Can Pellet Stoves Heat A Whole House?

Wood and Pellets in front of fire

An old type of heating source that has rapidly become popular again is the simple pallet stove, and the reasons are varied. Some say nothing cooks like a pellet stove in their campervans, while some use them for their amazing efficiency in heating your home. Many homeowners are considering getting pellet stoves to heat their whole houses, wondering just how effective they can be. 

Pellet stoves cannot heat a whole house that has been partitioned, the stove is capable of making one room extremely hot but not distributing heat throughout the house. It is best to use pellet stoves in open areas or for smaller apartments that have no walls, an alternative to whole-house heating will always be a good furnace. 

That does answer one question, but you may be wondering why people are currently adding pellet stoves to their homes if they are capable of so little. To understand this we need to look at all the advantages and disadvantages that pellet stoves have, along with the efficiency of the stove when it is running at full speed. 

What are the advantages of pellet stoves?

When you first see a pellet stove you may be with a friend looking at their stove or simply walking through a mall and find them on display. pellet stove have many advantages that need to be understood, these are the things that have made them so much more popular than they used to be, and many stove owners will actively share them. 

An important thing to remember is the efficiency of pellet stoves, even older pellet stoves are capable of being around 80% efficient. It has been said that an average pellet stove is almost three times as efficient as a furnace for heating one area. This is because of the way that the heat in a pellet stove is spread to the surrounding air, most of the unit will heat up which heats air even faster. 

Further, pellet stoves are great at lasting a long time, which is where much of the appeal comes in as well. Pellets are inexpensive to buy and one bag that contains around 40 pounds of pellets can last for 24-hours, assuming that you will be burning pellets continuously. This makes pellet stoves much cheaper to run than even wood stoves and causes a lot less smoke when you are using them. 

How long would it take a pellet stove to heat one room?

This is a question that many people ask when they first see the size of a pellet stove, even the largest ones can seem to be insignificantly small. Pellet stoves are great, specifically because of their small size, and their ability to heat even the largest of rooms. 

For the average-sized living room, a pellet stove can start heating it within a few minutes of being lit, while larger areas can easily take almost an hour to be fully heated. Campervans that have pellet stoves installed easily start getting heated within seconds of everything being lit, while some areas are entirely dependant on how close you are to the stove. 

In larger areas it can take quite a while to feel the full effect of the pellet stove, sometimes it can be entirely dependent on the way that heat travels throughout the room. You may be sitting on the couch and not feel any of the heat at first, while someone sitting next to the pellet stove is uncomfortably warm. With pellet stoves, it is all about waiting for the entire room to heat a few degrees and then having the pellet stove provide slow, constant heat. 

Why can pellet stoves not heat an entire house?

A common thing that you will see is that pellet stoves cannot heat a whole house they are specifically made to only heat certain areas. This can be confusing when you first experience the healing properties of a pellet stove and you know that it easily does provide enough heat. You may eagerly install a pellet stove in your own home and be disappointed to experience a lack of heat in rooms almost right next to the stove. 

pellet stove are great area heaters, however, because they have no vents or ducting moving throughout the house, the heat stays locked into the room the stove is in. This is because pellet stoves are a single point of origin heat, this inhibits them from really spreading hit, usually heating the air in a room up. 

If there is airflow from one room to another then the pellet stove may be a bit more capable of heating the house than a normal one. However, this is difficult to accomplish and many homeowners would rather install other heating devices in smaller rooms, as underfloor heating or just a heater can be effective there. Pellet stoves work best when heating one large area than trying to heat several smaller areas. 

Where can a pellet stove be used for heating?

If you have a house the answer of where to put your pellet stove should be simple, the living area where you are the most. However, not everyone has a large house with several massive rooms that need to be heated throughout the winter. 

Knowing the full range of locations where pellet stoves can be used will make your life so much easier, especially when you consider some smaller pellet stoves can be the same size as a gas plate. Many DIY builders love using pellet stoves as they can be fit into odd locations that they may have made specifically to fit the pellet stove.

  • Campervans: There is an entire group of people around the world that have started living in custom made campervans. These vans are all amazing, comfortable, and low cost of living, and pellet stoves have become a new addition to these vans. Campervans are small and densely packed, which means that even the smallest pellet stove can heat a camper van. 
  • Small Apartments: A perfect location for pellet stoves are open plan apartments that many of us find ourselves living in. These wide-open spaces can be a challenge to keep warm in winters, as even the largest furnace needs to be running constantly. However, pellet stoves are easily capable of keeping these small open spaces warm and comfortable for hours on end. 
  • Open plan areas: If you do have a larger apartment or just a house with three or more large areas, you need to think about the location of the stove. Most modern homes have open plan living room, kitchen, and TV room combinations. It would be best to place the pellet stove in these rooms to achieve maximum efficiency in heating. 
  • Closed Rooms: There are some homes and rooms that need to be heated because they are constantly used. This may be a fishing cabin you have on a frozen lake, or it could be the home office you are always working from. Putting a small pellet stove in these rooms is a good way to keep it warm without spending the energy on trying to heat the whole house. 

What is the best way to test a pellet stove?

When you do decide to go out into the world and purchase a pellet stove it can be a real challenge to find one that you trust. The manufacturers of the stoves may be foreign to you or there are simply too few to choose from in your local hardware store. Testing a pellet stove can be a challenge and knowing which one will work for your needs can be even more confusing. 

The only real way to test a pellet stove is to use it, which can be a significant problem if you only have it in your budget for one stove. To learn which one works the best it may be worth reaching out on social media to see who has similar pellet stoves to the one you are considering. Seeing and feeling a pellet stove working can easily tell you which one you would prefer. 

Few shops that sell pellet stoves will have them running, however, there are instances where this is done. If you are unable to find someone in your area to show you any of the good pellet stoves, it might be worth checking online videos as there are people that upload reviews of some of the more popular pellet stoves. 


A pellet stove is fantastic when you want to heat a large open area, however, it should not be used when you have several smaller areas that you need to heat. Further, if an area is too large then pellet heaters may only be able to provide one small area of heating. 

Pellet heaters are extremely efficient and can save you a lot of money if all you have been using for heating was oil or electricity!

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