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Pellet Stoves: The Pros and Cons

Is a Pellet Stove the Right Fit for You?

For those seeking an energy-efficient way to heat their home in the fall and winter months, a popular option is the pellet stove. Ottawa residents who don’t want the added expense of a gas fireplace or the added labour of chopping their own firewood favour these stoves for their convenient features, but like any product, they’re not the right choice for everyone. They have their advantages and disadvantages, but through careful consideration you can decide whether or not these energy-efficient and environmentally heating solutions are the right fit for your home.

The Advantages

This new style of stove is designed to burn on pellets of processed wood. This wood is often collected from the waste of lumber and manufacturing operations, and would most likely go to waste were it not being recycled and being used again. For this reason, it’s a benefit to the environment, since it prevents additional trees from being harvested. These pellets are also cleaner-burning than traditional firewood, as well as more compact—you can store a greater weight while taking up less space.

More economic than natural gas or electric heating, another major benefit to pellets is that they are easy to transport, and you don’t have to harvest them yourself. So put that axe down and the flannel shirts away, because all you need to do is make a quick run to the store. You just load a hopper inside the pellet stove, press a button (or adjust a thermostat), and then clean out the hopper once it’s empty—clean-up is incredibly simple and straightforward.

The Disadvantages

Buying a pellet stove in Ottawa is not all sunshine and daisies—for starters, despite being cleaner and more efficient than natural firewood, it’s also more expensive. Depending on whether you harvest your own wood (which makes it free, but labour-intensive) or buy it, it’s sometimes as little as half the price, though this can vary.

Pellet-burning stoves also require electricity to operate the hopper and the fans inside. This is a rather minimal use of electricity, but in the event of a power-out, you won’t be able to use it to warm your home unless you have a backup battery for it. For extended outages, you may need additional batteries, too. Pellet stoves also require more frequent maintenance, and of course they don’t have the same visual appeal as the traditional fireplace.

The Verdict

The fact of the matter is, the verdict is in your hands—yes, you. There are many different great options for fireplaces and stoves, and continue to be because there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. In the end, you must weigh the pros and cons and decide if you prefer pellet, wood, gas, or electric. But pellet stoves are a great investment for those Ottawa homeowners who have chosen them, and continue to be a great choice.