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Dust removal techniques?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by JayVee, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. JayVee

    JayVee New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
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    Loc:
    Brewer, Maine
    I have a ton of Northeast pellets, made in Ashland, Maine. I am burning them in my 25pvdc. They seem to be quite dusty, I am hearing a vibration in my upper auger. Is this dust related? If so, any ideas on dust removal or is it not worth the labor.

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  2. Madcodger

    Madcodger Guest

    Just some basic ideas:

    1) Allow hopper to run out, then vacuum everything, with hose pushed into lower auger area as far as you can go (likely not far, frankly, and pushing only very gently). That should help stop things from getting worse, with hopes the remaining fines will work their way through.
    2) When pouring pellets in, go slooooow.
    3) Stop pouring at about 80% of bag and scoop out remainder. If done by hand most fines can be left in bag, it seems.
    4) Consider an intermediate container (such as decorative bin) into which you pour pellets before filling hopper with a scoop. Seems to allow fines to settle a bit.
    5) If all else fails, consider screening pellets before pouring, but that takes a while and others can better comment (I've never done it).
  3. JayVee

    JayVee New Member

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    Loc:
    Brewer, Maine
    Thank you. I am new at this I guess I found out what a fine was. It seemed like a good idea at the time to save a few bucks, but I think I may change brands before I do some damage. Thanks again
  4. pell it

    pell it Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Rhode Island
    Do a search for corn or pellet sifter. There are DIY plans for both the gravity type and the vacuum assist type. I use a hybrid gravity style with a vacuum port on the side for the real fine dust.

    Picture is of the gravity type as sold by Englander.

    Attached Files:

  5. jimfrompa

    jimfrompa New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
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    34
    Loc:
    Spring Grove, PA
    I use a scoop to go from the bag to my bucket until I get down to the bottom 10 percent or so left in the bag. I went to Dollar Tree and got a cheap colander - the last 10 percent of the bag I sift into my garbage barrel in the garage where I keep the pellets and you can't believe the fines/dust that I eliminate. Try it and you will be amazed. The sifting process takes only a few more minutes and I think it'll save your auger from clogging so frequently. If you've never cleaned your auger, do a search on youtube and I'll bet you'll find a good DIY video - there's one on there for the Quad Mt. Vernon that is excellent.
  6. gfreek

    gfreek Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Beautiful Attica/Varysburg,New York
    Some brands have more "fines" than others.. It's a learning curve. I "sift/vac" all brands I get unless I'm in a hurry..
    JayVee likes this.
  7. JayVee

    JayVee New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2012
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    Loc:
    Brewer, Maine
    Thank you for the input. I am indeed using a colander, after I sift them through a 5 gallon pail with dozens of holes drilled in the bottom. This had virtually eliminated all the fines, but my auger is still occasionally making an unnerving rumbling sound that it never did before. Perhaps the length of the pellets could be a factor also. Some are 2"+. My next move is to buy some quality pellets and see what happens. Chalk a cheap pellet purchase up to experience.
  8. reallyte

    reallyte Member

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    Mar 20, 2013
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    Loc:
    Binghamton, ny
    How about the augur motor itself? Could be on the way out...
  9. JayVee

    JayVee New Member

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    Loc:
    Brewer, Maine
    The stove is just over a year old, but living in Maine, it runs non-stop for months. I should probably have a replacement motor on hand to prevent longer than necessary down time. Thanks.
  10. Madcodger

    Madcodger Guest

    I think that would still be fine unless defective in general. They're made to last years, Maine or anywhere. I get this sound on my 19 year old Whitfield once in a while, but it seems to work the fines through after a few minutes. Happens only occasionally in the MVAE.
  11. JayVee

    JayVee New Member

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    Loc:
    Brewer, Maine
    That is what I wanted to hear, a little reassurance. Perhaps I am over reacting
  12. THE ROOSTER

    THE ROOSTER Feeling the Heat

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    Home of Wild Turkey 101 & Lake Cumberland
    I used an old screen window to separate the dust from pellets on a ton of very bad pellets once, it's a slow process but it worked.
  13. JayVee

    JayVee New Member

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    Loc:
    Brewer, Maine
    Over 2 cups of dust/fines per bag. I could get more with your window screen technique, haha
  14. Dgopetactical

    Dgopetactical Feeling the Heat

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    York County, Pa
    Good idea to have a replacement, I also swap upper and lower motors every season to extend the life.
  15. becasunshine

    becasunshine Feeling the Heat

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    Dec 10, 2009
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    438
    Loc:
    Central Va
    Shop Vac makes a washable HEPA filter that eliminates most of the dust coming out of the vacuum itself. You can rinse it in the utility sink or with the garden hose.
    It's relatively expensive but it does last a long time (in our experience it does, anyway.) As per protocol, don't vacuum up hot or warm ashes with it. Wait until the stove cools completely down.

    Several people have complained about this HEPA filter getting clogged while using the Shop Vac to clean a pellet stove. Evidently fine ash clogs it quickly. When we use the Shop Vac to clean our stove, we always use dry wall filter bags along with the HEPA filter. The dry wall bags act as a pre-filter to protect the HEPA filter and to keep it from getting clogged. The drywall filter bags aren't cheap either but, since we are using them as a "pre-filter" in a Shop Vac with a HEPA filter already in place, I will empty the drywall filter bags and use them over and over again until they weaken and develop a hole or a tear. So, we aren't replacing those bags that often.

    I can hold a white paper towel over the Shop Vac exhaust while the hose is in the ashy firebox of the pellet stove, and with the HEPA filter and the drywall filter bags in place, the paper towel stays clean and white.

    These days I use the Powersmith Ash Vacuum for regular/daily cleanings, and I use the Shop Vac for big tear-down cleans.

    We ordered a pellet stove cleaning kit from Home Depot to go with the Powersmith, and I use those attachments all the time. Home Depot also carries extra filters for the Powersmith in case you want to keep a spare around the house. The plastic hose that's fitted with a plug is not very flexible, so we purchased a length of flexible hose to fit onto it for cleaning in nooks and crannies during the cold stove tear down. Fortunately that plug/hose fits on the Shop Vac as well. I use the plug/hose with the additional flexible hose and snake the flexible hose up into the exhaust port on the stove side, up into the baffles behind the firebox.

    I haven't had any dust blow out of the Powersmith to date. We dump it and shake out the filter just about every time we use it. So far so good.

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_11357-20097-9036011_0__?productId=1004839&Ntt=shop vac clean stream&pl=1&currentURL=?Ntt=shop+vac+clean+stream&facetInfo=

    http://www.fleetfarm.com/detail/powersmith-ash-vacuum/0000000087075 Sign up for the email notification for when these vacuums are back in stock at Mills Fleet Farm- so far they have had the best price online although if you look around, you may find some Cyber Monday specials elsewhere, I don't know. You can also Google for "Mills Fleet Farm free shipping codes" to see if there are any current, usable codes for free shipping.

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/PowerSmith-Ash-Vacuum-Deep-Cleaning-Kit-PAAC302/204648144#.UppRY6OA3IU

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/PowerSmith-Ash-Vacuum-Filter-PAAC301/203656952#.UppT_-LtOTw

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  16. bostonfan49

    bostonfan49 Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Essex Jct. Vermont

    So now that I think I have my (Vaccuum dust problem solved) I am concerned about excess dust, fines in my stove. See pic! Not having seen many insides of stoves other than mine...any comment on this build up? I said this was after 6 days but it is really two days.....and I have never screened/filtered any pellets and I do have lots of pellet dust in my hopper.... image.jpg *****Sorry if blurry, I can take more pics
  17. bill3rail

    bill3rail Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    LI, NY
  18. bostonfan49

    bostonfan49 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Essex Jct. Vermont
    *****I want to build the above sifter as I use softwood pellets and I do have visible dust/fines in my hopper....BUT stove/auger run fine. I understand the benefit of the sifter...to keep the auger from jamming/caking up..... But if I don't have any auger problem is there any other reason, benefit to reduce the fines that drop in from the auger? Don't they just combust? ( is that a word?) I think I have a fair amount of ash build-up on the lower sides, L & R of the agitator but I don't know how much is normal or excessive? ***as for my dust problem, I think it is all coming from my shop vac and it's tell I got a real ash vac! Bottom line, I don't want to build and sift unless there is areal benefit other than preventing auger jams! Thanks, Bill

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