New Install, New to pellet stoves

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n3itn

New Member
Nov 14, 2015
19
Quakertown, PA
Greetings,
Before I push the purchase(s) button(s) I figured I'd sign up and toss the plan out here...

Primary objective - to have a reasonable heat source during power outages.
Secondary object - supplement heat / cost reduction.

The house is a 2 story (approx. 2,100SF), built in 2000, full basement (3/4 finished)... All electric.
- I know the knee-jerk is going to be you need power to run a pellet stove- however, we have a generator that powers everything but the big appliance (range, dryer, hvac (and only one element of the HW heater))...
Main heat now is a 3.5ton 12seer heat pump with 15kw heat strip aux.

The plan-
First floor vs basement install.
This stove - http://www.amfmenergy.com/55epacepest21.html
Reasons:
It's price, company reputation, size (in regards to output claims), but most importantly_ it requires a tool to open the glass door, the pellet hopper has a latch system (rather than simple flip open), and the latching on the ash pan... Having a house full of young kids (even gating the stove) I'm trying to minimize foreign object intrusion... I can't imagine Thomas the tank engine feeding to well... And it looks roomy (for cleaning / repairs).

Vent planning is out and up... I'll need to purchase an additional section (or joint) of pipe to get the lift I need. Overall run will be 14.5EVL (1' horz, 1-T, 7' vertical, 1-90). vent cap will be about 1' bellow the fascia board / roof line... I'm having to go high to get the 1' clearance above a window line.

The vent kit - http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/dura-vent-3-in-pelletvent-installation-kit?cm_vc=-10005

I want to use this thimble - http://www.ebay.com/itm/DURAVENT-PE...226458?hash=item43e26740da:g:2x0AAOSw4SlV8edF

For a single hole vent / OAK...

On the floor I'm planning 1/2" plywood, 2 1/2" backer board layers, and some type of ceramic tile (stone, brick (just don't know yet), and trim... Screwed down on top of existing carpet.

We haven't decided if we'll go up the wall with anything yet or not (purely cosmetic though).

I'm torn between a standard wall mounted stat or a wireless remote (the later offering actual temp control vs on/off.

I've still not worked out whether to just place a UPS at the stove or tie the duplex into a large existing UPS system running a rack of computer equipment in the basement directly under this room... nonetheless, the stove will have enough run time for generator switch over or clean shut down.

I'm also thinking about adding a wall toggle (standard / typical decora light switch) on the wall as an emergency 'kill' switch to the duplex. something left over from having cut my teeth on oil burners perhaps.

Prevailing winds are against the opposite side of the house...

Pellet storage will be limited to about 1 ton, and stored in a closed shed out back.

Any all thoughts / advise welcome.

thank you,
tom
 
My question is if you are looking for a reasonable heat source in the event of a power failure, wouldn't a wood stove be the most reasonable choice? Pellet stoves need electricity to operate.
 
Greetings,
Before I push the purchase(s) button(s) I figured I'd sign up and toss the plan out here...

Primary objective - to have a reasonable heat source during power outages.
Secondary object - supplement heat / cost reduction.
You have a generator to ensure your primary objective it sounds like. If supplemental heat/cost reduction, I might also consider a wood stove. Wood is generally a lot less expensive than pellets, and it's even more of a backup since it doesn't need electricity.
 
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Your plan seems sound and well thought out based on a quick scan of it, and you seem to need only some "sounding board" help. One thought is that you may use the stove more than just for power outages. If you are still trying to decide between first floor and basement, consider where you will spend most of your time and put it there.

Re: stat, I absolutely hate looking at wires, so it's an easy call for me. Wireless. But either should work well. I'm in the middle of hacking a Santa Fe insert to work with a Nest, which is WAY more stat and complexity than needed, but I'm doing it for fun more than practicality. Just pick the one you like, and go with it. Either will be fine.

For power, the other replies make a good point: A wood stove is far more reliable. But I also went with pellet stoves hooked into a large, remote mounted UPS system and generator. The UPS is backed by four 110 AH batteries wired in series to produce 48V, which the UPS requires. It will power about 2300 watts, and a bit more for a few seconds of motor surge. We use it to power the "nighttime essentials" during power outages, which lets us shut down the generator from about 8 pm to 8 am, which saves greatly on fuel: Security system, Fios ONT, router, access points and switches, Tivo central, TV and Tivo mini, and two pellet stoves. I can hook two fridges to it if necessary, although if they run it takes the battery bank lower than I like. Without the fridges, the other items draw so little power that the batteries are fine all through the night and never go below 50%, which is my goal to preserve them for the long haul. Works like a charm, running off a special circuit we ran just for this purpose, with the UPS keeping everything from ever going down and needing to restart. Sounds like you have similar capabilities. If you have the battery bank to sustain it, it sure works well for us.

I would NOT do the wall toggle! You need the stove to shut down gracefully, with the combustion blower running past the time the fire goes out. A kill switch would remove that, and I don't care what everyone says about vertical venting (I have it on both stoves, and an OAK on both) - you can still get some smoke smell if you just cut power mid burn.

Hope that's helpful, and good luck.
 
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we have a generator that powers everything but the big appliance (range, dryer, hvac (and only one element of the HW heater))...

Not knowing what you have for a generator, but I would check
to see if it puts out clean power...
Inexpensive generators can be problematic to delicate electronics
such as found on most stoves today........
Many have used modified wave power with no problems...
But there have also been many that bought new boards..
If yours puts out pure sine power, you're golden...
(just my opinion, of course..)

Dan
 
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Don't forget CO detectors if you don't already have them. Wouldn't bother with a kill switch, for the reason that Wilbur mentions for smoke escape However, I don't know if those stoves can detect the difference in current if the system is using the UPS. If so, and you really want a kill switch, putting it before the UPS would allow the stove to shut itself down while still powering the exhaust fans. I only know that the Harmans will do this - my late St. Croix didn't care what it ran on, so wouldn't shut itself down, so this may not be applicable to the stove you get..
 
Thanks for the replies and hello.

The stove delivered within days of placing the order. Lowes had everything I needed to make the pad. Tractor Supply had the additional vent I needed... I've attached picture of the install thus far. For the most part it's complete and functional.. I have a small amount of finish trim to do yet. I've included a shot of an insulation product I used around the outside of the thimble to replace insulation ripped apart during the penetrations. Since the outside wall is R-Board, and I spanned a stud with the thimble I'm using 8-32 all thread to attach the thimble (hence the acorn nuts on the inside). Cost (free) drove the decision to use a mechanical stat which I have mounted on the opposing wall (wire in the wall); however, I've not connected yet, and given the simplicity of the onboard control may not... The house has smoke detectors on each level (basement, 1st, and 2nd floors) theses are wired AC with battery backup and are interconnected. I've added a dual sensor smoke detector to the room with the stove. I've also added two CO detectors... one in the room with the stove and the second in the hall on the 2nd floor. Initial run was a bag of "premium hardwood" from Tractor supply. Not a good choice for this stove... they hung up (didn't slide down to the auger) in the hopper several times, seemed to create a lot of ash (but having no control to base this on was just noteworthy), and were constantly popping like popcorn, and didn't really seem to produce a whole lot of heat (but again, not having a control, was just noteworthy)... Bucks County Pellets is very close (on my way to/fro work) and had a $99 deal on a 'sampler' pallet... 3 bags each of Okanagan Gold, Okanagan Platinum, Okanagan Douglass Fir, LA Crete, and Platinum Pellets. So far I've been running the gold.. the stove feeds these fine. In comparison to the previous pellets these make more heat and create less ash. I'll learn/know more as I've try the rest, but the gold seem to be a good choice for this stove. As for the thimble with the OAK built in... All they did was drill a hole in each plate. The OAK provided with the stove is heavier gauge flex and had a tighter mesh screen inlet so I used that in place of what shipped with the additional thimble purchased... For some reason I though it was something special. Had I known, I would have simply drilled the holes in the thimble that was provided with the vent kit. I used high temp Permatex RTV Red to seal the appliance adapter to the stove, both sides of the horizontal joint, the top of the T, and around the outside thimble to vent pipe. I used aluminum tape for the cleanout and a few additional joints before I ran out... I'll tape the rest once I find the other roll around here somewhere... EVL calculates now (having to add another vertical foot to get the bracket into wood) at 15. What's curious is that the manufacture state max run of 3" is 15' (feet) whereas the vent guru's claim EVL at or above 15EVL should increase to 4" hence using tape VS the recommended sealer incase I need to change out the vent for 4"... but so far, so good... thanks again,
tom


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Awesome - nice job. Now you should replace that 12 SEER Heat Pump with a 28 SEER Heat Pump.
 
Nice install! It looks like a great stove, and you will enjoy it. I think Thomas the Tank will clog the auger, do not try it!
I see you are General Class.

Bill
kc2tux
 
Hi all, thanks for the feedback.
I've had a chance to add the finish trim to the base... photo attached.
Some feedback on the pellet samples...
Keep in mind we're new at this and thus far the only control to bases was the aforementioned tractor supply hardwood.
We burned through the 3 bags of Okanagan Gold:
lit fast
robust flame
no clinkers
good heat output
no sticking, no jams, no popcorn type popping...
I have to say these performed really well (in this stove/install).
-gonna toss this out there... I'm pretty sure, by now, every bag of pellet is going to have some saw dust. And while perhaps not intentional while filling the bags_ handling/transport in general is going to cause this... no? As for ash, I'm thinking the direct result of burning something means some ash... how much is a lot? I'll say the 3 bags of the Okanagan Gold generated about the same amount as 1 bag of that brandX...
Next up were the LA Crete. Houston, we have a problem (are there "bad batches"?):
seemed to take forever to get going
poor flame (low, long periods of almost no flame)
popcorn like popping
very brown/black ash
a lot of blackened/charred (unburnt) pellets in with the ash
no sticking, no jams; however, they performed so poorly (and we needed some heat) that I dug them out of the hopper and moved on to the Platinum Pellets (not the Okanagan Platinum Pellets).
Since I've just got it going again I can't say much more on these other than they lit up ok and I have a nice flame back... Temp in a central room went from 66 to 72 in just about an hour (but I've had it cranking cuz it was cold in here)... Looking good so far.

Quick note to Bill (kc2tux), yes- good on 160m-70cm... Also into Ogauge :) shoot an email and we'll sked something...

So I want to toss something else out here (kinda like with the ash/sawdust) and perhaps get some Elmer feedback...
I've been reading (or researching) like a mad man for months.
Pellets:
I'm reading posts all over the place regarding different pellets having different smell or odor. Unless there is some kind of leak or (they are sniffing their tailpipe) is it safe to assume this is regarding the smell of the pellet when you open a bag/fill a hopper and not during burn?
Heat output:
I'm sampling over time using a fluke digital thermometer from various 'control points' throughout and doing basic delta t calculations_ is there a better/easier way?
Door glass:
This timberridge has the 'air wash' and it seems to stay cleaner longer during the longer higher setting runs vs a lot of on/offs or lower settings runs... Is this typical? Is it an efficiency thing, hot/cold thing, initial ignite smoking thing?

...Still hoping for some venting guru help on the 15' vs 15EVL...

thanks all.. more later..

stove-on.JPG
 
A big writeup. Your good pellets will be rated for 0.3% ash, so that's about 2 ounces a bag.
 
hi all
So to catch up... attached pic is the final on the install... I'm still torn on what to do with 'the wall'.. I found a 3xx year old piece of timber and may just do a wood hearth with it and call it done... nonetheless... BCP flipped a couple of replacement bags of the LA Crete and they burned like wild fire; however, I've settled in on the Platinum Pellets (Vanderhoof Specialty wood products Banderhoof, BC) and have burned about 1-1/2 ton... I've been cleaning ash from the stove (using a shop vac with a drywall filter bag) about every 3 days or so. I've performed the monthly maint (per the manual) 3 times .. the first time was premature and basically a dry run to nail down the procedure... After the blizzard of 30" of snow in 24 hours (32" total in abt 28 hrs) I opened the vent (took the 90 and hood off the top and the cleanout off the bottom of the T), tapped an empty pellet bag around the T, ran a brush though it, and was surprised by how little ash a 55 bag burn had created/accumulated... I've yet to flip on the heat pump since the install. Aside from a few times where pellets hung up (stuck to the paint and failed to slide) in the hopper there have been zero issues... I will say one thing though... some kind of resonance in with the vent occurs.. for example_ if I've been running on a low setting (1, 2, 3) for most of a day I'll kick it up to 9 for 30 minutes or so in hopes I'm burning off whatever may have collected in the vent due to low temps... and when I return it to say 3 there is a horrible excess of 63dB noise (like a whine) for at least 30-40 minutes.. most of the time it goes unnoticed because of daily duties; however, if it's one of those late night burns when the kids are in bed and you can hear a pin drop its a maddening howl... I've been able to replicate it so it's not a one-off kind of thing, I've just not been able to nail down the cause... aside from that... during the blizzard I had to hit the oak a few times with a wire brush. Seems snow hitting the vent would melt, run down the wall and form ice on/over the oak... I will also add that the oak frequently condensates and drips water on the pad... a non-issue but worth while mention since I see many questions regarding this.. having anticipated this, when I brought the oak flexi pipe in I made like a return bend (what looks like a trap under a basin or sink) so that any moisture can collect and evaporate in a low spot rather than just entering the stove. what drips on the pad it's worth a mention. the bottom line is that, thus far, it's been a rock solid performer.. it's heating way more SF then claimed... for example, counting the finished basement we're pushing 3000SF... on a 9 degree night the basement is 65, the 1st floor 73, and the second floor 68. (note I'm running the HVAC blower for balance)... so far so good.. thanks for the help, and hope this helps.. tom
 

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Having a house full of young kids (even gating the stove) I'm trying to minimize foreign object intrusion... I can't imagine Thomas the tank engine feeding to well.
Good luck with that! Pay attention to not leaving open bags of pellets around too! I know toothbrushes are not healthy for VCRs==c Yes my oldest kids are now in their late 20s-early 30s but the VCR was only about 6 months old at the time and way more expensive than DVD players are now!;sick

Sounds like you and your pellet beast are getting along fine. If you put up the wood mantel, pay attention to your upper clearances that are noted in your manual and room needed to reload the stove.
 
Hi, Thanks!
you mean VCR's aren't magic hiding spots!? than why did they make those doors that way? if my AV equipment could talk ;-)
On the pellets... BCP delivers to a warehouse I have access to near my work... it's temp controlled and I store the skids there.
So on my way home I grab x-number of bags at a time and store them in my garage... I keep about 25 bags on hand and rotate them using the fifo method. The way it's been working out I've been able to use every bag in full... but I hear what you are saying because I've ran into a few bags along the way that have been puncture or somehow damaged in transit and the surrounding pellet are a big ole clump of.. ummm... well, you know... anyway...
Irony- this morning I let the stove eat up as much as the auger could grab before doing a shut down because I've been building up some saw dust in the hopper and I don't have a screen or filter for my vacuum ... and if you've ever tried to vacuum only the dust .. lol.. anyway, I open the door to clean in there and the top of the gasket was stuck to the door. this is the second time it's happened... the first time was the very first time I opened the stove after purchase. never having done the $ bill test I went around the gasket after pushing it back into the u-channel and found several spots there was simply no resistance... so I adjusted the latch a little at a time while testing until no more adjustment could be made and ended up going to lowes for a $10 5/8" fiberglass rope gasket / cement kit despite the unfavorable reviews... what was interesting is that either no cement (glue) was uses or very little during build; however, the bottom was loaded with black silicon (and a bit of a bugger to get out)... oem was a graphite gasket so it took a bit until the cleaning cloths came up clean... anyway, the gasket cut easily with scissors, I used a finger to coat the inside of the u-channel with the supplied glue.. followed the directions... 2 hours later I did the $ bill test and reset the latch... and we're back in business... I have no idea what there are soo many poor reviews on the product it worked perfectly. I don't see any obvious performance difference so I'm not sure for how long it was failing the test, but I must say I didn't anticipate a door gasket in the first season.. much less within 3 months, but I guess that initial sticking to the door paint during build sealed it's fate... I'll give esw a buzz and see if it's warranty item, but either way I'm going to stock this item as I do the ignitor (honestly though that would be the first part to fail)...
as for getting along- it's been a lot of test and trial, ceiling fans on/off, pushing up/down, running the hvac blower, no blower, using the remote stat on/off vs high/low, measuring stove temps as well as output air... humidity, though, was an issue for a bit... there were times it was a low as 27% but after more tests and trials, and finally locating the humidifier right next to the stove, (as in that picture) I'm holding 45-48%RH... more later... and thanks again,
tom
 
I know toothbrushes are not healthy for VCRs==c
LOL, you were lucky, try cleaning out a PB&J sandwich from a VCR!! They fit perfectly, it even loaded the damn thing and got the motors running!
 
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LOL, you were lucky, try cleaning out a PB&J sandwich from a VCR!! They fit perfectly, it even loaded the damn thing and got the motors running!
Not a place to save it for later??!!!

don't have a screen or filter for my vacuum .
I built this one (post #14) but since I changed the vacuum, I have to make some adjustments. I used a ducting boot for the hopper... A little more time to sift but it reduces the amount of airborne dust when loading the stove. Still collects some fines in the hopper but reduces that too.
https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/i-made-my-own-pellet-vac-for-less-than-20-00-video.21107/
 
Not sure if mentioned but be sure your stove plugged into have a GOOD surge protector .. Looks nice..
 
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I'm digging that cleaner indeed, thank you!
Thank you, I have it connected to an APC 3000Kva UPS in a computer rack below it in the basement via a short drop of so/sj... I didn't want to try and tuck any type of electronics behind it given common oak condensation...
 
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