Q&A Pellet vent pipe almost burned down house

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New Member
Staff member
Nov 27, 2012

I just moved into an apartment that has a top-feed pellet stove. I also received no instructions on its use, though there is a brief manual stickered to the hopper lid. Seeing no warnings against it, I couldn't resist throwing in some peanut shells, newspaper, and other odds and ends occasionally. I know, I know, I'm an idiot. I only did this for a couple of days, because suddenly the flue pipe grew VERY hot -- the galvanization actually turned from shiny silver to flat gray, and smoke poured out from the pipe joints. I thought I was a goner; I shut the stove down immediately and ran outside to see if the outlet pipe was spewing flame; it wasn't. Everything cooled down all right, thankfully, and I haven't had a problem since, sticking now just to pellets.

My question is, do I need to have someone come in and clean the exhaust pipe? Could a little non-pellet fuel cause a dangerous creosote build-up? I think what happened was that I just started a smoke fire, and as long as I burn nothing but pellets I'll be all right. But I'm still pretty paranoid about the stove; I'd hate to let it burn unattended. What do you think?


Yes, it sounds like you had a chimney fire in your Pellet Vent. This is a rare occurrence, because Pellets burn very hot and produce almost no creosote. I also think your problem related to the burning of other fuels.....newspaper? How the heck did you get that stuff in there? I mean, I can see the peanut shells, but not the newspaper. All kidding aside, there were some pellets I once had that were made from peanut hulls. They had a high ash content and only burned in certain models of stoves. You should burn only premium pellets. YOu should also contact the maker of the stove to get a manual. In addition, it would not be a bad idea to have the stove and installation checked and cleaned by a sweep or dealer who was familiar with the product.
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