No one can deny that fire is helpful as it helps us in among other things, cooking and keeping our homes warm during winter. Pellet stoves, unlike wood-burning stoves, offer an economical and environmentally friendly way of heating a home. So, what exactly is a pellet stove, and how does it work?
What is a Pellet Stove?
A pellet stove is an appliance similar to a wood stove, also used for heating people’s homes. The stove needs the same kind of fuel as the woodstove to work, but in this case, one uses wood pellets. One can buy the pellets, which are sold in 20kg bags. They are made from waste wood and compressed sawdust that would otherwise not be used in other ways. The amount of pollution produced by these pellets is the same as carbon that would otherwise be released if the sawdust and waste wood decomposed naturally in the forest. So pellet stoves are considered to be eco-friendly.
How a Pellet Stove Works
A wood pellet stove cannot work without electricity. One loads the pellets into the hopper located at the bottom or the top. The unit also has a drill, which looks like an elongated screw. The auger moves the pellets from the hopper and takes them into the burn pot. The auger is also used to regulate the stove’s temperature.
The next step is to ignite the burn pot, which is located in the combustion chamber. Since pellets are much compressed, they are dense and have low moisture. This helps them create a hotter flame. The burn pot acts as a carburetor for the pellet stove and mixes fuel with air, which results in combustion – the burning process. The burnt pellets then drop on the ash pot. The ash pot should be cleaned regularly.
A pellet stove warms the house through convection, which is different from a standard fireplace. As everyone knows, hot air rises. This occurs because as a gas’ temperature increases, its weight decreases and causes it to rise above cool air. In this case, convection occurs when the heat is transmitted as a result of the combination of hot and cool air currents. Therefore, the convection blower draws cool air from the house and passes it over the fire, which makes the flame hotter. As such, the pellets burn efficiently and evenly.
The heated air then moves to the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is designed to move clean air into the house through the room blower. When being used in combustion, the heat exchanger works like a furnace. During the manufacturing of the pellet stove, the heat exchanger is placed in the combustion chamber. This helps the stove from being hot on the outer surface.
The pellet stove also has an exhaust blower, which pushes gasses to the backside of the stove through a narrow pipe. The pipe can be connected to the outside of the stove through a small hole, or to a chimney. The exhaust blower works effectively when the tube is installed vertically. The stove also uses a thermostat. The thermostat controls the number of pellets to be fed into the combustion chamber. As the number of pellets being fed into the chamber increases, so does the heat.
Types of Wood Pellet Stoves
Pellet stoves fall under two different categories, the insert, and free-standing stoves.
If one already has a fireplace in their living room, they can buy an insert that would fit in the firebox. The stove would then vent up the fireplace’s chimney. Alternatively, if one does not have a fireplace, you can buy a free-standing stove that has an exhaust pipe.
Pellet stoves range in sizes, colors, and styles. They are tailored to suit the needs of different people across the country. Although they come in different models, there are a few specific differences between one stove and another.
One such difference is the location of the hopper. Top feed models have their hoppers at the top of the stove, which makes the pellets go down through a tube and into the fire. The design helps in minimizing the odds of fire going up to the hopper. However, ashes may get it clogged. As such, this model requires pellets that produce less ash, which is usually a bit costly as compared to ordinary pellets. However, this model has a better heating efficiency as pellets are entirely burned in the burn chamber.
In the other design, feed hopers horizontally deliver the pellets, either beside the fire or from behind. The design allows one to use standard pellets as the horizontal movement moves ash away from the area where the burn is taking place. As a result, air inlets are kept open and so the burn chamber requires less cleaning. However, bottom-feed models are not as efficient as the top-feed models.
The stove may also be automatic or manual in terms of ignition. The manual ignition stove needs liquid or gel material that helps in lighting a flame. The process is the same as starting a fire in a fireplace. Automatic ignition stoves have buttons that, when pushed, ignite sparks that help in starting the fire.
The stove automatically feeds the pellets into a burn pot from the storage hopper. This forms a constant flame that does not need manual regulation. The exchange tubes then send hot air into the room as the convection fan deals with the circulation of air through the pipes and into the room.
The stoves’ combustion rate and efficiencies of heating are much higher than a woodstove. As such, they are highly efficient. Also, it is clear that amongst all home heating appliances, pellet stoves are the cleanest, with their efficiency level being between 70 and 83 percent.
The Pellet Fuels Institute indicates that a 40-pound bag of wood pellets can provide stable heat for up to 24 hours. During winter, a homestead should have between a hundred and a hundred and fifty bags, which, of course, depends on the lifestyle ad climatic variations.
A majority of pellet stoves are costly, as they range from 1,700 to 3,000 dollars. However, installing a pellet stove is much cheaper than the traditional woodstove. Most pellet stoves vent to the connected room. They do not require costly chimneys.
It is safe to leave the stove on overnight. It continues to burn even when unattended, provided it has pellets to burn.
Pellet stoves help in keeping living rooms warm, especially during winter. The makes the stoves efficient is the material used, as sawdust is cheap. Also, the stoves are eco-friendly as the materials used are recycled. Pellet stoves are the best in all home heating appliances.