With gas prices continuing to rise, many people are looking for other ways to heat their homes. If you are looking for a great alternative heat source this winter, check out wood pellet stoves or pellet stove inserts. Pellet stoves and pellet inserts are very simple to operate and very efficient. They burn small compressed pellets of wood, which burn more efficient and cleaner than most wood burners. Wood pellet stoves are a freestanding stove, while pellet inserts are ones that fit into an existing fireplace.
The wood pellets are generally made up of excess sawdust or wood waste from companies such as furniture manufacturers. Did you know that there are millions of tons of wood waste available in the U.S. and Canada alone? Imagine taking some of that and turning it into wood pellets. By doing so, we are creating an environmentally friendly source of heat that would otherwise just go to waste. Pellets can also be made out of corn, or walnut and peanut shells.
Since the pellets are compressed, they have a high density, and burn much more efficient and longer than just wood. Heating your home with pellets instead of wood can seem more expensive, because pellets can cost $130 to $200 per ton, compared with $100 to $175 per cord of wood. However, you might end up going through about 3-4 cords of wood a year, while a wood pellet stove may go through 1-3 tons of pellets. Plus, the wood contains moisture that doesn’t burn. Wood pellets actually have most of the moisture compressed out of it. Most people don’t enjoy carrying and stacking wood. Pellets come in 40 LB. sacks that take up a third of the space of a cord of wood.
Wood pellet stoves and pellet inserts have a bin which is called a “hopper”. The hopper is located at the top or the bottom of the stove, and can hold anywhere from 35 to 130 pounds of pellets. A single load of pellets can last you up to 2 days, depending on the size of the hopper. There is an auger the turns, and forces the pellets into the firebox, where they burn. Most stoves have 2 settings, others have a thermostat to control the flame and amount of heat. Once the pellets are lit, a blower sends air through and around them. This air keeps the fire going, burning steadily and efficiently. Dangerous combustible gases are drawn outside through a vent by way of the blower, which creates a vacuum.
Wood pellet stoves and pellet inserts come in a variety of styles and sizes. Depending on what type you’d like, you can start at about $1500, up to $6000, with installation generally running around $500. They are definitely a great, environmentally friendly heating alternative. As of 2009, approximately 1,000,000 households in the U.S. use pellet stoves for heat. As long as gas and electricity prices continue to rise, those numbers will also rise.
Paul Hundrieser is an Internet marketer, and an electrician. Some of the things I like are the outdoors, automobiles, helping people, and making people laugh.