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How much smoke is normal?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Weezer, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. Weezer

    Weezer New Member

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    Forest Hill, MD
    I have recently started using AWF softies after burning a half ton of "power pellets"
    I now notice a very slight wisp of blue smoke out of the exhaust even when the stove is up to temp and on max burn. I tried setting the feed rate using the 1 inch ash bed method, which gave a setting of 4, then backed it off to 3 .... Still seem to have the problem. I checked all the seals on the door and ash bin, there are no intake or exh blockages. I cleaned the burn pot thoroughly but the problem persists.

    This is my first full year of using a pellet stove so I don't know if this is caused by the pellets or if there is something wrong with my stove. I just had it installed last spring during the shoulder season.

    I've also noticed that the side glass area where the harman advances typically get dirty is now black instead of grey as it was using the power pellets.

    Any one have an opinion on this?

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  2. lbcynya

    lbcynya Feeling the Heat

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    I haven't burned softwood much (not a big fan, personally), but I do recall that they tend to be smoky and dirty (black inside). If the fire is active (vs. lazy), then I wouldn't worry about it.
  3. Weezer

    Weezer New Member

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    Yep.... I just took a look at the innards this morning... Quite a lot of black soot on the esp, exhaust port and combustion blade as compared to before. The fire seems just as it was with the hardwoods but a little more orange. Crap! That's what I get for violating the burn 5 bags before you buy tonnage rule. :confused:

    Guess I'll have to man up and deal with it

    Next year I'll go back to hardwoods.....heard good things about hamers...maybe I'll try a few bags of those
  4. Hoot23

    Hoot23 Minister of Fire

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    Not all softies are like that. Try some LaCrete, Lg, North Country pellets. Very clean.
  5. Weezer

    Weezer New Member

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    I don't recall seeing those in my area but I'll look around come shoulder season....Thanks
  6. The Ds

    The Ds Feeling the Heat

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    We're burning the AWF softies this season and have not experienced the problems you write about. Perhaps the stove itself (make/model) has something to do with it. If we lived closer, we'd be glad to buy those softies from you ;-)
  7. rona

    rona Feeling the Heat

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    Is your exh pipes clean of any obstruction such as a birds nest? Burning to rich or maybe exh is plugged .
  8. JoeS

    JoeS Feeling the Heat

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    Had the same problem last year with the softwood pellets. Made a mess of my stove. Happy to be back burning Hamer's!
  9. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    Make sure your air is unrestricted, both in and out. Softies produce more btu per pound and require more air to match.
  10. Weezer

    Weezer New Member

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    Loc:
    Forest Hill, MD
    I haven't found any restrictions . Is it possible the harman advance is not capable of the optimum flow for softies? .
    I have the feed backed down to about 2.75 - 3. The exhaust smoke is minimal but can still be seen if you look hard enough. The black soot remains so I believe it is still on the rich side.

    Seems like a stretch, but I saw that there is a combustion fan blade available from harman for high altitude. Wonder if that would give the correct air/fuel ratio
  11. iceguy4

    iceguy4 Minister of Fire

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    can you turn down the feed rate? I'll probably get eviscerated for suggesting. :eek:
  12. Weezer

    Weezer New Member

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    Ha ha ha ....found the problem...apparently, the installer used sch 40 for the OAK. The ID of the pipe is 1 7/8 where the spec is is minimum 2 3/8. Poor thing was choking at full throttle. That explain why the soot and smokey exh at high burn rates.
    I disconnected the OAK and the flame is more active and I can see some blue at the flame root.... Nice!
    Must have been OK with the hardwood but once I put the softies in ..not enough intake air for the correct mixture.
    I'll be making a phone call tomorrow
    Countryboymo and IHATEPROPANE like this.
  13. Countryboymo

    Countryboymo Feeling the Heat

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    Glad you figured that out. What do you think of the heat output in comparison to hardwoods? I know on my quad I hardly have ash to dump in comparison to hardwoods. I have to admit I have only burned two brands of hardwoods and one blend but have tried 5 different softies.
  14. Weezer

    Weezer New Member

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    Loc:
    Forest Hill, MD
    I have only burned two brands.... Power pellets (HW) and the AWF softies. I can tell you there is a huge difference in the ash content. Very little with the softies. Before I got those, I burned about a half ton of power pellets.... There was quite a bit of ash and a lot of hard carbon deposits and clinkers in the fire pot. I was scraping at least every bag. Not so with the AWF. The deposits are soft and come up without much effort.
    As far as the output is concerned I can say I did notice a difference in the heat immediately but since I only ran 6 bags through it and I just now corrected my mixture issue, I will make that judgement in a few weeks

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