Harman Accentra insert deep cleaning: questions

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tiger

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2014
406
Seabrook, MD (DC suburbs)
So, doing as deep clean on the Harman Accentra insert, and:

(A) Is there lubrication or other maintenance on the two distribution fan motors? I’d hate to replace those too.

(B) Speaking of the distribution fans, I’ll admit I had not nosed around in the squirrel-cage fans before, and what I saw surprised me a bit. There was quite a bit of accrued dust on the fan blades… to the degree I could see. I spent time with a small chip brush, and the nozzle of the vacuum, and I did not get all out. It’s difficult to reach on the left side, and on the right side near the combustion fan, darn near impossible. Is this normal, what is the usual maintenance on that, is this leading to motor failure? Getting in there to disassemble or remove the housings would be daunting, or does someone make a very small 90-degree brush attachment for a vacuum to poke in from the side and yet clean the blades? And I do not see any way to do a visual inspection of the inside of the housings. Should have taken a photo, but forgot until after my attempted cleaning

(C) Is there a “trick” to the two heavy plates that flank the medallion? I usually spend 10-15 minutes of more, per side, trying to find the combination of tilt and twist to get them out. it’s like a Chinese block puzzle, it the burnt or the plates were 1/8” narrower, they would pop right out. The video that came with the stove makes it look like they readily fall out. They do not.

(D) Wow, ESP looked rather clean to me, and wiped off with just a dry paper towel. Yet again. I keep forgetting what products I may or may not use on the ESP, so I choose… nothing.

(E) I decided to take a couple of pictures of the inside as I got the various plates and covers out. There is accumulated dust in there, but is this average, light, or heavy? Pretty sure I’ve done most of a ton since the last time I was in this deep.

(F) Didn’t get a lot of ash when clearing the 16’ stainless flue going up my chimney. But, while in the vicinity, I looked down at when the insert attaches to the flue at a “union" of sorts. On the stove side of that, there is a foam gasket and it looks a wee bit distorted. Does this look worrisome?

(G) At me wife’s request, we got the faux logs that sit in front of the fire; I clean them weekly with a chip brush. Alas, this week I see a crack and I suspect the next time I have them out, they will break in two — and I do not see a part number in the Harmon manual parts list. Any ideas? Maybe PelletHead knows?

Well, hours later, finished the cleaning, turns it on. Fired up in six minutes, I still like the idea of a tablespoon of ash on top of the pellets to assist ignition. Wow, I should had expected this, but the distribution fans blew out quite a cloud of dust/ash into the room, stuff I presume I had dislodged during (B) above.

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Montecarlossfan

Burning Hunk
Jan 1, 2019
114
Connecticut
A/B- They are sealed bearings but occasionally I take mine out and clean them well and put a few drops of oil into the bearing...not that it does much but in my mind it helps lol. You can easily remove them from the unit with the couple of screws that hold them in.

C-Take out the medallion first, Guide second, then lift the guides up and twist slightly.

D-damp paper towel works for me.

E-If that is a ton worth..Average to Heavy..I tend to clean mine at the 3 week mark which is about 1/2 a ton depending on how cold it is.

F-The gasket looks a little tired but it looks like it will still seal properly.

G- They do sell the logs..I have seen them listed but cannot recall where.

I 'd clean that stove a bit more often based upon the buildup on the heat exchanger....You must really know the difference when it fires up after cleaning that much gunk off. I find that depending on pellets and burn settings I get to about the 3 week mark where I notice the biggest drop in heat output....typically if I'm burning stove chow or other cheap pellet..I can go the full ton with something like turman and push a ton through as you did but the last 3-4 days it better not be super cold out or it will be running full tilt.
 

tiger

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2014
406
Seabrook, MD (DC suburbs)
One possible benefit is, although today is a we bit warmer that previously, I'm seeing 82F in the living room (!) instead of 76 earlier; so cleaning might indeed be adding efficiency. Fan motors still louder than I prefer.

A/B- They are sealed bearings but occasionally I take mine out and clean them well and put a few drops of oil into the bearing...not that it does much but in my mind it helps lol. You can easily remove them from the unit with the couple of screws that hold them in.

C-Take out the medallion first, Guide second, then lift the guides up and twist slightly.

D-damp paper towel works for me.

E-If that is a ton worth..Average to Heavy..I tend to clean mine at the 3 week mark which is about 1/2 a ton depending on how cold it is.

F-The gasket looks a little tired but it looks like it will still seal properly.

G- They do sell the logs..I have seen them listed but cannot recall where.

I 'd clean that stove a bit more often based upon the buildup on the heat exchanger....You must really know the difference when it fires up after cleaning that much gunk off. I find that depending on pellets and burn settings I get to about the 3 week mark where I notice the biggest drop in heat output....typically if I'm burning stove chow or other cheap pellet..I can go the full ton with something like turman and push a ton through as you did but the last 3-4 days it better not be super cold out or it will be running full tilt.

A/B: you take the motors out -- or take the bearings out of the motors? Either way... wow.
C: thanks, I do not take the flame guide (correct name) out, maybe that's my problem? L/R sides of the box are asymmetrical, the left side particularly difficult. I need to watch the video, what holds the guide in?
D: good to know, I seem to read that a dirty ESP is the cause of 99-44/100ths of all stove problems.
E: OK, not what I expected to hear. Today's cleaning was about 4-1/2 hours. That's a lot of work twice a season if that's what I need.
F: OK , I'll keep an eye on it.
G: Sounds like time for an e-mail to PelletHead. A little surprised I cracked them as I treat them delicately. Wife wants logs, although the view of the fire might be more straightforward without them.

Sounds like you burn WAY more than I but I could be wrong. With the wife home since March, 15hr/day instead of just evenings, perhaps 1.5 days/bag. Hamers pellets in the Harman, I guess I figured I had the cleanest possible combination.
 

Montecarlossfan

Burning Hunk
Jan 1, 2019
114
Connecticut
One possible benefit is, although today is a we bit warmer that previously, I'm seeing 82F in the living room (!) instead of 76 earlier; so cleaning might indeed be adding efficiency. Fan motors still louder than I prefer.



A/B: you take the motors out -- or take the bearings out of the motors? Either way... wow.
C: thanks, I do not take the flame guide (correct name) out, maybe that's my problem? L/R sides of the box are asymmetrical, the left side particularly difficult. I need to watch the video, what holds the guide in?
D: good to know, I seem to read that a dirty ESP is the cause of 99-44/100ths of all stove problems.
E: OK, not what I expected to hear. Today's cleaning was about 4-1/2 hours. That's a lot of work twice a season if that's what I need.
F: OK , I'll keep an eye on it.
G: Sounds like time for an e-mail to PelletHead. A little surprised I cracked them as I treat them delicately. Wife wants logs, although the view of the fire might be more straightforward without them.

Sounds like you burn WAY more than I but I could be wrong. With the wife home since March, 15hr/day instead of just evenings, perhaps 1.5 days/bag. Hamers pellets in the Harman, I guess I figured I had the cleanest possible combination.


Hamers seem to burn well for most in the Harman stove but so does anything lol.

Yes I burn about 4-5 tons a season as I heat the entire house with it.
My stove is a circa 2014 unit and still runs great.

My father has the original Accentra insert he bought new in 2008, still on the original igniter, auger, esp. I have replaced the blower and combustion blower on it as well as some gaskets as needed , that unit is a little more of a pain to clean than ours. He burns about 5 tons a year and its still running strong , they are well built.


A/B-I take the blower assembly out..Pretty easy to do, allows you to clean it well (1 time a year lol)
C-Should lift out//its the piece on top of your burnpot, the medallion slides up and out as you figured out quickly..The side guides just lift up after this and you kind of pull the side closest to the burnpot towards you which allows it to slide past the front of the burnpot.

D-Yes a dirty esp will cause all kinds of weird things from stove not burning right etc.

E- If you clean it once every few weeks its not bad, you don't have to pull the whole unit out...just dump the ash, vacuum, brush and vac the interior completely, run a dryer duct brush up the exhuast opening next to the combustion blower so it delicately brushes the esp probe, clean under burnpot, scrape and clean burnpot top. Re-assemble and enjoy. Since you burn so little that explains the ash buildup as low burns produce slightly more buildup.

It takes me from 15-20 min to do this..A deep cleaning of the exhaust/stove I do about twice a season, the first being after the first ton to see how the pellets work this year. That includes opening the fines box for the feeder and cleaning that out.

I find that this keeps the stove running great doing this and the deep clean only takes about an hour afterwards:)
 

tiger

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2014
406
Seabrook, MD (DC suburbs)
By the way, the output from the discharge vent feels much warmer; and (although outdoor temp is indeed slightly higher now) my living room is a full 6 degrees above what it was pre-cleaning. So, that reinforces the idea that accrued ash acts as an insulator.

I do have a little more hum/resonation from the distribution or combustion fans, difficult to tell which, at random times, in recent months. Yesterday it seemed louder for a few hours, then less so, and today it's as quiet as I've heard it since new. I was worried of imbalance in the distribution fans from inequal removal of accrued ash.

Hamers seem to burn well for most in the Harman stove but so does anything lol. Yes I burn about 4-5 tons a season as I heat the entire house with it. My stove is a circa 2014 unit and still runs great. My father has the original Accentra insert he bought new in 2008, still on the original igniter, auger, esp. I have replaced the blower and combustion blower on it as well as some gaskets as needed , that unit is a little more of a pain to clean than ours. He burns about 5 tons a year and its still running strong , they are well built.

A/B-I take the blower assembly out..Pretty easy to do, allows you to clean it well (1 time a year lol)
C-Should lift out//its the piece on top of your burnpot, the medallion slides up and out as you figured out quickly..The side guides just lift up after this and you kind of pull the side closest to the burnpot towards you which allows it to slide past the front of the burnpot.
D-Yes a dirty esp will cause all kinds of weird things from stove not burning right etc.
E- If you clean it once every few weeks its not bad, you don't have to pull the whole unit out...just dump the ash, vacuum, brush and vac the interior completely, run a dryer duct brush up the exhuast opening next to the combustion blower so it delicately brushes the esp probe, clean under burnpot, scrape and clean burnpot top. Re-assemble and enjoy. Since you burn so little that explains the ash buildup as low burns produce slightly more buildup.

It takes me from 15-20 min to do this..A deep cleaning of the exhaust/stove I do about twice a season, the first being after the first ton to see how the pellets work this year. That includes opening the fines box for the feeder and cleaning that out. I find that this keeps the stove running great doing this and the deep clean only takes about an hour afterwards:)

Yeah, you too burn way more than I do. When my wife goes back to working at the office, we'll revert to 55 hr/wk instead of 105hr/wk. Pre-Covid, we used perhaps 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 ton/yr. All estimates, I have not kept strict records.

A/B: Maybe I'll try to find a video. I do try to pull the insert out as little as possible, I get maybe 12"-15" opening to work in, thus it is so hard to get to the fines box* (blind), etc. If I could "safely" get it further out, I'd be more comfortable tinkering back there!

C: Again I need to look for a video on the burnpot (I think it's called a flame guide?) removal. If that readily pops out, it would save a staggering amount of time and, what's more, frustration during cleanings. I was really tempted to take an angle grinder to the place on the guide or the plate where they interfered with one another!

D: I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest I have not yet experienced ESP-caused problems.

E: My weekly cleaning stops before pulling out the medallion/plates -- again "C" might enable my changing that regimen. Your comment "run a dryer duct brush up the exhuast opening next to the combustion blower so it delicately brushes the esp probe" intrigues me! Anyway, I spend 1/2hr+ weekly, and as I said the deep clean is half a day at least. That said, if the back-of-insert cleaning only means the flue, the fines box and the ESP, that's not so bad. On the other hand, pulling the distribution fans annually has the reverse effect.

* level of fines in there was up to the level of whatever shaft is running through it... maybe an inch deep?
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
In reality none of the bearings are sealed. Hermetically sealed bearings cost way too much for stove use. The bearings have a 'dust seal' and you can carefully pop it out with a small screwdriver or something pointed and then apply light oil (I use 3-1) and then pop the 'seal' back in. Easy-Peasy and lubing them every spring , they will outlast you.

Same thing with the drive (auger and stirrer motors, if you have a stirrer). Remove the end cap on the motor and soak the felt in the end cap with 3-1 oil and reinstall. Sone drive motors have an oil hole in the casting, some don't. I grease my reduction gear boxes too but that is way more involved. You can drill a small hole in the top of the case and use a needle greaser to fill the gearbox. It's full when the grease starts to ooze out from around the input shaft on the motor side.
 

tiger

Feeling the Heat
Feb 3, 2014
406
Seabrook, MD (DC suburbs)
In reality none of the bearings are sealed. Hermetically sealed bearings cost way too much for stove use. The bearings have a 'dust seal' and you can carefully pop it out with a small screwdriver or something pointed and then apply light oil (I use 3-1) and then pop the 'seal' back in. Easy-Peasy and lubing them every spring , they will outlast you. Same thing with the drive (auger and stirrer motors, if you have a stirrer). Remove the end cap on the motor and soak the felt in the end cap with 3-1 oil and reinstall. Sone drive motors have an oil hole in the casting, some don't. I grease my reduction gear boxes too but that is way more involved. You can drill a small hole in the top of the case and use a needle greaser to fill the gearbox. It's full when the grease starts to ooze out from around the input shaft on the motor side.

Thanks, I'll need to determine if I want to try all this after the heating season; if the stove is out-of-service for, eh, a week at that time, and I am swapping an auger/motor at the same time... maybe.

https://pellet-stove-parts-4less.co...accentra-insert-52i-p35i-advance-3-40-674099#

I have replaced my log set for my Harman Accentra log set using these folks "Pellet Stove Parts 4less.

Thanks. $159.95 sounds like either a lot, or just right. It's a brittle product, it would be interesting to see how they'd pack it for shipping.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Thanks, I'll need to determine if I want to try all this after the heating season; if the stove is out-of-service for, eh, a week at that time, and I am swapping an auger/motor at the same time... maybe.



Thanks. $159.95 sounds like either a lot, or just right. It's a brittle product, it would be interesting to see how they'd pack it for shipping.

Last time I broke my fake brick backer board I made my own. They want 60 bucks for it and it's very fragile too. I went and bought a tub of Rutland Refractory cement and made my own for 12 bucks. I bet you could make your own log set as well. I made mine in a flat form from wood, mixed the stuff real thick and slathered it in, removed the wood form after a few hours and baked the whole thing in my wife's oven at 400 degrees for an hour to drive the moisture out. Was 3 years ago and it's still good to go today.

If you make your own, it can be a custom job, made to your own tastes.
 
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