Cleaning Pellet Stoves?

mmarvaldFebruary 6, 2005

I was blown away after reading a pdf file on how to clean the Harmon Accentra Pellet Insert while browsing different Pellet Stoves. Wow what an intricate job. Which brings me to my question of how often these things need to be professionally cleaned? What is the maintenance on them regarding the internal workings of the machinery?


File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML

... Accentra Pellet Insert Here are step-by-step instructions for cleaning your Harman Accentra Pellet Insert. Please read through this guide before starting. ... >

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I have a Harman Advance and I will scrape the fire pot and the upper heat exchanger tubes every day, this can be done while the stove is running and takes less than a minute. Then I normally do a complete clean every 7-10 days, removing all the inside cover plates, ash pan, brushing everything down and cleaning it all up takes about 30 mins. (once you get good at it and figure out what works best for you)The best investment I made was a fireproof vacuum,it really speeds the job up, you can use a regular shop vac. but I wouldn't advise it- mainly because it could start a fire if a hot ember were sucked up, but also the filters are not designed to stop the fine fly ash particles,Trust me I found out the hard way. You will end up spending as much or more on filters than if you bought a good vac.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 4:08PM
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I have an Accentra insert and I clean the burn pot every day with the tool provided. This involves pulling the ash from the lip and a quick scrap of the sides. Â (10 seconds)

I clean the ash tray and inside with a shop vac every 1/2 to 1 ton of pellets - depends on what brand I am burning. As murf1 mentioned - invest in a fireproof vac. Â (15 minutes)

I do a full clean every 1 ton of pellets - but I must say this is just because it is recommended not because it needs it. There is very little ash in the igniter box, exchanger tubes or vent. If you want to do this yourself  be sure and make set of 2X4 supports as described in the manual on page 15 or buy the service rail kit from Harman. (30 minutes)

I built a pellet duster so there is very little pellet fines buildup in the feeder chamber.

If you are doing a full cleaning on a Harman Accentra every week the stove is not working properly or you need to try another brand of pellets.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 4:52PM
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Although I have a Quadra Fire stove; I'm sure cleaning is very similar. Every day, I pull the 2 cleaning rods, which scrape the heat exchanger tubes. I clean out the firepot, which involves pulling a lever, and using a scraper (I use a small putty knife/scraper tool) to scrape the firepot. Next, I clean the glass. Takes approx 3-5 minutes per day total, which includes washing my hands and cleaning up.

Once every 1-2 weeks, I remove the metal baffle plate and scrape/vacuum around the heat exchanger tubes. There are no screws or anything; just lift it and pull forward slightly, and it drops down. Takes about 5-10 minutes total, including cleanup.

Don't let the cleaning intimidate you; it's actually very easy to do. Pellet stoves don't generate anywhere near the amt of dirt and ash that a regular woodstove makes; but they do require daily cleaning. Our electric bill is HALF what it used to be before we installed our pellet stove; so it's well worth the few minutes of daily cleaning to save that kind of money!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2005 at 7:16AM
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Brad, what are you using to clean the glass on your pellet stove? We have the quadra fire castille and I notice when I clean the glass that there is some very light residue that looks like very light ash on the glass but it doesn't come off with glass cleaner and I'm afraid to scrape it. There is absolutely no black film on the glass, just some flurry looking ash. Thought since you have a quad you might be able to help.
By the way, I love my quadra fire too! All this Harmon talk seems over the top! They sure don't make a pellet stove that is as attractive as a quadra fire!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 5:21PM
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Hi Deb,

I use a fireplace/stove glass cleaner - I think it's made by Rutland - but you can find it at practically any place that sells stove stuff (Lowes, Home Depot, and I think even Walmart sells it during the winter).

It's a blue looking paste/liquid (sort of like liquid car wax consistency). It seems to have a bit of silica or some type of abrasive in it, as well as silicone. It makes the glass VERY easy to clean. You can use the stove-type glass cleaner once or twice a week, and then just use windex or standard glass cleaner the rest of the week.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 8:47AM
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Clean the glass once a day!!!! I clean the glass after ever ton of pellets..... oh ya - I have a Harman.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 3:45PM
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I like Harman...they make good stoves; no doubt about it. The pool dealer that opens & closes our pool for us sells Harman - but they wanted $2800 for the Harman stove (I think it was the Advance..or Advantix...or something like that).

I got our Quadra-Fire Santa Fe (35K btu) for $1600. Admittedly, that was lower price than normal - they generally run about $1900 but I was able to get the price down. $1600 versus $2800 is a HUGE difference, in my book. Perhaps for a hundred or two extra, I would have gone with the Harman stove - but for $1200? No way.

The Quadra Fire is an outstanding stove. Easy to clean and maintain, and it's been reliable.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2005 at 4:25PM
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Thanks for the glass cleaner tip Brad. We're currently cleaning our glass once a week, I can't imagine only cleaning it once every ton of pellets, no matter what brand of stove you have!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 2:00AM
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When my Harmon was installed, I was warned against scraping the fire pit too often. I have found that the time between scraping depends on the fuel you are using (Maple pellets seem to produce a lot more carbon that oak, pine is about in the middle, ash is almost as clean as oak, etc. )

I scrape about every 5-8 bags (e.g. 200-300 pounds) of fuel. Just after scraping, I can run the feed rate at 4 1/2 with a specific brand of pellet, and as the fire pit loads up, I have to back off on the feed rate. After 3 or 4 bags, I set the feed rate on 3.

The ash bucket fills up after about 20-25 bags of fuel, and I simply slow the stove down for a while and dump the bucket, clean up any ash that was behind it, give the primary tubes a quick clean, and put it back together.

I clean everything once every ton of fuel or so. (e.g. filling the ash bucket 2 or 3 times.)

The reason I end up playing with the feed rate is that:

a: The stove is the only heat we are using in the house.
b: The house is about 2500 sq ft.
c: it was getting down to -5F at night in the area this winter.

So, I go for getting the most heat I can from the stove.
If it doesn't get as cold at night, I don't need the little bit of extra output I can get. When it is really cold out, I'll burn 2+ bags a day. Right now, it's about 1 1/2. (It is only getting down to about +10F at night.)

As far as cleaning the glass, its done when the rest of the stove gets a full cleaning. I bought a pack of 500 single edge razor blades and put a fresh blade in the knife, take the heavy stuff off, then use Windex(r).

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 3:11PM
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We've had a QuadraFire 1200i (insert) stove for 4 years. It's our primary heat source and has turned out to be a great stove. The stove is attached to a digital thermostat, so we wake up to a warm and cozy house. We go through roughly a bag of pellets a day and mostly burn Lignetics. Tried others, but the quality of Lignetics seems much more consistent. About every 3-4 bags I shake out the clinkers (stove not running), giving a few pulls on the convenient spring loaded "clinker shaker". Every 2 weeks I clean out the stove. At that point there is a fair amount of ash build up (maybe 2 quarts?) and the glass is looking a bit smokey. (Though the fire still shows up very well.) This process takes 15 minutes. I have never had to use a chisel or other tool to clean out the firepot. I just run my hand over it to make sure all the clinkers are out. Never had a plugged air hole. I attribute this to the excellent design of the QuadraFire's firepot. Then I pull the heat tube rods a few times to clean them out. Next I vacuum out the stove with a shop vac (bagged) and then clean the glass. That's it. Cleaning is a pretty easy and neat task. FWIW, it would drive me nuts to have to disassemble pieces of the stove just to clean it and doubly nuts if I had to do this every few days.

PS: No, I'm not a stove dealer. On chilly days (below 35) we also run a small Jotul woodstove to warm up the kitchen area.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 1:13PM
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