Pellet stoves use compressed wood pellets as a fuel source, and they can generate a significant amount of heat. Unlike traditional wood stoves, these units store pellets in a hopper that feeds the stove gradually according to the temperature and feed rate settings. If you've never used a pellet stove before, you may not be familiar with the unique settings of these systems. Here's a look at what you need to do to light your new pellet stove for the first time.

Set the Inlet Damper

The damper controls the air flow to the stove, which is an essential part of maintaining the fire once you get it lit. When you push the damper control all the way in, it reduces the air flow to minimal. Pulling the damper all the way out allows maximum air flow into the stove. Close the damper by pushing it all the way in, then pull it out away from the stove about a half inch to allow some air to flow through when you light the stove. You'll need to adjust it once the stove is burning, but this is the setting you'll need the first time you light it.

Lock the Stove Door

When you open the stove door, you'll rotate the handle counter clockwise until the door swings open. But, you'll need to lock the handle in place when you close it to keep the door from opening again. In most cases, the handle will point straight down when the door is locked.

Fill the Hopper

Lift the hopper lid to get access to the storage cavity. Move the lid toward the back of the stove until it stays open on its own. Pour pellets into the hopper carefully to make sure they all go in the hopper. Once it is filled to the capacity line, close the lid securely.

Set the Feed Rate and Fan

Push the feed rate button to engage the hopper to feed the fuel into the stove. You'll hear the exhaust fan engage, and then you'll hear the heating fan start as well. Once the fans are functioning as intended, you can light the fire.

Put some sawdust or wood shavings in the bottom of the burn grate. Then, add a handful of pellets. Put some fire starter on the pellets. Always use a pellet stove fire starter, not kerosene, lighter fluid or other flammable liquid. Fire starter products are designed for safe combustion in these applications.

Light the fire starter, and then prop the stove's main door so that there is a small gap between the door and the stove. Once the pellets have caught fire, you can close the door. If closing the door extinguishes the fire, add more fire starter and repeat the process.

Once the fire is burning successfully, you can adjust your fan speeds and fuel rate to keep the fire consistent and produce the heat that you need for your home. Most pellet stoves can distribute a significant amount of heat, even at low feed rates.

Clean out the ash bin beneath the stove regularly so that you don't get a backup of ash and dust inside the stove. This can hinder its burn rates and make it function inefficiently.

Pellet stoves are versatile, affordable heating options, but only when they are operating properly. With the tips presented here, you'll be able to get your stove burning successfully the first time. If you need more clarification, your pellet stove installation contractor can give you a hands-on lesson about each of the controls and how they work. The more you understand about its operation, the more effective you can be at heating your home with your new pellet stove.

For more information about this or other heating options, contact a local heating and cooling company.