Pellet heat is gaining ground as a viable renewable energy source for home heating. Living a sustainable lifestyle and reducing fossil fuel greenhouse gases are becoming more and more important to homeowners who not only want to save the environment, but a few bucks in the process as well. Heating a home with a pellet stove in conjunction with an existing furnace is a great way to do both.
Pellet stoves and furnaces are not new; in fact they’ve been around since the early 1980’s. Over the last decade, advances in pellet stove technology have accelerated the use and growth of these low-carbon producing heating sources.
Pellet stoves burn compressed recycled wood byproducts that would normally be discarded as waste. As this waste wood rots, it releases carbon into the atmosphere, just like all rotting vegetation on the planet does naturally. When it is burned, a small amount of carbon is released into the air. Compare this with ancient stored carbon in fossil fuels and you can see a big difference in natural and manmade carbon emissions.
What makes pellet heating stand out from other methods of home heating, besides a low carbon emission is the price. A typical 1,700 square foot home heated with fuel oil costs roughly $800 more to heat than a wood pellet heated home. Heat with propane and the price increases to $1000 more. Heating with electricity can cause prices to rise up to $1800 or more compared to the wood pellet stove.
Fuel prices aren’t the only money saving factor when considering installing a low emission pellet stove either. The cost of installation compared to other environmentally friendly heating options is significant. Geothermal, solar power and wind turbines all cost upwards of $10,000 or more to install. A pellet stove can cost as little as $3,000 or less to install.
But the benefits of installing a pellet stove don’t stop there. By using pellets for heating, you will be reducing our dependence on foreign oil and promoting a sustainable product that is grown, harvested and produced in the United States.
A pellet stove installation in many cases does not require vast amounts of remodeling to be done to your home. A pellet stove in conjunction with an existing furnace works like a hybrid car. It functions as the primary heat source in your home while the existing furnace is used as backup. Furnace efficiency is increased and the furnace thermostat can be turned down 10-20 degrees, lowering heating bills significantly.
For more information on pellet heating, visit the Pellet Fuels Institute website here.