Compared to a wood burning stove, a PELLET STOVE is easier to clean. It produces little ash so cleaning it shouldn’t be very messy. Depending on how often it is used, it needs to be cleaned every three days or at least once every two weeks. Proper cleaning and maintenance is necessary to keep it from malfunctioning.
BASIC CLEANING PROCEDURE
The equipment will have a pot at the bottom, which is the part that stores the ash. Its handle or opening can be found in front or at the back of the product. Remove the pot so you can throw out its contents, or you can vacuum it instead. Also vacuum the surrounding areas because ash will have probably escaped the pot. Taking out the ash is necessary to improve the air intake of the machine, so the pellets can burn better.
Get rid of the carbon deposits by using the cleaning tool that comes with the stove. The dregs will have to be scrapped, so if the original tool is no longer available, use a putty knife or a wire brush.
The exchanger tube will also have carbon deposits. To clean it, push and pull the lever in front or at the top of the stove. Repeat the process as needed.
Wash the glass window of the burner using a sponge, soap, and water—don’t use a brush because it will damage the surface. Dry it using a soft water-absorbent cloth afterwards to avoid water stains. The glass needs to be clear so you can see if the fuel is burning as it should.
ADDITIONAL CLEANING PROCEDURE
Clean the stove pipe by removing fly ash using a pipe brush. Open the clean out door if your stove has a T-connection.
Using a vacuum and a paint brush, cleanse the blower motor and the fan to eliminate the build-up of dirt.
Take away any residue from the gaskets. Replace them once they get worn out or damaged.
From time to time, allow the fuel hopper and the auger tube to completely empty to ensure that the feed system will not be blocked by dust.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
Clinkers – This is the term for ash that has melted and hardened. Check corners and spots to make sure build-ups don’t happen.
Soot – Take them out using a brush. Too much soot in the equipment can reduce the heat by as much as 50 percent.
Flame – The color should be white or bright yellow. If it’s a dark shade of orange, consult a professional.
Unused Pellets – After the heating season, as you clean the stove, ensure that you will not leave any unused pellets in the machine. If you don’t remove them, they will collect moisture and rust the equipment. Fresh pellets are also easier to use come the next heating season.
WOOD BURNING STOVES require more frequent cleaning. Aside from producing more ash, it will also leave pieces of bark and charred wood. And since it needs to be connected to a chimney, you will have to have the chimney cleaned professionally at least once a year, because if not, it can cause fire due to the collection of residues in the vents. Furthermore, you may have to install a carbon monoxide alarm in your house if you have this kind of burner.
Other things to consider
Vacuum Cleaner. Do not use the regular cleaner to remove ash from your stove, even for WOOD BURNERS and fireplaces. You need to buy an ash vacuum to do this task. A regular vacuum is not designed to remove ash. The dirt may already look cool, but you never know if buried in it are sections that are still hot. Normally, you will have to wait 12 to 24 hours before the powder cools down thoroughly.
Regular vacuum cleaners have plastic components that could be melted by high temperature, while those made specifically to get rid of ash have metal parts that will not melt or cause fire. Even though it has a metal housing, you should dispose the ash as soon as possible and not let it stay in the vacuum too long.
HEPA-style bags and other regular filters are also not designed to handle powder-like particles. Ash particles are so tiny that they can escape through the bags and out of the exhaust. To make sure you’re protected, it would be advisable to wear a mask while completing this task.
Pellets. Because pellets are made from processed materials, they are more expensive than wood, especially if you’re in an area where ample free wood are available. However, they burn efficiently and cleanly (especially the more expensive ones), so it’s easier to clean pellet burners than LOG BURNERS. Also, they are easier to store than logs if you have a place to keep them indoors.
Remember to keep them in a dry area because using wet pellets is not advisable. They will cause decomposition and will jam the auger system, which is the part responsible for placing the pellets into the burn pot. Wet materials are likely to get stuck, and will result to stove malfunction.
Low quality products also tend to clog the auger. If you’re not sure what to get, don’t purchase them in bulk yet. Try a few products and observe which ones are the best for your machine. Also, don’t feed to much of it in the machine. Follow the instructions in the manual regarding the recommended amount of pellets fed to the stove.
Professional Help. Like any other machine, your pellet burner will eventually have problems in its circuitry. It has a sensitive electronic system that will require a professional technician to fix. Before you buy a stove, make sure that you know someone to call in case you encounter a problem. Normally, stores that sell these machines also offer maintenance service of WOOD PELLET BOILERS and other stoves.