How to Heat Your Cabin with a Pellet Stove

Cabins are relaxing getaways enjoyed all year long. Whether you head up in the warmer months to swim or spend winter weekends skiing, your cabin is a tranquil retreat from everyday responsibilities. It inspires peace and shuts out stress, allowing you to ground yourself in nature and experience the great outdoors. That’s why cabin owners need a reliable, affordable, eco-friendly and efficient heat source. Something that lends charm and an old-world feel to the traditional atmosphere and easy-going aesthetic. 

In this blog post, we'll explore pellet stoves as an alternative heating option for your cabin, plus how they lend multiple benefits for your off-grid living lifestyle.

What is Alternative Heating?

Alternative heating is any method of heating that is not traditional or conventional. These methods include using renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal or wind power, as well as alternative fuel sources such as wood or wood pellets. Some examples of alternative heating methods include pellet stoves, solar and geothermal heating systems and heat pumps. 

These methods are more sustainable than traditional heating methods and — in the long run — more cost-effective.

Why Are Alternate Heat Sources Beneficial for Cabins?

Alternative heating methods are more cost-effective than traditional heating methods, especially in remote areas where access to fuel sources may be limited. 

For example, using a pellet stove is less expensive than propane or electric heat. Additionally, alternative heating methods are more sustainable and eco-friendly, which is important for responsible cabin dwellers who want to reduce their carbon footprint and protect the environment around their homes. Colder climates and intense weather conditions also call for a reliable heat source that can still run during a power outage. Wood pellet stoves burn cleanly and provide heat during power outages when equipped with proper battery backup.  

What is Biomass Fuel?

A person holding wood pellets in their hands

Biomass fuel is made from renewable organic materials such as wood. 

Wood pellets are a form of biomass fuel made from the sawmilling industry and forestry residuals. When logs are converted into lumber and other high-value wood products, sawdust is leftover. Wood pellets are created by compressing the sawdust into small pellets that are then used for wood pellet heating and cooking stoves. These heat sources burn cleaner and are more cost-efficient than other options such as oil and gas. 

What is a Pellet Stove? 

A pellet stove is a heating source similar to a wood-burning stove, but instead of using wood logs for fuel, pellet stoves burn wood pellets. 

Available as freestanding stoves or fireplace inserts, wood pellet appliances can heat part or all of a home, depending on its size and layout. When used as an alternative to oil, propane or gas, cabin pellet stoves are an eco-friendly option that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Equipped with a range of technologically advanced features, they may look like a rustic, laborious heat source when in fact they function like a modern and efficient powerhouse that lends craftsmanship to any interior design style. 

Are Wood Pellet Stoves for Cabins an Affordable and Efficient Heat Source?

While plenty of people live in cabins all year long, cabin owners often use the cozy hideaway as a second vacation home. 

Most cabins built in the United States range from 1,000 to 1,400 square feet with an open floor plan that features a large great room and kitchen with separate bedrooms. Even if it’s warm throughout the day, nighttime temperatures drop in older cabins creating a need for year-round heat. This is especially true if the logs were not dried in a protective space prior to construction and don’t provide sufficient insulation. The last thing cabin owners want is an uncomfortable living environment and the financial strain of expensive heating bills.

If your log cabin is modernized and has a reliable source of electricity, the right pellet stove can provide the most affordable heat source. Wood pellets can also be purchased in bulk during the spring and summer months when prices are at their lowest, eliminating the year-round job of chopping, hauling and stocking wood.

Updated pellet stoves also feature key technologies that provide greater temperature control. Combined, these features make wood pellet stoves an ideal heat source for remote cabins with an open floor plan while complimenting their rustic charm.  

Cabin dwellers report that in winter months alone it can cost up to $2000 to heat a 1600-square-foot cabin with propane. When they switched to wood pellet heating the cost dropped to $400. Even when considering the price of the wood pellet appliance and its installation, pellet stoves for cabins pay for themselves over the first few winters.

Keep in mind that the above price is an estimation and does not apply to all cabins. Affordable cabin heating depends on multiple variables including:

  • Cabin size

  • Regional construction costs

  • Local building codes and regulations

  • Environmental conditions

  • If the foundation is a basement, crawlspace or slab

  • The cabin’s design and layout

  • The interior finish of the fixtures, flooring, countertops, cabinets and appliances

  • The type of windows

Wood Pellet Stoves vs. Wood-Burning Stoves: Which one is best for my cabin?

Whether you’re wondering how to heat a log cabin or a more modern one, wood pellet stoves and wood-burning stoves both offer the benefits you need.

Wood-burning stoves don’t require electricity making them the best choice for cabins truly off the grid. However, if your cabin has electricity, many wood-burning stoves have technologies that elevate your fireside experience. With these features, you’ll spend less time maintaining your flame and more time relaxing beside it. Additionally, well-engineered wood stoves are built to extract the most heat out of your wood so you’ll spend less on fuel.

The Quadra-Fire patented Four-Point Burn System, for example, burns and re-burns wood, gasses and fumes four times, ensuring your fire burns longer and produces steady, rolling flames while requiring less wood. Automatic Combustion Control (ACC) makes start-up easy and gives you precise control to "set it and forget it." Load your wood, light your fire and resume creating more cozy, cabin memories.

On the other hand, pellet stoves require less maintenance and effort, and are less prone to creosote build-up. Just as with Quadra-Fire, Harman pellet stove technologies also allow owners to program their stove to automatically turn on and off so that they can set it to a preferred daily temperature and focus their attention elsewhere.

Can I Install a Pellet Stove in My Cabin?

Yes, you can install a pellet stove in your wood cabin as long as you adhere to the proper codes and regulations. We highly recommend that you have a professional perform the installation to ensure it's done safely and correctly. You'll also need to correctly vent the pellet stove in order to route the combustion gasses to the exterior of your cabin. 

Pellet stove installation is simpler than other wood-burning heat sources. Their less intricate, direct venting style makes installation easier to achieve. Check out our blog post on proper pellet stove installation

Cabin Pellet Stove Benefits

In addition to being an affordable and efficient primary or supplementary heat source, pellet stoves offer cabin owners other benefits that include:

  • A cozy, radiant heat that can warm an entire cabin
  • An aesthetically pleasing rustic ambiance
  • A fuel source with a lower carbon footprint than other heating methods
  • Less maintenance and clean up
  • Advanced technology to keep your cabin at the right temperature all day
  • A range of sizes and heat outputs
  • Fuel that can be purchased at a lower cost and stored year-round

Popular Forge & Flame Models for Cabins

Harman P-Series  pellet stove in a lodge living room

We have multiple great options when it comes to installing pellet stoves in cabins, all of which qualify for the federal biomass tax credit incentive:

  • Harman P-Series: One of Harman’s most popular stove collections, the P-Series pellet stove offers classic design elements that emphasize rustic cabin features. Available in different sizes and heat outputs, the P-Series offers three different models — P43, P61 and P68.
  • Harman Absolute Series: For those looking for modern lines with the same efficiency and reliability Harman is known for, an Absolute series pellet stove is the perfect heating solution. With two sizes to choose from — the Absolute43 and Absolute63 — this line is equipped for heating medium to large-sized spaces. Moreover, with Harman’s engineering excellence, you can schedule heat whether at the cabin or not, as long as there is fuel in the hopper.
  • Quadra-Fire Trekker Series Pellet Stove: One of Quadra-Fire’s most popular pellet stoves, the Trekker lends a beautiful view of the glowing fire with stylistic features that fit traditional cabin design. Best suited for large spaces, this heating powerhouse not only can heat up to 2,900 square feet, its high efficiency also qualifies for the federal tax credit. 

    Next Steps

    If you’re a cabin owner looking to offset heating costs, do good by the environment and keep your toes toasty all year long, consider installing a Forge & Flame pellet stove. The many money-saving and environmentally friendly benefits make them a smart choice for cabin owners. Browse our website and find a nearby dealer who will help you add warmth to your cabin getaway.   

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What happens if my pellet stove is running and loses power?

    In the event of a power outage your pellet stove will shut down and the fire within will continue to burn until it goes out on its own. Keep the appliance doors closed during this time to reduce the amount of smoke that can spill into your space.

    How do I know which pellet appliance is right for my home?

    If you are trying to decide on a pellet stove, there are several things to consider. First, you need to measure the area of the space you are trying to heat. This will help you determine the size of the appliance you need to get the job done.

    Secondly, you need to look into what venting options are available to you in your current space.

    For a more in-depth insight into choosing the perfect pellet appliance for your home, contact your local authorized dealer today.