Problems With Wood Pellets

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As consumers become more concerned with increasing energy costs and the environmental impact of home heating, alternative fuels are getting a lot more attention. One common alternative heating source is the pellet stove. These stoves use compressed wood pellets instead of ordinary cord wood. They burn hotter and more efficiently than a conventional wood stove and produce much less waste. However, like any other fuel, wood pellets have their problems.

Reliance on Supplier

  • While wood pellets are readily available in most areas, and some pellet stoves can also burn corn, owners of most models are dependent on their pellet supplier for fuel. Pellet stoves cannot burn ordinary wood, sawdust or wood shavings effectively. According to Hearth.com, most pellet fuel manufacturers are located in the Rocky Mountain and Northwest regions of the United States. Buyers in other regions may have more difficulty finding suppliers.

Storage

  • Like an ordinary wood stove, a pellet stove requires fuel to be on hand. Owners of pellet stoves must find space to store wood pellets over the course of the winter. Wood pellet fuels can take up a lot of space. According to Hearth.com, the average home uses between 1 and 6 tons per winter, packaged in 40 pound bags. These bags must be stored in a safe, dry location until they can be used.

Reliance on Electricity

  • Pellet-burning appliances don't work without electricity. They use a fairly complex mechanism to evenly feed pellets into the fire, and use a fan to distribute the heat. This means that, should the power go out, the pellet stove no longer works to heat your home. Appliances with battery packs can alleviate this problem. Pellet stoves do not work well for homeowners who wish to avoid reliance on electric power.

Maintenance

  • While wood pellet stoves produce less waste than a conventional wood stove, they still require more attention than the average furnace. According to Desmesne, pellet stoves need to be cleaned out thoroughly on a regular basis. They may also need periodic adjustments to make sure the mechanisms operate correctly. According to Hearth.com, some stoves require yearly servicing by a professional, and stoves may have wear parts, which need routine replacement. These factors can make it difficult for a busy person to use wood pellets for fuel.

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