Pellet Stoves Use Sophisticated Computers and Circuit Boards to Operate
Because of this, the service of your particular pellet stove will vary depending on
it's design. Most pellet stove problems result from lack of maintenance. Your stove
manufacturer supplied a manual with a maintenance routine much like your car
came with. Unfortunately, people are accustomed to maintaining their cars more
than they are their pellet appliances.
All pellet stoves require the ash pan, burn pot, firebox, hopper and chimney to be
cleaned on a regular basis. Without this much needed maintenance, the various
moving parts in the appliance will stop moving - which is bad. Some appliances
make cleaning fairly easy, some require some disassembly to get to the nooks
Another cause for pellet related problems is the pellet fuel. There is a standard
followed by members of the Pellet Fuel Institute that manufacture "Premium"
pellets. Many appliances require the use of premium pellets in order to operate
correctly. Some appliances can use so-called non-premium or standard pellets.
These pellets will not burn at the same rate as premium pellets, so adjustments to
the combustion air, auger feed rate and exhaust fan must be made. Some
appliance companies have computers to monitor and automatically adjust these
settings inside the appliance. If yours does not, switching brands of pellets may
require manual adjustment.
Finally, the complexity of the pellet appliance's inner workings can sometimes be
its own undoing. Fire and computers have never had a good relationship, much like
water and electricity. When placed in close proximity, one side normally wins.
Common replacement parts for pellet appliances are the computers, circuit boards,
ignitors, fans, blowers, sensors, limit switches and auger motors. Because most
pellet appliance manufacturers only place a 2 - 3 year warranty on these parts, you
should be prepared to replace them as wearable parts.
How much fuel should I be using? Wood pellets are available in 40 pound bags at about $4-5 each, which translates
to $200-250 per ton. Average consumption will run from 1-2 tons for occasional use
to 6+ tons for a heavy full-time user.
Will it work in a power outage? We get this question more than some may believe. No, a pellet appliance is not a
good source of heat in a power outage as it does require electricity to operate.
Furthermore, the computers that control the appliance do not function well with
fluctuating power sources like inexpensive gas generators. Typically the power
spikes will trip circuits and computers inside the appliance.
Websites to learn about your specific
model of electric fireplace or stove.