Some of you may be considering a pellet stove as a heating option. Modern pellet burning stoves and inserts come in many shapes, sizes and even colors. Pellets are a renewable bio-fuel, made from compressed sawdust. As such, many pellet appliances qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $300. Some pellet stoves are capable of “multi-fuel” operation with alternative fuels like corn, although availability varies by region.
Pellet burning stoves fit the busy lifestyle of most homeowners with features like a thermostat. Also, a pellet stove can be vented through an exterior wall, giving you more options than a traditional wood burning stove for installation. They do, however, require electricity, so in the event of a power outage, you will lose heat. Some manufacturers offer a battery back up, or there is always the option for a gas-powered generator.
Many of us in Flagstaff have homes with traditional wood fireplaces that aren’t used. Burning wood can be difficult for some because of physical limitations, or possibly due to respiratory issues. Pellet inserts provide a clean burning option for these consumers, while reducing the warm air typically lost up the chimney when the fire dies. The mess of ash and sparks can be a nuisance; pellet inserts are sealed, greatly reducing the amount of smoke and ash.
Open wood burning fireplaces create particulates of pollution in the air we breathe. As the EPA continues to lobby tougher regulations for wood burning products, manufacturers must invest in research and development to create products with lower emissions. This is expected to increase the cost of newly manufactured wood heaters as the EPA’s 2020 deadline approaches for the next phase of emission standards. With most pellet heaters already near or exceeding the requirements, this may bridge the cost gap from wood to pellet.
Modern technology has significantly improved the efficiency and reliability of pellet appliances since they were first manufactured in the 1980s. Pellet fuel is widely available from home improvement stores, warehouse clubs and outdoor supply retailers. Depending on your current heating costs, investing in a pellet appliance can pay for itself over time, while giving you that cozy feeling that only comes from a warm fire. FBN
By Chris Navarro
Chris Navarro is the owner of Aspen Fireplace & Stone, located at 1750 S. Railroad Springs Blvd., Ste. 7, Flagstaff 86001. For more information, call 928-774-0265 or visit aspenfireplaceflagstaff.com.