Pellet Stove Insert Installation: Great Guide to 2024

Pellet Stove Insert Installation: Everything You Need to Know

What could be better than a cozy evening next to a warming hearth? And today let’s look at a modern version of a fireplace that is a pellet stove. This article tells about the ways of installation of pellet stoves and their features. We’ll focus especially on pellet stove insert installation and consider whether it’s realistic to implement it in a DIY project.

How a Pellet Stove Differs from Other Stoves

To start with, let’s understand how pellet stoves differ from conventional wood-burning fireplaces. A traditional wood-burning fireplace and a pellet stove both use fire as a heating force, but that’s probably where their similarities end. There is much more to be said about their differences.

Burning material

The most obvious difference is the material used as fuel. Conventional fireplaces use wood fuel, while pellet stoves use pellets, which consist not only of wood but also of other organic matter. Thus, you participate in the recycling of organic waste and contribute to the decrease of deforestation.

Burning material for pellet inserts
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Heating control

We all know that a Santa Claus chimney-style fireplace looks as authentic as possible, but it’s not the most practical heating for your house. Fireplaces using wood fuel give up a significant portion of heat up the chimney, whereas the design of a pellet stove eliminates these losses.

Unlike a wood-burning fireplace, pellet stoves are closer to a modern HVAC system. Installing a pellet stove may involve running ductwork throughout your home or, depending on the model, venting heated air around the room.

In addition, by adjusting its blower and thermostat, you can better control heat output and get the ambient temperature you want. This is a huge advantage of a pellet stove that is worth starting your fireplace modernization project for.

a pellet insert for fireplace
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Safe to use

Fireplace heating is great if you enjoy making marshmallows, but be aware that you won’t be able to do so in a pellet stove. In return, you will get a completely smoke and exhaust-free room.

The firebox of a pellet stove is covered with protective glass. This completely eliminates sparks, ash, and other debris from entering the room, and increases combustion and heat release efficiency.

Pellet Stove Installation: Possible Options

Pellet appliances are differentiated by the type of installation. There are freestanding pellet stoves, wall-mounted pellet stoves, and pellet stove inserts.

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I believe fireplace inserts are the best solution if you already have a chimney and fireplace, but let’s briefly go over the other types as well.

Regardless of the type you choose, pellet stove installation needs an electrical supply to run its fan and thermostat. It is also essential that the floor around your pellet stove is made of fire-resistant material. Wood, carpet, or plastic require a fireproof coating to protect them, such as tile or stone.

How to install pellet insert
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Installing a freestanding pellet stove

Freestanding pellet stoves have a disadvantage in that they take up floor space, but this is offset by the wide variety of models available. For example, there are compact models that operate even from batteries.

A freestanding pellet stove should be placed where there is an external wall of the house nearby. So it will be more convenient to vent the gas products of combustion outside. At the same time, consider how to integrate a heated air supply into your home’s venting system if you intend to heat more than one room.

But sometimes it is easier said than done, and the proper venting turns into a real quest. Consider where to make a vent hole in exterior wall and how to lay the vent pipe before purchasing a new stove.

Freestanding pellet stove placed against an external wall
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Wall-mounted pellet stoves

Pellet stoves built into the exterior wall do not take up space on the floor, which is of course very convenient. They also benefit from a ventilation system, which is also built into the wall.

In-wall pellet stoves are usually compact in size so that they do not weigh down the wall too much. Right behind the stove, the vent pipe is located inside the wall, which goes out. In this way, the living space is not overloaded with extra pipes.

However, installing such a stove, do not expect to heat a large house. Except if you have originally designed the ventilation system for pellet hearth and laid the pipes for the house in the required wall at the construction stage.

In-wall pellet stove
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Pellet stove inserts

If you have an existing chimney and an old fireplace, it’s time to modernize it by installing a pellet insert. You are the lucky person who can get modern heating while keeping a cozy fireplace.

When installing a pellet insert, you are limited by the size of your existing fireplace space. As a last resort, if the stove model you have your eye on persistently doesn’t fit, consider disassembling part of the fireplace lining.

With pellet inserts you do not need to think about where to vent exhaust fumes, you already have everything ready in your ceiling and roof. But you still have to think about how to spread the warmth throughout the house. Let’s take a look at a pellet insert installation plan.

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How to Install Pellet Inserts
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How to Install Pellet Inserts

The first place to start is to assess the condition of your existing fireplace. The fireplace lining should be made of stone or other fire-resistant material that can withstand high temperatures. If the fireplace liner is undamaged, you can move on to the next step.

The next step is to assess how good the existing chimney is. Check the condition of the chimney liner and whether the chimney is free for air flow. It’s also a good idea to get rid of pigeons on roof if there is such a problem. If in doubt, consult with pros to install fireplace inserts in your location.

Now carefully measure the existing fireplace space. The resulting dimensions will immediately narrow down the pellet stoves that are right for you. Among the remaining ones, turn your attention to those that are easier to incorporate into your home venting system to distribute warm air to multiple rooms.

Lastly, check to see if the unit you choose requires an electricity connection. Most likely yes, if you plan to install a pellet stove with a blower and thermostat control. If this pellet insert is planned simply as a design element for one room, it may be low power and accordingly battery-operated.

Installing pellet insert into existing fireplace
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How much it costs to install a pellet stove

The price of a pellet stove installation consists of the cost of the unit itself and the installation project. And often remodeling a house for stove heating is more expensive than purchasing the heater.

By deciding to install a pellet stove, most homeowners aim to improve efficiency and reduce heating costs. So often the heating project is limited to a couple of rooms or the first floor only, rather than rebuilding the HVAC system of the entire home.

According to Home Advisor, here’s a compiled table by equipment type:

Type of StovePurchasingInstallation costTotal Cost
Freestanding$1,000 to $5,000$200 to $850$1,200 to $5,850
Wall-Mounted$1,000 to $5,000$500 to $1,200$1,500 to $6,200
Pellet insert$2,000 to $6,000$625 to $7,000$2,625 to $13,000
Pellet stove installation cost

Speaking of inserts where a chimney is used for the vent hole, the lion’s share of the cost is for the chimney liner. It’s worth writing a dedicated article about it, so save the site to your bookmarks so you don’t miss it.

chimney liner for venting pellet insert
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Maintenance of pellet inserts

Like any equipment, stoves should receive their proper maintenance. Unlike a wood-burning fireplace, pellets do not require cleaning up after each use. Fuel made from pellets burns almost completely, providing more power. Depending on the intensity of use and the quality of the pellets, you may clean your heater about once or twice a week.

Always keep an eye on how the heat output is working, pay attention to whether the air in the room is warm evenly, and whether there are any foreign odors. This observation of your insert will help detect a problem before it causes a breakdown.

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Also, read the manufacturer’s instruction manual carefully. All maintenance measures are specified there in detail. Buy such fuel pellets as prescribed by the manufacturer.

Pellet hearth cleaning is something that is better seen once than heard a hundred times. Here’s a video for you by @HarmanStoves:

FAQs

Can I install a pellet insert myself?

The answer is yes, you can, as there is no law that prohibits you from doing so. But keep a few things in mind before you venture into the DIY project of installing a pellet insert.

The first is how the warranty on the pellet stove you buy works. Some manufacturers only require pellet inserts to be installed by certified professionals.

Second, consider how high the stakes are in such a project. Proper ventilation is required, or else health hazards can be caused.

Third, even though pellet stoves are considered safe appliances, still follow fire safety regulations.

How much does it cost to install a pellet stove insert?

If your existing unused chimney is fine, the work to install a pellet insert could cost you around $200. But sometimes pellet inserts involve the installation of a chimney liner, and that’s when the price can grow to 2,000 or even more. And that’s not including the purchase of the pellet insert itself.

How do you vent a pellet insert?

It makes the most sense to use the existing chimney to vent the pellet insert. New venting equipment is inserted into the old chimney, usually a 4-inch stainless steel pipe. One end of this vent pipe connects to the pellet insert and the other end goes into the chimney. If necessary, the vent pipe can be extended or supplemented with an adapter, and excess gaps sealed.

Are pellet stove inserts worth it?

Of course, pellet inserts are a great solution for how to breathe life into an old, inefficient fireplace. Properly installed, inserts can be sufficient heating for a small home or living room. For larger homes, it can significantly reduce electricity or gas bills.

Pellet Stoves Installing
Image credit: canva.com

To Sum: Pellet Stoves Installing As a DIY Project

There is nothing difficult to install a fireplace insert, and everyone can do it with their own hands. Insert stoves use the fireplace flue for their exhaust vented, so you do not have to poke a hole in the exterior walls or ceiling.

It is much more problematic when you need to distribute warm air to different rooms. It is quite possible that you will need professional advice here, even if you are going to install stove insert yourself.

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