Pellet Stoves and how they work
Pellet Stoves have established themselves as truly an alternate heat source. The fuel source is general derived from waste products, normally sawdust which is processed with a pellet mill that can take the raw sawdust press the sawdust into small pellets resembling animal feed. The pellet mill technology was derived form the animal feed pellet mills. When the sawdust is compressed the resin in the sawdust act as a binder to let the pellet retain their shape and consistency. Pellet are normally sold in 40 lb sacks and can be purchased form many sources. Just check with any feed store, hearth store, and even many big box stores.The wood pellet stove is dependent on the pellets to work with a fuel delivery system. Most pellet stoves have an auger inside a fuel hopper that is powered by an auger motor. As power is supplied to the auger motor from the control board the fuel is moved up a chute then dropped down into a fire pot. As the Auger is sped up or slowed down, the amount of pellets dropping into the fire of the fire pot, will determine the amount heat that the stove will produce. More pellet, more heat.
To keep the pellets burning correctly, it is necessary to have a fan draw air through the burn pot fast enough to have complete combustion. A great example is a black smith and his forge. The blacksmith is constantly pumping air into his forge to make the fire hotter, or another example is more personal. Have you ever blew on a fire to help get the fire started. Same principle, more oxygen, more fire. After the fan draws the air through the burn pot, a large amount of heat is carried with the air from the fire, This hot air is drawn up through baffling and heat exchanger, thus trapping a lot of the heat to be radiated into the heat exchangers then the excess heat, fly ash and other particulate blown out into the atmosphere through the exhaust pipe. After the heat exchangers and baffling system has drawn off the heat from the fire a second fan will blow through the heat exchanger and move the heat into the room where the stove is located.
Behind the scene of activity, that must accomplish the stove to work properly are safety limit switch that can turn the stove off if for instance the stove gets to hot or if the stove does not ignite. These switches can perform safety function that make the stove very safe for you and your family. The brain board of the stove normally is a fairly sophisticated circuit board that controls all the functions of the pellet stove. Things start with the push of a button on the board, conversely the stove can be shut down with a push of a button. Thermostats can be add to work in conjunction with the control panel. The control panel monitors and controls the entire operation of the pellet stove, for example, the control panel is programmed to allow fans to come off and on. Shuts down if something goes wrong, even can diagnose problem, when there is a problem with the stove.
All pellet stoves do not work the same, Some use an underneath feed system that auger from underneath the stove burn pot. This technology normally has not been very successful as in situation of power outage, the pellets can continue to burn back through the underneath auger, then up into the pellet hopper. Some pellet stove have a lot of extra features that the control board can analyze. Many of these stoves are very complex, and only can be serviced by a technician that has been trained on that stove. Be careful with this type of stove as it may be very difficult to find someone competent to work on your pellet stove.
The pellet stove is still evolving as our environment keeps changing. Now there are a lot of stove that are multi fuel stoves, not only can the stove burn wood pellets, but can also burn other alternate fuel sources, such as corn, wheat, cotton ball pits, cherry pits, even a few can burn switch grass, which grow on our prairies in the midwest.
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