Pellet stoves can be an economical and efficient way to heat a home during the cold winter months. These stoves burn pellets–compressed sawdust and other materials–to create heat. Before deciding on a pellet stove for your home, consider some of the dangers they may pose.
Many users appreciate pellet stoves because they have such a wide variety of fuel sources, including cherry pits, tree branches and even corn kernels. The problem with using one of these alternative sources is that you can actually hurt yourself. If the stove becomes too hot, it might “spit” one of the products back out at you, which can hit you or anyone in the area. The items can reach high speeds when exploding from the stove.
Another danger associated with using a pellet stove is burning. Both you and your family members would face this danger every day, as would any pets you keep in the home. The outside of the stove can get quite hot, and even a slight touch can result in a severe burn. Some manufacturers are creating pellet stoves that keep the temperature down, but even these get slightly hot on the outside. You need to exercise caution when using these in your home.
You also need to be aware of the possible fire danger when using a pellet stove. The stoves are generally viewed as safe because the fire stays contained inside the stove, but at times the fire can reach the interior of your home. If you leave a flue open or knock embers out of the stove, those embers can cause a fire if they reach flammable areas such as carpet or curtains. Keeping an eye on the stove helps you prevent this from occurring.
Though it’s not always mentioned, property damage caused by a pellet stove is possible. Pellet stoves have been designed to reduce the amount of soot and smoke leaking from the inside. However, even a small amount of soot and smoke can cause damage to your property. You’ll probably notice a buildup of soot along the top of the stove, especially if it has a flue. You might also see smoke damage caused by the smoke leaking from the stove.
If you want to avoid or prevent the common pellet stove dangers from occurring, then you should institute a program of regular cleaning and maintenance. Turn off the stove at least once per month and let it cool completely. Then remove any embers or burned pieces from the bottom of the stove and gently clean the inside with warm, soapy water. You can also use the soapy water on the outside. During this time, also check for any signs that the stove is damaged, and replace any broken parts.