How to pick the right pellet stove

After reading our previous article, many homeowners find themselves choosing to install pellet stoves.  There are many kinds of fireplace installations that you can choose for your home. A pellet stove is one of the most popular types in Howard County.  People see pellet stoves as an economical and environmentally friendly way to heat their home. Now that you have decided to make this upgrade choosing the best pellet stove requires some thought. Here are some options that will help you know how to pick the right pellet stove.

Top Feed or Bottom Feed?

One of the first considerations is the way the pellet stove loads its fuel for burning. The two main types of loading are top feed and bottom feed. Both have lots of moving parts, and you need to keep an eye on maintenance. Many pellet stove owners appreciate a service contract that alleviates the hassle.
  • Top Feed stoves are loaded by pouring the pellets into a hopper that uses a chute to drop the pellets into the stove. This keeps debris in the combustion chamber. Utilizing a premium grade of pellet with low ash content will lower the amount of ash and clinkers that will need to be cleaned.
  • Bottom Feed stoves are slightly less efficient than top feed models, but they can use a standard grade of pellet made from a wider variety of materials producing more debris. The design pushes the ash and clinkers into the ash pan for cleaning.
When choosing a pellet stove, it is important to consider the purchase price and the cost of ongoing use.  For example, A multi-fuel pellet stove tends to have a higher purchase price.  However, they are less expensive to operate because you are not limited to a single type or grade of fuel. Since the various pellet types burn differently, a stove that can handle the variations gives you flexibility in the future.

Freestanding or Insert?

The location of your pellet stove and the way you plan to use it affect your choice of model. Keep the requirements for venting in mind when looking at options.
  • Freestanding units will radiate heat from all sides. This makes the room they are in warm quickly. They are an excellent choice for large, open areas. You might be able to move the warm air into other parts of the house with a fan.
  • Fireplace inserts can use the existing chimney as the venting system for the stove if it is allowed by local code. This usually means an approved chimney liner or vent is installed in the fireplace according to professional standards. An insert can also be placed into a wall or corner. Vents and fans can blow warm air into the room.
  • Pellet-fueled furnaces and boilers can supplement or take the place of your conventional heating system.

Other Factors To Consider

Since different models of pellet stove put out different levels of heat, your specific requirements need to be discussed with the dealer/installer to make sure your expectations will be met.
  • A general rule of thumb is to figure that every 100 square feet will take 2,500 BTU from your stove to heat, but your space could be different, and a professional will know the right option. A robust model that has to run on its lowest setting all the time will not be as efficient as a less-powerful model that can heat the same space.
  • Lots of windows, cathedral ceilings, and poor insulation can make it hard to retain heat so a higher BTU-range stove can compensate.
  •  Try to see the model in use so you can assess the noise level from a fan, for instance, or the way it must be loaded and cleaned. Think through what using this stove will be like in your home.
  • If seeing the flames is essential to you, choose a model that displays the fire inside with an attractive window. Ceramic logs add to the ambiance of this feature.
  • Look for the EPA Certified stamp on your insert. This isn’t required, but it shows that the stove will burn more efficiently, have higher heat output, and less creosote buildup.
Upgrading your home with a pellet stove will increase your home’s value. If you have chosen the right stove, you will enjoy the warmth and coziness of a pellet stove in your home for years. Want to know the basics of pellet stoves?  Read this article.   

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