Are Pellet Stoves Worth It?

Yes, pellet stoves are worth it; they provide many benefits to homeowners. Apart from the obvious benefits of keeping you warm, there are many other reasons that pellet stoves should be high on your list of possible heating options.

Top benefits of pellet stoves:

  • Shop around for the best-priced pellets
  • Pellet stoves have lower heating costs than most other fuel types
  • Installation is very cost-effective
  • Wood pellets are better for the environment than many alternatives
  • Simple heating – set your desired temperature, all functions are automatically controlled
  • Enjoy radiant heat, similar to a wood stove
  • Easy and cheap to maintain

Read on for more details.

a young woman shopping for a pellet stove

Energy Efficient  – Better BTU Output

Pellet stoves are one of the most efficient ways to heat your home. Many homeowners prefer them because pellet cost does not fluctuate much during the heating season, which helps with budgeting.

Pay Up Front For Heating Costs

One benefit of pellet stoves is that you control when you buy the fuel, which means you can control your heating costs for the entire fall and winter. You can shop around for the best wood fuel pellet deals in the summer and order a bulk amount that will get you through the colder months.

That way, you pay for your heating costs up front and avoid those surprisingly large heating bills at the end of the month that are common with gas and electric furnaces. 

Lower Heating Cost

Dollar bills inside the thermostat

Fuel pellets are also much more cost-efficient than many other popular methods of heating– even gas and propane. So you can keep your heating costs down and take total control of your heating costs.

Fuel pellet pricing varies depending on your location and numerous other factors. But the average fuel price of 1 ton of wood pellet fuel in the USA is about $250-$300.

As a rough guide, a typical home will burn about six to seven tons of pellets during the cold season. So this gives you a heating cost of about $1,500 – $2,100 a year. This will, of course, depend on your location (the further north you live, the more you’ll need and pay) and how warm you like to keep your house.

Lower Installation Cost

Including the stove, installation labor, and parts, an average-sized pellet stove will set you back about $3,200 installed (more if you want a premium brand pellet stove).

A wood stove installed will cost you around the $3,500 mark, and a gas or electric furnace will cost you nearly double. 

Heating Fuel Cost Comparison

See the image below for a visual comparison of how cost varies among different heating fuels – as measured by BTU.

Better For The Environment

Pellet stoves are one of the cleanest solid fuel heating appliances for homes. According to the US Department of Energy, they make very little air pollution. Estimates by the EPA put pellet stoves at an efficiency between 70% to 83%, which means nearly all the energy from burning the pellets goes into heating your home.

bird on a branch

Pellet heating uses fuel that is often created from waste materials, off cuts, and sawdust – so you are utilizing recycled products that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Pellet stoves also burn much more efficiently and produce much less wood smoke than any other solid fuel-burning heater. Thus they put out far less harmful emissions into the environment. In fact, you can direct-vent many pellet stoves into your room, with no external venting required. 

Automated and Simple Heating

pellet hopper filled with pellets

Pellet stoves are basically a set-and-forget heater for the day.

All you need to do is fill the hopper with wood pellets, set the desired heat setting, and that’s it. However, you will need to refill most pellet stoves daily. However, that all depends on how cold it is outdoors and how large the hopper is on your unit. 

Your pellet heater then automatically ignites and loads more pellets into the burn pot at the pre-set rate (or adjustable rate, depending on the model), keeping your home comfortably warm for the entire day.

Radiant Convection Heat

A person sitting next to a pellet stove

Everyone loves a good wood fire, right?

There is nothing like sitting near the fireplace and soaking up the warmth; the only problem is constantly having to fill it with wood fuel!

Well, with a wood pellet stove, you can have the same warming, radiant convection heat without the need to be constantly loading it up with wood. Although, you will need to refill most pellet stoves daily, which is still far less often than replacing firewood hourly. 

You can get pellet stoves in various heating capacities– from 8,000 BTUs to 90,000 BTUs. This is more than enough to comfortably heat most apartments, condos, and modest-sized homes. 

Easy To Maintain

Pellet heaters require regular maintenance– such as cleaning and inspection– as does any heater type. 

For example, you will have to routinely empty the ash and brush away dust and particulates inside it. You can also check that the auger is rotating properly and clean its window. 

These basic maintenance tasks are pretty easy to perform yourself. Still, as with any device that involves burning a fuel source in your home – it should be serviced by a professional regularly.

Always check your pellet stove’s manual for the best directions and recommendations on cleaning and maintenance. 

Conclusion 

If you’re looking for one of the most affordable heating systems around, a pellet stove is worth it. Their fuel is inexpensive, and they produce very little pollution. However, if you need to heat a large home, it might make more sense to use a different heating source. 

About The Author

Jonathon is a mechanical engineer with over ten years of experience in the HVAC industry. He has hands-on experience with all types of HVAC systems.

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