When it comes to heating your home, alternative heating methods are becoming more reliable and efficient every year. If you use hot-water baseboard heating and are looking for a new way to warm your home, a pellet stove can work with your boiler to make it happen.
Pellet stoves are the cleanest of the solid fuel-burning heating options you can put into your home. Pellet stoves burn compressed pellets of sawdust and other wood waste and can be used in free-standing homes as well as apartments or condos. While pellet stoves are often used like space heaters or fireplaces, heating one specific room, they can also be connected to back boilers for use in conjunction with baseboard heating systems.
Hot-water baseboard heating systems work much like radiators; hot water pumps through copper piping hidden behind the baseboards, circulating heat that rises to warm a cold room. The hot water is supplied by a boiler system. As it cools in the pipes, the water is circulated up back to the boiler to be heated up again. If you have a back boiler connected to your pellet stove, that boiler can supply the hot water for the baseboard heating.
When you use a pellet stove and baseboard heating together, you lose some of the warmth in the room where the stove is located. Only 20 to 60 percent of the heat will be available for circulation in the room; the rest will be used to heat water. If you are attempting to replace an old furnace with a new pellet stove, it can be challenging to get it to work with your current boiler, although it can be done if your new burner is sized and positioned just right.
Pellet stoves and the boiler systems they service are more common in countries like Scandinavia and Finland than in the United States. Pellet stoves achieve high combustion efficiency rates, but they do have a major drawback: they must be connected to electric power to run. If you lose electricity, not only will the stove shut down and stop warming the main room of your home, but you will also lose all baseboard heating as well.
- Green Living by Design; Editors of Point-Click-Home
- Home Improvement 1-2-3; John Holms
- Wood Pellet Heating Systems; Dilwyn Jenkins