Can my pellet stove be to large?

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Grader07

Member
Jan 14, 2017
37
Maryland
Hey all! I have posted on here before several times about how my quad trekker was having issues with venting issues with a 3 inch vent. This is in a basement setting. OAK was installed and didnt seem to change much with the “dirty glass”. So it seemed the answers i got here were considered as to a light gray/light brown to white was a good burning stove. I would only achieve these results if i burned the stove hotter than what was comfortable in the finished basement room. If I didnt have it turned up my glass would get black and creosote looking. That all being said over the summer of 2021 I replaced the venting with a 4 inch since several people said they had better results with 4 inch in basement settings. OAK is still installed and I am getting same results as before. I have tried several settings on stove, changed venting, and changed to several different hard pellet brands. The only option for pellets I havent tried are pine pellets with a higher btu. So was curious if burning a hotter fire faster because the area could be to small to heat with this large stove. I have been burning the stove on high at a high temp for a continuous burn and my glass stays clean with very little clouding over last 3 days. Anything under a 75* temp the stove starts and stops and glass gets black. Have had the stove set to 80* and have the door to unfinished side open to help with even heating. Lookin for any advice and if i was unclear with details i will do my best to answer. Thanks!
 

Mt Bob

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
3,983
park county montana
In your case,I would say yes. Most stoves will dirty the glass quickly on a low setting. The bigger output of the stove, the higher the heat is at lower settings. At your lowest setting it still puts out almost 13,000btu's. Your stove has very limited settings and adjustments.
@ things you could try- turn your trim down all the way, -4, and see. This will probably result in a smaller fire,lower flames, and less heat. the other thing is call Quadrafire and see if they offer any special programming, which I highly doubt.
Many other stoves have more features that work in special cases, like Harman's fireplace mode, where you have flames but the room blower does not run.
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
3,117
South Central NH
I would say the stove is probably too big for the area. The P61a in my basement gets much dirtier than the P43 on my main floor (long story, but the short story is that the P61 was not meant to just heat the basement when it was installed). I can't run pure softwoods in it unless I want a total mess. I surmise it is because the hotter pellets run for such a short time that the stove and exhaust never really have a chance to heat up before the air temp has been reached and the stove shuts down.

I have found that running middling/cheaper pellets (hw/sw blend) in there exclusively produces the best results. The glass still gets dirty more quickly than the P43 (for which I usually run better pellets when I have them), but it is only ash and the exhaust stays clean. If I had to do it over, and knew then that I would need a stove on the main floor anyway, I would have put a smaller stove down there.
 

Tonyray

Minister of Fire
I would say the stove is probably too big for the area. The P61a in my basement gets much dirtier than the P43 on my main floor (long story, but the short story is that the P61 was not meant to just heat the basement when it was installed). I can't run pure softwoods in it unless I want a total mess. I surmise it is because the hotter pellets run for such a short time that the stove and exhaust never really have a chance to heat up before the air temp has been reached and the stove shuts down.

I have found that running middling/cheaper pellets (hw/sw blend) in there exclusively produces the best results. The glass still gets dirty more quickly than the P43 (for which I usually run better pellets when I have them), but it is only ash and the exhaust stays clean. If I had to do it over, and knew then that I would need a stove on the main floor anyway, I would have put a smaller stove down there.
Interesting.. P61A here. All i burned past 5 yrs are softies. EasyBlaze, Matra and now in this cold snap NW Doug firs..no problems with any them. My exhaust only gets light powdery ash when i go outside to clean. Glass stays pretty clean when i use stove mode which i am running on low settings in order not to over ride my wall thermostat controlling my oil furnace. Reason being my heating pipes are in basement and when temps get single digit i need to make furnace kick on now and then. Dont like running low settings like #2 feed, 65 temp and low fan but any higher and i overide the wall thermostat.. that said, glass stays pretty clean and doesnt appear to have any low burn issues. Been here long time and always read running low settings on a big harman like mine not good idea. Too close to auger, dirtier burn etc. But maybe burning good softies us a positive thing for it. At the least, not burning crappy stuff is ok for it.. still get the nice blue flame down low in the burnpot so i know i am getting a clean hot fire. Also have OAK. Dont know if that is part of the clean burn at low settings.... do not doubt your situation. Thoughts??
 
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bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
3,117
South Central NH
I am heating 650 sq/ft. that is totally open except the staircase that is in the center. What can I say, burning good pellets means the stove only runs a couple of minutes at a time. Running stove on #2 feed rate (stove temp) is done when outside temps are negative numbers. At that rate the basement is up in the mid 70's. Actually, I usually run #1 feed rate for TSC's, but the Okie Golds that I am burning are longer so use the higher feed rate.

When I was trying to heat my main floor, and running the basement up into the 80's, I ran some softies just fine. But that sucker was blasting and keeping everything hot. That stove loved pure hardwoods too. Oh, and it was heating the foundation and concrete floor too.

I started having issues running hot pellets after I tore out some walls and insulated the foundation. At that same time, I moved the stove for optimum air movement (it had been aimed at the back of the stairway). When I took the exhaust apart, it was very clean in there. Used the exact same setup, just the exhaust is going to 2 o'clock instead of 10 o'clock.

While still running the P61a off the temp probe (not thermostat), I bought some Matras and they made a mess. Cleaned up the mess in the big stove (which ticked me off becasue I had just done a deep clean, including LBT), ran middlings in there, and everything was fine. I tried a couple of bags of DF that I'd gotten as a free sample with the Matras, and again I got a mess to clean up. Last year I threw some other pellets in there that were purely softee, and same result. So the Good stuff that I get off CL is strictly relegated to the P43 - which is fine by me.
 

Tonyray

Minister of Fire
I am heating 650 sq/ft. that is totally open except the staircase that is in the center. What can I say, burning good pellets means the stove only runs a couple of minutes at a time. Running stove on #2 feed rate (stove temp) is done when outside temps are negative numbers. At that rate the basement is up in the mid 70's. Actually, I usually run #1 feed rate for TSC's, but the Okie Golds that I am burning are longer so use the higher feed rate.

When I was trying to heat my main floor, and running the basement up into the 80's, I ran some softies just fine. But that sucker was blasting and keeping everything hot. That stove loved pure hardwoods too. Oh, and it was heating the foundation and concrete floor too.

I started having issues running hot pellets after I tore out some walls and insulated the foundation. At that same time, I moved the stove for optimum air movement (it had been aimed at the back of the stairway). When I took the exhaust apart, it was very clean in there. Used the exact same setup, just the exhaust is going to 2 o'clock instead of 10 o'clock.

While still running the P61a off the temp probe (not thermostat), I bought some Matras and they made a mess. Cleaned up the mess in the big stove (which ticked me off becasue I had just done a deep clean, including LBT), ran middlings in there, and everything was fine. I tried a couple of bags of DF that I'd gotten as a free sample with the Matras, and again I got a mess to clean up. Last year I threw some other pellets in there that were purely softee, and same result. So the Good stuff that I get off CL is strictly relegated to the P43 - which is fine by me.
thanks for your explanation.. that is rare to hear your problems with softwoods specially firs and Matras since i use both as we speak. And same stove.. sounds like u have it figured out either way.. i rarely hear any problems with harman and softies but u are proof that this can happen.
 

Tonyray

Minister of Fire
I am heating 650 sq/ft. that is totally open except the staircase that is in the center. What can I say, burning good pellets means the stove only runs a couple of minutes at a time. Running stove on #2 feed rate (stove temp) is done when outside temps are negative numbers. At that rate the basement is up in the mid 70's. Actually, I usually run #1 feed rate for TSC's, but the Okie Golds that I am burning are longer so use the higher feed rate.

When I was trying to heat my main floor, and running the basement up into the 80's, I ran some softies just fine. But that sucker was blasting and keeping everything hot. That stove loved pure hardwoods too. Oh, and it was heating the foundation and concrete floor too.

I started having issues running hot pellets after I tore out some walls and insulated the foundation. At that same time, I moved the stove for optimum air movement (it had been aimed at the back of the stairway). When I took the exhaust apart, it was very clean in there. Used the exact same setup, just the exhaust is going to 2 o'clock instead of 10 o'clock.

While still running the P61a off the temp probe (not thermostat), I bought some Matras and they made a mess. Cleaned up the mess in the big stove (which ticked me off becasue I had just done a deep clean, including LBT), ran middlings in there, and everything was fine. I tried a couple of bags of DF that I'd gotten as a free sample with the Matras, and again I got a mess to clean up. Last year I threw some other pellets in there that were purely softee, and same result. So the Good stuff that I get off CL is strictly relegated to the P43 - which is fine by me.

btw: i should have mentioned i am heating a 650 down and 650 upstairs..
my stove is direct across from stairs so the heat gets pushed up the steps..
prob makes a difference in my situation of the stoves operation and heat output i assume by running longer and hotter...
 

mtnbiker727

Feeling the Heat
Mar 11, 2019
269
PA
I'm running my stove in the finished basement with the temperature probe, in room temp manual (no OAK). It's set at like 78, but it makes the basement almost 85 degrees. The kitchen up the open stairwell is usually 71 - 73.

If the lows at night are in the 20s or higher, I shut the stove off all night and turn it on at 5:30 AM when I get up.

If it's in the 20s or warmer during the day, my wife shuts it off after I leave for work so they can stand to be down there for school/play. We start it back up sometime in the afternoon or evening, depending...

Tonight it's a low of 8, so I'll leave it run all night long.

When I let it run continuously, I notice the ash accumulates a lot quicker, but even when the stove is essentially idling for hours, I only have white ash on the glass from my Barefoot hardwood pellets. The Barefoot brand pellets are considered Super Premium, which in theory has higher BTU, lower moisture, and lower ash content than other pellets. The sawdust comes from a hardwood flooring factory about 50 miles from here.
 
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Tonyray

Minister of Fire
I'm running my stove in the finished basement with the temperature probe, in room temp manual (no OAK). It's set at like 78, but it makes the basement almost 85 degrees. The kitchen up the open stairwell is usually 71 - 73.

If the lows at night are in the 20s or higher, I shut the stove off all night and turn it on at 5:30 AM when I get up.

If it's in the 20s or warmer during the day, my wife shuts it off after I leave for work so they can stand to be down there for school/play. We start it back up sometime in the afternoon or evening, depending...

Tonight it's a low of 8, so I'll leave it run all night long.

When I let it run continuously, I notice the ash accumulates a lot quicker, but even when the stove is essentially idling for hours, I only have white ash on the glass from my Barefoot hardwood pellets. The Barefoot brand pellets are considered Super Premium, which in theory has higher BTU, lower moisture, and lower ash content than other pellets. The sawdust comes from a hardwood flooring factory about 50 miles from here.
My dealer sells barefoot. Even sells the smaller 23lb bags..bucks pellets here in Pa. I get the top softies from him. Right now burning douglas firs but have to burn very low so i dont overide my wall thermostat. Have to keep basement heating pipes hot periodically in single digit overnite lows..getting nice clean burn at 2 feed rate and set at just below 70. Thermostat on wall st at 72 so it kicks on.
 
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bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
3,117
South Central NH
btw: i should have mentioned i am heating a 650 down and 650 upstairs..
my stove is direct across from stairs so the heat gets pushed up the steps..
prob makes a difference in my situation of the stoves operation and heat output i assume by running longer and hotter...

Well, that was the plan when I got the P61a, but air doesn't circulate in my house - it was in the 80's downstairs, low 50's on the far side of the house (bedrooms) and mid 60's for the livingroom. Doesn't help that not only was the stove behind the stairs (only place to put it), but the top part of the stairs faces the north wall of the house, so what did come up kind of got stuck there. Gotta say that I seem to remember the kitchen was pretty warm though. None of the mitigation efforts panned out (I still need to replace some of the HW flooring that I cut up for vents).
 
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bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
3,117
South Central NH
My dealer sells barefoot. Even sells the smaller 23lb bags..bucks pellets here in Pa. I get the top softies from him. Right now burning douglas firs but have to burn very low so i dont overide my wall thermostat. Have to keep basement heating pipes hot periodically in single digit overnite lows..getting nice clean burn at 2 feed rate and set at just below 70. Thermostat on wall st at 72 so it kicks on.
Ever thought about getting a Therm Guard to run the FHW a couple times a day? Since my pipes go thru the underhouse garage, which is in the mid 30's right now (and some years gets into the mid 20's), I set up a therm guard to run the boier 3x/day, for 10 minutes at a time. If we have an extended cold snap, I change it to 4x/day and 15 minutes each time. When it is mild outside (relatively speaking), I turn the therm guard off. Propane is super expensive around here, so that has been a good solution for me.
 

Grader07

Member
Jan 14, 2017
37
Maryland
Since I started this post and some have shared their thoughts I have been burning the stove on 75* thermo setting with heat level set to high and feed rate of 3. Glass is definitely staying cleaner a lot longer and gets the white ash look now instead of the black color. I have 2 fans circulating the air. One blows the unfinished side air into the heated side and one blows heated air in to unfinished side. Room temp on finished side stays about 70-71 and unfinished fluctuates from 63-68 depending on how cold it gets at night. So overall stove stays lit longer and assuming that it is achieving higher temps within stove im getting good results now. Still wood like to try the softies to see what kinda heat I can get from them. Will my feed level setting need to change for them?
 
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bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
3,117
South Central NH
Since I started this post and some have shared their thoughts I have been burning the stove on 75* thermo setting with heat level set to high and feed rate of 3. Glass is definitely staying cleaner a lot longer and gets the white ash look now instead of the black color. I have 2 fans circulating the air. One blows the unfinished side air into the heated side and one blows heated air in to unfinished side. Room temp on finished side stays about 70-71 and unfinished fluctuates from 63-68 depending on how cold it gets at night. So overall stove stays lit longer and assuming that it is achieving higher temps within stove im getting good results now. Still wood like to try the softies to see what kinda heat I can get from them. Will my feed level setting need to change for them?

Glad you are getting better results with the changes you've made! With that set up, I doubt you would have to adjust your feed rate, but one only knows about actual dynamics until you try it.
 

rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
1,313
ohio
Here is my set up to give a example. I have a 1600 sq ft manufactured home in the country on a full basement. Built in 2002, 2x6 walls and fairly decent windows. I have a 40k Btu St Croix Lancaster stove upstairs burning corn. When it is cold out I use a average of 50 lb/day. Approx 400k btu. divide that by 24 hrs and comes out to average of 16.5k btu per hr. I have it on a tstat and max feed on 3 out of 5. So it idles and when it calls for heat it ramps up to 3. We keep the house at 70F+ . Sometimes I have to shut it down on a sunny day because it gets to hot in here. When it gets down to 0 or negative I have to bump it up to 4.
My opinion is that you want a stove that is sized so it will run at 1/2 capacity or more on the regular. If the stove is oversized it does alot of idling and shutting down and going thru ignition cycles.
My parents have a 1850's brick farm house on top of a hill. You cant throw to much heat at it in the winter.
If you want to run a P68 and have it run well you better have a drafty house or a very open floor plan and have it in a large room.
No different than buying a truck, You see the guy with a F250 V8 Diesel that dont even own a trailer and only uses it to drive back and forth to the office:)