What You Need to Know When Buying a Pellet Stove

With the recent increases in oil and gas costs, a wood (or dual fuel) pellet stove and/or fireplace insert is a good alternative source of heating for your home. However, as with any wood stove or fireplace purchase, there are several things you need to consider that will help you choose the best pellet stove.

Installing the Pellet Stove

Especially if you’re not a professional, ask your authorized pellet-stove dealer to help install your stove. They can assist in confirming the best place to install the heating unit, as well as tell you which accessories you’ll need and how it will be connected. Discuss possibilities and preferences for your home and bring indoor/outdoor pictures to ensure a trouble-free installation. You can also arrange a home visit with the installer; if possible, try to negotiate a free installation for the stove you are buying.

If there are various placement options, consider having access to the pellets (i.e. how far to carry the bags), as well as having congestion in the room beyond the clearances and how the heat will circulate to the rest of your home. You’ll also need a standard 110-volt AC electrical outlet close to the stove.

Initial Cost Outlay

Although actual purchase and installation prices differ per area, you should expect an initial outlay of $2,000 to $3,000 plus installation and accessories for a pellet stove. A dual-fuel pellet stove, which burns wood or other fuels (corn, cherry pits, etc.), will cost more. Be prepared for additional costs of delivery, insurance inspection, protective floor pad, and connection piping and accessories.

Some pellet stoves have a direct-vent connection to the outdoors and do not require a full above-the-roof insulated chimney system. This can cost significantly less to install. Review all possible hook-ups to ensure everything goes well with the installation process. A large hopper is worth the extra cost – you’ll fill it less often, so it’s a good feature to consider for your home.

Operating Costs

Generally speaking, wood pellets cost around $4 to $8 and most come in 40-lb. bags. Cost will vary with availability and type of wood used for the pellets, so make sure you check on the price and availability in your area for other fuels (e.g. corn) before buying a dual stove.

How many bags of pellets you’ll use over the heating period will vary on the type of pellet, stove setting, and climate. For example, we have used a pellet stove for several years by burning one bag of wood pellets per day on the lowest setting. Our average annual usage was about three tons over approximately six cold months, so costs can be reasonable if your winter season is very long.

Pellet Use & Storage

Usually, pellets are sold in 40-lb. plastic bags, which due to its hefty weight can be a constraint for many customers. Bags will need to be hauled from storage to the stove every day or so, as well as poured into the stove’s hopper. Pellet bags can be stacked, but they must be stored in a dry place indoors or in a garage/shed. They must be kept dry, because damp conditions will cause pellets to swell and make them not feed properly through the stove’s drop mechanism.

You can also consider having pellets delivered to your home, for there may be cost savings, often by the ton.

Pellet Stove Maintenance

Pellet stoves are easy to start and maintain. While ash build-up is minimal, the stove will still need regular cleaning. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for when and how to clean your pellet stove. A shop or ash vacuum works well for this cleaning, but the wood ash must be cold.

Performance & How They Operate

In terms of performance, pellet stoves produce a very comfortable and dry radiant heat with efficient BTU‘s. Choose a stove model that fits the best for your home’s size. Operating noise should also be minimal. During operation, pellets from the hopper are either pushed by an auger or gravity-fed into a fire chamber where they burn and produce heat. This heat is then radiated out to the room from the stove to the surrounding area. When it is empty, the stove will shut down automatically.

That said, to help circulate that warm air throughout the room, use a heat-powered fan on the heat stove. These are non-electric and are very efficient to directing heat to warm up the room. When power is interrupted, the stove will automatically shut down for safety. A power surge or slight interruption may or may not affect operation. Since a pellet stove must be pellet-fed on a daily basis, you must make arrangements with someone to feed the heat stove regularly when planning on being away from home.

Other Considerations

Follow recommendations as to the size of the stove for your home. A stove that is too large may be too heat even when set to a lower level and can result in a fuel and money waste. Additionally, the size of the hopper will dictate how often you will have to fill it.

To start, confirm the availability of parts, warranty, and service. When buying a pellet insert, verify that the stove can be connected with an existing fireplace chimney. Always have a trained specialist install a pellet stove for safety. If you choose a good pellet stove, then its durability should be generally very good and have long expected lifespans, along with minimal downtime.

Coffee Makers Made In USA Are Made To Last

If you are looking for a coffee maker that is made in the USA, then we have tried our very best to pick out three that do actually appear to have been made in the USA. As silly as it sounds, choosing where your coffee maker was manufactured can make a lot of difference. Things like parts, quality – and just how long the machine will last for are all great determining factors to look around for when shopping for a coffee maker made in the USA. In China, where many of the coffee makers are produced, companies resort to mass production to make quick cash, whereby in the USA, well things are ran a little bit more low scale, and along with this comes more skill and craftsmanship.

It must be noted though that we are not 100% sure that they are entirely made there, you may have parts from China or another country thrown in too, however, we have tired our best and reviewed three great coffee makers and they have certainly been assembled in the good old U S of A! It is always a good idea to check with the manufacturer first though.

Aerobie 80R08 AeroPress

We cannot be entirely sure that this was fully made in the USA, but it was certainly assembled in the state of California, and well this AeroPress coffee maker certainly offers you the most when it comes to the art of coffee making. It is also just perfect for those that hate to wait and need coffee, now, now, now. The reason being it brews coffee in a minute! All you need to do I count to 6, then look forward to putting your feet up with a cup of coffee.

  • This is an extremely unique coffee maker that allows you to make not just best instant coffee, but also espressos too. It offers you the chance to get a little pressure so that is makes the coffee with extremely rich flavours
  • Is suitable for making American styled coffee, and of course espresso styled shots. Also great for making cappuccinos and lattes. A real all-rounder when it comes to coffee making
  • The temperate is low when making coffees and the brew time is significantly lower too. As a result of this, the level of acid that is contained within the brewer is a lot lower too, when compared to other coffee makers that are widely available on the market
  • The coffee is micro filtered and is particle free, making it so pure that you can literally store it for days as a concentrate
  • The materials that are shipped out with this are fuss free
  • Makes 2-4 cups of coffee at a time
  • Takes one minute to brew (20 seconds to press)

If you find the best French press, please click here.

BUNN BXB Velocity Brew

This is a great coffee maker for those that enjoy the finer things in life. You can make around 10 cups of coffee in an amazing 3 minutes. But beware; it is not ideal for those that smash things! As it has some glass and porcelain features. Not great to have in your kitchen if your spouse has a tendency to have temper tantrums!

  • It has the capacity to brew between four to ten cups in three minutes
  • The carafe is made entirely out of glass
  • Has a warming plate made from the finest porcelain
  • On and off switch that are lighted
  • Made from stainless steel and had a water tank that can keep your coffee at the 200 degree mark all day, every day
  • Has a lovely spray head feature that makes sure that you get great coffee and extraction

The manufacturer assembles all their BX and GR models in Creston, Iowa

Chemex Glass Coffeemaker

If you like things that are modern, and fall into the category of the best 100 modern things avalible when it comes to technology as certified by the Illinois Institute of Technology, then this is certainlly a coffee maker to add to your online shopping list. It is designed for those that love wooden features and like the best  types of material that are on offer to man, what with a leather collar you will be in your element with this. It is the perfect item to have in your office, or of course sitting on your wooden kitchen table.

  • Has a lovely polished wooden collar that has a fantastic leather tie on there, for a great look in your home
  • It was picked out as one of the best 100 designed products of modern times, by the Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Uses 5 oz cup capacity allowing you to make upto 5 cups each use
  • Utilises Chemex filters that are needed for all the operations that this conducts
  • Can make up to an amazing 30 ounces of coffee at a time

So there you have it folks, three coffee makers that are made in the USA (as far as we are aware). They are perfect for those that are feeling a little patriotic and want to invest in something that was made in their home country. Or, for that matter people that are just so fed up of seeing the made in China sign lolling around on their home machinery. It can get a little bit disappointing when you suddenly realise that the majority of work around the globe has in fact been outsourced to China! What ever happened to making things locally? It certainly offers a little bit of food for thought for you. Do you actually know, or are you even aware of where your current coffee maker is made? It may be time to start taking a look around you, and weighing up your choices.

Thomas is the founder of Fourth Estate Coffee. The blog combined two of his passions : writing and coffee. He isn’t a coffee expert, but he is interested in drinking better coffee.