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New Pellet Stove user Q's

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Mariuch, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Mariuch

    Mariuch New Member

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    Okay,
    So hubby and I bought a used Whitfield Cascade stove (not sure on the year) and finally have it set up, and I have a few questions.

    On the feed control on this model it goes from - to +. Does the - side mean less pellets get fed in or is that less time between drops? We are trying to get it down and it's kicking our butts! LOL!

    We ran it Sunday on low and it would go from a good flame to almost no flame and then back again. House never got over 64 degrees. (this was before I realized there was an adjustment for the feed) Damper was all the way open. I "think" it was on the lowest (-) setting. So we figured it needed more pellets.

    So we kind of started over, after reading the manual. Put the feed control to the middle setting and closed the damper. Feeding to much. Pot was starting to overfill. Pulling out the damper really didn't help that.

    What is the best way to set this up. Start on lowest feed setting (see question 1) with damper all the way out? If its burning to fast like it seems like it was on Sunday do I just close the damper first or try to adjust feed?

    Also are the Left & Right Exhaust clean out plates supposed to come out to be cleaned? They don't look horrible but they are a bit coated. There is a small rectangle of open space at the back of the Ash slide plates, ash pan clean, grate is clean.

    And one last question (I know, you got a chick on here with a ton of questions! ;)) How high should the flame be? When we get a good flame it is high enough to hit the vent tubes at the top. Is that normal? They are good active flames, yellow to white.

    Thanks for any help!!

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  2. stoaf88

    stoaf88 Member

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    What brand of pellets are you using?

    Has the stove been totally cleaned?

    How are your vent pipes set up?

    Do you have an outside air kit installed?

    If you are running on low the flames should be very small. When running on high the flames should be very high pretty much hitting the heat exchanger.

    I would leave the damper on half way out and try the feed on medium. You should have an active non lazy flame. If flame is lazy open damper more. If flame is shooting burning pellets out of the burn pot then you need to close the damper a little.
  3. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Tell us exactly what you did to that stove after you got it.

    If it is like most used units it is likely crammed with ash and will not make it easy for you to figure out how those controls operate until it is completely cleaned out.
    Delta-T likes this.
  4. Mariuch

    Mariuch New Member

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    I'm not sure on the name brand of the pellets. I know they were "premium"
    It is vented into our existing chimney, no we did not install the pellet chimney venting and cap. Pretty sure this will have to be done at some point. The guy at the hearth store said the colder the air gets at night that the stove won't be able to push the cold air out. We do have an odd set up though in that the pipe comes out the back and sort of goes up and to the right (18" maybe) to get to the chimney opening, only about 4' up. So it is at an angle. Would that make a difference?

    We really didn't do to much to it before installing it other than giving it a paint job (outside). It's not nearly as clogged as some of the pics I have seen poking around here. The built in scraper for the heat tubes has been used. the grate is clean, ash pan clean. Thats why I asked about the two panels on either side of the flame area, whether they come off. They do look a little cruddy and could probably use a scraping. If they don't come off I could just scrape them down.We are waiting on a new handle for the door as it broke. But we have the old handle in there and its bungeed to the damper handle. ;em

    We do seem to always have a large flame though. I will check into the type of pellets we are using and get back to you. Maybe get a couple of pics too.

    No idea on the direction of the pellet feed adjustment as to whether the minus sign means less pellets or less time between drops?

    Thanks for the help guys.
  5. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    You can't tell how clogged it is by looking at pictures as those pictures don't show anywhere close to the entire air path through the stove.

    There was a party that showed up on here last year that had insulation that mice had dragged into the works of a whit for a nest. It took a lot of yammering about completely cleaning the stove to get them to actually do it. They were more than a little surprised when a leaf blower sucked out some Owens pink fiberglass through the combustion blower.
  6. stoaf88

    stoaf88 Member

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    Yea you need to take the whole stove apart and clean everything with a brush and vacuum. Also you need to take off the combustion fan and clean that and every passage that goes through it.
  7. gfreek

    gfreek Minister of Fire

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    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  8. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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  9. stoaf88

    stoaf88 Member

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  10. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Actually the folks at woodheatstoves.com can provide the service manuals for a lot of older stoves.
  11. gfreek

    gfreek Minister of Fire

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    Didn't know that......
  12. Mariuch

    Mariuch New Member

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    Thanks, I do have the manual. As I had mentioned. And I got it for free. :p
    We are using Green Supreme pellets right now.
    I guess this weekend I will try and get those side panels off and clean behind there and just keep playing with it.

    Strangely enough I don't believe anything, including the manual really "shows" the air path through the stove, but hey, I will figure it out.
  13. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    The SERVICE manual will tell you what to remove and on some whits there are two levels of trap doors to open on each side.

    For getting the last of the crud out a good vacuum capable leaf blower is the cats meow. Brushes, taping steel firebox walls, and normal ash vacuums are a great start in loosening things up, but to get the stuff out of the places well inside is what the leaf blower does best.
  14. stoaf88

    stoaf88 Member

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    If you click the link I posted and refer to pages 20-30 everything is there for maintence and troubleshooting for your stove.
  15. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    Inconsistant flame is caused (in my expeirnece) by incorrect draft. If its going in and going down as the pellets drop and finally catch, you have too much air. close the damper a little bit or increase the feed rate if you don't have a draft. A proer exhaust system will help dramatically in this area as well. Frankly, i wouldn't even plug my stove in, let alone turn it on, without the full run up and out, or at least up to the damper block off plate, which from the sounds of it you don't have either.. I hope you have CO meters in the house.

    Stoves are a lot like any internal combustion engine.... they run best at/near their sotichmetric air/fuel ratio. Pellet type, as well as air density/temp will all play factors in this, as well as intake and exhaust tubing, which creates natural drafts/suctions.
  16. Mariuch

    Mariuch New Member

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    Thanks stoaf I have that manual and will be doing a more thorough cleaning tonight or this weekend.

    Briansol thank you as well. I think right now we have a combination of things going on. After the holidays I believe we will be buying the chimney pipe, etc. I think part of the problem is its working fairly well early evening, but as it gets colder I think its getting harder for it to breathe as the cold air really sets in. This will only get worse as winter goes on I'm sure. So step by step we will get there. While I don't have a CO meter in the house right now, I do not have an air tight house by any stretch of the imagination, and at this point we aren't even running it full time or at night. Thanks for the concern though! LOL!

    Anyone in the New Hampshire area have a local dealer that would have the chimney vent kit in a 15' length? Hearthworks in Hooksett only has it in 25' length and that is just way more than I need and a waste of approximately $100.
  17. stoaf88

    stoaf88 Member

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    If you get the chimney liner make sure you go with 4 inch pipe. You can find good deals if you look on craigslist or ebay. I wouldnt buy from a dealer you will overpay.

    Also I dont know who told you that cold air is bad for combustion, but they were wrong.

    Cold air is more dense than warm air and is actually better for fire. Thats why we use outside air vents with stoves.

    It is also so you dont create a negative draft in your house by sucking in cold air through the poor insulation or windows.

    I am pretty sure that after you take apart your stove and clean it really good you will be just fine.

    Also you should be fine with a damper block off plate, but if you want to go all the way up and out thats fine too.
  18. kenstogie

    kenstogie Feeling the Heat

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    Dunno who said it on here but I remember the quote "owning a pellet stove is not a spectator sport" boy were they right.

    EDIT: Snowy Rivers said it and was she right.
    briansol likes this.
  19. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Snowy Rivers said that and she is absolutely correct.
  20. Mariuch

    Mariuch New Member

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    Well, gave the whole thing a good cleaning. got all the panels off, got the sliders to the ash pan to move and close all the way. The thing was working great for a couple days. Then last night pellets stared building up in the pot again, some looked charred before even burning and this morning the glass was black. It never did overfill. But it just seems odd that it was working fine and then it changed. The only thing I can think of it was fairly warm the beginning of the week and yesterday it was windier and colder. Hubby is getting really agrivated, he has no patience.

    On the days it was running well, there would just barely be any pellets in the pot and had a nice big flame, nearly touching the heat tubes at the top. On low. Is that the way the pellets should burn? There shouldn't be a pile of coals in there, should there?

    You know, we got rid of the wood stove because it never vented right, you would open the door and black smoke would just poor into the house. We raised the chimney 2 feet and it never fixed it. Now this is having problems too. *sigh*
  21. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    Nope, that's wrong. High 'loose' flames are a sign of poor air. Either your damper/draft adjuster is closed too much, your fuel feed rate is set to high, or you have an exhaust leak in your piping.

    Do you have a proper 3 or 4" liner all the way up out and capped? A stove should not just vent into a brick/etc chimeny.
  22. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    How large is that flue you are venting into?

    If it is more than 36 square inches you really need it lined all the way to the top.

    If that means you waste a bit of venting to get the fit, you have to balance that cost against the aggravation the poor setup is costing you and hubby.

    I don't know how the top of the chimney is situated in relation to items within 10 feet of it, but it may have been too low for a natural draft for a wood stove and likely the cause of the smoke back you had.

    A pellet stove provides its own draft and is immune to almost all of the things that affect a natural draft device, sans one, the back pressure of the weight of the air in a large flue. Things start going down hill very fast as the flue size exceeds 36 square inches.

    There could also still be ash in your stove some of those stoves needed a lot of additional elbow grease applied in cleaning than others.
  23. Mariuch

    Mariuch New Member

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    Well the chimney is 8" x 8". Whats that 16 sq inches? We did put a screen cover on the top of it for now. I believe we just need to do the liner. It is 4" at the connector into the chimney, that is an adapter that goes down to 3" for the pipe inside the house. Probably have to redo the sealing of the joints inside as well. Can't hurt anyway. I didn't take the back off to clean back there. Guess I can do that as well. When I took off the exhaust plates to clean behind them, it wasn't to bad. There was some ash, but not completely blocked.

    Also still waiting on the damn handle to come from Lennox as well. It won't even ship until the 11th (supposedly) I ordered it Nov. 19th!
  24. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

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    8"X8" is 64 square inches
  25. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    No that is 64 square inches 8 times 8 is 64 ...

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