Every pellet stove requires routine maintenance and cleaning.
Owners should consult their owners manual to review routine cleaning procedures and perform them as instructed as required on a day to day basis. Failure to perform this routine maintenance of ash removal will affect your pellet stove's efficiency to transfer heat to your home. If your stove goes too long without proper maintenance your stove may cease to drop pellets and/or burn properly. Burning a dirty stove for extended periods of time will become a safety concern.
As a general rule, all pellet stoves require a thorough cleaning of the entire appliance annually or after every 1 or 2 tons of fuel burned. If you are burning a low grade quality pellet, cleaning will be more frequent. Dirty stoves are not happy stoves. Nearly every problem that effects a stove's efficiency or performance is caused by a lack air. A dirty stove has less air flow than a clean stove.
Periodic maintenance of your pellet stove is required. This will involve removing ash from the burn chamber and the ash pan, scraping of the burn pot, raking the ash from the heat exchangers, the air wash system, the venting and the exhaust path through the stove. This work is done by you as needed throughout the burn season. To get the best performance out of your pellet stove with the least amount of maintenance you must use the best possible pellet fuel possible. Using a low grade pellet WILL require more maintenance. Failure to perform maintenance will decrease efficiency, will stress out vital components and may lead to costly repairs. If you depend upon your as heat source you should consider a premium grade fuel. For nearly trouble free operation and the highest heat output, we recommend a premium grade softwood pellet with less than .5% ash by content for the lowest ash and highest heat output.
The Full Service Cleaning (Annual Service)
All pellet stoves require a thorough cleaning of the entire system. Depending upon your pellet stove model, burning habits and fuel selection, this type of service is required after each 1 to 2 tons of fuel burned. Many users have this service performed on their stove once a year during the off-season in preparation for the coming season. If you are burning a low grade pellet in a low-grade pellet stove, this service may need to be performed more than once a year.
Performing this cleaning returns the pellet stove back to a neutral state. During this process we will also perform simple diagnostics to various elements of the pellet stove to make sure various components are operating as they should. Testing these various components is a critical part of our Full Service Cleaning and is what sets us apart from all of our competition.
Firing Up The Stove
A critical part of our Full Service approach involves us actually starting your stove when we are finished with our work and monitoring it through it's 3 cycles of operation: Start-up mode, running mode and shut down mode. Only after the stove has successfully completed this cycle do we consider it a job well done. Consider it us just checking our work; for us, it is playing with fire...the best part of our job.
While we are monitoring the burn cycles of the stove we encourage you to ask questions and learn something new about your stove. We will demonstrate you how your stove should perform or look during normal operation as well what the warning signs are for poor combustion. Having this cursory knowledge and knowing how to correct it may save you a service call in the future.
Guidelines for nearly trouble free operation.
- Read your owners manual each year and learn something new
- Use the best fuel you can afford. Do not buy pellets on price or convenience alone. The extra money it costs for the very best fuel equals less maintenance and less repair
- If you are uncertain of how a pellet fuel will perform in your stove, buy 2-3 bags of a product and try them before you commit to 2-3 tons
- Make sure your stove installed correctly. More than half of the stoves we perform repairs on are installed incorrectly
- Do not modify any part of your stove to keep it running if you are experiencing problems.
Our Full Service Pellet Stove Cleaning Involves (models will vary)
- Removal of pellets, vacuum of debris, inspection of hopper, auger plate, pressure and/or latch switches, minor repairs as needed and refill of pellets
- Inspection of auger, auger assembly and test for unobstructed rotation within the auger tube.
- Combustion Blower: Access, clean, lubricate as needed
- Convection Blower: Clean and lubricate as needed
- Auger motor: clean and lubricate as needed
- Visual inspection of all wiring and terminals
- Cleaning of the entire fire chamber including: burn pot, ignition assembly, fire walls, draft chambers, exhaust ports and heat exchangers etc...
- Inspection of all seals
- Inspection of heat switches and vacuum sensors
- Clean out of exhaust pipes to the outside air
- Cleaning of glass
- Removal of ashes from property
- Complete cleaning of electronics from the rear panel of the appliance
- Test electrical sensors and igniter for continuity and working order
- Complete cleaning of the adjacent floor area and stove hearth
- Start up of the stove to make sure all is working correctly
- A quick overview of the work we performed and we will answer any question you have about your stove
Be skeptical of "Copy Cats"
My company has become a leader in the pellet stove service world and as such, many folks claiming to be pellet stove technicians simply copy (sometimes word for word) what our cleaning approach involves. Our website defines what it is that we do and how the work should be done. Please do your part when hiring a technician to make sure they are licensed and are NFI Certified.