When you have your pellet stove ready to assemble you may be looking at the vents it has for you to install, usually requiring that you drill a few large holes through your walls. This is when most people seriously start thinking about hooking up their pellet stoves to the already existing HVAC system. Wondering if it is a good idea to hook something into the already existing system or just installing it as the guide requested.
You cannot hook a regular pellet stove into the already existing ductwork of your home, the vents used for pellet stove are for waste and not heat. A lot of the heat generated by pellet stove comes from the body of the pellet stove itself, which is why many people will prefer to have their stoves somewhere in a central open area.
There are pellet stoves that are different than the ones you may have found in your friend’s home, these are the stoves that you should be looking into if you want whole-house heating. However, pellet stoves of this type are not how we know pellets stoves, and understanding why normal pellet stoves won’t work and how the more complicated system work is vital to building a complete experience.
What kind of ductwork system does use pellets?
Ducted pellet stoves are vastly different from normal pellet stoves and are called ducted pellet stoves, which are meant to be kept in the basement of a home rather than the central areas. These pellet stoves work differently, by creating hot air that is pumped throughout the home, with a separate vent for the exhaust.
This allows you to heat your whole home comfortably with a central pellet stove, however, these types of pellet stoves have the same cleaning and maintenance requirements as normal stoves. The benefit of these should be obvious, as pellet stoves are usually just for heating central areas, with some hotter air leaking into the rest of your home.
Ductwork pellet stoves are perfect for homes that have more rooms, and fewer central areas, as there are vents that go to each room and provide hot air. Similar to how a normal HVAC system would work, these types of pellet stoves are popular in areas where you don’t need to cool the home during summer but do need to heat it during the winter months.
What are the vents on the pellet stove for?
At a glance, most people will assume that the vents for their pellet stove are there to spread more heat, and these vents can become pretty hot. However, they are there for exhausting dirty air only, which usually contains a high concentration of things you don’t want in your home at all. This is why venting for pellet stoves is done as quickly as possible so that there is no chance of leakage.
These vents are usually double-layered, to the confusion of many people, this is to stop the vent from becoming so hot that it can set the surrounding insulation of your wall alight. This is all the central vent for your pellet stove that you will see coming out of the top, however, there are other vents on the side and back of your pellet stove that you need to be aware of.
These are vents where some hot air will be pushed out by the system as well as intake vents to allow the pellet stove to breathe. Having any of these vents covered in any way will negatively affect the performance of your pellet stove, with most people choosing to add a normal fan that just blows the hot air around to make the stove more effective.
Why can’t pellet stoves be used with ductwork?
You may be wondering why your normal pellet stove cannot be routed and modified to be used with your ductwork, with many answers coming to mind. However, there are three that you will need to keep in mind, each one important to remember how a vented pellet stove does normally work.
Having a good pellet stove that is central to a room is much more likely to allow your pellet stove to effectively work, with most people having more than one pellet stove available in their larger homes. Understanding that normal pellet stoves cannot be modified to build an effective ductwork system is a vital part of building an effective heating system for your home.
- Single point of heat: Pellet stoves are built to provide a central point of heating, which means that there is no way for heat to escape down a central tube. Like wood stoves, the entire system becomes hot, making a central hot spot that slowly starts to heat the air in a room. Ducting systems require fans and a controllable system to focus the hot air to the right channels.
- No smoke: The no smoke part of a pellet stove is amazing, and also means that a normal pellet stove cannot be ducted into an HVAC system. The biggest mistake people make is pushing their pellet stove exhaust vent into the HVAC. While they have no smoke the air escaping the vents is still filled with CO2, soot, and other dangerous gasses that will and have killed people.
- One fan: Most systems that are hooked up to HVAC systems have several fans that control how the air moves through the system. Pellet stoves have only one, and that is the fan that pushes oxygen towards the burning pellets. This makes it wholly incompatible with any ductwork system that needs to be controlled to provide heating differently to different rooms.
Why is a pellet stove better than a full HVAC?
With all of this, you may be wondering why a pellet stove is better than an HVAC system, seeing as pellet stoves can only heat one room at a time. Leading many people to automatically install these systems and then soon realizing they are spending a fortune to keep their homes warm in the winter months.
HVAC systems have a lot of benefits, but also several defects that have seen them falling out of favor in recent years as technology has improved. Most houses now have full hybrid systems that the owners prefer, using several ways that save energy to warm up a home rather than relying only on one system that can become faulty.
- Centralized heating: HVAC systems are perfect for when you have a lot of people throughout a building all using different rooms to keep themselves warm. However, if you are using the same room, or just have one large space that requires a lot of heating to keep warm, then using a pellet stove is the obvious answer. Pellet stoves use a fraction of the power and cost to keep large areas warm than other systems use.
- No wasted heat: Because the pellet stove is physically in the area that it needs to heat up, most systems can run at around 80% or more efficiency. Easily pushing hot air into the area instead of losing it to areas that the vents are going through. To further increase their efficiency most owners, place a floor fan that blows the hot air of the pellet stove around a room even further.
- Quicker heat: Pellet stoves start heating a room within minutes of being switched on, with the heat quickly spreading. This is usually when people experience the massive difference a pellet stove can make to their homes, as the pellet stove makes a difference within minutes, instead of hours.
- Controlled heat: Unlike HVAC you can control the heat much better, which might sound odd since central heating systems are controlled through one thermostat. But Pellet stoves allow you to have one area that is warm while leaving the rest of the house at their temperatures. Many people prefer to have their bedrooms slightly more chilly than the central area where they are walking around and working the whole day.
You cannot hook your brand-new pellet stove into the already existing HVAC system; however, you can buy pellet stoves built specifically for that. Pellet stove vents are meant to exhaust waste air out of your building, allowing you to comfortably use the heat without choking on CO2 and other dangerous gasses. This is why you cannot simply vent the stove into your already existing ductwork.
Whatever you do, just make sure the exhaust vent for your pellet stove is not too close to your house, no one wants a long black trail of soot running up the side of their home!