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Major Pellet Burn Issue!

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by LRRifleman, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. LRRifleman

    LRRifleman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    57
    Loc:
    southern New Jersey
    Hello folks!

    This year, I had the luxury of testing a variety of pellets before I made my first ton purchase. One of the better burning pellets I tested was "Cheat River" pellets. At the time I tested them, I had good heat generation, and near complete pellet burn with just ash powder in the burn pot. However, something has gone wrong.

    About a month or so ago, I hear a long grinding (as if someone without manual transmission experience was trying to shift a manual transmission) coming from my auger. At that point in time, my Regency GF55 stove started feeding a tablespoon of pellets every 10 seconds at the low pellet feed setting. I now have to clean the fire pot of accumulated ash and incompletely burned pellets about once every 8 hours. In order to get a good burn, but not the flame type Regency recommends, I have the damper wide open. A week ago, when they came out to look at it, they reset the damper to about a 25% opening, and that worked fine for 2-3 bags, then it would not allow the pellets to ignite. The pellet/ash build-up in the firepot looks like a geological formation of different soil and rock formations (the band look). The soot build-up on the door glass is rather odd. The soot obscures the glass within an hour of operation, and the soot has a dry flaky/powdery consistency most of the time, but at times, it has a very greasy/oily consistency.

    This is the third season I have had my stove, and never encountered this issue before. The shop where I bought my stove has minimal experience with pellet stoves, I think one person volunteered they sold, perhaps, 4 since I purchased mine in the winter of 2010-2011.

    The pellets do not show any degree of swelling from accumulated moisture, and 40# bags tend to be weighing in at close to 40-41# ... suggesting no moisture absorbtion.

    I am at the point of scrapping this stove, and replacing it with a regular wood stove, even though my injuries do not lend themselves to the ready foraging of downed trees! Any advice or suggestions as to what might be wrong would be vastly appreciated!

    BTW, Regency has been less than stellar in providing suggestions for remedying my stove.

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  2. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Have you tried a different pellet? (I know you said they were good? But...)

    After 3 yrs, when was the last time the venting was cleaned, ash traps cleaned, motors removed and serviced, and cap cleaned??

    It's either an airflow issue (dirty stove) or a pellet issue (if stove is clean and all exhaust passages and ash traps are clean)??
  3. Gary Gileau

    Gary Gileau Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2012
    Messages:
    160
    Loc:
    Griswold CT
    I agree with Dex, If you haven't done so already a thorough cleaning is in order. From intake to exhaust cap.
  4. LRRifleman

    LRRifleman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    57
    Loc:
    southern New Jersey
    Hello!

    I had a major cleaning performed this past summer by the seller/installer.

    This fall, prior to my purchase of a ton of pellets, I sampled about 6 or 7 brands that were locally available. The pellets I am currently using were one of the better burning pellets. During the months of November and December, I had very few problems with these pellets. It is within the past month that everything has fallen apart with reference to the burning.

    Today, after I allowed the stove to cool, I cleaned the glass of the accumulated soot and the fire chamber. When I re-started the stove, it dumped about a quarter cup of pellets, and developed a huge flame. I attempted to adjust the damper, with no impact on the flame size. The pellets burned for about 8-10 minutes, during whichthe auger never fed any pellets into the burn pot, and the stove "burned out". This was odd, because the auger had been fueling the fire pot about every 10 seconds. I then checked the control panel, and found the temperature level indicator flashing at both level one and three, the first time I had ever noticed this. I hit the on/off switch twice, expecting the stove to turn off, which it did not. The first time the switch was pushed, nothing happened. The second time I hitch the switch, the indicator illuminated only the level 1 temperature setting, and has been operating normally. The stove has been burning a bit more than an hour, during which time the glass has NOT become covered by soot, which had been the normal practive for the past month or so. The flame actually seems to be responding to the damper setting. This is leading me to suspect that something is wrong with the electronic circuit board.
  5. will711

    will711 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2011
    Messages:
    1,221
    Loc:
    Pocono mts.
    That's not enough !! You need to clean more often not just wiping the glass get into the exhaust area clean out that ash , a good deep clean would be the place to start:)
  6. jlupi

    jlupi Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Messages:
    188
    Loc:
    hudson valley, ny

    is this the same seller that has " minimal experience with pellet stoves" ?????
  7. Bkins

    Bkins Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Messages:
    397
    Loc:
    Jersey Shore
    It sounds to me that you need to get someone that knows what they are doing to clean your stove. I know you said you had this done this summer but with the store you bought it from not having good service personal I question what was done. Best just to start new so you know where you stand. You should learn how to properly clean your stove and that includes the cleaning of all passageways and the exhaust of your stove. Blower motoprs should be pulled and cleaned.

    Somebody will tell you what you need to do if your up to learning what is needed. This is something that you will use as long as you own this stove so it is worthwhile to learn how to do it. As has been said here many, many times: A clean stove is a happy one.
    will711 likes this.
  8. LRRifleman

    LRRifleman New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    57
    Loc:
    southern New Jersey
    I was here when they cleaned the stove, and their focus was on the chimney ... they never went into the stove area.

    I have seen people on here comment about using a leaf bower or similar ... I am clueless as to where this would be applied. I am not against learning how to properly clean and maintain my stove ... it is just a matter of learning what to do and find someone that is knowledgeable for the stove I have. One of the warning signs I have started to get is when they tell potential customers of their pellet stoves is that they need to clean the auger on a weekly/monthly basis ... problem is, the auger is not readily removable. At one point, while the owner and I were vocalizing possible suggestions, he suggested I lube the auger to get it to operate more freely.

    It is my suspicion, that my stove, at its lowest auger trim setting of 1 is "dumping" pellets too quickly, since at setting #1 it is dumping about a tablespoon (or more) every 10 seconds. No one at the shop, or associated with Regency, can tell me how frequently the auger should engage to feed the fire pot. Ny feeling, is that if at trim speed one it feeds every 10 seconds, then at an auger trim setting of 5 (the highest), that it is dumping pellets in colse to every 2 seconds, which I would think would suffocated the fire on pellets dumped earlier, thereby preventing a complete burn of the pellets. I know in the first two years/seasons of operation, my stove had a much better rate of burn "completion", and I would just have an accumulation of ash after 4 or 5 days in the fire pot, not an accumulation of incompletely burned pellets filling the pot every 8 hours!

    A good question I will toss out, is when you have the auger trim speed set at 1 on your stove, how frequently does the auger engage to feed your fire pot?
  9. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    If the stove is operating as it should, other than pile up, and the stove was never cleaned? Only.the chimney was.cleaned, correct?

    There is an air path that the exhaust must take, to reach the combustion blower. This is a hidden path that builds up with fly ash. And over several yrs, has the stove almost plugged completely (no air flow).

    Open the manual. Look at the exploded parts diagram and read the cleaning section.

    Again. It may seem like a feed issue, but its not to many pellets thats the problem, its not enough air to fully combust the pellets.

    Pellet stoves neeed the proper air to fuel ratio. With low air flow, your not getting proper flow through the pot/stove.

    Clean the exhaust passages and ash traps within the stove and it will thank you. The manual is available online.for free in PDF form.
    heat seeker and will711 like this.

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