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Wierd experience using Sparkman pellets from Walmart in my Harman XXV

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by newpelletstove, Mar 14, 2008.

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  1. newpelletstove

    newpelletstove Member

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    I had a very odd experience today with my latest few bags of Sparkman pellets from Walmart.

    Over the last couple of days, I started a new batch of these pellets. I noticed very high ash production (piling up to the burnpot !!). I kept knocking the pile down. This afternoon, the stove just went out. I restarted it, but it didn't sustain a fire. I let it cool, gave it a thorough cleaning, even checked my top-vent area (not clogged), and tried again. It took 2 tries, but it is running again now. During this, I called my installer (Fireplace Co in Lake George, NY), and the guy who answered was very knowledgeable and helpful. He said the high-ash pellets had probably ashed over the inside of the igniter area. He recommended I switch back to their pellets (Energex).

    Since I bought the stove for the purpose of saving money, and don't want my $5500 investment to be for nothing, I want to still use the Walmart pellets, but I guess I'll have to make sure I clean the igniter area frequently if I see high ash production again. And maybe clean every 2 weeks minimum.

    Any thoughts ? Today I was home, and it was 45 F outside. But I can't have the stove quitting if it's 0 F outside and I'm at work !!

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  2. Southbridge06GT

    Southbridge06GT New Member

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    $5500 what did you get? gold plating? my xxv went out once and my dealer said that when i scrape the burn pot (which i do every day) he suggested giving the burn pot a stearn hit on both sides after scraping. no problems since
  3. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    $5500? Geeze... I hope you got two stoves for that amount.
  4. newpelletstove

    newpelletstove Member

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    For $5500, I got the stove (which was $3300), hearthpad, top vent kit, and installation, but the big thing (more than $1000) was that I had the vent installed from the stove (on the 1st floor) through the 2nd floor, into the attic and outside. Plus, New York State now taxes these stoves - used to be exempt as a Capital Improvement. Not now.

    Hitting the burnpot sounds like a good idea. I'll try that without getting wild.
  5. newpelletstove

    newpelletstove Member

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    After some more thought, I think the really high ash production I had for a day or two before the stove went out, was just pellets that weren't being burned very completely, because the air passages to the burnpot were getting close up by the higher ash content in the Walmart pellets.

    How cool does everyone let the stove get before doing some kind of cleaning (other than burnpot cleaning) ? I don't mean vacuuming - obviously it has to be cold for that so you don't catch the vacuum cleaner on fire. But can I shut down for a few minutes, unplug, then maybe give the igniter area a cursory cleaning ?
  6. STOVEGUY11

    STOVEGUY11 Feeling the Heat

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    If you unplug the stove to clean, you really need to let it go out, becuase as soon as you open that door you are going to get a ton of smoke into the house. Due to the fact the blowers are not running. So as soon as you open the door, your disrupting the draft. You could clean while stove is still on, and just let the ash from under the burn pot fall into the ash pan.
  7. newpelletstove

    newpelletstove Member

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    Stoveguy, I would not really try to clean (other than the burnpot) while the stove is running. But I was wondering if I might open the igniter area without the stove getting stone-cold first. This way, I could do at least some cleaning without the house getting too cold, and without having to use my oil furnace. What do you think ?

    I have the oil shut right off and do not wish to use it at all.
  8. STOVEGUY11

    STOVEGUY11 Feeling the Heat

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    Use a pair of stove gloves, and take the wing nuts out and just quickly clean the area. That way you dont have to turn the stove off at all. As soon as you open the door, the stove knows the doors open and everything just kind of idels.
  9. newpelletstove

    newpelletstove Member

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    Wow, Stoveguy. By stove gloves, do you mean the ordinary kind you use in the kitchen to take things out of the oven, etc ? Or something else from the stove dealer ?
  10. mjbrown

    mjbrown Feeling the Heat

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    nps,
    go to your local hardware store and get a pair of welding gloves. dont try to use oven mits as they are like putting on winter mittens...very restrictive in what you are trying to accomplish. just my .02
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