Many homes use pellet stoves more frequently to stay warm when the weather becomes cooler and the nights grow longer. However, using more fuel and using your stove longer means you’ll need to keep it clean. So, what is the safest way to clean your pellet stove?
The best technique to get rid of creosote buildup in your pellet stove’s pipes is to clean them out with pipe brushes. Avoid using stiff-bristled brushes since they could harm the vent’s lining. To access all the required piping components, you might need to remove some portions of your plumbing.
Additionally, you’ll require a mechanism to collect the ash and creosote you remove.
Continue reading as we go into more detail below because this method has several parts and requires some work. Please read on to learn more about how much it will cost and how much time it will take to clean a pellet stove.
Can Pellet Stoves Cause Creosote?
One of the main draws of pellet stoves is the fact that they burn cleanly. Although they don’t burn completely cleanly, they produce less waste than a typical stove. Compressed pellets comprised of a blend of waste paper, sawdust, and wood chips are the fuel for pellet burners.
The stove’s design and thus small fuel enable substantially higher combustion heat than typical.
Most of the creosote is destroyed before it occurs due to these higher temperatures.
Nevertheless, slower accumulation of creosote does not equate to absence of creosote. For the sake of the health and safety of the stove and your home, you will eventually need to remove the accumulation.
How To Clean The Pipes In Your Pellet Stove
Even though pellet stoves burn far more cleanly than standard stoves, you will eventually need to access the pipes and clean them out. Creosote accumulation and retention in your pipes can raise the risk of a fire while also allowing you to spot potential issues with your stove before they worsen.
The creosote that has accumulated in the pipes of your pellet stove absorbs moisture when exposed to cold air, turning it into a sticky tar-like substance. Before this occurs, go to the creosote. Although it requires a little more work, the following steps can be used to clean the lines.
Give Your Stove Time To Cool
After letting your stove sit for at least 24 hours, unplug it. By doing this, you can be sure that no embers will be alive while you work on your pipes. Pick a day that is quiet and free of downdrafts, which can cause the airflow through the vent pipes to reverse. To create negative pressure and combat any potential small downdrafts, you can open a window in your room.
Find The Clean-Out Tee For The Pellet Stove
The clean-out tee is a T-shaped pipe portion that marks the transition from horizontal to vertical and enables simple cleaning access. The tee is often outside the house, however it occasionally may be behind the stove. Spread a sheet across the floor beneath the stove’s interior if you’re inside. Take off the cover of the clean tee.
Distinguish The Pipe
If your pellet stove doesn’t have a clean-out tee, take remove the two pipe parts that are behind the stove. You can either cut through any sealant on sections that friction fit together or use a screwdriver to separate two pieces that are fastened together.
Set Up Your Area
Put a blanket or sheet over the end of your vent pipe after lightly dampening it. It can also be looped over the tee’s open end and the nearby horizontal pipe. A bucket should be placed underneath the pipe, and the sheet should be positioned such that any stray ash or creosote falls into the bucket. This will keep your home’s inside tidy and secure.
Upkeep Of The Pipes
Using a three or four-inch plastic or flexible steel-bristled brush, begin cleaning the vent pipe from the exterior aperture. These brushes can be lengthened with rods if necessary.
As an alternative, you can fasten ropes to your brushes and drop each one sequentially via the pipes to the base of the open vent in the house. Grab the rope with a second assistant, and have them move the brush back and forth.
Use a swirling motion to clean the pipe from the inside out, then reverse the motion to clean the pipe from the outside in. This will guarantee a thorough cleaning. Continue doing this until the ash level noticeably drops. Before wrapping, use a flashlight to verify your cleaning once more inside.
Once you are done brushing, replace the chimney cap and any necessary screening. If you performed the work yourself, wait about 15 minutes before moving on to give the creosote and ash time to completely settle on the opposite end of the fly pipe.
As you strive to confine as much of the ash and creosote as you can, unwrap the clean-out tee opening and gather the sheet. To remove the last of the debris, sweep out the pipe’s end.
Recap the tee or reattach the pipes as necessary, then seal the joint with a high-temperature silicone sealant made specifically for the job. After a little final tidy-up, the pipe cleaning procedure is complete.
What Takes Place If A Pellet Stove Isn’t Cleaned?
We are aware that it is a very involved process, and you may doubt whether it is really necessary. For instance, what would happen if you didn’t make the effort? In the long run, cleaning out the pellet stove’s pipes will save you time and money, and we’ll explain why.
The key concerns are keeping your stove in good operating order and ensuring everyone’s safety inside your house. Your pellet stove won’t function as effectively if ash and creosote accumulate over time; it will have to work harder to force less heat through clogged pipes.
Under more accumulation, your abilities to adjust temperature, ventilation, and ignite your stove all decrease. It is much more inconvenient to work on the pipes for an afternoon than to go to your stove on a chilly day only to discover that it isn’t lighting for you.
Another issue is the unavoidable truth that prolonged exposure to creosote is unhealthy. Even though avoiding direct inhalation is usually a good idea, clearing it out of your pipes for a day won’t do any lasting harm, but continuous exposure to a significant accumulation of creosote can be harmful to those within the house.
Cleaning and upkeep also extend the life of your stove. All plumbing, piping, and equipment have this characteristic. A system’s lifespan can be significantly extended through maintenance, which can also ultimately save you money on replacement costs.
As a result, removing ash and creosote also eliminates corrosion from piping. Additionally, you’ll be aware of any prospective trouble places that demand replacement or repair.
How Often Should You Clean The Pipe On A Pellet Stove?
There are many variables that could result in creosote buildup. How frequently you should clean your stove depends on the type of fuel you use, how long it burns, and the quality of the stove.
Although there is no one precise response to this query, there are basic standards for buildup.
In general, you shouldn’t let buildup in your pipes go any thicker than 1/4 inch. As soon as you have a firm understanding of what it takes to accumulate that much creosote, check your pipes on a semi-regular basis and clear them out as necessary.
What Is The Price Of Cleaning A Pellet Stove?
There is, of course, the option to have your stove professionally inspected if it all seems a little overwhelming. Its size, model, whether it is free-standing or installed, and how well it was previously maintained all affect how much a professional cleaning will cost.
An expert cleaning of a pellet stove typically costs between $200 and $270. The minimum and highest prices fall between 150 and 300 dollars, with a national average of $250.
Remember that regular maintenance cleanings are necessary for you to be fully effective. When necessary, adjust your cleanings according on how much you use, the time of year, and the aforementioned criteria.
When it comes to insulating homes, pellet stoves have a lot to offer. They are hygienic, practical, and enjoyable to have around the house. But maintaining their effectiveness and safety requires effort on your part.
We hope this post has helped you understand the value of maintaining clean stovepipes as well as the best methods for doing so. I hope you have many more cold seasons with your pellet fire keeping you cozy.