Summer maintenance and preparations

Snowy Rivers Posted By Snowy Rivers, Apr 28, 2013 at 12:38 PM

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  1. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 7, 2010
    NW Oregon
    Well now, summer is finally getting closer, Ahhhhh, for some of us anyway.

    The little friend pellet stove has given its all for the heating season and now it's time to give it some TLC in preparation for next fall/winters heating season.

    What to do ?
    Give the little creature a complete cleaning, and this means every nook and cranny in the thing.

    Remove all the baffles, plates and uncover every place that ash and crud can collect.

    Once the stove is open and vacuumed out good, use the leaf blower on SUCK to get the beast as clean as you can.
    Be sure to leave the door open to allow max air flow and also to be sure you dont over stress the pressure switch.


    Open the mechanical cabinet (Stove sides, back or ??) to gain access to the inner workings.

    This area collects DUST, DIRT and PELLET DEBRIS.

    It's amazing how much crap collects in this area.

    If you have pets (cats dogs) there will be hair that gets in there too.

    One area that really collects the crud is the air passages through the various fan motors.
    The exhaust fan, room air fan motors each have a cooling blade to pull cool air through the motor, and the small slits in the end cap of the motor will collect hair, dust and all manner of crap.

    The worst of the crud can be vacuumed off using the house vac with a soft brush on the hand piece.

    Once this is done, carefully vacuum the entire cabinet out being careful not to suck up the various insulation thats present in the area.

    Look over all the wiring that runs about to be sure that none of the wires have been rubbing on sharp metal pieces and are in danger of causing a short circuit.

    A warning, EVERY stove I have ever seen are chuck full of SHARP metal edges that will slice you up quickly.

    Soooooooooo, be careful and dont go flogging about, lest you need a box of bandaids. !!!

    If all is well so far, then its time to remove the exhaust blower and the room air fan assemblies.

    Many exhaust blowers require oiling, and this is a wonderful time to do it.

    Getting the exhaust blower off is not usually difficult, but generally will require a new gasket. (See spare parts list)

    Once the exhaust blower is off, take it out doors to clean it.

    The usual exhaust fan is a radial blade type and pretty sturdy, butttttttttttttt, be gentle so as not to distort the bladed.

    Use a soft steel/stainless or brass brush to clean off any carbon, ash, etc.

    Getting the entire fan clean is important, as left over crap on one blade will cause an imbalance and vibrations.

    Once the fan is cleaned, blow out the motor with compressed air to remove the last of the crap.

    Set this assembly aside and turn your attention to the exhaust housing.

    A metal brush like a bottle brush can do wonders to reach into the innards and knock loose the stuck on crud, ash, carbon etc that the leaf blower SUCK JOB did not jar loose.

    Take your tiime and "GITTERCLEAN" as this part of maintenance is only a yearly endevour.

    Once things are good here, replace the gasket and then fasten the fan/motor assembly back on.
    If the fan/motor is noisy or does not spin freely/quietly, this is the time to replace it.

    Next comes the room air fan.

    These are usually a squirrel cage design and unbeknownst to most folks, collect huge amounts of crap.

    The airborn smoke, oils and such from cooking and ???? all tend to find their way into the air stream and act to STICK the dust particles to the fan blades.

    Remove the fan/motor assembly and take it outdoors and blow out the fan, housing and motor.

    DO NOT BE TEMPTED to allow the fan to reach extreme speeds while directing compressed air into the squirrel cage, as this can cause damage or personal injury if the fan were to come apart.

    Thes fans generally run at 3000 rpm max and could reach many many times this speed with air directed into the wheel.

    Once this unit is clean, replace it. Now if the bearings sound noisy or rough, this is a great time to replace the unit.

    Next, clean out the auger of any pellet dust and be sure the drive motor coupling and such is secure.

    The auger motor is sealed/prelubed and is pretty much trouble free and unless there is signs of large grease leakage or other issues, you can leave it alone.

    The fire back or brick firebox backer.

    If this has become badly erroded to broken, now is a good time to replace it.

    The next item is to clean the windows and make sure the airwash is clean.

    The air wash allows air to be sucked in around either the top of the glass or its directed up from slits at the bottom of the glass that are fed air from a booster fan. Every model/make can be different.

    Cleaning the glass is a subject of another post, BUTTTTTTTT, I use fantastic spray and with tough stains I use SOS PADS

    Check the fire pot to be sure its in good order and if so, reinstall it.

    Spare parts list


    Exhaust fan/motor
    Room air fan/motor
    Any other fan such as a booster ???
    Feed motor
    Snap switches (high and low)
    Ignitor (if you have one) maybe 2 spares
    Control board, especially if your stove is an older model.
    Any other odd items like a door switch or ??? that cant be obtained quickly
    Vacuum/pressure switch
    Piece of hose to connect the switch.
    Door rope seal
    Gaskets for all the items serviced.
    Fresh tube of high temp silicone.

    These items may seem like a lot, but on a cold Sunday morning and the fire is out, the house is cold and the wife/hubby and kids are crying, this stash of parts will be a lifesaver.

    Once you use an item, REPLACE IT ASAP, because if you don't then next time you will be in deep do do, this is especially true of ignitors.

    One can hope to never need these parts, but when you do, they are more valuable than GOLD.

    Hope this helps

    MacP, joescho, heat seeker and 5 others like this.
  2. Don2222

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 1, 2010
    Salem NH
    Hi Snowy

    Great list, gives people alot to think about.

    I am deep in that stage right now trying to get my "New to Me" Harmy ready for the next season. When I got it a month ago it was dead as a door nail, except it appeared to work fine in test mode! Turned out to be a bad control panel. Probably the auger triac was blown open because the auger would not feed any pellets anymore. Too bad it was a P61 board because have another board with the exact same problem. I really think one good board could be made from these two boards. Anyway, I wanted the igniter so the P61a board went in with a new burn pot and slide plate feeder arm.

    It also came with a new wire harness so like checking the connections item on your list, this is a great time to just through in a new wire harness!
    Nice to have all new shinny connections.

    Also the ash pan is a bit rusty and needs a good spruce up.
    What do you recommend here?

    I am knocking down some of the rust with wire brushing. See pics. How about a nice stencil on the front?


    Attached Files:

  3. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 7, 2010
    NW Oregon
    Glad its coming together.

    I started on our stoves back a couple weeks ago.

    The little Whit was not working well at all, with a lazy fire and skunking up the glass real bad.
    Ripped it apart and installed a new draft/booster fan and cleared out the collection of crud that had all but totally closed off the exhaust passage out from the area above the heat exchangers.

    A complete vacuum of the cabinet was all done then too.
    Blew out the fans as well.

    The little whit is good now for next season other than a quick clean.

    In a couple weeks or so, I will get at the large Whit.

    After my stroke, getting stuff done is tough, but I just get help and try to work through it.

  4. Don2222

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 1, 2010
    Salem NH
    We are certainly so glad you are back and we missed you alot!

    Good you got that new draft/booster fan in, that seemed to make a big difference!

    So here are the pics of the ash pan and the high temp car header paint from the auto parts store I used.
    I painted the inside of the pan Flat Black and the outside Flat Aluminum to mix it up a bit.
    What do you think? Not bad for a 12 year old stove? I can dump ashes in style now. :)

    Attached Files:

  5. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 7, 2010
    NW Oregon
    Header paint is great stuff, just tends to stink a tad more as it cures, as compared to the stuff like stove bright etc.

    The big issue with the booster fan in the little Whit was, during the last stack fire, things involved the fan housing and the fan blade got so hot that the rotation caused the blades to fold back to about 3o degress instead of being at 90 to the end plate.

    This entire issue was basically due to poor drafting me thinks.

    Anyway, no real damage done, and I slipped in a brand new blade. The motor was fine.

    Just part of the long term learning curve on that stove.

    Every stove is different when it comes to burning any of the alternative biomass fuels.

    I finally adjusted the feed duration up some from the factory 1.5 seconds on time, and set it to a touch over 2 seconds.

    The issue was that when the fire is fresh and the pot is clean, the fire would nearly burn out between drops of fuel.

    The new drop would land in a very shallow bed of coals, then smolder and smoke some before catching again.

    If I set the feed rate on 2 then within 30 minutes or so the fire is too big.

    The big issue with the shells is they are sort of like burning kindling if you will, and not like the compressed pellets.

    The small pieces burn fairly quick, so the trick is to keep just enough dropping in to hold the fire at a low level, but without allowing it to go out.

    The design of the fire pot, the draft air supply and such makes this a very tricky line to hold.

    Now that the machine is all clean and working well, the issue is pretty well in hand.

    The smoking after a drop into the bed of coals was causing a build up of combustibles and that led tto the issue of the stack fire.

    Now the large Whit does not have any troubles, but the draft fan set up is far different, as is the fire pot design and the entire airflow through the stove.

    The small Whit sees the combustion air flow up through the heat exchangers and then straight out the top rear of the stove.
    The large Whit has the air flow up, then down through two sets of ash traps the out through the fan in the lower part of the stove and then out.

    The difference is major between the two designs.

    I would love to mess with one of the newer bottom feed stoves that push the burnt materials out the front and off into the ash pan.

    Ahhh Well.

  6. Don2222

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 1, 2010
    Salem NH
    Hello Snowy

    When I service Whitefield blowers like these, I

    1. Brush and blow out all dust in exhaust motor with air compressor
    2. Pull out rubber oil plugs and Lubricate oil holes and end shaft using TufOil LubeIt-8
    3. After using a putty knife to clean under the fan blades and a small wire brush to clean the fan blades, I spray dry moly on the blades and the mounting hub underneath to help prevent future buildup
    4. Spray wire contacts with contact cleaner. If contacts are old and oxidized, cut off and use crimp quick disconnects from Lowes or Home Depot for new connection.
    5. Use pipe cleaner to clean copper barb that connects vacuum hose
    6. Replace vacuum hose with clear 500 Deg F Hi Temp silicone hose. -- Easier to see if there is dirt inside. :)
    7. Brush and vacuum out exhaust plenum and chamber into stove and chamber into venting.
    8. Always install hand made white Lytherm Gasket when replacing.
    9. Put the AC test cord on it and listen for any noises
    10. spin the blades by hand to see if they gradually wind down and stop. (If they stop abruptly then the bearings are going and it may be wise to replace now than on a cold winter weekend!)

    Also the 5 - 5/32" nuts that hold the exhaust blower on were old and rusty so I put new ones on to make it easier next time!

    Click on pic to enlarge and see slide show

    Attached Files:

  7. turbosporsche

    Member 2.

    Dec 31, 2012
    Just finished rebuilding my whitfield profile 30 ins. New gaskets cleaned heat exchanger tubs, repainted entire unit. I know a lot of people on here don't like them because of the problems they have. 99.9 % of issues with these stoves come from the photo eye. Not that the eye gets dirty but the slot is to small . A good test is to hook up a mulit meter to the yellow wires which are for the photo eye and place a small candle in the burn pot. On the continuity setting u should see the number go up and down. If it's stuck on 1 . The eye is not seeing a flame which will cause the stove to shut Down after about 15 min. I could not stomach to buy a relocation kit as I felt this should be a free fix from whitfield so I made my own.

    If anyone is interested on how I did it. Or just has a question with there model I know these pretty good. I've been rebuilding these stoves for friends now for the last couple of years.

    Just PM me I'll send u pics.

    Happy burning everyone.

    Attached Files:

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