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Five Things You Need to Know About Pellet Stove Inserts


Winter will be here before we know it, and for many, nothing beats a cozy evening in front of the fire. Around this time of year, people come to us wondering which fire is best… wood burning, gas, electric or pellet stoves and inserts? There is no one right answer. Instead, it depends on several factors, including personal preference, what you hope to achieve with your fire feature and home infrastructure.

This blog post focuses on pellet stove inserts and five things you should know about them, beginning with the basics.

1. What Exactly is a Pellet Stove Insert?

Pellet stove inserts burn compressed pellets, usually made from wood by-products like sawdust. Properly installed inserts are exceptionally efficient heating units that can reduce the need for gas or electric systems, especially in smaller homes or for families who spend most of their time in one room.

And they give new life to old, drafty fireplaces. Installed directly into an existing masonry fireplace, pellet stove inserts vent through the chimney, safely removing any exhaust gases and ash from the home. They run on electricity, steadily feeding pellets from a storage container known as the hopper to the burn pot area. This creates a constant flame that requires little to no action to maintain. And most pellet stove inserts are self-igniting and switch on and off using a thermostat, making them even more low maintenance.

2. One Size Does Not Fit All

Before selecting a unit, first determine the size you need based on your existing fireplace. The diagram here will tell you what measurements to take. You can also fill out this form and one of our team members can assist.

Unit dimensions are not the only size that matters. Consider the square footage you plan to heat and compare that with a unit’s BTUs (British Thermal Units), which represent its projected heat output. If you choose one that is too large, you risk losing fuel and creating more air pollution. Too small and it will not produce enough heat for your space.

3. Pellet Stove Inserts Are Efficient and Eco-Friendly

Traditional open masonry fireplaces draw in large amounts of heated room air for combustion and then release it up into the chimney rather than back into the home. Typically, they have about a 10% efficiency. They also produce significant air pollution.

On the other hand, pellet stove inserts produce very little pollution. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, they are the cleanest solid fuel heating appliance for residential spaces. As we mentioned before, they are also highly efficient. Pellet stove inserts typically heat with about a 78% to 85% efficiency. In fact, some are so efficient, homeowners can claim a federal tax credit by installing them.

The pellet stove insert’s high performance is due to several factors, including its smart design and unique fuel source. Pellets emit more heat than traditional firewood. And because that heat is regulated, it takes less effort to maintain the desired temperature for longer amounts of time.

4. Choose Your Fuel Wisely

All pellets are not made equally. Typically, they can be found at most hardware stores, but be careful with your selection. Be sure to purchase pellets made from 100% hardwood. Softer products are less efficient and have shorter burn times. Additionally, they tend to produce more ash and waste, which requires more maintenance and can impact a unit’s longevity.

5. Although Low Maintenance, Pellet Stove Inserts Are Still Complex Appliances

Although pellet stove inserts are easy to maintain and operate, they are relatively complex appliances. Homeowners are more than capable of handling quick weekly cleanings, usually performed with a few simple tools. A bucket for ash, a scraper and fine bristle brush, and perhaps a vacuum, will do.

But you will want to entrust annual maintenance to the experts. From installation to long-term care, our team can help you choose and maintain your pellet stove insert for years to come. After selecting the perfect unit for your space and needs, we will ensure your insert is properly ventilated, insulated and powered to deliver maximum heat and comfort all winter long.

Complete Home Concepts are the pellet stove insert experts. Our selection of top brands like Quadra-Fire and Harman deliver the feel of a traditional wood-burning fire without all the hassle.

Contact us today for a free consultation.