First Pellet Stove- Whitfield Advantage Plus insert

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girevik

Member
Aug 26, 2019
12
Texas
Hello everyone, first post after being interested in pellet stoves for several years.

Here's my story. I'd been casually looking at pellet stove inserts for the last 5-7 years. It doesn't get all that cold in North Texas but the built-in wood fireplace I had was basically useless so I wanted to upgrade it. Last fall, right around this time, I came across a pellet stove on Craigslist, contacted the seller who lived out of town, and after a few months going back and forth with him, went to take a look at the stove. Come to find out it was a Whitfield Advantage Plus. After coming back home and doing some research it seemed like a solid stove but obviously a little older. Going back to what I said earlier, it doesn't get that cold here and I wasn't going to pay full retail for a new stove that I'll only use for maybe a few weeks a year. Didn't think I'd find a better stove around here so settled on a price of $150 and I took it home along with some pipe, bags of pellets and a few other things he threw in.

Since the purchase I've done more research and it appears the Whitfield's were/are fairly well thought of and even though they're older, parts are still available and being very mechanically inclined repairs shouldn't be a problem for me.

Anyhow, being new to pellet stoves I do basic function tests and everything appears to work. Next I go through the process of removing my wood built-in. Not an easy process by any means since it's bricked in and recessed into the existing hearth! Well after some serious work cutting the built-in to pieces I get it out along with all the old chimney pipe. In the, in for a penny in for a pound category, I pour concrete into the old hearth to level it out, insulate the existing fireplace opening with rockwool insulation, seal the back and sides with cement board and run the new 3" pipe up the existing chimney w/ bracing and sealed it up as well.

Knowing we're going to have some cold weather, for us at least, I do one final check of the stove and notice the pressure switch has been bypassed and the tubing cut. Having researched what the pressure switch does I nix my plans to use the stove until I get some new vacuum tubing. I poke around and it seems the tubing nipple on the exhaust fan was plugged. I'm guessing that it being plugged wasn't allowing the pressure switch to show negative pressure and was shutting the unit off which is why the switch was bypassed. The tubing should be here sometime next week so I'll find out then if the switch is defective or not. Switches aren't that expensive and much cheaper than me spending funds on a new stove that I'll get payback on.

With all that said, what else do I need to be on the lookout for as far as tune-up type things? Ensure motor is oiled, make sure auger isn't bound for any reason.......what else? Some things I won't be able to tell until it runs through a full startup, i.e. control board, temp switches but what else should I check before first startup?

I appreciate your time and advice!

Very sincerely, BP
 

Stovensen

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
540
Denmark, EU
Hello girevik,
Welcome to the forums and congratulations with your AdvantagePlus insert. The price of only $ 150,- should allow for a spare part or two :)
Good observation you made with the bypassed pressure switch and the disconnected air tube. The pressure switch is an important safety device that cuts power to the augermotor, if the venting system gets blocked somehow ( bird's nest, wasps, leaves etc.).
Unlike many other pellet stove brands, the pressure switch on a Whitfield ( normally closed ) is monitoring the venting system/chimney for an unwanted/potentially dangerous pressure rise. On many other pellet stoves the pneumatic safety system is based on a vacuum switch monitoring correct vaccum in the fire box area. In these systems the vacuum switch is normally open, waiting for the combustion blower to make enough vacuum to close the contact in the switch.

It's easy to test the pressure switch: Unplug stove and connect an ohmmeter to the terminals on the switch. ( ohmmeter should read app. zero ohm ). With one end of the air hose connected to the pressure switch, then, at the other end you know blow gently with your mouth, until you hear the micro switch clicking. this should change the ohmmeter reading to infinite ohms. If the switch does not react, it could be a defective switch, or - more likely - a damaged rubber diaphragm.

Cleaning the tiny metal barb in the exhaust, through which the pressure switch monitors the venting system, is easy to do with a pipe cleaner. I'm a pipe smoker, so I always have them around, but of course anything similar could be used.

Next important thing I'd suggest is to do a thorough deep clean of the stove. The stickies on this forum section has some very useful tips with pics and all on how to do this job. Actually it's a Whitfield Advantage II insert that was used in this cleaning tutorial:

Be very careful with the ceramic glass in the door, when handling the stove. It is made in one piece, and very expensive, if damaged. Possibly out of stock long ago. I believe the Advantage Plus was to only Whitfield with this fancy loooking huge one piece glass.
The wiring diagram for your Advantage Plus and my Quest Plus should be identical. This could be useful for you, so i'm attaching it to this post.
Do you have the original owner's/intallation manual? It has some very useful information on installation, troubleshooting etc. ? If not, I'll be happy to send it to you. Maybe it can be attached directly to this thread? Will give it a try.
Good luck and take care. Keep us posted

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girevik

Member
Aug 26, 2019
12
Texas
Thanks for the detailed response and resources!

I ran a re-check on the 2 motor fans yesterday as well as the auger motor and all tested good.

Once the vacuum hose comes in I'll update the thread on how well it works, or doesn't work.

Very sincerely, BP