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Lopi Answer Blower - Lifespan over 5 years?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by daveswoodhauler, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Ok, we had our Insert installed in the summer of 2008, so this is our 5th heating season using the insert and blower. I normally take the fan unit off the stove every 2 months or so and perform a solid clean out with the vac, compressed air, etc. (Even wipe the little blades in the barrel fan with a Qtip)
    So, after performing the cleaning, the right side barrel wheel just doesn't want to turn too well.....basically, when I shut of the fan, the left side spins for a good long while and slowly comes to a stop, where the right side stops much more abruptly. I got it cleaned up, and spins a little better than before...so it looks like I'll be needing to get a new blower for next year.
    I really wish the Lopi mfg didn't use damn rivets, as I could probably take it apart and just replace what is needed...hate to fork out $300 for a blower when its only 5 years old. We burn a solid 5 days a week for 12-14 hours, so perhaps this is just normal wear and tear?

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Can you oil the bearings? This may take drilling an oil port into the bearing felt if there is no port already there.
  3. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    The entire unit is pretty sealed up, with really no access to the bearings. Also, from what I recall its a sealed unit, so I don't think I am supposed to oil it. Seems to run a little better now that its been cleaned up, but still not great.
  4. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    I think you need to stop cleaning it so much, especially with compressed air, you're probably blowing dust somewhere it was never meant to go. Try get some light oil down along the shaft (not WD40), and let it run.

    TE
  5. trailmaker

    trailmaker Member

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    I was thinking the same thing about over-cleaning. My freedom insert fan has been removed and cleaned once in about 8 years and it runs flawlessly.
  6. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    When I mentioned cleaning every 2 months....it really only works out to once per year. (Midway through the burning season) Looking at my earlier post, I didn't really word it accuratelt. Basically, we burn from mid oct to mid March, and I usually pull it off an clean it in Mid/late January. I really just use the vacuum on it to get the dust bunnies out, and then a quick blast of the air in a can to dislorge anything I can't get with the vac. I tried a small amount of oil on both the right and left shaft, but one side just moves a lot more freely than the other. Thanks for the info
  7. TradEddie

    TradEddie Minister of Fire

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    The fan on my old insert ran flawlessly for more than 30 years, it cannot ever have been oiled because the oil holes were covered by the blower mount. I completely disassembled and cleaned it a few years ago (even disassembling the motor). It was choked with dust and crud, yet ran only slightly quieter when I was finished. That insert is gone, but the blower is still in regular use to blow air into the stove room. 36 years and going strong. I don't expect the blower on my new insert will last as long, but it had better last more than 5 years.

    TE
  8. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    There are after market blower out there for much less.
    Bummer about the rivets, I use to clean my free standing stove blower about twice a burning season, but the last time I cleaned I couldn't get it to run as quiet as it did before. It comes apart completely (no rivets) and I had it all apart and tracked down a source for the sealed bearings on the squirrel cage ends and found out I could get them for about $2 each. I was all set to buy a couple, but in the meantime I hooked up a portable fan behind my stove and found that the fan worked better for pushing the heat around than the blower ever did. So the blower is still sitting in a box in pieces.

    BTW, my blower is just 4 years old this year

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