Informational Guide

Do Pellet Stoves Need Electricity?

Learn if you need electricity to run a pellet stove and if can work without any power source in the home.

by Josh M

Stoves have long been used to provide heat and warmth, but pellet stoves are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners. They work using small wood chips or pellets, which fuel a flame, and the heat is then circulated around your home.

They’re widely regarded as one of the most economical ways to heat your home, and in this guide, we’ll help explain exactly how much they cost and whether pellet stoves need electricity to function.

While a very small number of pellet stoves can operate without electricity, the majority will need access to electricity to function. The heat itself is provided by the burning of pellets in the mechanism, but the controls and circulation of air are all managed through electrical components. Here’s a quick breakdown of where electricity is needed:

Control Panel

Your pellet stove won’t be on all the time, and you need some controls to turn it on and off as needed. Your control panel will need access to electricity and will wire into the stove so it can turn on and off. This may also let you customize the heat setting with a rating of 1-5.

The Motor Driving the Pellet Hopper Auger

Electricity is needed to control the provision of fuel to the stove. Pellets will be dropped into the burn pot, and this is controlled by electrical components. Without this, you would have to put pellets in manually, which dramatically changes how you can use the stove.

Air Intake &/Or Exhaust Fans

Your pellet stove needs air to light and maintain the flame. You also need air to circulate around the unit and make sure that any harmful fumes are ventilated properly. Electric fans within the unit are used to direct airflow and keep your stove lit. Without these electrical components, the stove is useless and could even be a health hazard.

For exhaust a common question that is usually asked is if the pellet stove need a chimney to operate which we tackled in another post.

Heater Blow

Modern pellet stoves force the warm air back into the room, so you feel the benefit. This removes the need for the outside of the stove to be hot to the touch, helping to limit the risk of burns to users. These electric blowers are powered and controlled through electricity, and without them, the stove isn’t as safe and effective.

How Much Electricity Do Pellet Stoves Use?

The electricity consumption of home appliances is measured in Watts (W). The wattage of your stove will vary slightly depending on the size and specifications, but generally, the higher the watts, the more heat will be produced. On average, an electric stove will use about 100W, but this spikes slightly during the ignition sequence when you first switch the stove on. This is just because more power is needed to light the flames and get the heat going.

Your pellet stove won’t cool down instantly, so even when you switch it off, you’ll still get some heat. We’ve based some sample equations based on a 100W unit running for 8 hours a day:

Running for 8 hours will take 800 Watts of power. Adding in a little extra for the spike when you turn the stove on is roughly 1000 Watts a day. To work out costs, we have to convert this to Kilowatts (KW), and 1000 Watts is 1KW. The average cost of kilowatts in the US is 13.31 cents, or $0.13. With this information, we can use the following equations to give rough running costs:

KW used per day x average cost per KW = cost per day ($)

1 x 0.13 = $0.13 to run a pellet stove per day

Therefore, per hour it is $0.13 / 8 (number of hours run in a day). The cost per hour in this example is $0.02.

To work out the cost per month and year, you can use these equations:

Cost per day x 30 = Cost per month

0.13 x 30 = $3.90 to run your pellet stove for a month

Cost per month x 12 = Cost per year

3.90 x 12 = $46.80 to run your pellet stove for a year

We’ve created the table below to give you an estimate of how much it will cost you for stoves with different wattages. This isn’t exact but will hopefully give you a good guide as to how much you can expect to pay and how much you can save by getting a more efficient stove.

Remember, even though the wattage may differ, your pellet stove will normally need 115 Volts to run. This is standard for an American outlet, but worth checking the user manual to make sure it has the required power.

Required Wattage Running Hours per Day Cost per
kWh ($)
Cost Per Day ($) Cost for 30 days ($) Average Annual Cost ($)
100W 5 0.13 0.065 1.95 23.4
100W 10 0.13 0.13 3.90 46.8
200W 5 0.13 0.13 3.90 46.8
200W 10 0.13 0.26 7.8 93.6
500W 5 0.13 0.325 9.75 117
500W 10 0.13 0.65 19.5 234

Can You Use Pellet Stoves Without Electricity – How So?

The majority of pellet stoves need electricity, but you can get a few basic models without any need for it. For example, the Wiseway company produces a stove that uses a gravity activated system that naturally feeds pellets into the machine. These can only be used outside as there is no electrical ventilation to get rid of harmful fumes.

If you want a domestic stove, then you will need an electrical power source for it to run. Most of the time, this means it’s plugged into an outlet and unfortunately, if there’s a power outage, you won’t be able to use the stove. Manufacturers have countered this problem by introducing battery backup packs on their units. These allow your stove to keep running for a short period of time while your power is out, preventing any loss of heat in your home.

This is a vital feature during the winter months if you rely on your stove as the primary source of heat in your home. Your battery pack will typically last 10-12 hours, so you’ll still need to get the issue sorted as quickly as possible.

How To Use Pellet Stoves Efficiently (Saving Money Tips)

There are a couple of things you can do as a user to help use your stove more efficiently. These tips will help to protect your stove and allow you to get more use from it but will also help you save money on your energy bills.

Use The Right Fuel

Pellets are made from compressed wood shavings, but there are some different variations to choose from. Consult your user manual to see which is optimal for your stove and see if you can find them locally. All wood pellets are cheap, so this shouldn’t represent an increase in costs.

Close Up View of Wood Pellets
Adjust Blower Settings

Your blower settings will impact how much heat is dissipated into your room. If you don’t need as much heat immediately, you can lower the blower settings and use less electricity. This will help to reduce your overall bills.

Adjust Heat Output

You can also adjust the settings on your pellet stove, so you’re getting the right amount of heat. By controlling the flow of fuel and air circulating in your stove, you can conserve energy and make sure you’re only using the stove as needed.

Clean Regularly

Your pellet stove can become full of soot and ash. This impacts the efficiency of the unit and can even lead to it shutting down. Make sure you clean your stove regularly to keep it working optimally.

Only Use As Needed

Pellet stoves are designed to be used for long periods and even continuously if needed. Work out how much you actually need to run the stove and turn it off when it’s not required. This will translate to significant savings throughout the year.

Burning Charcoal

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Are there pellet stove units that don’t require electricity?

There are some very specific models which don’t use electricity, but these are not as effective and can be less efficient in the long run.

How long should you run a pellet stove?

Many models allow you to run your pellet stove 24 hours a day, but you should only run the device as needed to keep your energy bills down.

What temperature should a pellet stove be set at?

Most pellet stoves allow you to set the heat settings (though many only give you 1-5 settings rather than a specific temperature). The higher the output, the less economical the pellet stove will be, but you should usually aim for around 90-110 degrees Fahrenheit output from the stove to maintain an ambient temperature.

How many bags of pellets does a pellet stove use a day?

Based on an average burn rate of 1.67 pounds of pellets, it will take about 40 pounds of pellets to fuel the stove for 24 hours.

Conclusion

Pellet stoves, as the name suggests, use pellets to fuel the flames and generate heat. However, they also rely on electricity to function, and without a reliable electricity source, they won’t work. Electricity isn’t cheap, but even with this electricity consumption, pellet stoves are still one of the most economical ways to heat your home. Hopefully, this guide has helped explain how much it costs to power a pellet stove and what you can do to keep the bills down.

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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