Pellet stoves are highly automated home heating appliances and can do much of the work of starting a fire to generate heat for you.
Pellet stoves can’t do everything however, and so you’ll need undertake a few things yourself as the user of a pellet stove before starting a fire.
To start a pellet stove:
- Consult the instruction manual to fully understand any procedures required with that particular model of stove.
- Clean out the burn pot and ash tray from the previous fine, if required.
- Check that there are enough pellets within the hopper to last for the duration of the fire. Add more pellets to the stove if required.
- Ensure that the stove is plugged into a nearby electrical outlet and that’s it’s switched on at the wall.
- Ensure that the power cable is plugged in at the back of the stove (if required).
- Turn the pellet stove on using the power switch on the stove.
- Set the desired room temperature or heat output setting using the stove’s control panel.
- Set up any timings for the fire, if available and required.
- Adjust the blower speed, if setting is available.
- Start a pellet stove fire by pressing the power button on the control panel.
How To Start A Pellet Stove
1) Consult The Manual
As a result of all the internal electric and mechanical components located inside a pellet stove, they can be fairly complex appliances compared to wood burning stoves.
Before starting a pellet stove it’s always worth reading the instruction manual to get a full understanding of what is required in order to get the stove started in that stove.
Pellet stoves can differ between model and manufacturer, in particular the set of controls on the stove, and so understanding how a particular model of pellet stove works can help minimize the potential for any issues to occur.
Our own pellet stove came with a paper instruction manual and we took the time to read through it before starting any fires.
If you don’t have the instruction manual to hand then you’ll most likely find an electronic copy on the manufacturer’s website.
2) Clean The Stove
Pellet stoves are highly efficient forms of solid fuel heating appliance but to keep a pellet stove running at maximum efficiency they should be cleaned and maintained regularly in line with what the manufacturer recommends.
Cleaning requirements for pellet stoves often include periodic cleaning procedures. For example, we’re required to undertake daily, weekly, seasonal and annual cleaning and maintenance in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines to help keep the stove operating smoothly.
Before starting each fire in our pellet stove we therefore:
- Remove any ash built up within the ash tray.
- Remove and clean the burn pot, in particular cleaning out the holes.
We also keep on top of build-up of dust within the combustion chamber and pellet dust within the hopper as and when required.
Before starting a fire in a pellet stove clean out the combustion chamber in line with what the manufacturer recommends to ensure that each fire starts efficiently and effectively as possible.
See our article on pellet stove maintenance for more information about typical cleaning requirements for pellet stoves.
3) Add Pellets
Pellets, most commonly made from wood, are the fuel used in pellet stoves.
Unlike wood burning stoves where the fuel needs to be manually added, pellets for pellet stoves are added to the hopper and stored before being delivered to the fire in the combustion chamber.
Before starting a fire in a pellet stove you’ll therefore need to ensure there are enough pellets within the hopper to cover the duration of the fire.
The capacity of a hopper inside a pellet stove will differ between models but you’re likely to able to find the capacity stated within the instruction manual. For example, the capacity of the hopper in our pellet stove is 24kg (53lbs) and so adding one 15kg (33lbs) bag of pellet is usually enough for us.
Simply take the bag of pellets and add them to the hopper in any way that suits you.
Tip: If tipping the bag of pellets into the pellet stove hopper try to keep any pellet stove dust out of the hopper as it can start to block up the auger if it builds up.
You’ll need to ensure that you’re using the right type of pellets for your particular model of pellet stove.
For example, the manufacturer of our pellet stove requires us to only burn wood pellets of a certain size and ash and moisture content that meets Class A1 standards.
We therefore buy premium grade pellets that meet Class A1 for use in our pellet stove.
Burning lower quality pellets in a pellet stove can affect the performance and efficiency of the stove and so you should always burn the type of pellets recommended by the manufacturer of the stove.
The manufacturer of our own pellet stove explains:
‘Good quality wood pellets ensure good combustion and lower emissions into the atmosphere. The use of wood pellets with a lower quality results in a need for more frequent cleaning of the combustion chamber, reducing heat output and efficiency.’Victoria-05
Ensure to replace the lid to the hopper once pellets have been added.
The use of other fuels or materials to start a pellet stove is often prohibited by manufacturers. Always check the instruction manual for the particular model of pellet stove before doing so.
4) Plug In The Stove
Pellet stoves are electrical appliances and will need a source of electricity in order to work.
Pellet stoves therefore need to be located near an electrical outlet (not using a form of extension cord) and plugged in and turned on at the outlet.
If the power cord to the pellet stove came loose rather than attached then ensure that the other end of the cable to the electrical outlet plug is installed into the back of the stove.
5) Switch The Stove On
Pellet stoves will typically have a power switch that needs to be turned on in order for the stove to start up.
The power switch on our pellet stove is located on the back where the power cable is located.
In doing so the control screen for your pellet stove may power up (if it has one), as ours does.
6) Set The Temperature
Pellet stoves will allow you to set the desired temperature, whether that’s using a high to low heat setting or choosing the desired room temperature.
While pellet stoves with high or low heat settings (or somewhere in between) simply need to be set at the desired temperature setting, on more modern pellet stoves with thermostatic control and touch screens the desired room temperature needs to be programmed into the stove.
If the desired room temperature is set at or below the current room temperature then the stove may not start.
For example, we can set the proposed room temperature for our living room on our pellet stove’s control panel settings.
The stove has a built in room temperature sensor and will continuously read the current room temperature and bring the room up to the desired temperature (and keep it there).
The current and proposed temperatures can be seen on the control screen of our pellet stove.
7) Adjust Any Programable Timings
More modern pellet stoves typically offer the ability to set how long the stove can run for during each fire, or even allow you to set times and days for the stove to automatically come on and heat you home.
If you’re wanting the stove to automatically turn off after a certain period of time then you’ll need to adjust the timings in the settings.
For example, for added convenience we can set our pellet stove come on a certain times of the day on each day of the week we choose.
8) Adjust The Blower Speed
Many pellet stoves allow you to set the blower speed, which can work in conjunction with the heat setting to give you more control over the temperature you want for your room.
The blower in a pellet stove is the fan that forces the hot air out into the room (we have another article covering pellet stove blowers in more detail).
Pellet stoves can have buttons to increase or decrease the speed of the blower to suit your preference.
We leave the blower in our pellet stove on Auto and the stove will automatically adjust the speed of the fan depending on the current requirements.
9 Press The Power Button
Newer models of pellet stove with touch screen controls can have a secondary power button, with the first one being the one that provides power to the stove and the turns the control screen on.
This secondary power button is therefore used to start the fire in a pellet stove.
Once ready, simply press the button on a pellet stove and it will automatically turn on and start producing heat.
On our particular model of pellet stove the start button is signified by a big power symbol.
On certain models of pellet stove there may only be one power button that needs to be pressed before the heat and blower settings can be adjusted.