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Frequently Asked Questions


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Pellet Stove FAQs

  • How much do pellets cost?
    • We currently offer a 40 lb. bag for $5.50. A ton of pellets will cost $250.00. There is a $35 delivery charge per ton in our local delivery area.
  • How long does a 40 lb. bag last?
    • It depends on the temperature and setting (high, med, or low) the stove is set on and how long it runs. The Castille model in the showroom is turned on at 8:00 A.M. on high for 1 hour, at 9:00 it gets turned to low and runs that way for the rest of the day until it is shut off around 3:30 to 4:00 P.M. It goes through a full bag in about 3 1/2 days. The average customer in this area reported last winter (2007-2008) a usage between a half-ton to a ton for the whole season.
  • What factors determine appliance location?
    • For maximum enjoyment and heating effectiveness, a major living area where the family spends leisure hours and which provides heat flow to other areas is usually a strongly preferred location for the stove. The pellet heating professional considers the following factors when determining whether installation requirements can be met in the homeowner's preferred location:
      • Venting may be limited by factors like obstructions above for vertical venting through the ceiling and roof, or by the distance to an outside wall for horizontal venting.
      • Outside air for combustion, if needed, must be drawn from an approved location.
      • Space requirements must meet minimum clearances between the stove and combustibles. More space than the minimum required may be desirable to provide room for convenient operation and service.
      • Proximity to a properly wired outlet.
  • Can I put a wood or pellet stove in a bedroom?
    • No
  • What are my choices for floor protection?
    • The floor must be protected according to the pellet stove manufacturer's instructions. The minimum size of the noncombustible floor protector is clearly specified in installation instructions. The choice of suitable material usually requires professional assistance if a suitable hearth is not already available in the home. Built-in appliances may require additional layer of protection, such as an air space between the appliance and the floor protector.
  • What electrical requirements should be checked?
    • The dealer or installer should check the intended appliance outlet for proper voltage, ground, and polarity. The electrical circuit to be used should have a properly rated circuit breaker. Are there special requirements for mobile home installations? The model you choose must be approved for use in a mobile home. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) makes additional requirements for solid fuel burning appliances installed in mobile homes which are listed in stove manufacturers' installation instructions.
  • What are the purposes of venting systems?
    • Proper venting is essential for proper appliance performance, dwelling safety, maintenance frequency and indoor environment. Pellet stoves produce little or no visible smoke after startup, but exhaust gases, fine ash and water vapor must be moved safely from the appliance to the outdoors without leaking into the house. The purpose of all vents is to remove combustion by-products produced during normal operation. For most designs, the exhaust is mechanical: a fan blows the combustion by-products out and pulls air needed for combustion into the fire. A few stoves operate without a combustion air fan and instead use natural draft both for exhaust and combustion air intake. Some heat also moves through the vent, making protection of nearby combustibles essential. The minimum clearance between the vent and combustibles, as specified in the vent installation instructions, must be met or exceeded to assure safety.
  • What are my options for venting layout?
    • Sidewall horizontal venting. Invariably the least expensive venting system. Disadvantage of potential smoke spilling into the house in the event of a power outage or component failure, or house depressurization.
    • Horizontal vent with backup vertical venting. Preferred horizontal method that avoids venting problems associated with unexpected appliance shutdown.
    • Vertical venting through the ceiling and roof. Has the advantages of keeping vent gases warm and of providing natural draft to prevent problems in an unexpected shutdown.
    • Venting into existing chimney. Stove manufacturers provide recommendations for venting into masonry and factory-built chimneys, which may include partial or full chimney relining.
    • Natural Draft: All vents for appliances designed without mechanical exhaust fans must meet stove manufacturer's requirements for minimum draft and must terminate above the roof.
  • What's a good starting point for learning to operate a pellet stove?
    • The rule here is "read the instructions." Operating a pellet stove is not difficult, but it is a new technology that calls for basic knowledge. Training videos accompany some stoves, and hands-on demonstrations are offered by many dealers and installers.
  • How do I start a fire?
    • Small dry fuel (pellets) and combustion air (provided by a fan on most designs) make startup easy. Operating instructions accompanying the stove give the specific steps to follow. Manual ignition stoves call for the owner to apply an approved gel or solid starter material (no liquids), light the pellets, and monitor the fire to see that the fire catches and the flame gradually grows. On automatic ignition stoves, pushing the start button feeds pellets to the burn pot and heats the self-igniter device.
  • What if the stove doesn't start properly?
    • A safety device monitors startup and stops fuel feed if operating temperatures are not reached within a specified time period. If startup fails, the operator should first make sure that the hopper has fuel and that fuel is feeding into the burn pot, and then attempt to restart the stove. Repeated failed lighting cycles indicate the need for maintenance or professional service.
  • What do I do after the stove starts?
    • After control panel or air inlet adjustments and a quick performance check, the stove is set to provide hours of even, comfortable heat. Stoves equipped with a remote wall thermostat respond to a set room air temperature by cycling on and off or by cycling from a low to high burn, depending on stove startup design.
  • How often should I clean my pellet stove during burn season?
    • 1 to 2 times per week. Be sure stove is cold when cleaning.
  • What are signs of performance problems?
    • Properly operated and maintained pellet stoves experience few, if any, problems. Most of pellet stove operation is automatic, but sometimes combustion air adjustment is needed. A lazy, orange, sooty flame or dark smoke coming out of the vent (after startup and before shutdown) may indicate the need for more air. An overactive, "blow torch" flame calls for less air. Performance problems are more likely to be caused by neglected maintenance than by regular operation. Lazy flame, dark smoke, unusual sooting of glass, unexplained smoke spillage and reduced heat output all point to the need for maintenance of appliance components and/or the venting system, or for remedies for house depressurization. Problems related to mechanical failure usually results in safety switches shutting the appliance down. Appliance shutdowns may, however, indicate nothing more than owner forgetfulness (empty hopper) or hurry (improper startup), or intermittent power failure. Unexplained, repeated appliance shutdowns call for professional advice and service.
  • How do I shut the stove down?
    • Shutting the stove down is typically a matter of simply setting the control to the Off position according to operating instructions. The fuel feed stops delivering fuel right away, and after the stove cools sufficiently, all motors and blowers cease operation. The stove should NOT be shut down by unplugging the power cord.
  • What happens in an unexpected shutdown such as a power outage or component failure?
    • Although fuel feed stops in a power outage, the pellets in the burn pot may continue to burn or smolder. The duration of this condition can vary with appliance design from a few minutes to an hour or more. The resulting smoke and hot gases rise, seeking the path of least resistance. If the exhaust vent does not have vertical sections to provide natural draft, smoke may spill into the home.