When you have your pellet stove running the whole time you will notice a few things, chief of which is that you need to refill the pellet holder more often than you thought. However, when you do shut it down to clean you will see that several parts of the pellet stove rely heavily on electricity. As most people know anything that uses electricity to keep a place heated uses more power, so does that include a pellet stove?
Pellet stoves do not use a lot of electricity, even when running 24/7, because the pellet stove does not create heat through electricity. The electricity that a pellet stove needs is only used when initially lighting the pellets, and to run the fan that feeds the fire oxygen. As the fan struggles to pull in more air or the vents become clogged the fan may have to work harder, which can use more electricity.
There are many ways that your pellet stove can use more electricity and many people around the world have found that if they maintain their stoves properly it barely makes a noticeable difference to their electric bills. Understanding what can cause the stove to use a lot more energy is vital and being able to easily diagnose what the problem is will help you solve it without having to rely on the experts.
What can cause a pellet stove to use more electricity?
When you have been running your pellet stove for several years you may start to notice that your winter electric bills are starting to increase whenever it is running. It should be slightly higher than in the summer months, however, if you see a significant spike that is not in line with the previous years you will need to check on the pellet stove.
Several things can easily, and will easily, increase the amount of electricity that your pellet stove is using. Most people fail to consider these and start blaming either the wrong parts or simply replace the pellet stove when the fix is easy. As with all appliances having a proper maintenance schedule is vital and will save you pellets and electricity.
- Wet pellets: Apart from the fan and auger in your pellet stove the only other electric part in a pellet stove is the igniter. This works through electricity to get the fire going for the first time, if your pellets are wet or damp then they will take a lot longer to ignite and may even quell the fire. This causes your igniter to stay on for longer or to start up again, causing more electric usage.
- Clogged vents: The biggest cause of more fan power being needed is when your vents become clogged, which can be caused by anything like dust, soot, or ash getting caught by the filters. A big problem that those leaving their stoves running 24/7 find themselves with are vents that need to be cleaned monthly.
- Faulty igniter: The igniter for a pellet stove is a slightly complicated system, and in other ways completely simple. Similar to the heating element found inside an electric stove these igniters get red hot, but when they are damaged or just old they become less effective. This causes them to run much longer and sometimes even hotter than needed to be effective. The igniter should only be active when the stove is started, or the fire dies down.
- Old Fan: If maintained properly then the auger and igniter of your pellet stove should never fail, lasting you’re the life of the pellet stove. However, the same cannot be said for the fan, as this moving part is always moving, goes at high speeds, and is a wear item. As your pellet stove gets older not only does the fan become ineffective, it starts to drain more energy as it becomes unbalanced and the bearings become worn out.
Can pellet stoves use less electricity?
pellet stove can use a lot less electricity by changing two things, using higher quality pellets that are drier and softer, and changing the fan that comes included. The fans used for pellet stove are the same fans you might find in your computer, using higher quality fans that can push through more air, with lower power, will cause the entire system to run more effectively.
Apart from upgrading parts of the pellet stove, many people recommend installing it slightly away from walls and making sure the area surrounding the stove is open. Doing this allows the vents that are on the stove to pull in the air as well, allowing it to rely less on the fan. There are a few other things that should be done on repeat to ensure the stove is always running at optimal efficiency.
One of the most important things that always seems to be skipped is when people are constantly forgetting to clean their pellet stove. When there is a mountain of ash and debris in the way then the pellet stove cannot perform properly, usually having to burn a lot hotter than is necessary. Keeping the entire pellet stove clean and clear will ensure that it is always working properly.
What kind of electricity does the pellet stove need?
All pellet stove are made to be used in homes, which means that the electric source that is connected to the pellet stove needs to be able to supply the standard power for your country. In most countries, this will be 120V coming from the wall socket and can only be reproduced for vans and the like by using an inverter.
When you have a power outage and you are forced to use a generator, solar power, or just a car battery you will still need to put something in line before the pellet stove for everything to work properly. For generators, it is always safer to run any piece of the appliance through a UPS system that stabilizes the power enough for everything to be happy.
While solar and battery power usually only produces 12V of power, which means that you need to install an inverter to make everything work properly. This is the only way of getting the right voltage and amperage for your pellet stove to continually run when the main power has failed. This is the solution most have in areas where they have unstable electricity supplies.
How much energy does it save compared to other heaters?
pellet stove save a lot of power and waste when compared with most of the other ways of heating a building. For places where it snow there is only one real contender that can be received from the government while wooden stoves are the only ways of heating your house more effectively.
It is vital to know how much you are saving when you go out into the garage on a cold winter’s morning to fetch a fresh bag of pellets. pellet stove are remarkably versatile in how they save you money and knowing how the other options would compare will save you time and money when upgrading or choosing a system.
- Electric By far the least effective way to heat a house that is in below-freezing temperatures, electric heating can be anything from HVAC systems, aircon, or just wall-mounted heated plates. These all consume a large amount of power and will cause problems, purely because they can make a power bill almost triple in size.
- Gas: Gas is the most effective and cheapest way to heat any house, able to be built into ducting systems or used as portable heating systems. Gas has been shown to have an even lower cost to run than pellet stoves, however, if something goes wrong it can be a lot deadlier, with CO2 leaks and other gasses causing suffocation.
- Fan: Fan heaters are a form of electric heaters that can be remarkably effective when used in smaller areas. However, as the area size increases so does the effectiveness of these decrease. Consuming a significant amount of electricity these are never meant to be used for more than an hour and will make your electric bill rise significantly.
- Water: Water heating is only used for underfloor heating and can be significant power saving, especially when combined with a gas system. These underfloor heating systems are big and complicated to build but will comfortably keep your house warm throughout the night.
Your pellet stove will not use a significant amount of power and will most likely be balanced out by your fridge not running as much anymore. pellet stove are meant to be run 24/7 and the manufacturers ensured that their power usage is low enough to ensure that you will not be dissuaded from using it to save power.
Even with the low energy costs, you must always ensure that the pellets you are buying are not the most expensive ones on the market!