1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Empress ignitor

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by au2183, Dec 30, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. au2183

    au2183 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    southern Maine
    Hi everyone. This is my first post here. I'm really glad to find this forum. I know it's early, but I want to wish you all a Happy New Year!

    Now, on to the reason I was searching for pellet stove info.

    I have 2 Enviro Empress stoves. One upstairs and one down. Overall, I love them. They heat well, and are very quiet. The one downstairs is now almost 2 years old, and the one upstairs is just under a year. Here's the issue. The ignitor in the one downstairs just failed for the second time. It failed for the first time right after Christmas a year ago. I also had the one in the other stove fail this year just before Thanksgiving.
    I have them both hooked to a thermostat, and set for on/off operation. Is it normal to expect only a year's life out of an ignitor? The first one on each was replaced under warranty, but now I believe it will have to come out of my pocket. $100.00 a year per stove seems a bit excessive. Both stoves do cycle on and off quite a bit during the run of a day, but shouldn't they be able to withstand that without this kind of failure rate?
    I just converted the stove with the failed ignitor over to hi/lo operation and lit it manually as a temporary fix to keep it warm, but I hesitate to leave it that way permanently. Wouldn't the stove tend to burn quite a few more pellets that way? I am assuming that the ignitor would last longer due to less cycling though. Any help or advice is appreciated. My dealer knows less about these stoves than I do unfortunately, and they just stopped selling the Enviro brand this fall.
    Also, I do clean the burn chambers every 2-3 days max, and disassemble for thorough cleaning at least twice a year.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    45,814
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Welcome! I'm hoping Rod will chime in here. That is a bummer. Maybe they had a bad run?

    A good igniter should last many years igniting the pellets several times a day. When I sold our 5 yr old Quad I still had not replaced the original ignitor. The spare was still in the box.
  3. au2183

    au2183 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    southern Maine
    Anyone else?
  4. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Messages:
    5,714
    Loc:
    madison hgts. va
    i would think a years is a bit short on the old lifespan myself , however on/off cycles are harder on them than high / low personally , i think a lot depends on the cycle rate, and why it is cycling a lot. personally , i would think that if the unit has to cycle on and off a lot a high low would be better anyway depending on how high the heat is set, it sounds as though you have a lot of "hot/cold" going on , a high low would probably hold a steadier temp and would possibly even not use more pellets a comparison would probably bear this out if done on fairly similar temperature days.

    look at it this way, if your stove comes on and runs for say 2 hours and shuts down , you will have burned maybe 5 to7 lbs of pellets if it runs at a higher setting during that time then shut down for a couple hours and repeat.(bear in mind also that each time that igniter is running , its using more watts than the rest of the stove combined) now in a "high low , the unit on low may just use about 1 to 1.5 lbs an hour on low and may not need to run on high all that long and with the low burn going the high cycles will be shorter and less frequent. and you also will not use as much electricity as the igniter would not be cycled each startup.

    im suggesting this as a test , not as an "i know better" situation, every dwelling and situation is different which makes this units flexability a very nice feature. but i do believe that 1 year is not a very good showing for an igniter.
  5. au2183

    au2183 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    southern Maine
    Thanks for the input guys. Has anyone else out there experienced short ignitor life? I have had the stove running in HI/LOW mode for a few days now, and it's doing well. I'm still not sure about pellet usage, but it doesn't seem much different so far.
  6. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,019
    Loc:
    Oakhurst, California, USA, Earth
    It is better on the stove to be in the HI low mode with the empress/windsor

    You might use more pellets if you are in a mild climate but if it is cold you are using the same.
    because the stove runs on low about 50% of the time.


    The ignitor is a hard one
    If you can test to see if the ignitor is shutting off after the 15 minute start up cycle.
    I think you can see the back side glowing from the back of the stove if you take off the Control panel side panel
  7. au2183

    au2183 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    southern Maine
    Thanks Rod. I can see it. That's the first thing I do when I suspect it's not working. I never thought to see if it shuts off after startup though. I'll check as soon as I get the new one installed. Would that be caused by a bad control board?
    Terry
  8. au2183

    au2183 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    southern Maine
    [quote author="hearthtools" date="1199311192"]It is better on the stove to be in the HI low mode with the empress/windsor

    Why is it easier on the stove?
  9. au2183

    au2183 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    southern Maine
    Update - I installed the new ignitor yesterday. It was replaced under warranty, which is good news. They are covered for 2 years according to the Enviro website.
    I checked 15 minutes after startup, and the ignitor was no longer glowing. I guess that means it's working properly. By the way, you can see it through the slots in the lower inspection panel without removing the panel.
    Now I have converted both my Empress stoves over to Hi/Lo mode, and intend to leave them there through the bulk of the heating season. During spring and fall I will run them in On/Off mode. I'll probably install a toggle switch on each of them so I don't need to pull the circuit board every time. Not a big deal, but a hassle just the same. I don't want to mess with those tiny pins anymore than I have to. So far it seems I am burning no more pellets in Hi/Lo than I was in On/Off. It will take more time to tell for sure. The other potential issues IMO are electricity usage and fan motor life on both the exhaust fan and convection fans. Anyone have any input on that?
    I'd still like to know why it is better for the stove to run in Hi/Lo mode if you would care to offer an explanation Rod.

    To answer a couple earlier questions, my thermostats are both about 30 feet from the stove. My house is quite tight as it was built for electric heat.

    Thanks for all the input and help so far.
  10. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,019
    Loc:
    Oakhurst, California, USA, Earth
    Reasons I THINK Hi low mode is better

    1)
    Every time a pellet stove shuts off a layer a clinker cake will build up in the bottom of the burn pot.
    after 5-10 cycles of on and off with some pellets this can block all the hole in the burn pot and not allow enough air in the pot and the stove WILL fault out and not light up. This happens alot when people do not clean there stove out as often as they should.

    with the stove ALWAYS running you get less of a clinker and you can run the stove longer between burn pot dumps.
    also if the fire is going and the burn pot is build up the fire will stay running even if it is dirty and you WILL NOT WAKE UP WITH A COLD HOUSE.

    2) power useage
    and ignitor is 300 to 400 watts depending on the unit. so more power is used.

    3) More start up cycles will decrease the ignitor life.

    4) Most people like to see a fire all the time.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page