Wood Heat vs. Pellet Stoves
Radiant heat on a cold day provided by a pellet stove or wood stove is one of the pleasures of wintertime. If you are weighing the differences between these two stove types, you can’t go wrong, whatever your decision. However, there are distinct qualities about each. It’s best to familiarize yourself with the differences before deciding whether you want a wood stove or a pellet stove for your home. The following comparative information can help.
There are several types of wood stoves to choose from. Free-standing stoves with or without doors are available, as well as fireplace inserts and wood cookstoves. When you buy a stove or insert with an EPA certification sticker, you can be confident that the appliance has lower emissions and higher efficiency than older models that preceded the current environmentally friendly standards. Wood stoves are good to have when a blackout occurs, since they can provide heat and a way to cook when there’s no electricity.
Wood stove fuel: Seasoned firewood is the only type of fuel that should be burned in a wood stove, though black-and-white print newspaper can be safely used to get a fire started. Wood is the cheapest type of heating fuel available, especially if you can get it free off of your own property. The logs must go through a process of drying out, which requires 6 months to a year or more. When firewood is hauled into the house, it’s not unusual for insects and possibly other small creatures to enter your home by way of the firewood.
How wood stoves impact the environment: Even the latest and most current wood stoves emit more pollutants than pellet stoves. Wood smoke is toxic and creates a variety of adverse health effects.
Cost: Pellet stoves are more expensive appliances than wood stoves, but the fact that installation is usually more expensive with wood stoves, the price difference practically balances out.
The way pellet stoves work is very unique, compared to other heating appliances. They are the most environmentally friendly type of heat source you can use, and part of the reason for that is the efficiency of the special fuel used in pellet stoves. A small amount of electricity is required for a pellet stove to operate.
Pellet stove fuel: The pellets for a pellet stove are made of wood waste, such as sawdust, wood scraps, and bark. They are also highly compressed and compact—about 1 ½” inches long. Pellets contain such a small amount of moisture that the fuel burns up almost 100%. Ashes only need to be cleaned out occasionally, due to efficient combustion. Pellets are purchased in 40-pound bags, and the fuel has different quality levels. When the pellets contain a higher amount of bark, they are less efficient and produce more ash. The fuel can be neatly stacked in a storeroom, and it is very important to keep the pellets dry.
How pellet stoves impact the environment: Due to the high efficiency of pellet stoves, they have been deemed smokeless by the EPA. One issue that could offset how environmentally friendly a pellet stove is relates to accessibility of the pellets. If it’s necessary for the pellets to be transported for long distances to get to you, much more pollution is created than would be otherwise. It’s best to check and see if pellets are produced in your area before having a pellet stove installed.
Contact the Experts at Chimney Saver Solutions
Buying the correct size of stove is essential, whether you choose a wood stove or a pellet stove. If your wood stove is too large for the space it heats, you would be forced to maintain a low smolder in the stove, to avoid overheating your home. This is inefficient, wastes fuel, and is one of the leading causes of air pollution. If your wood stove is undersized, it will fail to provide sufficient heat and you may be tempted to overload/overheat the stove, which creates a potential fire hazard.
You can get the help of any of our friendly experts at Chimney Saver Solutions, as you decide whether you want a wood stove or pellet stove. Call us at 804-440-5000 today, for all of the information you might need.