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  • Tips for Buying Pellet Stoves - Part 2 of 2
    In Part 1 posted on May 16th, we discussed the basics about pellet stoves and performance considerations. Now we’ll wrap up this two-part blog series with information you need about installation and costs, pellet fuel, and using and maintaining a pellet stove.

    Installation

    As a point of reference, the approximate cost for purchasing and having a pellet stove installed is about $3,100 and up (actual costs will vary by area of the country and stove model). For safe and reliable installation, we recommend hiring a professional installer certified by the National Fireplace Institute®. That person will also obtain necessary permits and arrange required inspections.

    Pellet stoves have a flue pipe that extends horizontally through a wall to the outdoors, or vertically through the ceiling. A professional stove dealer will offer guidance to determine the appropriate stove for your home depending on square footage, ceiling height and the number and size of windows.

    Pellet Fuel

    Pellets are renewable fuel made from compacted sawdust, wood chips, bark, and agricultural crop waste – turning materials that may otherwise go to a landfill into energy. They are a cost stable, low carbon fuel that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions when used as an alternative to fossil fuels such as heating oil, propane and natural gas.

    Pellets can be purchased in 40 lb. bags at fireplace dealers, nurseries, building supply stores, feed and garden supplies, and some discount merchandisers. In certain areas of the country, pellets can be purchased in bulk. When burned in a high efficiency pellet stove, one bag can provide up to a full day of steady heat.

    On average, a winter’s supply of pellets is 100 to 150 bags (2-3 tons), depending on your climate, home size, and lifestyle variations. The average price per BTU for pellet heat is often considerably lower than other heating fuels, such as heating oil, propane and electricity.

    Use and Maintenance

    Pellet stoves require simple maintenance to keep them running their best. They should be cleaned and inspected at least once a year, or after each time one ton of pellets have been burned through. You can do this yourself by carefully following instructions in the owner’s manual, or you can hire a professional. Most pros will also inspect vital components like the auger, motor, hopper, switches, blowers, wiring, seals, sensors and exhaust pipes.

    Over the course of the heating season, ongoing maintenance is needed to keep your stove functioning properly. This includes cleaning ash out of the burn chamber and the ash pan, scraping of the burn pot, and keeping vital components free of ash. Be sure to wear heat resistant gloves to protect your hands and arms, and deposit ashes in a metal container with a lid that’s stored far away from any combustibles. Consult the owner’s manual for specific instructions.

    Some brands of pellet stoves require less maintenance than others. Good examples are stoves manufactured by Harman and Quadra-Fire. These brands outfit their pellet stoves with today’s best technologies for making heating with pellets as easy as possible.

    Why a Pellet Stove?

    What are your reasons for considering a pellet stove? Is it because today’s state-of-the-art technologies have made pellet stoves convenient and easy-to-use? Or because some stoves are thermostatically controlled and easy to maintain? Or maybe it’s the advanced burn technology that produces less ash and low outside air particulate emissions? Whatever your reasons, the bottom line is still that pellet stoves can help to save money while utilizing a renewable fuel. And because pellets are grown, harvested and produced right here in the U.S., you’re also helping to reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil.

    You can learn more about pellet stoves by visiting a Harman or Quadra-Fire dealer, and by checking out our pellet stove options.

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