Pellet stoves are a dramatically easier way to burn wood compared to cord-wood stoves. One of the reasons is that most modern pellet stoves include an auto-light capability. The technology is fairly straight-forward and involves an igniter to heat the pellets to the point of ignition. This not only makes pellet stoves easier to start up, but also significantly more efficient. When the self-ignition is paired with a room thermostat, it is easy to have the stove automatically turn itself off and back on throughout the day, saving pellets and energy when the stove is not needed. This also allows the stove to be used during the early fall and spring to take the chill off the house in the morning, even though it will be warming in the afternoon.

The igniter is a replaceable component that can sometimes break or work intermittently. The same way windshield wipers only stop working when it’s raining, igniters often stop igniting right in the middle of the heating season. But don't worry, all pellet stoves can be lit manually using wood starting gel. It is a good idea to have a container of fire starter gel on-hand at all times. In a pinch, you can also use a couple of cotton balls soaked in alcohol.