As winter rolls in every year, moisturizing cream sales skyrocket as heaters get cranked and woodburning stoves start crackling. A heated home is a dry home, and it's to humidifiers that most homeowners turn to when they're wanting to right the balance in their environment. But when it comes to pellet stoves, humidity issues are common, and their owners have all kinds of solutions they embrace.
The simplest, most low-tech solution for generating humidity in a wood pellet-burning home is a pellet stove humidifier — just a kettle full of water that creates steam from radiant heat.
Choose a Different Stove
Pellet stoves can deliver an incredible amount of heat, and some are so efficient they can be the sole source of heat in an 1,800-square-foot home. Some are manufactured with a built-in humidifier. It may be that the model of stove you're using isn't as advanced as those on the market today, particularly some models that come from Europe where energy costs are far higher and smart stove design is critical.
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Heat plus water equals steam, and steam is pure humidity, so it makes perfect sense that people use their humidity-zapping pellet stoves to solve the very problem they've created. Steamers are typically cast iron or enameled iron vessels that hold water and allow it to evaporate as the stove generates heat. Some designs of these steamers are gorgeous, adding an elegant touch to the room. There are dragons, elaborate Celtic knot designs and many other choices for the discerning stove owner.
One caveat with these is that, being cast iron, they can rust quite easily. Look for a rust-resistant model so you don't have that concern, but also be sure you keep it seasoned periodically to avoid the rust issue. Be careful as you fill it because water can spill and cause rust under the steamer.
Pellet Stove Kettle
If you're into old decorating magazines, you've probably seen wood stoves with big kettles that seem permanently rested atop them. Often, these aren't (and can't be) used for making tea but are instead intended to be a wood or pellet stove humidifier. To that end, they have the same functions and concerns as steamers do.
There are whole-home humidifier solutions that can be exorbitant to install but ensure a home's humidity stays in a well-regulated range. For a more modest solution, turn to small appliances. Be sure you check the capacity and output. There are lots of choices for humidifiers, so do your research. Once you invest in a humidifier, check the manufacturer's maintenance advice for how often to clean the appliance as neglecting it can cause bacteria to grow and become airborne, which can impact your health.
What Not to Do
- Never throw water on a hot pellet or wood stove. This will create steam, sure, but it can also crack cast iron or cause other issues with the heat source.
- Never sit a glass, tempered glass or any metals that aren't suited for super-high heat on top of the cast iron stove as stoves that aren't being properly regulated can have surface temperatures of well over 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Never add cold water to an already-warm steamer on the stove. Fill it with hot water instead to avoid cracking or other damage from temperature extremes.