Are air pellet stoves a suitable choice for new developments?

While Britain is warming to the benefits of traditional wood burning stoves, Phil Lowe, Head of Sales and Marketing at Specflue, a leading supplier of renewable heat products, explains how air pellet stoves can offer an efficient alternative for new developments.

“With home fuel bills continuing to rise, households are now turning to alternative energy sources in a bid to save money.  According to HETAS, the regulatory body for stove installations, this has resulted in a five-fold increase in the number of wood burners being installed annually when compared to 2007. This demand for stoves has had a knock-on effect on the number of installers registered with HETAS, increasing from 791 in 2007 to 3,252 today.*

This upward trend positions the stove as a worthy appliance when considering alternative heating sources for new developments. Already well established in Europe as a greener substitute, the air pellet stove has become a popular appliance offering an efficient and effective way to heat the home.  Whether building a new property or refurbishing and extending an existing dwelling with sustainable energy in mind, using the most up to-date heating technologies, such as the air pellet stove, can provide a 21st century alternative to the traditional wood burner or pellet stove wet radiator system.

Similar to the UK, Europe has traditionally burnt logs, but the market is now saturated and this, along with the EU’s stringent rules on carbon emissions, has increased interest in pellet technology. An additional bonus is that due to the efficiencies of pellet stoves, in most of the EU they are exempt from smoke-emission testing requirements. 

Air pellet stoves have an average efficiency of 91%. This is due to the fact that the heat produced by the air stove is distributed more efficiently by means of an extractor located on the back of the hot air exit diffuser. Compared to traditional systems, this allows an increase of 30% heat released into the environment, making its rapid distribution uniform and allowing a saving in fuel consumption.

The air pellet stove can effectively carry the warm air into other rooms up to a maximum distance of eight metres with a real temperature of up to 80°C. Also, unlike traditional systems, the air pellet stove allows the jets to be freely positioned, with certain architectural and aesthetic advantages.

Another benefit is that it allows precise control of heat distribution between the different environments where the air is channelled. The stove can also be controlled remotely and programmed to come on automatically as and when required. Requiring very little involvement, fuel replenishment is typically required once a day, as opposed to every couple of hours with a wood burning stove.

For the installer and heating engineer, installation of the air pellet stove couldn’t be easier and can be placed in any architectural setting from a single to multi-storey building. Some models like the MCZ Comfort Air® have a significantly smaller diameter than other models on the market (60mm and 100mm).  This makes the fans easier to maintain and ensures easier installation of the funnel into the wall, consequently limiting the necessary masonry works - which often take time and are very invasive.

However, with the sales of air pellet stoves on an upward trajectory, comes a word of caution to installers.  You must never forget your responsibility to comply with all current standards and regulations. To ensure correct and safe installation, trade and training organisations are introducing new competence modules, to go along with current qualifications. In addition to this, before the purchasing of any goods, stove manufacturer’s specific training is generally required, ensuring a good understanding of how to correctly set up the pellet stove for maximum effect.

Installers should also consider the availability of after sales support, as well as the normal sales service. This gives that important peace of mind that your supplier is in a position to support you, the installer, as well as the end user, throughout the entire journey.

Air pellet stoves are suitable for domestic, rural and commercial properties and provide a number of benefits that set them apart from wood burners. They can offer new developments the same comforts as the traditional wood stove, while providing a more sustainable, convenient and cost efficient form of heating.  

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