Trying to make up your mind whether or not to invest in a pellet stove to heat your home? Here are some pros and cons on the subject that just might help you decide. Read on to learn more.
Pellet stoves make an ideal choice for those concerned with air pollution. They burn so cleanly, in fact, that even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t require emissions testing on them. They so effectively combust fuel that they are rated the very cleanest of all residential heating appliances that burn solid fuel. With BTUs ranging from eight thousand to ninety thousand, pellet stoves come in sizes adequate to heat small homes all the way up to multi-family living environments such as apartments, townhomes, or condominiums.
Splitting and carrying firewood becomes a thing of the past when you install a pellet stove. Fuel for this type of appliance comes ready-made in small pellets that resemble rabbit food. You can purchase the pellets in varying-sized amounts, but the most common size for single-family use comes in forty-pound bags, much easier to handle than, say, a cord of firewood.
Other ecological concerns involve from where the fuel for which pellet stove require comes. No trees are cut down, gas reserves used, nor large amounts of electricity are needed for the fuel that runs pellet stoves. These stoves are run from some pellets made primarily from waste materials such as sawdust and agricultural byproducts.
Pellet stoves don’t come cheap. Most residential models range in price anywhere from $1700 to $3000. Although pellet stoves don’t require the construction of a chimney, you must vent the exhaust either directly out a wall or through the ceiling. This type of venting doesn’t cost as much as building a chimney, but it is still a consideration when deciding what type of heating appliance homeowners want to choose for their home.
The fuel for pellets costs three to four dollars (typically) for a forty-pound bag. Most families go through two or three tons of pellets each winter. This comes out to about 50 bags of pellets per ton (2000 pounds) times two or three each year.
Doing the math shows that annual fuel costs for pellet stoves run, on average, from $300 to $600, not including the cost of electricity. Electricity needed to run a pellet stove runs the homeowner about 100 kilowatts per month, so whatever rate your service provider charges for that has to be factored in, as well.
Because pellet stoves operate using fairly complex components, when one breaks, it can be somewhat expensive to repair or replace. Another problem lies in the fact that if electricity becomes shut off, during a storm, for instance, not only does the unit not produce heat, it can also cause smoke to come into your home.
To Each His/Her Own
All in all, the pros and cons for pellet stoves seem to be pretty well balanced. Of course, what seems important to one person may not seem to be all that important to another. So it’s up to you to decide whether or not buying, installing, and operating a pellet stove is right for you and your circumstances.
Photo by John Hritz -CreativeCommons Attribution License