Why You Should Take Care of Your Pellet and Wood Stove
Here’s how regular pellet stove cleaning and maintenance can result in a more efficient and long lasting source of heating for your home. As the world strives to increase the use of energy efficient and less harmful fuels, pellet and wood burning stove sales are growing steadily. The increase in popularity is also in part down to style, a real fire burning in the corner gives any home a touch of class.
The rising costs of traditional fuels such as gas and oil have also contributed to the attraction of these appliances.
Both types of stoves burn fuel in a sealed appliance, and they are remarkably efficient, as much as 83% in the best modern units, but there are advantages and drawbacks to both fuel types. Pellet burners are more efficient and naturally produce less smoke, whereas a wood burner is usually cheaper to run. Also, the stove still needs an electricity supply to run the automatic feeder system.
Keeping The Glass Door Clean
Some modern burners have chambers which direct exhaust gases back over the heat source increasing the efficiency of the appliance as it will run at a higher temperature. The burning gases also throw heat directly onto the glass which contributes to keeping that clean too.
Pellet burning stoves only require refueling a couple of times a day and are very controllable to accurately moderate the heat produced. This type of stove features a lot more in the way of components compared to their wood burning counter parts. They are, therefore, more expensive, and more complicated to service and repair. All burners need to be maintained and cleaned regularly, once a week when in heavy use and they will need a technician to service and inspect them once a year too. It is worth having a consultation with a qualified installer to ensure you are buying the right type of appliance for your space.
Pellet Stove Cleaning
Many faults with stoves occur as a result of a lack of general pellet stove maintenance. Accumulations of dirt, burned deposits, or the pellets themselves are very often the cause of components failing within the appliance.
Users can take some measures themselves to ensure a healthy, free burning stove:
- Regular pellet stove cleaning – inspect all visible components and the air inlet cap. Simply clean and remove all build-up of dirt.
- Buy high quality fuel – pellets made from compressed quality wood dust will burn more efficiently and completely. This complete burning avoids clogging and accumulations of un-burned deposits.
- Check for air leaks – if the stove is not burning efficiently, or failing to produce a satisfactory heat output, the door seals may be leaking air. Doors are often adjustable to allow for the seals compressing over time.
If your stove is failing to start, not feeding, or burning inefficiently then check all the above and confirm power is getting to the appliance. If you do not find an obvious reason for the fault, then it’s time to call in a professional technician.
Once your technician has diagnosed a fault, they can get in touch with us here at Direct Brand and order a quality pellet stove replacement part. We stock parts for stoves from all the main manufacturers, including Englander, Drolet, Enviro, Harman, Lennox, Napoleon, St Croix, Tandelement and United States Stove Co.
Common Parts Which May Need Replacing
- Electrical components – many pellet burning stoves are managed by control boards, these boards receive triggers from sensors within the appliance.
- Auger motors – if the auger bit which delivers pellets to the burning pot is not turning, then the motor may have failed.
- Blower motors – where the stove is working like a space heater with a blower sending the heat into the room, the motor may also have failed.
- Seals – over time, door seals become compressed. They can be replaced to ensure the burner maintains its safety and efficiency.
- Accessories and other components – from burning pots and grates to fan blades, every part of the stove can be replaced when necessary.
Whatever part your stove needs, get in touch with Direct Brand to find the direct replacement part for the repair.
Blower Motors – Diagnosis and Maintenance Issues
Whilst cleaning your pellet stove it gives you the perfect opportunity to look at the various parts and check to see if they need updating or replacing.
A wood or pellet burning stove, when fitted with a blower fan, can become a space heater for the room it is in. In some models the blower might have the additional function of keeping the electrical components of the stove from overheating, but on some stoves, particularly wood burners, the part may be an optional add on.
If the appliance is not working at all, failing to turn off or making an unhealthy amount of noise, the motor may need replacing.
Before calling an technician, or ordering a new blower motor, it is worth checking the problem is not something much simpler.
The fan may just be obstructed.
Very carefully, with all power disconnected, attempt to inspect the fan.
Remove any obvious debris and brush out any build up with a paint brush.
Also, it is worth checking that power is reaching the unit. Make sure you have checked that a fuse has not blown too. Beyond this, the blower will need to be bench tested to identify the fault. Unless you are confident, accomplished and have the right equipment, a qualified technician should now be called to diagnose the fault and they will quickly establish whether it is an electrical supply problem, or if the fault lies elsewhere.
If the blower is thermostatically controlled, the thermostat or heat sensors may be malfunctioning. So it is possible just this component may need replacing, or even simply cleaning.
Often, a failure to operate is catastrophic for the blower motor and it needs replacing. The same applies to an overly noisy motor, very often a symptom of dry, worn bearings. Motors are sealed units, and this would therefore mean a replacement needs to be ordered.
Auger Motor Issues & How To Resolve Them
A stove’s auger motor is responsible for turning the shaft which delivers a precisely measured number of pellets from the hopper into the actual burner of the stove. It consists of an electric motor, instructed by the control board. Sensors in the stove trigger the motor which turns a reducing gearbox to deliver pellets at the right time for the burner.
When the burner stops getting the fuel delivered, or it is feeding too quickly or too slowly, the motor may be to blame. If the auger bit is not turning at all and you can hear no signs of the appliance running, it could be an electrical supply problem.
It is possible to test the appliance, but unless you are confident and have the correct equipment, it is best left to a qualified technician.
The auger motor is designed to run at a continuous speed. It will pause delivering the pellets when sensors inform the control board that pellets are not needed. On many models, the feed rate is adjustable, and the rate of pellet delivery can be manually adjusted.
If the feed rate is too fast, this can sometimes simply mean that the stove has become too dirty for the sensors to work properly. A good clean should sort this out. It is certainly worth trying before calling a technician.
The feed rate not being controlled could also be a fault with the control board.
If the auger bit will spin freely when it is not connected, then the gearbox has failed, and the motor will need replacing.
Once you have established that it is the motor at fault, then it is time to order a new one and your technician will need to identify which type is required.
There are a huge range of stoves and plenty of motors to choose from. We stock those from all major manufacturers including Harman, St Croix, Drolet, Englander, Whitfield, and Lennox.
Pellet Stove Cleaning Summary
With a good maintenance routine your pellet and wood stoves will last a long, long time and provide you with a cozy, warm home. If parts need replacing it is best to call a qualified technician to carry out the work, but on the whole, regular pellet stove cleaning will cost you less and be more effective. Just make sure you disconnect it from the electrical supply and leave it to cool completely before carrying out any maintenance.
Check out our selection of Pellet Stove replacement parts here (don’t leave it to the last minute).