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Considering a Pellet fire? Heres the facts…

Ravelli Monica Wood Pellet Fire

New heating devices are always a difficult decision, what with so many various operations available for the winter months. Heat pumps, oil heaters and traditional fires are some of the well-known options that can keep you and your loved ones warm. Costly monthly bills and harsh implications for the environment are often part of the parcel in heat generation. Lower implementation costs are the carrot that hangs above many people seeking a new device, only to be stung when it comes time to pay the bills or purchase more wood for burning. Burning wood has also become a sticky point with local councils tightening the rules on air quality, always best to check with your local council to see what rules apply to your air quality in your area.

Pellet Burners

Taking the form of a traditional conventional wood burner, pellet burners are available as freestanding models or can be fitted into an existing fireplace or custom built to your desired dimensions. Pellet burners are now available as basement-furnace central heating models, ensuring the toastiest homes to enjoy winter in. Pellet burners are becoming more popular each season, and with this popularity we see innovation in design. A recent hunt around the Christchurch area has proven that there are some exceptional new designs of pellet burners coming onto the market.

Pellet Fire Insert Flush With Wall

Wood Pellet Fire Eco Facts

Burning only compressed wood pellets available in 15kg or 20kg plastic bags or in bulk; pellet burners make for cheap and clean fuel for the fire. Loading the pellet burner is easy, simply load the pellets into a hopper at the back of the unit and they are automatically fed into the fire via the feed system.

The advantages of pellet fires are a plenty:

- Easier and quicker to use than a conventional wood burner.

- Put the axe into storage, chopping firewood is a thing of the past.

- Ignition is lit electrically; a simple push of the button is all that is needed.

- Many models can be thermostatically controlled or switched on and off via a timer.

- Smaller than a traditional wood burners flue, the pellet burners flue often makes installation easier and quicker.

- The environment thanks you. Though fires should never be considered an eco friendly option, pellet burners by far and away offer the cleanest and greenest way of burning fuel to heat a home. Pellets burn cleanly, your neighbors will be stoked and so will the environment.

- The pellets are made from a renewable resource, sawmill waste. The burn is carbon neutral, and the environment is less effected.

Points for Consideration:

- First thing to note is the initial set up cost can be expensive. The price of buying and installing is comparable to a heat pump or a gas fireplace (but more expensive than a standard wood burner). Prices start at around $3000 (plus about $450-$600 for a single-story flue). And then there are installation costs, allow for another $600-$900 depending on your current or desired build.

- Its important to remember that only pellets can be burned, so fire wood is a no go.

- To function, electricity is required, so if a power outage occurs you will lose the ability to burn pellets. This can be remedied should you have a generator on site.

- As mentioned, they require electricity and electrical components to work, which renders them more complex than your standard wood burner.

- The first generation of pellet burners were known to be slightly noisy due to the fans and the hopper fed motors. Newer models have remedied these earlier problems and now run silent, the naysayers have also been silenced!

Easy installation - Minimal clearance is all that is needed to install the burner/stove.

Low emissions – Pellet stove emissions are so low that they can be burned in most areas, and even those with burning restrictions.

High combustion – Pellets have a near total combustion of around 98.5%, pellet stoves produce virtually no creosote.

Easy to store - One ton of wood pellets has the heat value of 5 m³ of firewood and it stacks easily in one third of the space. A simple solution provides you the ability to store fuel for an entire season.

Low waste ash production - A 20kg bag of Wood Pellets produces around 100gms of ash, a very small offset.

Environmental advantages – A Sustainable source of fuel that burns as clean as possible. Pellets are an environmentally friendly source of heat; they are CO2 neutral both in combustion and storage. Clean and environmentally friendly, wood pellets are a natural and renewable fuel resource. Disposing of waste is significantly reduced.

High efficiency - The efficiency rating is as high as 94%, depending on the model and heat output required.

Ease of use – The Pellets are clean and easy to use, flowing like a liquid they work as part of an automated feeding system. They are easy to ignite and to handle and they can be also used in stoves/burners and boilers.

Continuous operation – Typically the burner has a large hopper and the stove can burn continuously for several days, again, this is dependent on the heat output required.

Some easy to follow facts for people looking to invest in a Pellet fire:

- An environmentally sound form of home heating, pellet burners heat without damaging the environment.

- We always advise to research the running costs for wood burners, gas, heat pumps and pellet fires in your area. Your location in New Zealand can play a large part in the cost.

- If you have consistent access to free or low-cost firewood, perhaps a pellet burner is not for you. Of course, there are many benefits in opting for a pellet burner, storage, ease of use, environmentally friendly, to name a few.

- Wood and pellet burners require building consent before installation – always best to check with your local authority to find the regulations and red tape in your area/zone.

Seeking more information? Look no further!

- Wood pellet fire providers www.azwood.co.nz

- Ministry for the Environment authorised wood burners www.mfe.govt.nz

- Environment Canterbury authorised woodburners www.ecan.govt.nz

- Nelson City Council authorised woodburners www.nelsoncitycouncil.co.nz

- NZ Home Heating Association www.nzhha.co.nz

-Wood Pellets Interest Group www.banz.govt.nz

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