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Pellet stove fire starter

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by 4dimad, Oct 7, 2008.

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  1. 4dimad

    4dimad New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
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    Loc:
    MA
    Hello everyone,
    I finally installed my Harman P38 with manual lighting . ... and just realized how expensive the fire starter / gelled alcohol is.
    What can you recommend instead or suggest the place where I can purchase gel for reasonable $$. Thanks!
    Dima

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  2. crausch

    crausch New Member

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    Littlestown, PA
    I am not in MA, but I found some at Walmart.
  3. nailed_nailer

    nailed_nailer Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2007
    Messages:
    823
    Loc:
    Cape Cod, Ma
    This question comes up often.

    I find using a propane torch with a push button igniter works great.
    I use one of these
    http://www.bernzomatic.com/PRODUCTS...etail/mid/1009/xmid/6942/xmfid/3/Default.aspx
    I see them at Home Depot for around $20.00

    Start up stove.
    Throw in a handful of pellets into the burn pot liner.
    Light torch and direct flame onto the pellets.
    Allow flames to get established.
    Close door and enjoy heat.

    No messing with gels and sticks.

    It works for me.
    ---Nailer---
  4. Jester

    Jester New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    206
    Loc:
    Seacoast Massachusetts
    I had an old timer recommend the use of a coffee can, handfull of pellets and some kerosene. (Im sure you can figure out where Im going with this) He also told me to (I bought my p38 from him) not to light it according to the instructions (Ive posted this already so sorry for the redundancy) He told me to keep the pellets to the front of the firebox, so there is a 1/2 inch space in the back exposing like 25% of the auger. Be said to light the fire in the back/bottom so that it doesnt burn from the top down.
    I also gotta tell you, be careful with those gel lighters. If you think it needs more once you light it, remember the flame can and will travel right up the stream of gel, much like lighterfluid and charcoal. Ive seen the after effects of one of them suckers exploding and covering a room and occupant in burning gel. (sorry, This is probably wasted information on all here, but if something ever happened and I didnt mention it Id feel like a jerk)
    Stay warm and safe
    E
  5. mjbrown

    mjbrown Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Hartland,Me.
    walmart...$8 a bottle
  6. hoverfly

    hoverfly Minister of Fire

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    Southern NH
    I hear the hand gel disinfectant works and it's cheaper. Also denatured alcohol in a can mixed with the pellets works well, burns very hot.
  7. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
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    western Ma , close to NY state border
    After much money spent on starter gel , propane torch and a lot more experimentation I`ve come to the obvious conclusion that odorless / smokeless charcoal lighter is actually better and possibly even safer than the gel for these reasons.


    1......You must hold the match to it momentarily to light as it lights lazily and kinda slow as it does not flash ignite like gelled alcohol does. It isn`t as volatile as the gel.
    2......It burns as cleanly and long and maybe even longer than the gel , and surely long enough to start your pellets.
    3......the flame is considerably higher and hotter resulting in significantly shorter heat up times.
    4......It cost only $2.49 for a quart and goes much farther at 1/3 the cost of gel.

    As with any combustible materials certain precautions and common sense must be taken.

    I would implore users to mix pellets and charcoal fluid in a plastic bowl and not in the stove burn pot. (leave no excess fluid in the bottom of the bowl) The saturated pellets can then be poured easily into the *cold* burn pot and lighted safely with a match or butane lighter.
    Always be sure the stove exhaust fan/combustion motor is running to evacuate any possibile accumulation of fumes.
  8. F350R

    F350R Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Castle Rock Co.
    I also use charcoal lighter to light my corn stove mixed with a few pellets to get things going quickly.
  9. dave1966

    dave1966 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
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    Loc:
    south jersey
    with my old mannual start pellet stove all i use was a propane tourch with a trigger $30 at lowes lasted the whole season even bought an extra can of propane used it for cammping trips to start our fires
  10. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Another option is to blend in 4-6 ounces of isopropanol (91%) alcohol with the 16 oz of starter gel. It will work better and lower the cost.
    I think a qt of it is about $1 or so in a discount store.
  11. moralleper

    moralleper New Member

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    Loc:
    Kalama, WA
    Before I got my new stove, I bought a couple of cases of the stuff from HD at the end of the season and it was super cheap, like $0.75 a bottle. Of course that does not help you now. I found for the money the cedar flakes worked better then the gel.
  12. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    The following is a PSA......
    please dont use charcoal starter/ lighter fluid /gasoline or anything else along these lines to start a fire in a enclosed vessel.........IN YOUR HOUSE.......
    this has been run through over and over and over.....
    use a......
    torch
    gel
    hand sanitizer
    vegetable oil
    heck I even started a stove with one of those long lighters for candles
    I'm sure there are others to start a fire safe that I have missed..........
  13. PA  Harman  P 61A

    PA Harman P 61A New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
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    Loc:
    Lancaster County PA
    My Harman invincable insert had to be light by gell also. I found them at wal-mart and TSC and Agway and True Valuehardware stores stores these compressed fire bricks. The box clerley states for use in wood stoves/fire places and pellet stoves. I never had a problem with the brick once it burned , it had no problem lighting the pellets. You just stick the match on it and it lights.
  14. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Good find! I saw it there today at $8 and that`s a *quart bottle* vs the chintzy pint they scam you $8-13 for at some stove shops.
  15. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    I saw the $8 gel at Wallyworld yesterday, but decided that was still too much $ to start a fire. I decided to buy a quart of 91% IPA instead as it was a fraction of the price. I removed the cap and punched a small hole through the sealed foil so I don't have to worry about pouring too much of it. I took a small Tupperware container (1 or two cups), threw about a cup of pellets in it, squirted a little of the IPA in it (just enough to wet most of the pellets), gave it a shake and poured the pellets in the P38... Threw in a match and had an instant fire, worked great. I tried it again today w/o any issues, probably took 10 seconds to grab the pellets, wet them with the IPA, and light them in the stove.
  16. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Hey that`s great! Whatever works for you.
  17. CygnusX1

    CygnusX1 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    347
    Loc:
    Central MA
    $8.00 a bottle isn't too bad once you realize that you don't need a lot of it to start the fire. A thumbnail size dollop of gel is all I needed to start my stove.

    Unless you're one of those people who try the BBQ method of loading the coals up with 1/2 a can of lighter fluid lol
  18. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    western Ma , close to NY state border
    Loading up coals with 1/2 bottle of gel will get you the same results, maybe worse.
  19. wilbilt

    wilbilt New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Nor Cal
    I have used the gel (fast, but expensive) and now use "squares" made from what appears to be paraffin-soaked fiberboard.

    They light instantly, but take a few minutes to get the pellets going. Cheap works for me.
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