If you are building a cabin to use as a secondary or vacation home, one of the decisions you'll need to make is how you'll heat it. A traditional fireplace may work if you live in a mild climate or don't plan on visiting in the winter, but many cabin owners are now opting for something a bit more modern: pellet stoves.
Pellet stoves are like a cross between a furnace and a wood stove. They burn compact wood pellets, but they use them to heat air, which is circulated through ducts as it would be with a traditional furnace. Is a pellet stove a good choice for your cabin? Consider these pros and cons to decide.
Pro: Pellet stoves are earth-friendly.
If your goal is to build an eco-friendly cabin, installing a pellet stove can certainly help you meet this goal. The pellets burned in these stoves are made from waste materials that would otherwise have been thrown away. Plus, you're burning wood, which is a renewable resource, rather than fossil fuels, which are non-renewable resources.
Pro: You don't have to pay to run the stove when you're not there.
With a conventional furnace, you typically have to pay for some gas to keep the pilot light lit even when you're not around and are not heating the cabin. Most pellet stoves have electronic ignitions, so they don't burn any energy at all when they're not in use.
Con: You have to be there to fill the pellet stove.
Most pellet stoves have automatic feeders. You fill the feeder once a day or so, and it slowly adds pellets to the burn chamber. This works perfectly fine in you spend a lot of time in the cabin. However, if you take multi-day treks or adventures away from the cabin, you won't be able to come home to a warm home since you weren't there to feed the pellet stove.
Con: Storing the pellets can be a struggle.
The pellets typically come in large plastic bags. You'll need somewhere dry to store them, which may be a struggle if you have a small cabin with limited space. You cannot keep them outside as you would be able to with regular wood. If they absorb moisture, they won't burn well.
To learn more about pellet stoves and whether they're a good choice for your new cabin, talk to an HVAC contractor in your area, such as High Tech Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.