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Clinkers, clinkers

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by yooper81, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. yooper81

    yooper81 Member

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    Does anybody know of a way to fight through bad pellets and clinkers? I closed off the feed gate a little to see if that will help. Thought I would save a buck and a little travel time by picking up 1/2 ton of michigan wood pellet instead of my standard brand. I have already pulled 2 tennis ball sized chunks out of my quad since last night... I doubt the local TS would take them back either...

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  2. Lake Girl

    Lake Girl Moderator Staff Member

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    Mix them with a better brand of pellets - may not totally stop the clinkers but will reduce size.
  3. DMKNLD

    DMKNLD Feeling the Heat

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    I don't know how easy it is to partially block your air wash on the Classic Bay, but I did that on my Castille FS by laying a section of fiberglass wood stove rope gasket over the air wash opening. I have the older style door that has the air wash on the top vs the bottom edge of the door, so this was an easy modification that didn't require permanently modifying the 'tadpole' door seal, though I have read that other Quad owners who cemented stove rope gasket over the air wash opening. The mod I did reduced the flow through the air wash, but doesn't block it completely, so my glass stays cleaner.

    Reducing the air wash flow pulls more air through the burn pot, thus making for a lower but hotter flame, as well as blowing more ash out of the fire pot, thus minimizing clinker production. I have to clean the glass and the fire box a little more often, but the benefit of more heat output and less clinker build up is certainly worth it. All the Quad stoves typically pull a lot of air through the burn pot, assuming your stove is optimally drafting, so if you are burning less quality pellets you likely need to clean out the heat exchanger and ash traps as well as your vent pipe more frequently to help maximize your airflow and thus minimize clinker build up.

    With this winter's unusually cold weather, my Quad has run pretty much non-stop up until the January thaw this past week here in Maine, so I have had to clean the ash traps and heat exchanger every week or so, and have done a more thorough vent sweep and leaf blower cleaning every half ton or so, which has kept my Quad burning optimally. "A clean stove is an efficient stove", as posts in this forum so often reiterate.

    Also, make sure the small holes at the bottom of the burn pot are kept open, as the bottom of the pot is where the ash will first start to collect and further reduce your air flow. I know many Quad owners use a .30 size gun cleaning bore brush to keep the small burn pot holes open, and a .38 size for the larger burn pot holes. I use a bent metal coat hanger, which can also slide between the heat exchanger tubes to scrape the fly ash from the top of the stove above the tubes, which the pull rods don't scrape off. Any build-up of ash anywhere in the system seems to reduce the Quads efficiency, and thus the heat output, which goes for any pellet stove model, no doubt.

    Do you like your Classic Bay otherwise? I would like to upgrade to that size model, as my Castille is a bit undersized for the living area I'm heating with it.
  4. yooper81

    yooper81 Member

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    what exactly is the "air wash"? I did a thorough cleaning as I always do after each ton.... air holes are all clean, as is everything else. Pretty sure the pellet quality is my issue. I know different stoves burn pellet brands differently. This isn't the 1st time I've burned the Mich. wood pellet brand. I may have gotten into a bad batch maybe. Closing off the feed gate a little seems to have helped, but not perfect. The stove itself runs beautifully and have never had an issue. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another CB.....
  5. DMKNLD

    DMKNLD Feeling the Heat

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    The air wash is a gap on either the top or bottom edge of your stove door that is designed to pull air in through it to help keep the glass free of ash buildup - really more for aesthetic value, at the expense of room air being pulled in and lowering the firebox temperature as that air goes through the stove and out the stove pipe. Quads, as all brands of pellet stoves that I'm aware of have one, so look closely on either the top or bottom edge of your CB door and you'll see where the door gasket doesn't completely seal against the firebox. I believe the Quad CB has the air wash on the top of the stove door - if so it is an easy modification to at least try out. My local hardware store sells different thicknesses of fiberglass gasket rope you can buy by the foot for cheap - I think I used the 5/8" diameter gasket. Just lay the rope gasket along the top of the door to block that air gap and you will see a marked increase in the air flow coming through the fire pot and blowing the combusted ash into the firebox, instead of it smoldering in the bottom of the fire pot and eventually forming a clinker if the pellets have allot of impurities in them.

    Pellet quality, as you have found, varies considerably within the same brand, and even within the same pellet pallet (say that 10 times fast !!!), depending on the quality of source wood or sawdust that the pellet manufacturer has access to. I remember back in the pellet shortage days of 7 or 8 years ago when shady pellet production companies were grinding up wood from flood water and sewage contaminated homes that were inundated during Hurricane Katrina and using that for their pellet production wood source - nasty !!

    I digress.... Do you do a periodic 'leaf blowing' of the pipe vent to get out any loose ash out of the bowels of your stove ? A leaf blower at the terminus of your vent pipe often yields an impressive 'smoke dragon' affect that illustrates how much ash can be left inside the stove that can't be reached w/ a typical vacuum cleaning. Google "pellet stove - leaf blower" for some entertaining You Tube viewing !! Have you removed and cleaned your combustion blower at least yearly, which can easily get clogged up with fly ash and thus reduce its efficiency to move the air through your stove ?

    Assuming you have done all that 'deep cleaning' stuff, and you still have heavy clinker production, then by 'process of elimination' it is indeed likely your pellet quality. As suggested by Lake Girl's post, buying some better quality pellets to mix in w/ the Michigans until you use them up is probably your only option. My Quad seems to burn the cleanest and hottest on 100% softwood pellets, after experimenting with a bunch of different mixed hard / soft wood and 100% hardwood brands. But as the standard pellet stove disclaimer goes, 'your mileage may vary'. Good luck !!
  6. JoeS

    JoeS Feeling the Heat

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    On the Mt. Vernon AE I noticed that if I run on High Elevation setting I get a much better burn and I am burning what I consider to be decent pellet (Hamers).

    Basically doing the same thing, getting more air into the burn pot.
  7. midfielder

    midfielder Feeling the Heat

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    Air.
    briansol likes this.
  8. guitarjamman

    guitarjamman New Member

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    How often and thoroughly do you scrape the burn pot? I do it in the AM when I wake up and right before bed and make sure I really scrape all the sides of the burn pot while it is running. I have had fewer clinkers when I made it a better habit.
  9. yooper81

    yooper81 Member

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    my cleaning isn't an issue, if anything, i clean a bit more than I have to... Anyway, I just experienced my first ever auger jam, so I am not only thankful I didn't wreck the motor, I am certain that I am dealing with sub standard fuel....
  10. pelletizer

    pelletizer Minister of Fire

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    Give her a bit more air as midfielder says.
  11. DMKNLD

    DMKNLD Feeling the Heat

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    The various Quad models that I'm aware of have minimal burn adjustment capability other than opening or closing the pellet feed gate, short of modifying the control box setting to increase the auger interval to give 10% more pellet feed. With no air adjustment capability beyond minimizing air leaks through the burn pot and door gaskets, it seems there is little 'tweaking' you can do beyond keeping the system clean of ash and making sure the mechanical components are functioning normally.

    When my OE combustion blower started to go bad it began to reduce the airflow efficiency and started giving me a lazy flame and more clinker development prior to the telltale bearing squeal developing, that told me the blower was on the way out. Replacing the combustion blower motor fixed the burn efficiency problem and it has run great ever since. Keeping the stove clean, as well as burning decent quality pellets, seem to be the key to keeping Quads humming happily along.
  12. yooper81

    yooper81 Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions, still battling various issues, such as now I know to set the stat high enough to keep stove burning, as the crap that forms does not allow it to reignite.... Going tomorrow to get a couple bags of my normal brand that I know burns and make sure its not the stove. I combined a thorough cleaning with a change of pellet brand so you never know. Thanks again, J
  13. Lake Girl

    Lake Girl Moderator Staff Member

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    Hope it's just the pellets!
  14. johnny1720

    johnny1720 Member

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    One time I bought some terrible pellets they couldn't burn more than 8 hours. I tossed a few handfuls of oyster shells and it helped. Before the oyster shells I had to flip a huge chunk of clinker out or the stove would not light. Afterwards I could burn nearly a day.
  15. yooper81

    yooper81 Member

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    Emptied hopper, cleaned things up, threw 2 bags of my "regular" pellet brand in, fired it up and it is back to burning beautifully.... #yougetwhatyoupayfor
    briansol likes this.
  16. DMKNLD

    DMKNLD Feeling the Heat

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    Good to hear you are back up and running, especially during this revisit of the 'polar vortex', where no doubt your stove will get a work out as all of ours in the East will this week as well. I hear ya on the hash tag....... we've all been there. But it's nice when a stove problem is an easy fix!!!

    Stay warm up there - my bro is a "Yooper" as well who went to college and still lives in Marquette, after our family grew up spending summers at a cottage near Iron Mountain. Beautiful part of the country fer sure!!!
  17. Indiana

    Indiana Feeling the Heat

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    I have used Nature's Own Pellets exclusively this season. I have not had one clinker. I'm on my third ton.
  18. yooper81

    yooper81 Member

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    Thanks...... That's exactly where I am. and it is COLD once again
  19. yooper81

    yooper81 Member

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    this is what I am dealing with:eek:

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  20. chken

    chken Minister of Fire

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    Holy cow!?! Those look like fallen soufflés! Is that a current pic, or is that a pic of the clinkers that made you start this thread?
  21. Tonyray

    Tonyray Minister of Fire

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    would that be pellets with a higher mineral content? like salt maybe?
  22. Indiana

    Indiana Feeling the Heat

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    Well I spoke too soon. Came home from work yesterday to an overflowing burn pot. How could this be. I just did a cleaning with a flue cleaning. I shut down my stove. Dumped the burn pot only to find that almost every hole is packed and glazed over with what I can only describe as a giant clinker that encapsulated my burn pot. Strange. Been fine since.
  23. yooper81

    yooper81 Member

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    that is current and what started the thread, getting ready to pull another one out as soon as the stove cools down. I'll take a pic of the pot before I remove it
  24. yooper81

    yooper81 Member

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    before I removed it

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  25. yooper81

    yooper81 Member

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    And this is what they are

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