The venting of stoves is vital in the operation and management of the equipment. Pellet stoves are unique stoves that allow you to use either a masonry chimney or an industrial chimney. Venting the stove through these chimneys saves you a lot of money, as well as the trouble of installing other venting systems. However, venting using the masonry chimney requires you to take some time for its preparation, especially if the chimney has been used in the past. The chimney must first be cleaned and inspected by a professional.
How Are Pellet Stoves Vented?
Pellet stoves can be vented using several methods. Here are some that should be considered.
Vertical venting– This is the most common venting method. It is mainly used when venting with masonry chimneys. With this venting method, the chimney goes through the roof and ceiling vertically. This means that it has no bends. This method has unique advantages as it keeps the venting gases warm. It also contributes to the effective heating of the stove by providing natural draft, which helps in avoiding unexpected shutdown.
Horizontal venting with vertical backup venting– This is another common venting method that is mainly used with factory built chimneys. This method has gained popularity due to its ability to provide natural drift while avoiding chimney fires. Therefore, as with vertical venting, unexpected shutdown or dwindling of the flame will be avoided.
Sidewall horizontal venting– This is undoubtedly the cheapest venting method, as it is easy to put up the structure and doesn’t use a lot of materials. However, there is the risk of smoke spilling into the house. This happens if you are experiencing power outages, house depressurization or component failure.
Venting into existing chimneys– This is similar to vertical venting. The only difference is that chimney relining will be necessary when using this method. It is applicable with masonry as well as with factory-built chimneys.
What Materials Can Be Used To Vent A Pellet Stove?
Many people have used different materials for their venting systems, such as ordinary metallic tubes. However, the recommended venting material is PL vent pipe, labeled as UL 641. It is a double wall pipe made of stainless steel. The inner tube responsible for carrying exhaust gases is separated from the outer tube by an air space. Sealing of these pipes, especially where there are joints, is very important. This is to avoid leaking of exhaust gases into the home.
There are some venting materials that should not be used to vent pellet stoves. These include:
- Plastic (PVC) pipes
- Dryer vent
- Single wall stove pipe
- Gas appliance/ type B vent
What Factors Should Be Considered When Specifying The Venting Systems?
Besides appliance requirements, there are some factors that need to be considered when specifying venting systems for your pellet stove. These factors include:
House pressure– House pressure is one of the factors that determine how effectively exhaust gases will be expelled from your home. Extremely strong kitchens or tight houses may create negative pressure. Such pressure decreases venting effectiveness, choking the whole process. This may necessitate having an approved external air source.
Altitude– As you go higher, you need to think about venting systems that will be compatible with your location. Venting systems used at the coast are different from those used in the highlands. Areas higher than 2500 ft. above sea level require special venting systems. This is in order to provide adequate draft and combustion air.
Windy conditions– When considering venting options, one should take into account the possibility of having unpredicted prevailing wind conditions. For your venting system to be ready for such high winds, you need to have additional vertical venting. This should extend above the roof or special termination caps.
Cleaning and maintenance– Your pellet stove venting system should be designed with its maintenance in mind. You need to clean the system at least once per year and this means that you should design it in such a ways that the normal cleaning tools can be accommodated.
Why Do You Need Proper Venting Systems?
When using pellet stoves, proper venting is essential. This is because it not only affects the stove’s performance but also the safety and indoor environment of the home. Pellet stoves are known to produce very little smoke, but this doesn’t mean that it cannot pollute the environment. Remember that these stoves also produce other exhaust gases, water vapor, and fine ash. These components must be moved safely from the stove without leaking or releasing them into the house.
The purpose of having all the necessary venting systems is to remove the combustion by-products exuded during the stove’s normal operation. Most stove designs adopt the mechanical exhaust systems where a fan blows the combustion by-products out of the stove. This means that heat will also be blown out along with the gases. This being the case, it is necessary to protect nearby combustibles. Clearance will be necessary to ensure safety in your home.