Fall 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.
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.
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.
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