The concept of pellet stoves isn’t anything new and has been around for over a century. Today’s pellet stoves resemble very little of their original 1920s and 1930s counterparts as they use electronic components to operate the stove. Earlier pellet stoves were made of wood and metal, which were pretty basic.
But one thing remains unchanged- the many problems of pellet stoves, one of which are the stoves using too many pellets. So why is my pellet stove using so many pellets at once? There are many likely reasons for this and often times it is a combination of different things causing it! If you’re a pellet stove owner, then chances are high that you’ve already faced this problem which is why you’re reading this or might face the problem in the future.
- Pellet stoves are cheaper than other traditional stoves.
- Pellet stoves are high maintenance and require to be cleaned regularly for optimum performance.
- There can be multiple reasons why your pellet stove is using too many pellets.
What are Pellets?
The dictionary definition of pellets describes them as ‘small, rounded, compressed mass of a substance’ which can apply to a lot of things, including fish food. However, in the context of pellet stoves pellets are compact sawdust and wooden wastes collected from sawmills to be used as fuel.
Pellets come in different sizes and qualities, so you really need to pay attention to which ones are the right ones for your pellet stove. Just using the wrong pellet size or subpar-quality pellets alone is enough to cause multiple problems and malfunctions in your pellet stove.
Pellets are cheaper than all other forms of fossil fuel, including coal, which is why most food businesses and financially strapped homes prefer using pellet stoves instead of gas or electrical ones.
What is a Pellet Stove?
Technically, any large wooden or still stove that uses wood residue such as sawdust or scrap wood is known as a pellet stove. The modern electric pellet stove that we know today first came out in the 1980s in Washington. These stoves are the most efficient biomass stoves out there that are cost-efficient. Currently, there are 3 types of pellet stoves- free-standing pellet stoves, pellet stove inserts, and pellet boilers.
But on the flip side, pellet stoves are some of the most high-maintenance stoves out there, which is why it’s more preferred in commercial establishments than residences. Cleaning and maintaining a pellet stove is required on almost a daily basis if used regularly, and takes up a lot of time.
As long as you’re willing to put up with the maintenance efforts, a pellet stove is an economical and environment-friendly choice. The airflow and number of pellets fed to the stove dictates the flame and temperature, so if you’re new to using pellet stoves it might take you some time to get used to it.
Why Is My Pellet Stove Using So Many Pellets?
Many pellet stove owners start noticing after a few months or a year of use that their pellet stove is using too many pellets compared to what it used to. This is a common pellet stove problem that can happen to both home and commercial-grade pellet stoves. And though the problem might seem simple, the reasons behind it can be many and complicated.
If a pellet stove is using too many pellets, then it’s highly likely the result of setting up an incorrect feed rate, a malfunctioning internal part, or an incorrect airflow rate. Some of the most common reasons why your pellet stove is using too many pellets are as follows:
Bad door gaskets
The door gasket is the lining around the stove’s door that stops the internal temperature from escaping outside and keeps the temperature at optimum levels. If the door gaskets of your pellet stove go bad, then the heat inside will escape, requiring more pellets to maintain the desired heat temperature.
Fortunately, bad door gaskets are easy to replace, and you can notice when it’s gone bad when the lining of the gasket comes off from the corners or there is a crack or tear on it.
Bad ash pan door gaskets
The ash pan of your pellet store serves as a connector to collect the residue of the pellets from the pellet stove. Just like the stove, the ash pan also has its own door gasket as well, and if broken or ruined, will give you the same problems as a bad door gasket. But the difference is instead of letting the temperature escape it will clog up the stove, resulting in it requiring more pellets.
Door gaskets for ash pans can be replaced easily as well with a qualified technician, so if you notice a faulty ash pan door gasket, get it replaced ASAP to solve the problem of your pellet stove using too many pellets.
Improperly closed door
It might be hard to believe, but one of the most common reasons a pellet stove might be using too many pellets is because the door is not being closed properly. Maybe the tray you put in the stove is just a few millimeters too big, or you just didn’t press the door hard enough when closing it. Whatever the case might be, the heat inside escapes, requiring you to feed the stove more pellets.
In certain instances, the door might have problems as well like a loose spring or hinge which prevents it from being shut properly. If that’s the case, you should get a professional stove technician to repair the door and fix the problem for good.
Improperly closed ash pan door
The chances of an improperly closed ash pan door are likelier than an improperly closed stove door because the ash that accumulates in the ash pan can slowly block the ash pan door without you even noticing. Unless the problem has become too blatant, noticing an improperly closed ash pan door can be quite difficult.
Thankfully, fixing an improperly closed ash pan door is quite simple as long as you keep the ash pan clean on a regular basis. Unless the door itself is damaged, no need to call in a technician to fix the problem.
Partially plugged air intake
The air intake is one of the most crucial internal components of a pellet stove. It’s responsible for maintaining the airflow between the burned pellets and the stove to ensure the proper internal temperature is retained. When the air intake is not plugged properly, it results in the stove not getting enough heat.
You can fix a partially plugged air intake by yourself if you feel comfortable doing the handiwork by yourself, but if not you can call in a stove technician to do the job for you. Different pellet stove models have different air intakes, so yours need to be replaced make sure you match it with the model you own.
Improperly seated burn pot or burn pot liner
In a pellet stove, the burn pot is where all the action happens. The air from the airflow intake and the heat generated in the ash pan combust in the burn pot to generate the heat for cooking. But if the burn pot is placed improperly, then it can easily result in a loss of temperature and efficiency for the burn pot.
Burn pots have liners as well, and if these liners get damaged or displaced they can also cause a loss of temperature and efficiency for the burn pot.
Broken firebox welds
Some pellet stove models use a firebox instead of a burn pot to generate the heat it need for cooking. A firebox is a small to medium-sized transparent box enclosed by fireproof materials inside which the fire burns, creating heat for the stove. Fireboxes are usually welded pretty tight for obvious safety reasons but after heavy use, the firebox welds might break.
When that happens the heat usually escapes through the gaps of the break resulting in more pellets needing to be fed to the stove to maintain the desired temperature. If you notice a broken firebox wield, you need to get it repaired immediately for safety reasons.
Broken burn pot
When a pellet stove with a burn pot has been used regularly for years, chances are the burn pot might break outright from all the pressure. It’s usually easy to spot when that happens, so get it replaced ASAP. If not taken care of, a broken burnt pot can easily damage other components of the pellet stove when in use.
Broken burn pot liner
Compared to a broken burn pot, a broken burn pot liner is less of a risk for your pellet stove but will result in excessive pellet consumption during use. To avoid this problem, replace the broken burn pot liner with a new one either by yourself or a technician.
Burn pot and liner air holes blocked or no longer the original size
If a pellet stove is not thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis then the burn pot and liner air holes get clogged with ash and grime over time, reducing their original size. When that happens the heat and air flow inside the stove reduces, resulting in decreased efficiency. Sometimes the pot and liner holes are too clogged to be of use even after cleaning, so replacing them becomes the only option.
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Solutions to Pellet Stoves Using Too Many Pellets
Now that you know the most common reasons why your pellet stove might be using too many pellets, it’s time to learn some of the most common solutions to the problem:
- Keep your pellet stove clean on a regular basis. As a rule, they, disassemble and clean all the internal parts for every gallon of pellet burned in the stove. This keeps the parts in optimal condition.
- Replace old parts as necessary. Pellet stores are complex devices that have a lot of moving parts installed in them. If one part malfunctions due to age and decay, then it affects the performance of the overall machine.
- Call a professional stove technician once every six months to get a maintenance checkup. They can give you a heads-up regarding which parts need replacing or if any changes need to be made to your pellet stove setup.
- Make sure to clean the chimney chute of the pellet stove at least once a year to keep it at optimum efficiency.
Factors to Determine How Much Pellets Your Stove Needs
Pellet stoves come in different shapes and sizes, which means how many pellets your stove needs vary. If you’re using a commercial-grade pellet stove then the large size automatically means you need more pellets, while a miniature pellet stove for home might need much less fuel.
But instead of generalizing how many pellets your stove needs, it’s smarter to calculate your stove’s pellet consumption based on the following factors:
- Stove’s Make and Model: The make and model of the stove can make a large difference in fuel consumption. If your pellet stove is an old-school model, then it will consume more pellets. On the other hand, the more modern ones with electrical components generate more heat with less fuel, making them more efficient.
- The Size of the Stove: The size of the stove often has a direct correlation with how many pellets need to be used. If the stove is of large size, then naturally it will require more pellets to reach the optimum temperature you desire.
- Stove’s Heat Output: The heat output rating of a stove doesn’t necessarily correlate with its size. Stoves with higher BTU ratings can produce more heat despite their smaller size but will require more pellets to reach the maximum temperature.
- Stoves Efficiency Rating: Last but not least, your stove’s efficiency rating also plays a large part in how many pellets you’re using when cooking. Pellet stoves with subpar efficiency ratings are usually cheaper but also require more pellets as a tradeoff.
1. Which pellet stove is the most efficient?
The answer depends on your requirements. There are multiple pellet store brands out there that manufacture different types of stoves for different needs.
2. Can a pellet stove double as a heater?
Yes, it can act as a heater. However, you will need proper airflow so that the heat gets evenly distributed and the smoke is removed from the area effectively.
3. Can the quality of the pellet impact the fuel consumption of the stove?
Yes, absolutely. Lower-grade pellets produce less heat while higher-grade ones produce more for less fuel due to the bonding agent used in the making of the pellet.
4. Are high-quality pellets hard to get?
No, high-quality pellets aren’t hard to get. They can be easily found in our local stores or bought online through Amazon and other e-commerce websites.
Using a pellet stove may come with a lot of hassles, but if used and maintained properly, it will save you a lot of money in the long run while also being an eco-friendly choice. There can be a lot of reasons why it uses up too many pellets but the solutions for that are very easy and often can solve multiple problems at once! Now that you have your answer to why your pellet stove is using too many pellets, you should be able to pinpoint the problem and rectify it yourself or by calling a professional stove technician!
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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.