How Pellet Burning Stoves Work

How Pellet Burning Stoves Work

Many pellet burning stoves are similar in appearance to normal wood-burning stoves. However, the components of pellet stoves are more sophisticated.

Instead of split logs for fuel, pellet stoves use wood pellets, which can typically be purchased for $3 to $6 for a 40-pound bag. For most pellet stoves, between 30 and 130 pounds of pellets are loaded into a device called a “hopper.” Obviously, the bigger the stove’s hopper, the more pellets it can hold, and the longer the stove will provide heat without reloading.

Once the pellets are loaded into the hopper, they’re automatically transferred to the heating chamber at a controlled rate. An internal thermostat gauges the heat level and determines when more pellets are added.

Air from the room is drawn in through a built-in fan and transferred through the heating chamber. The hot air is then distributed back into the room or through the vent system in your home, depending on how your pellet stove is set up to disperse heat.

Pellet feeds

The device that carries the pellets to the combustion chamber is called an auger. Wood pellet stoves will have one of two types of augers: top-feed or bottom-feed.

Top-feed augers enter the pellet stove from the top. This reduces the risk of fire burning back into the hopper. However, with top-feed models, ash buildup in the firebox grate may suffocate the fire—so it’s important to keep the grate cleaned.

Bottom-feed augers move pellets horizontally through the pellet stove. The ash is shifted to the sides and falls into an ash pan, resulting in safe, easy cleaning and maintenance.

Keeping your pellet stove supplied with fuel is simple and convenient. Typically, you can fill a pellet stove in the morning and have enough heat for the entire day. For more on pellet stoves, visit our Benefits of Pellet Stoves page.