How to choose
If you already have a fireplace, don’t use it for space heating. Fireplaces often cause all areas except the room they’re in to become cold. And their efficiency is very low generally about 25 percent. But you can boost the efficiency of a fireplace with a fireplace insert. Essentially a self-contained firebox, the insert fits into the existing box and allows air to circulate around it, thus heating it. The insert is connected to the chimney to vent the smoke and combustion by-products. If you don’t have a working fireplace, choose a freestanding stove, which you can place nearly anywhere in your home. (Venting a freestanding stove requires punching through the building envelope and installing a chimney of appropriate design, or alternatively, using an aftermarket power vent designed for wood-burning appliances.)
Heat load is measured in British thermal units per hour, or Btu/h. You need 25 to 30 Btu/h per square foot, or at least 5,000 Btu/h for a 200-square-foot space. The actual heat loss (and conversely the amount of heat needed) is based on where you live (outdoor air temperature), the amount of insulation in the ceiling and exterior walls of the space, the number and size of the space’s windows, and whether or not there is heated space above and below the room. Our technical team will calculate how many Btu/h you need to heat your space and select an appropriately sized insert or stove.
For a true comparison of the costs, you have to look at not just the price of the fuel but also the heating value of the fuel, also measured in Btu, and the efficiency of the heating appliance. This information can be found on our Pellet bags. Typical humidity level in our Pellets is a paltry 9%! This means that our pellets’ have a very high density and will therefore last longer.
Traditional wood-burning fireplaces and older stoves can be woefully inefficient, and are known to produce upwards of 40 grams of smoke per hour. The latest wood-burning inserts and stoves are much better EPA-certified to produce no more than 7.5 grams of smoke per hour. Pellet emissions are so minimal that the EPA does not regulate them (though voluntary certification is available). In areas of the world where burning solid wood is restricted, pellet burning is often unrestricted.
Wood-burning appliances are literally “off the grid,” so you need to load, light, and stoke them by hand. Pellet-burning devices, on the other hand, can be fully automated but require electricity to operate. (Battery backups are available, and you can also connect the units to a backup generator. Although you don’t need to tend to pellet appliances, you must fill the hopper frequently, depending on the size of the reservoir and amount of use.
Staring at a flame can be relaxing but doing so for long can irritate your eyes so avoid it. The sound of a crackling log fire can be soothing but the sound of the fans of a pellet stove can be a nuisance. In order to make sure and before you decide, pop round to our showroom for a demonstration to be sure.
Regardless of what you burn, you’ll have to clear out the ashes, clean the chimney, vent connector, and flueways, and perform basic maintenance. Also have the unit inspected annually by our technical team.