Does anyone else have extreme dust issue with pellet insert?

MimiKelly Posted By MimiKelly, Feb 16, 2012 at 2:30 PM

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System Upgrade. Monday 9/16 7am central time.Thanks for your patience.
  1. MimiKelly

    MimiKelly
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    Feb 8, 2012
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    In 2008 we had installed a Whitfield Profile 30 pellet insert in our family room fireplace. (We live in a split level ranch and the fireplace is downstairs, as is the utility room and 2 car garage.) Since moving in here in 1998, we've used the fireplace as additional heating for the downstairs portion of the house, beginning with wood burning, going to propane gas logs to finally the pellet insert. However, I can't ever remember the household dust being so terrible as it has been since putting in the pellet insert. The downstairs portion of the house is especially bad, with me having to clean off a thick layer of dust DAILY from downstairs furniture and electronics. We've had our share of issues with the pellet insert, and recently we replaced the firebrick and door gasket. Last week we discovered (with the help of Hearth.com forums) places we've never known to clean ash out of, and have since done an extensive cleaning. But the dust issue is still quite terrible. I am really quite curious if this is normal with a pellet insert, if others have a horrible dust issue in the house and if there is anything I can do to cut down on the dust formation.
     
  2. md2002

    md2002
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    Oct 18, 2011
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    I've only had my stove for a month and have not notices any excessive dust... everything seems normal. Sorry, that's all the help I have to offer.
     
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  3. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear
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    Nov 10, 2008
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    What were you using as a heating system prior to the installation of your in essence forced unfiltered hot air system (the insert)?
     
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  4. Murphy118

    Murphy118
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    Sep 20, 2010
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    What kind of "dust" is it? is it like household dust or black sooty dust like ash, or like fines from pellets? is it uniform in the room or concentrated in any one area, like near the blower/bottom/top/sides or front of stove? Just trying to help figure out where it is emanating from,,,,,

    John
     
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  5. movemaine

    movemaine
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    Nov 28, 2011
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    I have an insert and a similar setup - I have no dust.

    However, since a pellet uses a blower and has an air intake - I'm wondering if the dust is being sucked into the stove from the room (on my insert, the air intake is under the left bottom) and blowing out through the blower. It's possible that you didn't notice the dust before because the dust settled and wasn't being blown around by the stove's blower.
     
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  6. wwert

    wwert
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    Dec 6, 2008
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    What are you using for a vacuum, if its not a vac meant for ash you are just sucking it up and the vacuum is blowing it around again.
     
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  7. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw
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    Mar 9, 2009
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    I have two inserts and found that my dust situation was bad the first year I had them. In both cases. after pulling them out for spring cleaning, I found considerable piles of ash inside the stove around the exit of the combustion blower. This was being picked up by the room convection blower and blown out into the house. Bottom line is that the stove shop/installers did a poor job of installing and sealing the flexible pipe going up the chimneys. Ash was being blown out of the unsealed connections and picked up by the convection blower. Liberal application of high temp silicone at all joints solved the problem and I have no dust problems this year.

    Even if the connections look good, invest in a couple of tubes of 500 degree Rutland silicone, which you can get at Ace Hardware, and coat every joint back there!!!!
     
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  8. Xena

    Xena
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    Nov 30, 2005
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    Mine isn't an insert but I tend to doubt your dust problem
    is isolated to an insert only.
    I have a layer of "dust" on just about everything in the living room
    every day. In my case it's the dust from the pellets/pellet bag.
    Some brands have more dust than others but I have never been
    able to eliminate it completely. (Some folks sift the pellets but
    I'm not one of them) Some people might not notice it every day
    but I've got a dark colored coffee table so the light color
    of the pellet dust is very evident.
     
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  9. toomany

    toomany
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    Oct 31, 2011
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    I've got a small layer of dust near my insert. Looks to only be fines from the bags. I pour half the bag into a 5gallon bucket, then into the hopper. It's not enough to bother me. I've got more problems with the hair from the 4 dogs running around the house.
     
  10. RORY12553

    RORY12553
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    Dec 12, 2011
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    I have a wood stove and have been living there for about 6 months now. The house even before using the stove was extremely dusty in general. Anybody have any suggestions of why?
     
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  11. mroletta

    mroletta
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    Sep 26, 2011
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    I use a shop vac with a drywall filter to keep particulate down when I'm cleaning the stoves.

    I also use a self made setup for pre-cleaning sawdust from the pellets before I dump them into the wood stove. This alone might play a huge factor, as I've emptied out about 10 gallons of "fines" this season alone.

    2 pellet stoves, 0 dust problems.
     
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  12. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear
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    Nov 10, 2008
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    How close is the house to a street?
     
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  13. MimiKelly

    MimiKelly
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    Feb 8, 2012
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    Thanks to all for replies. In answer to some of the reply questions: Our 1978 built house is heated by heat pump, with 2 vents in the family room where the insert is. The dust is not a black soot, but a light gray. It is most noticeable on the TV screen, but seems pretty well distributed throughout the room. The vac we use for cleanings is an ash vac we bought the same time we purchased the insert. After this burning season comes to an end, we'll check any connections that may not be sealed properly, as well as any blower areas. I do know we have quite a dust from the pellets/pellet bag. All comments/suggestions will be addressed. Thanks again to all.
     
  14. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear
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    Nov 10, 2008
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    So the the house is (was) heated by a heat pump and since you mentioned there were vents the end result was by a forced air system.

    Forced air systems move a lot of air and thus particulate matter (dust) unless there are filters involved they also act as dust distribution systems (as does the pellet stove).

    Duct work is notorious for collecting dust over the non heating season (as are the radiators on a hot water or steam system) the difference comes when the heating system starts up in the fall. You generally smell the dust heating up when you first start up a hot water or steam system. The same smell is there with a hot air system except the hot air system will blow it out of the venting and throughout the house.

    The dust comes from a number of places one of which is from outside.

    In addition to the fines with the pellets, there is the ash disturbed when you open the stove to clean it, likewise when you carry the ash pan around, and when you run a vacuum nozzle against the interior of the firebox.
     
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  15. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw
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    That's a good point, Smokey. With the forced air system idle, plenty of dust can collect in the ducting and when it's turned back on, out comes the dust. With an insert, any exhaust leaks go unnoticed though so my money's still on that one.
     
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  16. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear
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    Nov 10, 2008
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    Oh that exhaust leak is a definite possibility. No doubt about it, I just want the OP to understand it can come from a lot of different places and that there is a difference between what the air system is in a pellet stove and the air system in most hot air heating systems.

    I've heated with forced and gravity hot air systems, the forced systems were all filtered the gravity one wasn't.

    I've also heated with forced hot water and steam systems.

    They all react to and handle dust differently.
     
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  17. Nicholas440

    Nicholas440
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    Oct 27, 2008
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    I have a Quadrafire insert, and I do get some dust, however nothing like you describe. The dust I'm seeing on the living room furniture is like a tan color which is pellet dust. I dont sift my pellets but I have learned to add them very slowly so as not to stir up a cloud of fine dust. I also have a large Hunter air purifier near the pellet insert, and I change that hepa filter every 3 months. I imagine some of your dust is from the pellets, you might try adding them slowly, and don't shake the bag when you empty it. Some bags have a lot of dust in them. Also the convection blower should be vacuumed and cleaned regularly , it pulls room air in and gets a good layer of dust and dirt stuck to it and it will push a lot of that into the air as well.
     
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  18. MimiKelly

    MimiKelly
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    Feb 8, 2012
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    I never really thought about having the duct work throughout the house cleaned out. Thanks for the info! I'll look into getting that done.
     
  19. Andrew Charles II

    Andrew Charles II
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  20. Andrew Charles II

    Andrew Charles II
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    Sep 2, 2019
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    I just moved into a house which has a pellet stove as others do in the neighborhood. Although I have not used it yet I have been advised to only use high quality pellet's [in my area they are called "Gold Pellets"] which are compressed with top notch wood and are the most efficient. They do give off a fine dust, but less of it, and they provide a longer time of heat. After reading some of the other comments I plan to have the stove professional cleaned [especially the duct work] before I use it and periodically thereafter. I'm told it will heat the first floor, so I intend to hang cheese-cloth on the hallway opening the heat would be travelling to go up the steps. I will monitor the amount of dust I collect from that, and if is a lot I'll buy a propane stove and be done with it. I have a neighbor who heats a very large home with pellets as the main source of heat. She has chronic bronchitis and lung problems, no health insurance and complains about the dust. Go figure? Your health is more important than heating bills!
    AC2
     
  21. Overfireinthehole

    Overfireinthehole
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    May 5, 2017
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    Dump your pellets in a bucket outside before bringing them inside and it will cut down on the amount of dust that boils out into your house when you dump them in the hopper. That’s where most dust comes from. Also, use a vacuum that has a Hepa filter to clean your stove. If your vacuum doesn’t have a good filter then you will be blowing ashes all over your house when you clean it. Finally, when cleaning your stove, turn off any fans or furnaces or anything that will make it harder for your vacuum to do it’s job and catch what you are knocking loose .pellet stoves are only dusty if you don’t take care of them and use common sense
     
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  22. Sootmaster1990

    Sootmaster1990
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    May 2, 2015
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    The other thing I would check and it might be a pretty rare situation but we had a dealer in my area who was notorious for installing pellet inserts with partial liners he would take a 5 foot section of liner and stuff it up the damper and put insulation around it and what would happen over time is all the soot and ash builds up on top of that insulation and then collapses and goes right into the back of the stove and then into your living room when the distribution blower kicks on. Just a thought I’ve ran into that situation plenty of times and it is a mess
     
  23. Overfireinthehole

    Overfireinthehole
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    That’s true. We even used to sell stub kits till I convinced my boss it was a terrible idea.
     
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  24. JRemington

    JRemington
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    I’d take a serious look to make sure the T is sealed with high temp sealant. If it’s not, fly ash escapes, gets sucked in the convection fan and blown out. Dusty pellets don’t cause you house to be coated in dust daily.
     
  25. Overfireinthehole

    Overfireinthehole
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    May 5, 2017
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    It’s pretty rare to have a clean out Tee behind an insert. I’ve seen it but I don’t usually do them that way because on most units I brush the flu through the blower housing, and a lot of inserts that have a horizontal exhaust port are so low to the ground that there isn’t room to take the clean out off.
     
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