What are the routine things that I do to keep my stove working right?

Routine maintenance tasks are essential to peak stove performance:

  • Burn pot . Checked daily and cleaned periodically to keep air inlets open. Frequency of cleaning depends on fuel type, grade, and content.
  • Ash drawer (. Emptying recommended before starting new fires and occasionally by interrupting stove operation. Frequency depends on fuel and stove design. Typically once or twice a week, but monthly in some new designs.
  • Heat exchanger On some stoves, simply a matter of moving a rod that scrapes the tubes inside the stove. May require professional service on others.
  • Ash traps. Chambers located behind the fire chamber which prevent excess fly ash in the exhaust from exiting the stove. Easily accessed for ash removal by owners in some designs; on others requires professional service.
  • Glass. Cleaned with glass cleaner when the glass is completely cool on stoves with effective air wash systems. May require more vigorous methods on others.
  • Hopper. Checked for accumulated sawdust materials (fines). Fuel in the hopper and auger tube should be run out occasionally to prevent auger blockage by fines.

What are some of the more advanced maintenance tasks?
Cleaning the venting system is usually performed by professionals , but can be tackled by the handy stove owner with thorough knowledge and the right equipment. Motors and fans need occasional cleaning and may require lubrication. The wrong lubricant or wrong amount of lubricant can damage components. Some components which call for removal for service require replacement of a gasket . Gaskets for the fire chamber door, ash pan door, and hopper lid (on some designs) may need occasional replacement to assure a tight seal.

What professional maintenance and repair services will I need?
Most pellet stove owners depend on professional service for cleaning and preventive maintenance on at least an annual basis. Many dealers offer service plans that offer reduced costs and convenient scheduling. Cleaning and maintenance services usually performed include:

  • Emptying ash traps and cleaning exhaust passages behind the fire chamber.
  • Cleaning and lubricating fans and motors.
  • Cleaning the hopper and fuel feed system.
  • Cleaning the heat exchanger system.
  • Cleaning exhaust pipes and resealing the venting system if needed.
  • Verifying and adjusting the stove settings with proper gauges and meters.
  • Mechanical and electric components may eventually wear out and need repair or replacement.

Many manufacturers now offer low cost, high value extended warranty on electrical components. You can also benefit from professional advice that helps you improve stove performance and convenience with operating tips or advice on fuel.

How do I select a service technician?
Finding competent in-home service should really be part of the buying decision, since service is needed at least on an annual basis. Many stove shops and service technicians offer a service plan that specifies a service schedule, what is covered, travel costs, and other details. One way to assess service is to ask for references. Another is to look for technicians who have taken the national exam to become certified by the non-profit HEARTH Education Foundation.


What will I like about heating with pellets?
Experienced pellet burners reap rewards for shopping and planning carefully and learning to operate and maintain their pellet heating system. They understand that pellet stoves contribute dramatic improvement in convenience to the long tradition of the hearth. The fuel itself is easily and cleanly stored and handled in bags. A single loading of a pellet stove can provide long hours of warmth. Pellet stoves also provide a special comfort associated with wood burning. The combination of fans delivering warm air currents and the direct comfort of radiant heat provides special satisfaction on a cold winter day. The heat provided is even and constant, due to the automatically regulated fuel feed responding to owner settings. Pellet stoves offer strong environmental benefits. Pellets not only reduce dependence on finite supplies of fossils fuels like oil and gas, but they also put to good use materials that would otherwise unnecessarily and expensively add to our waste disposal problems. In addition, pellet stoves burn very cleanly and offer the lowest emissions of unwanted pollutants in solid fuel burning appliances. Burning biomass