Pellet stove newbie, steep learning curve

CarolCR

New Member
Nov 1, 2019
19
New Jersey
Hi, we replaced a woodstove with a HRSW Davenport freestanding pellet stove and find the operators manual seriously lacking in useful information regarding use of the stove settings and how to address burn issues.

The stove seems to burn well for a few hours, burning the pellets as they drop into the burn pot liner, then they start to accumulate, spill all over the place, the flame becomes lazy and heat output drops. This is with the feed rate at the lowest setting, approx 3 seconds on/8sec off.

We have only been burning the stove for a couple of weeks as its not cold here yet, cleaning the liner and burn pot each time the stove is cold. I don't uñderstand the variability in the burn quality and why it changes within a couple of hours with the settings the same. The manual suggests the damper should be used to adjust air flow to obtain the correct "look" to the flame, but I've read on this forum opinions that suggest the damper should be set at installation and not changed.

The installing dealer gave us a not confident feel and we additionally had a dispute w him so that bridge is a bit burned. Any advice would be appreciated as I'd like to understand how to use this appliance efficiently before winter really arrives
 

CarolCR

New Member
Nov 1, 2019
19
New Jersey
Eh this is the manual that came with the stove. Not found it helpful. Another issue is that it fails to fire on startup about 50% of the time.

Seems like a lot of ash in the burn pot. Not sure why there is no ash outlet in the burn pot. Seems crazy that that tiny container has to be emptied so frequently and of course the stove has to be cool to do so. The ash pan is huge, but very little ash makes it into that receptacle.

Wondering also how ambient outside air temp affects the burn. The dealer installed a thru the wall exhaust, but we want to run a pipe up the exterior and over the roof ridge to get some natural draft. Might also help in power outages til i can get a generator hooked up.

Hoping i didnt make a $$$$$$ mistake!
 

jerrieric

Feeling the Heat
Jul 7, 2008
333
Windham Me
All I can say is you get what you pay for. I'm not trying to be negative but my stove doesn't even have a manual damper to adjust. Burns perfectly all the time no clinkers and all I do is set the internal thermostat to whatever temperature I want and I'm done.
 

BigJohnfromCT

Feeling the Heat
Dec 29, 2012
262
Danbury, CT
All I can say is you get what you pay for. I'm not trying to be negative but my stove doesn't even have a manual damper to adjust. Burns perfectly all the time no clinkers and all I do is set the internal thermostat to whatever temperature I want and I'm done.
D
I often ask my wife, "How does your comment help?" With all respect, how does your comment help the OP. Maybe they were sold a bill of goods. Maybe that's all they could afford. I think she was just looking for some assistance that would benefit her situation.
 
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Dataman

Minister of Fire
Sep 10, 2018
579
Newport, Wa
All I can say is you get what you pay for. I'm not trying to be negative but my stove doesn't even have a manual damper to adjust. Burns perfectly all the time no clinkers and all I do is set the internal thermostat to whatever temperature I want and I'm done.
Mine too. Runs with Minimum Fuss. But it costs more I bet.
 

jerrieric

Feeling the Heat
Jul 7, 2008
333
Windham Me
I often ask my wife, "How does your comment help?" With all respect, how does your comment help the OP. Maybe they were sold a bill of goods. Maybe that's all they could afford. I think she was just looking for some assistance that would benefit her situation.
I knew I'd get static for my comment but if lower priced stoves worked like higher priced ones I would go lower also. It took me 4 stoves to figure out which one I really wanted fortunately I could afford the experimentation.
 

Jake86

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2015
168
Plymouth, Massachusetts
It sounds like your stove does not operate when hot (according To your manual...)
*the stove does not operate when hot….re. your manual's trouble shooting guide:
#2. Incorrect air damper setting. - Excessive air may consume the fire too quickly before the next drop of
fuel, leaving completely unburned fuel in the burn pot liner. - Insufficient air will cause build up, further
restricting the airflow through the Burn Pot Liner. This in turn will cause the fuel to burn cold and very
slowly. Fuel may build up and smother the fire.
Does your stove’s flame look lazy? You may not be getting enough air... If so adjust the damper more open. Don’t get hung up on “the damper should be set at installation and not changed.”
Try getting the flame burning fast... if it looks lazy.”
 

CarolCR

New Member
Nov 1, 2019
19
New Jersey
It sounds like your stove does not operate when hot (according To your manual...)
*the stove does not operate when hot….re. your manual's trouble shooting guide:
#2. Incorrect air damper setting. - Excessive air may consume the fire too quickly before the next drop of
fuel, leaving completely unburned fuel in the burn pot liner. - Insufficient air will cause build up, further
restricting the airflow through the Burn Pot Liner. This in turn will cause the fuel to burn cold and very
slowly. Fuel may build up and smother the fire.
Does your stove’s flame look lazy? You may not be getting enough air... If so adjust the damper more open. Don’t get hung up on “the damper should be set at installation and not changed.”
Try getting the flame burning fast... if it looks lazy.”
[/QUOTE

Well this is what i suspect, it is an air flow issue. What i dont understand is why it burns well, with a brisk flame, for a few hours, then starts to have a problem. When the pellets start to build up i definitely have a smothering problem. It also seems as though the ash doesn't drop out of the liner efficiently which may be what causes the buildup and inhibits the combustion air.

It was not what i consider to be an inexpensive appliance. Stove and installation was about $4k. I suppose the dealer could have just taken me for a ride, we did determine him to be quite a jerk.
 

Jake86

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2015
168
Plymouth, Massachusetts
See if the jerk can fix it. Be nice. Can you stop payment on a credit card? Small claims court does wonders to get a dead beat motivated.
 

CarolCR

New Member
Nov 1, 2019
19
New Jersey
See if the jerk can fix it. Be nice. Can you stop payment on a credit card? Small claims court does wonders to get a dead beat motivated.
I have no faith in the jerk. He does not have the knowledge he purports to have, has anger issues and i just do not want to deal with him. We ended up in small claims court w him....and i found out after the fact he had other judgements against him that he failed to resolve. My mistake in trying to support a local small business. Our sweep did help us a bit and he suggested this forum. I think its just experimentation, but i dont understand the incinsistency.
 

The Toasted One

New Member
Nov 15, 2018
8
NWNJ
What does flue look like?, diameter, flue size, how many bends and how long?
Sounds like a combustion airflow problem, possibly too much restriction.
Also check for air leaks around the door.

From what I understand, combustion air is sucked out of the stove, not forced in, so any any air leaks before the blower will suck room air in,but not through the burn pot.

I'm a noob also, just by 2 cents
 

CarolCR

New Member
Nov 1, 2019
19
New Jersey
What does flue look like?, diameter, flue size, how many bends and how long?
Sounds like a combustion airflow problem, possibly too much restriction.
Also check for air leaks around the door.

From what I understand, combustion air is sucked out of the stove, not forced in, so any any air leaks before the blower will suck room air in,but not through the burn pot.

I'm a noob also, just by 2 cents
The flue is 3"-4" adapter at the stove, 4" to a 6" vertical section that is probably 3-4 feet to a 90° elbow thru the wall and about 18" of external horizontal pipe.

I did discover a small gap at the door latch , maybe 2-3 mm where the adjustment bolt to keep the latch tight doesn't cover something fully .I will investigate when the stove us cold. We are having some early chill, 25° tonight ...way chilly and early for us here in S NJ. Not sure if the jerk didnt assemble the door apparatus correctly or its just poor design.
 

The Toasted One

New Member
Nov 15, 2018
8
NWNJ
The flue is 3"-4" adapter at the stove, 4" to a 6" vertical section that is probably 3-4 feet to a 90° elbow thru the wall and about 18" of external horizontal pipe.

I did discover a small gap at the door latch , maybe 2-3 mm where the adjustment bolt to keep the latch tight doesn't cover something fully .I will investigate when the stove us cold. We are having some early chill, 25° tonight ...way chilly and early for us here in S NJ. Not sure if the jerk didn't assemble the door apparatus correctly or its just poor design.
You might want to try increasing the vertical height of the flue discharge pipe tp get more draft....if you can.
It was 18 last night up here in Port Murray NJ, so I know what you mean about the temps getting so cold so quick.

Read the sticky thread in this forum about troubleshooting a lazy flame, lots of good info there..

Good luck
 

CarolCR

New Member
Nov 1, 2019
19
New Jersey
You might want to try increasing the vertical height of the flue discharge pipe tp get more draft....if you can.
It was 18 last night up here in Port Murray NJ, so I know what you mean about the temps getting so cold so quick.

Read the sticky thread in this forum about troubleshooting a lazy flame, lots of good info there..

Good luck
Yes that is our plan.

Adjusted the damper slightly at 10 pm last night and at 630 am still had a brisk flame with appropriate amount of pellets. Building was perfect temp too.

Thanks!
 

CarolCR

New Member
Nov 1, 2019
19
New Jersey
So i cleaned the stove this morning and adjusted the door latch, which the jerk failed to do, to eliminate the 2mm gap. That gap was definitely screwing with the air as i now have a completely different flame, way brisker, and will now have to putz a bit with the feed rate and air settings to keep it burning well. But i think I'm getting a handle on it.

Thanks for the helpful comments.
 

JRemington

Feeling the Heat
Nov 4, 2017
492
Belleville New York
That’s a perfect flame. When was to stove installed? How many ton have you burned? That install gives you a natural draft although I’m confused how he went from 4 to 6 inch at the clean out t.
 

CarolCR

New Member
Nov 1, 2019
19
New Jersey
That’s a perfect flame. When was to stove installed? How many ton have you burned? That install gives you a natural draft although I’m confused how he went from 4 to 6 inch at the clean out t.
The stove was installed in May. We have burned only about 15 bags of Lignetics hardwood pellets so far.

We have had is set on feed rate #1 since we started burning it....until this morning when i could barely get enough pellets to drop to keep the flame going. New bag from the same pallet of pellets. Plenty of heat but burned incredibly quickly relative to what ive seen over the past few weeks. This inconsistency drives me nuts. It was quite windy today and as i was cleaning it i could feel air coming in the combustion air pipe. Wondering if there was a combustion air assist from the wind.

The dufus used a 4-6" enlarger at the cleanout. Dont know why. The outlet outside the building is also 6" (i think) its a Selkirk horizontal termination cap on about 12" of horizontal pipe.
 

JRemington

Feeling the Heat
Nov 4, 2017
492
Belleville New York
It looks to me like 4 in pellet pipe in the pic you sent me. It’s coming off a 3 to 4 in adapter T. We have a lot of Davenport stoves out there and our people like them for a mid range stove. Are you sure the 90 degree elbow isn’t 4 inch? I wish the installer had gone straight out behind the stove and then up 3 foot. We need to get your piping done properly if your feeling a wind blower back into the exhaust pipe.
 

CarolCR

New Member
Nov 1, 2019
19
New Jersey
It looks to me like 4 in pellet pipe in the pic you sent me. It’s coming off a 3 to 4 in adapter T. We have a lot of Davenport stoves out there and our people like them for a mid range stove. Are you sure the 90 degree elbow isn’t 4 inch? I wish the installer had gone straight out behind the stove and then up 3 foot. We need to get your piping done properly if your feeling a wind blower back into the exhaust pipe.
 

CarolCR

New Member
Nov 1, 2019
19
New Jersey
He used a 3 to 4" adapter at the exit from the stove, then up sized to 6" fir the vertical pipe. He ran the pipe up inside the building because the original plan had been to vent thru the existing masonry chimney via a 4" flex liner. The chimney had condition issues and we ultimately opted to just remove it. His quote calls for 4"x40" vent pipe to the flex liner. Why he used 6" is beyond me, but he was a very difficult person to work with and as i said we ended up having to file a claim against him.

The air i felt when cleaning was coming in the combustion air pipe. Not from the top of the stove where i assume exhaust exits.
 

CarolCR

New Member
Nov 1, 2019
19
New Jersey
I measured the pipe at the T this morning. It is 5". The label calls it an "increaser".

What causes black soot on the glass? Sometines it burns without producing this soot, other times its pretty sooty. Pellet differences? Air leak? Door latches quite snugly, but i havent done a test with a piece of paper to see if it is snug throughout the whole gasketed area
 

JRemington

Feeling the Heat
Nov 4, 2017
492
Belleville New York
You have a 3 to 4 adapter T with 4 inch going through the wall. What does that go into? Black soot on the glass is going to be low combustion air or crappy smoldering pellets. Is the ash that’s building up in the burn pot gray or black? If it’s building up ash you’re going to have to pull the draft out further. Last winter the pellets in our area were so crappy I didn’t know anyone that wasn’t having problems. I was setting drafts at .15 and burn pots were still getting congested. In your video your fire looks perfect. Does the burn pot eventually start building up dark heavy ash?