Wood Pellet Stove Best Practices and Troubleshooting

Wood Pellet Stove Best Practices and TroubleshootingFall is in full swing, and the upcoming winter has been predicted to be a cold and snowy one for the northeast. If you haven’t already fired up your pellet stove for the heating season, it’s likely that you will be soon.

Read: Farmers’ Almanac Releases Winter Weather 2017-18 Forecast

This time of year, we like to remind the wood pellet community about best practices and troubleshooting tips. Being an informed pellet stove owner makes it easier to have an safe and efficient heating season.

For starters, find your owner’s manual and read it. Every stove is different, so this is where you’ll find some of the best advice for your pellet stove. From proper maintenance, to best practices and warranty information – your manual is packed with model-specific information.

If your stove hasn’t had an extensive cleaning in some time – you should consider scheduling a professional appointment. Even if you prefer to manage cleaning yourself, a bonus of having a technician check-up is that he or she is able to check on all the stove parts that might need replacement or adjustment. Furthermore, an improperly kept stove can impact your burn quality, which can lead to some headaches later.

Read: What a Professional Wood Pellet Stove Cleaning Should Look Like

While we recommend a professional cleaning once or twice a year, thorough cleanings should also be done once or twice a month. If you have the right tools, it shouldn’t take more than 20-30 minutes to complete. A scraper, stiff brush and ash vacuum with special dust bags will make this task easier for you.

Read: How to Clean Your Pellet Stove Quickly and Correctly

High quality wood pellets will significantly improve your burn experience. Check out the specifications on the pellets you’re considering. Look at the ash percentage, and know that the higher the percentage, the more frequent your cleanings will need to be. Higher quality pellets will have lower ash percentages, and therefore less maintenance.

Even when burning the most premium wood pellets, your stove needs the right balance of feed rate, air flow, and heat settings to operate efficiently. If your settings aren’t properly synced, you could have issues.

Below is a quick reference guide on the most commonly experienced problems matched with their likely culprits.

The Problem The Likely Culprit The Solution
Poor burn quality Dirty stove Clean your stove according to your manufacturer’s recommendations.
Blackened glass Burning on ‘low’ Adjust heat setting to medium or medium/high.
Excessive clinkers Airflow leak Clean all vents, check and repair/replace all gaskets, adjust damper or airflow setting.
Trouble igniting Air-to-pellet ratio Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by increasing air flow.
Lazy or small flame Air-to-pellet ratio Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by increasing air flow and/or decreasing feed rate.
Low heat output Air-to-pellet ratio Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by increasing air flow and/or increasing feed rate.
Sparks flying / embers in the ash pot Air-to-pellet ratio Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by decreasing air flow and/or decreasing feed rate.
Whole, charred pellets left in the burn pot Air-to-pellet ratio Adjust air-to-pellet ratio by decreasing air flow and/or decreasing feed rate.
Auger jamming / stove shutting down Long pellets Drop bags on the floor – this can break long pellets into a manageable length.
Excessive ash build up / whole, charred pellets in burn pot Short pellets Reduce feed rate.

If you’re a Woodpellets.com customer experiencing burn issues…don’t worry. Our Quality Certified fuels are backed by a Quality Guarantee valid for a full 30 days after your delivery date. Learn more here: Woodpellets.com Quality Guarantee

Questions? Call 1-800-PELLETS to Speak to an Expert!

For a Limited Time: $50 for Every Referral!

Woodpellets.com Referral Program

Only through October 31st, you can get DOUBLE the Pelletbucks for you and the person you refer to Woodpellets.com! For each successful referral, you will get $50 added to your account, and your friend will get $50 off their first order if it’s placed by October 31st!*

Once your friend’s first order is delivered, you will automatically be credited $50 for your next order. So, if you’re happy with our service, our products and our convenient delivery…share the pellet love!
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Stove Show-Off Photo Challenge: Win a $60 Value Set of Pellet Fire Logs!

Enter to Win a Free “Re-Usable Firewood” Set by Repose Fire Logs!

Fire Log Set
With the heating season gearing up, and with “Hearth-oween” around the corner…it’s the perfect time to show off your stove! Send us a photo of your wood stove, pellet stove (or both) and tell us about it. What brand is it? What do you like about it? We want to know!

How to Enter: “Like” our Facebook page, and submit your photo HERE. You can also tweet your photo to @woodpelletscom on Twitter If you don’t have either social network, please email your entry to sales@woodpellets.com!

We’ll gather up all the entries through October 20th and randomly select the winner of a FREE set of Wood Pellet Fire Logs!

 Speaking of the fast-approaching heating season…are you ready? Order your wood pellets online or call 1-800-735-5387 to speak to an expert!

 

No purchase necessary. One entry per household. Winning photo submission will be chosen at random and announced on 10/20/17. Entry constitutes permission for Woodpellets.com to use photo for marketing purposes. Woodpellets.com is not responsible for fire log returns, exchanges, refunds, or delivery issues. Prize cannot be substituted for cash or Woodpellets.com credit.

Inaugural National Clean Energy Week Includes Biomass

NationalCleanEnergyWeek

The first National Clean Energy Week, a forum striving to encourage support of the United States’ energy sector through technological innovation and policy change, is taking place the week of September 25-29. According to the organization’s website:

Across America, clean and readily abundant forms of energy are powering more than homes and businesses. Taken together, our capacity for safe and reliable energy generation is driving a clean energy renaissance that is creating jobs, strengthening America’s national security, and preserving our environment.

Wind and solar energy have long been the power-houses of renewables. While the carbon neutrality of biomass (organic materials used for energy) has been debated, studies show significant carbon benefits can be achieved through the use of organic residue based biomass in power generation facilities. Additionally, the collection of forest waste for use is essential to responsible forest management. Unlike living trees that draw carbon from the atmosphere – dead tree leftovers release carbon into the atmosphere.

This past spring, the House Appropriations Committee voted to officially designate biomass as carbon neutral. The FY2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill directed U.S. government energy leaders to recognize the benefits of using forest biomass for energy creation and forest management.

The biomass power industry removes over 68.8 million tons of forest debris annually, improving forest health and dramatically reducing the risk of forest fires. In addition, the biomass industry diverts millions of tons of waste material from landfills and open burns. Biomass power plants also eliminate the need for frequent open burns of agricultural waste and forest slash, while continuing to offset the use fossil fuels that produce smog and acid rain.

nationalcleanenergyweek.org

Biomass power will be highlighted alongside energy sources including solar, geothermal, wind and hydropower during the National Clean Energy Week forum in Washington D.C. Click here if you’d like to learn more and get involved!

How to Prepare Your Pellet Stove for Fall

When it was time to shut down your stove for the summer, did you take the time to do so properly? Probably the most important part of shutting down for the summer is removing all leftover residue and pellets. If you have moisture inside your stove, the leftover pellets will absorb it. This can cause rust to form, which could lead to costly damage.

If you didn’t shut down properly, or if your stove hasn’t had a thorough cleaning in some time – you should consider scheduling one before the heating season begins. A bonus of having a technician work on your stove clean-up is that he or she is able to check on all the stove parts that might need replacement or adjustment.

Aside from the standard ash removal and general maintenance, your wood pellet stove needs additional care not only for safety and preparedness, but also for efficiency. Pellet stoves work off of pressurized air, which is drawn from the exhaust – so pet hair, dander, dust and lint are constantly sucked in. If all the passages within your stove haven’t been cleaned out, or your exhaust hasn’t been cleared of debris – air cannot properly circulate.

Read >> The 5 Tools You Need to Clean Your Pellet Stove Properly

It’s definitely helpful to check your owner’s manual for more insight on this, and to learn more about your pellet stove overall. It’s packed with model-specific information regarding proper stove maintenance, best practices and warranty information – but it’s often overlooked.

Whether you’re taking care of your pellet stove cleaning yourself, or hiring a professional – here’s what the checklist should include for a thorough cleaning:

  • Check Unit for Visible Defects, Ash, Discoloring
  • Vacuum Inside of Unit
  • Remove Baffles – Clean and Reinstall
  • Clean and Inspect Heat Exchanger
  • Remove Access Doors/Panels – Vacuum and Reinstall
  • Clean and Inspect
    • Heat Exchanger
    • Burn Pot
    • Ignitor
    • Ash Pan
    • Convection Fan
    • Glass
    • Combustion Fan
    • Pressure Switch/Hose
    • Tee and Venting
  • Inspect
    • Gaskets
    • Electrical Wiring
    • Auger Motor(s)*
    • Venting Seals
  • Inspect Hopper for Pellet Quality and Excess Fines
  • Vacuum Back of Stove
  • Check and Lubricate Shaker Grate Cam*

 *May not be applicable on some stove models.

We understand that many pellet stove owners take care of cleaning themselves. However, sometimes things are best left to professionals trained specifically for a service. To see if Cleancare Professional Pellet and Wood Stove Cleanings are available in your area, please call 1-800-PELLETS, or type your zip code in at www.Woodpellets.com.

 

Farmers’ Almanac Releases Winter Weather 2017-18 Forecast

FarmersAlmanacThe Farmers’ Almanac is now in its 200th year, and is known for long-term weather forecasts generated by a mathematical and astronomical formula first used in 1818 by founder David Young. This long-standing formula uses sunspot activity, planet positioning, tidal action and a variety of other factors to work. The exact formula is carefully protected by the Farmers’ Almanac organization – known only by their weather prognosticator who goes by the pseudonym of “Caleb Weatherbee”.

Northeastern fans of snow and winter will be happy. For the 2017-18 winter, the new Farmers’ Almanac predicts a snowier-than-normal winter for Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and all of New England. This includes five significant east coast storms, which are forecasted to arrive January 20-23, February 4-7 & 16-19, and March 1-3 & 20-23.

To read more about the long-term forecast, you can order your copy here!

Study Shows Carbon Savings from Forest Residue-Based Power

Slash piles, consisting of tree tops and limbs left by the logging and timber industry

Source: Biomass Magazine

A recent study commissioned by the Biomass Power Association (an organization representing 80 biomass power plants across the U.S.) compared the carbon intensity of a forest residue biomass power facility in New Hampshire to that of a combined cycle natural gas facility.

Dr. Madhu Khanna (of the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural/Consumer Economics) and Dr. Puneet Dwivedi (of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources) found significant carbon benefits can be achieved through the use of organic residue based biomass instead of natural gas in power generation facilities.

The results showed immediate carbon savings of 115%, and 98% carbon savings over 100 years.

This “forest residue” is the leftover matter from harvesting wood fiber in a managed forest for paper mills and lumber mills. The leftovers include tops, limbs and other forestry byproducts are generated regardless of being used for power or just left to decay. If it’s not collected and used as biomass power, it will typically remain in the forest in slash piles – which are isolated piles burned safely in order to keep forests healthy. This kind of forest management is important, because unlike living trees that draw carbon from the atmosphere – dead tree leftovers release carbon into the atmosphere.

“The avoidance of carbon and methane emissions by removing from the forest and using materials that decay results in a significant GHG reduction over time. While the decay of these materials releases small amounts of methane consistently over time, the methane gas has a 21 times higher global warming impact on the climate than carbon dioxide. Even a small amount of avoided methane release can substantially increase the near term benefits of removing harvesting residues and using them for electricity generation instead of leaving them in the forest and continuing to burn natural gas for electricity.”

-Case Study: Carbon Intensity of Harvesting Residue-Based Electricity

The decay rate of forest biomass, the carbon/methane emissions that would have occurred if the organic leftovers stayed on the forest floor, and the incidental carbon emissions incurred during the harvesting/chipping/transportation process were all factors taken into account during the study.

Interested in learning more? Check out the full study, here.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Just Throw Out Water Damaged Wood Pellets

Woodpellets.comAs you probably know, wood pellets turn to sawdust when water is applied, because they absorb moisture immediately and return to the original state of clean wood fiber. Did you have some packaging damage that let in some snow or rain – and now you have leftover sawdust? Don’t throw it out, because you can put it to good use! Here are some of the ways wood pellets can come in handy – aside from heating.

Read more

Home Brew Bottle Holder Made from a Wood Pallet

We love how creative our customers are. Have you seen our recent blog showing off some of their ideas on how to reuse wood pallets? Check out this project submitted by Kevin, of Massachusetts:

Wood Pallet Bottle Holder

He explains, “I’ve been a home-brewer for more than 30 years.  We all have cases for 12 oz bottles, but not for the larger ones that come in a variety of shapes.  It was very labor intensive but worth it to make my own cases that hold 8 big bottles each.  These two stack on top of each other.  Each case will turn out a little different from the last because or the varying dimensions of the pallet wood.”

Do you have any pallet reuse projects you’d like to share? We invite you to post them to our Facebook community!

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