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Pellet Stoves- practical?

2011 August 22

Laura Scatena of NJ’s Department of Environmental Protection sent a few questions over. We’d thought we’d see if anyone out there has thoughts. I’ll post the remaining questions throughout the week. Please reply here if you have ideas or suggestions. Thanks.

Are Pellet Stoves Practical for the Average Consumer?
I visited a local wood stove dealer/retailer this weekend and I found out that there are some definite geographic preferences for pellet stoves. I’m wondering if other states/locals have had this similar experience. During our discussion, the salesperson described the maintenance and impracticality of the pellet stove for certain customers, e.g., weekly, biweekly, and monthly maintenance, yet the EPA website claims that pellet stoves “may be the easiest to operate and maintain.” Also, finding pellets to buy and then storing the pellets may pose difficulties, or “inconveniences.”

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. Richelle Perez permalink
    August 22, 2011

    In this area I’ve heard from some people that they keep their woodstoves because of frequent power outages after windstorms. Pellets stoves need electricity to use the auto-load so they may not work in a power outage without a generator.


  2. August 23, 2011

    Hi Richelle,
    I actually had the same discussion with people here regarding the same issue; they want to keep their wood stoves because they don’t require electricity. Thanks! It leads me to think about economic impacts and EJ issues when developing programs to try to reduce the impacts from wood smoke.


  3. Larry Brockman permalink
    August 24, 2011

    As noted in previous comments pellets stoves have the disadvantage of requiring electricity which is one reason many people choose to purchase a wood stove over a pellet stove. From an air quality and a home owner’s level of effort standpoint, pellet stoves can be very advantageous. Wood moisture content is controlled which provides a much better burn than a wood stove that relies on the homeowner to provide dry firewood and operate the stove correctly, e.g., enough air at the right time. Wood used by homeowners is often times unseasoned or wet causing wood to burn poorly. Most wood pellets are manufactured to have low moisture (~6%) content and the stove provides the right amount of air to fuel to allow for high combustion efficiency, which translates into a much cleaner burn. Wood pellets can be purchased in 40 lbs bags and in some areas of the country delivered in bulk to your home.

    As people age and are less able or inclined to cut, split, stack and store wood, wood pellet stoves can be a good option. For more on the pros and cons of wood pellet stoves, see the fact sheet at:

    EPA recommends that air districts consider providing higher incentives for wood pellet stoves and gas stoves than for EPA certified wood stoves during wood stove changeouts campaigns if your primary goal is to reduce PM2.5 and air toxic pollutants.


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