Pellet boilers are central heating systems that burn compressed pellets to heat water and provide radiant heat throughout the house. The fully automated systems automatically transport the pellets from the hopper to the combustion chamber. The water tank serves as a buffer, and the boiler regulates temperature by water flow.
The hot water moves through radiators to transfer heat to the home. Heat distribution options include wall radiators or radiant heating pipes installed in the floor. The system is quieter than forced air heating as it does not require a blower.
As of 2015, the use of pellets saves the homeowner 40 to 60 percent of the cost of heating with other types of fuel. Pellets are available across the United States and benefit the local economy. They require less space for storage than firewood but have more volume than heating oil or propane. Wood pellets are less susceptible to price changes than many other types of fuel.
Wood pellets are not as convenient as other types of fuel. They require storage in a dry space as they are hygroscopic. Most homeowners find the storage bin requires weekly refilling, through either delivery or the owner opening plastic bags to fill it manually. Burning pellets produces a small amount of ash, requiring cleaning of the burner and emptying of the ash collector on a regular basis.