Pellet Stove Repair

I have a Quadra-Fire (Mount Vernon) pellet stove. This will be the third winter I have had this one. I seem to be getting a bit more of a smoke odor in the house than usual. I can't see where the smoke is getting out of the stove from but I expect it is either getting past the door or ash pan gasket.
Have any of you replaced the gaskets on your stove? Are they glued in and difficult to replace or just pressed in?
David
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Usually the rope gaskets are glued in with a special adhesive but they don't seem to fail often. Check that you've thoroughly cleaned all the nooks and crannies before the season. On some pellet stoves a complete seasonal cleaning requires removing baffles or brickboard and the fans to clean out behind them. Also a good time to put a drop or two of synthetic motor oil (like Mobil 1, particularly good for high temp use) on the fan bearings (bushings).
Most pellet stoves work on negative pressure and if the combustion air feed (supply) or damper passages are restricted they can burn oddly.
Some stoves allow air flow into the burn area from around or at the top edge of the glass so make sure those areas are clean and unrestricted. I use a business card to see if there's clearance around or at the top edge of the glass.
If the exhaust fan has enough built up ash that can cause a problem with smoke in the room.
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On Dec 10, 4:06 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Thanks for the suggestions.
I did take the stove pipe out yesterday to see if it was plugged but it was ok. My stove pipe goes from the stove straight out through the wall so there is not much vertical lift for the exhaust. I will see about removing the exhaust fan housing to see if there is build up there.
I have had the techs from the store where I bought the stove out several times over the two winters I've had it. They seem to have no specific training on the stoves and seem to be learning as they go which I find irritating to pay such a large hourly service fee for someone to learn on the job.
The manual says that cleaning the exhaust blower should be done yearly so when I had the tech out early in the second winter, I asked him about it and all he did was reach in there somewhere and pull out a couple of tufts of cat hair. He did not take it apart or anything.
Except for some of the electronics, I feel like I am nearly as competent to work on the stove as he is so I decided to head to the web and do some research.
David
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I've seen pellet stoves that have the "EZ install" or as I call it, the cheap and problematic install, have troubles with smoke in the room that baffle the dealer.
With the short horizontal pipe run out the wall and the end being in close proximity to the outer wall there's isn't as much draw as there should be. Less draw out the vent = less velocity in the burn chamber = less negative pressure than optimum = smoke smell in the room.
If you want to see if that is the problem then here's an EZ way... have the dealer lend you a "clean-out T" and a bunch of vent pipe and a wind cap. Put the T on the end of the vent pipe with one opening down (with cap) for clean out and one opening up. Add enough vent pipe to the UP leg to go past the roof line by at least 2 feet and put a wind cap on that.
Don't forget that above certain altitudes you must go to 4" vent pipe instead of 3".
If that test remedies the problem then you've proved that the "cheap and EZ" install that home owner's love and dealer's like to use to close the sale is not for you.
Please post what you find out.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Aren't pellet stoves power vented? I've never had one, but I was under the impression they used a draft inducing blower like a gas furnace and didn't rely on the the flue to create a draw.
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Yes, pellet stoves have a combustion fan near the vent fitting that maintains negative pressure in the burn area BUT... if the vent is restricted or does not allow adequate air flow, back pressure at that the combustion fan can cause weird things happen.
Pellet stoves can be truly remarkable and I've enjoyed one for over 10 years. Thing is, the technology employed and enjoyed in pellet stoves can escape technically challenged dealers and all those at Home Depot and Lowe's that sell pellet stoves. Properly venting a pellet stove in a specific installation can require some technical knowledge and common sense. There's a lot more to having a pellet stove operating properly than than hookin' up the pipe and pushin' the button.
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Interesting info. I've seen so many lackluster "professional" jobs in all facets of home maintenance and improvement that my attitude has gradually become that of if you want a job done right, you pretty much have to do it yourself, and of course that involves researching how to do it right, buying all the necessary tools and anything else required. The research and preparation stage usually takes longer than the actual job, but the end result and education gained is worth it. The guys who do this stuff for a living don't own your house, they don't necessarily hesitate to take shortcuts that will save them time or materials, and there is little motivation on their part to do a really top notch job.
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I generally agree especially when the appliance can burn your house down.
I did my own pellet stove install after I was underwhelmed by the area's leading pellet stove dealer.
Actually, there is a wealth of tech info on pellet stove and all venting available from Duravent... the people who make the pipe. Also, let's remember there are codes that must be followed too.
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I agree, especially when the appliance can burn down your house. I did my pellet stove install after being underwhelmed by the area's leading pellet stove dealer.
There's lots of info on venting from Duravent, the people who make the pipe and of course, there are codes to be observed.
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On Dec 10, 5:34 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I think I will run the chimney that way anyway. The chimney as it is now runs out the wall on the west side of the house and the prevailing wind here is from the west. I always get a bit of smoke in the house when the wind picks up a bit.
I put a wind barrier about 2 feet from the end of the stove pipe to try to block the wind but that might not work nearly as well as getting the chimney up over roof line.
The wind cap on the top of the chimney that you mentioned. Is that the same thing they call a rain cap or are there different ones?
Thanks for all your suggestions.
David
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David,
It's called a "vertical cap" in this catalog... http://www.duravent.com/pdf/catalogs/pellet%20corn.pdf
Do your homework and check to see if your altitude requires converting to 4" at the new "T" you'll add outside the wall.
If your install was done right you should have a clean-out "T" (called a SINGLE T) right at the back of your pellet stove and now you'll add another clean-out "T" just outside the wall to make the turn UP. That "T" can convert from 3" to 4" (called INCREASER T with CLEAN-OUT CAP) if necessary.
Some codes require the pellet vent to extend 2 feet above the high point of the roof.
Please keep us informed of the result.
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On Dec 11, 4:15 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

There is no clean-out where the stove pipe hooks to the stove. I thought that was because there is no lift at all all the way to the end of the stove pipe outside. There is about a 10" lift from the exhaust fan to where the pipe exits the back of the stove.
The diagram in the owner's manual shows the outside pipe going up through the overhang of the house. I can go up next to the overhang and attach a support bracket to the soffit.
The horizontal pipe sticks out about 16" from the outside wall. I am wondering if I need support under that to handle the weight of the vertical pipe. I only need to go up about 10' to get 2 to 3 feet above the roof at that part of the house.
Another thing I am wondering about. If I go straight up from where the pipe exits the house, the pipe above the roof will only be a few feet from the overhang of the second story. I have an old farm house. I wonder if I could/should angle the vertical pipe about 15 degrees to the right and then use a 15 degree adapter at the top to get it vertical again before attaching the rain cap.
Also, I live in lower Michigan just 30 miles north of the Indiana state line so I don't think that the altitude here is very high. But would it be better if I went to the larger pipe anyway?
Thanks again.
David
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As far as I understand the physics and the code it is 2 feet above the highest point of the roof not 2 feet above the most proximate part of the roof.
I helped a guy solve a pellet stove problem that baffled everyone. He had a back pressure problem and his vent went straight up through the living room ceiling through the roof. The dealer installed enough pipe to raise the vertical cap 3 feet above the closest roof point. Thing was, prevailing wind was usually from across the roof peak 20 feet away and created a dead air spot along the roof right where the pipe was. As the wind blew it screwed up the draft of the pipe. No one could figure it out and I was lucky to be on the roof when it was windy. As I approached the vent the wind stopped... duh.
I think your location is fine with 3" vent. Using 4" where it's not need can cause problems.
No clean-out T at the back of the stove...hmm? Whenever the vent changes direction the ash loves to stay whether up, or left or right. Do you ever remove the horizontal pipe and vacuum that out? You should because ash will collect in there and restrict the flow and can fall back into the exhaust fan.
Keep the vent as vertical as possible. Use all and every slick adapter and angler you can find.
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On Dec 11, 10:54 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I looks like even if I raise the vent pipe above the peak of the room it will still be blocked from a North wind by the second story of the other part of the house and be in a bit of dead spot like you said. If I raise the pipe too high in the air, I will have a hard time supporting it.
David
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All you can do is experiment before you nail stuff down. If the dealer will lend you vent pipe and fittings you'll save a lot not buying stuff you don't need. There are the hard and fast rules and there are there is the reality of what works and what doesn't. Work till you get a configuration that provides good burn and acceptable aesthetics.
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