As the seasons change and the temperatures begin to drop, we all have the same mission – to find the most cost-effective way to heat our homes. While there are various ways to do this, there is one option that is gaining popularity for its efficiency, eco-friendliness, and overall warmth of appeal.

Have you ever considered heating with pellets? Here at Big Ash Fireplaces & Stoves, we are happy to help uncover the many advantages and benefits that pellets have to offer. If, after reading this quick guide, find yourself wanting to make the switch to pellets, be sure to give us a call at 585-638-0300 or book an appointment online.

How Does a Pellet Stove Work?

someone holding up two handfuls of wood pelletsA pellet stove is a type of space heating appliance that burns wood pellets to produce heat. Similar to how a pellet smoker works, the pellets are stored in a hopper, usually on the top of the appliance. When the temperature drops below the desired level, the component that resembles a big screw, called the auger, will be activated and rotate pellets from the hopper into the combustion chamber.

An electric igniter will then ignite the pellets, starting the combustion process to generate heat. As the pellets burn, a fan circulates the warm air into the room, while the combustion gases are expelled out of an exhaust pipe or chimney. Any ash created during this process is collected in an ash pan for easy disposal.

How Is a Pellet Stove Better Than a Wood-Burning Stove?

Traditional wood-burning stoves and fireplaces have been used for centuries as a primary source of heat. But there are several reasons people might prefer pellet stoves, including:

  • Renewability & Sustainability: Wood pellets are often made from compressed sawdust and wood shavings, which are typically the byproducts of the lumber and wood processing industry. Since these materials would normally be discarded, pellet are considered a renewable and sustainable source of energy.
  • Energy Efficiency: Pellet stoves often have combustion and heat transfer rates that exceed 90%. This means that they are highly efficient at converting the energy in the pellets into usable heat. Why does that matter? Well if your fuel source burns efficiently, you will not only save money on your energy bills, you also don’t have to worry about filling your hopper so often.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Wood pellets are significantly cheaper than gas or propane, and they also tend to have more stable prices compared to fuel. This makes it easier for you to predict heating costs in the winter time, rather than being shocked when the bill shows up.
  • Clean-Burning: Although wood burning stoves and pellet stoves alike are considered more environmentally-friendly compared to gas and propane, wood pellets actually produce very minimal emissions when burned. That’s because they are designed with advanced combustion technology to minimize the air pollutants they release. This also means there is less ash to clean afterwards since the majority of the pellet is converted into heat.
  • Convenient: One of the biggest drawbacks to a wood-burning stove or fireplace is the effort it takes to haul, chop, and store wood. With pellets, they are easy to handle and store. They come in bags or can be delivered in bulk and the only thing you need to worry about is refilling the hopper when it starts to get low. 

Can I Use Wood Pellets in a Fireplace?

a pile of wood pellets with the top portion on fireOne downfall to a pellet stove is that it can be expensive to purchase and install compared to other heating options. That’s because it not only includes the stove itself, but also the cost to install venting and possibly a storage system for the pellets, if needed.

If you already have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, you may be wondering if you can reap the benefits of pellet heating without the upfront costs of a new pellet stove installation. The short answer – sure, technically. However, it is generally not recommended because fireplaces and stoves are not designed with the specific airflow patterns and mechanisms that help ensure the efficient and controlled combustion of wood pellets.

Who Installs Pellet Stoves in Western New York?

If you’re interested in using wood pellets for heating and would like to discuss your options with a certified technician, please contact Big Ash Fireplaces & Stoves at 585-638-0300 or book online with us today.

Our company has been in business for over 30 years, serving the community with a commitment to excellence in fireplace and stove solutions. We look forward to helping you find the perfect heating solution for your home.