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					Episode 4: Pellet Stoves
Question “With the recent price increases in oil and electricity, I am thinking of buying a pellet stove in order to save on heating costs this winter. What are some of the things I need to know?” Rob in Norwood Answer Buying a pellet stove is not for everyone, but for people who don’t mind a little work for big results, it can dramatically reduce their home heating costs. Here are some of the guidelines you should keep in mind when choosing a pellet stove: 1. Where to Buy Many retailers (from big box stores to small specialty stores) are jumping on the pellet ‘bandwagon.’ A reputable pellet retailer will be able to offer the following: 1. In house full-time technicians. You’ll want the retailer to have experience in servicing pellet appliances to ensure that they are better informed on which unit to purchase. There are many brands on the market, but not all are created equal. 2. Display. Ensure that the pellet stove is on display so you can touch and feel the unit (How easy is it to feed it the pellets? Are the controls accessible? Is it solid?) 3. Canadian Distribution. Because pellet appliances will require replacement parts at some point in their lives, you will want to ensure that there is a solid Canadian presence for the manufacturer. 4. Pellet fuel: A reputable pellet retailer will also stock the fuel for the appliance in order to ensure adequate heat during the winter months. 2. Maintenance A pellet stove or fireplace requires regular maintenance for optimum results. On a regular basis, the glass will need to be cleaned, the pellet hopper filled and the burn pot emptied (frequency will depend on the quality of the pellet being used). In addition, the pellet venting will need to be cleaned and a full annual

981 Highway 7 Peterborough, ON K9J 6X8 Tel: (705) 743-7977 Fax: (705) 743-7995 Web: www.friendlyfires.ca

service should be performed on the unit to ensure that all components are functional and operating efficiently. Compared to wood burning appliances, heating with pellets is less work. Compared to a gas, propane, electric or oil appliance, a pellet stove is more work. On average, a pellet stove customer will use 3 tons of pellets per year (approximately $800-$900). Only you can decide if the work is worth the savings. 3. Pellet Fuel As with everything in life, not all pellet fuel is created equal. Look for a hardwood pellet with a low ash content that does not contain any fills. For more information on pellet-burning appliances and how these can help you save money, visit your local specialized pellet retailer and/or www.pelletheat.org. Happy Hearth!

Alex Soubliere Friendly Fires

981 Highway 7 Peterborough, ON K9J 6X8 Tel: (705) 743-7977 Fax: (705) 743-7995 Web: www.friendlyfires.ca


				
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