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Wood Pellet Stoves - The future is heating up

By: Richard Banks

If you are tired of hauling and splitting loads of cordwood, storing it and then carrying it again into the home, but still desire the ambience and radiance of a wood burning stove, then it may be time to check out the benefits of a wood pellet stove. Although on a direct cost comparison basis, the pellet fuel works out more expensive, it does come ready to use, and the wood pellet stove takes considerably less effort to operate and clean.


Using pellets of compressed sawdust, that provide obvious benefits for the home and environment, woodburning pellet stoves come in a wide variety of styles,both traditional and modern, as well as size, finish and heating output. More clean burning than traditional stoves, some wood pellet stoves are equipped with fans and thermostats for distributing the heat output more evenly within the room. As a rule of thumb most wood pellet stoves store about three days fuel, and require on average cleaning once a month; a simple job of just emptying an ashtray. Whilst freestanding wood pellet stoves offer greater design positioning flexibility, fireplace insert models are available as well as wood pellet furnaces that can be installed in basements or outhouses to heat the whole house. Depending on the manufacturer such as St.Croix stoves or Lancaster pellet stoves, these appliances can provide a heat output of anywhere between 10000 and 50000 BTU per hour.


As noted earlier, wood pellet stoves come in a wide variety of styles, sizes and finishes, but the first important decision when making a choice is the basic configuration of the stove. Freestanding pellet stoves offer the greatest flexibility in installation choice. Supported by a pedestal or on legs, freestanding pellet stoves are designed to be installed in almost any living area of the home, but they must be installed on a non-combustible floor protector. An added advantage is that wood pellet stoves can be installed much nearer to combustible surfaces than is required by more traditional heating stoves.


Wood pellet stoves that are designed to be fireplace inserts can be readily installed into existing fireplaces and decorative panels are available to cover the space between the fireplace insert and the fireplace opening. Some wood pellet fireplace inserts are approved only for use in masonry fireplaces, whilst others can also be installed in approved factory built metal fireplaces. Built-in wood pellet stoves are an economical choice that offers homes without an existing fireplace, the look of an insert in a fireplace setting. Non-combustible materials such as brick can be applied to the area around the front of the wood pellet stove to give the appearance of a fireplace. Once again a non-combustible floor protector is required, sometimes with additional spacers to provide an air space under the unit. Pellet furnaces are larger appliances designed to heat an entire house through ductwork. They are usually installed in a basement or outhouse and like all wood pellet stoves require efficient venting to the outside through an approved vent or flue.
As with all types of heating stoves, it is important when installing wood pellet stoves to ensure that they have an efficient means of expelling the waste gases and smoke, usually a chimney or compatible flue. It is advisable to seek advice from a certified dealer/installer who will advise and if required supply and install a suitable venting system. Indeed most suppliers of wood pellet stoves offer a complete installation service.

Richard Banks is a contractor with many years experience in home remodelling and improvements. For more information on fireplaces visit Fireplace Capital


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