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Need more tricks - pellets still hanging in hopper

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by staplebox, Jan 30, 2008.

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  1. staplebox

    staplebox Member

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    This is my first New Topic post - so go easy on me.

    I have the Summers Heat 1500sqFt model. I just installed it this past Sunday and so far I only have one problem I can't fix.

    Pellets keep getting stuck in the hopper. I have not been able to get through a full bag of pellets yet without getting stuck.

    I have sanded down the sides of the hopper, removed all excess silicone from the bottom opening and sprayed the sides of the hopper with cooking spray.
    I have not tried opening the hole in the bottom of the hopper yet because I think that the stove may be running a bit hot as it is. (Because I have not been able to run the stove for one straight bag I cannot average lbs/hour or bags/day- so I am note sure about running hot)

    I am 99% sure this is the problem. I find just a few unburnt pellets in the pot and when I bang the stove or open the hopper lid I can see or hear the pellet drop down.

    I am currently burning the Fireside Ultras and haven't found one pellet in the bag over 1 1/8 long.
    When I get home tonight I will try some Somersets that I bought a few bags of to see if there is a difference.

    The only other trick I have come up with is to bang on the hopper lid every time I walk by. I can't afford to hire someone to do this for me when I am not home I would appreciate any other tricks anyone has...

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  2. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    I would think the cooking spray would make the situation worse.
    Dry graphite lubricant might help. I'd clean it out really good
    before applying.
  3. packerfan

    packerfan Feeling the Heat

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    I also have pellets that sometimes don't slide all the way down the hopper. To remedy the situation, all I do is open up the hopper once in a while ( before bed, or leaving for work) and pile them up the pellets towards the middle of the hopper. It seems to work pretty good for me. Just make sure that you don't stuff your hand too far down in the hopper and get it caught in the auger.
  4. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    The graphite works good.
  5. Souzafone

    Souzafone Feeling the Heat

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    I'm hardly an expert, but it seems to me that putting oil in the hopper could be dangerous.
  6. staplebox

    staplebox Member

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    It was spray on Pam - I read it here somewhere - wouldn't of thought of it on my own. It had all disappeared the next time I opened the hopper anyway.

    Graphite sounds interesting, I 've read it can also reduce squeaks.

    Just to clarify - I am not talking about the last few pellets not making it down. I am talking about getting 1/4 - 1/2 half the way through a 40lb bag and the pellets not feeding.

    Thanks for caring.
  7. hyip1206

    hyip1206 New Member

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    I have the same issue I just added graphite tonight I'll let you know how it goes
  8. naughted

    naughted New Member

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    I have buffed the hopper with a little car wax and that works pretty well.
  9. Tailrace

    Tailrace New Member

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    Another vote for graphite....works like a charm, and no more squeaks too!
  10. bit_flores

    bit_flores Member

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    Another Graphite vote. GO with the graphite dude. Any hardware store will have a tube of it Coat it all over the sides of the hopper and put some with pellets thru the auger. That should help a whole bunch. It worked wonders for me! My stove had s never run so good!
  11. staplebox

    staplebox Member

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    Alright, the graphite has been slathered onto the sides of the hopper. I buffed the walls with 0000 steel wool first. Pine tar should slid down those suckers now. I'll post results in a day or two.

    Thanks for all the advice.
  12. hyip1206

    hyip1206 New Member

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    I used a scotchbrite pads sanded the hopper with it and the applied graphite. working much better now
  13. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Car wax? Anyone else tried this and how did it work? Is graphite expensive?
  14. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    Nah. It's a couple bux for a little tube. It usually comes
    in small tubes but a little goes a long way.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The two things I found worked well are:

    1) Take fine steel wool and rub down the lower hopper surfaces until they feel baby bottom smooth. Then clean up and give the hopper a couple coats of good, paste, car wax. Buff to a high shine. That should be good for a season's of burning.

    2) clean out the hopper thoroughly, steel wool surfaces smooth, vacuum out again, then coat with spray silicone. I usually had to re-coat mid-season with silicone, but it was faster than the wax job.
  16. staplebox

    staplebox Member

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    The steel wool buffing and graphite seems to be working. I haven't had any clogs since adding the graphite.
    I have also started opening the hopper once or twice during the day and kinda shoving the pellets towards the middle - filling in the hole.

    I'm going to try the wax at some point. I noticed that the welds around the hole in the bottom of the hopper seem to hold up the pellets. I should be able to wax over those welds and eliminate the lip.
  17. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    you may be able to buff those down , a stone on a dremmel and about 5 minutes you could smooth the welds out and she would slide better if thats what holds em up, welds tend to create "bulges" which could cause bridging , smoothing them out wouldnt compremise them in any way
  18. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    What about regular wax? I think I still have a chunk that was my Moms laying around that we used to put on our sled runners years ago. Wouldnt that work, and be safe? I was thinking of doing the hopper sides with steel wool then the wax. What do you guys think?
  19. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    I did the scotchbrite thing followed by a good coat of wax yesterday. I noticed those rough places at the bottom corners and thought about grinding them off but didn't. I will next time! :)

    The wax you have is likely candle wax it might work but it will be much harder to buff to a smooth surface than car wax. Try it on a small spot first to see how easy it is to work with. Since this isn't something that's exposed to the elements even a very cheap car was will work, I think.
  20. staplebox

    staplebox Member

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    Will try grinding the welds down. I like making sparks.
    I let the stove run out of pellets this am. Thats the first time I've been able to let it run continually on a feed rate setting of 1. So now I can do the math to get a lb/hour (40lbs/17hours=2.35 best I can tell). When I opened the hopper to refill I had less than a cup of pellets left. Basically just a few stragglers along the corners. So I think my clogging problem has been fixed. Now if I can just get closer to 1 bag/day....

    I think I may actually be disappointed when I get this stove completely figured out. I love experimenting with it. I've got thermometers set up all over the house and scrap paper full of different burn settings.

    And may I add - Go Pats!!
  21. bret4

    bret4 New Member

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    I buffed out the walls of my hopper with green scotch bright. Then I treated the walls with ARMOR ALL. Seems to be working great so far. Need more testing but I like.
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