Pellet Stove Heater Outlet

Do Pellet Stoves Give Off Heat? (And Are They A Good Source?)

In Pellet Stoves by James O'KellyLeave a Comment

Pellets stoves are a type of solid fuel burning fireplace that use real flames to burn pellets as fuel.

Not all forms of fireplace will give off heat, such as electric fireplaces which don’t heave real flames and so the flames can be enjoyed with or without the heat being on, but do pellet stoves give off heat?

All pellet stoves give off heat. Pellet stoves contain a real fire inside that produces heat as one of the by-products of combusting the fuel in the form of pellets. Pellet stoves have a number of electrical components such as blowers to help disperse that heat into the room.

Our own pellet stove gives off heat and the main reason we bought it was to generate heat for our living room so that we didn’t have to rely on our open wood burning fireplace for heating (which is very inefficient).

We’ve therefore explained in more detail below using our own pellet stove as an example:

  • How pellet stoves produce heat.
  • How heat generated by a pellet stove warms a room.
  • Whether pellet stoves are a good source of heat.

Do Pellet Stove Give Off Heat?

All forms of pellet stove will give off heat.

A pellet stove will generate heat when it’s on and burning the fuel (in the form of pellets) but won’t be producing any heat when it’s turned off.

Pellet stoves utilize the combustion process of solid fuel using real flames to generate heat.

Pellet Stove Front
All pellet stoves produce heat, and unlike electric fireplaces the flames cannot be on without producing heat

When solid fuel is combusted, heat is generated as a by-product of this process. A fire needs both fuel and oxygen to survive and so pellet stoves deliver the right amount of fuel and fresh air to a fire in order to produce the optimal amount of heat.

We bought our own pellet stove primarily for heating purposes, but also partly to be able to enjoy the flames. If pellet stoves didn’t give off heat, then we may not have bought one.

Heat is generated by a pellet stove from within the combustion chamber.

The combustion chamber for our own particular model of pellet stove is located at the front of the appliance and viewable through the glass-panelled door.

Pellet Stove Combustion Area
The combustion area of a pellet stove is where the heat is generated

It’s here within a pellet stove that the fuel is ignited to start the flames and produce heat.

Air is supplied to below the fire from an air vent located on the back of the stove, while fuel in the pellets drop down a chute from the pellet hopper located at the top of our pellet stove, at a rate controlled by the auger.

Pellet Stove Combustion Chamber
The flames can be found in this small area of our pellet stove

It’s within this relatively small area of a pellet stove that the heat is generated.

Transferring Pellet Stove Heat To The Room

Although the heat is generated within the combustion chamber of a pellet stove, this area is located behind a sealed door within an enclosed environment and so the door cannot be open when a pellet stove is on to be able to transfer the heat to the room.

Pellet stoves therefore need to transfer the heat from the fire inside to the room through two main ways:

  • Radiation of heat through the body of the stove.
  • Convection of heat through the movement of air in and out of the stove.

Pellet stoves transfer some of the heat produced through the body of the stove. The metal body, in particular the area around the front of the combustion chamber, can absorb the heat from the fire and radiate the heat out into the room.

This is therefore why pellet stoves can get very hot to the touch, especially on the front and a heat-resistant glove is required when opening the door using the handle.

A heat-resistant glove is needed to open the door to our pellet stove because it can get so hot to the touch when on

However, pellet stoves don’t rely on radiating the heat out as much as traditional wood burning stoves do, but instead focus on using convection of the heat to help warm a room or home.

Pellets stoves typically have an internal heat distribution blower (find out more about pellet stove blowers here) that helps distribute the heat from the combustion chamber to the room through the movement of air.

A blower located within a pellet stove forces cooler air around the back and top of the combustion chamber and out through the front.

The air heats up as it passes around the combustion chamber and warm air is supplied out the front of a pellet stove, typically through a grille-like feature.

Pellet Stove Heater Outlet
Hot air typically comes out of this grille-like feature of a pellet stove

There are a number of heat sinks on our particular model of pellet stove that help transfer the heat generated from the fire inside the combustion chamber to the air that’s being forced out into the room.

Electricity Requirements For Pellet Stoves For Giving Off Heat

Pellet stoves need a source of electricity in order to operate all of the electrical components that help them deliver heat to a room. They therefore need to be plugged into a nearby standard electrical outlet using the plug and power cord provided with each pellet stove.

Pellet Stove Power Cord
You’ll need to plug a pellet stove into the home electrics or it won’t be able to produce heat

Electric fireplaces are another type of fireplace that need electricity in order to work but the main difference between the two is that pellet stoves have real flames while electric fireplaces don’t.

The flames in an electric fireplace are generated by electricity using an array of rotating mirror and strategically positioned lights (see more about how electric fireplaces work here). The heat in an electric fireplace is generated by an integrated form of space heater, which doesn’t need to be on when the flames are on.

In a pellet stove, although electricity is required to turn a pellet stove on, the flames inside a pellet stove are real and heat is produced as a result. Electricity is required in a pellet stove for all of the electrical components to work such as the blowers to help disperse the heat into the room.

Pellet Stove Combustion Chamber
Electricity is essential for providing power to all the electrical components that help a pellet stove generate heat, including feeding the pellets to the flames from the hopper

Are Pellet Stoves A Good Source Of Heat?

Pellet stoves are typically a very good source of heat for a home. Pellet stoves burn the fuel very cleanly and use a range of electronic components to provide the optimum amount of heat from every piece of pellet fuel and to efficiently transfer the heat into the room.

Our pellet stove does a very good job of heating our living room, and because it has an internal blower it also helps to warm the rest of the house.

Our pellet stove has a nominal heat output rating of 6.1kW, which equates to just under 21,000BTUs.

The stove also has an efficiency rating of 87.76%, which is even higher than the efficiency ratings of our wood burning and multi fuel stoves, and far higher than the efficiency of our open wood burning fireplace.

Pellet Stove & Masonry Fireplace
Our pellet stove is far more efficient at producing heat for our room compared to our open fireplace

The fuel used within pellet stoves is pellets, which are compressed forms of fuel and can be made from a range of materials including wood in the form of shavings or chippings. Pellet stove pellets are small, compact and low in moisture meaning that they can produce a lot of heat for their size within minimal wastage.

Pellet stoves also use blowers and the movement of air to more efficiently transfer the great amounts of heat produced to the room from the fire.

In summary, the main things that make pellet stoves a good source of heat include:

  • High efficiency ratings.
  • Good nominal heat outputs.
  • Highly compressed and low moisture content fuels in the form of pellets.
  • Clean burning of these pellets to produce a lot of heat form a small piece of fuel with minimal wastage including ash, smoke and other by-products.
  • Efficient transfer of heat from the fire to the room using both radiation and convection of heat.

Further Reading

What’s Inside A Pellet Stove

Things You Need To Know About Pellet Stoves

Do Pellet Stoves Have Flames?

Can You Burn Wood In A Pellet Stove?

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