How Do I Become A Wood Pellet Technician ?

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www_godzilla

Member
Oct 24, 2008
196
Portland,Maine
I live in Portland,Maine. I was wondering what courses would I need to take to become a wood pellet technician ? I will be retiring in 6 years and I will still be relatively young. I have been told by many to learn how to fix and install wood pellet stoves. Thank you for any I put.
 
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Madcodger

Guest
I cannot help you with this info, although several here can and likely will. But I am curious: Do you currently own and use a wood pellet stove?
 

bill3rail

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2012
765
LI, NY
A) Completely tear your stove apart, and reassemble 4 times.

B) Find ten friends (with different types of stoves) that will allow you to do the same to their stoves.

C) Post all results here with hundreds of pictures.

D) The experts here will asses your abilities and provide you with a final grade and job offers.

J/K

I have thought of this myself, but I am currently tied up with a .GOV job that provides a pension.

Bill
 

DBCOOPER

Minister of Fire
Jan 23, 2010
509
Stowe, Pa
Post a bunch of questions on here and then answer them yourself...
 

www_godzilla

Member
Oct 24, 2008
196
Portland,Maine
What courses would I have to take ?
 

chken

Minister of Fire
Dec 7, 2013
1,136
Maine
I live in Portland,Maine. I was wondering what courses would I need to take to become a wood pellet technician ? I will be retiring in 6 years and I will still be relatively young. I have been told by many to learn how to fix and install wood pellet stoves. Thank you for any I put.
Portland? I volunteer to let you clean my pellet stove for practice!
 

briansol

Minister of Fire
Jan 18, 2009
1,916
central ct
I'm not sure if this is a 'take a course' field as it is 'be an apprentice' field.
 
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BrotherBart

Modestorator
Staff member
I cannot help you with this info, although several here can and likely will. But I am curious: Do you currently own and use a wood pellet stove?
His sig line has a hint. "QuadraFire Sante Fe Wood Pellet Stove"

As to the OP. I considered that when I retired too. I was targeting ESW stoves since so many are out there and some people that buy them aren't DIYers. Let it drop when 1. ESW seemed to go nowhere with a program they were talking about years ago for it and 2.) My business liability insurance company had a coronary. "You want to work on things that can burn houses down?!!".

It is for sure an OJT field though certifications are available after you know your stuff. With the ESW stoves I bought one to tear apart and practice on. At the moment it is in the basement burning keeping this place warm to get my money's worth out of the investment. Oh well.
 

Stevekng

Feeling the Heat
Oct 21, 2007
357
Central Maine
I live in Portland,Maine. I was wondering what courses would I need to take to become a wood pellet technician ? I will be retiring in 6 years and I will still be relatively young. I have been told by many to learn how to fix and install wood pellet stoves. Thank you for any I put.
The folks posting here have their usual sense of humor. So if I were you, I'd take an electrician's course, a course in HVAC, and a course in carpentry. You will need a fair amount of knowledge in all of those areas. Next, I would see if there are any dealers and/or techs that would let you tag along as an observer to see how the work is done. If you could get a job as a tech after that, it would be great. It sounds pretty time consuming to me, as a job after retirement. I would think of it more as a career change in my late 40's or early 50's. There is a lot of lifting, if you do installs. The posting about the professional licensing bureau is a good place to start; they may require a sponsor that is a certified tech.
 
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Lousyweather

Guest
ok...lets see....near Portland, Maine.....no competition of mine......check.

Here's the thing...its more demanding than you might think. I would be highly curious as to your current employ as you might not be ready, after a lifetime of doing what you did, for what you are about to see and experience. Not wishing to "dis" any current choices of employment, but, say, if you spent 20 years in civil employment, and now find you will actually have to produce and please people who might never be pleased, it might be a bit of an eyeopener to you, and one you might not wish to enter.

We all have our nightmare customers:
1. "My stove is SPOTLESS, you can eat off of it, I clean it perfectly....cant be THAT...."
1a. stove ends up being filthy, and they wont pay you because they don't agree.....
2. "My warrantee ran out two months ago?!! BS!! I paid good money for this stove and Im not paying you for something that SHOULD STILL be covered under warrantee.....
3. "You were out here last year fixing this thing......Im not paying you again.....whats the number of the BBB?"
4. "You were here for 10 minutes.......howza bout I pay you $10 instead of the $100 you quoted, because Im NOT paying you $100 for what you did...."
5. 10pm, Saturday night: "my stove wont run.......WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CANT BE HERE NOW?! ITS MY ONLY SOURCE OF HEAT!! (well, it is since I don't wanna start my oil burner or electric......)
6. My stove wont run....I need it fixed NOW. the guy at Home Depot didn't mention CLEANING IT. Heck, I don't care about your OTHER calls for today, cancel em and get over here...this IS covered under the warrantee, so don't expect ME to pay you...youre gonna need to get paid by HD or the manufacturer....*clicl*

....all real calls, my friend.

it might SOUND easy, but oddly enough, like many occupations, the actual work isn't the challenge, rather, its the dealing with the folks that is....but in this case, no one rates your performance other than yourself, and you live or die depending upon how good you can bend over back-ass-wards to please your customers.

Its challenging.....good luck.
 
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WoodPorn

Minister of Fire
Aug 24, 2009
1,503
South of the beloved Patriots
The folks posting here have their usual sense of humor. So if I were you, I'd take an electrician's course, a course in HVAC, and a course in carpentry. You will need a fair amount of knowledge in all of those areas. Next, I would see if there are any dealers and/or techs that would let you tag along as an observer to see how the work is done. If you could get a job as a tech after that, it would be great. It sounds pretty time consuming to me, as a job after retirement. I would think of it more as a career change in my late 40's or early 50's. There is a lot of lifting, if you do installs. The posting about the professional licensing bureau is a good place to start; they may require a sponsor that is a certified tech.
As an Electrician, Please don't do this thinking you'll be a qualified electrician....Take an electronics course instead, there are enough half educated hacks out there burning down houses!!

No offence intended here....I've just seen too many electrical nightmares.
 
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saladdin

Feeling the Heat
Dec 29, 2011
347
West Tennessee
A) Completely tear your stove apart, and reassemble 4 times.

B) Find ten friends (with different types of stoves) that will allow you to do the same to their stoves.

C) Post all results here with hundreds of pictures.

D) The experts here will asses your abilities and provide you with a final grade and job offers.

J/K

I have thought of this myself, but I am currently tied up with a .GOV job that provides a pension.

Bill
I was in until the ten friends thing. I'll have to go find 9 more.
 

rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
816
ohio
It is a learning in the field kind of trade for the most part. Download as many troubleshooting manuals as possible. Most of the stoves work in a similar way. Troubleshooting manuals are your best start. As long as you are not rigging units to try to get around a safety circuit you should be fine. One of the best diagnostic tools I use is a killawatt meter. It plugs into the wall and the stove plugs into it. You can tell alot about what is going on by the wattage the stove is pulling. If you start a stove and no auger function but it is pulling correct wattage the auger is most likely jammed or motor is locked up. If a harman is starting up it pulls about 400w w/ igniter on, If all functions start including auger and watts are only 100-150 igniter is bad. I use my killawatt on almost every job. Before doing a cleaning i plug meter in and check function of stove to eliminate the "it was working fine before you got here?"A meter to check vacuum is a most. It is good to have a ddm for Harmans they are pricey. I dont need it often but sometimes you have to have it. Many of the stoves I go out on to "fix" just need cleaned. Probably half of the time.
 

rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
816
ohio
I have had many harmans that customer claims igniter is bad that just have a carbon build up in the burnpot. Scrape burn pot and use a mirror and allen wrench to clean out all of the hole in the burnpot along with top to bottom cleaning including the venting, Stove starts fine. On a Harman the vac switch breaks the neutral to the auger and igniter. You will still get lights on for the igniter and auger but they wont work if stove or venting is plugged. Again killawatt verifies that by the lights for auger and igniter are on but wattage is only 100w. Stove or venting is plugged.
 

WoodPorn

Minister of Fire
Aug 24, 2009
1,503
South of the beloved Patriots
It is a learning in the field kind of trade for the most part. Download as many troubleshooting manuals as possible. Most of the stoves work in a similar way. Troubleshooting manuals are your best start. As long as you are not rigging units to try to get around a safety circuit you should be fine. One of the best diagnostic tools I use is a killawatt meter. It plugs into the wall and the stove plugs into it. You can tell alot about what is going on by the wattage the stove is pulling. If you start a stove and no auger function but it is pulling correct wattage the auger is most likely jammed or motor is locked up. If a harman is starting up it pulls about 400w w/ igniter on, If all functions start including auger and watts are only 100-150 igniter is bad. I use my killawatt on almost every job. Before doing a cleaning i plug meter in and check function of stove to eliminate the "it was working fine before you got here?"A meter to check vacuum is a most. It is good to have a ddm for Harmans they are pricey. I dont need it often but sometimes you have to have it. Many of the stoves I go out on to "fix" just need cleaned. Probably half of the time.
A locked motor or jammed auger (same issue unless the gears are stripped) would not show normal wattage draw.
The motor nameplate gives you a locked rotor amperage for that reason, and overcurrent protection.
 
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mikestod

Member
Sep 26, 2013
47
Central MA
Lousyweather had some excellent points about being in the service industry and wanting to deal with customers. But along those same lines you must consider all aspects of being self-employed. Don't forget to think about the costs involved in starting your business. That is a big nut at first, for incorporation or similar fees, vehicle, tools, technical manuals, bookkeeping software, etc. Then there is the large recurring expense of liability insurance every year. Starting a small service business is doable but its more involved than just cleaning, troubleshooting and repairs. Especially beyond working on your own pellet stove or helping out with your friends' stoves.
 
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Lousyweather

Guest
Lousyweather had some excellent points about being in the service industry and wanting to deal with customers. But along those same lines you must consider all aspects of being self-employed. Don't forget to think about the costs involved in starting your business. That is a big nut at first, for incorporation or similar fees, vehicle, tools, technical manuals, bookkeeping software, etc. Then there is the large recurring expense of liability insurance every year. Starting a small service business is doable but its more involved than just cleaning, troubleshooting and repairs. Especially beyond working on your own pellet stove or helping out with your friends' stoves.
Mikestod is a genius
 

mikestod

Member
Sep 26, 2013
47
Central MA
Mikestod is a genius
Thanks for the kind words. I wouldn't go so far as professing to be a genius, but I'm a realist anyway. To be honest I am not self-employed nor am I small business owner. And not because of what it takes to get a business up and running or having to deal with the occasional pain in the a** customers. Adding emphasis to your earlier post, I'm not in business for myself because I'd rather not have to deal with people trying to set my prices for me, having to chase down money people owe me or just flat out getting stiffed for all my hard work. If I was looking for a gig after upcoming retirement like www_godzilla, then it could be a different story. But for now I'm content to work hard but let someone else sign my paycheck and leave all those worries to my boss.
 

rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
816
ohio
A locked motor or jammed auger (same issue unless the gears are stripped) would not show normal wattage draw.
The motor nameplate gives you a locked rotor amperage for that reason, and overcurrent protection.
I guess the correct terminology would be " drawing close to correct wattage". A auger motor draws so little wattage that locked or turning wattage would not change the overall draw of the stove by much more than a few percent. So if you are drawing near correct wattage and auger is not turning it is probably locked or jammed.
 

BrotherBart

Modestorator
Staff member
Now that everybody has told you all of the reasons you don't want to do it, and a lot about auger motor voltage that doesn't belong here in the first place, let me tell you the most important part of getting into a trade or technician job.

Learn to shake your head ruefully and say "The guy that did this is a hack and an idiot.".
 
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Pellet-King

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2008
1,641
Northern Ct
Have a mortgage till i'm 80, whats retirement?, retire you die..................
 
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