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How does a wood pellet stove work

wood pellet stove auger mechanism
This is a simple diagram showing how the auger mechanism of a pellet stove works. Because the wood pellets are dry and a consistent size they can be moved around using an internal screw or auger. That's basically a "screw in a tube" - and when it turns the pellets are moved upwards. There's then usually a drop-shoot into which the pellets fall to feed the fire in the crucible. That shoot creates a safety gap between the fire and the pellets. 

The combustion in a pellet stove is very controllable. Air is pulled through the stove by a variable speed fan and by controlling that fan speed, and the speed of the auger the rate of burning can be automatically regulated. 

They usually have a fan, the power of which means that the hot gasses can be made to travel much further, which in turn allows for much more heat to be extracted from them. This is a very efficient form of combustion from a wood stove and is why our pellet stoves and boilers can be over 90% efficient. That also leaves the flue gasses quite cool - so a well insulated and well designed chimney is especially vital.  

The fire is started electrically so no need for matches or fire-lighters. Incoming air is drawn past an ignition element which gets hot and ignites the first few pellets and/or the tip of the element may be in contact with the pellets. 

Pellet boiler cutaway schematic

On board control means you can set the time that they come on and off (much like a gas boiler) and also the desired level of heat output. If you want the stove to come on an hour before you get in from work then that is easily done.

There are also many central heating wood pellet stoves available that provide hot water and heating. You'd usually control these using a normal heating controller, but you can also program them directly. There is a wide choice of outputs right up to large utility type boilers big enough to power even a large house which would be housed in a garage or outhouse. You might like to have a look through our wood pellet stoves and wood pellet boilers.

Have a chat to us to see if pellet heating is the right option for you. We can run through some details, and answer questions and then, assuming that it looks like a pellet stove is a good option for you, we can put you in touch with a local dealer or heating engineer in your area.