Many people are looking for alternate ways to heat their homes and have turned to pellet stoves for a solution. A pellet stove uses pellets that are made from compressed wood or biomass. These pellets burn to provide the heat you want.
An automatic mechanism, typically an auger powered by a heavy duty auger motor, feeds the pellets from the storage hopper into a burning pot, and a constant flame flares up. One of the many benefits, when you compare pellet stoves to wood burning stoves, is that you can leave a pellet stove on without fear of the fire dying out.
Types of Pellet Fuels
Wood Pellets: Wood that is discarded from sawmills, furniture manufacturers, roadside scraps, paper packing plants, logging residue and recycling centers in the form of sawdust and scrap is compressed to form wood pellets. The use of wood pellets helps the environment by using recycled waste wood instead of cutting down trees. Wood pellets are also a much cheaper fuel when compared to gas, oil or electricity.
Today the popularity of pellet stoves is growing and you can purchase wood pellets at many building supply stores, home improvement centers, or feed supply stores and online with home delivery.
Corn Pellets: Corn pellets are another cost-effective fuel like wood pellets; however, corn pellets have a higher amount of ash than wood pellets. You would need to have a pellet stove that exclusively burns corn pellets because a wood pellet stove is ill-equipped to handle the amount of ash corn pellets produce.
Types of Pellet Stoves
Top-fed pellet stoves have an auger inclined at an angle which enables them to feed the pellets into the top or side of the combustion chamber. The one drawback to top feed stoves is they don’t force the ash away from the firebox grate. This can cause ash deposits to form into what is called clinkers, which are formed from repeated heating and cooling.
Clinkers can block the flow of air which can lead to flaring out of the fire. To prevent this problem it is recommended that you only use premium grade, low ash wood pellets.
Bottom Fed pellet stoves contain a horizontal auger. The pellets move horizontally through the system into the combustion chamber. They shove away any ash and clinkers they encounter causing them to collect in the ash pan.
Pellet Stove Advantages
As we mentioned earlier, you don’t destroy natural resources like forests or drain non-renewable fuels like oil when you use pellets as your fuel of choice.
Wood pellets are made as the by-product from places like sawmills. They compact the waste sawdust and wood shaving into tightly condensed fuel pellets. Pellet stoves are CO2-neutral and have a low level of particle emissions.
Maintaining a Pellet Stove
- Visually inspect the hopper and auger plate.
- Check the auger motor to make sure it is working properly, and replace it of necessary.
- Lubricate and clean the convection and combustion motors.
- Check the electrical wiring, the vacuum sensors, and the heat switches.
- Check the electrical sensors and igniter – test them to make sure they are working properly.
- Check the pressure and the latch switches.
- Clean out all the ash residues from the exhaust pipes.
- Clean the fire chamber and its components: the burn pot, the firewalls, the ignition assembly, the draft chambers, the exhaust ports, and the heat exchanges.
If you’re looking for a way to heat your home that is very economical and environmentally friendly you may want to consider a pellet stove.