Harman P-38 and P-43 stoves may be succeptable to pellet bridging......

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Cincinnati Kid

Feeling the Heat
Jan 6, 2009
I've been burning pellets for over 15 years now and owned six pellet stoves; four Harmans and two Whitfields. I've probably burned at least ten different brands of pellets, if not more.

I just had my new P-43 installed and on burning the very first bag of American Wood Fiber pellets, the stove quit running in the middle of the night. Sure enough, the pellets in the hopper bridged as when I stuck my hand down in the hopper to stir the pellets, I heard several of them fall.

I had the same bridging problem with my Harman P-38 stove using Kentucky Kernal pellets. Many of these pellets were over the 1.75 inch max specification so I attributed that to the bridging problem.

With the American Wood Fiber pellets, there are some longer pellets but overall, they seem to be within the length specification.

I've never had a bridging problem with either of my Harman Accenta inserts or my two Whitfields.

I'm concluding that the bridging of pellets is common with the P-38 and P-43 Harman stoves. It does seem like one way to minimize the bridging is to only fill the hopper half full of pellets.

I would like to hear comments from other P-38 and P-43 owners that have had bridging problems.
How did the other Harmans you owned handle long pellets? Did you burn these brands with the longer pellets in them.

I guess it could be the hopper design in the P series, But really think whats at hand here is pellets that are out of spec. If there is more than 0.4 pounds of pellets longer than 1 1/2 inches? Then the pellets are out of spec. AFAIK many other stoves have a bridging issue with long fuel and thats the reason for the spec. Just my 2 cents and mean no harm here!
The two other Harmans, both Accentra inserts, burned all the pellet brands well. I've had no bridging problems with them. It's only with the P-38 and P-43 stoves which are essentially the same stove design.

Another point is with both the American Wood Fiber and Kentucky Kernal pellets, we purchased two 24 ton truckloads. None of the other folks who used these have had any bridging problems. However, they all have different brands of pellet stoves.
I've had my P38 since 2006.I've burned 5-6 different brands of pellets and so far no problems with feeding...
Burned several different brands, including AWF. Brands with pellets longer than normal I never had a bridging issue in my P38+....
Burned about a ton of kentucky Kernal pellets in my P43. No bridging problems. Did initially have the "sticky hopper" problem tho. Also burned a ton of East Heat without any bridging problems.
No "bridging" here with EITHER the 4 year-old P43
OR the P61A that replaced it. Mostly burning Cleanfire
hardwood & softwood or Logik-E softwoods...
No sticky hopper issues happening, either...
Burned 2 tons of AWF and 1 ton of Green Teams last year, about a ton and a half of Ligs and 15 or so bags of Hardwood Heat this year and never had a bridging problem yet in my p43.
In fact the couple times when it quit because someone forgot to fill it, being me :red: , was amazed that only a few pellets were to be seen at the very bottom. Maybe the sides of yours is ruff not letting pellets slide down like they should. Have seen where some have waxed inside hopper, or used graphite or pledge wood polish to make sides slick to stop the bridging. Might be worth a try for ya.
I had it happen once to my P68 in 4 years. This is my first year with the P38, no problems so far. I think you answered your own question, the problem is the pellets not the stove.

Tom C.
Speak for yourself John Alden ! My P-38 wouldn`t know a bridging pellet if it met one.
5 years and no problems with that.
I've burned a couple bags of Granulco. A vast majority of the pellets in those bags were well over an 1.5" long, with tons of them closing in on the 2.5" + range. My P43 did not skip a beat and crunched them up like they were lunch. If I was going to have problems with bridging, I expected it with that brand but there were no issues at all.

Cincinnati Kid said:
I’m concluding that the bridging of pellets is common with the P-38 and P-43 Harman stoves..

Based on my experience, as well as the replies in this thread, your conclusion is incorrect. :)
New P-43, an ive burned Hammers, Maine, Greene team, and Barfoots without any bridging. And the Barefoots had some long pellets too.
My P-68 shutdown a number of times last heating season when using Okanagans. I'm using Trebios this year and hit hasn't happened with 2 tons burned so far. I think Harman bridging is very connected to the pellet characteristics.
FB in Vt.
Ok, so nearly everyone who has a Harman P series stove has stated that they have not had bridging problems so it must be the pellets.

My followup question is then why am I having bridging problems with both the P-38 and P-43 when many others who use the same pellets from the same lots/truckloads with different brand stoves have no problems. I store all my pellets inside.
Could just be the surface friction. Coarse surface texture might be the issue. Have you tried something to make um slide better?
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