You can’t beat the sound and feel of a burning wood fire. However, wood as a fuel source is quite bulky to store and also messy to clean its ashes. Wood pellets are a great alternative to wood and can give that natural burning fire feel, without the mess. However, a pellet stove also has some negatives. In this article, we will look at the Pellet Stove Pros and Cons. We will take a closer look at this excellent form of heating to see if it is worth the cost and why it is such a popular option.
Pellet Stove Pros
Ease of use
The majority of modern pellet stoves have a self start igniter, therefore just a press of a button is all that is needed to start your fire. Simply fill up your stove’s hopper with pellets, press the start button, choose your desired temperature and you will have your ideal heat in no time.
Pellets are an environmentally friendly fuel source. They are produced from recycled materials that are dried and compressed to produce a very clean and efficient fuel.
Pellets are a cleaner burning fuel source, compared to fossil fuels. Pellets also produce less emissions compared to a wood stove.
An average pellet stove with a full hopper should burn for around 12 hours. This is a very efficient fuel that burns consistently for a long time. Just fill the hopper in the morning and you should have a full day of consistent heat.
Competitive fuel cost
Wood pellets are available at a competitive price, compared to other heat sources. Pellets are made of recycled materials, therefore will not fluctuate in price when there is a supply shortage (unlike fossil fuels). Check out the Pellet Fuel Institute comparisons of the cost of pellet fuel compared to the cost of other heat sources.
Easy to store
Although you will certainly need enough space to store many bags of pellets, they are easy to stack on top of each other and will not attract pests (unlike wood).
Easy to control
A pellet stove is easy to control. Choosing your desired heat temperature on the thermostat setting is all that is required. In comparison, a wood stove’s heat temperature is controlled by the amount of wood you add to the fire.
Easy to clean
In general, a pellet stove is easy to clean. It will need regular cleaning, however it won’t produce as much ash as a wood stove, resulting in less cleaning.
Although a pellet stove won’t have the crackling flames of a wood stove, regular coal and wood fireplace, there is still a bright burn to enjoy. Not visually as good as a regular wood fire but better than a gas fire.
Pellet stoves can be a great option for homes without a chimney. Pellet stove ventilation is possible through a hole in the wall, rather than using a chimney.
Pellet Stove Cons
High initial cost
Pellets stoves are not cheap and the initial cost of purchasing and installing a pellet stove will require quite an investment. A pellet stove can cost anywhere from $1000 to $3000.
If you are going to buy in bulk, then you will need a lot of free space to store your pellets.
Will need electricity to run
Pellet stoves do need an electricity source to operate. You will have to factor this into its running costs (on average $9 of electricity per month). Also, if you have a power outage, the pellet stove will stop working. However, some pellet stoves do have a battery backup that will allow you to continue heating your home for a few hours, without electricity.
Safety precautions needed
Pellet stoves heat with a flame, therefore safety precautions are necessary. A pellet stove should not be near any combustible materials, therefore plenty of clearance is necessary on the front and sides of the stove.
Buying in bulk
The average retail price of pellet fuel is $250 per ton. It may be cheaper to buy in bulk, therefore a budget needs to be available to buy roughly 3 tons of fuel annually. Even if you do not buy in bulk, having to purchase several bags at a time is not very convenient.
Needs regular cleaning
A pellet stove will need regular cleaning and maintenance to run efficiently. A pellet stove should be cleaned a couple of times a week to run at its best, or at the very least, once every couple of weeks. However, pellet stoves produce a minimal amount of ash and creosote, therefore cleaning is not so difficult.
May not have a local supplier of pellets
Another reason to purchase in bulk supply, is that you don’t want to run out of fuel, if you do not have a local supplier. If you have to order pellets from a different area, then the cost of delivery may be expensive.
A little noisy
Although not very noisy, a pellet stove’s vent and auger motor will emit a dull noise. Unfortunately, it will not have the natural crackling noise of a wood burning fire.
Bags are heavy
The average bag of pellet fuel will weigh 40 lbs. This can be quite heavy to carry from the storage area to inside your home, and then to fill the stove.
Compared to some other heat sources, a pellet stove is a concentrated source of heat. Heat will travel, and a pellet stove can heat up a decent sized area, however you won’t have control to heat up specific areas of a home.
Pellet stoves provide a very efficient source of heat for winter months. They have low emissions and as a fuel source are price competitive. The initial cost of buying and installing a pellet stove can be quite steep and this may put some people off. However, as an environmentally friendly fuel source, a pellet stove is hard to beat.
If you are considering purchasing a pellet stove for your home, hopefully, after reading this article on Pellet Stove Pros and Cons, you can make a better decision on whether its the right heating system for you.