Getting Your Pellet Stove Ready for the Winter Ahead
There are a lot of options when it comes to heating your home. Whether you live in the suburbs or out in the country, pellet stoves have quickly become a Northwest favorite. And it’s no surprise. Pellet stoves are cleaner burning than standard wood, often more efficient than gas furnaces or electric wall heaters, and create an even heat that can permeate throughout an entire house.
To keep your pellet stove running strong this winter, it’s important to get a few things done before autumn starts.
Find Your Instruction Manual
According to the Department of Energy, it’s vital that you follow your manufacturer’s maintenance instructions. That means popping open the instruction manual. If you’ve lost yours, just look for a copy online.
Once you locate the manual, you’ll find information about how to remove specific parts of your pellet stove. Now you can properly clean and vacuum it using the following steps.
- Clean the Exhaust Piping and Venting. Simply remove the vent cap and clean it. The T pipe can fill up with ash, so be sure to open that up and give it a good vacuum.
- Remove the Combustion and Distribution Fans. Vacuum out loose ash and soot, then use a brush to remove anything that is stuck. Replace any gasket seals that appear to be cracked or worn before re-installing both fans.
Coastal Tip: Properly Oil Your Stove. Not all stove fans require oiling, but if yours does, this is a good time to get it done. Just a few drops will do the trick.
- Clean Behind Every Panel. You’ll want to remove your inner firebox (brick) panels, top heat exchange panels, firewall panels, and any ash traps. This will give you easy access to accumulated ash.
Coastal Tip: Got a smartphone? Use it to take a picture of your stove’s interior before you remove all of the panels.
- Double Check the Gasket on your Firebox Door. This is where a lot of pellet stoves lose their efficiency. To check your seal, place a dollar bill anywhere on the seal and close the door. If you can pull the dollar out easily, you may need to replace the gasket. Check a few areas around the door to be sure.
- Clean the Firepot. If you see any plugged holes, free those up with a toothpick or small screwdriver.
- Clean the Hopper. Vacuum up any pellets left in the hopper. Be sure to get out any pellet dust to ensure the longevity of your stove’s auger motor.
Good Pellets Make Good Sense
The average 2,500 square foot home requires up to 5 tons of pellets per year, while a 1,500 square foot home takes anywhere from 3 to 4 tons. If you’re burring more or less than the average, be sure to call an expert to inspect your stove.
When choosing your pellets, ensure the type you choose meets or exceeds all PFI (Pellet Fuels Institute) Standards. PFI is a non-profit association that works for you. They check on the quality of pellets being sold in the U.S. and issue quality ratings. With higher quality pellets, you will notice less dirt and dust left in the bag and in your hopper, reducing the chance of a mechanical failure. Good pellets will also burn longer overall.
Stock Up on Pellets Today
Stop by the hearth and home department in your favorite Coastal Farm & Ranch. Our experts will be happy to answer all of your questions, order any parts you need, and help you choose the right pellets (sold by the bag or pallet).
- See a lazy flame through the glass? Simply add more air using the vent. Too much flame? Reduce the air.
- Just because your pellet stove shuts down doesn’t mean anything is necessarily wrong. Before calling a repair company, empty the hopper and check your home’s fuse box.
- Pellet stoves don’t last forever. Mechanical and electrical parts will eventually wear out and need replacing.
- Pellet stoves can add ambiance to a room, but you might need to clean the glass. To do that, wait for the stove to cool down. Use a standard glass cleaner and plenty of elbow grease to remove the soot.