How to: Solving Ignition Problems with Englander Pellet Stoves
Englander stove not igniting? I’ve got the fix for you! The first step to fixing an Englander pellet stove igniter problem is to check and see if the igniter is actually heating up. Start your stove and wait approximately 2 minutes, then open the door and move the pellets that have gathered from the right rear corner of the burn pot and look to see if the ignition hole is reddish orange, or place your hand down near the hole and feel for heat. If the igniter is glowing or if you can feel the heat, the igniter is working. An igniter either works or it doesn’t, there is no in-between. If there is no heat and no orange glow, your igniter is possibly shorted out and needs to be replaced.
If the igniter is working but you aren’t getting ignition. Follow these steps:
- If your burn pot has changed shape, or if the gasket between the burn pot and the firewall is loose, the hot air from the igniter will slip past the ignition hole in the burn pot and flow upwards the back side of the burn pot. If the top of your burn pot is curved, this is a problem and you should replace your burn pot and the gasket. Doubling up the burn pot gasket is recommended (use two gaskets). If the burn pot is not curved at the top, replace the gasket. To remove the burn pot, remove the two 1/2” hex screws from the under the ash lip and remove the burn pot. With a metal straight edge, Check the back of the burn pot for curvature. Anything greater than 1/8” and the burn pot should be replaced. If it's relatively flat, check for rust or corrosion, use a wire brush to remove any flaking. If there is a rough texture at all, replace the burn pot. If it looks okay, Any time the burn pot is removed, a new gasket is needed. I keep many of them on hand and when I put another one on, I double them up to extend the life of the gasket.
After following the above steps, the stove will most likely fire right up. If you are still having problems, make sure the lowest trim control buttons on the controller for combustion air trim, low feed trim, and on-air blower are set to 6,4,1 respectively. Try to start the stove again. If you don’t have ignition within 5 minutes, your Englander pellet stove igniter needs adjustment. Follow these 8 steps to adjust your igniter. Unplug the stove and remove the back panel.
- Locate the thin white wires coming from the top right side (looking at the board from the rear) and follow them to the igniter.
- The igniter is held in position with a 5/16” square set screw. Loosen the screw a Half turn and gently pull the igniter out. If you have been trying to start the unit and the igniter has been on, it will be extremely hot. Wait for fore the ignition rod to cool. You can safely remove it using fire protection gloves but it will still be hot and if it touches a wire when you bring it out it will instantly melt the wire coating it touches. FYI, skin burns from igniters hurt a lot, take a long time to heal and the rod can seriously burn you without actually touching you. PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!!
- Once the igniter is out, place it on the stove bottom away from your workspace.
- Just in front of the set screw on the igniter cradle, there will be a flat metal cap covering a hole. Pry this cap off with a pointy tool, knife edge or a flat head screwdriver. When the stove is manufactured, a drill is used to make a weep hole from the cradle into the main air intake tube. This hole under the cap is where they drill this hole. Using a wire or small bottle brush, clean out the igniter cradle and the weep hole all the way into the air intake. Compressed air works very well for this. Sometimes ash can build up in here and block the air from freely flowing around the igniter.
- Replace the igniter and tighten it back up.
- DO NOT REPLACE THE METAL WEEP HOLE CAP! Englander actually recommends removing the weep hole cap if you are having ignition issues. You will actually extend the life of your igniter too, by not replacing the cap. Sometimes when the hole is drilled, the hole is not perpendicular to the intake tube and may be angling slightly upstream of the incoming air. This can create an angle of repose and prevent the incoming air from making the turn into the ignition cradle as designed.
- Fire up the stove and you should have ignition. If you still do not have an ignition or if the ignition takes a very long time, you can try to adjust the ignition rod. Remove the igniter again. At the rear of the igniter, there is a restriction plate with a 3/8” diameter lock ring around the igniter rod. Using a 5/32” Allan wrench, loosen the lock ring and slide the lock ring forward on the ignition rod 1/8”. Tighten the lock ring and insert the igniter again and lock it in place. Start the stove. If this doesn’t fix the problem, a whole series of parts may need to be replaced. Start by replacing the igniter. If this doesn’t work replace the burn pot and the burn pot gasket. If this doesn’t fix the problem, replace the door gasket and the glass gasket. If none of this solves the problem, replace the hopper lid gasket. If this doesn’t solve the problem you either have a bad seal where the hopper lid meets the top of the feeder body or you have a warped front door on the stove or a broken hinge on the door or a bad door handle. Basically, large amounts of air are entering the stove from somewhere it's not supposed to and is robbing air from entering the ignition cradle. I’ve only had one stove that ever went this far in troubleshooting, it’s not very common at all. At this point, I’d settle to just manually light the stove and look to getting a new stove in the future.