Wood Pellet Stove Troubleshooting Guide

Since every pellet stove is different, some of the best advice can be found in your stove manual. Whether you’re burning pellets for the first time in a new stove, firing up your system at the start of a new season, or switching to a new brand of pellets, this quick reference guide for troubleshooting some common burn quality issues should come in handy.

The Problem The Likely Culprit The Solution
Poor burn quality Dirty stove Clean your stove according to your manufacturer’s recommendations, or schedule a professional cleaning.
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.

As you can see, many burn issues are directly related to your stove’s airflow. If you have reviewed your owner’s manual to make the proper settings adjustments, but you’re still experiencing problems…you might have a leak. Wood pellet stoves operate through a system of air intake and exhaust, and the exhaust fan sucks air out through the burn pot to cause combustion of the pellets. It’s important to inspect your venting setup to see if it’s properly sealed, but it’s more likely the leak is through your door gasket.

It’s simple to test the door seal efficiency with a dollar bill. While holding on to one end of the bill, insert the other side into the door, and shut it. Pull out the dollar while the door is still shut, and note the resistance. You shouldn’t be able to remove the bill without a good amount of resistance. Repeat this method all around your door to check the full effectiveness of your gasket.

 

Please call 1-800-PELLETS if you have any concerns with the quality of your Woodpellets.com fuel. Learn about our Quality Guarantee, here.

Ohio Community Crowdfunds Wood Pellet Fuel for Animal Sanctuary

His Hands Extended SanctuaryAbout 50 miles west of Columbus Ohio, the His Hands Extended Sanctuary in St. Paris provides medical care, food, and shelter to homeless pets that would otherwise be forgotten. The organization notes that what’s also very importantly provided is “lots of love – to begin the rebuilding of shattered lives.” His Hands Sanctuary not only facilitates the adoption of these animals into loving families, but also provides a comfortable lifelong home for those not adopted.

A simple post on the rescue’s Facebook has sparked a touching series of donations…and a new way to manage their fuel delivery. With many buildings for the dogs and cats who live there, the sanctuary relies on multiple wood pellet stoves for heat. The post explained how the sanctuary uses wood pellets to keep the animals warm, and that “any help with this huge expense will be wonderful”. They asked for any willing donors to call Woodpellets.com to contribute directly to the pellet fund. It wasn’t long before the sanctuary had four donated tons in their account.

In the past, volunteers have donated their time and effort to hauling in pallets of wood pellets in multiple trips from a box store. The whole team was so touched by this example of community giving, Woodpellets.com will deliver all future His Hands Extended Sanctuary wood pellet orders for free.

If you’d like to learn more about this organization, you can visit their Facebook page here.

The Woodpellets.com Referral Program: $25 for You $25 for Them!

Tell your friend about Woodpellets.com, and he or she will get $25 off their first order! Plus, when that first order is delivered, your Woodpellets.com account will automatically be credited $25! So, if you’re happy with our service, our products and our convenient delivery…share the pellet love!

Here’s an example: Woody is a current Woodpellets.com customer, and his neighbor Wilma is not a customer yet.

1. Woody tells Wilma about the convenient delivery options, the variety of high quality wood pellets available, and the expert customer support at Woodpellets.com. He tells her she’ll love it, and she will get $25 off her first delivery if she mentions his name at the time of ordering.

2. Wilma calls 1-800-735-5387 to speak to one of the Woodpellets.com experts. After a conversation about what she’s looking for, and what kind of delivery she needs, Wilma exclaims, “Woody referred me!”

3. The Woodpellets.com expert looks up Woody’s account, and Wilma is given a $25 discount on her order.

4. When her order is delivered, Woody’s Woodpellets.com account is automatically credited $25!

It’s as simple as that. And another thing…there is no limit on the amount of referral credits you can receive.

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NEW 3-Ton Cleanfire Bundle for Strategic Wood Pellet Heating

NEW Power Pack 3 Ton Bundle!Due to a growing trend of pellet stove owners mixing and matching fuel orders to create a strategic burning strategy, we have created a new money-saving bundle – THE POWER PACK! This special 3-ton Cleanfire pack consists of 1 ton of Cleanfire Douglas Fir, and 2 tons of Cleanfire Pacific bundled together for a discounted price.

What’s a strategic burning strategy? Instead of sticking with just one type of wood pellet, folks are burning pellets with a higher heat output during the coldest months of the heating season, and burning pellets with a lesser heat output (and a typically lower price tag) in the early season and late season months.

Buzz about the extremely hot heat output of wood pellets made of 100% douglas fir has been spreading over the last couple of years. Many Woodpellets.com customers have started to incorporate our super-hot, low-ash Cleanfire Douglas Fir Wood Pellets into their burning strategy. This “Cadillac of Wood Pellets” is saved for the bitter cold months, and the always reliable Cleanfire Pacific is burned during the rest of the season.

Is the Cleanfire Power Pack right for you? Call 1-800-PELLETS or visit Woodpellets.com to learn more!

 

 

*Pricing and availability vary by region. 

Why Now is the Time to Buy Wood Pellets

Warm summer weather doesn’t typically make you think about securing your wood pellets for the next heating season. But this year, there are two major factors at play that could change that: wood pellet demand and pricing.

Due to the European Union’s goal for 20% of all generated power to be sourced from renewables, the demand for wood pellets overseas remains steady. United States exports to the EU have continued to rise, with almost all of the pellets produced in the US for export coming from southeastern states. Last year, overall US exports increased by 10%, solidifying the United States as a top supplier of wood pellets to Europe.

See Map: Wood Pellet Industry Import/Exports

Demand has been growing in the States as well, due to heating oil price increases.
Crude Oil Pricing

According to the EIA, the U.S northeast region represents almost 85% of total U.S. residential heating oil sales – and many homes use wood pellet fuel as a heating supplement.

Oil pricing has a significant effect on wood pellet demand because when the price of oil increases, consumers tend to lean more on pellets for heating.

Read: Crude Oil Hits Highest Price in 4 Years 

Like any fuel, the price of wood pellets fluctuates due to a variety of factors, including transportation costs. A widespread truck driver shortage has resulted in serious driver pay raises – which combined with increasing fuel costs means prices are rising on anything that requires trucking.  As for the wood pellet industry, this problem has unfortunately made price increases a certainty for 2018.

Read: Trucking Shortage Causing Price Increases Everywhere

What can you do to save? Order your supply of wood pellets as soon as possible to avoid paying more.

Lock in current summer pricing AND choose the month you want delivery. Shop online at Woodpellets.com or call 1-800-PELLETS (800-735-5387) to speak to an expert!

 

Crude Oil Hits Highest Price in 4 Years

Following sharp increases since last summer, crude oil has topped $70 a barrel for the first time since 2014. Crude Oil PricingThe growth of global oil demand has contributed to upward price pressures. The United States Energy Information Administration estimates that global oil consumption in the first quarter of 2018 was 1.9 million b/d higher than the first quarter of 2017’s consumption. Naturally, sharply increased exports result in a significant hit to supply levels.

Further, President Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear pact with Iran earlier this month. The U.S. plans to reimpose economic sanctions on the country, which will continue to influence the crude trade.

 >> Learn more about how supply, demand and geopolitics drives the price of oil here.

According to the EIA, the U.S northeast region represents almost 85% of total U.S. residential heating oil sales – and many homes use wood pellet fuel as a heating supplement.
US averages: heating oil retail prices

Oil pricing is partially responsible for northeastern wood pellet demand because when the price of oil increases, consumers tend to lean more on pellets for heating.

Will the 2018 oil price increase affect your wood pellet purchase decision for the ’18-2019 heating season?

Take care of your Woodpellets.com order now, but choose your own delivery month by calling 1-800-PELLETS or ordering online at www.Woodpellets.com!  

How to Mix and Match Your Order to Burn Wood Pellets Strategically

Wood Pellet Colors
Did you know that you can select multiple products to add to your Woodpellets.com shopping cart?

To “mix and match” your order, simply choose the first brand and the number of tons you’d like from your zip code’s gallery. Once it’s added to your cart, select the Continue Shopping button that will appear on a pop-up box. You’ll be directed back to the gallery, where you can select another type of fuel. Continue this until you’re ready to view your cart, make any changes, select your delivery type and check out.

>> Bonus: For a limited time, you can choose your delivery month too! Take care of your pellet fuel order now to lock in current pricing, but you tell us when you’d like us to deliver by selecting your desired month from the dropdown menu!

Woodpellets.com Wood Pellet Burn Strategy ExampleWhy did we add the mix and match feature? Over the years, we have noticed a growing trend of burning pellets with a higher heat output during the coldest months of the heating season, and burning pellets with a lesser heat output (and a typically lower price tag) in the early season and late season months.

Not only are there significant heat output differences between hardwood and softwood wood pellets – but the ash content is much different as well. Hardwood pellets tend to produce more ash than softwood pellets – which makes for more cleaning and upkeep. Therefore, this burning strategy is also a perfect opportunity to learn which kind of pellets are the best fit for your home heating needs, your budget, and the amount of ash cleanup you’re willing to deal with.

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Trucking Shortages Make Wood Pellet Price Rise Inevitable

With all consumer goods, pricing is based on the provider’s cost – which fluctuates due to a variety of factors. You might begin to notice some price increases on all types of products throughout the year, which is directly related to a nationwide shortage of truck drivers. As for the wood pellet industry, these unrelenting transportation issues have made price increases a certainty for 2018.

For years, there has been a growing shortage of qualified CDLA drivers, and it has only gotten worse over the past year. According to the American Trucking Association, there’s a shortage of 51,000 truck drivers nationwide, up from 20,000 in 2013 and 36,500 in 2016 with a predicted increase to nearly 100,000 by 2021. As driver supply has dwindled, more trucking companies have turned to intermodal rail, which has even made these containers scarce.

Why is this shortage happening? Baby Boomer drivers are retiring due to age, stricter DOT medical certification processes, and frustration with newly required Electronic Log Devices (ELDs) which have created tighter hours of service regulations. This technology – which is designed to enforce limits on driving time without breaks – has not only pushed many seasoned drivers to quit, but also reduces the number of trucks available overall.

Additionally, millennials are far less enthused than previous generations to join the trucking force due to the arduous duty of long cross-country trips, away for days and weeks at a time. Furthermore, the men and women completing tractor trailer schools these days are not always accepted by insurance companies, which often require at least three years of driving experience.

Of course, all of this leads to a shortage of truck volume available to shippers, which directly affects the consumer. Ben Cubitt, a senior VP from freight-management firm Transplace, estimates that 99% of trucks nationwide are in use, up from 92% in late 2015. Cubitt says, “every truck is spoken for every day.”

What does all of this mean for wood pellet stove owners? It’s understandable that just like any fuel, wood pellet prices fluctuate – but the effects of this trucking shortage have turned the risk of a 2018 pellet price increase into a reality.

What can you do to save? Order your supply of wood pellets as soon as possible to avoid paying more. 

Lock in current summer pricing AND choose the month you want delivery. Shop online at Woodpellets.com or call 1-800-PELLETS (800-735-5387) to speak to an expert!

 

The 5 Questions Pellet Stove Technicians Answer Most

1. Should I do anything special when I turn off my stove for the summer?

Yes! Follow these steps to get your stove ready for its vacation:

Turn off your stove and unplug it. (You should have a surge protector.) Let it cool completely before you begin the process. Start by cleaning the glass with your heat-safe cleaning solvent and a soft cloth, like you have been doing through the heating season. Do NOT use any cleaning solvent with ammonia in it, because it can damage the glass.

Clean out the entire inside and within the hopper, to the best of your ability. If you have a stove vacuum, this will help make sure everything is removed. (Do NOT use a household vacuum because the fine ash can damage it). Or you can always rely on a trained stove technician to use his or her professional tools.

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

Do NOT leave any wood pellets inside your stove – burned or unburned. Wood pellets are made of kiln-dried, fine wood fibers which will absorb any moisture. If you have moisture inside your stove, the leftover pellets will absorb it and can cause rust to form through the summer, which can create costly damage later. For this same reason, cleaning out all the ports and passages inside your stove is important for your stove’s health.

If you are unable to safely get inside the inner parts of your stove, and have never done so before, we do not recommend this without professional help. Not only are clean passages a best practice for when your stove is shut down, but also during the burning season as well. Make sure to check your owner’s manual for any suggestions that might be specific to your brand of pellet stove. For an extra precaution, schedule a summer cleaning/inspection by a trained pellet stove professional technician. 

Note: Cleancare Professional Cleanings are available through our trusted, certified pellet stove technicians in some regions. Give us a call at 1-800-PELLETS, or enter your zip code on our website to see if Cleancare is available in your area.

2. Do I really need to worry about creosote with my pellet stove?

Your wood burning appliance’s venting system carries out the substances produced when wood burns. As the hot substances flow up into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation occurs, which results in creosote residue sticking to the inner walls of the chimney.

Letting creosote accumulate can cause a house fire – which is (hopefully) common knowledge among wood-burners. Although pellet stoves generate significantly less burn residue due to the clean kiln-dried wood fibers in pellets, it’s still critically important to clean and inspect your stove thoroughly, as you would a firewood-burning system.

Here’s a very helpful guide on how to clean your pellet stove throughout the heating season, and the tools you should have: How to Clean Your Wood Pellet Stove in 20 Minutes

3. Why is my flame so weak?

Woodpellets.comIf your flame is weak, or “lazy”, you’re not experiencing the level of heat you should be getting. If it stays weak for an extended amount of time, your stove will likely just shut down. Causes for a smaller than usual flame are usually a part in need of replacement, incorrect air adjustments, or most common – an uncleaned/neglected pellet stove. 

Pellet stoves work off of pressurized air, which is drawn from the exhaust. 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 circulate efficiently. Therefore, your flame will not be strong. Aside from occasional tired parts that need replacing, this is more commonly the answer to why you have a weak flame.

4. Should I be burning hardwood or softwood pellets?

Firewood burners prefer to use hardwood in their wood stove or fireplace, because it provides a longer burn compared to softwood due to wood density differences. However, regardless of the type of wood used to produce wood pellets, the pelletizing process produces pellets with the same density. Due to a higher percentage of resin content in softwood, more heat is produced per pound. Therefore, softwood pellets are typically the most popular among pellet stove owners.

5. Why am I getting so much ash?

Woodpellets.comCheck out the specifications on the wood pellets you’re purchasing, and look for the ash content listed. The higher the percentage, the more ash you’ll get, and the more frequent your cleanings will be. Higher quality pellets will have lower ash percentages, and therefore less maintenance.

On top of research, another great way to choose a fuel is by talking to your fellow pellet-burners to see what they’re using and why. Of course, you won’t know what you like for your home and your budget until you run your own tests. But if you’re buying the cheapest pellets with lower heat and higher ash specifications – you shouldn’t expect the same results as the higher quality options available.

 

Questions? Need to Place an Order for Premium Wood Pellets? Shop Online or Call 1-800-PELLETS to Speak to a Woodpellets.com Representative!

A Portable Outdoor Heater, Powered by Wood Pellets!

This kickstarter campaign recently launched in order to fund the creation of a portable wood pellet fueled outdoor heater, which is easy to take apart and re-assemble. The inventors claim it provides double the heat of a propane heater, at 1/10th of the cost.

According to their website:

“The Q-Flame heater offers an efficient alternative to standard propane units making Q-Flame the sensible choice for those seeking the latest in outdoor heat. As a manufacturer of wood pellet stoves and patio heaters, QSTOVES INC. is dedicated to designing and developing new heaters and stoves that perform better than industry competitors and better for the environment.”

The Q-Flame may be used for outdoor activities, backyard party heat, or even as a helpful tool when the electricity goes out. It’s inexpensive to operate, uses no electricity, and is environmentally friendly. Could you see yourself using a product like this?

To learn more, or make a purchase, see their kickstarter page here: http://kck.st/2ERM8R5

 

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