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)

I made my own pellet vac for less than $20.00 - Video

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Shortstuff, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. STANG32

    STANG32 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2010
    Messages:
    68
    Loc:
    CT
    I know this is an old post but I just fond it interesting & have a few questions.
    1) do the fines create coals in the burn pot that once burned become rock like?
    2) do you stil feel the fines should be screened/filtered out? have your opinions changed after 2 years?
    3)is auger jamming & dust the main reason for vacumming them out?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Sawduster

    Sawduster New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    Messages:
    125
    Loc:
    Vermont
    I have a Harmon P61a; it was around $4,500 for stove and install in Fall of 2008. That winter I was parnoid about fines and sifted them all out. The next year I said the Hell with it, and sifted no fines - dumped all of it right into the hopper. You know what; it made absolutely no difference. As a matter of fact, I think it ran better with the fines. To think of all the wasted time sifting - it really is not worth the effort at least with Harmons.
  3. BobMac

    BobMac Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    Messages:
    54
    Loc:
    Mid Michigan
  4. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    461
    Loc:
    Southeastern MA
    1. You may be referring to the hard, black, carbon-like deposits and I don't think it is pellet dust but rather a normal result of the pellet burning process.
    2. To this very day I still use my pellet vac for each and every bag.
    3. All the reasons that have been posted before can be quoted here.

    There are many who feel that it is foolish and a waste of time to vacuum pellets before you use them in your stove. Is it really necessary? Absolutely not. But there have been rare ocassions when an auger jamb has been caused by excess pellet dust. There are also a rare few people who have dust alergies. Some bags of pellets do have an excess amount of dust and some stoves have an auger system like mine where the auger pushes the pellets uphill at an angle and then into the drop chute. My auger is not designed to push pellet dust uphill so with enough fines it increases the likelyhood of an auger jamb.

    It's all a matter of personal preference. If you don't mind doing it, then go for it. If you don't think it's necessary then don't.
  5. STANG32

    STANG32 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2010
    Messages:
    68
    Loc:
    CT
    funny thing is, last year, my 1st year w/a pellet stove, I saw the fines & thought they could not be good for the machine so i was sifting them into a rubbermaid container & thought this cut down on my cleaning of the stove, but @ the same time I switched suppliers so I do not know for certain. then this year I found this forum which lately has become addicting. & you talk about the same thing so maybeI was onto something or just had the same thoughts.
    who knows
  6. jumpink

    jumpink Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    Messages:
    149
    Loc:
    Northern New Jersey
    Tech support at Enviro suggested I vacuum the fines out the hopper after every three bags.
  7. madge69

    madge69 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    66
    Loc:
    central ma
    Wow...really? Was the reason to prevent auger jams or something else?
  8. jumpink

    jumpink Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    Messages:
    149
    Loc:
    Northern New Jersey
    Yes I believe that's what they said. I am seriously considering making the pellet vac described here. I may be allergic to the dust cloud that ensues after dumping a bag in the hopper.
  9. Ro3bert

    Ro3bert Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Loc:
    New Fairfield, CT
    I have no problem with fines in my stove they burn nicely but I'd been warned that too much dust in the hopper could cause feed problems (something to do with the auger), so I save the last pound or two in the bags, dump them together in another bag then when I feel like it sift them with a colander.

    Besides, I start to sneeze when I pour the pellets into the hopper and there is some dust released.

    I'm going to have to make one of those things soon.
  10. hoogy

    hoogy Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Messages:
    44
    Loc:
    vermont
    i built a vaccum system like the one pictured here. it doesn't take that long to go thru a bag. I usaually do two bags a day for my boiler. Since i have been using it i have no auger jambs. But still have tons of ash from pellets maines choice pellets. Next yesr going to go with vermont pellets made in claredon vt
  11. bill3rail

    bill3rail Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    504
    Loc:
    LI, NY
    OK, I made mine!
    Minor adjustment is I want mine to mount against the pellet shed wall, so a large round hopper would not work too good.
    Heating system duct work was at the end of the aisle where PVC was located and it looks like it will mount perfectly!
    Vacuum assembly will be mounted on the pellet shed wall closest to the house. (the shaded area in the shed picture)
    Vacuum hose will come through the wall from the garage.(behind the shed)

    Bill

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  12. dmaclaren

    dmaclaren Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Messages:
    216
    Loc:
    Seacoast, NH
    I don't see the need for the wasted time here..I feed it the pig the whole bag ton after ton after ton.
  13. bill3rail

    bill3rail Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    504
    Loc:
    LI, NY
    If your stove is in the basement, your problem is non existent.

    When I am seeing pellet dust around the house, it needs to be cleaned!

    I am NOT a clean freak, and the dust is insane in the living room where the stove is.

    I first dump the bags into buckets outside, and yes, I pour slowly into the hopper...

    Bill
  14. dmaclaren

    dmaclaren Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Messages:
    216
    Loc:
    Seacoast, NH
    I can understand that, mine is in the unfinished basement so it's hard to tell.
  15. gfreek

    gfreek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2010
    Messages:
    710
    Loc:
    Beautiful Attica/Varysburg,New York
    I also use a shop vac set up to clean my pellets. When loading, it cuts down on the dust settling on the stove, being blown thru the house, and less times I have to clean the fines/auger box on my Harman.
  16. md2002

    md2002 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    229
    Loc:
    United States
    OK. What am I doing wrong? I made this pellet vac last year and it didn't work out so well. It was the end of the year so I decides not to mess with it and I would try again this year. This year I attempted to put it together again. I made it exactly as it's shown in the pictures. Here is my problem: Last year and this year what is happening is when I poor the pellets in the hopper they get "stuck". The hopper and pipes leading up to the hopper get full and nothing falls. I have to turn the vacuum off and then everything falls down. Upon investigation the mesh part is clogging up and therefore all the suction is gone. I've tried more holes and less holes in the pipe above but they continue to get stuck. I pour the pellets in very slowly too and it still happens.

    Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?
  17. Fish On

    Fish On Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Messages:
    368
    Loc:
    The other Cape..

    don't dump the whole bag in at once, try and do it a little at a time.. can u post a picture so we can see?
  18. mkvrgti

    mkvrgti New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    61
    Loc:
    gray,maine
    i made one too, made it before i even came across this.haha. i will post a picture trying to email it from my phone rite now.
  19. imacman

    imacman Guest

    How big of a vacuum are you using? If it has too much suction, it will just keep pulling the pellets up into the mesh. If this is the issue, the only solution is to either get a less powerful vac, or add more holes. Here's what I did, and I use a 4.25 HP Rigid.....I ended-up opening the air control I made all the way, and drilled more holes:

    Attached Files:

  20. mkvrgti

    mkvrgti New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    61
    Loc:
    gray,maine
    the hopper would not fit in the 2x3 so i picked up a 2x4 and riveted three straps to hang down over the side and use a hose clamp to hold it on. its pictured with it just set on the 2x3

    Attached Files:

  21. Hellfire

    Hellfire Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Messages:
    153
    Loc:
    Sunbury , PA 17801
    Share it w/ the neighborhood i say!


    Another way to skin the --- Repeat as needed! IMG_1656.JPG IMG_1657.JPG IMG_1658.JPG To & fro
  22. md2002

    md2002 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2011
    Messages:
    229
    Loc:
    United States
    Sorry for the delayed response. My VAC is 4.5 HP and the vac is set up as you see in most of these pics. I'm going to attempt to add pics. One pic shows the vacuum set up, the other shows where the pellets always get stuck. The vacuum is sucking in this picture and I just pulled apart the pipe so you can see where there stuck. This is where they always get stuck. Once I shut the vac off all the pellets just drop into the bucket. 3rd pic shows looking down where the pellets drop, and the 4th is the mesh on top of where the pellets drop. I have tried more holes and that didn't seem to work. Perhaps it is a science and I need just the right amount of holes. My question is if the pellets are getting stuck is there too much or too little suction?
    vac1.jpg vacissue.jpg vaclookingdown.jpg vacwithmesh.jpg
  23. bill3rail

    bill3rail Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    504
    Loc:
    LI, NY
    My wife is allergic to dust, she breaks out the vacuum every time!
    Seriously though, the dust in your living space is drastically reduced.
    The Village Idiot likes this.
  24. Although there is some "trial and error" to getting the perfect balanced-draft of pulling dust/fines into the vac while allowing the good pellets to drop into the bucket, I'm seeing that your screen material that you've used has a thicker mesh than what most of us have used. I, myself, went with a thin plastic gutter screen which has a fine mesh criss-cross pattern.
    Just looking at your pics of your internals sends off a red flag to my mind that your mesh might be too thick, causing quick pellet clog-ups due to less air space passing through the screen.. Just a thought...
  25. WoodPorn

    WoodPorn Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,497
    Loc:
    South of the beloved Patriots
    If that screen is on the vaccuum side of the t-y, you need more holes or less suction. You're only pulling out fines which do not require that much air.

Share This Page