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Burning problem with Whitfield II Pellet Stove Insert - Not enough air intake

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by nick2196, Feb 17, 2010.

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  1. nick2196

    nick2196 New Member

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    Hey guys. I've been having a problem with my pellet stove all burning season. The pellets are not completely burning up. I believe there is not enough air getting to the firepot. Last year, the pellets would "hop" in the hopper if I opened the air up all the way. I kept my air intake at about 1/2 way all winter last year, and had no problems. This year, I'm running wide open, and the fire is acting like I am choking it down. I have cleaned it thoroughly three times, including taking off the side plates, fire brick, and rear exhaust tube. Does anybody have any fresh ideas? I 'm pulling my hair out here...

    BTW - I've tried two different kinds of pellets this winter. We're on our third ton.

    TIA Nick

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  2. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Nick, I know you said you cleaned the stove, but your symptoms point directly to a dirty stove. You didn't mention anything about cleaning all the ash traps, removing & cleaning both blowers, etc. And the fact that you have to have the air control all the way out pretty much confirm it.
  3. lmjr

    lmjr Member

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    Have you checked fan for accumulated pet hair, dust and dirt?

    Assume you did clean out Tee and flue pipe.
  4. nick2196

    nick2196 New Member

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    I cleaned out the tee and flue, but did not remove the fans. Should I just shut 'er down, and take the whole thing apart?

    BTW: Thanks a lot for the help guys! I am doing my best at maintenancing this thing, but am struggling...
  5. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Yup, dirty stove, shut it down, and get the mess out of the combustion blower cavity, off of the fan blades, out of the area between the cavity and the tee, and the area from the cavity to and through the heat exchanger, then make certain any air chamber below the fire pot is clean, then verify that nothing is blocking the fresh air intake.

    Your stove will love you for it.
  6. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    there are cleaning tip and photos for a total cleaning of that stove in the yellow sticky pages at the top of the pellet room.
    and also a direct link in my signature line
  7. nick2196

    nick2196 New Member

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    ok dang it, this stove is CLEAN, and still won't work. I took off the blower, and cleaned it out. I quickly understood what you guys were talking about, because a lot of clumped up ash fell out. I removed the back plates and firebrick, and cleaned and scrubbed. NOW it will work, right? Wrong. Same problem. Not enough air coming in. Could this be a problem at all with the door seal? Also, the firebrick around the pellet auger "hole" has chipped. Could this be "messing" with my air? Is there somewhere to clean I am missing? I should also mention that last fall I had auger issues. I had messed with the wiring of the high and low limit switches. I don't see how that could contribute to this issue, but thought i would note it.

    I have cleaned:

    Ash pan (duh)
    combustion tubes above the fire
    Taken off the blower, cleaned, and reinstalled
    Taken off back plates and fire brick

    Am I missing something REALLY simple?? Thanks guys!

    Oh, and I should mention this: The last time I cleaned it, my shop vac blew all of the ash I vacuumed all over the family room before I noticed. (I was looking at what I was vacuuming.) MY WIFE WAS PISSED!
  8. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Gaskets for the door and ash pan, also anything in the air path from the air intake to the air chamber under the burn pot.

    Not familiar with your stove so I don't know if there is a gasket in the burn pot area if so that can also cause the problem you are seeing.

    ETA: Also the burn pot itself if warped or cracked in the right places. Make certain the holes or slots are clean in the burn pot as well.

    I noticed that you cleaned the flue and tee, but did you also clean the cap?
  9. Wood Heat Stoves

    Wood Heat Stoves Minister of Fire

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    no, cracked or chipped firebacks wont mess with air flow

    what is your exact model? wp2(they made five models called whitfield pellet 2) advantage 1, 2, 2t, 3 2tclassic?
    or i can tell from the serial number..
  10. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Check the air intake from the burn pot to the rear of the stove. Older Whitfields have a welded plate and just below that pellets can get stuck along with all kind of other dust bunnies. A member on this forum just had the same problem and resolved it himself by looking here...I have a pic.

    Attached Files:

  11. lmjr

    lmjr Member

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    Do you have an Owners / Operating Manual?

    What is your serial number or year of mfg?

    Manual will get you through all this. Downloads of manual are readily available.

    Serial Number will pin-point some specifics of your Stove that may not be relative to other model years.

    You will always get an answer from peeps here but you really need specifics...not just so much industry standards...more cleaning more oiling and more yup's and such.
  12. lmjr

    lmjr Member

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    Please explain how you are adjusting your stove to "WIDE OPEN"?

    Perhaps You are "FULL CLOSED"...reverse logic!!! And all the symptoms of a STILL Dirty Stove!!!

    Maybe you won't have to Clean it again for a while...but now you should know just how to do it when next time come around.

    Factory Adjusted... as it left the Factory is where you should start now, especially after doing a full cleaning.

    As follows:

    Pull the Damper Rod to the fully extended position and measure from the side of the stove to the inside of the collar.

    If this distance is not 2-1/4", move the collar as needed and re-tighten the set screw with an Allen Wrench.

    Now you only need Push the Rod until it rest against the side of the stove.

    After this, follow the Manual to fine tune your stove for your unique installation features and any pellet variations.

    Report back and let us know how you make out ;)
  13. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Actually Master of Smoke what is needed here is specifics from the person with the problem and as far as industry standards are concerned if you listen to most of the dealers you just put the pellets in, push the buttons, and periodically empty the ash.
  14. nick2196

    nick2196 New Member

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    Thanks for the help guys. I'm still struggling. I am not at home, so I can't pull the serial number. I believe this is a Whitfield Advantage ii, manufactured around 92. I purchased it used last year, and it worked pretty good. Last night I did notice that I can see there is space between the door seal and the stove in a corner of the door. I am REALLY hoping this is my problem. I will get something to seal that off and report back. BTW: I cleaned it again Tuesday night, and checked the intake tube again on both sides. I sucked it with the shop vac, and felt the inside; there are no pellets or ash obstructing the intake in any way.
  15. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers Minister of Fire

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    When you cleaned the stove did you remove the inner ash baffles ???

    After you remove the two sheet metal plates and then the fire brick you will see the two PRIMARY ash traps on either side of the stove

    These traps have a slot at the top that allows the exhaust airflow to enter.

    Now there are two screws on each of these baffles in the center area of the primary ash column.
    Remove these screws and then carefully slide the baffle toward the center of the stove.

    Sort of like a chinese Puzzle to get them out.

    Behind these baffles is a rectangular hole at the bottom of the stove that leads to the exhaust plenum are and then the fan.

    Vacuum this area real well too.

    If you have an air compressor, I would turn on the stove (Exhaust fan only) and blow air into that lower port on each side of the stove.

    ****** HOLD a rag over the other side so you dont blow ash back out and into your face.******

    Once you have these cleaned the only thing stopping the flow of air will be a leaky door (You mentioned yours might have)


    The exhaust fan creates a negative pressure in the firebox and the air flows in from under the fire and up through the grate area.

    If the exhaust fan either can't pull air from the firebox or it cant push it out the stack there is going to be issues.

    Having any sort of large leak in the door seal will short circuit the air flowing in from under the grate.


    These are simple stoves so your issue has to be either an ash clog or an air leak.


    Snowy
  16. lmjr

    lmjr Member

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    Okay,

    Here's the scoop...

    Your combustion fan motor needs oiled.

    I just went through this w/ my 1995 model.

    I thought I had a bad control board...as it would work only on Feed setting 5 and would lag or nearly stop the lower I changed settings.

    With the control board having 4 voltage test ports located near bottom of control panel,
    I took voltage reading and discovered controller indeed was stepping the voltage,
    but motor did struggle at these reduce voltages.

    This turned out to be due to slight drag from lack of adequate lubrication.

    My combustion fan motor did run well @ 5 setting only,
    perhaps, if yours did poorly even @ 5 yours needs oil more so than mine.

    I just recently acquired this unit and was bench testing it when this was discovered.

    Peeps here recommend better oils. "3-In-One" of the blue label variety is one.
    Whitfield, I believe recommends some kind of Turbine oil for it's high temp properties
    Fasco, the fan/motor mfg., makes or distributes a recommended oil that I have seen @ stove dealer on eBay.
  17. nick2196

    nick2196 New Member

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    Smoke Master, I will check this tonight. I have replaced the door gasket, and this has fixed 95% of my problem. However, I know it is still not working as it should. I'll oil it, and we'll see what happens. Thank you all for your help!
  18. Pellet-King

    Pellet-King Minister of Fire

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    On the right side of that crack there a big "O" hole to let air in, so to me why does that matter?, i saw that when i cleaned my stove, i figured whats the big deal with fresh air intake when theres a big hole in the pipe sucking room air in....mines a 1999 model.
  19. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Likely the obstruction was against the plate and in the way of the air getting to the air chamber under the fire pot.

    Even a minor restriction in air flow in the intake system can have a visible effect on your burn.

    People have found all kinds of things in their air intakes and it doesn't have to completely block the air flow.
  20. lmjr

    lmjr Member

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    PelletKing, I have a 1995 and was bench testing it around the time of this post...

    I was familiar with the Baffle plate and the "O" Hole...Like wise, I was miffed w/ what was illustrated in pic.

    I came to the conclusion that red ring drawn around baffle area was for lack of proper viewing angle in pic...
    and he meant the "O" hole.

    In reality, as I'm sure you are aware of, there's a short tube protruding out from plenum feeding to under fire pot, which is totally disconnected from OAK connection.

    OAK dumps air into stove cavity...and cavity feeds to short protruding tube some 12" away.

    And perhaps that is where the other person had some debris...???
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