A pellet stove is a stove that burns compressed wood or biomass pellets to create a source of heat for residential and sometimes industrial spaces. By steadily feeding fuel from a storage container (hopper) into a burn pot area, they create a constant flame that requires little to no physical adjustments. Today's central heating systems operated with wood pellets as a renewable energy source can reach an efficiency factor of more than 90%.​

Today’s wood stoves require less wood to heat the same amount of space as older models, and that translates into savings in the cost of wood and time to load the stove. Where loading was once required every two to three hours, it is now only needed every four to ten hours. 

A wood-burning stove can be installed almost anywhere, provided there is an existing chimney that can be used or an outside wall where a Class A chimney can be installed. Existing chimneys must be brought up to current standards with the installation of a six to eight inch diameter insulated UL listed stainless steel chimney liner. 

Wood stoves come in a variety of styles, including standard matte black or a beautiful porcelain enamel finish, and are constructed of heavy steel, cast iron or soapstone. The EPA regulates wood burning stoves, so be sure to get one that is EPA approved and do not use an older model.

Wood Units

Some companies equate zero clearance fireplaces with and prefabricated fireplace. However, this is not a helpful distinction or definition. Zero clearance fireplaces are more than that. Zero Clearance fireplaces are pre-manufactured fireplaces where the unit or firebox can be placed directly against combustible materials like wood, wall, or paneling.

This eliminates the need for a buffer zone and allows the firebox to fit into a much smaller opening. This can be done because the construction and materials of the firebox are such that the outside of the box does not get hot enough to burn other materials.​

To improve the efficiency of an open masonry fireplace, a wood stove insert is a good option. A correctly sized UL listed insulated stainless steel flue liner is necessary, with a direct connection to the wood stove. 

Do not install an insert without the required steel flue liner with ceramic wool insulation, and have a professional do the installation. If used without a steel liner, the existing flue that was sized originally for your fireplace will be too large for the new appliance to draft correctly and heavy amounts of flammable creosote will accumulate on the flue walls. 

A wood stove insert will produce enough heat to warm a large area (800 to 3,000 square feet) and is extremely efficient. Most inserts are EPA approved non-catalytic, which means that a catalytic combustor, which requires maintenance, is not necessary. 

The addition of an electric built-in blower will push the warmed air through the house. The EPA regulates fireplace inserts, so be sure to get one that is EPA approved and UL listed.​