A pellet stove burns its fuel very efficiently because most pellet stoves have three burn chambers. The first chamber is the main pot in which the pellets burn. The combustion of the pellets produces gasses which are burned in the second chamber when the stove becomes hot enough to ignite those gasses. The third chamber gets hot enough to burn the carbon residue. Each combustion chamber reduces the ash produced and produces more heat.
Most pellet stoves are beautiful in design and look great in your home. The glass front of the stove shows the flame which is so romantic and warm on a cold winter night. These factors add value to your home with the installation of a pellet stove.
Because pellet stoves burn so efficiently, there is very little residue or ash to haul away. The ash falls into a pan or bucket at the bottom of the stove and is easily removed for disposal. The ash is also an excellent fertilizer for all your plants, shrubs and trees.
There are a few disadvantages to a pellet stove, too. The stoves can be expensive. The initial cost of the stove will be at least $1,000 with very fancy or exotic models going into the $5,000 range. Installation requires parts not included with the stove even if you do the installation yourself which is very do-able. Hiring the installation will cost an additional $500 or so depending on the configuration of the chimney and the area in which you live.
Pellet stoves burn pellets which must be purchased, hauled and stacked in an easily accessible area. In moderately cold areas with overnight temperatures in single digits, a larger size pellet stove will burn about one and a half to two forty pound bags of pellets a day. At a cost of $5.25 per 40 lb bag, that's about $315 a month for the cold months in fuel costs over and above the cost of the stove.
Another disadvantage is that a pellet stove will not be integrated into your heating system unless you are installing during new construction. Even then, many house plans leave alternative heat sources outside the home's heat distribution system. What that means to you is that the pellet stove will probably not heat your entire home even if the stove is installed in a central area in your house.
These advantages and disadvantages are important points when considering the purchase of a pellet stove. The return on your investment may not occur for several years and you may not get an efficient use of all the heat the pellet stove can produce. The stove will look beautiful in your home and feels great on a cold winter night.