Pellet Stove Installation Guide

Pellet Stove Installation.  Wood pellet stoves are generally small, and the bags of pellets are about the size of a mulch bag, making them easy to store. They’re also easy to operate; they on­ly require loading pellets and igniting the flame. And depending on what size hopper your stove has, it may need to be loaded only once a day.

pellet stoveWood pellets are made from recycled materials and are heavily compressed, which reduces the moisture content. Dry fuel creates more heat, causing the pellets to burn hotter and cleaner than their wood counterparts. Wood pellet stoves also emit fewer pollutants than traditional fireplaces. They’re considered to be carbon neutral by many environmentalists, due to the fact that the pellets are made from trees that lived on carbon, so the two cancel each other out. The pellets also are inexpensive, and you can purchase them in small quantities as needed, versus the upfront costs of purchasing a cord of firewood.

Most modern pellet stoves do not require the same type of chimney as a conventional wood stove or fireplace, you usually will have many more options where it can be located. You will require  a 3-inch flue to exit out the back or top of the stove, go through the wall or extend out through the roof.  The majority of pellet stoves are vented out the sidewall.

The outer surfaces of a pellet stove do not get as hot as wood stoves or fireplaces, so most can be placed closer to combustibles—typically 3 inches from walls at the sides and 1 inch from a back wall. Most need to stand on a non-combustible surface such as stone or tile that is at least 3/8 inch thick. Be sure to read and follow all of the manufacturer’s requirements regarding clearances.

Pellet Vent pipe, pipe is classified as L-Vent pipe, can be bought in two sizes, either in 3 inch or 4 inch diameter. The L-Vent pipe is the correct type of pipe for your pellet stove. The inside portion of the chimney is made from Stainless Steel and can last as long as your pellet stove.

Common Clearance Restrictions

  • Cannot be less then 3 feet above any forced air inlet located within 10 feet of the exhaust pipe.
  • Cannot be less then 4 feet below or horizontally from, or 1 foot above, any door, window or gravity air inlet into any building.
  • Cannot be less then 2 feet from an adjacent building and less than 7 feet above grade when located adjacent next to a public walk way. Mobil home installations must use a spark arrester.
  • Termination should not be located where it might ignite trees, shrubs, dry grasses or be a hazard to children as exhaust gases can reach 500 degrees and cause serious burns if touched.
  • Do not install vent pipe into chimneys shared by other appliances, as you can get a back draft and causing the exhaust from one to the other appliances to come back into the home through the other appliance.

Vent Length Calculations

The first configuration example is straight out the back of the stove and through the wall with at least 10 to 12 inches protruding past the outside wall and the altitude being less than 3000 ft. Looking at the EVL parameters, we know that each horizontal foot equals 1 EVL. For this installation typically we have about 2 horizontal feet, which equals to no more than 2 EVL. This is way below the EVL  of 15 so 3″ pellet vent pipe would be the correct size pipe to operate the pellet stove. The through the wall and terminate is most popular and the least desirable of installations as it can soot and stain the outside wall of the home.

Another example of type of venting installation is in the corner of a room and the altitude is less than 3000 ft. This is comparable to the first style configuration with an added 45-degree elbow to allow for the corner. In this configuration a 3-foot pipe is usually need to exit the home to maintain the one-foot clearance on the outside. So let’s begin the calculation. The EVL of 3 feet horizontal is 3. The EVL of the 45-degree elbow is 3 as well. Adding that together you get a total EVL of 6. This is way below the EVL of 15 so a 3″ is adequate size pipe to install for the pellet stove.

Fuels for Pellet StovesPellet fuels (or pellets) are biofuels made from compressed organic matter or biomass.  Pellets can be made from any one of five general categories of biomass: industrial waste and co-products, food waste, agricultural residues, energy crops, and virgin lumber.  Wood pellets are the most common type of pellet fuel and are generally made from compacted sawdust and related industrial wastes from the milling of lumber, manufacture of wood products and furniture, and construction.  Other industrial waste sources include empty fruit bunches, palm kernel shells, coconut shells, and tree tops and branches discarded during logging operations.  So-called “black pellets” are made of biomass, refined to resemble hard coal and were developed to be used in existing coal-fired power plants. Pellets are categorized by their heating value, moisture and ash content, and dimensions. They can be used as fuels for power generation, commercial or residential heating, and cooking.  Pellets are extremely dense and can be produced with a low moisture content (below 10%) that allows them to be burned with a very high combustion efficiency.

Further, their regular geometry and small size allow automatic feeding with very fine calibration. They can be fed to a burner by auger feeding or by pneumatic conveying. Their high density also permits compact storage and transport over long distance. They can be conveniently blown from a tanker to a storage bunker or silo on a customer’s premises.