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newby needs help...please

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by mjbrown, Feb 23, 2008.

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  1. mjbrown

    mjbrown Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
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    402
    Loc:
    Hartland,Me.
    hi folks,
    i recently bought a 2nd hand pellet stove from a co-worker and its approx. 2 yrs old.

    i know its not a top of the line stove as its a cheap charlie/pelpro hcf120, so this is my problem.

    he stopped using the stove because he said it was burning way to many pellets and he wasnt getting enough heat out of it. keep in mind that he has a huge 2 story house.

    i did some looking up on the stove and found that it is a 15-50,000 btu, and is rated for 2000 sq. ft. i figured he just bought to small of a stove for his house,so i offered to buy it from him.

    i bought the stove about 2 weeks ago , pulled out my wood stove , sold the remainder of my wood, and installed the stove.

    i have 1100 sq ft to heat and figured " man this thing ought to drive me out with heat" right? wrong!!!

    my home is an older mobile home with a 16x40 addition. the stove is in the addition where my living room is , and 16' of the mobile home wall is removed so the stove can send heat there with nothing blocking the path.


    well, on a fairly warm day(above 30 deg.) the house may get to 70 - 75 deg...that is with the room air blower on hi and the auger feed on 3. with this setting i am going thru 2 plus bags of pellets per day regardless of outside temp... when the outside temp goes below 25 deg. i am lucky if the stove warms the house to 60 -65 deg. and the furnace kicks on.

    something doesnt seem right. i have thouroly cleaned the stove and replaced the door gasket.dont know what to do from here.please help...


    i realize i bought the cheapest of cheap and you get what you pay for, but this thing should be more efficient than it is shouldnt it?

    any help would be greatly appreciated, as i bought what i could afford at the time


    thanks in advance,

    mike

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  2. rayttt

    rayttt Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
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    Loc:
    poconos pa
    heat can be dependant on pellets used, air flow thru the stove..and many different things.
    hows the flame look? orange and lazy? try a different brand pellets?
  3. Shooter

    Shooter New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
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    Loc:
    Michigan
    Could heat loss be part of the problem as well as the stove? I'm a newbie too so I'll leave the stove situation to the experienced. A good woodstove (such as you are accustomed to) can overcome much heat loss but will be a factor with the new heat source.
  4. mjbrown

    mjbrown Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Hartland,Me.
    thank you ray and shooter for your responses...

    i am burning cubex hardwood pellets from canada,9000 btu per pound n, and so are all the people i know who use pellet stoves. the flame seems to be good and strong, and there seems to be plenty of air flow.


    heat loss is probably a big one as this mobile home is a 1967,but all the windows and doors have been upgraded to modern, and the addition is all 2x6 construction,with 6" insulation, and styrofoam sandwiched in the floor.

    the inside is still not finished as for time and money ,but i am going to try putting plastic on the ceiling and outside wall.this may as i said, be a big factor, but i cannot understand why this stove doesnt put out more than it is for what it is set at. i wouldnt mind the 2 bags a day if i was sitting in shorts and tanktop and sweating my butt off.

    thanx again for any help

    mike
  5. ResQmedic121

    ResQmedic121 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Johnsonville NY
    I would love to help you but I'm in the same boat. I have a 16 by 10 foot room with 9 foot ceilings and there is stairs off the South corner that goes to the second floor. On the east side I have a Doorway that goes into my Kitchen and Last night the outside temp was 25-30 Degrees. I had the Stove on 8-9 and the room in which the stove is in was like 80, the upstairs is 68 and the Kitchen is 65 only due to the fact the Furance is Kicking on. All I can say is I've learned that you need to Burn Good Hardwood Pellets, Have a good Outgoing Draft, and Fresh air to the unit. Ciling Fan will help but it's a shot in the dark. We in NY had a couple of nights when it was below Zero and the stove kept the Stove room 75 the Kitchen 71 upstairs at 70. The stoves performance Changes based on Pellets, outside wind, Draft, Humidity. I Would Never depend on A pellet stove for Primary Heat ever. I also use 1 bag of Pellets every 16 hours on High so 2 Bags is ALOT. How this helps.
  6. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    what kind of temperatures are you seeing coming out of the room air ports? by the way , btu output is based on pounds burned per hour likley the output with 9K btu pellets (which i have not seen in person by the way) would likely be less than 7K due to the loss that happens through the exhaust, pellet stoves generally average about 75-80% efficient at best. do you have an "oak" installed , outside air is required by code in mobile homes, this if installed will also help by not drawing in air at the rate the stove dumps it outside. if you are running 80 lbs a day at 9K btu thats 720,000 btu input, figure 70% efficient (just to make the math easier) output would be 504,000 btu divide that by 24, you get 21,000 btu per hour. what we need to figure out is will 20Kbtu be enough to heat the space you have with the degree of insulation you have. i have a smaller unit than that and my average consumption is about 40-55 lbs a day burning 8500 btu average input pellets (lignetics of west va.) this heats my house (1250 sq ft) easily unless temps get into single digits. it should be noted that i used a fairly good sized catalytic woodstove when i first moved in to heat the same space ,and it needed it. since moving in i have removed the r-13 insulation in 70% of my exterior walls and added r-19 in its place (the rest is pending havent got that far) the attic and under the floor is now r-38 (was r-19 but i doubled it with another layer) so now the pellet stove is able to heat the same space with much less output. insulation is the key.

    i say this assuming the stove is operating normally , the indicator would be these factors;
    1. temps coming out of the vent into the room
    2. volume of air being pushed out at that temp
    3. complete combustion (whats your ash look like , are you getting clumps or are you getting mostly powder)
    4. and very important, how much air is leaking back in. as i mentioned above , outside combustion air connected directly to the unit MUST be installed on a pellet stove to be legal in a mobile home by code. now another view of the benefit of outside air is this. the combustion/exhaust blower on that unit likely pulls a minimum of 65 cfm this air would be coming from inside the dwelling if "oak" is not installed. that air must be replaced from somewhere, guess where it would be coming from(yep , every leak in your house) now , adding an oak would do 2 things , ensure clean combustion air , and also minimize the leakage coming in as the warm air will want to escape through these leaks and in doing so prevents cold air from coming in.

    sorry for being longwinded and i hope this helps you , feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss this with me , i do this for a living but not in here , im free here.
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    After having had a large number of these "less heat than I thought" type of posts here, I think it is worth saying that Pellet stoves are not like wood stoves. People used to the high heat of a wood stove cooking along are obviously disappointed, but you cannot fool mother nature. A fire which burns a pound of wood in a pot is NOT going to feel like a 50 lb load of nice oak with a giant bed of coals.

    Certainly you can work with most pellet stoves to coax a bit more efficiency or heat out of them. But, in general, if they are burning though the pellets in a relatively normal fashion, then what you see (and feel) is what you get.

    Also, please consider this about the 9000 BTU pellets:

    1. Did they really test them, or is that a guess? BTU content varies even from the same maker.
    2. When adjusted for moisture content, wood pellets have a net heating value of 7500 to 8200 BTU per pound

    That means you can take 10-20% off those calculations above. Also, since the stove may not have been tested for efficiency, that can vary also.

    If we always figure these things in the "best case mode", then it is my guess we can be quite a bit off.
  8. mjbrown

    mjbrown Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    402
    Loc:
    Hartland,Me.
    mike and craig...

    i only make the assumptions about my stove because i am comparing to my neighbors englander they bought this fall.

    they run their stove on low and only burn a bag a day of the same pellets. their inside temp on low is 80 deg, and i have seen that for myself.some friends of mine have the same stove with the same results.

    i feel there is something not right with mine as i am burning twice as much and have to run my settings at 3 out of 4 and still my furnace is kicking on.
    a harman dealer here in maine has assured me that the P38 which is the lowest end model of the harmans will give me more than enough heat for my home.

    i am not complaining about my stove , it has run very well for a used stove that i knew nothing about...it is just very hungry and i feel it should be more efficient than it is.

    mike yes i have outside air hooked to my stove,and the pellets are burning up completely...just fine ash powder in the bottom of the stove.the flame is very bright and good and strong, not orange but almost a brght yellow....you are not long winded my friend, i greatly appreciate any help. btw, my outside air is coming from under my addition, i went straight thru the floor, should i be going directly to the outside wall? i just figured thru the floor kept the stove from sucking in outside elements such as rain/ snow. but if it is wrong i will change it. also feel free to email me at mjbrown_2006@yahoo.com i usually get on in the evenings if the day hasnt wiped me out. i am a welder in a fabrication shop and currently working 12 hour days for god knows how long.


    thanx,
    mike
  9. Shooter

    Shooter New Member

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    Just a thought, do you have a crawl space? I assume you do as this is typical of mobile homes. There can be significant heat loss through the floor. On stick build (your addition), did you insulate the floor and sill plate area? You could have some heat loss there as well.

    If the stove is burning as you say then it's likely your home is leaking heat somewhere......maybe the floors?
  10. mjbrown

    mjbrown Feeling the Heat

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    shooter,
    when i built my addition, i put down a sub floor, then covered the whole deck with a heavy mil plastic. after i built the outside walls, i added 1" blue board or styrofoam and plywood on top of that.

    be fore i put the outside sheathing on, i pulled the excess plastic up and stapeled it to the studs just for the purpose of not having air leaks around the sills.

    still unfinished on the inside, just owens corning r19, so i am going to cover with heavy shrink wrap from work...the kind they cover boats with in the winter. going to try that today.

    thanx for the reply,
    mike
  11. mjbrown

    mjbrown Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    btw... thank you to every one for you help with my issue

    mike
  12. Shooter

    Shooter New Member

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    There is significant heat loss in the sill plate/joist ends of your house if you havent stuffed those cavities with pink fuzz.
  13. mjbrown

    mjbrown Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    hi guys,

    just an update...called tech support in canada last nite and explained what the stove is doing , what i am burning for pellets, HOW MUCH I HAVE BURNED FOR PELLETS, and the time frame i have had the stove.

    the guy told me to turn it to feed rate 4 and see how it ran.i told him i tried this a couple of times and after 20 min. the combustion fan kicked off and the flame got all orangs and lazy but kept running.

    he said "problem solved", he told me that either the l250 hi limit switch or the f140 fans switch was shot.i aked him where i could the parts to fix it and he said he could sell them to me. i asked him if he could meet me at the half way point and he asked where i lived,i told him maine and he cracked up! he told me of an aubuchon dealer about 1/2 hour from me so i called . they had both parts 16.99 each. i said i would be down asap and bought both.

    ran the stove all nite no problems, and was 73 deg in side this morning at 4:30 am, with outside temp of 13 deg. finally getting somewhere. the stove is still going to be a hungry bugger tho, i can only get 42-50,000 btu at feed rate 4.at that setting , the stove will burn 4.5-5.5 pounds per hour or 40 pounds every 8-10 hours.

    i think i need a more efficient stove but for now at least i am getting heat...thank you all for all your help and advice


    mike
  14. Shooter

    Shooter New Member

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    Yeah, that's fantastic! Thanx for letting us know. Now you can work on the fine tuning of the flame.
  15. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    Excellent MJ!! Glad you got it figured out....this is my first winter with a pellet stove...so I couldnt help ya much. But glad you got it going.
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