Def sounds like those pellets are garbage w high moisture. Just for the record, Okanagan isn't the only clean burning pellet. Hopefully there is somewhere a lot closer than 40 miles that carries some better pellets. I've got the same stove but with the bigger ash pan and have never had the #2 blinking. Right now I'm burning dirty pellets which require more frequent cleaning but have never in 7 years had "clay like ash" which sounds like moisture. I do have to go for the heavy cleaning ritual a few times a year if burning dirty stuff but after this many years I've got it down to a science and it doesn't more than an hour or so. I've never had to use a leaf blower but do use the hammer, coat hanger, and small diameter hose attached to vac every time I do what you call the deep clean. Is water getting down your exhaust vent? I ask because I see white streaks on it in the picture that looks like the remnants of water/mineral deposit. Maybe it's just this picture but that is how it looks to me.