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Pellet Stove Cleaning?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Robzheat, Oct 18, 2006.

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  1. Robzheat

    Robzheat New Member

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    Ok, I need to clean my pellet stove for the first time (other than scraping the burn pot). Is it ok to buy a small shop vav with a HEPA filter? Will this type of set up work? I know about the hot ashes with a plastic vav. I'm more concerned with ashes and fines flying around the house. How does everyone else do it.

    thanks!

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  2. Homefire

    Homefire New Member

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    You mean you already burned a ton of pellets this year?
    You can buy a vac made for pellet stoves with a hepa / fire proof container,

    I use an old craftsman 5 gal wet vac that I run the hose through the fresh air intake.
    This allow the vac to set outside.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I have a small shop vac brand vac. Instead of just relying on the cheapy foam + paper filter, I got the bags for it too. They work fine, especially the drywall dust bags. The fly ash from a pellet stove is not as fine as wood stove ash, it's more granular in nature, so there was never a dust problem. I always waited until the stove was cooled down before cleaning. That reduced the risk of hot ashes to zero.
  4. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    I use a shop vac for my freestanding Quad Castile, probably every month or so in addition to the daily cleaning. For the monthly cleaning, I remove the back fire brick to get at the combustion fan, then the upper heat shield comes off to get at the heat tubes. I also vac out the clean out tee on the vent. I brush the vent 2-3 times a season. All this is obviously done on a cold stove, the vac gets immedialty emptied after I suck up some water to be sure all is cool (no pun intented). What type of stove are we talking?
  5. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Yeah if you have a window nearby and enough hose just stick another section of hose out the window this will cut down on the dust blowback that sneaks by the filter mating areas. I got a small 3.5 gallon shop vac brand and have a bag thats kind of like cheese cloth which is easy to clean, and it just ties around the foam filter.(no it's not the crappy paper one) Filters tend to plug fairly quickly especially if they are pleated... The bag that i've been using (3 seasons) if you start losing suction and don't wan't to get too dirty by shaking out the filter, just shut the vac off and pick up the whole vac and tap it on the ground a couple of times, suction comes back. :cheese:
  6. dbchris

    dbchris New Member

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    Phew, I'm glad someone brought this subject up. I had started using my vac. to clean my pellet stove. I know, bad habit, but it is so easy! The thing I'm scared about is how do you know when all of the ashes are not hot? If the stove is being used a lot, and only shut down for a couple of hours to empty the fire pot, how do you know when all the ashes are cool enough to vac. or clean the entire stove. I do like the idea of sucking some water after using the shop vac. I did see a vac. made to empty ash out of the fire place, it had metal hoses and some other fancy stuff. Currently I cannot afford a vac. like this. I decided this week to only use the brushes to clean the firebox as the instructions say because I do not want to risk any fire hazards. Thanks for all of your input everyone!
    Beth
  7. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Best bet for knowing, shut her down and wait about 30 minutes before doing anything.... Then start scraping the burn pot area and scrape it in to the ash pan this is where the hot ash is... Then start scraping the walls and sides Heat exchanger etc. of ash if the stove seems cool at this point you can start vacuuming the heat exchangers etc...... I save the burn pot vacuum for last, usually the combustion blower shutting itself off is a good sign that the stove is cool enough to start cleaning. A good cleaning can take about an hour which is not very good when its 5* outside!!!!!!!!

    So clean it before efficiancy is lost mine says every ton.. Sorry up to a ton.... If its only burned 25 bags and its the warmest day in sight for the next 25 bags you can bet that i'm gonna clean it on the warmest day....Especially if you gotta pop that window open to stick the vacuum hose out it. It's New England weather it's verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry unpredictable..
    Hope this helps. Yes I sucked up some hot ash once and my shop vac started to melt a little and smoke so be careful with the ash people!!!!!! :grrr:
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I knew it wasn't too hot because I would stick my hand in the burn pot to check for clinkers that didn't drop out of the bottom of the pot. It had to be no more than warm to the touch before I'd do that. With the 1200i I would clean it every other Saturday morning, right after coffee.
  9. moog5

    moog5 Member

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    I used to use a shop vac sitting outside, then ran a long hose to the pellet stove. With my old 94 whitfield, the only way to get the ash out was with a vac (about once every 10 days), which was really a pain (especially when it was raining). So I eventually bought a Cricket Ash Vac and now leave it by the stove (which is alot more convenient). I was really concerned that the filter would be inadequate, but it seems to work pretty darn well (I don't notice much more dust in the house than normal). With my new XXV, vacuuming is alot less frequent (just pull the ash pan and dump it).
  10. SoCal65

    SoCal65 Member

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    I am glad somebody posted this too. Shop vacs are on sale at Lowes. They also have a dry wall dust, ash, etc ... HEPA filter for about $30. Has anyone tried this setup?

    side note:
    Is the small amount of dust in the pellet bags an issue? Anyone clean their pellets before loading them into the stove?
  11. dbchris

    dbchris New Member

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    SoCal65, I've not bought the hepa for my shop vac., However, I've been doing a lot of dry wall seam sanding using the sander made for the shop vac. I now use the bag made for the shop vac. and it's terrific! Very, very little dust. I'm not sure it would be a good idea for any potentially hot fly ash though. I'm still rather paranoid about hot ash in the vac. I think the ash vac. is what I must budget for. I do not clean my pellets before loading them in the hopper. However, I've read you should clean your hopper & auger of fines every so often. I've not cleaned my hopper yet because my new stove hasn't been used enough to warrant a cleaning.
  12. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Those ash vacs are pretty expensive though I can't justify buying one for myself when it is only used 5 or 6 times a year...
    Those hepas are a good idea though but in addition try the cleanable bag that can fit over this and your filter will last along time.... Again it's alot easier to shake this off rather that the pleated filter.......HEPA= High Efficiancy Particulate Air These filter down to microns and keep the fine particles out of the air but guess where they go? It should fairly quickly plug up and lose suction, ash in a pellet stove is pretty fine stuff :)
  13. fletchtb

    fletchtb New Member

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    There was a suggestion earlier in the thread about sucking up some water following the ashes.

    I know with my shop vac (RIGID brand from Home Depot) it says not to take in water while the filter is in place, but without it, the ash would fly all over the room.

    Gets me to wondering, if the ash is still hot, couldn't that catch the filter on fire?
  14. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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  15. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Sorry about the double post I hit the wrong key
    Best bet to keep dust out add a hose to the exhaust of the shop vac and throw it out the window...
    The stove should be cool before using the vacuum any way just to be safe
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