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You Know You Have Poor Quality Pellets When?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Sawduster, Nov 18, 2008.

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  1. Sawduster

    Sawduster New Member

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    I have a new Harmon P61A2 and I love it, but I think that I have five tons of very marginal pellets. They throw a lot of heat but the ash build up is tremendous. I have nothing to compare it to, but my manual says that I may have to empty the ash pan after burning 1-2 tons of pellets - my ash pan was full after a half ton. The biggest problem though is that the burn pot gets jammed with ashes after a 24 hour period forcing me to shut the stove down once a day to scape them out. Is this normal? I was hoping to be able to go at least 36 hours without having to do that as I do not go home every night. If I don't scrape out the burn pot, will the build up of ashes smother the fire or will it keep burning anyway right through the ashes?

    These pellets are from Canada and are called Boreal pellets. I bought them in June and had them delivered at a cost of $230 a ton stacked in my shed. Although with the pellet shortage around here, it would have been these pellets or nothing. I'm just really wondering how much ash is produced with a quality pellet. I would easily pay another $50 per ton to not have as much ash as I am having to deal with now. I should also say that I am sifting about 1/2 to 1lb of fines out of every bag, and is that normal?

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  2. AndrewChurchill

    AndrewChurchill Minister of Fire

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    I have less than an ounce of fines in a bag of the pellets I use. I'm using Shur Blaze pellets and so far so good and there's not a lot of ash.
  3. muss

    muss Feeling the Heat

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    Embden, Maine
    When you have poor quality pellets as i have, i took advice from this site & played with the air restricter , it made a huge difference but what i think is helping the most is & was a major & thorough cleaning . Good luck , Muss
  4. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    I can't comment because I just don't know those
    stoves but I'm wondering why can't you give the
    burnpot a scrape with the stove running?
    It takes seconds to scrape the pot. Many of us do
    it with the stove running. I wear an ove glove
    just in case my hand touches the side of the door
    or other hot part of the stove.
  5. Sawduster

    Sawduster New Member

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    The stove is as clean as it can be. I cleaned it 24 hours ago, and it is brand new so I don't think that cleanliness is the issue.
  6. Sawduster

    Sawduster New Member

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    I was wondering about giving it a scrape with the stove running, but was afraid it would blow ashes all over outside of the stove. Anyone with a P68 or P61 who scrapes with it running? Is it ok to do this?
  7. kyburnr

    kyburnr New Member

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    I scrape a little and knock the clumps of ash out of the burn pot while XXV is running.
  8. Sawduster

    Sawduster New Member

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    If I could scape it a little while it was running, it would greatly help my cause. I could do it in the morning before I leave for work without having to wait an hour for it to shut down.
  9. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    I don't think this method is stove specific.
    Try turning it down to the lowest setting before opening the door.
    That way you won't get much if any fly ash coming out.
    Sometimes a little falls on my hearth that had been stuck
    on the inside of the door.
  10. Sawduster

    Sawduster New Member

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    I will try scraping the pot tomorrow morning with the stove running, and report back.
  11. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    On the Harman stoves, the pellets push the ash out of the burnpot and drop it into the pan.
    You should only need to give the burnpot a quick scrape daily to make sure it does not have
    clinkers blocking the holes in the burnpot. Can be done while running.

    Even though the manual states you can go through a ton before cleaning, IMO it is just asking for trouble
    to wait that long.

    The more the bags are handled, the more fines you will find in the bags.
  12. j00fek

    j00fek Feeling the Heat

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    when you buy athens pellets and you have a big coffee can of fines in the bottom of your 90lb hopper, have to clean the glass every week, empty ashes every week.
  13. Souzafone

    Souzafone Feeling the Heat

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    Regarding pellet quality, sounds like you got some crappy ones. Were they PFI certified? The best pellets I ever had burned so well the ash was very fine with no clumps at all, and the stove required very little cleaning of the burn pot, ash pan, and even the glass. The worst we had a few years ago were terribly messy, but did burn hot. We're burning barefoots now, a hardwood, and they're pretty good all around, but the ash is a little clumpy.
  14. Souzafone

    Souzafone Feeling the Heat

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    Regarding pellet quality, sounds like you got some crappy ones. Were they PFI certified? The best pellets I ever had burned so well the ash was very fine with no clumps at all, and the stove required very little cleaning of the burn pot, ash pan, and even the glass. The worst we had a few years ago were terribly messy, but did burn hot. We're burning barefoots now, a hardwood, and they're pretty good all around, but the ash is a little clumpy. The fines you have indicate they've been handled excessively, I've never sifted, and get maybe a spoonful in each bag.
  15. homebrewz

    homebrewz Minister of Fire

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    If you do a quick search on this forum for Boreal pellets, I think you'll find they have less than favorable reviews.
    However, you might as well use them, unless you can return them for something else. Experimenting with the
    air control to find the most efficient burn will help somewhat.
  16. BubbRubb

    BubbRubb New Member

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    I have a P68 and scrape the burn pot while the stove is running. No problems. Also, if the ash build-up gets too heavy it will be pushed out of the burn pot. I've never had that happen, but I scrape every 2 days.
  17. lecomte38

    lecomte38 Feeling the Heat

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    I'm burning Barefoot premium too. Like above, they seem clumpy and I drag the clumps out of the pot a couple of times a day. NO WAY could I burn 1 ton without emptying the pan in my insert, every other week. I do notice that with cold weather I run the stove harder and the clumps are less.
  18. flamegrabber

    flamegrabber Member

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    I bought 2 tons of Lignetics hardwood and burned a few bags of those so far. They leave very little ash and what there is of it is like very fine, almost sand like ash, and leave NO clinkers with Lignetics.

    And the glass could go a few days before getting dirty.


    Then I bought 1 ton of Maine Woods pellets.

    These are 80/20% hardwood/softwood. They leave *ALOT* more ash than the LG's, and the glass gets dirty much quicker. They also leave a big clinker in the burnpot every day.

    So there's alot more maintenence with the MW's. Once per day I shutdown the stove, vac it out and clean the burnpot.

    It takes me only 10-15 minutes to clean it out and clean the glass. I get up in the AM, shutdown the stove, take a shower and by the time I'm dressed the shutdown is complete ( ~30 minutes for my Breckwell Big E ).

    Then the 10 minute cleaning and fire it back up.

    I do not like the idea of opening the door while the stove is running. If I don't open the door there won't be any of that fly-ash flying up into the 3 bag hopper.

    My stove will shutdown automatically if the door is open for more than 20 seconds and I figure there has to be a good reason they built that interlock into the stove.


    I shouldn't need more than 3 tons per season and I plan on burning through the 1 ton of Maine Woods pellets before switching back to the more low-maintenence Lignetics for when it's really cold out.

    I must say though the MW's pellets do burn plenty hot.
  19. Jester

    Jester New Member

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    I have a 38. Crack the door, once the stove senses that there is a berach, it will slow the blowers right down and you should be good to go from there
  20. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    Good point...
    be sure to open the door slowly as well
  21. sparkydog00

    sparkydog00 Feeling the Heat

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    Have to agree with you on that one. They are the worst pellets I have burned in my 8 plus years burning.
  22. JBlank912

    JBlank912 New Member

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    NW NJ
    I have been burning Penningtons that ended up being last years. They have a lot of fines but burn must be pretty clean because I don't seem to get that much ash. I've been picking up some bags of other brands as I spot them for testing. Tried this years Pennington's and I can see the difference in the pellet and they burned better, also they were darker and more consistent dark pellets. I just tried some Green Team that I picked up at Lowes. They looked like this years Penningtons, shorter, consistent and dark. Burn great but produce alot of ash. With the peeningtons after 24 hours I woukld have about 1/2" of ash, using the Green Team in 24 hours I had 2" of ash and the ash trap on the Right was almost full when witht the Penningtons I have never found more then a drop of ash behind the ash trap doors. Anyone elso use the Green Team?
  23. Sawduster

    Sawduster New Member

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    Well, I scraped off the clumps of ash from the burn pot while the stove was operating, and I'm still here to tell about it. Seriously there was no issue other than a little smoke smell. That was helpful information. I'm really glad that I found this forum, as it saves a lot of trial and error and costly mistakes.
  24. scruffy

    scruffy Member

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    NH
    I've been burning Pennington pellets from Lowe's in my Englander 55 SHP-22 and scrape the burn pot with the fire going. Get a little smoke, but that's to be expected after interrupting the air flow.
    I made a long handled scraper out of a spatchler I bought at a discount store.

    The Penningtons seem to give me clinkers and will snuff out the stove if I don't scrape out the ash pan before we go to bed. I'm still experimenting with the settings and so far I have to clean the ash pan daily and also the window. I run the stove on the lowest settings at night and in the morning find I burn about 10-15 pounds in 8 hours. Still not locked into the best low level setting.
    I clean the ash pan and stove daily before I restart it in the evening after work.

    The Penningtons are the only pellets I've burned so far, but I'm finally getting 4 tons of another premium pellet on Friday that were ordered back in June. Hoping for a better burn with the new brand.
  25. HopeItBurns

    HopeItBurns Member

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    South East, Michigan
    Yes I put the stove on low, fan usually changes automatically and open door, clean burn pot with scraping tool provided with your stove. You generally have 30 seconds before pressure switch senses or switches stove off so I try to clean burn pot rather quickly. Shut the door, turn stove back to where you want it, grab remote control, pop a beer, sit down and enjoy the fire and your plasma TV.




    Breckwell P23i
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