Pellet stoves provide consumers with a cost-efficient and eco-friendly alternative to other heat sources. Regular cleaning and annual professional cleanings of your pellet stove are vital for both maintenance and safety reasons. Additionally, the brand of pellets that you choose will affect the cleanliness of your stove. Generally speaking, higher-quality, slightly more expensive pellets burn more cleanly and efficiently.
A variety of pellet stove designs and sizes are available, and the cost of professional cleaning is dependent on what pellets are used in the stove, whether the stove is free-standing or inserted, and how well it is maintained throughout the heating season. The average cost of professionally cleaning your pellet stove ranges between $200 and $270. For instance, a professional, thorough cleaning and inspection of a less well-maintained pellet stove is around $230.
|Pellet stove cleaning costs|
National average cost
|$200 - $270|
One of the major selling points for pellet stoves is the fact that pellets burn cleaner than other fuel sources. While this is true, it does not mean that they burn completely without any residue. As with any burning fuel, ash, soot, and creosote will accumulate on the interior of the stove. Fortunately, you can mitigate a certain amount of residue build-up by using a higher-quality pellet. Nonetheless, regular cleanings of your pellet stove are necessary. Over time, residue inside of the unit can become a fire hazard.
Also, presumably, the reason you have a pellet stove is to take advantage of the cost-efficiency. The dirtier the stove is, the less efficiently it burns and heats, and the more it will cost you in the long run.
Regular inspections and thorough professional cleanings are an integral part of maintaining the safety and efficiency of your pellet-burning stove. Some home insurers require yearly, professional inspection of pellet stoves. If that is the case, you can schedule a cleaning and kill two birds with one stone.
The frequency of necessary professional cleanings will depend on whether your unit is working efficiently, how well you keep up with regular cleaning during the heating season, and usage. If the pellet stove is something you use sporadically to heat one room only, you may not need to have it cleaned every year. However, if it is the main source of heat for your home and it is working constantly throughout the cold season, you may consider having an additional cleaning if you notice excess creosote buildup, or if it is not producing heat as efficiently. Whether you choose to have a professional cleaning done once at the beginning of the heating season, or at the end of the season is a personal choice.
When hiring a certified professional to clean your pellet stove, a number of factors may come into play. For instance, have you been proactive with the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule? Although a thorough cleaning by a professional is only necessary once per year, weekly maintenance and removal of ash will keep the cost of your yearly cleaning down.
The kind of pellets that you are using also matters. High-quality pellets burn hotter, leave less residue, and produce less "clinkers" (little deposits that come from melted and hardened ash).
For obvious reasons, cleaning a freestanding unit will be simpler and less expensive than an insert. If an insert needs to be removed from its location, cleaned, and then replaced, those extra steps will factor into labor costs which costs in the range of $35-45 per half hour. Also, whether your unit is top- or bottom-fed can affect the labor cost of your yearly cleaning. Generally, bottom-fed units are easier to clean. If you do not keep up with weekly cleanings top-fed stoves can take a bit longer to clean as ash and "clinkers" can easily collect in the grates.
For most certified technicians, a yearly cleaning of your pellet stove is also a mechanical and safety inspection, often required by your homeowner’s insurance. A certified tech should begin with a visual inspection of your unit. This visual inspection includes examination for visible defects, ash build-up, and any discoloration on the exterior of the stove that may indicate that the unit is not burning efficiently.
Then, they will thoroughly vacuum both the inside and the backside of your pellet stove. After the visual inspection and vacuuming, the technician will go through a detailed cleaning checklist. Baffles, center, right, and left will be removed to expose the drop tube, exhaust path, and fire box for vacuuming. Inside of the firebox 1 there is a small hole which gives access to the exhaust path. The walls of the exhaust path need to be cleaned with a fine brush.
Also during the cleaning, the tech will access the feed tube by removing the auger cover located inside the hopper. From there, the hopper and feed tube can be thoroughly vacuumed. Moving on, the burn pot will be removed and cleaned with a burnpot cleanout tool designed to break up the deposits that collect there during normal use.
Once the unit has been completely cleaned, a certified technician should perform a full start-up cycle with your pellet stove to ensure that it is functioning as it should. Lastly, they should provide you with an inspection report that will let you know of any concerns or repairs that are imminent, as well as future recommendations.
The main reason to hire a professional to have your stove cleaned is for safety purposes, as well as since it is often a requirement of homeowners insurance that you have your unit cleaned and inspected by a certified technician once per year. The National Fireplace Institute certifies individuals in the proper care, cleaning, safety, and maintenance of pellet stoves. While the weekly maintenance is ideal for folks that love DIY projects, the yearly deep clean should be handled by a pro.
Depending on where you live and how well you maintain your pellet stove throughout the heating season,a pellet stove annual cleaning and inspection will cost anywhere from $175 to $350. While many pellet stove service providers charge a flat fee for an annual inspection and cleaning, usually $150 - $200, others charge on an hourly basis, normally in the range of $35-45 per half hour. Additionally, a service call fee or travel fee, ranging from $65-$95 may be included if you live outside of a particular service area.
The effort that you put into maintaining your pellet stove during the heating season will directly affect the cost and amount of labor that will go into an annual cleaning. To keep your yearly cleaning costs low and your pellet stove working efficiently, the following maintenance items should be performed at least weekly while the unit is in use:
A pellet stove requires weekly maintenance cleaning and vacuuming of the ash trap, removal of melted ash deposits and soot, cleaning of the heat exchanger, and door glass. In addition, an annual cleaning and inspection of the unit by a certified technician will ensure efficiency and lifespan.
Yes, a professional should clean and inspect your chimney yearly as well. However, not all pellet stove retailers and technicians provide this service and you may have to seek out a chimney pro. On average, chimney cleaning services in the United States cost between $100 and $300.
The average cost for a well-maintained pellet stove is $150-$250. Additional costs may arise if your stove is neglected throughout the heating season, you choose a lower quality pellet, or live a long distance outside of the technician’s service area.
Pellet stoves can run all day. In fact, due to their cost-efficiency and relatively clean burn, many people are choosing to have them as the primary source of heat in their homes. They are safe enough to run unattended and various new technological advances give you the peace of mind to leave them running while you are out of the house, even if you have animals at home. Once the hopper is filled with pellets, the stove will continue to burn using its self-feeding system. Also, many newer stoves are fully programmable and can even be started and stopped using your cell phone while you are out.
While pellet stoves burn cleaner than other wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, creosote buildup still occurs, though to a much lesser extent. Most of the creosote will burn away due to the high heat burn of a pellet stove and what remains can be easily cleaned away using creosote remover and a vent brush.
To clean the inside of a pellet stove turn the unit off and allow it to cool completely. Once it has cooled, vacuum the ash from the interior, clean the glass with a good glass cleaner, and remove soot with a wire brush.