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Posted By jerrieric,
Mar 5, 2019 at 5:27 PM
No matter what pellet stove brand you have, eventually they all have issues.
Yes and most of the causes are lack of maintenance.
I'm not so sure that's an accurate statement. I'm on my fourth pellet stove and I maintained them perfectly. 2 had problems even with excellent maintenance
Just like any mechanical device.
After the install, yes. A poor installation is just a disaster in the making no matter how clean and maintained the stove is.
installs are easy. Not sure why anyone would not be able to do one. Run pipe thru wall and up with a tee.
Yes they are easy. Perhaps to someone not mechanically inclined or having access to proper tools, not so easy.
Like any mechanical object, things fail/wear out. I find a pellet stove very easy to maintain compared to say a forced air propane furnace.
Keeping Pellet stoves clean will resolve many issues
Using me and my P43 as an example--
I'm incredibly OCD about some things, others not. My neighbor that lives down the road (burns propane like it's free) says my pellet stove will be the death of me,saying stuff like "every time I come over ,your cleaning that thing out." I clean it once weekly,no matter the use during heating season. After 2 years of having my p43, I'm very satisfied. It came with a "lemon" distribution motor,which I easily replaced. Other than that, no problems whatsoever. I've seen some stoves that the owner had neglected and yet complained up and down that the" *#! $!! #/&* thing doesn't work".
Keep em clean. Half an hour weekly will pay off in the long run.
Well said Doug
LOL, ya you would think. You need to spend more time here and see some of the pics that have come through over the years.
Exhaust pipes through duct work, stoves on wood floors, exhaust next to windows, doors, six inches from soffit. Exhaust going into stove pipe for wood stoves, heat reclaimers made for wood stoves installed, I could go on and on.
It comes down to opening the manual, understanding what and how the stove needs to be installed and why. You and I might do it but there are numerous morons out there that do not. And there is a lot of bad information especially on Face Book groups showing "how to" because someone else has done it that way and they haven't burned down the neighborhood, yet.
Maybe not "issues" or "problems", but the pellet stoves are full of components that have a finite lifespan that is usually shorter than we would like.
"installs are easy. Not sure why anyone would not be able to do one. Run pipe thru wall and up with a tee" That has to be the dumbest statement of the week,or,"drop the mic"OMG.Maybe no wonder this person has "went" through so many pellet stoves?
I sort of laugh reading this statement. I always asked a customer to write a list of what they wanted when they were shopping for a stove. There is many features available just depends on your desires. Many times a first stove is bought without knowing a lot about them thinking they are all the same. Maintenance is different on them some need more often some less, some are good looking others not so attractive. some are labor intensive . Some are cheap and others can be spendy. Some are more efficient then others meaning some produce usable heat that stays in the house where some produce heat and blow it out the exhaust.
None of us want to waste money but we like to get quality if we pay for it. I would guess a fair percent started out with buying one stove and after getting it wished we had bought another model because it had better features. I went through three stoves before I found the best match for what I wanted. Not everybody will do that but I was able to sell my year old stove for good money when I was doing this so never lost money. The state and fed gov had rebates so it worked for me.
I serviced different kinds of stoves so learned what I didn't like as well as some good features on some models. but the biggest problem I seen was lack of maintenance. I had some customers that were friends but they had more problems then normal and finally I made a schedule on their calendar and said clean your stove where the day is marked and you will eliminate a lot of your problems. He went two years before he had to call me for a bad fan. I started doing this for other customers as well and it helped them as well as me. Most people look at their calendar fairly often but they often don't look at the stove manual unless they have trouble.
As a help for potential stove owners they should talk to different dealers who sell different brands of stoves and gain some knowledge instead of buying the first one they see.
Some of us aren't so handy or aren't confident of our abilities. I had the basement stove installed by someone else because I didn't want to do something stupid that would cause issues such as smoke/CO/fire in the house. It is smarter to know what you don't know and take appropriate actions.
Problems usually have to do with motors. The fine ash that tends to infiltrate them eventually causes noise, and then failure. Also circuit boards get their brains scrambled by bad electricity and then the stove will act in problematic ways. All this usually happens in January or February.
Which is why I have spare motors and circuit boards. Running my boiler is very costly.
I say the stove is most likely to show problems during 2 times. During mid winter when it's running hottest and nonstop. When I'm listening to the motors every day, and oiling them if needed. And when it first gets started in the fall, after it's been sitting idle for months. I start mine before I really need it, just to make sure nothing happened over the summer.
Unfortunately the motors in my Harman are sealed as far as I know, so lubricating them is of no use. These motors tend to make telltale noises in advance of erratic operation and/or failure. Having spare motors is always a very good strategy.
Maybe pellet stoves should be started up once a month during non-heating season? I never heard of that as a recommendation though. I also am wondering if a sealed bearing motor sitting idle for 8 months would be more prone to problems vs. a motor that is run aprox. every 30 days?
You are referring to sealed bearings as the lubricant could settle. I think the quality of the bearings themselves play more of a role then anything else. Along with that is another thing not spoken of very often and that is shelf life. I had a friend who used to work for a company who sold bearings and he said they had dated bearings that if not sold by a certain date would be replaced. The convection fan motor on a Bixby stove seemed to be a weak point and the good thing was you can replace the bearings and save a lot of money rather then buying a complete motor.
Having said that we all know how we can save lots of money by buying on line so I did that but the bearings didn't last very long. I was complaining about that to this friend and that was when I found out about shelf life. So then I bought bearings from a electric motor rebuilding business and have had good luck since.
My bearings are sealed too. What I did was cut a tiny hole in the side of the bearing. Then use an animal syringe to inject motor oil into it. I can get nearly a season of quietness that way.
I have done that with bearings that are easy to get at on some farm machinery but if they are difficult to get at I put in new bearings. Seems there is always one screw that is hard to get at and I don't like to fight with it more then I have too.
That is worth a try.
What do you use to cut a hole into the bearing housing, a drill bit? I am also wondering if it would be better to use something a little heavier than motor oil.
A drill bit would work. I just used something like an exacto knife and cut a small spot in the plastic shield on the side of the bearing. At the edge of the shield near the center of the bearing. So the centrifugal force would keep the oil in the bearing.
I just tried things that I had on hand. First I tried a thin lubricant that didn't last long, probably just ran out. Then I tried faucet grease, then 500F silicone grease, both of them would just cake up after awhile. The motor oil seemed to be about the best consistency and by far lasted the longest. SAE30 that I had a little bit left over from my lawnmower.
Thanks. I'll give that a try.