How-to Guide: Choosing a Pellet Fire

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Choosing a Pellet Fire in New Zealand

Are you building a new home? At Azwood Energy, we understand it can be a stressful time with numerous decisions to be made, decisions that you will have to live with into the future. Your choice of home heating, particularly, can impact your on-going costs considerably.

A recent study by Consumer New Zealand, found that choosing a pellet fire is a very economical option, producing warmth for between 12 to 26 cents per kilowatt hour, depending on pellet fuel prices. New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s ENERGYWISE also advise that pellet fires are a very environmentally-friendly and clean heating option.

So what points do you need to bear in mind when deciding to install a pellet fire? Azwood Energy has provided some factors for you to take into account.

First, you need to obtain a building consent and where council air quality plans require it, such as in Nelson or Canterbury, you must install an authorised ultra-low emission pellet burner from those listed on their websites.

Although the initial outlay for a pellet fire can be slightly more than for a woodburner, it is comparable to the cost of installing a heat pump or gas fireplace. When capital costs plus operating costs are considered, pellet fires and heat pumps have very similar total costs, even without incorporating the cost of rising electricity prices. The recent shortage of firewood and the consequent dramatic rise in its prices, makes a pellet fire an attractive option, providing long-term savings on fuel costs.

Furthermore, as its fuel is 100% renewable, carbon neutral and sourced from forestry waste, choosing a pellet fire is the green choice.

Some councils offer support for the retrofitting of pellet fires so that you can pay the cost off via your regular rates payments, over a period of 9-10 years at a discounted interest rate.

Pellet fires are available as freestanding models, can be fitted into an existing fireplace or custom-built to suit. In most cases, a central location is best for a freestanding pellet fire because this allows its radiant heat to serve the entire surrounding area. For a pellet fire to heat the entire house, unless it is open plan, rooms away from the fire’s location will need a means of warm air distribution, such as a ducted forced-air heating system.

However with its circuit board, a thermostat, fans, remote control and timers, the pellet fire is a high-tech device which will heat your space efficiently. Many pellet fire models even feature Wi-Fi technology, meaning you can control it from your smartphone, to heat the house before you arrive home or before you leave the comfort of your warm bed on a cold winter’s morning.

Smaller than a traditional woodburner’s flue, the pellet burner’s flue often makes installation easier, quicker and allows for greater scope in choice of placement. Proper venting is absolutely essential for safety.  As the outer surfaces of a pellet fire don’t get as hot as the surfaces of woodburners only minimal clearance is necessary from walls and other combustible areas.

Quality installation is fundamental to your pellet fire's performance and safety. It is recommended that it be installed by a qualified/experienced installer or someone who is recommended either by the manufacturer or fire importer.

Pellet fires release the most heat, (typically 10 to 16 kW), of various types of heating units and are well suited for cold climates. Their adjustability and thermostatically- controlled functions, along with an automated feeding system, allow for easy and continuous heating.

When choosing a pellet fire, it's important to select a size suited to the space to be heated. A general rule of thumb is that the output required, per 10m2, is 1KW.  An under-sized unit will not provide sufficient heat to warm your space. The height of your ceilings may also impact on the unit size needed. You should discuss your heating needs with a reputable dealer, who will usually provide a free consultation to advise you on the pellet fire size you require.

The range of pellet fires available in New Zealand is broad, allowing for a seamless fit into your chosen décor. Some provide for interchangeable casing and colour options which allows you to customise the appearance for a look that suits you perfectly.

If you have recently purchased a pellet fire, Azwood Energy is giving you the opportunity to try their superior pellet fuel. Simply send us a copy of your pellet fire receipt, dated within the last 90 days, and we’ll send you some Azwood pellet fuel so that you can experience the intense, dry, radiant heat our product delivers.

Contact us

Phone 0800 AZWOOD (299663)
03 547 4836
Fax 03 547 3258
Address PO Box 2180
Nelson 7041
New Zealand



About us

Azwood are working to help New Zealand transition to a lower carbon future by supplying cost-comparative carbon neutral wood fuel as an alternative to fossil fuels.

Azwood have been in the energy sector for 38 years. Our main products are biomass hog fuel, wood energy chip and wood pellet fuel (industry and retail).
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