A pellet stove is an attractive, energy-efficient addition to any home. It supplies heat to keep the home warm, and a cozy atmosphere on cold, wintry days. If you’ve been thinking of getting a pellet stove, there are a few things you need to know to install one the right way. Read on for more information and step-by-step instructions on how to install a pellet stove.
What is a Pellet Stove?
A pellet stove is a stove that burns compressed wood in the form of pellets to create a heat source. They are popular for use in residential homes and office spaces because they take up very little room, compared to larger wood-burning stoves. It has an automatic feed system so you don’t have to keep adding wood to keep the fire going.
What Type of Fuel Does It Use?
This type of stove uses wood pellets that come in 40-pound bags. The pellets are made of a variety of organic materials, such as sawdust, wood chips, bark, and other materials normally used in lumber milling. Some types of wood that are not suitable as building materials may be grown for use as wood pellets.
The pellets are poured into the top of the stove known as the hopper. They are kept here until needed. The pellets feed through an auger into the burn box a little at a time to produce a continuous flame. The air intake draws in outside air to power the fan that keeps the flame burning.
Installing a pellet stove requires a few hand tools and some basic carpentry skills. A pellet stove requires a clearance of 16 inches from any wall, unlike a wood stove that requires 36 inches of clearance from the top of the stove to the ceiling. The stove requires airflow to draw in air for the fan to keep the flame burning, and an exhaust pipe to push the heat out.
The Tools and Materials Needed to Install a Pellet Stove
This is a list of the tools and materials you will need for pellet stove installation. You may already have some of these in your toolbox, but if not, they can be obtained from any building supply store.
- Caulk gun
- Grinder with a diamond blade
- Cordless drill and drill bit
- Nut driver
- Utility knife
- Stud finder
- Vent thimble
- Hearth pad
- Mineral wool insulation
Deciding Where To Install Your Pellet Stove
Once you have the pellet stove and the needed supplies, the next thing you need to do is determine where to place it. Ideally, it should be close to the center of your house to evenly distribute the heat. When assembled, pellet stoves have a 3-inch flue that extends out the back of the stove, up through the wall, and outside the house.
Pellet stoves are typically installed 1 to 2 inches away from the back wall but can be installed further away, avoiding windows and doorways. The vent pipe will be practically invisible as it travels out through the wall to the outside of the home. There is nothing to look bulky or unsightly.
To extend the heat produced by the pellet stove to the upper floors in your home, install the unit close to the stairs or in the basement. Warm air naturally rises and this will help warm the rooms without vents.
Instructions for How To Install A Pellet Stove
If you know your way around hand tools and have completed a few DIY projects, installing a pellet stove is fairly simple. If you’re not sure about your carpentry skills you can always buy the materials and have a professional install them for you.
- Set a fireproof hearth pad onto the floor at the desired installation location. This will create the base for the install. A hearth pad is available in many styles and colors and will prevent the floor under the stove from becoming hot. An alternative to a hearth pad would be a stone block that is a minimum of 3/8 inch thick.
- Position the pellet stove on the floor pad, checking the clearance on the sides and back wall. The area should be free of any furniture, rugs, or combustible materials.
- Attach the vent pipe to the stove temporarily to measure for the pilot hole. With your drill, bore a 3/8-inch hole through the exterior wall. Check to see that the hole is in alignment with the vent pipe. Trace the outline of the vent pipe onto the wall and remove it from the stove.
- Mark the diameter of the interior wall vent thimble onto the wall. Place the divider in the middle of the vent-pipe outline, then trace the circle onto the wall. Use the saw to cut out the outer circle. Drill a 2½-inch hole for the fresh air intake pipe.
- Go outside and make the same cut to the exterior wall where the vent pipe comes out. It will be a little different as you are making the cuts in siding. Hold the exterior wall thimble in place and trace where it contacts the house siding. Cut slots into the siding with the saw so the thimble sits as flat as possible.
- Wrap a heat-resistant material such as mineral wool insulation, around the pipe that passes through the wall thimble.
- Press the exterior wall thimble against the wall, making sure it fits into the slots cut in the siding. If everything looks good, attach the thimble to the siding with screws.
- Attach the elbow and screen to the end of the vent pipe.
- Drill a matching 2½-inch hole for the fresh air intake vent. The hole should be at least 12 inches away from the exhaust vent pipe.
- Feed a 2-inch-diameter flexible aluminum intake vent through the exterior hole and inside the house. Screw the mounting flange on the flexible vent to the siding. Apply a thin bead of silicone caulk around the 2-inch vent where it passes through the interior wall. Secure the mounting plate flush against the wall with four screws.
- Seal the connections to the vent pipe with high-heat silicone caulk. Attach the exhaust pipe to the rear of the stove. Connect the intake vent to the back of the stove and tighten the hose-clamp using a nut driver.
- Attach the elbow to the end of the exhaust vent, then connect it to the interior wall thimble. Screw the elbow to the vent pipe.
- Plug the power cord into a 120-volt receptacle, fill the hopper with wood pellets, and enjoy your new pellet stove.
FAQS About Pellet Stoves
Can I install a pellet stove myself?
While you can install a pellet stove yourself, it is a two-man job to move and place the stove. You can cut the vent holes and place the chimney pipe yourself, though. The unit is quite heavy due to the large blower fan and the material the stove is made from, so you will need help moving it.
Where Should You Never Install a Pellet Stove?
The absolute worst place for your Pellet stove is in a bedroom. Not only is it not very efficient for allowing the heat to pass to other areas of the home, but the pellets feeding into the burn box can also be somewhat noisy and may keep you awake. You should never install a heat-producing appliance in an enclosed space. Stoves need plenty of airflow and clearance from combustible materials. If you have homeowner’s insurance, it may not cover you in the event of a fire from it being placed in a poorly-vented area.
Do pellet stoves need to be vented outside?
Carbon monoxide is a colorless gas produced by pellet stoves, wood stoves, and fireplaces. These must be properly installed and vented to be safe for use. The vent pipe can extend through the roof, or through the sidewall of the house.
What kind of venting does a pellet stove need?
A pellet stove must have two methods for venting. One for fresh air for the combustion box, and another for removing waste, carbon monoxide, and etc.
How far does a pellet stove have to be away from the wall?
Unlike wood stoves, the outside of the pellet stove does not get as hot so it can be placed a little closer to the wall. It needs 3 inches from the sidewalls and one inch from the back wall. It can be placed in a corner that is connected to an outside wall using the specifications above.
How much does it cost to install a pellet stove?
The average cost to install a pellet stove ranges from $300 to $1,000. The hearth pad is a separate charge and will run from $40 to $300.If you have to buy tools to install it you could count those as part of the cost as well.
When you have any type of heating device, it must be inspected regularly to make sure it is working properly. Inspect the combustion chamber regularly and ensure that it is feeding the pellets properly and that it is getting enough airflow for a steady burn. Also, check out the vent pipe once or twice per month and check for any damage or corrosion on the outside of the pipe.
You should use the type of premium wood pellets that are recommended by the manufacturer of your pellet stove. This will help your Pellet stove run safely and more efficiently. If you use low-quality fuel or it isn’t working efficiently When it isn’t running effectively, it produces more smoke and ash.
Make sure to dispose of the ashes safely by placing them in a metal container with a lid. Never discard them in a trash can or near material that can combust. Store the ash containers outside and away from the house. You can purchase metal buckets that are perfect for collecting ash for disposal.
While the initial set-up for the pellet stove may seem expensive, it will pay for itself over time. A Pellet stove is an efficient, cost-effective way of heating your home. It can supplement the heat supplied by your home’s furnace to reach areas farther away from the vents for central heat. Another benefit of a pellet stove is that it uses recyclable material as fuel. Burning wood pellets is a lot cleaner than burning logs in your fireplace.