Wood pellet stoves are an efficient way to heat your home and reduce your reliance on a gas or electric heating system. Pellet stoves are certified to be between 70 and 83 percent efficient, right on par with most non-stove systems.
When deciding whether to add a pellet stove to your home or make your existing stove a bigger part of your home heating plan, it’s important to know the basics.
Pellet Stove Efficiency and Operation Details
According to the US Department of Energy, pellet stoves “are the cleanest solid fuel residential heating appliance.” That title means they’re more efficient than wood stoves and traditional fireplaces. What makes them so efficient? It comes down to good design and unique fuel.
The wood pellet material burned in these stoves is a combination of wood chips, bark, sawdust, and brush that’s collectively called “biomass.” This biomass is typically made from the by-products of lumber mills.
Pellet stoves are typically made of steel or cast iron and use an exhaust port to push smoke out of the home. They also include electrical components, which are explained in the next section.
How Much Energy Does a Pellet Stove Use?
While pellet stoves may look simplistic, they are quite complex. They include electrical components that automatically feed pellets into the burning chamber. The rate of pellet feeding dictates the heat output of the unit, which can reach up to 90,000 BTUs per hour. The electrical elements may also power fans that push the heat around the room and drive smoke out of the exhaust pipe.
All those functions draw on your home’s electricity supply to the tune of roughly $9 per month, depending on where you live and how frequently you use the stove.
What’s the Most Energy Efficient Pellet Stove?
Regardless of brand or manufacturer, you’ll find that the most energy-efficient pellet stoves are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pellet stoves that meet EPA standards offer important benefits, including:
- Up to 50% more efficiency than non-certified stoves
- Less fuel is required for the same amount of heat
- Less buildup of creosote
- Less smoke pollution
Pellet Stove vs. Electric Furnace
Comparing pellet stoves with a more traditional heating source involves a lot of variables. Electric furnaces are more efficient, distribute heat evenly throughout your home, and require little day-to-day maintenance. Pellet stoves are less efficient, heat only a single space effectively, and take a lot more work—including buying pellets, loading the hopper, and cleaning the burning chamber weekly. That alone gives electric heating systems the efficiency edge for most households.
It’s worth noting that the upfront costs of purchasing a pellet stove are considerable. Most units are thousands of dollars and require a technician to install. It takes a while to see a return on that substantial investment.
Is a Pellet Stove Right for You?
A pellet stove can be a good investment for families who have small homes or spend most of their time in one room. They may also serve as cost-effective heating supplementation in parts of the country with fluctuating utility rates, especially spikes in the prices of natural gas or propane.
Ask a One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning Technician
At One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, we’re focused on keeping your home comfortable and your energy expenses manageable. Talk to one of our experienced technicians today to learn about ways to improve energy efficiency, lower energy bills, and reduce your environmental impact too. Call (800) 893-3523 or request an appointment today.