Owning, or even sometimes renting, a home in North Idaho requires general seasonal maintenance to keep your stove or fireplace in working order. It’s really all about being prepared. Per Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Maintaining your home’s heating system(s) wards off emergency situations and costly repairs while extending the life of the product. Take the time and money to perform general maintenance on a regular basis. Many of the maintenance services require the knowledge, skills, and tools of a professional. During a maintenance or service call, our technicians will make any necessary repairs and/or alert you of a possible situation. Call the Stove Corral and let us assist you in maintaining any of the following hearth products or to answer any questions you may have:
PELLET STOVE MAINTENANCE
Removing Fly Ash
Most pellet stoves come with maintenance tools (a bottle brush, brush, and cleaning tool) for effective fly-ash removal. However, to ease maintenance, some pellet stove owners have purchased vacuums specifically made to remove fly-ash. Some of these vacuums are heat-resistant to allow for fly-ash removal while it is still warm. NEVER USE A STANDARD VACUUM ON YOUR PELLET STOVE (except to clean the pellet dust out of the hopper). Standard vacuums may spread the fine particles inside the fly-ash into your home and are not heat-resistant (hot fly-ash may cause the internal portion of the vacuum to ignite and therefor could also cause a house fire). Ask us at the Stove Corral for our recommended ash vacuums.
Disposal of Ashes
Ashes should be placed in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. The closed container of ashes should be placed on a noncombustible floor surface (like ceramic tile, stone or concrete) and well away from all combustible materials pending final disposal. If the ashes are finally disposed of by burial in soil or otherwise locally dispersed, they should be retained in the closed container until all cinders have been thoroughly cooled.
WEEKLY MAINTENANCE (or Approximately Every 5 Bags of Pellets)
Inspect Burn – Once a week you should inspect the flame quality inside your pellet stove. When burning on high, the flames should be bright orange. If the flames seem to be coming only from the sides, or are orange/black, turn the heater off and check for clinkers (ashes that solidify into a clump). The most likely causes of clinkers are:
– Restrictor needs adjustment
– Poor pellet quality
– The door or glass has an air leak
– The exhaust system requires cleaning
Clean The Burn Platform – Once a week you should clean and inspect the burn platform by following the steps outline in your owners operation manual.
Clean The Heat Exchanger – Once a week you should clean and inspect the heat exchanger by following the steps outline in your owners operation manual.
Monthly Maintenance (or Approximately Every 20 Bags of Pellets)
Empty The Ash Pan – The ash-pan must be in place while the stove is in use so make sure your stove has fully cooled (approximately 45 minutes) before you conduct this maintenance. The ash-pan will accumulate ash with each use. Follow the steps in your owners operation manual on how to empty your ash-pan.
Clean The Glass – Open the doors and clean the glass with a non-abrasive glass cleaner and clean rag. Do not allow glass cleaner or other liquid to soak into the gasket – this could compromise the gasket cement. At the Stove Corral we have glass cleaners and gasket cement available that are made specifically for gas, wood, and pellet stoves. Also at the time of cleaning the glass inspect it for damage. If the glass is damaged, be sure to replace it.
Inspect The Door – The door must form an air-tight seal to the firebox for the stove to work correctly. Inspect the door gasket to make sure it forms an air-tight seal to the firebox. Severely frayed or thread-bare gasket should be replaced using a high temp silicone, both gasket and silicone cements are available at the Stove Corral. Lastly, a high-temperature anti-seize may be used on the door hinges to eliminate squeaks.
Clean Firebox Liners – The firebox liners help trap fly-ash before it enters the exhaust blower. Remove the liners and clean the area behind them following your owners operation manual.
YEARLY MAINTENANCE (or Approximately Every Ton of Pellets)
When it comes to annual maintenance of your pellet stove, many of the services require the knowledge, skills, and tools of a professional. In addition to cleaning and inspecting your pellet stove our service technicians will conduct the following procedures:
Check For Air Leaks – Check for air leaks around the door, glass, and ash-pan. Air leaks into the firebox will decrease the stove’s performance greatly, leading to excessive sooting, inefficient burning, and perhaps malfunction.
Inspect the door gasket to make sure it is fully attached. If the door gasket is worn or flattened, replace it.
If the glass is cracked, replace it. The glass is typically held in place with clips.
Open the ash-pan access door and inspect the gasket around the door. Re-attach the gasket if necessary.
Clean Lower Exhaust Duct – Remove the exhaust duct cover, clean the exhaust channel with a bottle brush or vacuum. Taking care not vacuum the pressure switch nipple. If the exhaust blower gasket material is deteriorated or damaged replace it when reinstalling the cover plate.
Clean Convection Blower – Your stove may have one or two convection blowers, we will remove all panels, clean the blower, and inspect and balance the combustion blower impellers. If an impeller becomes unbalanced it will cause the blower to be noisy during use.
Clean Negative Pressure Tube – The negative pressure tube connects the negative pressure switch to the exhaust plenum. We will disconnect the tube, blow compressed air through it, and reinstall the tube onto the switch. Also, once the pressure switch nipple is located it will be cleared of any debris and return the stove to its proper configuration.
Clean The Vent – Make sure the cap is free of debris, check the screen for blockage, check the vent sections for creosote accumulation and remove anything over 1/4”. Whenever any portion of the pellet vent is disconnected, the joints must be re-sealed with high temperature sealant
Adjust Door Latch and Hinges – The door latch should pull the door against the face of the stove (but not so tight as to not allow full handle rotation). If the latch requires adjustment, follow your owners operation manual. A high-temperature anti-seize may be used on the door hinges to eliminate squeaks.
Chisel Inspection – The chisel is used to separate pellets as they drop from the hopper into the feed mechanism. The most common symptom of a worn chisel is a recurring “knock” every few minutes while the heater is running.
At the Stove Corral we’re here to to assist you in maintaining your home’s hearth products and to answer any of your questions about maintenance. Keeping your equipment in good working order provides you peace of mind, knowing they’ll be there when you need them the most. You wouldn’t go for years without changing the oil in your car would you? It also makes good financial sense to keep equipment maintained and serviced to help extend their life spans. Call us if you’d like to be added to our seasonal maintenance reminder list or to schedule a maintenance appointment today! 208.263.1541