Preparing your home for the winter is essential to the health, safety, and well-being of you and your family. From winterizing your home before the temperatures drop to preparing for blizzards and power outages, we are here to help keep your home warm and your loved ones safe this winter season.
In this blog post, we will explore why winter safety precautions are important, explain how to keep your home warm this winter, and provide pellet stove preparation tips and tricks to ensure the top efficiency of your pellet stove this season.
What is a Pellet Stove?
Pellet stoves are heating appliances that use biomass fuel — namely pellets — to heat homes. This biomass fuel comprises materials like wood chips and sawdust gathered from manufacturing byproducts that otherwise would end up in a landfill. These stoves are highly efficient; many models qualify for the federal biomass tax credit and serve as a simple way for homeowners to reduce their carbon footprint.
Pellet heating appliances come in two types: a stove and an insert. Pellet stoves are stand-alone heating appliances, sometimes referred to as freestanding stoves, whereas pellet inserts are installed into an existing fireplace space to increase efficiency and cost-savings.
Why is Pellet Stove Winter Preparation Important?
Winter preparation ensures your health, safety, and the stove dependably withstands winter temperatures. Rest easy at night knowing that you and your family are safe and warm by implementing these critical pieces of advice.
With temperatures expected to drop to record lows this season in the northern US, concern from health officials continues to grow. Over-exposure to cold temperatures “comes with an increased risk of cardiac issues, like heart attack and stroke, particularly for people with conditions like heart disease.” (TIME)
Safety and dependability also play a significant role in winter preparation. To ensure your hearth is fireproofed, keep all combustibles, such as decorations, at least three feet away from your stove or pellet insert. Remember that routine cleaning and maintenance are vital for keeping your stove operating correctly and ensuring the safety of yourself and those who visit your home this winter.
How to Keep Your Home Warm this Winter
Beat the cold this winter by fostering a warm, welcoming home. Ensuring your home is ready for the winter means preparing for any possible roadblocks, especially winter storms and power outages. It is also crucial to keep your stove happy; a happy stove is a well-cared-for one. Make sure to plan ahead before the temperature drops and have your stove inspected, maintained, and cleaned routinely.
Winterizing Your Home
Winterizing your home keeps it warm and helps save money by keeping the heat you pay for in your home and the cold out. A home energy audit can identify areas of your home or lifestyle that may be contributing to energy inefficiency. It often only takes simple improvements to your home or small lifestyle changes to make a significant impact.
Energy audits offer insightful details on your home’s energy use and efficiency. Normally conducted by utility companies, this service is a great first step for understanding what areas of your home can be improved. A service professional will assess your home by going room-by-room with equipment gauging sources of energy loss, such as drafty windows and doors or inadequate insulation. In the end, this audit will provide a detailed blueprint of areas for improvement. Hiring a professional is a great first step to saving money and keeping your home comfortable and warm all season long.
After conducting your audit, you may find areas of your home, especially windows and doors, where heat is escaping. You can simply fix the issue by caulking the outside and inside edges of windows or, for a more permanent option, you can replace your weathered windows and doors.
Consider spaces with little or no insulation, such as attics. Add insulation to the walls or use doors with appropriate weather stripping to prevent those spaces from leaking cold air into your living space.
Read more: Five Ways to Winterize Your Home
How to Prepare for Power Outages
Pellet stoves require electricity to operate, which means that they will not work in the event of a power outage. However, you can take precautions to ensure that your home will stay warm even when the electricity goes out.
At Harman, we recommend pairing your pellet stove with a Tripp Lite unit. These devices operate as battery backup systems that automatically kick in when the power goes out, unlike generators which may require you to be home to switch the power source.
Read more: Battery Backups for Pellet Stoves
How Many Pellets Do I Need This Winter?
Harman stoves typically use one 40-pound bag for one day of warm, consistent heat. Most homes use 150-200 bags, or 3-4 tons, of pellets each winter season.
However, the number of pellets you need depends mainly on the space you are heating, the climate you live in and lifestyle considerations such as how warm you prefer your home and if you live there full-time during the winter months.
To receive an accurate estimation of how many pellets you will need this winter, we recommend reaching out to your certified Harman dealer here.
How to Prepare your Pellet Stove for the Winter
As mentioned previously, routine cleaning and maintenance are vital to keep your stove operating efficiently and safely. In preparation for this winter, follow these guidelines to ensure your stove is ready to take on the cold.
Pellet Stove Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning your stove is a simple task to ensure it stays operating efficiently and safely; however, it is also essential for the longevity of your stove. Deferred maintenance can result in lower burning efficiency and the inability to achieve the desired heat output. A pellet stove that is not maintained can also be a safety hazard. Too much soot buildup can cause a chimney fire or result in stains on exterior walls and chimneys.
All pellet appliances require maintenance. Harman products, however, were carefully designed to be easy and fast to clean—in some cases being done in half the time of others on the market. Scraping the burn pot and taking out the ashes is easy and can be done while the stove is burning. As an added safety feature on Harman EASY Touch control units, the stove will notify you when to do all maintenance.
When it is time to perform a more thorough total clean, such as a deep clean of the venting, a message will pop up automatically on the center of the control. No more worrying if it is time for maintenance or tracking it on a calendar. Harman makes it easy. In any case, cleaning instructions are in your stove’s owner manual, or if you prefer video tutorials, cleaning and maintenance videos can be found here.
Read more: How to Maintain Your Pellet Stove: Tips for Cleaning and Servicing
Stay warm, safe, and healthy this winter by completing the necessary preparations for your home to take on the winter cold. Check out our additional resources throughout the article, and schedule time with your stove dealer for any essential maintenance.
If you are new to the world of pellet heating, welcome! We hope this article is informative in your pursuit of adding a pellet stove to your home. Check out this blog post to learn more about why millions of homes across the country are heating with pellets.
Ready to make the switch to pellet stoves? We are here to help! Check out our line of coveted pellet stoves and pellet inserts, or visit your local certified local Harman dealer.