If you’ve just installed or are planning to install a pellet stove it’s important to grasp the importance of getting into regular cleaning habits and providing regular appliance upkeep to get the most out of your investment. The manufacturer’s instructions will typically give you fairly straightforward specifics as far as cleaning and upkeep are concerned in regards to your particular model. Nevertheless, we at Northeastern Fireplace & Design would like to provide you with a few generalized tips and areas to keep an eye on to make your pellet stove ownership a more enjoyable experience throughout.
MAINTAINING THE BURN POT
This is the stove’s carburetor, meaning it mixes the air and fuel together to enable combustion. As is the case in a car, the correct air to fuel ratio is extremely important to achieving top performance. When operating normally, your stove should produce a bright yellow or white flame. You may also notice a white or gray ashy buildup on the glass during high burn and a darker, fluffy ash on low burn—both are totally normal. If, however, your flame is orange and sooty or there’s a brown caramel-like substance building up, immediate action should be taken to improve the burning efficiency of your unit.
It’s extremely important that you check the burn pot every day and clean it periodically to keep the air inlets free of ash and clinkers (formed from ash that melts and then hardens). The frequency with which you need to clean the burn pot will depend, in large part, on the type and grade of pellets you’re burning. Incorrect adjustment of the air to fuel ratio can greatly increase the likelihood of blockages forming in the burn pot due to the stove’s inability to remove excess ash on its own.
MAINTAINING THE HEAT EXCHANGER
Located inside the combustion chamber, the heat exchanger is designed to transfer the heat produced by the burning pellets in the burn pot into clean hot air for distribution into your living space. Fresh air passes through the inside of the chamber and draws the heat out of the stove and into the room. For maximum efficiency, the surface of the heat exchanger should be cleaned regularly. The frequency with which you’ll need to clean it will depend on your particular unit’s design and can range anywhere from daily to monthly. On some models, cleaning is as simple as moving a rod that scrapes the tubes inside the stove, whereas other stoves may require professional service.
MAINTAINING THE VENTING SYSTEM AND OTHER COMPONENTS
It’s recommended that you have your stove’s venting system cleaned by a professional who’s more experienced in the maintenance of such things. If the vent pipe becomes blocked, smoke may leak into your home. Luckily, most pellet burning appliances now have a safety switch that will interrupt their operation and keep exposure to harmful gases to a minimum. The motors and fans in your stove will need occasional cleaning and/or lubricating as well; using the wrong lubricant or the wrong amount of lubricant can, however, damage the unit. Gaskets (fire chamber door, ash pan door, and hopper lid) may also need replacing from time to time to ensure the seals remain tight.
Like traditional and gas fireplaces, it’s recommended that you call a certified professional to service and clean your pellet stove on at least an annual basis; they’ll also be able to provide preventive maintenance at this time. Here at Northeastern Fireplace & Design, your family’s sense of security and safety is important to us. Our team is here to help you from the initial search to annual maintenance and repairs. As industry experts, we can confidently say you won’t find a better selection of trustworthy heating appliances and hearth accessories in Columbia, Albany, Hudson, or Greene counties. Give us a call or stop in and see us today!