Pellet heaters aren’t cheap, so before spending all that money you may want to know how long do pellet heaters last. You’ll pay anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the model, so it’s a big investment to stay warm, especially if you’ve already got another heater. Some people have never heard of pellet heaters, so they worry about moving parts inside pellet heaters. Is it worth spending all that money? The good news is pellet heaters last a very long time, I’m talking at least 10 years. While they do have moving parts, the key to how long a pellet heater lasts is servicing. Look after your pellet heater and it’ll keep you warm.
Pellet Heater Lifespan and Parts
As I mentioned above, a pellet heater will last 10+ years and many people have their heaters for 15 to 20 years, which is getting close to when pellet heaters first came out. You still see these pellet heaters today being sold secondhand on Gumtree and FaceBook. Pellet heaters, regardless of brand or when they came out, essentially work the same. Even though they have moving parts, the overall design of pellet heaters is simple. There’s a fan which keeps a fire going and an auger that spins to feed pellets into the fire. It may sound complex compared to a wood heater but it’s very basic and simple. You won’t find any super high tech parts in pellet heaters.
What stops pellet heaters from working or how long they last isn’t the number of years they have been used or the brand of pellet heater, but instead is a lack of maintenance and cleaning. Pellet heaters burn wood pellets, meaning they burn wood. Wood produces ash. This ash builds up inside a pellet heater. You can’t see the majority of ash from wood pellets because it’s inside the pellet heater or in the flue. You need to properly clean and service a pellet heater because letting ash buildup inside the heater causes parts to fail. So, it’s not that the pellet heater stops working, it’s the parts inside fail because people don’t properly look after and clean their heater.
What Causes Pellet Heaters to Fail
If pellet heaters aren’t cleaned and ash build up removed, then what fails inside a pellet heater and plays a major role in how long do pellet heaters last? The main things to keep an eye on are the exhaust fan that keeps the fire going, the auger and ash buildup inside the pellet heater and flue. Other parts like the igniter and burn pot will need to be replaced every few years but are consumables and wear out (just like a spark plug in a car), so it’s no surprise you need to replace them and ash build up doesn’t make much difference to whether they work not.
However, ash in the heater, flue and auger have a huge impact on how long your pellet heater lasts because it impacts air flow. I mentioned above how often you use a pellet heater impacts how long it will last and that’s because the more you use a pellet heater the more ash buildup will be inside. If you only use your heater one month of the year, then you might find that you only need to deep clean once every two years instead of the once a year that I recommend.
Servicing or cleaning a pellet heater is mostly about making sure you keep it free from ash. The more you run a heater the more the parts and ash builds up inside the heater and flue. If you don’t service a car, ever, it won’t last long. Pellet heaters are much the same. Keep them clean, check that things are working and operating as they should and you’ll have hassle free heating.
The Myth of Expensive Pellet Heaters Lasting Longer
How much you spend on a pellet heater does not mean it will last much longer. Buying a top of the line pellet heater for $10,000 does not mean it will last five times longer than a $2,000 heater. More often that not the high price on expensive pellet heaters is due to the brand and “looks” of the heater. Inside, they function almost the same as cheaper low end brands. But surely the parts inside must be better? Yes, it’s possible you certain parts in the pellet heater may be of slightly better quality and last longer, but it won’t be anything dramatic. All pellet heaters work the same way. They are simple machines.
There’s a fire, there’s some fans and there’s a burn pot. These are not high tech parts, so spending more money doesn’t mean you’ll get five times the quality. The igniters in pellet heaters all function the same way, meaning they will eventually burn out and need to be replaced. The same goes for the burn pot which, again regardless of brand, will need to be replaced because they contain the fire and the burn pots naturally wear out. The key point, as I mentioned above, is to service a pellet heater. It doesn’t matter if you have a cheap or expensive pellet heater because even an expensive Piazzetta pellet heater won’t last very if you don’t service it.
Summary of How Long Pellet Heaters Last
How long do pellet heaters last? Look after it and you should get 10+ years. You will definitely need to replace parts during this time but like a car or any mechanical device with moving parts, they need to be serviced and properly maintained. Looking after a pellet heater is easy to do (most of the cleaning and servicing can be done by the owner) and will prolong the life of your pellet heater immensely. I’ve seen new heaters stop working within one or two years because people did not service and clean them properly. Don’t make this mistake. Look after your pellet heater and it will look after you during winter for many years.
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