Wood Pellet Stoves Are Hot

Pellet StoveWood pellet stoves have become very popular this year, due to the fact that heating oil costs have risen 31% and natural gas is up 46%. Pellet stoves are small electric stoves that burn small pieces of recycled sawdust, that have been compressed into pellets. There are a number of advantages to using wood pellet stoves: they are extremely efficient, produce very little waste, and use inexpensive fuel. A 40-pound bag of pellets sells for less than five dollars, with discounts available for those who buy in bulk. On the Sam’s Club web site, pellets sell for about $187 a ton. A homeowner can expect to go through up to three tons of pellets a season, or $560 worth. In contrast, heating oil will likely cost owners of bigger homes in the Northeast several thousand dollars this winter.


Wood pellets can be found at most hardware stores around the country including Home Depot and Ace Hardware. Pellets come in 3 grades, depending on ash content (less ash the better), the higher grade pellets are hardwood while the lower grade is pine, most of the major hardware chains sell the middle grades. A reviewer on Cool Tools recommends calling local hardware stores, buying a single bag of different brands, and trying them out, then buy in bulk. The brands and availability seem to change with each season.

Hearth.Com has numerous information guides and user reports on stoves. They also have FAQs on pellet stoves.

Pellet stoves have negative pressure systems that propel the hot air they produced outward, making the heat go farther than it would naturally. The pellets are burned so completely that they hardly give off any smoke, meaning that it is not necessary to build a large chimney to channel smoke out of the home. Wood-pellet stoves only need a small pipe leading outside to dispose of excess smoke. They have complicated machinery that adds new pellets to the fire when more fuel is needed. The user merely has to add the pellets to the hopper, and the mechanical auger moves pellets to the fire as needed.

Keep in mind that the stoves themselves aren’t cheap. They typically run between $1,700 and $3,000, depending on the size and features. And many buyers also pay for installation, since pellet stoves need to be vented to the outside.

Prepare yourself for some manual labor. A homeowner who runs his stove 24 hours a day will need to fill the appliance with pellets once a day and clean out its ash once a week. You’ll also need a large enough space to store roughly 150 40-pound bags of pellets. It is also recommended that you buy in bulk in October, to get enough for the entire season, because store over run low during the middle of winter.

Here is a quick list of the major pellet stove manufacturers. Some reviewers seem to favor the Harman brand, because of their use of computerized sensors and controls.

For more information and reviews visit Hearth.Com

Comments

  1. andreas schmidt says

    to use pellets as a fuel is better than burning oil or gas. but keep in mind that these pellets have to be produced by hauling wood/chips/dust to the factory – press them – put them into bags – and haul them again to the store. not very efficient in my opinion.

  2. says

    Corn Stoves Are Hot Too

    Corn burning stoves are similar to pellets stoves but use corn kernels as fuel instead. Most corn suppliers are located in the interior states, so these stoves are most useful in those areas. Corn is a fuel that burns clean…

  3. ali says

    …and what do you think happens to the sawdust otherwise? Pellets are made from waste material – the sawdust gets hauled to a landfill….

  4. Martin Farrell says

    I am writing this comment in ref: to the Bixby wood/corn pellet stove (specifically Bixby Wood Corn stove Serial # 6478) due to the poor quality of construction and Bixby’s failure to adequately service this defective stove.

    I purchased this stove approximately 1.5 years ago ( cost , just under $5,000 installed) and as of that time, I have experienced two (2) major failures.
    1- First the “feeder wheel motor” failed, due to the fact that all 4 motor mounts snapped off.
    I called my local dealer, only to discover the dealer went out of business. As a result, Bixby shipped me the needed parts after two weeks and then gave me the privilege of installing the feeder wheel motor myself. I guess this saved Bixby a substantial amount of money?

    2-The stove worked well for a short time and then the “exhaust fan motor/sensor failed.
    Again I had to dismantle ½ of the stove in an effort to accurately diagnose the problem and promptly called Bixby in an effort to get the parts.

    When I called, the young lady who answered the phone promptly advised me that it would take 2-3 days for a service tech to return my call. Knowing how few moving parts there are in these stoves, I assumed they (Bixby) were having major problems with their stoves and or they are in trouble financially and can not afford to pay for the needed number of service techs.

    As a result, I emailed the service department and was directed to several web sites where I could repair the stove myself.

    As of this time, I still have not received the needed parts and the stove remains silent in my home, while outside temperatures lower to 17 degrees.

    Thanks Bixby, you and other American Companies are the reason no Americans purchase products made in the USA.
    Martin Farrell Warwick NY

    • Kyle says

      I am having very similar issues with my Osburn Hybrid pellet stove. I am currently looking for a supplier for parts that I need to obtain to correct my issue which I believe lies in the exhaust fan temp sensor. Everything has been dismantled and cleaned thoroughly and that is the only thing I have been able to determine. However none of my emails or calls to Osburn or their manufacturing plant have resulted in a response with the least bit of assistance. I am very disgusted with the dealer I purchased the stove from as well as Osburn themselves. $2500 thrown right out the window on 1 year of use. I would like to thank Osburn for the support they haven’t given me!!!

      • says

        oh how i feel your pain been there done that first year the blower went after burning 2 tons of pellets second year the iginiter went this year have this horrible noise cant even hear the tv over the noise would never suggest this stove to anyone Cant get anyone to help up or know anything about the stove bought ours from a guy that is 20 minutes away and he thinks it is so easy to haul this stove up to him everytime something goes wrong i have never seen anything so poorly put together and we spent 2600 for it one more year of this and going back to oil sell this piece of junk Good Luck

  5. jeff says

    Almost all of the PREMIUM, ” hardwood” pellets come straight from woodworking facilities, i.e. wood flooring and furniture factories.
    These companies have learned that they can profit from their waste products now, instead of paying to have it hauled away from their facilities.They now have pellet producing machines installed on site that are capable of producing 12 plus tons of pellets per hour.
    I have a HARMAN ACCENTRA fireplace insert i’ve been burning for the third season. i’m heating a 2,100 sq.ft. ranch very comfortably and haven’t used the heat pump once. This HARMAN stove has not given us not one problem,”knock on wood”.
    With the unit running it uses 2.0 amps, compare that to the evil heat pump and air handler,23.8 amps combined. ” sorry duke energy”, I like keeping my money and being efficient!

  6. says

    My pellet stove broke over last winter and I didn’t think I had the $300 to fix it but I could have. My heating bill went up $500. I guess I should have just gotten the pellet stove fixed. It’s a huge money saver.

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