There are a few things you should think about doing prior to the next burn season.
Late spring is an ideal time to schedule your annual deep cleaning. The company that provides you with this service will most likely send you a reminder with some sort of “Spring Discount”. Try and set up your appointment so the work is performed when you are done using the stove for the season, that way the stove should be in perfect condition at the beginning of the next burn season. If you wait until August or September to call and schedule your cleaning you may have to wait 6 weeks to have the work actually done.
The typical deep cleaning takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours, includes cleaning the glass and disassembling the air-wash at the beginning and touching up the stove paint upon completion. All areas where fly-ash can accumulate must be accessed, visually inspected, and cleaned- from the burnpot to the venting terminus. The convection system likewise must be cleaned from the fan forward.
If this is the first time you are having your stove professionally cleaned you should do a bit of research. Don’t assume that the retail store that sold you the stove has a qualified and experienced employee to service your stove. Do you really want to have some employee making close to minimum wage with perhaps one or two seasons experience (if that) working on your stove? Also, don’t assume your local chimney sweep has the necessary experience either. If you have friends or family members who own pelletstoves ask them who they use and recommend. Make a few calls and ask what the company actually does to the stove, are they an owner operated business, how long have they worked on pelletstoves, and do they work exclusively on pelletstoves? Of course they should be licensed, bonded and insured. You should be able to also check them out online through their licensing board.
Other than the actual cleaning itself you want to make sure that if your service person forgets to unplug your stove after the annual cleaning you unplug it yourself.
Also, late spring and early summer is the best time to look for you next seasons fuel supply. You usually can save a few buck this time of year. Just remember to store you pellets in a dry covered location and keep them out of direct sunlight as the bags can “sweat”.
Here is a closer look at a pellet stove, notice the uneven coloration of the glass.
With the door now open you can see how the glass is clean in specific areas- thats where the gasket has been allowing air to leak in. (gasket is to small for this stove, the owner installed it himself.)
Here’s a look at the inside of the stove.
On each side of this stove are access holes, the cover was loosened, rotated and tightened to get into this ash trap. The vacuum pressure switch and hose are visible and in front of the exhaust fan motor and housing.
The decorative rear firewall plate has been removed for cleaning and paint. The stove door has also been removed for cleaning and gasket replacement.
The left side wall has been removed in this picture. Both the left and right walls need to be removed to do the cleaning properly as ash collected in this area cannot be adequately removed through the access holes alone.
Light now shines through the access holes.
Exhaust fan removed from housing.
Exhaust fan housing.
That’s a lot of ash and creosote built up behind the exhaust fan blades that were removed from the fan for cleaning.
The exhaust fan is ready to be put together.
OK lets fast forward a bit. The convection fan was blown out along with the convection tubes. The motor was oiled. The pellet vent was swept out and inspected. The back firewall was painted charcoal and the decorative firewall plate was painted brown. The cleaned burn pot was also painted charcoal. the stove body was touched-up, and here’s what the stove looked like when it was done.