Pellet stoves are one of the most eco-sustainable sources of heat you can get, and they are very efficient as well. You can get more heat with the same amount of pellets versus wood with a superior clean combustion system. Also, you can get tax benefits for using a pellet stove because they are so environmentally friendly.
Venting a pellet stove from the basement is essential to properly allow the carbon monoxide and other fumes to escape out of the home. Most vent pipes run through the ceiling of a room and out the roof, but you can also vent them through the wall on the side of your home.
Table of Contents
- Using an Existing Fireplace Chimney to Vent the Pellet Stove
- How to Vent a Pellet Stove with a Wall Duct
- Venting Your Pellet Stove into the Existing Ductwork
- Related Questions
Using an Existing Fireplace Chimney to Vent the Pellet Stove
Having your pellet stove in the basement near a fireplace chimney is perfect. All you have to do is run a vent from the back of your pellet stove into the existing chimney. You will need to follow certain codes and rules to pass inspection and to be safe. Just follow these easy steps.
Step One: Choose the Right Location
Make sure your pellet stove in a central location in your basement but close enough to the fireplace and an electric outlet to plug in the stove. This is the best way to get the heat distributed throughout your home.
Step Two: Calculate the Weight
Be sure your basement floor can handle the weight of the stove as well as the pellets. Stoves can weigh 300 pounds or more and they can typically hold about 80 pounds of pellets.
Step Three: Protect the Floor
You have to have a non-combustible surface under the stove. If not, you will need to buy a mat or build a protective pedestal.
Step Four: Venting the Stove
Run a vent from the back of the stove into your fireplace chimney. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the proper materials. Never use PVC for venting a stove.
Step Five: Providing More Heat
If you want to heat your whole home with the pellet stove, you will need to cut a vent above it to let the heat travel up into the upper rooms.
How to Vent a Pellet Stove with a Wall Duct
If your pellet stove can be placed in a spot where you can provide a safe area to vent outside, you can run it out the wall through a vent. You will need to make sure there are no combustible materials within three feet of the outside vent.
Step One: Find the Right Spot
The location of your pellet stove makes a big difference if you are going to be using it to heat your whole home. A central area would be best but with an outdoor venting system, that may not be practical or attractive. Just be sure your stove is near enough to the wall to run the vent and close enough to an outlet to plug it in.
Step Two: Make Sure it is Not Too Heavy
If your basement floor cannot handle 500+ pounds, you may not be able to place the stove where you want it. The average pellet stove weighs 350 to 400 pounds and they hold approximately 80 pounds of pellets. Luckily, basement floors are typically built on a strong concrete foundation that can usually hold a lot more than 500 pounds.
Step Three: Cover Your Floor
If your floor is not concrete or is covered with a carpet, you will need to buy a non-combustible mat or surface material to place it on. It has to go out at least six inches to protect the floor from hot sparks.
Step Four: Installing the Vent
There are kits that you can buy to run from the back or side of your pellet stove to the outside of your home. They are usually made of aluminum or some other type of approved metal. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure and do not use PVC no matter what.
Step Five: To Heat the Rest of the House
Having a pellet stove in the basement, heating the upper floors is not going to work unless you run it through a vent system or make your own vent over the stove to allow the heat to rise.
Venting Your Pellet Stove into the Existing Ductwork
Although pellet stoves are typically not made to work this way, there are some that actually are. A ducted pellet stove is specifically made to push heat through ductwork to other rooms. You can adjust them to get the airflow from the top, side, or front of the stove. And they have fans to blow the heat where you want it.
Step One: Picking the Best Spot
If you want to vent your pellet stove into your existing ductwork, you have to make sure your plenum (heat distribution box) is on top of the furnace. You can usually buy a kit that allows you to hook up your pellet stove to the ductwork you already have in your home. Many of the newer models can push warm air up to 26 feet through the vents with an output temperature of up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step Two: Make Sure it is Not Too Heavy
Since your pellet stove is in the basement, you should not have to worry about the weight like you would if you were installing it on the main floor. As long as your basement can hold over 500 pounds, it will be fine because the typical pellet stoves weigh between 350 and 400 pounds and they hold about 80 pounds of pellets.
Step Three: Cover the Floor
If your basement floor is concrete, you will not have to worry about providing a non-combustible mat or pedestal for your pellet stove. As long as your stove is surrounded by at least six inches of non-combustible material like concrete or brick, the sparks that may escape will not be a problem.
Step Four: Providing the Vent Work
No matter how you are running the heat through the house, you have to make sure the carbon monoxide and other fumes are properly vented outside your home. You will need to run it out of a chimney, outside wall duct, or through a hole in the attic or roof. The vent has to be made of the proper material and be the right dimensions as shown in the manufacturer’s instructions.
Can I heat my whole house with a pellet stove?
Depending on the size of your home, you may be able to keep it comfortably warm in certain circumstances. First, you have to be sure that your stove has enough BTUs to heat your home. You will also need to have the stove hooked up to vents to transfer the heat to other rooms. You cannot just rely on the heat to travel up the stairs and into the rest of your home.
One excellent way to get the heat to the rest of the house is to turn on the forced air from the HVAC unit to circulate the heat. And make sure all of your ceiling fans are rotating clockwise to pull the cold air up from the floor and push warm air down. And keep the fans running at their lowest speed or you will just feel the cool air from the fan.
What makes pellet stoves so environmentally friendly?
Pellet stoves use compressed sawdust pellets, which is recycled so you are not killing any trees to keep your home warm. Rather than cutting down trees to chop up logs for the fire, the compressed pellets are made from sawdust that is already available. No tree-killing needed. Pellet stoves also burn cleaner and hotter than regular fireplaces or wood stoves.
Are pellet stoves dangerous?
As long as you take the proper precautions and have the stove inspected once a year, your pellet stove is perfectly safe. In fact, there is virtually no fire hazard with a pellet stove if it is installed correctly and maintained properly. You can even have them close to walls because they do not put out much external heat as fireplaces do.
The best way to make sure your pellet stove remains safe for you and your family is to have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in place around your home. You should also dispose of the hot ashes carefully in a metal container with a lid. And always use the recommended pellets for your stove. Keep the stove maintained and be sure you have it placed on a non-combustible mat specially made for pellet stoves.