Pellet stoves use compressed pellets, made from wood or other biomass, for fuel. They can be either fireplace inserts or free-standing stoves. Pellet stoves come in two types, which are based on the pellet delivery systems, top-fed or bottom-fed.
- A top-fed pellet stove directs pellets into a combustion chamber from a hopper at the top of the stove. The combustion chamber is more likely to be filled with ash and other debris.
- A bottom-fed pellet stove feeds pellets into the combustion chamber from the bottom and automatically pushes ash into the ash pan. Cleanup for bottom-fed stoves is typically easier because of the larger capacity of the ash pan.
Of the available biomass technologies, pellet stoves are among the easiest to operate and maintain. Unlike wood stoves, pellet-burning involves no cutting, less hauling, no splitting, stacking or waiting for your wood to dry. If used correctly, pellet stoves produce very little smoke and creosote, which is the main cause of chimney fires.
Wood pellets are normally manufactured from sawdust or wood chips through a combination of heat and pressure. Using premium grade pellets will help reduce the ash build up in stoves.
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