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pellet stove and power outage

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Jacki1969, Dec 17, 2008.

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  1. Jacki1969

    Jacki1969 New Member

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    can anyone please tell me if I need to worry about any gases from my pellet stove if the power goes out?

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  2. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

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    If you have a fire cup full of burning pellets when the power goes out, your pellet stove will stop opperating.

    What this means is :

    No combustion fan motor running to exhaust the smoke from the burning pellets out the 3 inch flue. Pellet stoves use fan forced exhaust & no power =no fan forced exhaust & maybe no exhaust at all.

    The inside of the pellet stove will fill up with smoke & sufficate the fire. Smoke will come out of the door gasket and into the room with that wonderfull camp fire odor permeating the room.
    Now would be a good time to open a window, I think & maybe an outside door too.

    No auger pellet feed motor to feed in new pellets to burn, so your fire will starve for fuel if the fire does not previously sufficate itself in its own smoke.

    And of course , the room air circulator will also stop running.

    I don't know if you need to worry. That depends on what kind of person you are.

    I didn't worry becuase it wasn't be the first time I smoked out the house & had to open all the windows & doors for 15 or 20 minutes until the stench cleared out.

    THIS IS THE REASON WHY THEY TELL YOU NOT TO INSTALL A PELLET STOVE IN A BED ROOM.

    If I were sleeping in the same room as the stove, i could wake up dead from trying to breath smoke.
    actually , I would not wake up at all if I were dead,
    but you should know what i mean.

    Some people buy battery back ups for their pellet stoves. a 12 volt dc battery & a 12 vdc to 120 volt ac inverter rated above the current consumption of the pellet stove. This will give you the power to properly shut down the pellet stove without smoking out the room.

    This is important if you have a wife or are a wife.

    Me , my living room, where the pellet stove is located, looks like my garage & my garage looks better than my living room because of kick ass car in it!
    so whats a little smoke from the pellet stove matter amoung the junk pile of assorted engine parts in the living room ?

    On the other foot, if you got a $360,000.oo grand ballroom for a living room, with mirrors on every wall and grand chandaleriers and whot not, then, I would worry,too.

    Some people have kick ass houses and piles of crap for a car. I have a kick ass car & a pile of crap for a house.
    Well, if my car had been built in 1910 ,instead of 2004, I guess it would have a right to be a pile of crap like my 1910 house has.

    From this we learn that everything is relative; which is the lesson for today. :p


    After proof reading, it occured to me , 2 other solutions to the problem of power outage & pellet stoves.

    Computer geeks rave about a UPS, this is not united parcel service but rather an uninterupted power supply & is probably the only seamless solution to the problem; however, you need to get a ups with an inverter of more output that your pellet stove requires. Expext up to 30 minutes of run time from a ups & to have to buy new batteries every 4 years, if ni cad or every 8 years if lithium.

    another answer is the $140.oo 2 hp 2 cycle 500watt @120vac generator from www.harborfreight.com

    It wont stop the pellet stove from filling up with smoke but will allow you to restart the pellet stove and run it for another 8 hours or until the generator eats up all its gasoline, whichever occurs first.

    The generator must be outside the house (stinky carbon MONOXIDE EXHAUST) & run an extension cord only to the pellet stove. (NO HOOK UP TO THE HOUSE FUSE BOX ALLOWED without a power line feed back disconnect switch).
    This is a really small & really cheap generator only good for the pellet stove & a couple of cfl
    light bulbs , at most. cpf=compact flouresent light bulb---9 watts consumption = 40 watts of light

    so the gen will give you heat & light & what more do you want during a power outage???

    You want more, buy a bigger generator so you can run a tv & a ref & a dish washer & a micro wave, but not all at the same time, but rather, one at a time.
    For this, expect to spend $500.oo to $800.oo for a 4000watt 5 to 6.5 HP generator & expect it to be too heavy for 1"normal" person to move (does not include arnould swartznigger, he can move it, all by himself) .


    So, a lot 2 learn & please read the owners manuel if you buy a generator because too many do not do's to mention.
  3. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    To keep the smoke out of the house when the power goes out suddenly just make sure you have a 5' vertical run of pipe going up outside the house. Yea its sort of ugly, ghetto, or chewee as we say around here but it works. That will give you enough natural draft to clear it out naturally. I checked mine by just unplugging it while running. Do that and you'll be fine.
  4. Jacki1969

    Jacki1969 New Member

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    Loc:
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    I just have the pipe going up our chimney, I guess I will find out when and if it happens. I have been turning it off at night and using the house heat to be on the safe side. Thanks for the replys :)
  5. timss13

    timss13 Member

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    I have mine venting out the chimney and experienced no problems. I have a Quadrafire Mt Vernon insert. Lost power last Thursday night and just got power back. We went away Friday for a planned trip to CT, picked up an 1800W generator at Home Depot for $400 and returned home Sunday. Our house was a not so cozy 34 degrees when we got in. Set up for the generator took under 5 minutes, stove cranked up immediately and we hit a balmy 50 degrees by bedtime. Woke up Monday morning to 60 degree temps in the house and the stove then got us up to 70....love it!

    If you can afford a little extra, I'd suggest getting a generator similar to what we got. We were able to run a few lights, tv/dvd player, and our stand alone freezer which is located in the garage. All of this on about 1 1/2 gallons of gas every 9 hours.

    Definitely made us feel fortunate compared to a lot of the folks here in the Monadnock region.
  6. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Nice catch there eernest....er, I mean All Seeing, All powerful Grand Pooba of the Pellet Pigs.
  7. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    Is a short length of pipe just shoved up the flue or does your pellet vent
    go all the way up the chimney and capped at the top?
    Makes a big difference in the way of safety and piece of mind.

    Also if you don't already have them - quality smoke and carbon
    monoxide detectors are recommended.

    Many people use computer UPS backup systems on their
    pellet stoves. At the very least, one of these will allow
    you ample time to shut your stove down properly rather
    than it just being zapped off by a power outage.

    All of the above mentioned can be read about in further detail
    by doing a forum search using relative search terms.
    There shouldn't be anything stopping you from feeling safe
    and running that stove through the night.
  8. wilbilt

    wilbilt New Member

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    With all deference to the Grand Poobah of the Pellet Pigs, might I suggest a 3rd option?

    Buy a stove with direct 12VDC capability. I know the list of manufacturers is short, but this feature seems to be so vital that it shouldn't be.

    Being involved on a daily basis as I am with servers, routers and switches running in intertwined domains, I am familiar with the limitations of UPS units. 4 years on a set of (expensive) batteries is pretty optimistic. 2-3 years is the going rate around here. When the batteries fail, they often swell and begin gassing. Hydrogen gas is not something you really want to have around an appliance that contains fire.

    Even relatively large (by household standards) 2200 Kva UPS units that weigh 180 lbs, require a 30A circuit and contains $300 worth of batteries will only run your stove for a couple of hours at most.

    1/4 of it's battery capacity will run a 12V stove for days. Just a thought.
  9. AllChokedUp

    AllChokedUp New Member

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    Western NY
    We Had A Bad Wind Storm Here On Christmas Eve, The Power Went Out. Much To My Dismay The Entire House Filled With Smoke,We Hooked Up A Generator And That Restarted The Stove. The Smoke That Filled My House Was Unbelieveable!! It Still Smells Like A Campfire In Here... We Heat With Just Pellets But Have A Wood Stove Back Up..The Pellet Stove Is The One Thats Always Running..How Do You Stop The Smoke Backup From When The Power Goes Out??? We Have A Tall To Spec. Pipe Outside But It Didn't Help At All, And The Idea Of Having To Worry About This Happening Again At Night When Everyone Is A Sleep Is Keeping Me Up All Night...I Loved It Till This Happened, Now Im Scared Of It!! The Generator Is A Salution But Its Way To Heavy For Me To Do By Myself And Im Here Alot Alone..Does Anyone Know Any Other Kind Of Backup For Pellet Stoves Incase This " And Im Sure It Will" Happens Again?? Im Still Coughing!!! And Worried If I Had Been Asleep OMG!!
  10. pelletizer

    pelletizer Minister of Fire

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    If you are a pellet pig with plenty of vertical no need to worry natural draft will work wonders.
  11. MButkus

    MButkus Member

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    If you have a lot of power outages.. get a $200 or so UPS. With just the fan on low, that size system should do at least 1/2 hour.
    Then get a small UPS for the bedroom, stick it on your alarm clock. When the power goes out.. the "beeps" will start. Both should beep, but our bedroom one wakes us. The $200 unit should show you the amount of power left, sometimes by LCD bar or it will start beeping fast. Then you can shut off the feed and burn off the rest of the fuel before the UPS shuts off.
    Usually when the USP beeps fast.. it's shutting down in 2 min. So if the power is off, kick it down to low feed and low fan to consurve power... if the powe is out for longer then 15 min. consider shutting it down.
    Or, if ya wanna sleep throught the night. I believe my UPS protects the controller from spikes and voltage drops.
    http://www.butkus.org/ups/ups.htm
  12. www_godzilla

    www_godzilla Member

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    Why a minimum of 5 feet of vertical pipe? I was going to put 4 feet up. Can someone explain? Thanks guys and ladies
  13. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    As far as i know 5' is the minimum they recommend to get a natural draft going to extract the burning pellets smoke if it shuts down unexpectedly. The stove pipe and thimble kits you buy are 5' as well. Remember, this pipe just twists together so you can add to it as needed.
  14. firewarrior820

    firewarrior820 Feeling the Heat

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    this is what it should look like

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  15. firewarrior820

    firewarrior820 Feeling the Heat

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    not this

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  16. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    The original posters pipe isn't going to look like that
    because they claim to have it vented up a chimney. See post #3.
  17. CenterTree

    CenterTree Feeling the Heat

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    Some times my dog will lay on the floor and PUT 4 FEET UP. :lol:
  18. CenterTree

    CenterTree Feeling the Heat

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    Question to anyone about the 5 foot vertical .... If you run 5 feet up and then go a foot or so horizontal, doesn't the fact that the run is then finished off with a
    horizontal piece negate the vertical needed for draft? I thought the idea of a vertical pipe was so that the air moving across the vertical pipe causes the DRAFT??
    So if you add a horizontal (plus a down-ward end cap) how can the air "pull" the exhaust gases up and out?
  19. LT_Rooster

    LT_Rooster New Member

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    Anyone think about installing a low cfm DC muffin fan at the exit of the exhaust pipe that would kick on if AC power was lost? At least it would vent the smoke in the event the stove power was lost so the stove would shut down in a close to normal fashion. That would also eliminate the need of you waking up and shutting down the stove. Might be a better option if power loss is somewhat of a rare event.
    -LT
  20. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    I think the fan being placed there itself would significantly reduce the cross section area of the vent itself and hamper proper operation.
  21. PunKid8888

    PunKid8888 New Member

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    I don't think the horizontal bit at the top will effect it much. I am pretty sure the 5 feet of vertical pipe is just a number that seams to work good. I can't imagine anyone house filling up with smoke if they chamber is sealed well at the door gaskets and you have a warm pipe with some vertical section, the smoldering fire will still be hot and still want to rise.

    I have had a bunch of power outages and not once Has my stove released a hint of smoke in the house. But I also have 6ft of vertical pipe.

    If they have it vented up a chimney there should be no possibility of smoke entering the house unless its not fully sealed where the pipe enters the chimney.
  22. CenterTree

    CenterTree Feeling the Heat

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    But you got to remember that several makes of pellet stoves have the "AIRWASH" system,(or similar) which is basically a minimal "gap" at the door/glass gasket. And THAT is a spot that would be very prone for smoke to enter back into the house during a power outage.
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