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Pellets not moving down?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by brandytab, Dec 17, 2007.

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  1. brandytab

    brandytab New Member

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    Thanks to everyone's wonderful help here, we're running the Englander now (since Sat). Works like a champ, it's been freezing here and we've been keeping the house at 72 nicely.

    That said --- both evenings, the stove has shut itself down because the pellets do not move all down into the hole to the auger and stay in the hopper with only a hole where the pellets dropped down. Does that make sense? We woke up when we heard the furnace kick on and pushed the pellets down and all went well again.

    I'd really like to not have to wake up and push pellets down if possible! Is this common? Does it have anything to do with the make of the pellets?

    Thanks!

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  2. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    It happens in alot of stoves. I've heard that powdered graphite rubbed on the sides of the hopper will help this.
  3. brandytab

    brandytab New Member

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    Perfect, thanks.

    You wouldn't happen to know where I would find powdered graphite, would you? I wouldn't have a clue as to where to start looking!
  4. Tailrace

    Tailrace New Member

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    You can find powdered graphite at any hardware store or Home Depot, by where they make keys. I had the same problem and I used one of those green scrubby pads and "sanded" the inside angled walls of the hopper smooth and, viola, the pellets slide now!
  5. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    Funny, I was about to ask a similar question. Mine is doing as you describe....a hole in the center of the hopper, over the auger opening, with pellets piled up along the walls but not falling towards the center. On mine as soon as I unlatch the hopper lid I can hear pellets start to fall so it's like there's a vacuum in the hopper that's holding them up. Weird! Is it possible to have the hopper sealed too well? :-S
  6. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    Wrong theory. The hopper is sealed or air tight from the outside to prevent the combustion air from moving back up the delivery chute. You want a tight seal. There is a potential for a hopper fire, while very rare it does happen. What is keeping the pellets from sliding down is likely mechanical. The pellets pile up and act like Lincoln logs stacked on the edges. I have heard of folks adding a little vegetable oil to the pellets to reduce the friction, I have heard of others using Pam on the edge of the hopper. I prefer to check the hopper periodically through the day and simply scoop them to the center. I have a nice funnel pile shape over the auger, but have never had them stack up too densely. I think if you are filling your hopper and packing the pellets down to get more in you are contributing to the problem. My hopper is not the best design, and does not self empty completely, so a little manual help is needed.
  7. eernest4

    eernest4 New Member

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    I pull the pellets from the sides and pile them up in a hill right over where the hole would form
    if I didn't make a hill of pellets there.

    The hole will still form, except 6,7,or 8 hours later, depending on the pellet feed rate and the size of the hill I pile up over where the hole forms.

    I learned the trick from felix, whose pellet stove does the same thing.

    It has pretty much been a non issue with me, I never lost a fire due to lack of pellets but had some rightious holes form overnight.

    It helps a lot to start with a full hopper, 80 lbs in my case & hill it up until you can barely close the lid.
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