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How a Pellet Stove Works
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How a Pellet Stove Works

The digital electronic control panel that controls all moving components necessary for the stove to work as a safe efficient heating pellet stove. Here is an overview on how they work:

Pellet come in 40 lb bags that you pour into the stove's hopper.  Most stove hopper will contain 35 lbs and up to 135 lbs with the average stove holding 50 to 70 lbs of fuel.  Larger hopper can be desirable, as the more fuel that the hopper contains will determine how often you have to refuel the stove.  The average usage of pellets is approx 1 bag per day in milder climates and 1.5 to 2 bags per day in colder climates.  With an average usage of 3 ton in milder climates and 4 to 5 tons in colder climates. 

Most pellet stoves operates with an auger system that will move the pellet up a chute and then drop the pellet into a burn pot where the actual fire is contained.  The operator will select the feed rate on the control board that controls the auger speed.  On a very low feed rate there will be approximately 1 lb of pellets per hour or on a high feed rate four or five lbs per hour.  Each pound will produce little less then 10,00 0 BTU's per hour. 


The pellets are feed into the burn pot where the actual combustion of the pellets occurs.  The initial ignition of the fire can be accomplished by utilizing an automatic igniter on most new pellet stoves, or using some type of fire starter can ignite the fire manually if you don't have an igniter. 

Once the pellet are feed into the burn pot, combustion air is sucked through burn pot producing a super heated flame that is drawn up through and heats the heat exchangers then being exhausted out through the vent system.

Once the stove warms up the convection blower starts up recirculating the room air though the hot heat exchangers that can reach a heat of about 250 degrees, back into the room.  The pellet stove relies on convection heat, unlike a wood stove that relies on radiant heat.  If there are small children around this may be a safety consideration as the external temperature of a pellet stove is relatively cool. However If you where to lose power the stove will cease to operate, unless you have an alternate power supply such as a generator or a battery backup with and inverter. 

Pellet stoves typically require a non combustible surface at a minimum of 3/8 inch thick for them to set on, and the stove can set located within 1 to 3 inches to a combustible surface such as your wall.  This can be desirable as there is a smaller amount of floor space required when locating the unit.

The exhaust system requires three and sometimes four inch pellet vent pipe depending on how it is to be installed. The installation can be accomplished as simple as running a vent pipe through the wall and terminating with a pellet vent exhaust cap.  A lot of homeowner will do their own installation due to the simplicity the work.  The best installation will terminate above the stove so that in case of power outage there will be a natural draft created which will evacuate the smoke from the unit to the atmosphere instead of into the room.  The actual installation must conform to all specifications that are outlined in your owner’s manual

Additional links of Interest
Pellet Stove Venting
Pellet Stove Fuel