Our house was designed with a fireplace heating system. It heats a water container and a pump moves the heated water through the radiators.
The fireplace was a normal wood burning one. Though an inexpensive and efficient way, this was not the ideal one. We needed tons of wood – 10 to 15 cubic meters which had to be chopped and stored before the winter hits. Another drawback was that every 4-5 hours someone needs to add a log in the fire to keep it burning. That means during the night, too because, by the end of the night, the house chills and the morning can become really cold. We need to change to more efficient windows, but that’s another story… Also, when we are out during the working hours, no one can keep the fire and in the evenings we have to start it all over again. And finally, there are no safety guards at all.
I did my research on what we can do, to change the fireplace with minimal additional changes. The final list was:
- To add air conditioners
- To change the existing fireplace to burn pellets and add automatic lighter
- To remove the existing fireplace and get pellet burning one.
Adding air conditioners was not ideal option as the electricity bill was high enough already. Also, the air conditioner cannot warm up the bathroom, and in the other rooms it cannot make them as warm as with the fireplace.
The second option offered minimal changes, but to this date I cannot find someone to do it, also the pellet container had to be in the washer room which is small enough space as it is.
So the only option for us was to change the fireplace to a pellet burning one.
But what are pellets?
Pellets are one of the greenest and most efficient ways to warm up during the winter days. They produce little dust and there is almost no smoke from the chimney.
Pellets are small compressed organic matter or biomass. They are made from industrial waste and co-products, most commonly made from compacted sawdust. The categories are based on the heating energy, ash and moisture, the later has to be as minimal as possible – less than 10%. Also they make great cat toilet filler 🙂 .
All pellet fireplaces are as modern as they can be – all models have pellet container which fill the burning place automatically, starts the fire automatically, have security features, have schedules and some have even an app to control it remotely. The last one was waaaaay more expensive than what we were willing to spend. The only concern to us was how much pellets would it burn, but we read that it is a bearable amount.
So, we bought the most inexpensive model that can work with the water system.
For our house (270 sq. meters) the needed pellets are 2 bags, 15kg each, per 24 hours, which is bearable. In the pellet container we can store 2 and a half bags so in the evening we add 2, set the water temperature to 45-50 and forget about the heating problem. As we go out for the weekend we can schedule the start date so that, when we come home, the house to be warm. The security features are flawless, at least for now. We had several issues (due to low quality pellets mostly) and the fireplace did extremely well. We can buy a ton, which is around 65 bags, but we don’t have the storage, so we buy 10-20 bags at a time. It comes more expensive that way, though.
Whatever or not, we are happy with the decision to change the fireplace. For us, it is a lot more convenient that way and the house is warmer, because now the fire burns throughout the day as well as the night.