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Harman p61a questions

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by xjarcher, Dec 17, 2008.

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  1. xjarcher

    xjarcher Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    33
    Loc:
    W. Michigan
    Greetings Newbie to forums here.
    I've had my P61a for 3 years now. I try to maintain the dickens out of it. Gets a yearly cleaning once a month.
    Help me out with a few questions.
    (note stove is vented with proper pipe to a cleanout tee up 7 feet to 90 and out through a 3 ft pipe which passes through the cold air intake thimble.
    In basement of cape cod home heating basement and main floor with it.

    How often should I change the ESP? Seems I have to do it yearly. It is always kept clean but often I get Really poor performance, that seems to fix it.
    Normal setting for feed rate - I see people here at 4, I'm generally around 2

    Current issue- TONS of ash, decent flame but low heat. (full clean out last Saturday).
    Settings
    Room temp maxed
    Feed rate 1.75+-
    Stove temp maxed

    Pellets are from local mill in Holland MI Supposedly hardwood blend. Dealer has sold them for two years, always a little ashy but not like this and lots more heat.
    Thanks bunches!

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  2. crausch

    crausch New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Messages:
    747
    Loc:
    Littlestown, PA
    Sounds like you are doing every right. The feed rate is just a maximum once the startup cycle is finished. I run my Advance around 2 also (until it gets colder). Have you tried a couple bags of another brand of pellets? It may just be the batch of pellets that you have.

    I have not had my stove long enough to say how long my ESP will last. When I clean the stove though, I pull the ESP probe out and clean with a paint brush. Then run my 3" vent brush through the exhaust chamber before reinserting the probe. Try some other pellets though. You may get a better burn.
  3. xjarcher

    xjarcher Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    33
    Loc:
    W. Michigan
    This weekend I'm going to pick up a couple bags. Just wanted to see if I was out in left field!
    Thanks for the quick response.
  4. rayttt

    rayttt Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    352
    Loc:
    poconos pa
    it may also be cold draft air being sucked into the house if theres no
    outside air kit...
    I had my air conditioner in the window in the back bedroom and it litterly
    made about a 10 degree difference in the living room where the stove is...
    it was pulling cold air into the house and drawing it into the living room
    making me turn the stove up quite a bit (about 3/4 high) to get the warmth I wanted.
    Once I removed the air conditioner from the window
    the stove only needed to be on about 1/3 to get the heat to where Im
    used to it.
  5. crausch

    crausch New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Messages:
    747
    Loc:
    Littlestown, PA
    I am burning Turman pellets out of Virginia. I like them but they may not be available too far north. I purchased some "Hardwood Heat" by Southern States and they burn good too. What I have found out is that you will need to adjust your feed rate for different pellets. The Turman had very little ash but were longer in size. The Hardwood Heat pellets are shorter, so more tend to fill the auger when it turns. This keeps the pot fuller and produces more heat for me. Maybe you just need to turn up your feed rate some.

    I have been burning my stove set at 74 degrees and a maximum feed rate of 2. I get away with this because of the smaller pellets.
  6. xjarcher

    xjarcher Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    33
    Loc:
    W. Michigan
    I do have the cold air intake installed. We have actually done more to insulate this year than in past. Window insulators etc.
    I will call the wife and have her turn up the feed rate a bit to see what it does between now and 4:00 when I get home.
  7. tkrock

    tkrock New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Messages:
    34
    Loc:
    Pottstown,PA
    My 2cents.... Turn up the feed rate. The ash is probably poor pellets. One question though, what color is the smoke stain on your window of the stove???
  8. cac4

    cac4 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    376
    Loc:
    Essex County, MA
    seems to me like you're choking your stove by having the feed rate set so low. why so low? the manual says "4". The feed rate setting is a "maximum" number. It won't actually feed at that rate, unless the room temp circuitry thinks it needs it to produce the heat. And if it needs more pellets to get the heat, and you're not allowing it to happen by having the feed rate set so low...of course you're not going to get enough.
  9. mgambuzza

    mgambuzza Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    204
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    I think it may also be the pellets. I clean at the same schedule as you and have no problem with maintaining whatever temperatures I desire. Feed set at 2.5, Blower on High, and I have brushed, but not removed the ESP when cleaning. I have a stove thermometer on the side of mine to see the running temperatures for comparison purposes. During days like today (20-30F), the stove will comfortably maintain 70 - 75 while the body of the stove is at 300-400F. When the temperature really dips (below 20F), the side of the stove will reach and maintain 500F. I have never had a problem with the stove keeping up with the Upstate NY winter temperature drops (a testament to Harman - if this didn't do it I was going to have to resort to Coal).

    Different quality pellets burn at different rates and temperatures. If there is less hardwood(or softwood) and more filler, the stove will never reach a desirable temperature to heat your room or house. Hope changing the pellets makes a difference.
  10. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    Was it draft tested..........
    On the fresh air intake was the felt removed from inside the thimble?
    And remove the fresh air intake at the stove and make sure the flapper swings free..
    Basements can be tricky..
    Could be the pellets too though..
  11. xjarcher

    xjarcher Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    33
    Loc:
    W. Michigan
    I turned the feed rate up to just over 2 and we are doing quite well. Same brand as last year, ran well at 1.5. I found in past years if I turned the feed rate up >3 it never burned pellets completely. Being Dutch I didn't want to waste pellets so I slowly turned the feed rate down until I got ash and not partially burned pellets. The dealer said 1.5-2 was what his is set at so I copied him. I've never had a draft test as I don't own a meter and the dealer was going to charge ridiculous money to install the stove even if I brought it home and positioned it so all he had to do was cut the hole and attach the pipe. If I can get one of my hvac friends to stop in with his meter I'll see if I can get it to happen. typically the soot on the door is grey/white. Cold air intake is working well, flapper isn't stuck at all. Draft settings are not terribly well explained in the manual (is anything?) can anyone shed some light? Also I know I can burn some corn in it, how what percentage may I use? I have a farmer in the family and low moisture corn is available cheap this year!
  12. crausch

    crausch New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Littlestown, PA
    Glad to hear that you are running better now!

    As far as shedding light on the draft control, your right about the manual being very little help in explaining the adjustment for us laymens. ParotHead (a veteren member here) explained it like this:

    Also, just to note...the grey/white ash is normal on the window during a good burn. Good luck and happy holidays!
  13. tkrock

    tkrock New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2008
    Messages:
    34
    Loc:
    Pottstown,PA
    The grey/white ash does indicate a optimal burn, which means your draft is probably set pretty good already. At this point i would concentrate on feeder settings.

    Forgot to add about the corn.... I was told you can do 1/3 corn. Mix it very well with the pellets before you put it into the hopper. Your ash content will change as well obviously.
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