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

Shortstuff Posted By Shortstuff, Sep 27, 2008 at 8:10 PM

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  1. STANG32

    STANG32
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    Aug 18, 2010
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    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?
     
  2. Sawduster

    Sawduster
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    Nov 4, 2008
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    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

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  4. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff
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    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
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    Aug 18, 2010
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    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
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    Sep 20, 2010
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    Tech support at Enviro suggested I vacuum the fines out the hopper after every three bags.
     
  7. madge69

    madge69
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    Wow...really? Was the reason to prevent auger jams or something else?
     
  8. jumpink

    jumpink
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    Sep 20, 2010
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    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
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    Dec 4, 2010
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    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
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    Mar 22, 2008
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    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
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    Jan 12, 2012
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    I can understand that, mine is in the unfinished basement so it's hard to tell.
     
  15. gfreek

    gfreek
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    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
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    Oct 18, 2011
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    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
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    Oct 19, 2009
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    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
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    Mar 21, 2012
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    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
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    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:
     

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  20. mkvrgti

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    Mar 21, 2012
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    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
     

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  21. Hellfire

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    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
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    Oct 18, 2011
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    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
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    My wife is allergic to dust, she breaks out the vacuum every time!
    Seriously though, the dust in your living space is drastically reduced.
     
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  24. The Village Idiot

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    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
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    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.
     
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