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St. Croix York - I think I need a hotter pellet

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by skibumm100, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. skibumm100

    skibumm100 Member

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    southern NH
    Finally started up my St Croix York insert last weekend. 2200 SF contemp with cathedral ceiling. ZC fireplace in the living room with the York insert. I've been burning the stove in manual on setting 3 or 4 out of 5. The flame looks lively and reaches the top of the firebox as it cycles in relation to pellet feed. I started burning last years NEWP's that came with the stove to get a feel for how the stove burns and see how much ash and clinkers are produced. The York has 3 tiny ash pans. The one under the grate in the center fills up pretty quickly with NEWP's. I have to empty it every two bags of pellets, maybe sooner. It's about 1-1/4" deep X 5" wide and 8" deep. The center ash pan collects coarse dark ash. The two pans on the side collect a lighter colored ash and not much of it. I've been burning at a rate of 1.5-2 bags a day. (One bag per 24 hours with the stove being shut off for 9 or 10 hours or so on setting 3) We have been shutting the stove down when no one is home since it's a new installation and I'm not comfortable with leaving it burn unattended yet, mostly due to not trusting the pellet quality. I did form one big clinker in the first day. It was a little smaller than a golf ball. Last night I switched to Fireside Ultras and it was still only 65 deg when I got up. I ran it on 4 last night. Temps were in the teens last night. I plan on burning the other two bags of FSU's to see how ashy they are and if they will produce more BTU's than the NEWP's. I will also try the GT's to see what they put out for heat. This insert is very small and I'm trying to heat a pretty good sized volume. We have the bedroom doors closed upstairs so that square footage is not even being heated directly. 65 degrees ain't gonna cut it. I think it would be nice to try a hotter pellet. I have had the furnace shut off during my experiment but I will turn it back on if I can't get the house temp back up. I can get Okies and Black Hills at $6.35 a bag at East Coast Lumber but I won' pay that much. TSC has MWP blend. I am near Derry NH and I plan on buying two tons of something to get me through the winter. If FSU can't throw more heat I'm not gonna stock up. I could turn it up to 5 but I am concerned it may not tranfer all of the extra BTU's and it may just throw more out the roof. Any thoughts or suggestions? Any York owners have any input?

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  2. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Try to find a pellet that you feel comfy with burning thru the daytime while you are away. The warmer part of the day there is less heat loss and you can start getting closer to the temps you want. Then keep her rolling as not to loose anything. Not as critical in the warmer weather. This is where you can shut it down during the day and burn the other pellet brands.

    Trying some better stuff may be the ticket. Pricey but worth it if you want to be on the warmer side! Good brands to try are Barefoots-Turmans-Okies-Spruce Pointes-Vermonts-Black Hills-LeCrete's- are just a few. Box store stuff that has impressed me are Somersets-Pres-to-logs and Timber Heats to name a few.

    Keep us posted!
  3. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    I'm heating about 1400 sq ft of a ranch with a prescott. Jay already
    gave you a list of good stuff. Considering the cost of my alternative (oil 3.70 gal),
    I will and have been paying up to $300 a ton for Okies and La Crete
    because that is the going price around here and I've not found anything nearby
    that burns as hot or as clean. Very warm in here even during that cold snap and
    I didn't set the stove above #3. Def look around for a ton of the good stuff.
    In the end it's worth it to pay a little more I won't buy the box store junk anymore.
    jtakeman likes this.
  4. skibumm100

    skibumm100 Member

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    I can get the Okies and Black Hills for a king's ransom. Maybe I can get the per bag price down if i take a ton. Other than that I'll have to check the stove shops to see what's out there. I've been looking for Somersets but I don't think we've had any in my area. I can order some pellets from woodpellet.com but I'd have to get them delivered to where I work because they don't deliver to my area. Then I'd have to transport 1-1/2 hrs home. Not very appealing as I'd burn up my savings in gas. I guess I need to call around.
  5. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't go crazy, Traveling adds money to them. Not to mention all your time. Try a few bags of Okies or Black hills and see if it helps.

    Keep us posted!
  6. wwert

    wwert Feeling the Heat

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    Northern CT.
    Better pellets will help but asking that stove to heat that space with high ceilings is a lot to ask. St Croix updated that stove to the Ashby I believe , because it didn't cut the mustard efficiency wise. I have owned 2 of them and they are good stoves but don't expect miracles.
  7. skibumm100

    skibumm100 Member

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    I've got my eyes open for a reasonably priced Accentra or Austroflamme insert. Either should do a little better heat-wise and hopefully be a little quieter. This stove is a stop-gap solution til I find a good used quality stove that will fit in my ZC box. I can crank the stove up to 5 but I wonder how much more heat I would get out of the stove. St. Croix claims this stove will hold 45# in the hopper. I can fit a 40# bag and it's packed full. Maybe if the pellets were wet they would weigh 45#. ;-)
  8. jay81

    jay81 New Member

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    Don't know if you can get them in your area but I would try energex super premium they are a soft wood pellet. Price in my area is $5.20 per bag or $260 a ton. I tried some last week and man are they hot. Not a lot of ash, and pellets are not long which I like. Made a huge difference in my Accentra.
  9. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like you're discounting it before you've even tried some quality pellets.
    If the stove is clean, running properly, and burning some high grade stuff I don't see why you shouldn't
    get big heat from it like I do from mine. Mine has the same specs as yours other
    than the hopper capacity and I can literally cook myself out of this place if I
    turned it up to #4 with Okies or La Crete pellets. In fact, in the 8 yrs I've had this stove I
    have never had to run it on 4 to stay warm. 2 or 3 has been more than enough.
    If I were you, before you write it off clean it out thoroughly and fill it with some good stuff.
    Make sure you get all the crap that cakes up above the baffle and around the heat tubes.
    Crappy pellets will clog up these stoves in a very short time.
  10. skibumm100

    skibumm100 Member

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    Not writing it off yet. The stove has only had about 8 bags put through it and I dissassembled, brushed and leaf blowered it before putting it in. It won't be much cleaner. I'll pick up some different pellets today and see if it helps. I ran it on 5 all last night and it was 65 this morning. I should clarify that when we shut the stove off during the day we turn the furnace on so it actually has ahead start and the temp still can't keep up with NEWP or FSU's.
  11. P38X2

    P38X2 Minister of Fire

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    +1 on trying the hotter pellet. Might be all u need. Also, trusting your stove unattended is huge. If yer 100% confident with the installation then go with it. I don't THINK that pellet quality affects the safe operation of your stove, just efficiency.
  12. relxn88

    relxn88 Member

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    I have a York and the one thing that kills the heat ouput is opening the damper knob more than a 1/4 of an inch. I keep my damper knob completely closed (even with the damper knob closed, the damper plate has a 1/4 inch hole for breathing) and I get the highest heat (and flame) according to the digital thermometer I have in the heat outlet. I use a small fan, attached to the top of the rooms door frame, to force the hot air down the hall and another small tower fan on the doorway floor to force the cold air back towards the stove. Doing this, the convected air circulates around my 2 story colonial. I use Okies for below 15 degrees and Black Hills for above 15. I tried other pellets, but they didn't put out enough heat to keep my downstairs at a steady 71-72 degrees. I keep the stove on a specific heat setting depending on the temp out side(5-15 #4, 15-25 #3, 25-35 #2, +35 thermostat).
    The York is actually meant for a smaller home, so I keep the upstairs doors closed when the temperature dips.
  13. skibumm100

    skibumm100 Member

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    Thanks for the reply, particularly the specifics. I have been adjusting the damper slightly based on the heat setting. At 5 I have had the damper a little more open based on looking in the burn pot and clinker formation. I had been keeping the damper cracked open when burning on 3 & 4. I have been watching for clinkers pretty closely. That's the reason I don't run it when not home. I had my burn pot clinker up in my other house on my Whitfield Quest and it had a big pile of smoldering pellets, not good as it backed up the chute. A good way to start a hopper fire.

    I picked up some different pellets on the way to work. I got a bag of Lacrete's, a bag of Boundary Bay (I was told by the gentleman at Dodge's that they are the same manufacturer as Lacrete?), a bag of Geneva, a bag of MWP blends and a bag of Logik-e. I'll pick up a bag of Okies and a bag of Black Hills on the way home. I also got a stove thermometer so I can monitor the heat output a little easier.
  14. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    Just a heads up, don't know if you have an owners manual but the Mfg advises against running on #5 for extended periods of time.
    This morning I ran on 5 (Okies) for 30 minutes and the stove room (living rm) went up to 78F and you could bake your eyeballs in front of it
    if not careful. If some top shelf pellets don't make a difference then something very amiss with that stove. Here's another thread with the same stove/issues so thought it
    might help as well. Good luck!
  15. relxn88

    relxn88 Member

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    I agree 100% with Xena. I only run my York on #5 for quick heating or cleanout. And only when I'm around to keep an eye on the stove.
    Also, I sift all my pellets, because the auger has a tendency to jam. But, in 5 years of running this stove with good pellets and sifting, I've never had a clinker, clunker or clanker.
  16. skibumm100

    skibumm100 Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I've not been sifting my pellets and haven't run enough through it to get a jam yet. I used an IR heat gun and checked the temp of the front of the stove near the top right next to the heat outlet and the flat black metal was reading 210 degrees this morning on NEWP's on 5. I had 215 the other day on FSU's on 4. I do have the manual and have read it. Frankly, at the heat level it's putting out right now, I don't think I would have any problems from heat damage by running on 5. It's not like it's firing like a forge. Could be too much combustion air. The damper knob is pretty touchy. A little goes a long way. I think I just need to get this sorted out. Thanks for all the help guys. I read that post about the York once before when using the "search" function. I have a magnetic stove thermometer that I picked up today so I'll put that on tonight and keep track of outside temps, feed rate, damper settings an heat output. I hope it's just a matter of getting everything set up correctly and finding a good pellet. I also found some Vermonts today so I may get a ton this weekend. I can't see where I could go wrong with them. Too far to drive for just a couple bags.
  17. relxn88

    relxn88 Member

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    I have the digital thermometer in the one of the output tubes. So, it may read higher than the IR gun at the outlet, but I get about a 35 degree difference in between each setting. With Oakies, from settings 1-5, I get: 132,168,203,238,272 (give or take 5 degrees at any particular time). Black Hills give me about 3-8 degrees less across the board. I've had the stove over 300 degrees, but that's when it's been quite cold and windy(increased draft in my chimney).
    From reading on the forum, It sounds like Hamers, Barefoots, Cubex, and several others are high heaters.
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/...arch-and-review-ultimate-pellet-search.45314/
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/big-box-store-pellet-comparing-list-and-mini-review.38301/
    If you scroll down on the web pages, there's charts listing pellets and heat output. I use the charts as a reference when I'm looking around for pellets.
  18. skibumm100

    skibumm100 Member

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    Thanks for the links. I'd seen those before but couldn't find them. I picked uo three bags of Black Hills on the way home. All out of Okie bagged Okies. Only Black Hill bagged Okies. Let's see how they burn.
  19. skibumm100

    skibumm100 Member

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    Quick update. I burned two bags of Black Hills softies and it still didn't cut it. I ran the stove in manual on level 4 of 5. I burned the first bag during the day and the second bag overnight. I lost about four degrees in the house overnight. It was 64 when I got up Thursday morning. While monitoring the stove, I tried a couple of different damper settings. I seemed to get hotter air coming out of the outlet when the damper was more open (like almost half way) and not cracked open. The flame was shorter but more lively. The ash production was much less than the NEWP's. I had some black soot on the glass that wiped off easily. The pellet flame in the burn pot is stronger and higher on the right side. Most of the pellets come out of that side of the rectangular chute. The distribution of pellets across the burnpot width stinks. The right side always has more pellets falling in it. The left side flares up pretty good when a few pellets land over there but then it dies back down. It's like I'm only running 2/3rd's of a stove. Sometimes it burns in a "V" with a decent flame on both sides. Obvoiusly the heat output of the left side will be less if the active burning and flame is less. I picked up some Northern pellets by Cubex. They are 100% HW. The heat output was on par with the Black Hills softies from what I can tell. I turned the furnace on before going to bed last night so it was 68 when I got out of bed this morning. It seems that the stove can pretty much maintain the temperature of the house most of the time but can't really raise it. It's been in the 20's at night around here. With the high winds of the blizzard I expect I will need to keep the furnace on. If I can get the pellet distribution better in the pot, it should put out more heat. No idea how I will do that, though.
  20. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    I see you have cathedral ceilings. Have a ceiling fan to keep the heat from getting lost way up high?
  21. skibumm100

    skibumm100 Member

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    Yep, I run it on low or medium. Mostly on low, blowing down. I haven't put the thermometer upstairs but I would guess the upstairs "hall" is maybe 72 degrees. The "hall" is kind of like a balcony for half of it. The stove is across from the balcony part on the lower level. It's a big volume to heat. It's not about square feet, it's about cubic feet. One end is glass, too.
  22. relxn88

    relxn88 Member

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    I'm going to give an internet opinion. (We all know what those are worth). I'm guessing , with your open floor plan and cathedral ceiling, that you would have a hell of a time with ANY heating system trying to keep the downstairs warm. Heat rises and you have to force that heat down. Also, if you have a seperate heating system for the upstairs, I'd close all the rooms and heat them seperate of the downstairs when the stove can't keep up. The York is a good stove, but the openess and ceiling is a killer. Your mission, if you decide to take it, is to get that heated air down where it'll do some good. Maybe put the ceiling fan on high, but blowing up towards the ceiling, instead of down, so it circulates the air. 2cent opinion.
  23. skibumm100

    skibumm100 Member

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    Thanks for your reply 88. I tend to agree. I ran two bags of Northern (Cubex) yesterday and two bags of LaCrete softwoods last night and this morning. Still firing the second bag of LaCrete's. Heat output was little higher on the Northerns but pretty close between the two. I put a meat thermometer in the output grill near the center and I'm getting around 225 deg output on 4 of 5. Pretty close to your numbers above. The damper is set at around a little less than half open. I'm trying to heat a big volume of space. It was around 67 degrees this morning burning all night at 4 w/LaCrete's. Other than firing it on 5 all the time, I think that's about as good as it's going to get. I think trying to heat my whole house with this stove is probably not gonna happen when it's cold. Still gonna be a money saver as the oil burner won't run as much. My stove was a little out of level from side to side so I shimmed the right side. The firing pattern is a little more even but still fires harder on the right side. Bottom line is I think I will need a bigger stove to heat this volume of space.I was looking at the specs for the M55 and I think it will fit my firebox. The York gets me in the game and I've got some time to look at my options. I appreciate you sticking with this thread and value your feedback. Time to start thinking about clearing snow. Not sure how much we really got as it's drifted pretty good.
  24. relxn88

    relxn88 Member

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    If you decide to change stoves, you might consider a more powerful freestanding stove and pipe it into the flue. I really wanted a more powerful insert, but I couldn't fit anything bigger in the fireplace. The freestanding would take up to much room where my fireplace is.
    Also, have you taken any heat measurements with the damper mostly closed? I lose 10-15 degrees of heat output if I open the damper more than 1/4". The difference is noticeable in the flames. With my damper closed and set to setting 3, the
    flames dance off the deflector plate and on 4 they approach the heat output tubes. When the damper is opened, the flames are about 4-6 " high and rarely hit the deflector plate. Noticeable difference.
    My home is a 2400sqft Colonial. Typical 4 rooms downstairs - 4 up. If the temperature is below 25 degrees, I have to close the upstairs rooms, because the rooms suck up so much heat from the downstairs and the York isn't powerful enough to maintain 71-72 degrees downstairs.
  25. skibumm100

    skibumm100 Member

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    I tried running the stove with the damper in the "recommended" almost closed position. I was getting a lot of soot and clinkers when running it that way. The pellets would also start to accumulate in the burnpot. The thermometer was reading lower at the output. For my installation, it also depends on the pellet. Some of the pellets I've tried, LaCretes and Northern (Cubex) definitely put out more outlet temp with the damper about 1/2 way open. NEWP's ran a little better when more closed. When adjusting the damper, I only move it a little bit and check the outlet temps after about 15 minutes. It may have something to do with the length of my 2" flex OAK pipe. It's also fighting against some amount of draft but I haven't measured it yet. I'm still figuring this out but it is working better than last week.

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