Pellet Stoves are typically clean-burning that stoves form one leg of a dual-fuel strategy that is appealing to growing numbers of homeowners concerned with personal independence, sustainability and cost savings. Unlike oil and natural gas, wood pellets typically are produced close to where they’re used–reducing the energy used in transportation–and they come from a renewable resource. Most compellingly, the pellets are made from a sawmill waste product–no trees are cut just to manufacture them.
A pellet stove is simpler to operate than a classic wood-burning stove, but it’s certainly not as hands-off as a conventional furnace. “Our whole culture is built around giving the consumer products that you can plug in and forget,” says Dan Freihofer, vice president of operations for PelletSales.com, a pellet provider. “But the pellet stove takes a little more involvement. You’ve got to fill it every day, and clean the ash out every few days. The archetypal owner is someone who isn’t daunted by a little technology–an engineer or someone who likes to tinker.” There are two basic stove types: inserts that fit into a fireplace and freestanding models, like the Lopi Leyden that Goodrow and Willis bought. This stove produces 45,100 Btu per hour, roughly matching the output of a small residential boiler or furnace–enough to heat 2250 square feet of living space.
Until the 1990s, stoves were not tested for safety, and homeowners had little or no guidance on installation. The result was house fires that were avoidable. Today, after years of co-operative efforts by all levels of government, the wood-heating industry and groups such as Fire Prevention Canada, several measures are
in place to help you heat with wood – safely. These safety measures include the following:
• a reliable installation code (“CSA B365 Installation Code for Solid-Fuel-Burning Appliances and Equipment”);
• safety-testing standards for stoves, inserts, fireplaces, furnaces, chimneys and flue pipes (almost all equipment for sale carries a certification label indicating that it conforms to safety tests); and a thorough training program for retailers, installers, chimney sweeps, municipal fire and building inspectors, and insurance inspectors (professionals in every part of Canada have completed the WETT or APC programs).
When installing a Pellet Stove the termination of a sidewall vent serving a pellet-burning appliance shall be located to avoid personal burn injury, fire hazard, and interference with or damage to adjacent properties. A vent shall not terminate less than 2.1 m above any public sidewalk, lane or street or right of way. It shall not be within 1.8 m of a mechanical air supply inlet to a building. The vent shall not be within 1 m of a building opening or air inlet or another appliance or within 1 meter of the center line of an exterior gas meter. The vent shall not be within 1.8 m of any gas service regulator vent outlet or within 1 m of an oil tank vent or an oil tank inlet. The vent must also be located not less than 0.3 m above grade level or any surface that may support snow, ice, or debris or be located under a veranda, porch or deck.
A clear space of at least 1 m shall be provided from the termination to any building projection, adjacent wall, or any combustible materials such as trees, shrubs, fencing, etc. Guards shall be provided around the termination of the sidewall venting system to prevent individuals from accidentally running into the venting system and mechanical damage from occurring as a result of vehicular traffic. Where termination is above the roof line, the vent shall terminate at least 1 m above the adjacent roof surface.
Every automatic fuel-feeding device servicing a steam boiler using solid fuel shall be equipped with the following controls; a clearly labeled device, located near each entrance to the automatic feeding device floor space and capable of manual operation, for the stopping the supply of fuel to the fire grate; and an automatic device for stopping the automatic feeder if there is a low water level, press exceeds the maximum, shutdown or failure of the combustion air fan; shutdown or failure of the mechanical flue-gas exhauster; a device for maintaining minimum fire and at least one automatic control to regulate or control the normal operation of automatic fuel-feeding device.
Every automatic fuel-feeding device serving a forced-air furnace using solid fuel shall be equipped with the following controls: A clearly labeled device, located near each entrance to the automatic fuel-feeding device floor space and capable or manual operation, for stopping the supply of fuel to the fire grate. This device shall be capable of stopping the fuel-feeding if the temperature exceeds 95 deg C in the furnace supply plenum; shut down or failure of combustion air; failure of the combustion air supply mechanism to stay in the fully open position; shut down due to mechanical failure or failure of the flue-gas flow. The automatic fuel-feeding device shall have a control that will maintain a minimum fire and one automatic control to regulate the fuel-feeding device under normal operation.
When installed and used correctly, certified clean-burning appliances significantly reduce the risk of chimney fires. Their advanced combustion systems burn the smoke inside the firebox, so less creosote forms in the chimney. As a bonus, you save on chimney-cleaning costs, which can be significant for conventional systems that need cleaning two or three times each heating season.