New Pellet stove owner with questions

Tiger Joe Posted By Tiger Joe, Feb 17, 2015 at 11:30 AM

  1. Tiger Joe

    Tiger Joe
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    Feb 17, 2015
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    Greetings! First post for me on this forum, but I have read a lot after purchasing a pellet stove for my dads new garage. We have had the stove up and running for a month. It has not been running 100% of the time, I would say maybe 90% of the time, and we have used 45 bags of pellets.

    First is our setup:
    garage- 30x30 steel building. The building is not insulated but it is completely air tight.

    Stove- Vogelzang large hopper pellet stove. rated for up to 65k btu. installed and vented per mfgr specs. We are currently burning pellets from home depot as that was really our only option. Stove has a 1-5 setting which controls fan speed and pellet feed rate and the manual damper. has an auto mode which we are not using at the moment.

    Issues:

    1- first of all, it just simply seems like our stove cannot get the garage warm enough. even running on high the stove seemed to struggle to keep the temperature even remotely comfortable. Yesterday our high was 14, and with the stove on high(5) the temp on the stove was reading 34. we could not get the garage warm without using our supplemental kerosene heater.

    2- It seems as though we cannot turn the stove down to low(1). if we try to leave it burn on low all night, the glass has two very large black soot streaks on it. the owners manual says this is from a "lazy" flame caused from too low of a setting and to turn it up. That doesn't really seem like an answer to me though- how can the stove not work on the lowest setting? we tried opening the damper up more- approximately 1/2 open on low, but that seem to have no effect.

    Our #2 issue leads to our 3rd issue- high pellet consumption. since we cannot turn the stove down to low- where it is rated for .8 lbs/hr- we are going through almost 1.5 bags per day burning on setting 3. My dad says if he leaves the stove burn on 3 he has a nice flame, easy to clean glass. if he leaves it on 2 for an extended time, or on 1 over night he will have the black sooted up glass.

    Right now we are starting to think that maybe a pellet stove isn't a good fit for an uninsulated steel building? The original reason to install a pellet stove was to avoid running a gas line to the building. but to be consuming this many pellets and not even have a warm building is not ideal for us at all.
     
  2. begreen

    begreen
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    This does not sound like a realistic setup. I wouldn't expect any stove to be efficient trying to heat an uninsulated metal building in single digit temperatures. Of course it's going through fuel quickly, it's trying to heat outdoors. The heat loss of the building is exceeding the stove's capacity. I would expect it to be going through at least 2 bags of pellets a day in these conditions. Insulating the building would be the best investment here if the intent is to use it in winter. Also consider lowering the ceiling height to reduce the cubic footage being heated. Even some plastic attached to the bottom of the trusses would help.
     
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  3. johneh

    johneh
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    Uninsulated steel building ! like trying to heat a 45 gallon drum with a match
    If you want to heat that building with a pellet stove or for that matter any type of fuel
    insulate it first. I have 30 x 60 super insulated wood shop in steel that heats with a
    construction 240 volt electric heater even the last few days of -20 and wind chills of -45
    it still stays at 72
     
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  4. F4jock

    F4jock
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    Realism hurts! Just for giggles do a heat loss analysis on your building. HINT: Have plenty of adult beverages on hand 'cause you're gonna need 'em when you compare the potential losses to the BTU available. Then buy copious amounts of insulation. . . . . .
     
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  5. Bioburner

    Bioburner
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    Steel building is acting just like a radiator and lots of roof too. I doubt that 150k would help much below freezing.
     
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  6. Tiger Joe

    Tiger Joe
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    Feb 17, 2015
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    well our issue right now is the building was not completed until mid December and the garage doors were not installed until the 2nd week on January. So we really did not have a chance to even think of insulation before we needed heat.

    Again, this is why we have the supplemental torpedo heater. we expected to need to use that when it was very cold- like yesterday. with the pellet stove on high and the torpedo heater being turned off and on manually, we kept it in the 50s. a high of 14 is not the norm for our area of PA.

    Using several of the online BTU calculators, putting in "poor" or "none" for insulation I was usually coming up with around 100k btu. our stove is rated at 65k and our heater at 75k. so even at 80% we are at 112k btu. which based on replies seems like it may have been a bit low.

    so I understand the short comings of our building. I guess my main concern now is the stoves performance. even if we fully insulated the building tomorrow, if we cant have a good burning stove on low, we are still going to go consume a lot of pellets, no?
     
  7. Old Spartan

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    Your heat loss at 100 delta T is likely more than 250,000 BTU per hour in that building. That means you will require about 25,000 BTU for every 10 degree temp difference.

    14 degree outside - 34 degree inside (20 degree temp difference) is 50,000 BTU per hour based on the qtr million heat loss estimate. Your actual heat loss may well be higher depending on ceiling condition.

    The stove is doing what it can. The rest is up to you.
     
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  8. F4jock

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    Awwwww. You took all the fun out of it for him!
     
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  9. Old Spartan

    Old Spartan
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    Sorry .... Thought I would save him some time.

    Probably should have let him do it himself BUT .. Not many things on here I can actually help someone with so thought I would seize the moment. ==c
     
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  10. F4jock

    F4jock
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    You're way to good Spartan and way too modest! I was impressed that the OP took so much time to accurately describe his situation yet puzzled that he hadn't done his homework or postmortem with the same diligence.
     
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  11. Tiger Joe

    Tiger Joe
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    guys I fully understand the short comings of a non-insulated building. if you read my post the building didn't get garage doors until the week of Jan 5th and we were lighting the pellet stove Jan 17th.

    does anyone have an input regarding the stove performance? why can we not burn on low without sooting up the glass?
     
  12. Fsappo

    Fsappo
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    I wont recommend a 160K btu coal stoker as an alternative, even though the OP lives right smack dab in the middle of coal country, I'll only make coal based suggestions when we get a coal forum. Something like that and a crapton of insulation and you will have lower heating costs and less drama. You didn't hear it from me.
     
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  13. F4jock

    F4jock
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    I live in NEPA as well and don't use coal. Too many drawbacks for me.
     
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  14. F4jock

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    Sounds like a draft problem and incomplete combustion. If soot is black that's it. Need to check and set low draft.
     
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  15. Bioburner

    Bioburner
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    Could be your cooling the stove too much. Not to be trying to heat a very cold space without it getting to something close to normal room temps. I had the same issue with a stove till the shop temps were up to above 55. You may find the stoves exchangers are going to crud up pretty fast too.
     
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  16. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw
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    No comment. None needed. :)

    Yea, drawbacks like emptying the ash pan every few days and filling the hopper every other day. Man, that would be too much for me! Besides sitting in my underwear in the 85 degree house sipping Maker's Mark. (Well, almost no comment. Couldn't resist. :) )
     
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  17. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw
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    To the OP, you are also trying to heat up a huge amount of at least 6" thick concrete that has been exposed to sub-freezing temperatures until you put up the garage doors. 'Peeing in the wind' comes to mind as a description of the task you are asking the pellet stove to consider. Since you already have purchased a pellet stove for some strange reason, I also won't comment on the obvious choice of heating fuel for your region!
     
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  18. alternativeheat

    alternativeheat
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    I worked in a metal building as a truck shop for 30 of my 44 years with them. It was roughly 125 ft. by 50 ft with 18 ft ceilings. It had 3 suspended gas heaters in it and it was very well insulated ( insulated with closed battens installed during construction of the building, so pinched right in between the supporting structure and skin) . A very comfortable place to work. But ya know what, knock out the ceiling fans on a 14 deg blustery day out of the North and those heaters never shut off. Turn the fans on and they cycled normally but worked hard. No insulation ? Forget it, you got a huge heat sink there sucking that heat right up and radiating it outdoors. You got to insulate the Cr#p out of a metal building. They build quick though, easy construction.

    I don't consider 1-1/2 bags a lot for a nice sized work shop. There is no such thing as free heat except in the summer time. But your heating situation is a tough chore at the moment, regardless of the heater you put in there. Even a wooden uninsulated shop of that size would be tough . More doable than metal by a little bit.
     
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  19. Johnny_Fiv3

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    I too have a US Stove product. To actually answer your question and not preach to you about what you already know: Simply set the Draft fan to 3 manually when on HR-1 (lowest setting). This will keep the glass cleaner. Also note the crudded up glass is of no real concern. After a good hour running hard on HR-5 (max) that glass will clean off. Poor low setting performance is a known issue with these US Stove products. The control board guesstimates draft and feed rate based on a curve plotted between a min and max setpoint. Not optimal all the time, but it works. So yea, just manually set the draft fan to 3 for HR-1 and you should be set.

    Also, insulate that building when you get a chance. LOL, sorry had to say it.
     
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  20. Tiger Joe

    Tiger Joe
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    Johnny- you lost me.

    how do I manually set the draft fan to 3? the only setting I see is the 1-5 on the side, which controls blower and pellet feed rate. the draft control is manually controlled in the rear of the stove.

    as far as coal, its too dirty for us. had it in another garage and don't like it. if we go with another source of heat it would be a natural gas forced air heater.
     
  21. Johnny_Fiv3

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    What control board is on that one?

    Does it look like this:

    [​IMG]
     
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  22. Tiger Joe

    Tiger Joe
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  23. Johnny_Fiv3

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    Ahh ok, time for @Owen1508 (who works for US Stove tech support) to chime in. He would know how to change settings on those boards. My stove uses a different controller than yours.
     
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  24. Tiger Joe

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    Thanks Johnny,

    Owen seemed to be a very good source of info, when I searched the forum his name came up a lot. I believe I had saved a diagnostic post he had made.
     
  25. F4jock

    F4jock
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    I don't run house temp at 85. Wife and I like 69 to 70. You forgot no auto ignition and dust.
     
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