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Problems with my St. Croix Hastings Pellet Stove

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by cbodkin, Nov 7, 2009.

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  1. cbodkin

    cbodkin New Member

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    I have a St. Croix Hastings Pellet Stove. Last year I used some pellets that had too high of an ash count, and the stove got all clogged up. The glass would get dark black after 1 day of use. At the end of the season, I had the stove cleaned. It was vacuumed inside. I also snaked out the exhaust pipe, which is a tall vertical run that goes about 2 stories. I also made sure that I got better pellets for this year.

    Unfortunately, I'm having the same problem this year. The glass goes black after one day. When I try to burn the stove at the higher settings, the burning pellets overflow.

    I've read the posts on this site where people use a leaf blower to clean out the stove. Not sure that will work for me, as my stove is up against a wall with a long vertical pipe for an exhaust.

    Any suggestions?

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  2. jxnsdad

    jxnsdad Member

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    You need to clean out the ash traps, they are two trap doors, one on each side of the burn put that have metal covers over them. Take the covers off and push a coat hanger or pipe snake up there and you will get a bunch of ash to fall out. Another option to the pipe snake is to remove the fake bricks and tap the back of the stove with a hammer lightly and you will see tons of ash fall into those traps. A friend has a hastings and had the same issue, I have a prescott and do this routine every few weeks.
  3. cbodkin

    cbodkin New Member

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    thanks. I'll give that a try.
  4. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    You should use the leaf blower after every ton to keep it clean.

    The hammer/coat hangar/bottle brush will certainly help... I use those, too. But nothing does it better than the leaf blower. It would pay you to disconnect the stove, wheel it outside and suck out all that ash and soot.

    I have a St, Croix, too.
  5. imacman

    imacman Guest

    I agree with the posters above that the stove sounds like it needs to be cleaned completely. When you said "I had the stove cleaned. It was vacuumed inside. I also snaked out the exhaust pipe", were the ash traps opened & cleaned as mentioned above?

    Overflowing pellets in the burn pot again leads me to believe that not enough air is going through the burn pot (dirty stove).

    Who did the stove cleaning?
  6. colbyc

    colbyc New Member

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    I have taken a dryer lint brush and forced it up the two trap doors. Its about 2 feet long and flexible. The bristles seem to do a really good job of getting all the ash down. I also use it on the door behind that ash pan that is bolted in. Make sure you remove that to clean in there with that brush as well.
  7. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    In addition to some of the suggestions, you may or may not know
    that these stoves will crap up the glass quickly when run on a low
    setting for a lengthy period of time. I also noticed that my glass
    would get dirty faster prior to installing an OAK - so if you don't
    have one you may want to consider it. Shlepping my 375 lb stove
    outside and/or climbing up onto the roof a few times a year has never been a option
    for me and in the five years/12 tons run through this stove I've not
    needed to do anything other than the maintenance I do and my st croix
    has never skipped a beat. [​IMG]


    Another fantastic cleaning tip I got from Mike at ESW. Duct tape a long/narrow
    length of garden hose onto the end of your vac hose and stick
    that up into the ash traps after tapping the wall behind the burnpot.
    The longer/narrower piece of hose will get in there and
    suck up stuff that may otherwise be left behind by a bottle brush.

    edit: Oh and I forgot, removing the exhaust blower and cleaning the
    fan itself and the channel it sits in will also remove a bunch of crud and
    increase the performance of your stove. Next time I'm due
    I will try to remember to take pictures.

    Good luck!
  8. cbodkin

    cbodkin New Member

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    thanks for all of the advice. I'm going to focus on the ash traps, and see if I can get some friends to help me get the stove outside and try the leaf blower trick.

    If anyone give offer more detailed instructions on cleaning out the exhaust fan, that would be great.
  9. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    The best way to thoroughly clean the exhaust fan (and the room air blower),
    is to remove the fan and brush down the blades. I brush the blades
    and blow the fans out with compressed air. As I said, in the case
    of the exhaust fan it's not only the fan you need to concentrate on,
    but also the cutout in the bottom of the stove that this fan sits in.
    The cutout gets a lot of buildup. I use a small putty knife to dislodge
    the crud then vac it up with my shop vac. If you are unsure about
    the location of the exhaust fan, just follow the exhaust flange from
    the back of the stove and open the side door and you will see where
    it connects to the exhaust blower. If you need a manual you can
    download that in pdf format from the st croix web site here:
    http://www.stcroixheat.com/support_manuals.htm
  10. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    [​IMG]

    The blower fits here on my Pepin stove...
  11. kicm9988

    kicm9988 New Member

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    I think it might be short of air intake, have your stove buttfly valve which adjusts the amounts of air, making more air intake from outside.
  12. cbodkin

    cbodkin New Member

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    so sticking a clothes hanger up the ash traps definitely helped. I need to by a smaller garden hose so I can clean up there some more. I'm still getting a dirtly glass, but not as quickly as before. It's mostly a problem when I burn at a higher setting. I still want to try the leaf blower trick, but will need to get a few guys to help me get the stove outside.
  13. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Borrow a two wheel hand truck...

    The stove is plugged with ash.. you're on your way with cleaning the ash traps. The burn pot overflows because the stove can't get enough air (in or out) to burn a higher volume of pellets.

    Good luck... keep us posted.
  14. cbodkin

    cbodkin New Member

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    working on cleaning my stove again today. FINALLY got the baffle off. I'm cleaning out the ash, but this is also black, almost sap like residue up there. Any suggestions to clean that stuff off?
  15. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Clean off what you can on the heat exchanger tubes above the baffle. If you run your stove on 4 or 5 one hour per week it will minimize those deposits above the baffle.
  16. mnkywrnch

    mnkywrnch Minister of Fire

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    Agreed if your running your stove on low for long periods of time,those deposits (creosote)will accumulate rapidly from the lack of a hot fire,run your stove daily on the higher settings to help control the buildup.Now the residue on there now with the stove cold I would use some oven cleaner on a rag a scrub off as much as you can,once dry run the stove on level 5 for a few hours that should burn off the rest.
  17. cbodkin

    cbodkin New Member

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    Will do. Has anyone tried burning little pieces of those creosote removing logs? Also, getting my baffle on and off is really difficult. Rust seems to be an issue. Can I use oil or a little WD 40 to lube that up?
  18. mnkywrnch

    mnkywrnch Minister of Fire

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    Haven't tried the logs,but would be worth a shot.I don't think you would want to use oil or wd 40 I would just take it out and sand the rust off it.Make sure at the end of the season you block off the exhaust and fresh air intake to reduce the rust buildup.You should also be able to use the leafblower without moving your stove outside.
  19. cbodkin

    cbodkin New Member

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    Quick update. The stove is running much better, in that the burn pot no longer over-flows with pellets on the higher settings. The flame also looks good. However the glass is still getting black on a daily basis. I still need to remove the base fan and vacuum out any crud in there. I'm thinking it must be something to do with the exhaust.
  20. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Your glass will get dirty if you run on the lwo settings... it's much cleaner #2 and above...

    Keep working on getting that stove unplugged... there must be a little more ash stuck behind the firebox.
  21. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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    Go buy a leaf blower and hook to exhaust and pull all the crap right out of the stove, have someone inside to open and close the door as the leaf blower is pulling and also have them tap on the metal behind the fake brick to loosen all hidden ash. Your glass should neve be black at any speed maybe a darker brown but not black. make sure you have good air flow as per your instruction manual says. The st croix is a great stove and needs only occasional main to keep it running smooth.
  22. cbodkin

    cbodkin New Member

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    Going to be too hard to get the stove outside. The exhaust is hooked up to an internal wall that runs up through the ceiling.
  23. cbodkin

    cbodkin New Member

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    BIG PROBLEMS. My stove started emitting a high whistle, much louder than usual. Smoke that smelled like burning plastic was coming out of the pellet hopper. My wife unplugged the stove, which released more smoke in the house.

    This all happened when I was at work. Coming home tonight, I can's start the stove. After a few seconds into the startup process, it stops and the #2 LED light is blinking.

    I emptied all of the pellets in the hopper to see if something got stuck in the auger feed, but I do not see anything.

    This has been a tough couple of weeks with my beloved pellet stove.
  24. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    Did you ever pull the exhaust fan and clean it and the cavity it sits in?
    I would do that next and go through all rest of the cleaning info in
    this thread again.

    I am surprised that smoke came back into the house since you said you
    have a long vertical run of pipe. Are you sure the vent is not plugged up?
    Sure sounds like something/somewhere along the way is blocked.
  25. mnkywrnch

    mnkywrnch Minister of Fire

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    I think there is probably a problem with the combustion blower,the #2 light blinking is the stove not sensing vaccum pull blower and see if it needs a cleaning,you should also pull the vaccum hose maybe its plugged,maybe a bad vaccum switch, but you said it was whistling louder which leads me to believe theres a problem with the combustion motor.Whilr the motor is removed this would be a good time to clean the exhaust chamber.When you start the stove now can you hear the combustion motor come on?
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