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Pellet lesson 101

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by ltlhawk, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    We have seen a number of professional installations that really weren't, so we ask.

    So there is no vertical on those vents, just straight out?

    How long are they and do they go uphill away from the stove?.

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  2. battlesphoto

    battlesphoto New Member

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    There is only one pipe that goes straight from the back of the stove through the wall to the outside.
    So this means only exhaust?
    What would cause a house not to have enough air for combustion?
    Also, is one way safer than the other as far as air quality?
  3. jimmieguns

    jimmieguns Member

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    any thoughts on Somersets? i am using them now-- not too sure since its my forst and only pellet brand so far-- have some HD Stove Chow up for tomorrow...how do the Stove Chow rate? thanks
  4. battlesphoto

    battlesphoto New Member

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    Straight out. No incline. They are near a window so they needed to make the 4 foot clearance outside. I would say the pipe sticks outside the house about 3 feet. They put a end piece that slightly angles away from the window.
    Home and Hearth were the ones that did the installation.
    Is the tech manual states in bold letters "highly recommend fresh air intake on all installations" why would they not install them? Are they not obligated?
    I am going to the building department who issued the permit and ask why they didn't say anything to me.
    They I am hauling over to Home and Hearth and have a few words with the owner. I will demand that they do the right they and install fresh air intake since the tech manual states the above.
    I am very angry right now about the air intake. Had no idea.
  5. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    They are not obligated to install anything just because it is recommended.

    Further there should be a slight upslope to that exhaust as it goes away from the stove of at least 1/4" per foot of run and if you read a bit more in the manual you may discover there is a maximum recommended length for horizontal runs. It is frequently 4 feet total (it depends upon the combustion blower in the stove among other things).
  6. StormPanic

    StormPanic Member

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    Fresh air intake will make all of the difference in the world. I had the exact same issue with the exact same stove. Every morning I would get up and there would be a pile of unburned pellets on top of a brick. Install is really easy. I used this kit, took around an hour to install.

    http://www.amazon.com/PelletVent-Pro-Fresh-Intake-Flex/dp/B003UKXBXK
  7. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Now I have one other thing to mention, make certain that you get that stove's exhaust paths cleaned, if you have been burning this way for a fairly long time there is likely a high ash level in the stove and even in the small amount of venting you have.
  8. battlesphoto

    battlesphoto New Member

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    I have only burned a ton.
  9. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Yes very poorly however correct?
  10. battlesphoto

    battlesphoto New Member

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    Can I clean the exhaust myself?
    How?
  11. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    With the stove off and cold you can use an ash vacuum and there are instructions in the manual for removal of the exhaust passage coverings and cleaning of the exhaust passages from the firebox side.

    If you don't mind locating and disconnecting the vacuum switch hose at the stove end (or leaving the stove door open) you can use a leaf blower in suction mode over the vent with its termination cap removed. If the exhaust passages are simple in your stove this will likely clean out the ash traps as well. Remember suction mode with the vacuum hose removed at the stove end or the stove door open.



    Do not point the device at anything you don't want covered in ash.
  12. stovelark

    stovelark Minister of Fire

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    Battle- First of all, sorry this problem continues for you. I'm assuming these stoves worked correctly initially? Is this prob with both stoves or just one?? If its an air issue, as it appears, it can only be a dirty stove. Outside air is not required for most installs, but we've just read about stormpanic improving their stove operation. Now about cleaning, if you're game disconnect exh pipe from stove back (you should have a quick disconnect 4 screw connection). Take side panel screws out, I'd remove combustion blower and check it (replace paper gasket for comb blower with new one, hopefully 3/4 flat gasket formed to fit and silicone into place, make mounting screw holes into gasket) take internals panels loose and clean behind exh wall with appropriate brushes, take down top baffle and clean heat exchanger tubes and housing area (get into crevices) bang on stove and watch it rain ash. Make sure ash pan housing cleaned and closed back properly. Vacuum and clean all dust from auger motor and housing area, silicone found dust leaks from hopper housing (there will be some), remove and clean convection blower, remove and clean Proof of fire switch (above comb motor) blow out vacuum line (take off vac sw and blow towards the stove housing not the vac sw side....) Vacuum out hopper, I'd remove auger cover and clean out the auger. if can't be done, look up auger chute with mirror and light see that its clear). Touch up all internals with paint, hook back up exh pipe taking care with that gasket too and start her up. Outside air can be added to this stove's 2" outlet. If this doesn't fix problem change pellets again and punt..Good luck

    Stovelark
  13. StormPanic

    StormPanic Member

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  14. battlesphoto

    battlesphoto New Member

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    I would love to do what you have listed above, however I am just not that familiar with the stove to be able to do it. I also do not know anyone in the area that has a pellet to show me how either.
    :(
  15. battlesphoto

    battlesphoto New Member

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    Went to the Town's Building department and spoke to the Fire Marshal since they are the one's that required a permit and inspected the stove. The fire marshal was nice enough to call Home and Hearth and discuss the problem with them and the lack of a fresh air intake on the stove. Home and Hearth has the worst customer service! You would think that the last thing they would want was to make an enemy of the Fire Marshal. They insisted that the installation of a fresh air intake would NOT change the problem. They state that I must have some kind of blockage and my stove is probably dirt. How could I have a blockage in BOTH stoves in a 6 week period!! If I am cleaning (vac and brushing) the firebox out everyday again how could it be blocked and dirty in 6 weeks!!

    I would love to take it apart beyond the firebox but I just do not have the knowledge and have never seen it done. I wish I knew someone in my area that had a pellet and experience.

    Home and Hearth is scheduled to come to my house Feb 1 and the Fire Marshal is going to be present when they come.

    Just cleaned the stove (vac) today around noon and in less than 7 hours a lazy flame and starting to develop clinker in the ash pot. Damper wide open.
  16. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    I will say this again in a slightly different way.

    If you are having bad burns it doesn't take long for tons of ash to get deposited in the exhaust system of the stove which makes the next burn even worse depositing even more ash into the exhaust system, eventually the stove will either vacuum error out, over temperature error out, or pileup and burn back into the hopper.

    If your units have been having problems for a good part of the last 6 weeks you need to look into your combustion air situation, dampers on most of these stoves do not have to be open much and once set properly at installation provide an excellent indication of when you need to do a deep cleaning job, once the trim controls no longer can make the adjustments when you change pellets it is time to do a deep cleaning of the stove.
  17. battlesphoto

    battlesphoto New Member

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    I understand you are stating the stove will need cleaning of the exhaust and such. As stated above I wish I had the knowledge/experience to do myself (see Stovelark above). Once shown something I remember it....just need to be shown something this detailed first. My question is what caused the bad burns from the start? Was using good pellets. Was cleaning stove daily, never went more than 48 hour period. Seals are tight.

    Doesn't help if I spend the time/money to get a good clean if I keep having bad burns and clinkers.....

    How much should a cleaning cost? Will they teach me to do? Also from the video on leaf blower cleaning....how much of a mess does that make outside! I have a pool/porch/kids play yard there. Also both my pipes are up at the second floor and jut from the house about 3 feet, therefore I don't know how I could attach a leaf blower with it's weight without damage to the exhaust pipe.
  18. stovelark

    stovelark Minister of Fire

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    Hi battle- Sorry hope I didn't offend you in any way going step by step. You sounded like you would dig into it. You mentioned BOTH stoves have same issue- lends me to think it may be an air issue, and it sounds like this has been going on all along???? If so, then maybe OAKs will help out. Adding OAK is just extra work- normally OAKs are piped thru the thru the wall thimble for neatness (don't have to be, separate hole lower to wall will work). I don't think you did anything wrong operationally- these stoves are power up, put in pellet, set heat level, adjust air damper, enjoy heat items. Your installer and yourself should come to an amicable place to get the OAKs done. For me I'm not a big proponent of the "leaf blower cleaning", I prefer to disassemble and clean things in as much as I can controlled atmosphere (parts and components are always dusty- 2 vacuums running during cleanups). A good cleaning will normally take 2-4 hours, depending on what you run into. If its my first cleaning, I tend to run longer, tweaking existing state of the stove. Hopefully follow-on cleanings will be a little easier. Cost depends on who is doing it. I've seen 100-250 dollars, we are at about 225. Good luck, give your dealer a chance to fix the problem. And in all fairness, most town officials don't concern themselves about OAK thats more of an operational item I'm thinking for them, they are concerned more to safety, clearances, hearth protection etc.

    Stovelark
    Enviro EF3 FS pellet
    Enviro Empress FPI AC pellet
    Enviro Kodiak 1700 FS wood (keeping us warm presently)
  19. TLHinCanada

    TLHinCanada Feeling the Heat

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    I'm guessing you have a boiler, it depends on the age and type. On older mid efficiency models the chimney/vent may have a no draft damper. It is between the furnace and the chimney, when the furnace stops running a weight on the damper causes it to open and block the vent to the chimney. If both appliances are running the pellet stove could over power the draft on the furnace and cause the no draft to close. This would allow CO to enter the house. There a multitude of reasons to have an OAK, you can do a search on this site and read them. I think the general consensus would be if you want to run a pellet stove you have to expect to do some of the work yourself. You will have to find someone to sweep your chimney or do it yourself (a lot of people use a lint eater) the brush is fairly cheap.
  20. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    battlesphoto might also have kitchen exhaust fans, bathroom exhaust fans, and gas appliances.

    I just don't want battlesphoto to think that just installing OAKs is all that has to be done.

    battle I went through this with my installation with just a slight twist along with a few other air flow issues, the twist was the OAK screen was too fine and blocked a lot of air. The end result was one good pile of ash in the works and clinkers the size of my burn pot and a warped burn pot.
  21. stovelark

    stovelark Minister of Fire

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    Hi Battle- I personally haven't seen too many stoves have to have an OAK to run, but I've seen and feel that OAK will make a stove perform better, not drawing a vacuum into a room or house. Having said that, can you open a window near the stove(s) and see if it improves??? I'm still thinking a good cleaning is in order for your two stoves. But I will say OAKs certainly won't hurt your stove, I like fresh air installs when possible.

    Stovelark
    Enviro EF3 FS pellet
    Enviro Empress FPI AC pellet
    Enviro Kodiak 1700 FS wood
  22. battlesphoto

    battlesphoto New Member

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    Tried opening a window about 5 feet away. Can't say I noticed a difference. Left is open a crack for the whole night and still awoke to a lazy flame and burn pot with 2 inches of ash. The two inches accumulated in about 9 hours.
    Do you know of any good people in my neck of the woods, Putnam County NY, that would clean the two stoves at the lower end of price. ;) AND teach me how to myself.
    I too am detailed when cleaning, using brushes in one hand and vac running in other to prevent ash getting in air and spreading around the house. I only know how to clean the firebox area and took the back wall plates off the firebox this past weekend to clean out with a vac. Stuck the vac in every nook and cranny to suck up the ash. WOW lots and lots of ash.
    After watching the leaf blower technique I am not to excited as I have the kids play set, pool and porch in the area near the exhaust.
    Yes I agree a cleaning is in order, but there was something that caused this to dirty up so fast and that is what needs to be fixed.
  23. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Once there is enough ash in the exhaust system you will not be able to get a decent burn going with or without an OAK or opening a window. That is why you have to both clean the stove and install an OAK , or clean the stove and change pellets.

    Both ash in the works and not enough combustion air are identical in how they present to you as a problem.

    Everything in that list I posted yesterday marked with air issue show up with the same symptoms and every one of them also can cause ash build up to increase (which is in itself an air flow issue once it gets to a certain point).

    As the situation progresses it will take less and less time before the pile up starts, What took 48 hours, will become 12 hours, then maybe 6 hours, or two hours.

    You can play with everything adjustment on the stove and what you feed the stove, you'll only have a very small impact on the burn and as time goes on that impact will continue to get less and less.

    In order to tell if you have found any cause of a problem dealing with air flow you must make a change and completely clean the stove before testing it.
  24. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    If I were close enough I'd come over and clean the stoves and check for a pile of common air flow problem causes.

    I've already cleaned my stove today, baffles got removed to clean the exhaust passages leading to the combustion blower and the proof of fire system got cleaned in addition to the normal weekly heat exchanger brushing, burn pot removal and scraping, burn pot receptacle vacuumed out, ash removed from the firebox areas.

    If you don't want to do a leaf blower job you can use a strong vacuum from the outside (ladder time) or if you remove the combustion blower you can use a vacuum from the inside or if you can move the stove you can disconnect the venting and brush from inside out or outside in.

    Some people even remove the combustion blower (you need a new gasket on hand whenever you do this as the one that is there is fragile and frequently gets destroyed removing the motor and its mounting plate) put a cover plate over the motor mount hole and use an air compressor from inside the stove.

    Ash cleaning can be very messy.

    Some stoves provide easy access to the exhaust paths and venting and some are a royal pain to get everything clean. When I use the leaf blower it cleans my venting, the ash traps, and most of the ash off the combustion blower and out of the cavity the blower sits in as well as limes the lawn (all in less than 10 minutes and no mess in the house).
  25. battlesphoto

    battlesphoto New Member

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    Minister of Fire -

    Thanks for the sentiment about offering to clean and teach with the stove...but Maine to NY is a bit of a drive. I grew up in Maine and my parents used to live there until we relocated them here.
    Hopefully someone closer on this forum could steer me the right way...

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