A while ago (February I think) I wrote a bit about wood pellet stoves as they are becoming more and more popular in Europe & the USA and so with winter coming (already here actually) I’ve decided to write up a little more on the subject. Hopefully if you haven’t already heard about or seen wood pellet stoves (or wood pellet furnaces), this post will spark your curiosity.
Wood pellet stoves which are most commonly found in the USA/Canada are typically very ugly, somewhat inefficient and well, very ugly! Not to say there aren’t nice looking models, there probably are… but even a diligent search on Google or Yahoo! will reveal mostly homely models available in North America.
If you’re looking for sexy style and high efficiency, look to Italy. The Italians have been making wood pellet furnaces for years and quite frankly, they’ve come closer to perfecting it than anyone else (in my opinion anyway). Italian wood pellet stoves (furnaces) are hot! (yah, bad joke, I know)…
The Italian wood pellet furnaces can found in different forms:
- stand alone furnace (industrial look, basement install)
- stand alone furnace (sexy look for living rooms, etc.)
- firebox (in wall fireplace installation)
- wood pellet stove with cook top
Italian wood pellet furnaces use small pellets (like the others) that can be loaded into the unit’s hopper, usually about 30kg (approx. 66 lbs) capacity and the unit will automatically feed these pellets into the combustion chamber. Most (if not all) furnaces will have a thermostat built in to regulate room temperature so there should be no need to install external hardware, you just plop it into place and start heating! They are the ultimate in convenience, good looks, great heat and cheap/efficient heat.
The good European models (unlike many of the US models) have extremely high efficiency, similar to a gas furnace (I think upwards of 95%, but don’t quote me on it). The pellets are usually made of wood or biomass so it’s pretty green when you think about it… no fossil fuels, renewable fuel source and the high efficiency means that most of the energy is used and there is only a small amount of exhaust. In fact, the exhaust is usually like those of gas furnaces and doesn’t require a chimney.