Pellet Stove Maintenance for Optimum Efficiency
1. Appliance Inspection and Cleaning
Two safety considerations in performing routine cleaning:
- Shut off the appliance and allow it to cool before performing cleaning
- Always disconnect power before performing cleaning
The frequency of inspection and cleaning depends on appliance design, usage, and fuel quality. You may want to inspect the appliance after the first week of use, then lengthen the interval according to results and the need for cleaning. Any changes, such as a new fuel source may be reason to check the system more frequently. Routine inspection and cleaning should include the areas discussed below.
A. Burn pot and grate
The burn pot and grate should be inspected frequently to make sure that the air inlets are not blocked or clogged with ash, clinkers, or carbon. The air inlets should be fully re-opened by cleaning. The area under the grate should be inspected for ash build up and the grate and burn pot should be re-seated properly.
B. Ash Drawer
The ash drawer must be emptied on a regular basis. Frequency is determined by factors such as quality, usage, and drawer size. Ashes should be deposited into a metal container with a tight fitting lid and placed on a non-combustible surface until disposal.
C. Heat Exchanger
The maintenance of heat exchangers is important for proper combustion airflow and heat delivery. Some appliances have an external handle that operates a heat exchanger cleaning mechanism. Others must be accessed through the combustion chamber or external panels.
D. Ash traps/baffles
Ash traps behind the combustion chamber should be inspected and cleaned when necessary.
2. Maintenance Needs Indications
- Lazy, yellow flame that does not respond to adjustment.
- Frequent or unexplained appliance shut down.
- Reduced heat output.
- Unusual fan or motor noise.
- Improper response to control settings.
- Unusual amounts of smoke exiting the vent.
- Unexplained smoke or ash spillage in the home.
- Unusually dirty glass.