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CLEANING YOUR STOVE WITH A LEAFBLOWER... NO KIDDING!

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by krooser, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Ok... here's the long awaited post about how to clean you stove using an electric leaf blower.

    Last Feb I had trouble with my stove producing a lazy flame and having trouble staying lit. I called Earth Sense Energy Systems (Dale, WI) and asked to send a tech out to help me get this thing going again (I bought my used St. Croix stove from them in October,'07). I wasn't home when the service guy showed up but I did speak to him over the phone while he was there. He asked me how often I had cleaned my stove and what pellets I was using. After we spoke a few minutes he told me he was going to clean my stove using an electric leaf blower and he would also reset my air damper as I had fooled with it trying to get the stove to operate properly.

    I got home within an hour of my conversation with the tech over the phone... I expected to see him but my wife said he was long gone... only spent about 20 minutes cleaning the stove and setting the damper. The stove was now burning just like it had the day we fired it up in November, '07... it had a beautiful flame and was nice and hot.

    So I called the tech again and he explained what he used to adapt the leaf blower to my vent pipe. This week I finally took time to try to duplicate what he had built as it was time to give my stove a good cleaning.

    First you must use an electric leaf blower that has provisions for a vacuum... that's the secret. I understand that most gas blowers do not.... but I'm not sure about that. I bough a Weed Eater brand blower for $29.00 at my local True Value store. I didn't shop for price, features etc. Frankly I couild care less what it was as long as it would work.

    I had to remove one piece from the blower in order to use it as a vacuum and I did that according to the supplied instructions. Then I purchased two things... one was a 4" long piece of schedule 40 PVC pipe for $1.50 and a galvanized sheet metal adaptor for a 4" stove pipe (also $1.50).

    On my blower there are two "nubs" inside the blower that locate the part that I had removed from the blower. The 4" piece of plastic pipe goes into that intake side so I had to put two notches into the plastic pipe in order to allow the pipe to seat into the blower. Your blower may be different. Then I simply put the sheet metal adaptor into the plastic pipe and slid both into the blower.

    I did have to wrap several rounds of tape (in this case aluminized stove pipe tape) around the plastic pipe in order to get a snug fit for the pipe. I used the stove pipe tape 'cuz it's what I had laying around... you could use duct tape or masking tape or whatever you have around.

    The first photo shows the pellet pipe adaptor... pretty simple.
    [​IMG]

    The next photo is of the blower mounted to the vent pipe.
    [​IMG]

    This one shows how it looks from a few feet away.
    [​IMG]

    I took two pix of the crap blowing out of the blower but I didn't have the flash activated so they did not turn out. Suffice to say you don't want to be within 50 feet of the business end of the leaf blower when it's doing it's thing. I left the blower run for about 3 minutes.... after that little ash was coming from the blower and I shut it off.

    The last photo is of the stove after the cleaning. You will see some ash around the perimeter of the fire pot but please note that I did not vacuum anything out of the stove prior to using the vac. I hadn't cleaned the stove for about 6 days so it really did do a good job of sucking out most of the ash from the stove. I did, however, dump the ash pan before I used the vac.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a photo of the pellets I've been using in my stove since Dec. of last year... ESES's house brand called Uncle Jed's Cold Remedy. .... They also sell them in bulk and are called Canadian Mix when you buy in bulk.
    [​IMG]

    Questions? Ask away. I am by no means an expert but thise deal with the leaf blower seems to do the trick to clean a stove in all of those hard to reach places.

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  2. squib

    squib New Member

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    yes indeed. works great , been there done that. another thought at least on my 6220 furnace hook up the leaf blower on suction ,run a cleaning brush up the vent pipe, [ from inside } have the furnace xhaust blower on cleans out the vent pipe nicely. could even take the blower inside connect to vent pipe t & blow out have unit vent blower running
    if you wanted to you could also seal up door opening connect blower up & blow thru heat xchanger as well & out the vent pipe..

    [ it`s what works }
  3. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    I really believe using this set-up will solve many of the poor burning complaints that you hear about on the board. I know it made an incredible difference in the performance of my stove.

    Even after I did my little cleaning the other day my flame pattern (which I thought was pretty good) is much better and livelier. Our weather here in Wisconsin has been pretty mild so far so I've been running my stove on #1 or #2.... that causes lots of problems with built up ash and creosote. I crank my stove up to 4, 5or 6 every morning to help get it hot and clean out the crap. But a through cleaning does wonders...
  4. escobarmj

    escobarmj Member

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    Interesting. I have a gas powered blower that has the same vacuum feature. I guess that should work also. I assume that you had the door to the stove open?
  5. Dougsey

    Dougsey Feeling the Heat

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    Is there any danger of over-spinning the comb blower?
  6. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    The stoves fan don't move while cleaning... at least not on my St Croix. The dealer recommends you open and close the door while doing it and to move the heat transfer tube scraper rod during the cleaning. I didn't do this since I was alone when i did it. My dealer uses this technique on all the stoves they sell... Harman, Lopi, S. Croix, Thelen and more.... part of their standard cleaning service.

    Any blower with vacuum will work... your adaptor may differ from mine but I would imagine it would still be simple.

    This deal is so simple... and effective everyone with a stove should give serious consideration to trying it.
  7. Bxpellet

    Bxpellet Feeling the Heat

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    Does it have to be a leaf/vacuum blower or will a strong shop vac work?
  8. Scoop

    Scoop New Member

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    I use a very big and strong shop vac to do the same thing. I don't have any kind of an adapter for the 2 inch hose. I just use good old duct tape to make it fit.

    You gotta improvise.
  9. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Big Water, here on the forum, used a shop vac to clean his poorly burning stove and it seemed to work fine.

    The whole deal here is to suck out the ash that lurks in inaccessible places... like behind the double back wall that many stoves have...

    Try it and let us know how much junk yu get out of your stove.
  10. lass442

    lass442 New Member

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    I can't wait to try this. It looks like fun. Heck if it works that well on the stove exhaust, I might just try it on my dryer exhaust too! Why not?
  11. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Never thought of that but it sounds OK...
  12. Bxpellet

    Bxpellet Feeling the Heat

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    Will do, I like the idea of the leaf blower, it is stronger then my shop vac, it will suck a squirrel up if I could get close enough to it and the thought of the ash flying out the other end, that would be quite a sight here in the Bronx.
  13. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Blame it on the transit authority bus that just drove by...
  14. mkmh

    mkmh New Member

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  15. chrisasst

    chrisasst Minister of Fire

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    I guess I am confused on how to turn a blower into a vacuum? And couldn't you put a bag on the end to catch the dust?
  16. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    My Weed Eater came with a bunch of parts that are needed to make it a vacuum... pretty simple deal. There's a part on the intake side that needs to be removed when using it for yard work. It includes a new handle and a large diameter suction wand. That stuff isn't needed for cleaning my stove. I just removed the uneeded piece and used the two parts that made up my adaptor.

    And my blower DID come with a bag to capture whatever it is you're vacuuming... leaves, dirt, ash. But I have a BIG lot so I just blew it towards my wife's clean car... big mistake!
  17. abrucerd

    abrucerd Member

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    Hmm... I have yet to clean my vent myself, but I clean my stove regularly. Does this technique clean the vent, the stove or both? My vent goes straight up to my ceiling (11 feet with two 45 degree elbows) and out my roof, so I'm not sure this would work for me. Too bad because I have 2 leaf blowers just sitting in my garage collecting dust (I now mow my leaves, tyvm!)
  18. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    It will remove all the ash from the stove... and will clean the vent pipe of any loose debris/creosote. It would probably be a good idea to run a brush thru your vent to dislodge any creosote buildup....

    Of course you could always disconnect the stove and move it outside and use the blower out there. Lots of work. If your stove is still working good you could make this part of your spring cleaning routine.
  19. kast

    kast New Member

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  20. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    All the ones I looked at did (electric)... gas is different as some do/don't.

    I'm not sure that blower from Wally World has a vacuum feature. I paid $29.00 for mine at True Value... monthly special.
  21. imacman

    imacman Guest

    The sight of a squirrel flying out of the other end would be quite a sight too, I imagine.....LMAO!!
  22. BIG WATER

    BIG WATER New Member

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    Krooser,

    THat is ingenious !! The brain on your picture just grew !! Keeps the mess outside.
  23. kast

    kast New Member

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    What model do you have?
  24. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    No idea... the green one!
  25. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Don't give me the credit... I got this from my stove dealer Earth Sense Energy Systems...

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