Pellet stove keeps triggering surge protector outlet

NHcountryfellow

New Member
Jan 27, 2020
3
New Hampshire
Yesterday at 6:34 PM
Hello,

I just got this pellet stove from a friend. Worked fine for a few days, now an outlet in the barn is popping afetr a few minutes of starting up "SU". If I press the button back in, the stove turns back on and starts up again. A few minutes later it pops the plug, (nothing plugged into this outlet) and not the barn breaker box? If I put it into shut down or off mode, it does that until its cool then shuts off. I found that the tube in the back was brittle so I cut a piece off and replaced it back. Then I cleaned out the hole with a toothpick in the front by the ignitor. This has happened many times, should I check for a blown fuse?
 

tlc1976

Feeling the Heat
Oct 7, 2012
414
Northwest Lower Michigan
First of all does this outlet work successfully for other devices that might be high draw such as an electric heater or vacuum cleaner? GFI outlets do go bad.

If that’s ok then I would be checking the stove for wiring shorts. So it seems to do it a few minutes after starting the stove every time? I would look at whatever tries to run at that time. Likely the igniter. Check with a multimeter to see if the igniter is shorted or any of the wiring is.
 

Nitro-Fish

Member
Feb 5, 2009
96
VA
Sounds like you may have the stove plugged into a GFI protected outlet? The thread title says surge protector, but you also say the outlet that has the reset button has nothing plugged into it which is why I ask about it being a GFI receptacle (A single GFI receptacle can serve/ protect more than just the receptacle) with a test & reset button (if in fact it is a GFI outlet). A GFI outlet has a line and a load connection; the line is from the panel box, the load can have multiple outlets connected further down the line that will still be GFI protected.
If that is what you have, move the source for the stove to a non GFI protected receptacle and see what happens.
 
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Nitro-Fish

Member
Feb 5, 2009
96
VA
First of all does this outlet work successfully for other devices that might be high draw such as an electric heater or vacuum cleaner? GFI outlets do go bad.

If that’s ok then I would be checking the stove for wiring shorts. So it seems to do it a few minutes after starting the stove every time? I would look at whatever tries to run at that time. Likely the igniter. Check with a multimeter to see if the igniter is shorted or any of the wiring is.
+ this
tlc is thinking along the same lines
 

zrock

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2017
806
bc
I would say the stove is to much for the plug... with the igniter running its probably seeing this as a dead short and tripping the plug.
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,354
Nova Scotia
Dont know what's going on here but I do know GFCI outlets can go bad. We had one that all at once started and kept popping. It was outdoors though, not sure if a factor or not
 

NHcountryfellow

New Member
Jan 27, 2020
3
New Hampshire
Thank you all for the responses. The stove has been plugged into a nonGFI outlet. That outlet I mentioned is outside of this room, but it is wired to connect with this outlet apparently (just saw that), so being that the plug is related so to speak, it triggers the popping of that outlet. I don't have anything else running except the lights in here which are mostly extension cords, and one PC which is connected to an outlet (GFI'd) that has a light switch that does not work. What I have done since is to remove the ignitor, which had worked before, and that seemed to stop the tripping of that outlet. I have to manually start a fire but it runs normal after that. Can I keep doing this, or should I get a new ignitor soon? I do have a guy coming to check all the wiring to this old barn in the spring to get up to code or at least make sure all is correct with the wiring and breaker box.
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
2,945
Lorraine NY
If the outlet is wired after and in line with the GFI it is protected buy the GFI. Sounds like you need to have a dedicated line just for your stove. No need to replace the igniter its just drawing to many amps for the GFI
 
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Nitro-Fish

Member
Feb 5, 2009
96
VA
I doubt the igniter is drawing too much for the receptacle, a 400 watt igniter will only draw 3.33 amps @ 120V, unless the length of the circuit from the source is overly long, you shouldn't need a dedicated circuit; the problem lies in the GFI protection, they just don't play well with some devices. If you are sure the receptacle that the stove is plugged into is fed downstream of the GFI and it is only to serve the stove, you can change the wires going to the stove receptacle from the load side of the GFI receptacle (marked on the back) to the line side, this will make the stove receptacle GFI protection free (and any other receptacles hooked to the stove receptacle string) and should solve your problem. If the circuit length is substantial from the source, you may have too much of a voltage drop, but if the source is local you should be good.
 

tlc1976

Feeling the Heat
Oct 7, 2012
414
Northwest Lower Michigan
Yes the igniter shouldn’t draw too much unless by any chance it is shorted internally or a wire going to it is shorted. You can check the igniter with a multimeter.

What happens if you plug some other heating device in the outlet? Electric heater, curling iron, coffee pot, hair dryer on hot, etc? If everything else trips it too then it’s probably the building wiring or the outlet. If nothing else trips it then it’s probably the stove.
 

Pelleting In NJ

Minister of Fire
Sep 26, 2011
541
Central NJ
Or maybe the GFCI is working properly and tripping because the pellet stove has too much leakage current to ground...….
 

NHcountryfellow

New Member
Jan 27, 2020
3
New Hampshire
Yes the igniter shouldn’t draw too much unless by any chance it is shorted internally or wire going to it is shorted. You can check the igniter with a multimeter.

What happens if you plug some other heating device in the outlet? Electric heater, curling iron, coffee pot, hairdryer on hot, etc? If everything else trips it too then it’s probably the building wiring or the outlet. If nothing else trips it then it’s probably the stove.
I hear this multimeter come up a bit, I will look into getting one and test the ignitor. Stove works great without the ignitor, for now, I will see about getting one down the road if need be. As for the GFI plug, it may be bad as someone mentioned. I plugged a heater into it and it does the same thing. Some guy that lived here before me did the wiring, but he was a painter, not an electrician. He said he watched some videos haha. I have a master electrician coming out to access this, and any other issues.

Glad that there is a forum to ask questions and get answers and even different points of view from you guys. Thanks again! The place is over 100 years old, could use some upgrades for sure. Thanks all for your input.
 

tlc1976

Feeling the Heat
Oct 7, 2012
414
Northwest Lower Michigan
Ok so plugging a heater in it does the same thing so I’d say most likely the outlet is bad.
 

zrock

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2017
806
bc
ohhh crap i would have had a electrician come in a long time with a YouTube electrician doing the work
 
GET a real electrician out there NOW!, and I do mean a real one, and I mean now...toot sweet.
You are playing with fire and I mean a fire as in watch your barn burn down...
I’ve had experience, a lot, with 100 yr olde buildings and the last guy that wired it, wasn’t the only one.

Back in the twenties, that would be their 1920’s, there was an electrical system that was popular for awhile, that used only one wire, with no ground,,, and a lot of shade tree electricians ‘changed’ it over to a ‘modern’ system.

If your building is 100 yrs old, get smart, get safe!!
 

Former Farmer

Feeling the Heat
Apr 12, 2008
499
NE Wisconsin
Back in the twenties, that would be their 1920’s, there was an electrical system that was popular for awhile, that used only one wire, with no ground,,, and a lot of shade tree electricians ‘changed’ it over to a ‘modern’ system.
The old knob and tube wiring method was and is a good wiring method. The problem arises with people who did not know what they were doing, trying to modify the wiring or insulating their walls and attics. I still think that it is a very good wiring method. Just think of it, the two conductors were separated by at least 12" of air space instead of now, the conductors are placed right along side of each other.

After knob and tube, came two conductor armored cable. Then, romex was introduced. There have been several variations of romex over the years.

I do agree with the others. Get a licensed electrician out there to check everything over.

I have seen quite a bit over the years as a master electrician in Wisconsin. It is pretty easy to tell what was done be someone that actually knew what they were doing versus the "youtube guru's". When I am referring to people that knew what they were doing, they aren't all electricians. Some are desk jockeys that have done their homework to know how to install wiring properly. Also, I have seen some pretty shotty work from a few electricians as well.
 
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I think that old system with one wire, was the Carter system..... not sure. I also know that a lot of gov’t housing build after WWII, had sub standard wiring....I found a whole bunch of it, maybe 50 houses, in a Chicago suburb a few years ago....Many had the fuse box replace with a circuit breaker, and some new outlets might have been put in, however, the wiring it self, thru the walls and ceilings was definitely dangerous.