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Pellet Stove Help

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by penguins1, Jan 31, 2006.

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  1. penguins1

    penguins1 New Member

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    Hi All,

    I hope you haven't heard this same old problem before, but I need help! (Sorry for the long post!)

    I have an Avalon 900 series Pellet Stove and I have been having some big problems with it. Basically, every day for the last 3 or 4 weeks my stove has been clogging. By clogging, I mean enough clinkers build up in the ash pan that the pellets start blocking up into the feed tube. When I go to clean it out, there is a big hunk of clinkers in the stove.

    Here's the weird part. Same thing was happening towards the end of last winter. This year, I burned for a month or so going every week between cleanings. Gradually, it got worse and worse to where I am now at cleaning every day.

    Let me go through my list of things I have tried to fix the problem:

    Clean the stove (I think I know every place to clean)
    Clean the chimney - (did this, got a couple days of good burning, then clog)
    Clean the exhaust blower - (did this when I cleaned the chimney)
    Change the door gaskets - (just did this, no help)

    I am at a loss here. My local pellet stove dealer is no help at all. I have been talking to them on and off about the problem and they don't seem to worried about it.

    I am hoping someone here might have some thoughts on what else to try. My next step is to check the vent screen up on the roof. Fortunately most of the snow has melted so I might be able to get up there this week sometime. That is pretty much all I know left to do.

    Can anyone help???????

    EDIT: I have always burned Dry Creek Brand pellets and another brand I have tried have clogged worse.

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  2. Homefire

    Homefire New Member

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    Clean out time again
    That is what I always do and it works. You know sometimes you just get a a run
    of trashy pellets and cleaning your air passages is the best way to deal with it.
    The chimney is your best hint as to the cause of the trashy pellets.
  3. penguins1

    penguins1 New Member

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    Thanks for the response. I actually spent about an hour cleaning out the stove on Saturday. Clogged today. I guess maybe I will have to do the chimney again? Not the most fun job in the world.
  4. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Did you change your window gasket as well? Could have had a bad batch of pellets. If some salt gets in there that'll lower the melting point of the silicate and cause excessive clinkering. Also could just have alot more silicate than usual.
  5. penguins1

    penguins1 New Member

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    I didn't change my window gasket. Took it out, looked like it was in really good shape. Plus the stove place I went to didn't have a replacement. I suppose that is another thing I can look into doing.

    Anyone else have one of these 900 series stoves? Is there any special place in the stove that I could be missing when I am cleaning?? I don't have a manual. I bought the house with this stove in it.
  6. Homefire

    Homefire New Member

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    http://www.hearthtools.com/

    Rod runs this site he post on this board and may know what you need to do.
  7. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    What's your ser# I'll send you an owners manual in .pdf. PM me with an email address
  8. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    I would definatly check the screen, i have never seen a pellet pipe have a screen on it. I would think that would create backpressure and could explain your sloppy burn. The exaust and the cubustion for the firepot are tied into the same system, and a pluged screen will wreck havioc.
    Ryan
  9. penguins1

    penguins1 New Member

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    Maybe there isn't a screen... I have actually never been up there to check it out? Just thought that was what was normally there. I wil have to check that out.
  10. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    if you do see a screen, i would take it out. Check with you installer before you do, and your local dealer, and find out why they would install a screen in the first place. Also, if you have recently changed pellet brands, the ones you have now might need more air, try opening the air damper if it has one, or reduce the feed setting in the hopper if it has one. Size, length, and diameter play a big part in the combustion. And last but not least, your combustion blower may be going out. If you have hardwood floors and pets they can burn up berings quick. Let us know what you find.
  11. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    I can't speak to your stove but mine had a cleaning problem I never knew I had. With my Countryside ( and the manual doesn't say it), you need to really get in there. By there I mean behind the phony brick facade and the rear panel of the burner chamber. Mine even has a couple knockouts you pry out. The corn clinker and crud that will build up there is phenominal. You may have a similar backup between the rear of the burner and the outlet. It made a big difference in how mine runs.
  12. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Things to try on the 900 stove

    Make sure no screen in cap

    make sure your ASH PAN IS shut tight.

    made sure the intake is clear

    Try a differnt brand of pellet

    You could have a lazy combustion blower.

    Questions.
    Do you just have clinkers? Change pellets or TOO MUCH AIR
    Is there black soot build up in the stove. (ash pan or air control)
    Is the fire orange and lazy (see ash pan and air control)

    here is a guide
    http://www.hearthtools.com/parts/94peltsh.pdf
  13. penguins1

    penguins1 New Member

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    Thanks so much for all of the suggestions. I didn't get a chance to get on the roof, got home too late. I think I am hitting everything in my stove as far as cleaning goes. I had the local installer out here last year to look things over and he said that the problem wasn't with the stove being dirty.

    Don't think air intake is a problem. I use indoor air for my intake.

    I just did the air leak check with a lighter. I went around the door and ash pans to try to be sure that there wasn't an air leak. Seem ok. I did see something weird though. There are these 2 holes in the front of the stove, one on each side. The flame definitely leaned into those holes. They have always been there apparently, I just never paid any attention to them. If someone here has one of these stoves, can they see if they also have these holes? I may take a pic to throw up here.

    As far the the clinkers go... they are not the only problem. I also have black soot build up. The first isn't lazy when the stove first gets going. It usually looks nice. I would think the clinkers are what drive it to clog up. I may drive pusing in the air control a little tonight to see how that goes.

    Thanks again. Any more things for me to try?
  14. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    The 900 has a dump flexable tube runing from the intake port to the back to the air intake on the burn pot.
    Make sure this is not smashed from cleaning.


    There are two or four (??) cleaning ports in the burn chamber of the stove make sure they are put back in place.

    the holes on the side are the air intake for the airwash
  15. penguins1

    penguins1 New Member

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    There are 4 cleaning ports and they are all in. I will double check on the tube for the intake. I looked at it last year when I was having problems and it was ok.
  16. penguins1

    penguins1 New Member

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    Quick update... even with air pushed in a little, stove still clogged in a little over a day. Still haven't gotten onto the roof.
  17. penguins1

    penguins1 New Member

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    Another quick update... got up on the roof today. No screen up there. Also, nothing seemed to be clogged up or anything. Guess I might have to deal with cleaning the stove everyday.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Can you try another brand of pellets for a few days just to figure out if it's the stove or fuel? Once a day cleaning sounds like a real pain.
  19. penguins1

    penguins1 New Member

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    Everytime I have ever tried any other pellets I have had even less success. I know the previous owners of the house only used the type of pellets I am using now. I went through the same thing last year, got some new pellets and they were even worse. This is just really frustrating! Fortunately the winter has been fairly mild so having the stove clogged or off a lot of the time isn't too bad.
  20. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    There has got to be a relatively simple solution. I used some of fhe first AV 900 Pellet stoves and - if I may be so blunt - I'm a "set it and forget it" type of guy! We didn't touch the stove until it was virtually clogged (months!) and even then it was working, just seemed a little woozy.......

    If nothing here works, perhaps your dealer or an Avalon dealer here can get in touch with the factory to see if there is anything we have overlooked. I assume by model# that this is an older stoves, so perhaps really far out things like the combustion blowers slowing down are possible???
  21. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Yep, Lazy blower (insert you own joke here)
    If every thing is clear and you went through everything we all suggested
    You read the trouble shooting guide on the link I gave.
    The next thing to do is order a combustion blower
    http://www.hearthtools.com/parts/900_ps_1990_97.htm#blowers


    The new combustion blower will be queiter and you can clean the blower by pulling just the motor and blade without haveing to pull the whole blower and houseing for the original one one piece
  22. penguins1

    penguins1 New Member

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    Yeah, I am thinking that the combustion blower must be the problem as well. I really can't imagine what else it might be. As I said before, my local dealer hasn't been too much help with this whole thing. I have read the manual and the troubleshooting guide. I guess an order will be going out for the combustion blower. I will let you guys know how this turns out.
  23. penguins1

    penguins1 New Member

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    Might have stumbled on something... I was cleaning the stove out and looking at the combustion blower. Looks like it has already been replaced because the motor and housing are in two different parts. I have never removed the housing and when I was looking at it, noticed the gasket might need to be replaced. Looks like it was sealed with silicone. Perhaps the person who removed it last didn't have a gasket available. Also, when my local dealer came last year to service my stove, they never removed the housing. They also didn't have the correct gasket for between the fan and housing so they "made" one out of another gasket. Perhaps my first step should be to replace those 2 gaskets and see what happens?

    Thoughts?
  24. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    yes replace the gaskets
    both are listed on my parts page or you local dealer might have them.
    we keep aobut 50 on our trucks because we always replace them as part of the service
    in the future all you need to do is remove the blower from the housing.
  25. penguins1

    penguins1 New Member

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    I get more and more frustrated with my local dealer. 3 years ago when I moved into this house, I am them come out for service. I had no experience with a pellet stove, so I figured I could watch them clean the stove and know what to do. Well, they changed no gaskets. I went to the dealer last year when I was having trouble with the stove and they told me I need to have it serviced. They said that the blower gasket needs to be changed. I told them they were there for service the year before and didn't change it. The lady was very apologetic, but still charged me another $50 when they came and did it. Now that I know there is another gasket to change, I am even more unhappy. I paid close to $200 to have it serviced originally, man did I get ripped off.
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