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Lower grade pellets

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Richgvt, Mar 24, 2006.

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  1. Richgvt

    Richgvt Member

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    I have a Harman P68. Does anyone have experience using the lower grade pellets. Would like to know what your thoughts are. Will it be too much ash? heat output? Any info would be appreciated. Thinking of buying a ton. Thanks

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  2. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    I don't own one or sell them but I've worked on a few and talked to a few owners. My overall interpretation is that the pot builds up some healthy clinkers, not saying that's a bad thing or that other stoves don't do the same, but the point is that the clinker will build up alot more quickly due to the increased presence of "ash". I mean the difference between 1% ash content and .25% ash content is signifigant 2-3% ash content would probably double or triple your stoves maintenance requirements. Also I don't want it to seem like this is only true of a Harman but rather any pellet stove. Quadrafires seem to be pretty sucessfull at burning high ash content fuel (as demonstrated at the trade show) but I'm sure you still have to clean the stove more than if you were burning premium pellets.
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I used VERY high ash pellets in a Harman mechanism (in the VC Pellet Stove) and they worked great! These were peanut hull pellets and about 2.5% ash.

    I think high ash pellets are the future- at least in the areas of the US that don't have vast timber resources.
  4. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    You didn't have to clean the stove out more often? If not where did the extra ash go? We have one of those VC pellet stoves upstairs in our shop, they're pretty nice looking. It's sand, works good too. We don't try to sell it though, maybe the boss has something else in mind for it.
  5. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    yea, we have sold the industrial grade pellets and have burned them in our Harman display stoves. Dark brown in color due to the bark, they smell like a walk thru the woods, maybe 5-8 times the ash. There isnt a Huge cost savings in the pellets, maybe $20-30/ton. They burned fine, in the Harmans, just as good as regular pellets, but there were definitely clinkers galore. You need to scrape the burn pot twice a week instead of once. Ash pan on the 68 will fill in 1-2 weeks. Also need to clean the igniter assembly more, because a significant amount of clinkers fall thru the air holes, and block the igniter airflow. The problem with the industrial pellets is that many stoves WONT burn them well due to the clinkers.....the topfeed stoves seem to have problems with it. We only market the industrials for Harmans. Heat output is roughly the same.
  6. Richgvt

    Richgvt Member

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    Right now I scrape the burn pot every day just so it doesn't build up. I do a thorough cleaning every ton burned more or less. If I just have to dump the ashes more often and clean the stove every two weeks that would not be a problem. I was quoted a $50.00 savings per ton. I was also told they put out more heat. I need 5 tons to heat my home in Vermont. I only bought 4 tons this year (first year with stove) and need more. I think I will get a ton and try them. If the ash is too much I will use them next year and mix it with the premium. I have been buying small quantities of pellets now at around $6.00 a bag. I think I will just use oil and run my wood stove as I don't think its worth it at that price. I don't mind paying around $200 @ ton.
  7. paula

    paula New Member

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    After having burned a ton or more of low ash pellets, we burned a ton of high ash pellets in our very OLD Breckwell-mixing them with premium. That was all we could get this winter. This is our first year here-and figuring out how to deal with the extra ash and clinkers was a learning experience. We had to empty the clinkers and vacuum out the whole thing a couple times a day. And it did burn hotter-to the point that the stove started to shut itself off. But I now think that the reason it shut off was due to a build up of ash in the exhaust system, not really to overheating. I recently cleaned out the exhaust pipes and behind the panels (both FULL of ash) and went back to burning low ash pellets. The stove is working great again-no lasting effects. If I had to I'd burn the high ash ones again-now that I know how to clean everything. It wasn't too bad, especially given the alternative of not using any.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Low grade pellets will mean much more cleaning, they mess up the door glass a lot more, making it harder to clean and possibly provide less heat if one can't be constantly cleaning out clogged areas of the stove. In a nutshell (sorry Craig), low grade pellets = more maintenance. One of the things I love about our stove design is that it only needs cleaning every other week. I burn good quality pellets to keep it that way.
  9. Richgvt

    Richgvt Member

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    But the Harman works differently. It is a bottom feed and pushes the ash out into the pan which is pretty large. That is one of Harmans big selling points that they can burn any grade. By the way what is the VC pellet stove?
  10. stovemanken

    stovemanken New Member

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    Craig can comment about the old VC/Harman that hasn't been made in many years.

    One thing to be aware about is the tendency to generalize to the point where regional observations become true for the whole country (or world?).

    I burned "full tree" or "whole tree" experimental pellets that came from forest thinnings in the western US for two seasons. I also have experiance with pinion/juniper scrub that has been clear cut. Both of these projects are attempts to prevent forest fires by limiting the fuel at the forest floor, or define fire stop zones around residences and the like.

    I am the world's laziest Harman user; I clean my stove throughly twice a season plus the fall start up. I let the fire start to get lazy and the ignition cycles longer and smokier, then I scrape the burn pot. I see heavy carbon build up in the corners and the "speed bump" transverse ridge of carbon across the pot, but no "clinkers." Now if you want clinkers + ash, let's talk about corn! No, save that for another thread.

    The only noticible difference in the Harman with high ash western pellets is what I call "walrus tusks" of ash that form in each corner and then break off from their own weight. Full tree pellets are pine, and contain everything: bark, needles cones, chipmunks, etc. They end up being about 2.5% ash, as opposed to eastern bark pellets which are reported to be as high as 7% ash. Full tree pellets are not claimed to have higher Btus, but they do test an insignificant 100 Btu higher.

    I could not agree more; high ash pellets will be part of the future.

    SMK
  11. Richgvt

    Richgvt Member

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    I just got a bag of the high ash pellets but haven't tried them yet. I will use them this week and see how it goes. thanks for the info.
  12. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    hey, all I can say, is high ash works in Harman....BUT.....make sure you clean the burnpot and IGNITOR, as it does get dirtier faster with the high ash......but boy, they sure do smell nice, dont they?
  13. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Why do the clinkers form? Isn't ask the white wispy stuff? The reason I ask is that I get some clinker like things when I burn Elm in my wood stove.
  14. Richgvt

    Richgvt Member

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    I'm burning a bag of the low grade now. Actually it does not seem that different from the premium. Don't even smell as much. I haven't scraped the burn pot yet so we will see what thats like.
  15. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    ya are gonn have to burn more than a bag to determine the amount of ash, etc....15-25 bags, Id say, before a true conclusion can really be met.
  16. Richgvt

    Richgvt Member

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    I just have the one bag. It does produce more ash but I don't think it would be too big a problem burning them. I might buy a ton or two and maybe mix them if need be. They are about $50.00 a ton cheaper rght now. 5 tons = $250.00. Not sure if its worth it.
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