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Whitfield Pellet Stove 12 yrs old, too much ash

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Chareleanor, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. Chareleanor

    Chareleanor New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    Clinton, CT
    Hello,
    I have an older Whitfield Advantage II insert

    on Jan 22. I had a jammed auger.
    " Well that is fixed. We have a new more powerful (Harmon) auger motor.
    " 3 new switches, vacuum switch, ( we were not able to purchase a new tube, so we used the old one)
    " Low limit switch
    " High limit switch
    " Chimney was cleaned by chimney sweep (we have a regular flu (no pipe liner because stove was put in 12 years ago)
    Problem now: I am getting very little ash in the pan. It is all collecting in the main fire box even high up along the sides to the pellet tube. The grate where you burn the pellets has clinkers and hard ash there.
    We have adjusted the damper so the flame is burning correctly. But why so much ash in the wrong place?
    Any ideas why the ash is not burning off or going up the chimney or into the pan? I have to clean the stove every day.
    Any help is appreciated. Thank you,
    Charlotte

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  2. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    When did you last clean the ash traps in the stove?
  3. Chareleanor

    Chareleanor New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
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    Loc:
    Clinton, CT
    I had a service man 4 times and the chimney sweep. I believe they were cleaned in late January , early February. I know that our contractor Shop Vac with filter bad was used.
  4. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Let's see if I can answer some of your questions and perhaps Snowy Rivers will see the thread and drop in.

    True ash doesn't burn at all.

    Where the ash ends up depends upon the effects of the air flow through the stove.

    If you have a bad door gasket it will impact the airflow in the stove.

    The next time you have the stove off and cold, get a 2 inch wide strip of paper, insert the strip in the door way and close the door on it. Then pull the strip out, if there is no resistance to pulling the strip out you need to replace the door gasket, this test should be done two places on each of the four sides of the door. The gasket must present resistance to pulling the strip at all 8 test points to be considered good.

    When was the last time the window gasket was changed?

    When the chimney (and hopefully the rest of the venting) was cleaned or the service people were there did they also clean the combustion blower and its cavity?

    Have you recently changed the pellets you are burning?
  5. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Standish, ME
  6. Chareleanor

    Chareleanor New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    Clinton, CT
    Thank you SmokeytheBear.
    I believe everything was cleaned when the serviceman came. He changed the door gasket and the ash door gasket. I believe the window glass gasket was never changed. I just started the stove now. I am going to try to run it on 3 red and 5 green to see if that helps. Tomorrow I will stop it and put the strips of paper in between to check the gasket. The pellets are from Home Depot, called Freedom pellets. Several friends have them and they are burning fine in their stoves. I have 4 tons to use. ( My husband died 6 weeks ago. I am an older woman trying to learn to run this stove. I plan to be an expert when Spring finally comes.)
    I will check out the links you sent to me. Do you think that it is worth it to change the firebrick? They look pretty worn out . The serviceman said that it was not necessary to change it.
  7. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Most of those firebricks are decorative, if Snowy pops in here maybe she can give you some tips on how to do a passable repair job on the fake firebricks.

    I'm sorry to hear about your husband.

    I'm sure that everyone here will help you become an expert on your stove.

    If you don't have a service manual for the stove send a PM to Wood Heat Stoves and if you give Dave Gault your email address, the make, model, and serial number of your stove he will be more than willing to send you a machine readable copy of the service manual for your particular stove.
  8. Chareleanor

    Chareleanor New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Clinton, CT
    Thank you,
    I do have the service manual. I hope to hear from Snowy. That would be great.
  9. Wood Heat Stoves

    Wood Heat Stoves Minister of Fire

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    the owners book?
    or the repair manual? big difference...

    feel free to pm me
  10. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    NW Oregon
    POP

    Here I am.

    The issue I believe is caused by GOOD airflow through the burn pot.

    I have a Whitfield Advantage 2T and the ash generally falls all around the fire pot and not down into the pan.

    The exhaust fan on these stoves pulls all the combustion air up through the grate, and when the airflow is proper, tha ashes will fall outside the pot and or go up through the heat tubes and collect in the baffles.

    The grate bars will allow some heavier stuff to fall through, but not that much if things are working right.


    The pan is more of a convenience when you clean the stove rather than a place that the ash will normally collect.

    Ash also collects on copious quanty behind the fire brick panels on the sides and also behind the main ash baffles.

    The cleaning will cause far more airflow through the stove and this causes the ash to blow off and go out and up through the heat exchangers and into the ash traps.

    Repairing the fire brick panels can be done using some FIRE CEMENT (available at most hardware stores) Comes in a pint or quart plastic container, is black an easy to work with.

    Remove the panel, clean gently with a brush and blow off the dust.

    Lay the panel flat and build up the worn areas with the Fire cement.


    If need be, you can make a "DAM" to contain the cement while its hardening using some stiff plastic.

    Reinforcing the cement/repaired area with a piece of Hardware cloth (coarse screen) will help.

    Simply cut a small piece of the hardware cloth and imbed it in the cement.

    You will likley need to do the repair in stages and let the cement harden over night.

    Dont try to lay over 1/2 inch of cement at a time.

    I have repaired the fire brick panels in one of my whitfields and its doing fine.

    These panels tend to burn out around the drop tube area.

    High burn settings contribute to this.

    Clinkering is a result of DIRT and other NON burnables in the fuel that under high heat, melt to form a crude glass like material.

    This is normlal with a lot of pellet fuel.

    The real high end stuff will not do it, but the cheaper fuels will see it more.

    The issue is that many pellet makers use every scrap of stuff that they get to make pellets with, and this includes BARK and other junk.

    A certain amount of dirt and other silica containing products gets mixed in with the wood materials and causes the clinker.

    My suggestion, Live with it and clean the pot when needed.

    Just turn the fuel feed to off, let the fire die down to a glow, open the door and scrape out the clinker, leaving a few coals to rekindle the fire and turn the fuel back on.


    I burn nut shells in my Whitfields and clinkers are a way of life. Twice daily I clear the clinker.



    This is all a mater of the fuel you are using/brand of pellets


    Yank the tube scraper a couple times a day to keep the heat tubes free of fly ash.



    I use a long handled putty knife/gasket scraper to clear the clinkers out, this keep you from buring your fingers by using shorter tools.

    Pellets stoves are a way of life and a daily/semi daily household chore.

    My pellet stove chores start at 5 am, clear the clinker, fill the hopper with shells, Oh did I mention make the coffee.

    Before work, check the hopper, clear the clinker one last time.

    6:30 PM, get home, fill the hopper, clear the clinker, yank the tube scraper.
    11PM fill the hopper one last time before bed.

    5am , go again.

    Its not a fill and forget thing.

    Every week on the Advantage 2T it gets shut down and cleaned out, once a month the baffles come out and the vent gets sucked out with the shop vac.

    If the weather is cold and I dont want to let the house cool off, I do a "Hot swap" as I call it.

    I let the fire burn off until there are no flames, yank the door open, lift tjhe pot out with a pliers and sit it in a steel bucket.

    I scrape the ashes into the ash pan, remove and place them in a steel bucket and take right out and dump them.

    A quicky wipe of the window with a rag to remove as much soot and dust as possible, stuff the fire pot back in and rekindle the fire, GO AGAIN.

    Normally I allow the stove to cool until COLD before a cleanup.

    DONT suck ashes from a warm stove into the vacuum. the results can get interesting if not downright dangerous.



    This is how I handle these things, hope this helps

    Snowy
  11. Chareleanor

    Chareleanor New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Clinton, CT
    Thank you , Snowy, This is perfect.
    I have just about the same schedule as you do. I will keep plugging along.
    I know that when the stove was new, we did not have such ash buildup but now the stove is older, we do. I, too, have opened the door and thrown in a hand full of pellets. Yes, I am careful not to use the vac on hot ashes. Another tool to use to get the clinkers out is a metal barbecue tong. For cleaning the ash out of the firebox is use a garden trowel that has a scooped shaped bowl for digging. Perfect. Thank you again. This and all posts were very helpful.
    The Best,
    Chareleanor

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