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Pellet/Corn stoves and electricity

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by jbrogley, Dec 4, 2007.

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  1. jbrogley

    jbrogley New Member

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    We are having a heck of a time with our pellet stove and I could use some perspective.

    We've had problems since day one. The stove ran for a 2 days and then started to light slow and kicking a ton of smoke back through the pipes and out of the stove. Finally it start tripping the gfi outlet. The company sent a rep from Minnesota and replaced 2-3 parts, one of which being the computer board. Since then it's run awesome for about 2 weeks.

    On Saturday night it was burning gloriously (for several hours) and suddenly the gfi outlet tripped again and everything shut off. We've tried it 3 times with the same result.

    The company told us to run a heavy duty extension cord from another room (that's on a different breaker) and see what happens. We did and ran it for about an hour, but we had to leave so we shut it down to leave. My husband pressed off and within a short period the flame was out and the fan was running, as normal. We left for 2 hours.

    We came home tonight to a home filled with a beef jerky smell that we've never smelled before, the strongest concentration being in the area of the stove.

    I need some thoughts here.

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  2. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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  3. jbrogley

    jbrogley New Member

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    Sorry about posting in the wrong room. I wasn't paying attention....
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    The GFI thing might fall in the range of "normal"....I say that because I have a new Mac Mini computer that seems to trip the GFI in my office - constantly....but I ran a plug to another circuit and it works fine. GFI circuits are very sensitive - I'm going to call Apple and ask them for another power supply because I suspect something is slightly off.

    You might need to replace the GFI outlet or clean the wire connections, or many other things that folks do when dealing with GFI problems.

    As to the smell - well, first thing is to check and make certain that no pellets have burned back into the hopper. I doubt it, but it pays to check.

    This really could be nothing at all. It could be that your stove went out, and then cold winds or negative pressure brought outside air into your house and you therefore smelled the inside of the stove (creosote)....quite normal with woodstoves.

    I think you should try burning the thing for a couple more days to get the hang of it.

    Do you use outside air on the stove? Is it suggested to be used?
    Check other settings, such as the inlet air damper.
  5. jbrogley

    jbrogley New Member

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    Good things to think about. The GFI outlet being tripped is actually outside the house on a porch. Actually, we plug our exterior Xmas lights into that outlet and last year I thought the darn xmas light tripped that gfi outlet once or twice.

    The way the stove is set up it would be hard for the pellets to catch fire/smoulder in the hopper, but I'm checking for sure.

    If we have a heavy duty extension cord running from a different room, can we have the stove on for an hour or so? It's a relatively new heavy duty 3 prong extention cord. I suppose we need to make sure it's plugged into a different gfi outlet.

    What would cause a gfi outlet to not trip out for 2 weeks and the start?
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Why even a GFI outlet?
    A decent extension cord should work fine for a day or two, or even longer.

    As mentioned, GFI's are REALLY sensitive, and trip for a number of reasons.....could be unrelated to a stove problem, just other problems that put it close to the edge and the stove throws it over! I'm not an electrician, but this is my experience. I've had GFI's trip until I went into the panel and cranked down on the neutrals and ground connections....etc, etc.
  7. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    What else is on the circuit with your stove? Craig is right, GFI's can be picky little buggers. Someone running something on the same circuit, elsewhere in the house, at the same time that your auger is coming on could be all it takes for the GFI to sense an overload and trip. Also, with an exterior outlet you might want to check for moisture or insects on the inside of the outlet box.


    Peggy
  8. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    The first thing I would do is ditch the GFI. The dirty little secret about those things is all the headaches they cause. All you ever hear about is the glorious safety they give you. If you don't have it sitting on a cement floor sitting in a pool of water it is just a waste. They can catch on fire too or may be I just imagined it all as I pounded it out with a towel. I replaced it with a good standard outlet code be damned.
  9. Kenny1

    Kenny1 Feeling the Heat

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    Well, GFI's are designed to trip at about 3.5mA I think.

    IEC950 (a saftey spec for electrical) has a max limit of about 3.5mA for leakage current (I think - going off the top of my head).

    This means that ONE "leaky" item could be plugged into the circuit. Plug in another, and the GFI will (should) trip.


    Take a look at what else is plugged into the same circuit. Maybe try removing everything but the stove from the circuit and see if that runs OK.


    Cheers


    Kenny
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