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#4957270 - 02/19/11 11:05 AM Pellet stove problem / question.
safariman Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 06/18/05
Posts: 24342
Loc: All over the place! missing Af...
I am kinda new to pellet stoves, having just recently purchased a home with a LOPI model already installed.

I know how to clean it, thouroughly, and now know to avoid cheap dime store pellets - learned the hard way like many.

Now using Blue mountain lumber products premium no additives pellets form the local ranch and feed store and these have been suggested to me as a good quality pellet by many who have been running stoves of this type much longer than I. Here is my problem:

Instead of running well for 3-4 days in between cleanings, the stove pellet burning grate will clog up with partially burned or unburned crud caked up and thus preventing a good fire in only 1-2 days. Looks and acts like the tray is full of ashes but the tray is only 1/2 full when this happens. Do I need to shorten up and sharpen up my flames with a higher air flow through my air control stick? Run a higher air fan speed? Less air and a longer slower moving almost lazy flame? What color of flame(s) am I looking for?

Thanks for the reply's and help.

MARK
_________________________
LOVE God, LOVE your family, LOVE your country, LIKE guns and sports.

Show me good wood wrapped around a CRF action, chambered in a cartridge that is among the fastest of its caliber, or don't show me at all 'cause you did it all wrong.

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#4957448 - 02/19/11 12:11 PM Re: Pellet stove problem / question. [Re: safariman]
safariman Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 06/18/05
Posts: 24342
Loc: All over the place! missing Af...
Should add that the glass front gets blackened with soot way too soon as well. Correction on first post, the crud that builds up in the pellet burning grate and box is not always, or even usually, unburned stuff, sometimes it is charred grey or black buit often with some brown wood colored stuff in htere as well. Point being that instead of getting a complete burn there is stuff building up in the grate compromising the burn and the combustion of the burn material/pellets causing a build up and early fire failure.
_________________________
LOVE God, LOVE your family, LOVE your country, LIKE guns and sports.

Show me good wood wrapped around a CRF action, chambered in a cartridge that is among the fastest of its caliber, or don't show me at all 'cause you did it all wrong.

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#4957469 - 02/19/11 12:20 PM Re: Pellet stove problem / question. [Re: safariman]
Deer_Killer Offline
Member

Registered: 06/17/09
Posts: 36
Loc: Central Calif.
I work on these things for a living.
Short answer, the firepot needs more air moving through it.
Could be for any one of several reasons.

Which model & how old is the unit?

DK

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#4957621 - 02/19/11 01:16 PM Re: Pellet stove problem / question. [Re: Deer_Killer]
safariman Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 06/18/05
Posts: 24342
Loc: All over the place! missing Af...
EXCELLENT! I just KNEW there would be a pellet stove pro around here somewhere. I really, really LOVE this place.....

I don't know the age of the unit, but it is a Lopi FoxFire model with a glass door insert. The pellet bin holds 60lbs of pellets at one loading. I had to have the auger motor replaced this fall at start up time. Outside of that, works good as far as I can tell. I am sure my problems are operator error. My air mixture options are a stick in the side at the bottom of the unit that as you pull it out allows more air into the firebox area though I do not know through where or how and would love to know this. The other air input or adjustment is the fan speed which I think is the left Rheostat control next to the pellet auger adjustment. It seems to control the speed of the fan that blows air out of the unit, I do not know if it has any bearing on the air flow or speed inside the burn area. Just know that when I turn it up th fan blows faster as in the motor speeds up but I cannot tell any difference in the flame or the velocity of the air coming out of the unit so would LOVE to know what this does and how it affects my stove/ flame/ heat output etc.

MANY THANKS!

MARK
_________________________
LOVE God, LOVE your family, LOVE your country, LIKE guns and sports.

Show me good wood wrapped around a CRF action, chambered in a cartridge that is among the fastest of its caliber, or don't show me at all 'cause you did it all wrong.

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#4958343 - 02/19/11 05:09 PM Re: Pellet stove problem / question. [Re: safariman]
Deer_Killer Offline
Member

Registered: 06/17/09
Posts: 36
Loc: Central Calif.
I know the Firefox well, I'll try to keep it short.

It's likely 10 years old or more, as it was LOPI's first pellet stove design.
Solid build from durable proven components.

Given the units age an auger motor replacement is not unusual.
(I recommend lower flight bearing at the same time.)

Combustion air is regulated by the "stick".
It controls a shutter in the air passage leading to the firepot.
Pull it out to increase airflow for a more active fire which will blow the ash out of the firepot.
This should extend your cleaning time back to what you're use to.
Don't pull it out to far, the pellets burn too fast to maintain a constant burn. The fire goes out & the stove shuts off after continuing to feed pellets for ten minutes.

The window will stay a bit cleaner too.
A general rule, if the window quickly BLACKENS from soot the air/fuel mix is rich.
Opposed to light brown, or gray from ash & a balanced burn.
If you have the model with a removable firepot/air plenum, pull the plenum & check the condition of the gasket.
If it is loose air will bypass the firepot and give the same symptoms.

This can be a result of fuel density, exhaust motor wearing out, interior ash traps filling, heat exchanger plugging, flue needing swept, or control board calibration shift.

The rheostat fan control is strictly convection air volume.
There should be a noticeable change in air flow from the heat exchange tubes as the fan speed is changed
No effect on combustion air at all.

DK

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#4958464 - 02/19/11 05:42 PM Re: Pellet stove problem / question. [Re: Deer_Killer]
Stormin_Norman Online   content
Campfire Regular

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 929
Loc: Kalispell MT
Originally Posted By: Deer_Killer
I work on these things for a living.
Short answer, the firepot needs more air moving through it.
Could be for any one of several reasons.

DK


Exactly, I run my stoves 7x24, only clean them out every 2-3 weeks. It sounds like your not getting a clean burn, even with crappy pellets I have maybe a coffee can worth of ashes a month.

If you have a newer house that's air tight you might need a external air intake, I put them on both my stoves.
_________________________
"Life is tough, even tougher if your stupid"
John Wayne

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#4958804 - 02/19/11 07:09 PM Re: Pellet stove problem / question. [Re: Stormin_Norman]
safariman Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 06/18/05
Posts: 24342
Loc: All over the place! missing Af...
WOW.... terrific information. Many thanks.

I will give this thng lots more air now, but your answer gave me pause and another question if you don't mind.

My stove does have a removeable plenum and firepot. It is the holes in the bottom of the firepot that clog up and I would be at a loss as to what to do if I could not remove and then clean it out with a wire brush BUT... there does not appear to be a gasket of any kind. If there is not, could that be mormal for my model? If it has to have one regardless of the model I should track one down. I am guessing it goes between the plenum and the body of the stove around the air intake? This could be the bulk of my problem.

Thanks again for the help, and post more! You arfe obviously one of the good guys. I will be in Central Calif in a couple of weeks. If you are anywhere near Visalia then a brew or coffee is on me.

MARK
_________________________
LOVE God, LOVE your family, LOVE your country, LIKE guns and sports.

Show me good wood wrapped around a CRF action, chambered in a cartridge that is among the fastest of its caliber, or don't show me at all 'cause you did it all wrong.

Top
#4962775 - 02/20/11 10:27 PM Re: Pellet stove problem / question. [Re: safariman]
Deer_Killer Offline
Member

Registered: 06/17/09
Posts: 36
Loc: Central Calif.
1. It is the holes in the bottom of the firepot that clog up and I would be at a loss as to what to do if I could not remove and then clean it out with a wire brush.

A close fitting drill bit held in hand & pushed through each hole does a good job of cleanup.


2. there does not appear to be a gasket of any kind. If there is not, could that be normal for my model?

All the firefoxes I've worked on have had a woven fiberglass donut shaped gasket on the plenum intake, it is compressed between the intake flange & the stove body.
Could be the main cause of your troubles.


If you are anywhere near Visalia then a brew or coffee is on me.

I'm 2 1/2 hours north on I-5 in Patterson. If you're driving we could meet.
If you're flying into Fresno I'll take a rain check.

DK

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