As more people are beginning to look for a renewable energy source for central heating in their homes, pellet and WOOD BURNING STOVES are becoming popular once again. They look almost similar to each other, but there are factors that you would need to consider, such as maintenance and cost of installation, among others. So, which is the better option between the two?
Here’s a short description of each product:
A wood burner is an appliance that burns wood and other biomass fuels derived from wood to produce heat. It is a fire chamber, made up of closed steel or cast iron, with an adjustable air control and fire bricks for its base. As the fuel ignites, the gas produced will be released through the ventilating pipes connecting the stove to the building’s vent or chimney. Most WOOD BURNERS are designed to be capable of being transformed into a multi-fuel stove.
Take note that they are different from WOOD PELLET BOILERS, which will only accept wood pellets as fuel. These burners are also used to heat homes and businesses, and they function similar to propane and oil boilers.
This is another modern heating appliance. You can have it connected to an existing chimney, or use it as a free-standing unit. A normal PELLET STOVE is assembled using large cast-iron or steel pieces that are heat conductive. Stainless steel is used to wrap exhaust areas and circuitry. It can burn biomass pellets from wood, energy crops, agricultural residues, food waste, and industrial waste.
What are the aspects that you need to take into consideration?
PRODUCT COST AND INSTALLATION
Normally, a wood burner is cheaper than the pellet burner. However, the installation might be a concern. A stove for pellets can be installed easily. Place it against a wall that has a small opening to the outdoors. Connect its vent pipe to the hole, so it can release the smoke outside your house. An instruction kit will be included with it and you should be able to follow the process without difficulty.
LOG BURNERS, in contrast, are much more difficult to install. Your house will have to have a chimney that’s taller than your roof’s highest point. If you will need a new one to be built, speak to a contractor to know how much it will cost.
If you live in in an area where you can get logs free, then obtain a wood burner. However, if that is not possible and you will need to purchase fuel anyway, this is the time you can think upon getting a pellet burner.
If free wood is available, it is worth knowing which ones are the best to use, such as beech, ash, and oak. These are good to have because they are hardwood, which makes them slow to burn; meaning, their output is sustained longer. On the other hand, softwoods from trees, like conifers and evergreen burn faster and leave more deposits and soot, which will require a more frequent cleaning of the burner.
It would be better if they have low moisture content because dry wood creates more heat. You may have to air dry them for up to two years for best results. If you have an open space where you can store them, and the time and energy to do it, then good. Otherwise, purchase pellet fuels instead. Take note as well that pellets will have to be stored indoors.
If you have a log burner, you have to regularly check if there is still enough wood to heat your house. This is similar to how you will tend to an old-fashioned fireplace. With a pellet burner however, you will not have this issue. If you need to heat the house for about two days, simply dump 110 pounds of pellets in it (depending on the size of your stove) and you’re done. It has a thermostat attached that will allow it to turn on and off on its own.
Unfortunately, if the power is down, the pellet burner will stop working. Electricity is needed to run its augers, which is the part that feeds pellets into the combustion slot. A power interruption will not be a problem to a log burner. And since it will come with features for cooking purposes, you can cook with it if your electric stove could not be used.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
Both stoves will need care in order for them to work properly. Wood stoves need more frequent cleaning because it produces a lot of ash, bark, wood chips, and soot. You can do it on your own, but expect of to be messy, so be careful. And since the chimney will also collect grime, you will have to get professional help to have it cleaned once a year.
Pellet burner maintenance is easier. Minimal ash volume, with no bark and chips. But because it has electric components, there will come a time when it will break down, and you will require someone to get it fixed. It would be great if you can buy it from a store that can also provide equipment maintenance.
POLLUTION AND SAFETY
Pellets are created from wastes (even those that are made from wood) so it is more environment friendly than chopping down trees to produce firewood. Pellet burners also create less smoke than those that burn wood.
Necessary ventilation and air flow are needed for safe and efficient wood burning. If the flue is not installed correctly, it may cause the smoke to go back to the house. And when the chimney is not cleaned regularly, it may result to fire. Aside from having a smoke detector, manufacturers recommend wood stove users to have carbon monoxide alarms and detectors. The Clean Air Act of the United States require wood stoves to be certified by EPA or the Environmental Protection Agency.