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New Country PI40 Pellet Stove..why is glass dirty after 3 days?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by 3nickles, Oct 18, 2007.

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  1. bcollignon

    bcollignon New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
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    Loc:
    Danbury, CT
    I have the same stove for about four years, and the glass has always been sooted within about 48 hours. I never adjusted the draft blower as the stove delivers great heat! For what it´s worth, I´ve only cleaned it once and replaced one snap switch myself. I believe the igniter just went, but I haven´t replaced it yet, so I don´t know whether that´s really my problem. I´ll report back once I´m through with that process.

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  2. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    Oct 18, 2006
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    Hey Bill;

    Glad to hear from you and I'm pleased that yours soots up in about the same amount of time. Kind of sounds like it's working as designed. They are great little stoves and really throw out the heat. I've just learned to deal with the "light grey" soot buildup and clean the glass once a week. Two heating seasons and almost 4 pallets burned and it's still working great. I'm using PRO-PEL ( PRO PELLETS) this season and they seem to burn fine although they have alot of dust (fines) in the bag. Only problem is that the auger has gotten really noisy a few times, most likely due to the build-up of saddust in the tube. I just let the hopper clean out and it eventually worked out and got quiet again. That's my only complaint so far and it's been working great otherwise!
  3. bcollignon

    bcollignon New Member

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    Feb 8, 2008
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    Loc:
    Danbury, CT
    I seemed to have gotten a great reply on this forum about the status of my igniter. Apparently if the fuse blows and the pellets never ignite, then the igniter is definitely shorted out. Forums like these are great, aren´t they?! I´m just curious, have you cleaned the unit yourself, or are you using a pro? I´m even thinking of cleaning the entire flue myself if I can find the right brushes. We´ll see.
  4. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    Oct 18, 2006
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    Hey Good Question about the cleaning.

    I paid to have mine installed and paid for the first year cleaning which was supposed to include cleaning the flue all the way up (via brush and or vacuum).

    Short story. They cleaned the flue passages (instructions in the manual) and all the other easy stuff and then popped the clamp on the trap at the back of the stove and bottom of the flue. Vacuumed out what dropped via gravity. Then buttoned the unit up to go outside and brush/vacuum from the top of the flue out. Came back in and said "can't do anything from the top because installer sealed chimney flue on install." What the heck? I didn't know what to say or do but needless to say, they didn't really clean anthing inside the 3" pipe from the stove up to the top of the chimney (about 18 ft).

    I'm wondering if that is a problem and whether that really needs to be brushed or vacummed out? If so, how am I going to do that now that the installer sealed the top up?

    Other than that, no problems yet and very happy with it..
  5. bcollignon

    bcollignon New Member

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    Loc:
    Danbury, CT
    I doubt that the flue is sealed without any way to remove the cap. That doesn´t seem maintenance-friendly, for one thing. Eventually, any chimney is going to have to be cleaned. Let me know what you find on that one and good luck.
  6. deuce

    deuce New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
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    Loc:
    Western MA
    3nickles:

    I have a similar problem with my PI-40 stove. The sooting problem that you're describing is caused by insufficient quantity of combustion air. After a careful root cause analysis (see attachment), I found that the combustion air problem can be traced to the following causes: Draft (i.e., resistance in the exhaust), combustion blower speed (i.e., air flow volume to support combustion), Clinkers (i.e., obstruction of burn pot air passages).

    To solve the sooting problem, I asked the stove dealer technician to do the following:

    Draft: Check the damper/draft to control to ensure it was fully opened. The technician discovered that although the manual indicates that the stove is shipped with the damper in the full open position, the reality is that it's shipped in the "standard setting" with 3/4 inches restriction. I instructed the tech to open it fully to ensure unrestricted passage of intake air for combustion.

    Blower Speed: The PI-40 blower speed can be adjusted by changing the high altitude setting in the control board. Using a diagnostic tool, this parameter can be changed from O (sea level) to 50 (unknown highest altitude). The higher the number, the higher the speed of the combustion blower to compensate for the lower density of air at high altitudes. Initially, we set the compensation to a value of 25 but after running the stove for a while at various heat output settings, I think that I need to set the compensation to a higher number because at the HIGH heat output setting, I'm still getting some sooting, which indicates that the stove is not getting sufficient air to properly combust the pellets at the HIGH setting. I ordered the diagnostic tool and plan to "tweak" the high altitude compensation to find the setting that provides the best air-to-fuel ratio (aka stochiometric ratio) for the high setting. One word of caution is that if the combustion air flow is set too high, the pellets will burn quickly and will not provide their maximum energy content.

    Clinkers: These silica deposits are formed due to impurities in the pellet composition, improper combustion, and by repeated heating and cooling cycles, which is typical of stoves that are controlled by a thermostat. The clinkers obstruct the air passages on the burn pot and reduce the combustion air flow to the combustion chamber, which in turn produces sooting and more clinkers. This is a self-perpetuating vicious circle that is more annoying when a thermostatically controlled stove goes into a normal shut down cycle but when the thermostat calls for heat again, the stove cannot reignite because the clinkers prevent the pellets from reaching ignition temperature. Vicious and obnoxious are words that come to mind! Although I'm burning Eureka Premiun Grade (low ash content) pellets, I've found that Eureka has a tendency to produce clinkers (I also have a Whitfield self-standing and clinkers are formed to a lesser extent). I will switch to Cubex or Quality, which I found to be less prone to clinker formation, if any. In addition, for the time being, I'm not controlling the stove with the thermostat to prevent heating and cooling cycles that foster creation of clinkers. Perhaps I will return to thermostatic control, if I can find the right pellets and the right combination of combustion air adjustments (aka: a stove's sweet spot) to preclude clinkers.

    If all of the above fail and your stove still suffers from a sooting problem, your only alternative (short of returning the stove, as not all stoves are not created equal even same brand and model due to manufacturing tolerances - subject of possible future discussion) is to hook up the stove to take outside air for combustion. The reason is that the outside air is denser than the air inside the house because it's colder. The denser air packs more oxygen molecules per volume, which supports a better combustion.

    I hope that my recommendations will help you attain Nirvana -- a soot free running pellet stove!

    Now, since you have a PI-40, have you ran into any problems concerning the fire going out but there're pellets still in the hopper. The pellets are hung up on the hopper and never slide to the bottom to be picked up by the auger. Eventually, the auger starves and the pellets are not conveyed to the burn pot, and the fire dies. I think that there are a good 10 - 15 lbs of pellets hung up on the hopper, which makes a 50 lbs hopper capacity stove effectively burn only 35 lbs of pellets without refill or human intervention (i.e., manually pushing the pellets to the bottom of the hopper). I have some ideas on how to solve this problem but wanted to find out if this is a common problem (In line with: Not all same brand and model stoves are created equal!)

    Good luck 3nikles!

    Very Respectfully,

    deuce

    PS: You may want to check the build up of flyash on your exhaust venting system. The PI-40 has a clean-out box to which the flue pipe is connected. You'll have to remove the right surround side panel (houses the control board) to access the clean-out box. The box has a latch that opens a door that faces the floor. When the ash is cold, you can a use a vacuum cleaner (preferably an ash vacuum cleaner) to clean out the flyash that has accumulated after prolonged use.
  7. jhitche

    jhitche New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    Eastern MA
    Just got a Lennox Winslow this year. Had big problems till I got a diagnostic control.
    Found out the stove as delivered worked great with Corinth pellets. My supply for this year and next is LG
    and they burn very dirty. I have boosted the air with the altitude adjustment and most of the problems are gone.
    Glass gets dirty after several days instead of after one day.

    (When I tried the Corinth pellets the glass was clean for a week at the normal altitude 0 setting.)
  8. base45

    base45 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    New Fairfield, ct
    Dear Firestarter:
    I also have a Winslow and am having trouble with it. Where did you get a diagnostic control? I am looking for the Diagnostic Tool kit for my Winslow Pi40.

    Can you help?
    Thanks, Anthony
  9. jhitche

    jhitche New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
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    2
    Loc:
    Eastern MA
    You should be able to order it from any dealer that sells parts.
    The control is a bit expensive so you may want to try other things first. I may switch my 3 inch vent to 4 inch next to reduce or eliminate the fan boost.
    I already use the outside air inlet. Make sure the stove is kept clean too esp at the two ash traps behind the clean out pan. Mine clogged long before the dealer said they would.
  10. Turbo-Quad

    Turbo-Quad New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Messages:
    353
    Loc:
    Illinois
    I have to clean my glass daily on my 2nd hand Quadrafire Mt Vernon (non AE). I only have about a 6 foot run. I clean the firebox and pot daily too. It must be the pellets I'm using but I'm limited to one brand only. I did notice that there was alot of ash in front of the air intake in the ash pan box and cleaned that out and it seemed to help everything run better. I don't know how this would translate to your stove since it's a different brand. I just felt like sharing. :lol:
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