Delayed ignition in Jotul GF500 LP

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Horned Owl

Sep 9, 2020
I have a 10-year-old Jotul GF500, running on LP gas, that was working fine all winter. I've learned that if I start it every week or two during the summer, it seems to make it less likely that I have trouble when fall rolls around. I'd been doing that and all was well until about a month ago, I suddenly started getting the big POOF and an orange fireball when starting it as well as tiny bits of the white insulation being blown out of the stove. Then this is would calm down and the stove would burn normally.

I contacted the dealer I bought it from (the only one in the state, so far as I know) to get a service guy. He came, cleaned things up, said it was fixed and left (I had to work so had someone else come to let him in). When I got home, I tried it and it was maybe a little better but not fixed. I called the dealer back and they sent the same guy out in a week or so. This time I was home. He spent a fair amount of time, said he'd adjusted the distance from the pilot to the gas and things seemed better by the time he left. However, the next morning I fired it up and got a moderate POOF, smaller than before but still not right. it's still not lighting until 3-5 seconds after I hear the beep. Subsequent mornings have been right back to the way it had been, and today it was bad enough that it actually blew the flames out and had to re-light!

This has been an ongoing problem with this stove, every couple of years. Does anyone have any ideas, or do I just give up, get rid of this and look into buying a plain-Jane DV heater? I live in an old farmhouse in Wisconsin with no central heat, so this is THE source of heat and I can't have it being unreliable in December or January!
Did the tech measure the incoming & outgoing gas pressure?
Did he clear the burner tube?
Did he clear the gas line behind the burner orifice?
Is the burner correctly aligned on the burner orifice?
I believe he did items 2-4 on your list, but don't think he did item #1. I'll mention all 4 of them, just to be sure, when he comes to try again. Thanks so much for your input.
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I finally found another service place that was willing to work on the stove. Their tech came and found several problems:
1) too much "media", the gravel-like stuff that is supposed to look like coals
2) damaged gasket all around the burn pan
3) a small screw that had fallen into one of the holes in the burn pan where the gas is supposed to come out. It became jammed in the gas channel within the burn pan and stopped the progress of the gas thru the channel.
4) damaged gasket at the top of the stove (kind of a pressure relief valve so that the glass doesn't break if delayed ignition does happen)

He took video of the attempts to start the stove, showing how the flame would progress to a certain point along its path in the burn pan at the bottom of the stove and then just stop. It would hang there for several seconds and then BANG!

We ended up ordering a new burn pan, which the tech felt was a major design improvement over the old one (something to do w/the gasket, I don't recall the details on this). We also had to replace the gasket at the top of the stove for the pressure relief thing and since one of the bolts that held it in place became stuck (he was afraid to crank on it too much b/c if it outright broke, the stove wouldn't be usable, and I NEEDED it), ended up ordering the whole assembly.

As I said, the new burn pan was something the tech was really happy with. However, the "inlays" (the kind of random-shaped raised things that bolt on to hold the fake logs in place) arrived broken in 3 pieces each, which was pretty amazing b/c the packaging was absolutely virginal-appearing! He was able to use them to make the stove functional for now and replacements just arrived a few days ago. He is scheduled to come in 2 weeks and finally finish the saga of the stove.

This was not cheap but the stove is working like a champ now, turns on and off with nothing but the small muffled sound I would expect from a gas heater. I'm really pleased to have found a place that I can rely on for repairs. As an aside, when the tech finished, he said "I normally won't talk bad about another service, but any tech worth their salt should have noticed the problems. This should never have gone on this long." He also informed me that the dealer I'd bought it from does not have their own service department but contracts the work out much like Home Depot and those sort of stores do, so it's the same situation where there isn't necessarily the same level of competence and accountability just due to the way the work is assigned and paid for.

Not sure if that's helpful for you, but that's my story at this point.
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