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A little caution...

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Shortstuff, Nov 13, 2008.

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  1. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    461
    Loc:
    Southeastern MA
    I learned a little something new today and thought it would be good to share. Being our first winter with a pellet stove, we are still in our learning curve.

    Every few days I give my stove a good cleaning, a thorough vacuum and scrape the burn pot clean. Underneath my free-standing Castile there is a knob that I pull to slide the bottom plate of the burn pot aside to allow any debris in the pot to fall into the ash tray. Well, whenever I clean my stove I always shut it off (thermostat) and allow it to cool for at least 3 hours. This way I can be sure that even though I use an ash-vac that there's no chance of any hot or even warm embers/ash being vacuumed out.

    I cleaned my stove just yesterday and today I decided to empty the ash tray when the stove had been idle for a while, but never thought that it mattered when I emptied the ash tray because there no burning occuring in it - until now. If you look closely at the picture you'll see unburned pellets circled in yellow. When I clean my stove a few pellets fall into the burn pot from the vibration I cause, then I'll pull the knob and they drop into the ash-tray - clean and unburned. But as you can see, they are now discolored and scorched. In the blue circles are a few more pellets, but as you can see they are fully burned. Then I asked myself how they can get burned in the ash tray and realized that the intense heat from the bottom of the burn pot is what is burning these pellets in the ash tray. Even though they are about 2 inches below the bottom plate of the burn pot, there is obviously enough heat radiated to light pellets on fire.

    You'll also notice the white circle (dashed-line) and this is the area directly below the burn pot. The pellets that are located directly underneath it are fully burned, yet those further away are merely scorched. My point is that at least with my stove there can be hot ash and burning pellets in the ash tray and it should only be emptied when the stove is cool. I always dump the ash from the tray into a galvanized metal bucket, but for those who may dump it in a flamable container it could be a danger. I know that many are going to say that you never empty your ash tray until the stove stops burning, but a pellet can smolder and remain a hot ember for some time in the ash tray.

    My greatest fear is a house fire and I just wanted to share my findings with other members.

    Happy heating!

    Steve

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  2. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,641
    Loc:
    South Coast MA
    Great points!
    Last year there was a mishap not to far from here where the person cleaned out their stove,
    put the cool ashes in a paper bag and put the bag outside on the deck.
    Somehow the ashes re-ignited and burned down the entire backside of their home by the
    next afternoon.

    As Shortstuff mentioned, everyone please be careful how you store and dump your ashes.
  3. kbjelka

    kbjelka New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Messages:
    258
    Loc:
    Western CT
    It may not be the burn-pot heat but rather the igniter. If you leave your front door open and look at through the ash pan during ignition you will see it gets red hot and it is just below the burn-pot door. The igniter super-heats the air being sucked through the burn-pot holes and remains on for a good minute or two. I would imagine this is what is scorching those pellets in the ash pan. That being said I don't think it is anything to be concerned about.
  4. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,491
    Loc:
    South Shore MA
    You're correct all the way of course.
    I shut the stove down and leave it
    off until the next morning, then dump
    my ash outside in a metal bucket
    with water in it.

    Imo, nobody in their right mind should
    be dumping ash into a flammable container.
    Put them in a metal container with a metal
    cover and put it outside of the home.
  5. kbjelka

    kbjelka New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Messages:
    258
    Loc:
    Western CT
    I put mine in a small galvanized garbage can with a tight fitting lid. When I had my wood stove I would empty the hot ash into this can, close the lid, and leave it on a non-flammable surface till the next weekly cleaning. The next week I would dump the old ashes in the woods and repeat. Still using the same can for the pellet stove ashes but I think it will take me all season to fill it.
  6. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,352
    Loc:
    western southern tier of NYS
    I dump all my ashes in the garden from the vac right after cleaning the stove. Leaving it to cool for hours when i use it for heating the house cannot be done let alone leave it until the next morning. Simply dump the vac ashes into the garden or a metal can on the ground outside.
  7. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2007
    Messages:
    899
    Loc:
    Southern Maine

    I put mine into a gal. garbage can as well hog. Set it outside after.
  8. kt1i

    kt1i Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2008
    Messages:
    69
    Loc:
    Central MA
    That's a good point. I have been taking my ash drawer outside and spreading the contents on the lawn. Probably the snow all too soon :cheese:
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