Thinking of replacing my PelPro 120

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Brokk

Member
Dec 9, 2008
126
Central/Eastern Mass
Over 10 years ago, we bought this big Victorian and installed a wood pellet stove in the family room. It's a big room, about 17' wide and 34' long. So about 600 sq feet. It has high ceilings and a crawlspace beneath it with poor insulation. The walls should be decent insulation though. According to common advice, in ideal situations you would only need 12,000 BTU to heat 600 sq ft. Since this is not ideal, we figured 25,000 BTU should be fine. The PelPro 120 claimed to put out up to 50K BTU/hour, with a minimum of 15K BTU/hour. We should be roasting with this stove!

The reality did not work out that way. If we come home and the house is cold (50 F), if we close the doors to keep the heat in just that room and start the stove, then in roughly 7 or 8 hours, the heat will finally reach 65 degrees. That is with maximum feed rate and blowers on high. Over the years I tried everything I could find. Talked to their support tech. Tried every wood pellet stove tuning technique. Nothing I did ever made a difference. It just would slowly pump out luke warm air and take many hours to heat the room. We barely use it anymore. The room heats way faster just putting a fan in front of the steam radiator.

Either there is a serious flaw in the dynamics of my house in regards to the wood pellet stove, or the stove is just a lemon. I'm considering getting rid of the PelPro and replacing it with something more reliable/effective.

I would appreciate any thoughts on either the lack of heat situation, or a replacement that would do a better job.

Brokk...
 

Washed-Up

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2011
780
Kananaskis,Alberta, Canada
Depends on what your budget is and if you want new or used. Our Harman P61A ran out of pellets when we were at a staff party once and the house was 12c/53f in -30c/-22f, filled and started it, ran on high for 1hr or so and had the temp reasonable 1600 sq ft. I picked it up used and abused, restored it. $500 total.
 

Duffman

Member
Feb 8, 2018
16
loc
Hey brokk, just shot you a message regarding the 120. It shouldn’t be firing out insanely hot air, but it should be fairly warm. I have a smaller house but the of 100 I have blow the place out if we let it.
I’m in the central ma area if you need a hand with it or are looking to get rid of it
 
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Brokk

Member
Dec 9, 2008
126
Central/Eastern Mass
The chimney is tall. 30+ feet. So the draft can be pretty strong. I know it has an exhaust blower, but I was wondering if the draft was too strong, if it was pulling the heat up the chimney rather than heating the room. (Thus it's an issue with my house rather than the stove) If that is the case, then a different pellet stove might not fix my issue.

It just kills me that everything I read talks about how efficient and good at heating these pellet stoves are, which just doesn't match my personal experience at all.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,307
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
It’s not heating a 600 Sf room, it’s trying to heat your home. Still it should be heating better than you describe. Since the stove never gets hot on high, could your fuel be suspect?
 
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Washed-Up

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2011
780
Kananaskis,Alberta, Canada
Are there any ceiling fans in the room the stove is in?
 

Brokk

Member
Dec 9, 2008
126
Central/Eastern Mass
There are three, but we don't typically use them in the winter, unless I'm using a fan with the steam radiator. In that case the heat pours off the radiator and heads for the ceiling, so I use the ceiling fan to spread it around to warm a larger chunk of the room. Once the heat spreads out, we usually shut it off.
 

Brokk

Member
Dec 9, 2008
126
Central/Eastern Mass
It’s not heating a 600 Sf room, it’s trying to heat your home. Still it should be heating better than you describe. Since the stove never gets hot on high, could your fuel be suspect?
Over the last 10 years I have used at least 8 different brands of pellets. I go for hardwood when it is specified on the bag. Sometimes the bags don't say, or it's a blend. Regardless of the brand/type/year we have never noticed a change in the ability of the stove to heat the room.
 
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Ocelot

Member
Dec 27, 2010
87
Hudson Valley, NY
Over the last 10 years I have used at least 8 different brands of pellets. I go for hardwood when it is specified on the bag. Sometimes the bags don't say, or it's a blend. Regardless of the brand/type/year we have never noticed a change in the ability of the stove to heat the room.
Generally soft wood puts out more heat with Douglas fir being the hotest, but very expensive unless you live on the west coast. Way less ash too, in fact with Doug Fir pellets I've burned, there is almost no ash.
 

Brokk

Member
Dec 9, 2008
126
Central/Eastern Mass
@Duffman was kind enough to come over today to take a look at my setup. Things seemed generally "right" and the advertised BTU should have me cooking in that room. Thinking about the long run/chimney liner, he questioned how hot the stove pipe gets between the stove and the chimney. He said his doesn't get very hot. You can put your hand on it for several seconds before thinking it was too hot to leave there. He said they shouldn't get much more than 120. A quick infrared scan showed mine at 140+ and climbing. It's hot to the touch. Doesn't burn you immediately, but when you touch it you quickly pull your hand back.

As I feared, the long run = high draft. The heat is being pulled out of the stove. My air intake is almost shut all the way as well. Does anyone know if you can get a damper for a double wall 4" pipe?
 

Brokk

Member
Dec 9, 2008
126
Central/Eastern Mass
@Duffman was kind enough to come over today to take a look at my setup. Things seemed generally "right" and the advertised BTU should have me cooking in that room. Thinking about the long run/chimney liner, he questioned how hot the stove pipe gets between the stove and the chimney. He said his doesn't get very hot. You can put your hand on it for several seconds before thinking it was too hot to leave there. He said they shouldn't get much more than 120. A quick infrared scan showed mine at 140+ and climbing. It's hot to the touch. Doesn't burn you immediately, but when you touch it you quickly pull your hand back.

As I feared, the long run = high draft. The heat is being pulled out of the stove. My air intake is almost shut all the way as well. Does anyone know if you can get a damper for a double wall 4" pipe?
Looking around I had no luck finding a damper for a double walled 4" pipe. I did come across something I wasn't familiar with. A barometric damper.

"Draft controls are typically used when the stack or chimney height is greater than 30 ft."

It sounds like it is exactly intended for my type of situation, with one snag. They are not intended for a positive pressure vent. IE: not for use with exhaust fans.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,307
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Looking around I had no luck finding a damper for a double walled 4" pipe. I did come across something I wasn't familiar with. A barometric damper.

"Draft controls are typically used when the stack or chimney height is greater than 30 ft."

It sounds like it is exactly intended for my type of situation, with one snag. They are not intended for a positive pressure vent. IE: not for use with exhaust fans.

How about restricting the outlet? Partially of course.
 

Wire12xu

Member
Dec 26, 2014
33
Cincinnatus, NY 13040
@Duffman was kind enough to come over today to take a look at my setup. Things seemed generally "right" and the advertised BTU should have me cooking in that room. Thinking about the long run/chimney liner, he questioned how hot the stove pipe gets between the stove and the chimney. He said his doesn't get very hot. You can put your hand on it for several seconds before thinking it was too hot to leave there. He said they shouldn't get much more than 120. A quick infrared scan showed mine at 140+ and climbing. It's hot to the touch. Doesn't burn you immediately, but when you touch it you quickly pull your hand back.

As I feared, the long run = high draft. The heat is being pulled out of the stove. My air intake is almost shut all the way as well. Does anyone know if you can get a damper for a double wall 4" pipe?
You mentioned a chimney liner.. " Thinking about the long run/chimney liner" does that mean you have one installed?
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,731
Colorado
Ten years is a long time and you seem to know a lot about the pellet stoves..Maybe you need a update with a complete check up and it might be fun buying a new toy as well if you can spare the money for it is a lot more expensive now but some of those newer ones I read are pretty trouble free and just good old wood pellet stoves--might be fun to shop too. old mrs clancey
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,307
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Restricting the outlet is a damper, correct?

That's where I was starting, but couldn't find one for a double walled 4" pipe.
I meant the actual outlet, the cap, partially block it to slow the flow. Would act like a damper.
 

Brokk

Member
Dec 9, 2008
126
Central/Eastern Mass
I meant the actual outlet, the cap, partially block it to slow the flow. Would act like a damper.
Yeah... They do make/sell chimney top dampers that look to be fixed in place. Sounds tricky since there are so many variables to a draft. Close it enough to get efficiency on a cold windy dry day, and you might not get your fire going on a warmer day with the air heavy with fog. It is a possible path though if I can't get anything else working right.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,307
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Yeah... They do make/sell chimney top dampers that look to be fixed in place. Sounds tricky since there are so many variables to a draft. Close it enough to get efficiency on a cold windy dry day, and you might not get your fire going on a warmer day with the air heavy with fog. It is a possible path though if I can't get anything else working right.

Everybody has a built in “damper”, it’s just how their chimney is built. Whether that’s EVL, a cap, bends, etc. That’s why the stove is somewhat adjustable. Your base scenario is apparently a too strong draft so adding a fixed restriction will lower that draft strength into the realm of what can be accommodated by the stove’s adjustment range. The fixed restriction doesn’t need to be messed with once it’s right.