My VC Reliance was being strangled

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Feeling the Heat
So here in the last week or so, our 1992 Vermont Castings "Reliance" has been acting up, and this last few days it really got bad. It started not burning completely, dumping continuously, partially burned pellets. Stove was also running hot. Auger was feeding pellets trying to get a good exhaust temperatures guess. Long tall very lazy flame even on Low.

Yesterday we were changing pellets and I was doing a cleanup as much as I could on a hot stove. I saw a wet looking residue had run from atop of the burn pot down one side, but it was hard. I'd never seen that before. Last night after an hour or so retry, I cut it off. I was wondering where the residue was from. I also caught a glimpse of fire below the burn pot as some partially burned pellets flared up too.

Today, I removed the 4 nuts securing the burn pot, pulled the burn pot out, saw my problem. Was not the chamber under the burn pot grate, but rather the passageway back through the stove was full of fines or ash. The burn pot is a Harmon Accentra which fit that I installed a couple years ago, it has fewer holes under the flame than the original had, but they are bigger holes. I then measured the holes in each, counted, did some math, about the same square units of area for air after I added 4 holes. The original had cracked and warped which was why I replaced it. I had added a 3/16" thick steel over hang to the new burn pot to direct flame outwards outward from under the back log and it works ... but I found a mess of the same shiny in spots black tar looking residue on top of it ... it had run off the same side and down the side of the burn pot exterior to the residue I first spotted. Creosote I think from oxygen starved not completely burning fuel.

I took it to my shop, cleaned it squeaky clean, added a "handle" to the front clean out plate, cleaned out some clogged air holes of creosote, reinstalled it, ran a smaller vac hose way back into the passage way ... and the stove is now running a tight, controlled crisp looking flame as nice as I've ever seen since we bought it in 1992.

In other news, Yesterday I had a Dr. checkup, usually my BP is elevated due to "White Coat Syndrome" (long story). Nurse checked it over my shirt, she said "132/82" and I laughed and asked if she knew how to operate that cuff. She said she knew ... and I explained how I expected 140-150s over 90s ... I was happy and was feeling fun then. Doc come in, commented on my BP, asked if it was taken over my shirt as he too expected higher. I told him "Yeah, she did" ... and I asked if that would lower it. He told me it can read high or low and then he told me to take my shirt off. Then I heard him say "Wow". I thought "Uh Oh" and asked what he got. "125 over 75" he replied. OK!:cool:



Feeling the Heat
And here about 24 hours later running all night, the door glass is might near clean as when I cleaned it yesterday, near spotless. Might be a tablespoon of ash in the pan.


Feeling the Heat
Well, here a few days later, still running smooth as a new top.
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Feeling the Heat
I wanted to check really close that air channel coming in under the burn pot, the one that supplies outside air. Since it got up into the mid 60s here today, the stove was off, so I pulled the now cold burn pot away again to put an extra new fiberglass gasket over the OEM asbestos one, as much for to protect it as anything.. The several years older one I ordered in '19 broke or was already broke in the thinner side which is under the rectangle opening. Glad I ordered those extras. I'll keep it as a last ditch back up, I have the broke loose piece I can tape temporary until I get it sandwiched between the steel and tight IF ever needed. Stove sure has been running sweetly lately.

2020 was the very first time that the burn pot was taken off since it was new in 1992, but I'll likely pull it occasionally ... not waiting another 30 years. Thinking on it, I expect a thin piece of tin cut to the same shape would suit to protect the asbestos OEM gasket that is pretty delicate. Anyway, I have spares and now I have a good idea for a longer narrow vacuum end to reach way back in yonder without pulling the burn pot. My OEM burn pot had only a small hole underneath, a single finger access, and I had circle cutter cut a round 2" hole at front, but this Harmon burn pot has a nice larger rectangle access and plate.


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