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My pellet stove sucks.....

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by glocke12, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. glocke12

    glocke12 New Member

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    i just recently discovered this site for one thing...

    for another i didnt realize how poorly it was performing until i visited someone with a free standing stove that pumped out way more heat.

    and lastly, up till this year I just supplemented with my oil heat by keeping the themrostat set at 62...that worked when I could afford oil...this year i cant afford to get the tank filled.

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  2. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    whats the dollar bill test?

    That is where you light the stove with real money they burn better after they taste good stuff .... what's that? You mean the Bear hasn't a clue?

    OK, ya got me.

    With the stove off and cold, you place a dollar bill sized piece of paper between the stove and the door gasket, close the door and try to remove the dollar bill sized piece of paper.

    You repeat this at two separated locations on all sides of the door.

    The dollar bill sized piece of paper should present resistance to you pulling it out at all locations.

    If a single spot fails to present resistance check for any possible door adjustment capability (read the fine manual) and adjust (if possible) the door then repeat the test. If you cannot make any adjustments or after having made adjustments the test still fails at any point around the door, replace the gasket.
  3. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    "I dont think I have an OAK."


    Is an OAK an Outside Air Kit or is it a tree?

    If you are wondering where some of your heat is I can tell you it is going up the flue because you are sucking the air from inside your house (hey didn't you just heat some of that) and dumping it out. If you don't know if you have one, then the chances are extremely high you don't have one. Frequently one has to argue with the sales droid at the stove place to have an OAK installed, even though a lot of stove makers recommend them.

    The old, tired, and stupid excuse of oh you have plenty of air in the house for the stove is frequently incorrect and never really a good thing anyway but I'll let that ride for now.
    save$ and Bob Sorjanen like this.
  4. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Well I told you about one way the heat is being removed from your house I guess I should tell you of another possible exit paths.

    If the installer didn't properly block off and insulate the block off plate in the fireplace chimney just above the insert a lot of room air can go up the old fireplace flue from the room.

    Also an improper damper setting can allow a lot of heat to go up the flue because the hot exhaust gases are not kept in the heat exchanger long enough to transfer a large fraction of the stoves heat to the convection side of the heat exchanger.
  5. Northwoodneil

    Northwoodneil Feeling the Heat

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    As for the 'lil' stove post I agree 45000 btu is not big stove but that is 45000 constant btu's. A 100,000 btu oil burner runs about half the time so isn't that kind of a push? I heat about 1700sf (a 1980 log cabin with newer windows) and my stove keeps the basement at 80 and the upstairs at 74. I don't know anything about your style stove but somethings wrong IMO.
  6. humpin iron

    humpin iron Feeling the Heat

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    4 year old install, crappy pellets, no idea what anyone is talking about as far as how to care and feed a pellet stove.......maybe this just wasent the right choice for you.
  7. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Well said. I read briefly through the manual and found 2 ash traps (one on each.side of the firebox) and it also reads to do a i-annual cleaning (or 2 tons) to clean the ash traps and clean Combustion blower (yes, remove it).

    The once a year cleaning obviously isn't enough. And not knowing what these "Pro's" actually did when they installed it and do when they clean it is killing your stove. Knowing how the stove operates and what to clean is quite a big deal with pellet stoves. Some stoves can go an incredibly pooong time without normal cleaning and maintenance. But some need attention every few days. I think that Saves$ cleans his every 3 days using Good pellets. His hates a certain brand of pellet and will back up in the pot? I hope he sees this? Its always good to put the stove name in the thread title to attract members who have that model.

    Forum member Save$ has a NPs40 and its been working great since 08 I believe? Although his is freestanding and has an OAK hooked up. Sake principles apply to keeping clean though.
    save$ likes this.
  8. newf lover

    newf lover Minister of Fire

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    If it hasn't worked well since you got it, I would say it has to do with the installation and not it being dirty. I think it would be worth it to have someone who knew what they were doing come take a look at the install. Even with crappy pellets and a 45,000 BTU stove, with the decent insulation you have, the room should be warmer than 60 degrees. I don't know where you are, but if you post an area, maybe someone has a suggestion for a person to work on it. If all pellet stoves operated like yours is operating, no one would buy them. Hope you get it figured out!
  9. Boondoggie

    Boondoggie New Member

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    if you have the damper all the way open, you're running too much air... I have the same stove an with the damper all the way open I'm just incinerating pellets without making a lot of heat.

    Push the damper to the left a quarter inch. See how it runs for an hour. If the flame isn't "lazy", push it another quarter inch. repeat until you get a lazy flame, and then back off to the last setting that was good. I find my NPI40 seems to run hottest with the flame just reaching the bottom of the pellet chute.

    Also my stove, for the most part, is always on 4. If the house gets too warm I'll knock it down to 3...
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  10. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Input BTUs and if the stove is incorrectly installed, maintained, or adjusted, the likely output is less than half of that. Which is fine if your house doesn't have poor insulation, tons of air leaks, and bad windows, etc...
  11. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    45K BTU is the rated input. Actual output is probably just 75 to 80% of that on a good day(33.7K to 36K). I won't even get into what a crappy pellet could do to the output.
  12. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    An incomplete burn??

    My buddies stove did this (Baby Countryside)

    I would think with Black unburnt pellets that he needs more air?

    Which if the damper is open? Can only be obtained by cleaning the Passages and vent that the "Pro" cleaned?

    In 4 yrs, have they ever slid the stove out? The combustion blower should be removed at least yearly?
  13. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    The stove needs a full and proper cleaning followed by properly adjusting the damper.

    After that if you have to open the damper up more to get a good fire it is time to clean the stove again.
    save$ likes this.
  14. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Yep, that too, if nothing else is getting in the way.
  15. Boondoggie

    Boondoggie New Member

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    He said he had the damper lever all the way to the right, which is all the way open on the NPI40. I get a very "blowtorch" little burn in that position on mine, and not a lot of heat.


    You're right, the manual does say to remove the combustion blower once a year to clean (I didn't find much in there but I do it anyway)... the OP sounded like his was just installed though...
  16. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Right. But a blow torch flame burns the pellets completely.

    Have you ever had just a pot full of pellets that looked black? Prob not.

    A pot full of black pellets indicates Low Air Flow.....

    Does he need to close the damper? Yes. But does the stove need Cleaned so that it can get the proper air flow? Absolutely.

    His stove with damper Wide Open, is prob the equivalent of yours 20% open. (80% closed). Or a lazy flame.

    The venting needs cleaned, termination cap needs checked, combustion blower needs removed, gaskets ALL need checked, and all ash traps need cleaned.

    A pellet stove is a simple air pump with a feed system. Quite easy to some. Rocket science to others.

    This stove needs to breathe. Before the damper is even thought about.

    X100
  17. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    I have the free standing model. I have to tell you I am heating a two story home, about 2100 sq. ft. My furnace kicks on when the outside temp is in the teens or lower, but my oil use is limited to about 150 gallons yearly and that includes the oil for the separate oil fired hot water heater. I have had poorly burned pellets twice. Once was when I hadn't latched one of the two latches to the ash drawer. The other time was when there was too much ash in the venting. When I did the leaf vac trick, that brought new life back to my stove. My daughter has the incert unit. They also clean with the leaf vac. So does my brother. His home is even larger than mine.
    As most everything mentioned here relates to draft, I have to say that is right on. I would also like to ask if you had heated your home with another heating system. Was that home then heated comfortably and with a reasonable amount of fuel?
    My home was built in 1975 and had electric heating. Cost a fortune. When we had the home resided 6 years ago, we were told the home was never properly sealed. They sealed all the doors and windows, then put on a draft barrier and external insulation. I think that has a lot to do with why we can heat so well with this unit. Tightly wrapped home really need OAK for the stove to burn efficiently.
    Cleaning. I shut it down and vac it out every 3 days. I take a paint brush and clean brush all available inside surfaces. Takes less than 5 minutes. Keep the shop vac running when brushing to keep the dust from drifting. After evey ton, use the leaf vac. Then annually clean the blowers etc.
  18. Countryboymo

    Countryboymo Feeling the Heat

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    I have a 38k stove and it heats a 1800sqft basement with 2" insulation board on 2 walls and nothing on the floor as of yet and it can get the basement area to 75 and it isn't finished at all yet. That stove will do MUCH better when it is running on all cylinders.
  19. becasunshine

    becasunshine Minister of Fire

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    We have the free-standing Napoleon NPS40 as well, installed in Sept 2008. We clean our stove religiously- at least every couple of days, sometimes every day, depending on the weather. Like Save$ says, it takes five minutes.

    We are heating a 1420 sq ft, 1950's brick and block bungalow, single level, hardwood floors without carpeting (although we add area rugs in the winter if it gets really cold, we keep them cleaned and rolled up in the attic for that scenario) no wall insulation to speak of but we added two types of attic insulation and it made a HUGE difference, and we do have replacement windows with cell shades and thermal curtain panels. The room in which the stove resides easily stays at 74'F, sometimes warmer. The other end of the house stays comfortable at about 68'F. This is with outside air temps anywhere from the 50's down into the lower 20s. Our gas furnace rarely turns on when the pellet stove is running. The furnace kicks on very occasionally when outside temps dip into the teens overnight and don't rise above freezing during the day. Our last bout of those temps was not last winter (which was incredibly mild here) but the winter before last. I can't give you an honest evaluation of the stove's performance that winter, because it was stacked against some pretty tough odds: we didn't have sufficient insulation in the attic and we'd not yet bought the area rugs that we use seasonally. We added the attic insulation and the area rugs in late February/early March, and yeah, they definitely made a difference, but winter was almost over here by that point.

    Right this red hot minute it's 40'F outside. Yesterday was cloudy, blustery and rainy all day, so we received no thermal mass warming of the brick and block exterior from sunshine. (We have a southern/southwestern exposure, so that does make a difference.) The pellet stove has been burning for almost 48 hours straight with no assistance at all from the gas furnace or from the sun. It's 74.5'F in the room with the stove, and 68'F in the rest of the house. We consider this to be comfortable.

    We burn about a bag a day as well. Our Napoleon manual recommends a feed setting of 4, citing feed setting 4 as the most efficient setting. They do not recommend burning the unit on low or high. That's pretty much a direct quote from the manual- so keeping the feed higher than 4 is not recommended.

    We burn our stove at feed 4- or we turn it off for a while, if the house is getting too warm. We keep our damper set at 3, or about mid-way opened.

    We recently had our first experience with a batch of bad pellets and yeah, those pellets fouled up our stove in record time. Our meticulous regular cleaning didn't mitigate the effects of the bad pellets, neither did a "big cleaning" where we pulled the combustion motor and vacuumed out both ends of the vent/exhaust pipe as well as removing the exhaust port covers and vacuuming those out. We had to do our modified version of the leaf blower trick (we used a Shop Vac) where we sucked all of the soot and ash out of the nooks and crannies to get our stove back to normal. Our biggest symptom of a problem was that our normally clean burning, happy stove started burning lazy and dirty, and our regular cleaning didn't help. Our burn pot filled with ash, clinkers and unburned pellets within 24 hours of the last cleaning.

    SO- if your burn pot overfloweth with clinkers, ash and unburned pellets, you too may be having dirty/lazy burn syndrome- which could be caused by air leaking through a gasket that's supposed to be air tight, or an improper installation, or a blockage or partial blockage somewhere along your exhaust path. Blowing the soot from dirty burning pellets out of our exhaust path cleared up our problem, along with switching pellets.

    I know nothing about insert installations, especially nothing about insert installations in a masonry fireplace.

    I hope that a snapshot of our experience with the free standing Napoleon model helps as a control.

    P.S. We have an Outside Air Kit, an "OAK," as well. Our stove dealer installed our stove and they use OAK's on every installation. I believe that it does help to pull combustion air directly from outside via a "closed" system rather than to pull combustion air from the house, thus pulling cold air from outside into the house via every little gap.
    save$ likes this.
  20. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    And you do? So spill the beans then!

    I'm not single either, Me better half has the brains. I'm just here to the dirty work! ;em
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  21. newf lover

    newf lover Minister of Fire

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    Doesn't matter, I think some comments have driven glocke12 away! We will never know. I still say that it appears from his comments that it never worked right, so I'm still thinking some major install issue or something's actually wrong with the stove itself. However, I'd be surprised if we heard back from him.
  22. SXIPro

    SXIPro Minister of Fire

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    We were all newbs at one point or another. And though we tout these things as simple, there really are tons of variables involved. I often wonder how many of the 'experts' here have their stoves running, and their homes set up at the absolute best conditions for the most efficiency and heat.. I'm betting less than 50% do.
  23. will711

    will711 Minister of Fire

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    I was thinking the same thing. You ask for help then you never hear back, plenty of folks here , wanting to help solve problems. And yes from time to time you will get your nuggets busted;) it's all in fun, not meant to be mean, that chit don't happen here Webbie & the Mods don't stand for that.
  24. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    pulling it out gives more draft to burn the pellets, I usually have mine all half way or better. That way, I get complete combutiion of the pellets and very little accumulation of ash in the burn pot.
  25. SXIPro

    SXIPro Minister of Fire

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    Somewhere in this thread a question was asked in regards to a masonry fireplace. I can't find it, probably because I am loaded up on pain meds. Anyhow....my insert is in a 50 year old brick fireplace. Would it help if I were to glue some 1" foam board to all the walls of the firebox?

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