Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fire In the hole

This is a shot of one of our pellet stoves aflame. When the room is cold, it is cozy to sit in front of the stove and enjoy the glow and the radiant heat. The front of the stove, the glass, and the stove pipe are hot, but unlike a wood stove, the rest of it is cool. When the stove is on low, the stove pipe is actually warm - and not hot - because of the high efficiency. Every few seconds, the pellets drop down a chute making a quaint little plinking sound when they land in the little metal box. The only other sounds I hear is the faint roar from the fire, the turn of the auger which delivers the pellets, and blower.

In case you were wondering, this is a Travis pellet stove (Lopi - Heritage Bay). The stove has a switch which can be manual, automatic, or off. Manual means you hit another button to start it, and it will keep running. Automatic means if you hook up an external room thermostat, then it will cycle on and off like any heating device depending upon the room temperature. It also has two knobs one is oddly labeled 'Heat Output' which really means 'heat level' or really 'feed rate of pellets'. If I turn this up to max, then fuel (the pellets) will be fed more frequently into the fire box. The other one reads 'Fan' and this is actually the 'Heat Output' since when the fan is set to high, the stove will output heat (blow hot air) faster.

As promised, I hooked a thermostat to the pellet stove. Just about any thermostat available from your local hardware store will do. I bought some telephone wire and 1/4 inch contacts to hook it up. I even get a rebate from my gas company, because I bought an EnergyStar compliant thermostat which will let me program it. For example, I can set it to heat the room up more in the morning and less at night.

BTW, I'm told that my pellet stove can even burn a mixture of up to 10% corn kernels. I wonder if occasionally some will pop!

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