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My pellet stove keeps going out !!!

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by newpelletstove, Mar 16, 2008.

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  1. newpelletstove

    newpelletstove Member

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    Wow - I am having a tough time. My Harman XXV stove has now gone out or failed to relight 3 times in 3 days. I have written about some of this before, but let me recap. I switched from Energex pellets to Sparkman (Walmart) 11 days ago.

    1. Went out Friday after producing lots of clinkers for a couple of days. Stove was running full-tilt. Status light giving 5 blinks (I think). Cause appeared to be that the igniter area was full of ash. I cleaned, and re-lit (took 2 tries though). The top-vent access door showed that the vent is very clear (definitely not clogged).

    2. Went out Saturday (yesterday), stove was running high. Status light giving 5 blinks (I think). The burnpot was empty, cause appeared to be pellets bridging over the feed screw. Stirring up the pellets allowed me to re-light and go. This seemed unrelated to failure 1.

    3. Last night, the stove had gone out (as it should) when I turned the temp dial down to go to bed. Had been running fine all day. I got up this morning, and found that instead of re-lighting itself during the night as it usually does, it hadn't. Status light giving 6 blinks this time (indicating it shut down for incomplete combustion for 50 minutes). The igniter area was clean, pellets could feed, and the stove re-lit when I turned it off and back on. I can see no reason for this failure.

    The dealer says it's because I'm not using the pellets they sell (Energex). But the Harman manual says that with its patented feed and burnpot design, it can burn even non-premium pellets. So it's designed to be tolerant of different pellets (might need more cleaning, it says). It says that low-cost pellets can be a cost-effective way to go with the Harman XXV. The dealer may be telling me the truth, or he may be trying to sell me pellets.

    I am getting a bit desperate. I had a month and a half of terrific operation from this stove, now it keeps shutting down. In desperation, I'm going to go back to the Energex pellets and see if that helps.

    I want to know if anyone out there is using Sparkman in a Harman XXV ?

    Thanks for any help you can provide. I may have to call Harman directly if this keeps happening, even with Energex.

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  2. nailed_nailer

    nailed_nailer Minister of Fire

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    If I were you I would buy a couple of bags of premium pellets. Really good ones from a stove shop. I like New England's with the red lettering.

    That will tell you if it is a stove problem or a fuel problem.

    ---Nailer---
  3. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    While I am no expert and have not tried out sparkman pellets, my suggestion is if
    you feel these pellets are the cause of all your problems then why not empty the hopper,
    give the stove a good cleaning and try a few bags of a different brand to see
    if you get the same results.

    How often are you cleaning?
    Also, what settings are you using?
  4. newpelletstove

    newpelletstove Member

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    Nailed Nailer and Tinkabranc,

    Yeah I will resume using the Energex pellets I got from the stove shop and see if it helps. Right now the flame is on (it went out several times today, some bridging and who knows what else), so I'll let the hopper run out, then I'll vacuum out any fines and make sure things are clean, then feed in Energex and see if that helps. If that's it, I'll later contact Harman, since the manual says I can burn even non-premium pellets (the Sparkmans are premium, just not as good as Energex).

    I cleaned after a couple of weeks of operation, then again after about 3 weeks (because of these failures). I cleaned thoroughly yesterday.

    My settings are: for the evening when I want it warm, had it on Stove and 7, max feed rate (I find this warms up this house the quickest). When the house got to 70F, I turned to Room and 70 (still max feed rate). Then for bed, I turned it down to 57F. The flame went out, which it should, but failed to come back on when it was supposed to.

    Thanks for responding - please let me know of any other thoughts.
  5. newpelletstove

    newpelletstove Member

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    My stove is running great this afternoon as I use up the hopper full of Sparkman pellets. I think these have been more prone to going out when low heat output is required (like at night when I'm trying to maintain just 57F while it's 35F outside). Now that I'm asking for a bigger flame it seems to burn great.

    But once the hopper empties in a couple of hours, I'll give it a good cleaning and load it with Energex.

    It may be that I got a bad batch from Walmart (I bought 10 bags which burned well, and this 10 bags has caused me a lot of grief. I buy 10 bags at a time because that's what my car trunk will hold.)
  6. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    From my experience so far, my stove is not picky about brands, but it is picky about
    having all of the holes in the burnpot clear of clinkers. Call it prevention or overkill,
    but I scrape the burnpot from top to bottom once a day to keep the stove running at top
    performance. I vac out the stove and ignitor area once a week and so far so good.
    I do notice a big difference in the performance if I let it go longer than a week.
    The manual states to clean the stove after a ton is burned, but IMHO that is just asking
    for problems to wait that long.

    Keep us posted how you make out switching back to the Energex.
  7. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    I don't have a harman, but I have had to adjust the air intake at times
    for certain pellet brands. Just throwing that out there as a potential
    thing to check.
  8. newpelletstove

    newpelletstove Member

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    Thanks Zeta - i don't think i have any adjustment on the air intake. It just comes in through a hole on the back.

    Tonight I burned up all the Walmart (except for what might be in the feed screw), and loaded Energex. Then I turned it down for the night. We'll see what happens....

    Thank you tinkabranc about the cleaning frequency. Good advice. I also want my stove to not be picky about the brand.
  9. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    Mine is the same way tink...I dont have a Harman but have a Quad and I need to dump the burn pot daily cause if the air holes get blocked it will make a rumbling noise but only if on high(which I rarely use high). My stove is also not picky about brands at all as well.
  10. newpelletstove

    newpelletstove Member

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    Well I started the Energex last night, and the stove ran all night and day like a champ. Wow what a difference. Too bad the Energex cost 20% more.

    A local friend burned 5 tons of pellets from Lowe's this winter, and they burned well for him except one week his stove shut down several times. That's not bad but I need better reliability. I want it to stay on all the time when no one is home. I wonder if only Energex pellets (and NE red label) are that dependable ?

    I wonder if pellets like Walmart pellets are more for folks who stay home and can restart a stove if needed ?

    What are everyone's thoughts ? I'm still learning....I clean the burnpot daily.
  11. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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  12. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    I'm guessing that perhaps the bags you got at Wally World had gotten damp or something since I know others here have burned them. If I were you I'd try a bag or two of a third brand before I gave up and called my dealer. Of course he's going to say it's the pellets. He wants to sell you the high priced ones but honestly, that stove should burn any pellet you throw at it. It wont burn them all as well or as cleanly but it should burn them without going out.
  13. newpelletstove

    newpelletstove Member

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    Thanks, Awsum and Pegdot, for the feedback. Glad to hear that your stoves are not going out. I do want to be able to burn any premium pellet without going out. Hmmm... maybe Wally World is just not careful enough, being a major general retailer and not specifically a hardware/feedstock/stove type retailer, to protect the pellets well enough. And maybe Lowe's is better but not good enough. Somehow I think the Harman XXV is a good stove and should be tolerant of the odd bad bag of pellets, but maybe not (?)

    In my (small) town, the only other pellets I know of here in town besides Walmart are Energex at Aubuchon's (hardware store). But it would be interesting to burn 10-20 bags of some other premium pellet.
  14. critterfitter

    critterfitter New Member

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    I have harman pb-105 boiler started having igniter problems. Or so I thought . Cleaned out burn pot and igniter area. Also cleaned esp probe and also auger access door. I also added the outside air intake kit. then used auto ignition and it worked for several hours woke up in morning and it was out. Tried using igniter again wouldn't light. Then tried gel and lighter pellets were starting slow wouldn't stay lit finally I lit with torch and babysat for about 20 minutes to 1/2 hour before was firing decent.The pellets were n.e. pellets standard grade. seems like was pellets on bottom of pallet. I think that most of the problems are where pellets are stored. Outside =moisture. When I picked up at dealer they were in middle of gravel pit. Snow all around.
  15. newpelletstove

    newpelletstove Member

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    I think that is a big factor - how they were handled and where they were stored.
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