5 Pellet Stove Care Tips To Know
Posted in FAQ
Are you the new owner of a pellet stove? Congratulations!
At Earth Sense Energy Systems, our pellet stove and grill enthusiasts personally own pellet-powered systems, and we want you to be equipped with all the knowledge possible of how your pellet stove works, how to properly care for your new pellet stove unit, and how to store your store your pellets.
While most manuals that come with your stove have the basic instructions necessary for how to care and maintain your stove, there are a few tips that we also want you to keep in mind so that you can get the longest use possible out of your pellet stove.
With that said, here are 5 pellet stove care tips to help you get started and to heat your home efficiently:
1) Use Softwood Pellets
It is true that many pellet stove manuals will inform you that you can use hardwood pellets, however, we recommend that you use softwood pellets whenever possible. This is due largely to them producing very low ash volume. Alternatively, if you can find hardwood pellets that are low in ash, you can use those too. However, it is more common to find lower ash amounts with softwood.
For example, pellets that are made from douglas fir will not only have some of the lowest ash volumes around, but also some of the best heat volume. Read more here about hardwood vs softwood wood pellets.
So why a pellet that has low ash volume? At Pellet Head, we want you to get the best benefits out of your pellet stove. This includes having to perform less upkeep and to enjoy better efficiency. The softwood (or hardwood) pellets will not replace the need for routine cleanings, with lower ash production, you will notice a bit less maintenance, cleaning, reduction of heat bill, and overall less wear and tear on your pellet stove.
Read More: The Benefits of Wood Pellets
2) Remember to Clean Your Pellet Hopper Monthly
One way to improve the efficiency and limit the wear and tear on your pellet stove is to clean out your hopper frequently. We recommend cleaning it out every 30 days or so.
Consider that whenever you refill your stove that you have dust, or “fines” that collects in the bottom of the pellet bag. AVOID THIS AND DO NOT PUT IT INTO YOUR PELLET STOVE!
This dust, or fines, will ultimately collect in the bottom of the hopper and reduce the overall performance of the unit. You may not notice this at first, however, after using your pellet stove for several months over the winter, that’s when you may notice it performing worse than it used to, due to dust accumulation.
Read More: Wood Pellet BTU’s
What Happens When I Don’t Clean Out My Pellet Hopper?
A few things may happen if you don’t clean out your hopper frequently enough:
- Your pellet stove may start experiencing false starts
- The fire may not be able to stay burning at lower temperatures
- The heat output will be lower, no matter the level it’s set at
- Your stove’s auger motors or bushings may burn out
- In more serious cases, a fire in the pellet hopper will start!
These issues are easy to prevent. You simply need to vacuum it out every 30 days (once a month), before refilling the hopper again before its next use.
Lastly, we recommend you open the mechanical cabinet of the stove every now and then and scan for dust under the auger motor. If you notice fines have accumulated here, it may be a sign that your auger bushing is worn out. If so, you’ll need to replace your auger.
3) Use a 4” Rather Than a 3” Diameter Venting
While many brands of pellet stoves and inserts can utilize 3” diameter venting, it’s worth noting that many pellet stove manuals will mention EVL, or Equivalent Vent Length, in their text if you look closely.
If you aren’t familiar with what EVL is, it’s essentially a mathematical formula that shows that pellet stove owners should be using 4” diameter venting.
What’s the Problem with 3” Diameter Venting?
If the installation has too many off-sets in the venting, each turn of the vent will experience friction. This will ultimately cause exhaust to not escape outside quick enough. This will reduce the amount of air that can properly enter the pellet stove. Using 4” venting will prevent this from becoming an issue and will help your pellet stove run more efficiently.
4. Run Your Pellet Stove on a Thermostat
Next, let’s talk about a thermostat and how it can help your pellet stove run more efficiently.
Basically every pellet stove on the market will feature either 1) an internal room sensing probe, or 2) an external thermostat jumper on its control board.
Steps to Run Your Stove
At Pellet Head, we recommend that to get the most out of your stove, that you first run it on a high setting in the thermostat in order to get your room up to the temperature as soon as possible. Next, allow the stove to return to a standby mode (around 35 minutes), prior to shutting down or going back up based on heat demand.
Running your pellet stove on a thermostat this way will help you save A LOT of pellets over the winter season. If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to reach out to us!
5) Shut Down & Clean Out Your Pellet Stove At The End of the Season
We recommend that you don’t wait for a few months until the spring, summer, or even the following autumn season to clean out your pellet stove. You’ll want to perform a cleaning and maintenance check right away!
This is especially true if you’re seeing a lot of ash buildup in your stove.
Humidity May Make Cleaning Your Pellet Stove Difficult
During the warmer months, you may notice humidity in your pellet stove. This can create a wet or sticky ash that makes cleaning out the pellet stove somewhat difficult.
Not only that, but you might also notice that the water and ash have mixed, causing carbonic acid to corrode the steel inside of your pellet stove.
Lastly, whenever you’re not using your pellet stove during the warmer months, always be sure to take precaution and unplug the stove. This prevents your stove and its control boards from power surges from summer storms.
Read More: The Cost and Benefits of Wood Pellet Fuel
Contact Pellet Head
Have additional questions about proper pellet stove care tips? Please reach out to the Earth Sense team today and we’ll be happy to assist you! We are experts in providing services for your pellet stove such as installation and part services.
We are an experienced pellet stove and grill dealer with years of experience helping customers with their pellet-powered systems. Our pellet stoves include beautiful freestanding pellet stoves and also fireplace inserts. At Earth Sense Energy Systems, we carry several brands of freestanding and fireplace inserts to make your home or cabin a warm and welcoming environment!
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