Carbon monoxide is a harmful gas that can be produced by certain forms of domestic heating fuel such as wood, gas, oil and coal.
Pellet stoves can burn wood as their source of fuel, not as firewood but in the form of wood by-products compressed into small pellets, and so can pellet stoves produce carbon monoxide as a result of burning wood?
Pellet stoves may produce carbon monoxide in small quantities when burning wood pellets, but pellet stoves are very efficient forms of home heating appliance and burn the fuel very cleanly, helping to keep emissions such as carbon monoxide low. A carbon monoxide detector should still be used with a pellet stove.
Our own pellet stove burns wood pellets and so small quantities of carbon monoxide may be produced during operation.
However, as required for all pellet stoves, our own pellet stove is connected up to a sealed flue that takes all waste air from the stove to outside our home.
We still have a carbon monoxide detector in the same room as our pellet stove however, just to be on the safe side in case there were any leaks within the stove or chimney flue.
Carbon monoxide can be produced in greater quantities depending on a certain factor and so we’ve explained in more detail below:
- Whether pellet stoves produce carbon monoxide.
- What makes a fire in a pellet stove produce more carbon monoxide.
- What safety measures you can take to alert you of a carbon monoxide leak from a pellet stove.
Do Pellet Stoves Produce Carbon Monoxide?
Pellet stoves are a form of solid fuel residential heating appliance and commonly burn wood as the fuel in the form of wood pellets.
Wood is one of the fuels that has the potential to release carbon monoxide when combusted, meaning that pellets stoves do have the potential to produce carbon monoxide.
However, the amount of carbon monoxide a pellet stove typically produces will be very low, for a number of reasons.
One of the benefits of pellet stoves is that they’re extremely efficient appliances and are even considered to be the most efficient form of residential heating appliance.
A pellet stove:
- Uses wood pellets that are often manufactured to very high standards with low ash and moisture content, allowing a fire to burn them very efficiently and effectively with minimal emissions including carbon monoxide.
- Is a fully automated electrical appliance that controls both the air and fuel supplies for the best fuel to air ratio that helps to promote the cleanest burn possible for maximum heat output and minimum emissions.
Any carbon monoxide that is produced by a pellet stove is safely removed from a home via the chimney flue that’s required as part of the venting requirements for all pellet stoves.
Thanks to pellet stoves being so clean burning and pellets often meeting high standards for burning quality, pellet stoves often release very minimal amounts of carbon monoxide during fires.
However, carbon monoxide can be produced in higher quantities when the fuel isn’t being combusted properly.
Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service explains:
‘Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal and wood do not burn fully.’Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service
A pellet stove that isn’t combusting the fuel properly can be caused by either a problem with the lack of air supply of a problem with the pellets themselves.
A pellet stove fire will struggle to burn wood pellets (and can produce carbon monoxide in higher quantities) if there’s a lack of oxygen being supplied to the fire or the pellets are of low-quality materials and too high in moisture content.
It’s therefore always important to ensure that:
- A pellet stove is cleaned as per the manufacturer’s guidelines, such cleaning out the air inlet, burn pot and ash tray before each fire.
- A pellet stove is installed by a professional with a suitable chimney flue, and the flue is checked periodically for leaks and swept at least annually.
- A pellet stove itself is maintained seasonally by a qualified professional in line with what the manufacturer of the stove recommends.
- High quality pellets are used to help a pellet stove burn them as efficiently as possible to reduce emissions such as carbon monoxide.
Can You Get Carbon Monoxide Poisoning From A Pellet Stove?
There is a very low risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from pellet stoves, but as will all solid fuel burning home heating appliances there is never no risk. Safety measures such maintenance of pellets stoves and using a carbon monoxide detector should always be undertaken.
We’re personally not worried about carbon monoxide being produced from our own pellet stoves.
Our pellet stove is a newer modern model of stove that’s highly efficient and clean burning, and we had it professionally installed with a suitable chimney flue system.
We also have the stove checked every season by a technician, part of which is to ensure that there are no leaks within the stove that could potentially release carbon monoxide into the room (and potentially pose a danger if it were also be produced in higher quantities by the stove).
However, we are aware of the risks and do understand that there is never no risk.
That’s why we have a carbon monoxide alarm located in the same room as our pellet stove.
A carbon monoxide alarm is an essential tool for any form of fireplace or stove. See our recommended carbon monoxide alarm here along with all our other recommended products and tools.