When economic times are tight, we all begin looking at what costs we can control, and one cost that can escape control, with fluctuating fossil fuel costs, is heating our homes. To cut costs, more people are considering alternative heat sources, and wood pellet fireplaces are just one possible solution for this high-price issue.
Wood pellet fireplaces are capable of burning a variety of materials — often the elements of sawmills — which are formed into small, dense pellets, which burn very efficiently.
Are you considering heating your home with a wood pellet fireplace? Read on to learn about 10 things you may want to know before you make your purchase.
Wood pellet fireplaces are highly common heating apparatus in Europe, and they’re growing in popularity at the U.S., too. As of 2011, there are more than 80 pellet mills in North America, making more than 1 million tons of pellets annually [origin: Biomass-Events. com].
One benefit of these fireplaces is they can burn many different materials. While some models burn just pellets made of sawdust, wood, bark and other wood stuff, other models permit you to burn a wide variety of biofuels, such as corn kernels, soybeans, nutshells, barley, dried cherry pits, beet pulp, wheat, and sunflowers.
This flexibility lets you find the most affordable, highest-quality fuel available from local sources — just one eco friendly benefit of those heaters.
Some consumers are installing wood pellet fireplaces since they simply need to save money on home heatingsystem. Others may appreciate the cost savings but are much more enthusiastic about the eco-friendly nature of pellet fuel. Pellets and other biofuels are renewable sources, so they offer you a much greener way than burning nonrenewable fuels such as oil, coal or gas.
Burning biofuels can be carbon-neutral, so using wood pellet fireplaces means you will not be adding to greenhouse gas effects as you want fossil fuels. Some specialists think that the utilization of wood pellet fireplaces leads to the removal of 75 percent of carbon emissions that would be caused by fossil fuel heating.
Thus, you can not just save money with wood pellet fireplaces but do your part for the environment, too.
Type of fuel
You want to research the cost and availability of different kinds of pellet fuel — wood pellets (premium and standard grade), corn pellets, etc — in your area because these variables will radically affect your choice of stove along with the cost of conducting it. In certain places, pellets aren’t cheap. In New York state, for example, a standard-size bag of pellets can charge anywhere from $4.50 to $8, depending on the supplier, and be consumed in just 10 hours even at reduced setting. Know where you can get pellets everywhere and at what price before you take the plunge with a specific stove. If you think that the annual cost might be too great for a wood pellet stove, consider alternatives like a multi-fuel pellet stove or an ordinary wood stove. Heizomat
Operation and maintenance
Pellet stoves are not short of moving components, motors, and electric and electronic gadgetry, so inevitably they need regular servicing and maintenance. Start looking for a version that provides easy access to regions that require checking and keeping. For instance, on some models, the heat exchanger may be cleaned by simply moving an external pole handle back and forth, though other designs require a more elaborate cleaning procedure. Professional servicing at least one time a year is a great idea, so consider taking out a service contract. Find out more about pellet stove maintenance.
Remember you have to take the ash out about once weekly with steady use. An easy-to-manage, large-capacity ash drawer makes cleanup easier. Hopper capacity, which can vary from approximately 35 lbs to 130 pounds, is yet another important element. How much capacity you need depends on your heating needs, but you do not want to be meeting the hopper more than once each day through normal use. Learn more about how to operate a pellet stove.
Top or bottom feed?
Some pellet stoves feed down a chute from the hopper, but others deliver the fuel from behind or to the side of the burn box. You have to take into account the advantages and disadvantages of each type. A top-fed stove cuts the odds of fire burning back into the hopper but is more likely to have its burn region clogged with ash and clinkers. This is the reason why many manufacturers of top-fed models advocate burning high-grade, low-ash pellets. Bottom-fed models don’t have the exact same need for premium fuel because the ash and clinkers are pushed to the ash pan through fuel delivery; on the other hand, they might not be quite as effective. Check individual model specs before deciding which way to go.
Appearance and Fashion
Not surprisingly, there is a big option readily available from the external design of noodle range from sleek modern to elaborate, old-world. More importantly, there is a range of functionally different styles, including freestanding units, fireplace inserts, and pellet-fueled furnaces and boilers that may take the place of, or supplement, traditional forced-air heating methods.
Most pellet stoves generate a little, fire that is concentrated in the middle of the unit and not visually impressive. If you’d like a fire that’s pretty to look at, you have to only out stoves that have a fantastic flame pattern along with a large glass. Some stoves allow the use of ceramic log-look-a-likes which help spread the fires out and give the fire a more conventional, heart-warming as well as heart-warming look.
Other characteristics to Think about
How simple do want your pellet stove to be to clean and preserve? Just how much of the stove’s operation would you want to be automatic? While some people today like a mostly hands-off approach, others get pleasure from tending their passion.
Stoves with manual controls may require occasional adjustment of air inlet dampers as the rate of fuel feed has been changed. Models with more sophisticated (and expensive) controls can monitor burn conditions and make these adjustments automatically. Other attributes may include automated ignition for a simple, dependable startup (a larger advantage in the event of stoves which are very likely to be utilized ( rather than continuously) and also an air wash system for keeping the glass clean by directing warm air within it during combustion.