With chilly weather upon us, pellet stoves remain popular heating source

Special to the Legal News

Published: October 30, 2012

We’re well into fall in Ohio and that means chillier days and nights, so instead of the air conditioner running like it probably did so much this past summer, attention turns to sources of heat.

For most people that just means having the heating unit in their home operating, but other people choose alternative sources for warmth, such as fireplaces and pellet stoves.

Though colder, winter-like temperatures are still probably several weeks away, people already are starting to buy new stoves or have maintenance done on their existing ones.

“We’ve been selling stoves for the last three months or so,” said John Seeds of Sally’s Hearth and Power Sales in Pataskala. “They need to come in (early) because it’s about three weeks to (schedule) an installation.”

Pellet stoves started to become popular back in the 1980s and remained so since, mostly because they’re generally regarded as cleaner and more convenient than log-burning stoves or fireplaces.

While in recent years more pellets have been made through environmentally-friendly processes such as using pressed sawdust, traditional wood pellets remain the best seller, said Seeds.

“Those are by far the most popular (stoves). There are no additives, it’s all wood — as opposed to wood or gas. Gas is a distant third,” he said.

He added that most wood pellets are made by producers who obtain leftover sawdust from manufacturers such as furniture makers.

Sally’s has also seen a big increase in generator sales since a June wind storm left thousands in Central Ohio without power, many for several days.

Meanwhile, wood-burning fireplaces also remain popular and with people starting to buy firewood for the winter the Ohio Department of Agriculture has made some recommendations for firewood shoppers.

First, make sure that nonpackaged firewood is sold by the cord or by fractions of a cord. One cord, when properly stacked, should be eight feet long by four feet high and four feet wide (128 cubic feet), according to the agriculture department.

Also, if sold in bulk, firewood must be purchased by the weight in ton measurements and it is illegal to sell firewood by any other unit of measurement such as a rick, rack, face cord or truckload.

If nonpackaged firewood is purchased, the seller should present the consumer with a delivery ticket or sales invoice that includes contact information and the terms and conditions of the sale.

The Department of Agriculture says that if firewood is advertised and sold as “seasoned” it must have a moisture content of less than 50 percent. “Unseasoned” wood will only produce two-thirds of the heat of “seasoned” wood.

Finally, if the firewood is advertised and sold as a certain type of wood, the load must contain at least 90 percent of that species.

If a problem occurs with a firewood sale and the seller will not correct the problem consumers should contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Weights and Measures at 1-800-282-1955 or contact a local weights and measures inspector located in each county auditor’s office.

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