What Happens To a Pellet Stove When the Power Goes Out?

Filed in Home Improvement by on November 15, 2007

Well, we found out last night.

Back when I was trying to make my decision between purchasing either a pellet stove or a wood burning stove, I heard that a major benefit of the wood stove is that it will keep burning if the power goes out. Ok, that was a factor, but not a huge one since we could probably figure out some other way to keep warm if the power went out and the heat shut off. It might suck, but I think we would figure something out. The other argument was regarding the pellet stove. Some people told me that if the pellet stove was burning and the power went out, the fans would stop and the house would fill up with smoke.

Last night, I was laying in bed having a dream about me running nude through a field of marigolds, when I was suddenly awakened by the sound of our computer battery backups beeping. I said, “Uh oh.” I jumped up to see everything pitch black. It was about 2AM. I knew the power went off because our white noise filter shut off and the neighbor’s lights weren’t on. I got out of bed and powered down the computers and checked on the pellet stove, which was humming right along a few minutes before. The pellets were kind of sitting there glowing. There was no smoke coming out anywhere, because I sealed up the exhaust pipe earlier, nice and tight, with high temperature sealer. I was walking around trying to find the flashlight, which I couldn’t. I silently blamed Laura for this until I found it on the bathroom floor this morning. I kind of left it there. Whoops. I used our oil lamp.

Anyway, when the power goes out, no smoke will escape a pellet stove, unless you open the door, like I did. I wanted to see if there was a natural draft, due to the exhaust pipe being higher than the intake pipe and the stove itself. No, there was no natural draft, which leaves me a little puzzled, because it was the manufacturer’s suggestion to set things up this way, for this particular case. I only opened the door a crack, just to see inside. The instant I opened it, I noticed a thick steam of smelly smoke floating up from the opening. I quickly closed the door, but the smoke already kind of stunk things up a bit. Not too much, but enough to smell.

I went back to bed with no further incident. There you have it. Bye.

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