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Burning a pellet stove overnight...

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by rjlets, Dec 23, 2005.

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  1. rjlets

    rjlets Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm new to having a pellet stove, and I'm a little leary about letting it burn overnight. Is it ok to burn it on low overnight, so the house stays somewhat warm to prevent the oil furnace from kicking in?. I'd appreciate any feedback....Just installed yesterday a Breckwell Vermont Cast P4000. So far I love it. The dealer I brought if from is great, has a supply of pellets for his customers, 20 bags at a time $4.50 a bag, which I think is very ressonable for this time of year. Thanks

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  2. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Assuming it is installed correctly, well maintained, CO alarm near by, etc - I would think it would be one of the safest stoves to let go all night. Probably on par with a gas furnace running during the night.

    Corey
  3. rjlets

    rjlets Member

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    Thanks for the replies, I'm going to try running it all night tonight. :)
  4. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    My P61A rips 24/7 from November through March. No wories, mate.
  5. Michael6268

    Michael6268 Feeling the Heat

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    A pellet stove overnight? Sure! what is going to happen. Assuming installed correct they are very safe! I burn my coal stoker 24/7 and have no worries. I could be wrong but I think most wood burners burn 24/7 too. Of the three (no offense wood burners) I think wood is the only one I would possibley be a little worried about burning overnight/when not home... I say "stop worrying" and burn that thing all the time. Save on your utilities.
  6. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Worst thing I ever experienced was the fire went out. I do my little ritual every night. Check for combustibles gotten wedged in the pipe area by a cat or kid. Check the door for being secure and that there are enough pellets in the bin to get you through the night. Its probably a good idea to have a C02 detector in the house anywayts and smoke detectors no matter what heat you have. I keep an extra one sitting on a shelf near the pellet stove. Other than that sleep tight and enjoy. You might look up the PELLET STOVE NEWSGROUP in YAHOO. Lots of useful info in there. Be awre that many folks burn corn mixed in their pellets up to 50% so that may give you warranty concerns in the beginning. Talk to the dealer about it and shop around for both pellets and corn as prices swing wildly. If you get a good deal stock up as theres short supply particularly in pellets..
  7. mrgoodwrench

    mrgoodwrench New Member

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    I also run my P61-A 24/7, no problems.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Our pellet stove runs 24/7 all winter long whether we're home or not. It has essentially the same safety systems as our propane furnace. I worried the first month or two, but once I was confident that all systems were fine tuned and working well I got over my concerns. We're at 5 yrs. and going strong.
  9. Grumpy

    Grumpy Member

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    I am new to pellet stoves and bought a "reconditioned" fireplace insert that was installed by the dealer Dec 8th. I had some installation problems and some missing internal pieces that were subject to a message I posted about a week ago. Most of the problems seemed to be corrected, but I still had problems with delayed ignition and flareups at lightoff. Last night we came very close to a serious house fire with our pellet insert. My wife called me into the living room to look at the insert. The pellet insert was filled with heavy smoke and there was quite a smoke cloud around the outside of the house. After a few minutes the stove ignited and I was very concerned to see the hopper filled to overflowing with pellets and pellets spilled over into the bottom of the firebox. As you can imagine, with this huge amount of pellets we had a very significant fire within the insert. The wife wanted to call the fire department and after the fire really got going, I wished I had done so. The insert survived the fire, although the glass looks permanently damaged and I can't be sure about any other internal damage. All parts of the insert got hot, including the pellet hopper and I was concerned that the fire might spread to the hopper. Scared hell out of the grandson, between the fire, smoke detectors going off and the wife and I running around.

    To answer your question, after seeing this malfunction, I would not burn a pellet stove when I was not at home. I am not sure about overnight, might be OK with the smoke alarms. Take a look at these photos of our stove fire and judge for yourself.

    http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=3435804&uid=35284

    Attached Files:

  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Randy, was the auger feed rate clamped down? I don't remember anything being said about a "reconditioned" stove in the original thread. Pretty amazing that you had the presence of mind to take pictures. Sounds like you and the dealer really need to talk. This stove definitely wasn't set up correctly. Feed rate is way off. Did the auger feed rate clamp come loose? Are there stripped threads on this?
  11. Grumpy

    Grumpy Member

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    Actually, my name is Jerry, the house pictured at the website is my son Randy's. Yes, the auger feed rate was clamped down securely. As I had indicated in my previous post I got the missing parts for the clamp and had cut the pellet feed opening down to about 1/3 the available size. I had reduced the feed rate below normal, and was still seeing minor versions of this excessive startup/flareup problem (that was the reason that we happened to have the camera handy). It looks more like a problem with the control box, but I expected more safeguards to prevent this type of problem. We were at a loss to decide what to do to shutdown the insert in the event of a problem like this. I know that unplugging the insert is dangerous, but what can be done in the event this were to re-occur and be more serious?

    Just Thursday morning before the big flareup, I had gone into the dealer and told the manager that the insert was unacceptable and inquired about upgrading to a new insert. I took in pictures of the smoke and fire this morning, they sent out two people and removed the insert. They are trying to find a new insert and I will not put in another of their "reconditioned" units.

    These experiences are really turning my wife against the use of a pellet insert, but I think we just got stuck with a bum unit. It will take awhile to get confidence in the pellet inserts, if we are able to get another one.
  12. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    Grumpy,

    That looks like a Quad 1200I. I've read a few complaints on this board of under and over feeding with that model.
  13. rich2500

    rich2500 Member

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    mine burns all night long and nothing to worry about, as stated before if installed correctly a Pellet stove is very safe.
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Hey Jerry. I can totally understand your alarm. I would have the same concerns if a stove acted like this, be it wood, gas, pellet or coal. There is no safety device to measure the weight of pellets in the hopper, though the high temp cut-off will kick in if the unit is in good order. This is similar to gas furnaces which don't have a system to protect against a failed (over metering) gas valve. Rare, but it can happen. I hope your dealer can get a new stove for you soon and your faith restored.

    It sounds like the previous owner may have gotten rid of the stove for some of these symptoms without telling the dealer why. This would be like buying a used car from a dealer and finding out after a few thousand miles that the computer is failing. Not fun if it stops dead in the middle of a freeway.
  15. rjlets

    rjlets Member

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    I did burn the stove last night on level two, kept the house around 64 degrees, the oil furnace never kicked on, it's a beautiful thing. :cheese:

    Although it was a pretty mild night in NW conecticut....

    Thanks
  16. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    I question why the high temp sensor didn't shut the thing down. I could never maintain a flame like that in mine for more than a few minutes or it would take care of itself. You must be putting out 60 -70K btu there, not good.
  17. efaubert1

    efaubert1 New Member

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    I installed a Breckwell Big E in September, and have been running it as needed day in and day out, 24/7 since we got it. I have friends with both corn and pellet stoves that have had them for a number of years and say that ours is quieter, heats better, and seems to be more effecient than theirs. We have only turned the gas furnace on twice this year, while it was really cold when we were cleaning the pellet stove. Otherwise I have not had my gas furnace kick on at all. The stove is heating a 2000 square foot 100 year old drafty farm house and keeping it at 65-68 degrees set on no higher than 3.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the report Ed. It's good to hear that Breckwell has a winner there. I like the E's large capacity. How often are you refilling it? How is cleaning? What region are you in? Keep us posted.
  19. efaubert1

    efaubert1 New Member

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    Well, as for cleaning, about once a week I shut it down to clean the burn pot and vaccum it out. I could go a lot longer on the cleanup aside from the burn pot. During single digit weather I am burning about 6o pounds of pellets a day. During 20-30*F days I burn about 40 pounds. ANd when it's 30*F+ I burn around 25-30 pounds. The hopper will hold 120 pounds and the high fan setting helps tremendously. My buddy says he has to clean his burn pot a bit more than I do, as his auger pushes pellets directly into it, where my Big E drops pellets into the pot from a chute. And I live in Central Indiana just above Indianapolis.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Sweet! 120 lbs. I'm jealous. It sounds like it's working well for you. Also sounds like your home is reasonably tight and insulated. So much for the 8 bags/day theory of running a pellet stove in *real* winter environs.
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