taken by pellet storage, homeowners may save 40 to 60% on heating costs. Many specific questions about making the best heat stove selection can be found at The Alliance for Green Heat.

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