How to Properly Clean Your Pellet Stove

Posted by Rob Hanflig on

Pellet stoves can be a great, reliable option for heating your home. They can provide quite a bit of heat at a low cost, and they're also easy to use. 

They also won't take up too much of your time, or make a mess around the stove. If your pellet stove is running properly, it will be easy to keep it fueled and operating. 

But to keep it running at maximum capacity, you'll need to do some regular cleaning. Clean pellet stoves will run efficiently and without breaking down. The same can't be said for pellet stoves that are never cleaned. 

Need to learn some more about cleaning your pellet stove? Then keep reading, we'll show you exactly how to do it. 

Standard Cleaning

Gather The Right Tools

This may seem obvious, but you don't want to have to stop halfway through to go look for a tool. You'll probably need a flashlight, a stiff brush, a soft brush, and a metal scraper. 

Many pellet stoves will come with tools you can use. However, you'll likely also need a shop vac, and depending on personal preference, gloves, and a mask. They aren't strictly necessary, but they will help protect against the dust and ash.

Use a shop vacuum with a long hose, and place the actual vacuum outside. Otherwise, you run the risk of blowing ash through your house.

Another option is to get a special dust bag for your shop vacuum. That will better filter the ash and contain the dust if putting the vacuum outside isn't an option. 

There's also a chance that your stove has an exhaust setting that you can use to pull dust through the exhaust pipe. Running this while cleaning can help save you from some of that dust. Check your owner's manual to find out whether your stove has this feature. 

Begin With The Ash

First, remove the ash that's in the burn pot. Use the brush to clear out both the ash and some of the creosote deposits. 

Wait until the end to vacuum small amounts of ash on the floor. You'll likely knock off more in the next steps anyway. 

Scrape It Clean

Depending on your brush and how hard you used it, you may have removed some of the creosote buildups. There are likely still deposits left in the burn pot and the inside of the stove. Use your metal scraper to remove these.

Next, you'll want to remove the deposits in the exchanger tube. To do this, push and pull on the lever several times to make sure the buildup falls off. 

Now remove the ash pan and dump its contents into the trash. At this point, you'll probably have some ash and bits of residue scattered on the floor. Vacuum it up and you're almost finished. 

Clean The Window

It's the last thing you need to do, and many people tend to forget about it. However, to clean pellet stoves properly, you have to work on their windows. 

Use a glass cleaner that is specific to fireplace glass, and use a soft cloth that won't scratch the glass. Also, remember to clean the door gasket with a softer brush than you used earlier. A paintbrush should do the trick.

Once you're finished with the window, you're done with your routine cleaning.

Thorough Cleaning

That type of cleaning is fine to do approximately every two weeks. But you'll need to do a more thorough cleaning before you begin using it in the winter. You'll also need to clean it thoroughly a couple of times during the season and again at the end.

  • The first parts to look at are the fan and the blower motor. These can be cleaned with your shop vacuum and that paintbrush from earlier. Just remember to be gentler with them than you are with other parts.
  • You'll also need to clean the stove pipe and remove any fly ash. This will require a stove pipe brush.
  • Make sure that your pellet stove hasn't been operated for at least 24 hours. Then reach up and remove any fly ash in the stove pipe with the stove pipe brush.
  • Some pellet stoves have a T-connection pipe. If yours does, open the small cleaning door and remove the ash from there. That should cover your regular and more thorough cleaning. 

Clean Pellet Stoves Use The Best Fuel

Clean pellet stoves run on the highest quality fuel. Your choice in fuel is actually one of the most important aspects of keeping your pellet stove clean. 

Pellet stove fuel is created from compressed scraps of wood and sawdust. These can come from sawmills, furniture manufacturers, logging residue, and a number of other sources. 

However, not all pellet fuel is equal. Maintaining clean pellet stoves requires that you do some research and talk with someone who is knowledgeable about the different types. Remember, the better the pellets you use, the less time you'll have to spend cleaning. 

Professional Cleaning

At some point, you will need to have professional come look at your pellet stove and help clean out your stove pipe. The buildup we talked about earlier, creosote, will eventually end up inside your stove pipe.

This is dangerous because too much creosote buildup can become a fire hazard. Pellet stoves are actually very efficient and give off relatively small amounts of creosote. Still, over time that buildup can become hazardous. 

Having a professional inspect and clean your pellet stove once a year is a good idea. Glass stains, an odor coming from the stove, or loss of efficiency are signs you may need a professional inspection.

Replace Parts As Necessary

A professional can also tell you if you need to replace any parts on your pellet stove. Clean pellet stoves will generally run well for years without needing maintenance. However, there may come a time when you need a replacement part to keep your stove running safely.

When that time comes, check out the selection at Wood & Pellet Stove Parts 4 Less. You can shop by manufacturer and find your exact stove model. That way you know you're getting the best price and the right part. 

 


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