Comparing Natural Gas Heating Systems to Pellet Stoves

When looking into alternative heating sources for your home, there are a number of great options to choose from! Pellet stoves and natural gas heaters are both extremely effective heating sources, and are relatively easy to maintain. However, they do have some key differences to consider when looking for the best option for your home. 

A pellet stove works by burning pellets - normally made of wood or other organic materials - to generate heat in the home. These stoves are regulated by an internal thermostat, which allows you to set the desired temperature and leave the stove to do the rest! Gas heaters, on the other hand, do not require electricity which is a major benefit if there is a power outage. They work by burning natural gas, and like the pellet stove they are regulated by an internal thermostat. 

If stove efficiency is your top priority, you cannot go wrong with either a pellet stove or a gas heater! Gas heaters do have a higher potential for heating efficiency, with a range of 8,500 - 100,000 BTUS. Pellet stoves, however, heat on average with an efficiency of 30,000 BTUs. Both stoves are more than efficient for heating an apartment, condo, or home. 

When it comes to installing your new stove, pellet stoves tend to be cheaper and easier to install. The process simply involves placing a small hole in an outside wall and venting the stove with either a direct vent system or an exhaust pipe. The process of installing a gas heater is a little bit more complex, and often more costly. The gas heater requires either a direct vent system or a chimney. 


Thinking beyond installation, it is important to consider the type of maintenance your stove will require to keep it running. Gas heating systems do require less day-to-day maintenance. They are simply turned on and off with the push of a button. This doesn’t mean that pellet stoves are high-maintenance. With pellet stoves, you need to add pellets and occasionally clean out the ashtray.

The overall maintenance of a pellet stove is easier than a gas heater. Gas heaters require a technician to come in annually to perform services such as pipeline inspections and vent cleaning. Pellet stove maintenance conveniently can be done on your own with the right stove parts and tools, and there are no annual inspections required. But if you want to have a technician come in and help you with repairs and maintenance for your pellet stove, you can do that as well.

Safety is of course a top priority when it comes to purchasing a stove. Though both stoves are extraordinarily safe, pellet stoves tend to be a little bit safer. The one risk with gas heaters is a carbon monoxide leak if the ventilation system is not installed correctly. It is important to note that both stoves do get hot to the touch, so it is best to keep them away from small children and pets. 

When it comes to environmental safety, neither stove causes harm to the environment. Pellet stoves are looked at as the more eco-friendly option, though, because of the fuel. Pellets are organic materials, whereas the propane used to power a gas heater is a nonrenewable resource. So if environmental awareness is a top-priority for you, a pellet stove is the way to go! 

We should also mention that many take advantage of both gas and pellet stove heating options. This best of both worlds approach allows homeowners to take advantage of the cost savings from wood pellet heat while keeping a gas heater backup.

Ultimately, if you are in the market for a stove to help heat your home, a pellet stove may be your best fit. With maximum efficiency, easy cleanup and maintenance, and environmental and personal safety you will certainly be pleased with your purchase!


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