Troubleshooting an Igniter Problem on a Harman Pellet Stove
Harman is probably the most notable pellet stove being made today and is perceived by many to be the best. So, I thought I’d shoot an article out there for all us folk with Harman’s that are occasionally dealing with the dreaded missed ignition failure. If this happens, and you’re patient enough, you’ll see an error status blinking 5 times. To be fair, many of you won’t see this error code because you’re like me. After about 5 minutes, when the stove hasn’t started yet...we’re already wondering what’s up and are busy opening doors and turning dials...so, we never actually witness the blinking.
The 5 blink error message simply means that the stove was started and for whatever reason and a whole 36 minutes elapsed, during which the stove’s ESP (exhaust sensing probe) did not register an internal stove temperature higher than 95°F. Something like that.
Ignition problems nearly ALWAYS have something to do with a dirty stove. Make sure your stove, the venting and the clean-out area inside the burnpot cavity where the igniter resides are free and clear. If these areas are clean and you still do not have an ignition or maybe you only have ignition sometimes...and if you do it take s a very long time, inspect your door gasket and your door latch. If the door does not make a tight seal the stove can have problems igniting.
If your igniter light is not illuminated on the control board, chances are the igniter toggle switch is in the "manual" position. The igniter MUST be in the auto position to receive power. If the stove is not feeding at startup but the feed light and the ignition light are illuminated, the airflow switch is not closing or, on some models, a hopper lid switch is also in-line with this common wire. Make sure the hopper lid is secure and try the start-up sequence again. If you still do not get feeding, remove the hopper lid switch from the circuit and try it again. If this works, replace the hopper lid switch.
If your stove blows a fuse when you try to start the stove but does not blow a fuse when the igniter is switched to "manual", there is going to be an exposed igniter wire touching the metal of the burn pot or the igniter itself is shorted out to the cradle mount.
The feed motor and the igniter share the same common wire return back to the controller. If your stove is feeding at start-up but will not ignite, open the door and feel the burnpot to see if there is heat present from the igniter. If there is heat, the igniter is working but there is a problem with airflow. Most of the time, the clean-out area where the igniter resides is dirty and/or the fins of the igniter are clogged with ash debris. Using a 5/16" or 8mm socket, loosen the mounting screws for the igniter two full turns and then using your fingers, tap the ignition assembly inside the burnpot to shake out the debris. Try the start-up sequence again.
If your stove still will not ignite, inspect your burnpot for cracks or wear-holes on the burn plate surface. If you see any, replace the burnpot.
If your burn pot is loose on its mounts, tighten the four mounting nuts that connect the burnpot to the feeder weldment. There is a gasket between the burn pot and the stove that needs to make a tight seal. If you have the cast XXV or the Accentra freestanding and can see carbon or creosote building up around the burnpot mounting nuts, the gasket is not making a tight seal and ignition can be a problem.
If you have an XXV, Accentra Insert or Accentra freestanding stove that was made in 2007-2008 and there are 5 holes visible at the very base of the burnpot, just in front of the feed auger, you need to replace the burnpot. If there is a worn hole in the feed tube right where the burnpot connects to the stove, you may also need a new feeder weldment.
Lastly, if you have a newer stove and are experiencing ignition failure, check with your local dealer as there could be a warranty or re-call that could fix the problem.