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Condensation on inside of hopper lid?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Lucerry, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. Lucerry

    Lucerry New Member

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    I have a Harman Accentra, and tonight when I got home I noticed two problems.

    1) The top of the stove was VERY hot. Like, can't even put my hand on it hot. Usually it's warm, sometimes hot, but I've never felt it this hot before. The stove was just about out of pellets (not completely-flame was still going and no flashing sensors yet). So I added a new bag of pellets...and that led to problem #....

    2) After about 20 min. I checked to see how things were, and that's when I noticed the condensation that had formed on the inside of the hopper lid. I've never seen that before, and a number of google searches and forum searches turned up nothing. I wiped it dry, and it formed again.

    I should mention that when I first got home there was an odd smell...almost like something was burning too hot. That smell has continued throughout.

    I turned it off and am awaiting cool down so I can thoroughly clean it, but was so perplexed by these two (three? the smell?) issues, that I was hoping someone might have some insight.

    Of course this happens on the coldest night of the year so far, with temps tomorrow only into the mid 20's!

    Thanks......

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  2. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Had the pellets been inside the stove room for at least a day or so?

    Sometimes pellets that are cold when placed in a hot hooper (likely due to the lack of a pellet heat sink) will have a bit of extra moisture that will be driven off and then condense on the colder metal surface which would likely be the under side of the lid.

    It is also possible that that condensate is other than just water from the pellets but from the pellet fire (several things including water can be part of that) it is possible for that to happen if the pellet level is too low and there is a vacuum in the hooper this allows combustion byproducts to enter the hopper via the slider in the bottom of the hopper when it opens to feed more pellets to the auger.

    On a few models this was what lead to the so called gummy stove issue.
    .
    You might want to talk to your dealer about what happened.
  3. Lucerry

    Lucerry New Member

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    Thanks for the quick response.

    The pellets had been inside the stove room for awhile. We stack up 10 bags at a time or so in the room, and this bag was #5 out of those 10.

    The stove was in the house when we purchased it, so I don't have a dealer, per say, but will check with someone tomorrow about it.

    Do you think it's safe to start up again and burn overnight?
  4. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    How long have you owned the house? How much have you burned (total)? And when was the last time the entire unit was cleaned? Along with the ESP?
  5. Gary Gileau

    Gary Gileau Member

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    Were the pellets stored outside in the cold? I wonder if the temp change could have made the condensation. My Ashley gets hot on the surface but I can hold my hand on it. Is the stove new? Could it be burning off the new paint? I would think there is an over heat safety on your stove! Also check your venting. make sure that you have no leaks! Do you have a carbon monixiode device in your home? You should! As well as smoke detectors. Taking the cautious route is always best, just as you are doing.
  6. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    If you get that stove including and especially the ESP cleaned up I'd feel safe restarting it.

    You have to remember I have no way of knowing how well you clean a stove.

    A good number of us that hangout here are quite anal about keeping our stoves clean so this would be considered a leap of faith on my part..
  7. Lucerry

    Lucerry New Member

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    This is our third winter in the house, and have burned about 8 ton over the past 2 winters, and the start of this one. We never turn on the oil furnace, unless we are going away, then that gets set at 50.

    I clean the whole stove myself about every 2-3 weeks. It was due for a full cleaning soon, and that's what I just finished doing. There was a lot of whiter colored buildup on the back of the heat exchanges, which was the only thing I could find that looked any different than usual.

    What are your suggestions for fully cleaning the ESP? I vacuumed out the vent area and got it as clean as I think I can.....

    Just restarted and have a flame going again. Now going to wait awhile and see if the condensation reappears.
  8. Lucerry

    Lucerry New Member

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    Oh, and I don't think there are any leaks. The pellets have been in the same room as the stove for 2 weeks now. (Before that our basement-so not freezing). The stove is not new-at least 5 years old. And yes, we have a CO detector! Thanks for your help and suggestions!
  9. Northwoodneil

    Northwoodneil Feeling the Heat

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    Were the pellets you're using stored outside at the store before you bought them? I have to believe condensation meens wet pellets. My stove is a different breed of harman and the top of it gets REAL hot ( I cook on it in the coldest months) just my.02
  10. WoodPorn

    WoodPorn Minister of Fire

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    What brand of pellets?
  11. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    You can remove the ESP and wipe it off with a slightly damp cloth or use a toothbrush on it, be careful not to damage it.

    ETA: You might want to also clean the vent system.
  12. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    don't trust a bear that can't spell. ;)
  13. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Hey smoke, it must have been my auto completion system :p .
  14. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    Is this the Accentra free stander or the insert?

    Eric
  15. chweng

    chweng New Member

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    I would check to see if your stove has the cross-over tube installed. My stove was the newer feed motor (direct drive) but prior to Harman installing the cross-over tube. I developed the gummy stove syndrome and had to have the stove thoroughly cleaned and the cross-over tube installed.
    The stove has been running great since.:)

    How does all this relate you might ask? During the period leading up to discovering I had a gummy stove, I kept noticing moisture/condensation on the underside of the hopper lid along with smoke in the hopper. I don't know if the gummy stove condition created the moisture or the moisture accelerated the gummy stove syndrome.

    Something to check into.
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  16. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    or uses a computer
  17. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Hey I covered it all including the gummy stove possibility and I've likely been using a 'puter far longer than most of the folks on here.

    Way back in the days the memory was actually magnetic non volatile core memory and people got useful work done with very little of that expensive memory. Microsoft wouldn't even be able to fit their smallest Windows routine into such a machine.

    I rest my case and go upstairs for coffee now.
    heat seeker and DexterDay like this.
  18. Lucerry

    Lucerry New Member

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    I don't think it's the pellets, simply because I've been burning from this same pallet for a couple weeks now and haven't had this problem.
  19. Lucerry

    Lucerry New Member

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    Maine's Choice, out of Strong, ME
  20. Lucerry

    Lucerry New Member

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    Free Standing
  21. Lucerry

    Lucerry New Member

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    So now I've come to the conclusion that perhaps the distribution fan isn't working properly. The thing is pumping out heat, but I haven't heard the fan turn on for quite awhile now, and the room temperature isn't going up at all. So I think it's burning right, etc, just not pushing the hot air out of it's system and into the room. Would that make sense? I now have the back of the stove off and am trying to give it a good cleaning, including the fans, etc.
  22. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    put the feed adjuster knob to test...can you now feel the fan blowing out the front?
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  23. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    You still need to get the stove checked for gummy stove syndrome because it can cause burn issues.

    Do what Delta-T or Eric ask you to do. Both of these guys service Harman products.
  24. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    if the distribution blower isn't working, I'd expect to see some condensation as the heat starts to work through the unit towards the hopper. On the up side, driving that 5% of moisture out of the pellets should increase the total energy available:)
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  25. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    The dust bunnies could have infested the convection fan it may be a spinning but can't get no air to send through the plumbing.
    DexterDay likes this.

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