A pellet stove is a stove designed to burn pellets, made from compressed wood, sawdust, bark, waste paper, and other organic materials. Some stoves can also burn corn pellets, grain, and seeds, along with wood pellets. They are mainly preferred for their heating efficiency and high combustion.
They are also cleaner and more convenient than wood stoves, and this is the reason why they are increasingly used in the residential and industrial sectors as a source of supplemental heat. However, like other types of stoves, this one also has certain advantages and disadvantages.
How Does a Pellet Stove Work?
These stoves resemble the log or wood-burning stoves in appearance. But, their working mechanism is quite different. All types of stoves that burn pellets usually contain a hopper, which is the storage container for the pellets. The pellets are kept in the hopper, and then moved to the combustion chamber by an auger system. There are basically two types of pellet stoves - bottom-fed and top-fed stoves. The bottom-fed stove usually has a horizontal auger that moves the fuel or pellets horizontally into the combustion chamber.
The auger of a top-fed stove is usually located above the burn pot, and it moves the fuel into the top or side of the combustion chamber. For top-fed systems, it is usually recommended to use the low ash or high quality pellets. The top-fed systems are found to deposit more clinker than the bottom-fed stoves, and this is the reason why high quality pellets are preferred for the top-fed stoves. In bottom fed stoves, the ash or the clinker generally falls into the ash pan, from which it can be easily discarded. So, it is not necessary to use low ash pellets in this system. Both top-fed and bottom-fed stoves also contain fans that help draw air into the combustion chamber, and also transfer the heat generated to the entire room.
Pellet stoves are known for their high heating efficiency. As far as air pollution is concerned, they are much superior than the wood stoves. They burn cleanly without creating too much ash, unlike the wood stoves.
Even the fuels for these stoves are readily available, and they can be easily stored and handled. Useless waste materials can also be used to fuel these stoves. These stoves are quite eco-friendly, as no tree or any other natural resources need to be destroyed to create fuel for them.
These stoves are thermostatically controlled, and they are convenient to use, as no physical adjustment is required. They also do not require the construction of a chimney. All these features have made pellet stoves a popular choice for those who are looking for a clean heating appliance.
The main disadvantage of these stoves is their cost. They are comparatively expensive, considering the price and the cost of installation. Additionally, the stoves need to be vented outside, which can also cost a little. However, the cost of venting is much less than the cost of constructing a chimney.
Another disadvantage is the cost of electricity required to run these stoves. Apart from these, pellets are not cheap and they may not be available throughout the year in some places. Moreover, these stoves are mechanical, which means that they can make a dull, but continuous sound while operating. Lastly, the stoves and their various components can require some care and maintenance, along with occasional repair and replacement.
For some, a pellet stove can be a clean heating appliance suitable for cutting down the level of air pollution, while for others, it may not be as appealing as the conventional wood stove. So, a decision would basically depend on the individual requirements or preferences. Therefore, it is better to do some research before deciding to buy a pellet stove.