The How Zone

Inside a Pellet Stove

Pellet Stove Maintenance

Top Access

Once or twice a year (Spring is a good time) we do a more thorough cleaning. This involves removing the access panel above the heat exchangers and vacuuming out that hidden area and the exhaust pipe leading out of the stove. They don't get as much ash, but over time it slowly builds up.

Dirty Intake Fan

Another area you might not think about is the air intake system. The blast fan is running 'round the clock, and since it is sucking in air all of the time that means it is also sucking up dust bunnies, dog hair, and maybe the occasional Box Elder bug. I try to vacuum out the air intakes but often the dust is really embedded and requires more drastic measures.

The first time I "really" cleaned the fans I took them out of the stove, removed all of the parts, and washed the squirrel cages with warm soapy water and brushes. Lots of work. This year I tried something new, which was probably a bad idea...but it sure was easier. I draped a blanket over the stove, snaked a vacuum cleaner hose into this "tent" and then used the high pressure air from our air compressor and let rip! Let me tell you, it removed WAY more dirt and dust than I ever expected. The blanket was fully coated afterwards and luckily it was a warm day so I could air the room out.

You should also check the air holes ringing the crucible. This is the lifeblood of a pellet stove and if they start getting plugged overall performance goes down. After all a blast furnace isn't much without a blast.

On the back wall of our stove are three fire bricks. I'm guessing here, but I suspect that they are meant to keep the heat from the back and side walls. The main airflow and heat transfer is through the heat exchange pipes along the top, heat dissipated elsewhere doesn't get moved out the room as efficiently.

Full Burn

There you have it, a clean, happy burning Pellet Stove. By the way the ash from the stove can be sprinkled over the garden. Doing this on the snow in the winter makes for some interesting yard art.

Find out more about Wood Pellet Stoves at WPS.

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