Tips on if Your pellet stove is burning lazy and or getting smoke in the house

hearthtools Posted By hearthtools, Jan 5, 2008 at 9:51 PM

  1. coopwaldo

    coopwaldo
    New Member 2.
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    Mar 2, 2014
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    Loc:
    brockport ny
    the door gasket in one spot by the door latch was not glued in place. would that cause lazy flame and black soot buildup?
     
  2. bob burke

    bob burke
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    Mar 9, 2014
    69
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    Loc:
    n.y.
    Great thread. I've had an Envirofire stove for about 20 years. I concocted a flex hose setup for my vacuum, so that I don't have to remove the back panels of the burn chamber when I do my regular cleaning. There are discs that cover ports in the back panels, and I'm able to get my flex hose in said ports. I've been able to keep the stove very clean for years employing this method.

    This year, my stove simply isn't the same. Each morning I have a pot full of ashes, and it only gets marginally better when I clean the stove.

    So...I decided to break down, and remove those panels for the first time in 10 years. It was rather clean back there, but I did notice a slight buildup of very fine ash/dust on the vertical surfaces. I also noticed a similar buildup at the top of the port that begins the exhaust chamber. This slight buildup was not blocking air movement in the least.

    I thoroughly cleaned all the fine dust, and put the stove back together.

    I can't believe the difference! This stove hasn't burned this well in years. I guess it must be an aerodynamics issue. Perhaps the fine dust changed the air flow...even though it wasn't clogging anything.

    I guess panel removal will now be part of my fall pre season service.
     
  3. Christella

    Christella
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    Nov 30, 2013
    2
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    Loc:
    New Hampshire
    Hi - I've had a Harman XXV for almost 2 years now, bought new. I LOVE it and have !! When it's running...

    Within the last month (I had it professionally cleaned in August because I wanted to see if it was something I would want to do yearly myself) after burning about 3 tons of Energex that were somewhat sawdusty, the stove has gone out 3 times and shown a large amount of unburned pellets spilled over the edge into the ash pan and on the burn pot. The 2nd time it happened I had just cleaned it a week before.

    I called the dealer who walked me through removing the washers that cover the baffles which I had NOT ever cleaned before, although I had regularly removed the wing nuts and cleaned inside the area where the igniter is. The dealer told me the baffles were probably blocked by dust and not letting air through to keep the burn going and that I should rap hard on it with my fingers, which I did.

    A week later (today!), it stopped running again and same thing; unburned pellets, stone cold, and a full hopper. I have noticed that the glass is extremely smoked up which I attributed to the last time the stove shut off but may instead be from recent incomplete combustion. I have also noticed that when i open the stove door while it's burning in order to scrape the air holes or burn pot, there is a LOT of smoke expelled into the room which I haven't ever noticed before recently, like if you don't open the damper on a wood stove. I'm wondering what I'm overlooking and i might save myself a service call if i can figure it out tomorrow .... Thanks in advance!
     
  4. bob burke

    bob burke
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    Mar 9, 2014
    69
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    Loc:
    n.y.
    Not familiar with that stove, but a few things might come into play. If you are running it very low, sometimes they shut down due to low temp. in the combustion blower housing. When the stove is serviced, the sensor in that housing has to be removed, and the coating of soot must be removed in order to have it function properly. There are a few pic here.

    You'll see it somewhere near the motor when you view the housing. Some stoves just don't run well at very low temps.
     
  5. Christella

    Christella
    New Member 2.
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    Nov 30, 2013
    2
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    Loc:
    New Hampshire
    I think I found the problem... the stovepipe seemed to be packed with ash and soot and I think was choking the combustion process. After 3 hours of dirty painful stovepipe removal ash vacuuming and working to try to get it back together in exactly the same way, the stove seems to be burning a LOT hotter and has a higher flame. I know that the stovepipe wasn't cleaned last season as part of the stove cleaning process, so hopefully now i can get on track and clean it yearly myself. It's funny to me that the dealer never suggested cleaning the stovepipe as part of the yearly cleaning. Is this unusual? They did say that it sounded as though there was a blockage when I scheduled my service call which hopefully now I can cancel.
     
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  6. bob burke

    bob burke
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    Mar 9, 2014
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    Loc:
    n.y.
    It's amazing what something as simple as a good cleaning can do. I posted elsewhere on this board that my stove wasn't performing as well as it used to. I hadn't removed the panels in the burn chamber for many years, as I'd developed a system for cleaning that employed a flex hose and a vacuum.

    When I removed the panels, I found a light coating of fine soot/ash on the walls of the stove. I didn't think much of it, but it made a HUGE difference in the way the stove burns now. It's as if the 20 year old stove were new again.

    Don't forget the temp sensor when you do your annual cleaning either.
     
  7. Vouty

    Vouty
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    Apr 1, 2014
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    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    I always feel like I am missing something when doing a cleaning. Although, I think I am thorough, I am never really sure. These posts are helpful.
    I have Vista Flame 100. Does anyone know if there is a way to get at the heat tubes except from underneath or using a brush and the pull rod. From what I am reading, there may be an air duct that I am missing
     
  8. whatever

    whatever
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    Sep 26, 2015
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    Loc:
    Deep Brook NS
    When I was shopping pellet stoves, I downloaded a lot of manuals from the manufacturer sites. They all had detailed installation and cleaning instructions.
    Did you remove the combustion fan and clean the blades? The convection fan should also be cleaned. I don't know how you cleaned your vent pipe, but you can buy flexible brushes that can go through elbows. You shouldn't have to take it apart each time.
     
  9. Suie

    Suie
    New Member 2.
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    Mar 14, 2015
    3
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    Loc:
    Finger Lakes Region
    This is all great advice, but if you've tried all this (like I had) and still can't find the problem it's worth checking out the exhaust blower.I spent several months with a smokey Harman XXV last winter before I figured out that was my culprit. I have a long brush I use to clean around it and had accidentally jammed it in the fins of the blower a couple of times. If those fins get bent and the fan is out of balance it won't suck the smoke out like it should. Of course, if you're careful with cleaning, you can avoid this. :) And changing out the fan is not a simple task, like you'd think it would be.
     
  10. tlc1976

    tlc1976
    Member 2.
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    Oct 7, 2012
    158
    28
    Loc:
    Michigan
    I just installed the 5770 last week. 2 ft horizontal pipe, 6 ft vertical outside. Flame wasn't lazy but damper control did almost nothing, but running on heat range 1 and dampering down like recommended would kill the fire and throw error. Pipe was hot and with connections being sealed, it streamed smoke from 2 factory pipe seams. Went over every seam with sealer to stop that but still had a little sawdust smell but at least no CO. Fire would go out in a few hours and throw error but all devices tested ok. The last time it left a haze of smoke in the house so I said no more till I figure this out. Well I added an outside air kit and wow what a difference. Full damper adjustment, ran all night great, only smell was a little remaining paint. Problem solved. Who would have thought a house built in 1987 and never remodeled would be so airtight.
     
  11. AllenWalker

    AllenWalker
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    Dec 30, 2016
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    united states

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