Energy Efficiency of Pellet Stoves


For many homeowners, pellet stoves represent a low cost and high efficiency option for heating their homes during the winter. In addition to their ease of operation and minimal maintenance, pellet stoves continue to gain popularity as they present a more energy efficient option to environmentally conscious homeowners. Pellet stoves are able to replicate the look and feel of a wood burning stove with the added benefit of increased energy efficiency.

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Are pellet stoves more efficient than other wood burning appliances?

One of the major draws of pellet stoves is their efficiency. In a regular wood burning appliance, energy is wasted breaking down the wood so it can be burned. Because of a pellet’s size and composition, it is able to burn with less energy wasted. The majority of pellet stoves are between 75% and 90% efficient and have a BTU output 4-5 times higher than firewood.

Additionally, pellet stoves are able to benefit from better fuel to air ratios in the combustion chamber. This leads to the fuel being burned more completely, causing less waste and increasing efficiency. Finally, unlike wood burning appliances pellet stoves create very little smoke and creosote, the buildup of which is the number one cause of chimney fire.

How much do pellet stoves cost to operate?

Because they do require electricity for their fans and feeders, many homeowners worry about any additional electricity costs a pellet stove may have. However, these appliances actually use very little electricity. For a pellet stove that is used as the primary heating appliance for an entire home, the average cost per month in electricity is only $9. While this price may vary, it is often far less that the extremely high price of natural gas during the cold winter months.

The only other cost associated with running a pellet stove is that of the fuel itself. While pellets are slightly more expensive than cordwood, this is easily made up for by the fact that pellet stoves burn much more efficiently than traditional wood stoves. And while it may not save dollars, many homeowners appreciate the fact that their pellet stove can operate without the constant needed to be tended, stoked, or have logs added.

What size pellet stove do I need?

Choosing the right size pellet stove for your home can be a daunting process. A stove that’s too big tends to run at a low smolder, wasting fuel and creating increased air pollution. Likewise, a stove that’s too small will not be able to adequately heat the entire home, leaving residents chilly and frustrated. According to energy.gov, “A good rule-of-thumb is that a stove rated at 60,000 British Thermal Units (Btu) can heat a 2,000-square-foot home, while a stove rated at 42,000 Btu can heat a 1,300-square-foot space.”

The experts at Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney will be able to help you choose the pellet stove that is right for your family based on your space, style, and heating needs. Contact them today for more information on how a pellet stove can more efficiently heat your home this winter!