Pellet stove installation guide how to install a pellet

Pellet Stove Installation Guide – How to Install a Pellet Stove

A pellet stove is an economical, efficient, and aesthetic way to heat your entire home, and they’re available in several styles and sizes that you can install in your home, garage, or in a new extension. Pellet stove installation is pretty straightforward, and it’s very similar to a more traditional wood stove in the fact that it uses combustion to produce heat. You also need to feed it pellets to keep it running. This type of stove is less expensive to run, more efficient, and easier to use and manage than wood stoves. This makes it a more popular choice to people looking for efficient ways to heat their homes. 

Your pellet stove installation costs will range depending on the installation style the contractors use and the size of the stove itself. This can lead to a decent cost range, but it’s generally worth it in the long run due to the amount you save in heating bills. It’s also important that you know that fireplaces, pellet stoves, and wood stoves are all different appliances, even though a lot of people use them interchangeably. Fireplaces are more decorative while wood stoves are freestanding and burn wood. Pellet stoves burn pellet fuel and have thermostats to control the temperature. 

On average, your pellet stove installation costs will range from $3,000 to $6,000. Most homeowners end up spending right around $4,000 for their pellet stove installation when they pick out a cast iron appliance with a vent pipe and a fireproof pad. It’s also possible to install a stainless steel direct vent pellet stove on an exterior wall for $1,500. If you want a large insert for an existing fireplace and you install a new chimney liner at the same time, the pellet stove installation costs jump to $7,000. You have to factor in labor costs along with the stove’s cost when you set up a budget. 

If you’re considering switching to this heating method to conserve energy, you’re most likely wondering what a rough estimate for your pellet stove installation will be. If so, this is for you. We’re going to break down each component that you have to consider during this project, and you can use it to see which parts apply to you. When you figure this out, it allows you to add the pieces together to get a good feel for the project’s scope and price, including professional installation. 

1 new pellet stove
Picking out a pellet stove can help you warm your house while saving on your energy bills all year-round. There are many styles and sizes available, so it’s easy to customize your choice to suit your home.
Pellet Stove style=”font-weight: 400;”> by Christy & David Whetstone / CC BY-NC 2.0

Type of Pellet Stoves and Price Points

A lot of pellet stoves are freestanding, but you can install some in an existing fireplace too. This type of stove is known as an insert, and they’re one way to convert a traditional wood burning fireplace into a pellet burning stove. Both options come in several styles and sizes that impact your pellet stove installation process and cost, and both help heat your home. They do come with slightly different cost considerations, including: 

Freestanding

A lot of pellet stoves have a freestanding design, and they look like a contemporary stove box or a more traditional old-fashioned wood stove. You want to perform your pellet stove installation on an outside wall on your home, and it gives you greater flexibility regarding the installation process. They don’t require you to have a fireplace. 

You will need to put a fireproof pad below the stove or put it on a non-combustible surface because it does get very hot. You’ll also have to install a vent or chimney for the stove unless you purchase a direct vent unit. You can get contemporary or traditional styles, and they cost between $1,000 and $5,000 for the stove alone. 

Insert

An insert will turn your traditional fireplace into a pellet stove. They can use your existing fireplace and chimney, but you may need to install a new chimney liner if it’s not in great shape or older. You might also have to pay to run electricity to the insert, and this can increase your pellet stove installation cost. You won’t need to invest in a fireproof pad because you already have the hearth. 

Just like freestanding stove models, these inserts come in an impressive range of sizes and styles to match or enhance your decor. On average, your insert will cost more than a freestanding design. You can expect to pay between $2,000 and $6,000 for the insert itself, not including labor and installation. 

Wall-Mounted

A direct-vent pellet stove can mount directly to the wall, but they’re far less common. They don’t need a chimney because their vent goes directly outside. You will have to be very careful during installation to prevent air leaks, but they can help you save space while looking like a fireplace insert. They have a lower pellet stove installation cost attached to them, and you’ll pay between $1,000 and $5,000 for it. They don’t need a chimney or fireproof pad either. 

Cost for Different Materials for Your Pellet Stove

You can choose from cast iron or stainless steel for your pellet stove’s material. Every material gives you different costs and looks, but their performance levels are similar. Most people go purely by appearance because some fit better into your home’s design style

Cast Iron

Cast iron will give you a very classic appearance over stainless steel. This is what a lot of people imagine when they hear that you have a wood-burning pellet stove. They’re usually shorter, heavier, and wider than a stainless steel stove. They lend a traditional appeal. 

You can consider many different colors and pick out the one that complements your decor. They have bottom or top-loading styles in a huge range of sizes. Cast iron will hold heat much better than stainless steel, so they can give off residual heat if you switch the burner off. Depending on the size, you’ll spend between $1,500 and $4,000 for the stove, plus the pellet stove installation cost. 

Stainless Steel

This comes with a more contemporary look than cast iron. A stainless steel stove gives you a very modern appearance and feel over the traditional century-old wood stove cast iron gives you. You’ll get a very sleek look with rectangular or round columns, and they’re usually thinner and taller than cast iron. 

You’ll get the choice of bottom or top-loading designs, and they come in a large size range. They perform on the same level as cast iron does, but stainless steel can’t hold heat as well. It puts out consistent heat when you have it on, but there is no heat left when it runs out of fuel or you turn it off. You can expect to spend between $1,000 and $3,000 for the stove, not including the pellet stove installation process. 

Pellet Stove Prices by Size

Pellet stoves get sized by the amount of BTUs they can produce. However, unlike a lot of traditional heating sources, the BTU rating may not necessarily correspond with how many square feet you need to heat when you have it on. Upper stories, vaulted ceilings, and floor plans that aren’t open will need larger stoves than a home the same size with lower ceilings, an open floor plan, and good airflow. 

You can choose from a range of low and high heat settings, so many stoves will produce a BTU range. You get input and output BTUs with this stove. The input refers to the number that the pellets produce if you convert 100% of them into heat. The output is the actual number they produce because these stoves only have a 73% to 75% efficiency rating. The most common sizes with costs, not including pellet stove installation are: 

  • 9,000 BTUs – $800 to $1,200
  • 15,000 BTUs – $1,000 to $1,500
  • 20,000 BTUs – $1,500 to $3,000
  • 30,000 BTUs  – $2,000 to $3,500
  • 50,000 BTUs – $3,000 to $5,000 

2 different stove materials
A high-quality pellet stove can efficiently heat your home, and they come in different materials and types that each have benefits and drawbacks associated with them. Taking time to sort through these options ensures you’ll get one that will perform at an acceptable level for your needs.
Pellet Stove by Mike / CC BY-ND 2.0

Prices for Different Combustion Methods

Pellet stoves have different fuel types, including biobased, compressed pellets that are made from a mixture of sawdust, wood, and food scraps. You feed these pellets into the hopper before they get conveyed into the stove’s combustion chamber. You can feed them in from the bottom or top, and the method you pick will depend on the safety, personal taste, and how much you’re willing to pay for your pellet stove installation. 

Bottom-Feed

This stove moves your pellets from the bottom of the setup directly back into your combustion chamber. This is a slightly more efficient way to move pellets because it has a lower chance of jamming. The flames can reach the hopper, but the ash will drop downward without creating a problem. 

Newer bottom-fed models come with pellet breakers and vacuums that stop the flames from being a problem, and this enhances the safety factors. You’ll want to empty the ash out once a week, and you have limited choices since this is a more rare model. Not including pellet stove installation costs, you’ll spend between $2,000 and $4,000 for them on average. 

Top-Feed

You’ll place the pellets on the top of your stove and feed them downward into the combustion chamber with this style. It uses a gravity-feed system that is very popular for this type of stove, and it will cause fewer accidental fires. However, it can lead to a buildup of ash that can make the stove less effective if you don’t clean it regularly and pick out low-ash pellets. Some come with a pellet backup system that can cause jams, and you’ll pay between $1,000 and $3,500 for this model. 

How Brand Impacts Your Pellet Stove Installation Costs

There are several companies that will manufacture and sell pellet stoves for residential use, and they also include pellet stove installation. Some brands specialize in a certain feed method or style, and other brands offer different products. Every stove has a different cost associated with it, along with other attributes. The most popular brands are: 

Enviro

You’ll get the choice of several different freestanding stoves with this brand, and they range from stainless steel models with contemporary designs to more traditional cast iron setups. They have high-efficiency models that can reach 60,000 BTUs, and this is higher than many options. They come designed to be easy to use with a high-quality design, and they’ll add to your pellet stove installation costs by $3,000 to $5,000. 

Harman

Harman is a very well-known name that is an industry leader when it comes to bottom-feeding models. They have many safety features built in that ensure it loads smoothly. There are reduced chances that a fire will reach the hopper or it’ll jam, and they use high-quality materials. You’ll get several technological advances with them that allow you to adjust it remotely. You can choose from stainless steel or cast iron in several sizes, and they cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 each. 

King

If you want a simple stove that offers a cheap way to produce heat with lower pellet stove installation costs, try King. You can find these budget-friendly stoves just about anywhere, and they’re available in several sizes. They usually feature stainless steel. You’ll get a top-feeding technology with them, and they come designed to be easy to install and set up. On average, your costs will range from $900 to $1,500. 

Lopi

Lopi is a brand that specializes in luxury pellet stoves. The stoves come equipped with state-of-the-art technology that allows them to burn up to 57 hours on a single hopper of pellets. They come made out of cast iron and include easy-to-use controls that give you better durability and heat retention. They give you a more traditional appearance, and your stove cost will range from $4,000 to $5,000, not including the pellet stove installation process. 

Ravelli

This is another high-end pellet stove manufacturer, and they come outfitted with ceramic liners in several different colors that can help improve how it looks. They offer remote control features to help you adjust the heat and fan speed quickly and easily. You can choose from traditional or contemporary models, and they cost between $2,500 and $4,000 each. 

St.Croix

This manufacturer offers pellet stoves that focus on sustainability. They have stainless steel and more traditional cast iron models. They make inserts that slip inside your existing fireplaces too. Most of the designs are very simple and have a heavy emphasis on quality. You’ll pay between $1,400 to $3,000 for a pellet stove from St. Croix. 

3 pellet stove brands
Different brands sell different sizes, styles, and types of pellet stoves at all different price points. Matching a brand to your specific needs will help ensure you get the most from your money, no matter what your budget is.
Action shot w/ pellet stove by Rachael Traub / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Picking a Spot to Install Your Pellet Stove

These types of stoves have flexibility when it comes to your pellet stove installation process. They’re versatile with a few restrictions, and you want to put them along a wall to make venting the area easy. They should sit around six inches from the wall on a fireproof flooring material or pad. 

You can vent some models back into the room without a problem. If you want a more traditional vented stove type, this is where the restrictions come in. You’ll have to pick a place to put a chimney. You’ll have to put the stove at least 36-inches from the drapes or furniture, and you want it set out of an area with a lot of foot traffic to help prevent accidents. 

Consider what area you want to heat. Do you have an open floor plan? If so, the stove will be able to heat a bigger area more efficiently. If your home has smaller rooms that are sectioned off, you’ll need fans and vents to reach the other areas. If you can have your pellet stove installation in multiple areas, keep in mind how far you’ll carry pellets. Finally, you’ll need a 120-volt outlet relatively close to the stove. If you don’t, you’ll have to bring in an electrician to rewire it

Average Cost for Pellet Stove Installation

Fortunately, pellet stove installation is straightforward and fairly simple. You can install them inside a wall and have them vent directly outside. Other styles don’t need a vent because they vent back into your house. You might need a chimney or a vent with a fireproof pad. For pellet stove installation, a direct vent model gets mounted to the wall and sealed into place. For other pellet stove installation processes, you place a fireproof pad, set the stove on top, and cut a small hole in the wall to install the chimney. 

Some models will require you to cut a second small hole for an air intake. It takes between two and three hours for your pellet stove installation, but it can be shorter if you have an existing vent or had a stove previously. Your labor costs will vary depending on the installation location and the stove type. 

The labor costs for pellet stove installation for a freestanding model ranges from $600 to $1,000. If you get a freestanding stove made out of cast iron, your labor is $800, the pad is $100, the vent is $300, and the stove is $2,800. This brings your total costs up to $4,000. 

Pellet Stove Installation Costs for Inserts

An insert for a pellet stove is very easy to install. The contractor will set the insert in place and have flanges fill in any space you have left around your stove. Some chimneys will require a new stainless steel liner that works with the stove. 

The liner is flexible, and this decreases your installation time. The liner will cost around $300 for the stainless steel model, and labor will cost between $1,000 and $2,000 to put the liner together and insert it. To fully install the unit, your pellet stove installation will cost between $4,300 and $7,300. 

Prices to Run Your Pellet Stove

You can offset your pellet stove installation cost by saving energy. They burn small compressed pellets to produce heat for your home. The pellets come from several materials, including pressed sawdust that is easy to feed and scoop. Depending on how efficient your stove is, it could have a hopper that will hold enough pellets to run for one or two days on a single load. 

Pellet stoves don’t use a lot of electricity, and the electricity it does use keeps the fan circulating and the stove working. You can adjust the heat setting on your stove from low to high. The lower you set the temperature to, the longer your pellets will last between loads. 

For a 40-pound bag, your pellets will cost around $5.00. Most places allow you to buy palettes of 50 bags for $250. How much you need and how much the stove burns depends on your hopper size, stove size, the running temperature, and how often you run it. Hoppers can hold between 40 and 60 pounds of pellets in a single load, and this will give you enough fuel to run over 48 hours on low heat. 

Electricity Consumption

Your pellet stove’s electricity consumption will vary, depending on whether you set it on high or low heat, the size of the stove, and how many hours you run it during a day. The average pellet stove uses between 360 and 460-watts to start. 

Per hour, they can use between 80 and 345-watts. You’ll find the exact number of watts your stove uses by hour with your model and find out the electricity cost per watt in your location. This will give you an average energy consumption rate. 

Additional Cost Considerations for Pellet Stove Installation 

When you’re figuring out your pellet stove installation and maintenance costs, there are a few additional cost considerations that could factor in. Knowing what they are will ensure that you don’t blow your budget or run out of money halfway through. The most common cost considerations include: 

  • Back-Up Power Supply – Your pellet stove can’t run without electricity. If you want to ensure it works whether or not you have electricity, purchase a generator. This will give you a continuous supply of power for $4,000 to $10,000. 
  • Carbon Monoxide Detector – Although pellet stoves don’t produce as much carbon dioxide as flame-based heaters or wood stoves, they do produce some. To combat this, you’ll want to buy a carbon monoxide detector for $20.00. 
  • Metal Ash Vacuum – A metal ash vacuum makes cleaning your stove much quicker and easier. They have a cost range of $80.00 to $200 each. 
  • Remote Adjustable Thermostat – You can adjust some of these stoves using a remote control. You can also change the temperature settings using a built-in thermostat. Your pellet stove installation will be on the higher end of the price spectrum, and they start at around $3,000. 

Where to Find Pellet Stove Installation Experts Near You

Frequently Asked Questions

4 pellet stove installation faqs
Asking questions when you contact local contractors to install your pellet stove will ensure that you get a professional-grade installation, no matter which stove you pick out. This can help them run as efficiently as possible.
Pellet Stove by Mike / CC BY-ND 2.0

  1. Is it possible to vent a stove through the wall?

Yes. Part of the pellet stove installation process can involve venting it through an exterior wall in your home. You can mount the unit directly to the wall, or it’s possible to have a chimney installed instead. 

2. Will a pellet stove raise your home insurance rates?

Yes. Adding any type of stove to your home can increase your insurance rates because it poses an increased fire risk. The same thing will happen if you install a wood-burning option. 

3. How many bags of pellets will you go through in a day?

This depends on how long you run the stove. If you get a 40-pound bag of pellets and run the stove 24-hours a day on low, it’ll burn through a full bag. This is why single bags are relatively inexpensive at $5.00 each and you can buy larger pallets. 

4. How efficient are pellet stoves?

Pellet stoves are very efficient, and this is why it’s easy to justify your pellet stove installation cost. Each stove will come with an efficiency rating attached to it, and the efficiency will fluctuate based on if you run it on high or low heat. The lower setting will improve the efficiency rating over running it on high. 

Bottom Line 

Your pellet stove installation process is relatively straightforward. The stove itself usually costs more than the installation, especially if you have a chimney or fireplace installed already. Decide which size and style works best for your home and call around to get professional estimates for this project. 

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