3 Factors to Consider When Selecting a Pellet Stove

December 16, 2015


A pellet stove, unlike a wood stove, runs off fuel pellets, which burn cleaner and are often made of recycled materials. A pellet stove can be a wonderful addition to your home, providing warmth and lowering your monthly energy bills while minimally impacting the environment. Once you’ve made the decision to add a pellet stove (or a pellet stove fireplace insert) to your home, there are still many things you need to consider when choosing the right stove for your needs.

Where and how are the pellets fed into the machine?

Pellet stoves run off of pellets, which are loaded into a hopper located either on the top or bottom of the stove. Different stoves have varying sizes of hoppers, so this is something to consider when selecting a stove. Obviously, the larger the hopper, the more pellets it can fit at a time. This means less maintenance for you, because it will need to be filled less frequently.

There are also two types of feeding systems for pellet stoves: top and bottom, both with their own advantages and disadvantages. A top-loaded pellet stove is less messy, but requires higher quality pellets. A bottom loaded pellet stove uses cheaper fuel, but requires more regular cleaning. The time you’d like to put into maintenance of your stove should be taken into consideration as well as the cost of fuel.

What is the stove’s heating capacity?

Another important consideration when selecting a pellet stove is the matter of how much space, how fast and to what temperature it can heat. Do you live in a moderate climate the majority of the year, or do you need some extra heat for long, cold winters? Different pellet stoves have different heating capabilities, so it is important to do your research. Feel free to check with this list of EPA-certified wood heaters that contains both heat output and emission rate for many popular models.

It is also important to select a stove based on your primary purpose for it. Are you looking for an additional heat source in a specific room of your home, or are you trying to supplement heat to the entire house? If your goal is to heat your home, you will want to have your pellet stove on the lower level, and a fan to help circulate the heat is essential. At Fireside Stone and Patio, we are your local Maryland experts in all types of stoves, and can help you determine which stove is best for your home heating needs.

What is the stove’s power consumption?

One feature of wood stoves that pellet stoves frequently lack is the nonexistent impact they have on your electric bill. Pellet stoves typically require a small amount of electricity to run the hopper and fans. While this makes life easier for you because there is very little maintenance, it does mean that it will slightly impact your electric bill. This also means that you’ll need a backup plan in place in the event of a power outage. If power outages are frequent in your area, be sure to purchase a model with a battery backup or have a power generator handy.

The things to consider when selecting a pellet stove (freestanding or insert) can be overwhelming, but our experts at Fireside Stone and Patio are here to help! We can help you determine what stove is right for your home by explaining all of the different options available to you and work closely with you to find the pellet stove that meets both your budgeting and lifestyle needs.