What Are Fuel Efficiency Ratings?

One of the greatest benefits of investing in pellet heat is capitalizing on its efficiency. When renewable, biomass fuel meets stove heating powerhouses, you can expect amazing things to happen: cost savings, lower emissions, ease of use and reliable heat.

Our team of experts are here to walk you through pellet stove and fuel efficiency rating basics, why they are important and tips for purchasing an efficient pellet stove.

What is a Pellet Stove?

Known for its efficiency and warmth, pellet stoves are available as freestanding stoves or fireplace inserts to serve as your home’s primary or supplemental heat. Pellet stoves burn a renewable biomass fuel called pellets. Compared to other fuel types, heating your home with pellet fuel reduces your carbon footprint as pellets expel minimal greenhouse gas emissions. 

With its high level of efficiency, you’ll burn less fuel, which can even stabilize your heating bill. Pellet fuel is a win-win-win: saving money, reducing emissions and minimizing effort.

What are Fuel Efficiency Ratings and Why are They Important?

Before you invest in a new heat source, it’s important to understand fuel efficiency ratings. The ratings are standard benchmarks of fuel consumption that combine combustion efficiency, electrical efficiency and heat transfer efficiency.

Fuel efficiency ratings for stoves are important for a number of reasons because they indicate a stove’s: 

  • General efficiency
  • Ability to bypass smoke and harmful gasses
  • Cycle efficiency
  • Ease of maintenance

It is important to note that all pellet stoves on the market today are EPA-certified. To gain this certification, the pellet stove must pass rigorous tests and meet specific standards for both efficiency and emissions. The fuel you put in your stove matters, too. That’s why the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) sponsors a certification program to ensure a high level of quality for pellet fuels. With these standards in place, you can rest assured your pellet stove (and its fuel) are good for you and the planet.

How is Pellet Stove Efficiency Measured?  

There are two stove efficiency ratings to take note of: Low Heating Value (LHV) and High Heating Value (HHV).

  • HHV, published by the EPA, calculates all of the heat contained in the fuel source to determine efficiency.
  • LHV calculates a portion of the heat contained in the fuel source when calculating efficiency.

Generally, the HHV of pellets is higher than LHV because the combustion process in pellet stoves is designed to recover as much heat as possible. The High Heat Value (HHV) efficiency of any appliance is the best representation of the stove’s performance. With this in mind, we recommend comparing HHV ratings when browsing pellet stove models. HHV is published by the Environmental Protection Agency.

How Much Energy Does a Pellet Stove Use?

The amount of energy a pellet stove uses depends on many factors, including the stove's size, efficiency, temperature setting and the heating requirements of the space. 

On average, a pellet stove consumes 100 electrical watts during normal use and 500 watts during the ignition phase. “Pellet stoves are the cleanest solid-fuel, residential heating appliance,” notes Energy.gov. EPA-certified pellet stoves are likely to be in the 70% to 83% efficiency range and “have heating capacities that range between 8,000 and 90,000 BTU per hour.”

A standard-sized pellet stove can consume between one to three pounds of pellets per hour, depending on the stove's heat output settings and pellet quality.

To estimate a specific energy usage and fuel consumption, consult the manufacturer's specifications.

3 Tips for Adding an Efficient Pellet Stove to Your Home

Adding an efficient pellet stove to your home is a step in the right direction to reduce your carbon footprint. To get the most out of this home upgrade, follow these recommendations:

1. Capitalize on the Federal Biomass Tax Credit

Beginning January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2032, taxpayers who install qualifying pellet stoves will receive a 30% tax credit up to $2,000 annually, based on the full cost (purchase and installation) of the unit. Eligible stoves include those with a “thermal efficiency of at least 75% per the higher heating value (HHV) of the fuel” (HPBA).

Harman offers numerous eligible pellet stoves and inserts in different sizes, materials, heat output and more to ensure you find the perfect pellet stove for your home.

Eligible Harman Stoves:

2. Invest in Engineering Excellence

While it is true that all pellet stoves on the market today are EPA-certified, not all are made the same. Premium stove brands, like Harman, invest in the latest technology and quality materials to ensure you get the most value for your fuel dollar.

Invest in Harman’s engineering excellence and enjoy:

  • Harman’s Exhaust Sensing Probe (ESP) System: Delivers precision heating control. ESP constantly monitors and adjusts heat output to maintain set room temperatures within one degree.
  • Harman’s PelletPro System: Burns any grade of pellet fuel with maximum heat and efficiency. This bottom-up feeding system burns each pellet completely, allows for 24-hour heating and constantly maintains the fire within one degree of set temperatures—helping achieve industry-leading performance and efficiency.
  • The Harman EASY Touch Control: Makes it EASY to heat your home with an intuitive touchscreen operation. Keep desired heat levels all day, every day, by saving fuel using the scheduling feature and optional wireless remote sensor that automatically monitors performance and notifies you when maintenance is needed.
  • The Wireless Room Sensor: Maintains your space within one degree of your set temperature. The Wireless Room Sensor communicates to the EASY Touch Control every 17 seconds, keeping your set temperature as accurate as possible, all day, every day.
3. Prepare Your Space

Optimize the most fuel and cost savings by performing a home energy audit. 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.

A service professional will assess your home by going room-by-room with equipment that gauges 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.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Harman is a preferred choice for thousands of fire lovers across the globe for more than just heating efficiency. As the leading manufacturer of premium pellet stoves and inserts, Harman stoves offer unparalleled design, quality and longevity. And each product comes with exclusive, smart technologies, providing efficient warmth and energy savings.

Learn more about heating your home with a Harman pellet stove. Visit your local dealer today!

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