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  1. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    This is probably a silly question but what harm do fines cause other than making dust when loading your stove?

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  2. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    They compact & jam your Auger
  3. Ridgefire

    Ridgefire New Member

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    You would think that the auger would just feed the fines into the fire.
  4. Ridgefire

    Ridgefire New Member

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    I probably dont want to know, do I
  5. johnnywarm

    johnnywarm Minister of Fire

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    Are "fines" the powder at the bottom of the bag??
  6. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    Yes, that nasty loose powder is what I'm calling fines.

    How on earth can that jam an auger? I'd think that the stuff is so small that it would simply slide down the chute without the auger even being able to touch it. Sort of slide by between the auger and the wall...I'm confused. :-S
  7. johnnywarm

    johnnywarm Minister of Fire

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    I think if it builds up and hardens it could jam it.
  8. bit_flores

    bit_flores Member

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    The dust feeds up to the top of the auger, but does NOT release down the chute. The auger keeps trying to feed material up the auger shaft, finally the auger jams. Result ==> one dead auger motor assembly....
  9. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    I also don't like when they feed down the chute and hang up and start burning in the chute, makes me nervous. Once a week I let the hopper go dry and vacuum the fines out, no problems thus far. If you use a 'crib' to store fuel, most of the fines settle out to the bottom and don't cause problems until I'm on the last few buckets or so. Then I shake the bucket a bit to get them to settle and pour accordingly. Shaking the bag a bit and not using the last half cup full or so also avoids dumping fines into your stove.
  10. johnnywarm

    johnnywarm Minister of Fire

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    I just cleaned out the hopper in my Big E for the first time in a season and a half. There was some but it was not that bad.
  11. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    Good question, Pook! I have an Englander too so I'm wondering the same thing.

    Honestly, I took a handful of fines last night and tried to compress them into something that I thought might be hard enough to stop an auger. Short of mixing them with cement I just don't see how it can happen. No matter how hard I mashed the things I couldn't get them to stick together in a hard mass. Everything I tried produced a clump that broke apart WAY easier than a pellet. Maybe heat plays a part in this that I'm not getting?

    Grrr! I just hate it when I can't figure out how something works! If you said that the fines worked their way to the bearings or the auger motor and caused it to bind I could see that being a problem but......still confused. :-S
  12. petejung

    petejung New Member

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    I can tell you this - since I bought some Pennington pellets (NEVER EVER AGAIN), the dust and fines in those pellets have dried out my Englander - in other words, the top auger squeaks really bad after 2-3 days of using the pennington pellets, and then I put in some dry graphite and everything is cool for a couple of days. I sift the last 1/4 of the bag of pellets, but even at the top of the bag, those Pennington's are full of dust.

    So, it seems that the fines are negatively affecting my stove by causing more noise than there should be. This morning, I came down and shut off the stove so that I could scrape the burn pot, and the stove rumbled really loud a couple of times. The last time it rumbled, I was close enough to hear it was coming form the auger, the top one I think, as the noise was intermittent... I emptied out the hopper and vaccumed out the top auger shaft, and ran some graphite in there again. Everything seems cool. Seems like those Penningotn pellets are making stove maintenance a nightmare... Anyway, this thread's about fines... sorry to digress.

    The bottom line for me is that I do everything I know of (and maybe others have tricks they can share) to avoid getting fines/sawdust in my stove, because I've read too many posts on augers/motors going bad due to the buildup of fines...
  13. Ridgefire

    Ridgefire New Member

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    Well I just ran my stove dry. Then after it cooled I cleaned everything then ran the augers in the diagnostic mode till they were completely empty. I couldn't believe the amount of dust in the augers. Now that its running again I notice that its quieter. I always thought the noise I heard was just the auger breaking stuck pellets.
  14. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    Well....and I thought I knew what I was doing..

    I have never really been concerned about the fines, because I
    just figured the auger would push them through with the pellets,
    never thought about it potentially clogging up the works.

    Guess I still have alot to learn
  15. lpgreg

    lpgreg Member

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    Pete J My penningtons have very little dust or fines.
  16. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    Some stoves are more sensitive or affected by fines. Seems older stoves do better with more crud. If you have a stove with a single mount horizontal moving auger, that's one with a mount on the rear and no front mount, you can handle the fines a lot better. If you have ecessive amounts of fines, you may want to switch pellets and contact your supplier to see if they will refund or exchange the bad pellets. If you have no grinding, squealing, or dragging of the auger and they burn fine, proceed as usual.
  17. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    Well, even if I still don't understand how fines can stop an auger I guess I'd better step up my method for elimanting as much of the fines as I can before loading the stove.

    Anyone got any good methods?
  18. petejung

    petejung New Member

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    Two things I do - Sift the last 1/8 of the bag of pellets... This is where most of the fines/dust seems to settle. Also, I use a coal hod to transport pellets from my basement to the stove. When pouring the pellets in the stove, I am very careful at the end of the pour, as there is always sawdust in the bottom of the hod. I am careful not to pour that in the hopper. I dump the dust into my sift can the next time I go down to get a load of pellets.
  19. petejung

    petejung New Member

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    Maybe I got into a bad batch or something... Where did you get yours? I got mine at the HD.
  20. jbrogley

    jbrogley New Member

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    As a TOTAL pellet rookie here, we learned about fines the scary way. While we are having other troubles with our stove, we did have the fines catch fire in the chute. VERY SCARY for me, since I'm learning as I go.

    Tonight I cleaned out the hopper and took out probably 1/2 an ice cream pail of them. I just figured they'd drop down and burn in the pot. Well, they burned all right.
  21. johnnywarm

    johnnywarm Minister of Fire

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    What maker of stove do you have??
  22. toastyinri

    toastyinri New Member

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    The ten bags of Pennington that I picked up at low cost were the cleanest of all brands I have used so far. I think handling of the bags from production to retail might have something to do with what you get on the bottom of the bag. Last years purchase of 3 tons of Fireside from Home Depot were nice and clean, this years purchase of the same vary from lots of fines and dust at the bottom of the bag to OK. I just started my 2nd ton and the bags from it are cleaner than the first. Here in R.I. the brand choices are limited. I think I might go with pelletsales.com next season. The fines & dust make excellent cat litter,,,but I don't need a ton of litter.
    Also, when I buy a few bags to try out, I make sure there are no little pin holes or rips in the bags. Those swollen moisture filled pellets turn into dust once you get them in the hopper and it's no fun sifting a 40lb bag to get rid of them.
  23. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    What do you use to sift the bottom portion of a bag? One of those pellet basket things?
  24. toastyinri

    toastyinri New Member

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    I use a large metal spagetti collander that I picked up at a dollar store. Just put the thing over an empty bag, put a couple of quarts in it and swirl it around with your hand and give it a last "shake" and pour into a clean bag. takes about 20 minutes to sift through a 40 lb bag if you think the whole bag needs it. If just the last 1/4 of the bag about 5 minutes.
  25. jbrogley

    jbrogley New Member

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    WI
    Kozy's Olivia Corn/Pellet stove. I started a thread about it. It's a disaster.
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