Wood-Burning, Pellet or Flex Fuel? Choosing the Right Stove for Your Home
If the question is which type of biomass stove – cord wood, pellets, corn, flex fuel – is best, it’s a difficult one to answer. But if you’re asking which one works best for your home, the right option is definitely easier to identify.
Like many other purchases you’ll make in life, finding the best stove comes down to a few practical considerations. Answering a few questions about how you plan to use your stove can help you end up with the best product for your needs.
Do I have access to an abundant fuel source?
If you live on a heavily wooded lot and have access to a free (minus the labor that goes into splitting and stacking logs) source of cord wood, that’s a pretty good reason to invest in a wood stove. Wood stoves are generally less efficient than pellet stoves, but today’s options still offer very good efficiency, allowing you to get the most out of a cheap fuel source that requires little energy to transport to your home.
If cord wood isn’t as easy to come by where you live, pellet stoves are a great option since they offer unparalleled efficiency compared to other types of biomass stoves or heating systems. You also might be able to benefit from a nearby source of fuel when using a corn stove – if you live near a farmer, he may be interested in selling you corn to use in your stove at a good price.
In general, pellet stoves are the most cost-effective option for heating your home if you don’t have a special circumstance that gives you access to other fuel sources at below-market prices. Most American Energy Systems pellet stoves can also be considered flex-fuel stoves because they allow you to burn wood pellets, corn and other types of biomass pellets. This can work to the owner’s advantage as well, since prices between types of fuel can fluctuate – meaning you can choose the least expensive option at any given time.
What type of space am I looking to heat?
In general, pellet stoves are great for heating smaller homes or cabins, a particular area of your home, or garages and out buildings. The great thing about pellet stoves is that they come in a variety of sizes, so you can choose the one that works best for your space.
All you need to do is calculate the square footage of the area you want to heat, and choose the pellet stove that matches your specs. If you are looking to heat a space that can’t quite be covered by a pellet stove, consider a pellet furnace specifically designed to function as a home or office’s core heating system.
If you’re in the market for a pellet stove, now is a great time to buy. Congress and President Obama recently agreed to reinstate a $300 tax credit for qualifying biomass stoves. Learn more about how you might stand to benefit from this credit.
We offer a free guide to finding the best renewable energy appliance that answers a lot of frequently asked questions and can help you determine which kind of appliance is right for your home.