Does Your New Home Have A Pellet Stove? What Should You Know About This Heating Method?

If you've recently purchased a home that relies on a pellet stove for heat, you may find yourself mystified at this contraption if you've spent your life living in homes heated through electric coils, hot water, or natural gas. However, these unique stoves are ultra-efficient and can cut your heating costs significantly. Read on to learn more about pellet stoves and how you can use your new stove to provide your home with inexpensive, energy-efficient heat all winter long.

How does a pellet stove create heat?

Like a wood-burning stove, a pellet stove generates heat by burning biomass—generally compressed wood "pellets." Because these pellets are so compact, unlike split firewood, they tend to burn much longer than the equivalent amount of wood; and because the pellet stove is designed to funnel all (or almost all) the heat produced directly to your furnace, where it can be distributed through your home's central air vents, it's an amazingly efficient way of heating. 

Wood-burning stoves can often create a distinct smell; while some love the smell of a campfire in limited doses, most don't want their home to smell like one constantly. But despite its use of pellets as fuel, a pellet stove doesn't create the same type or amount of smoke, making it a much more scent-free option. If you or a family member has asthma, allergies, or COPD, making breathing through smoke difficult, a pellet stove shouldn't pose any risk of respiratory problems. 

What can you do to ensure your pellet stove is operating at peak efficiency?

Although pellet stoves are designed to be extremely efficient, there are some things you can do to ensure your new stove is operating at its peak.

First, you'll want to make sure it's clean. If the previous homeowner hasn't taken great care of it, or if you observe any signs of damage, you may want to contact a professional to have your pellet stove cleaned and repaired. Operating a dirty or damaged pellet stove can reduce its life expectancy and compromise the level and amount of heat it can generate.  

You'll also want to ensure you're purchasing high-quality fuel. While it can be tempting to purchase the cheapest pellets possible, these pellets may sometimes have additives or impurities that can create buildup on the inside of your stove. Using a more "clean-burning" brand of pellet can help you maintain your stove in peak condition.