Monthly Archives: April 2010

Yearly Stove Maintenance

Now that most of the country is about to enter the heating season, the Better Business Bureau urges consumers to have their central heating systems, any wood heating appliances and chimneys inspected.

According to the Consumer Product and Safety Commission, a qualified heating contractor should inspect the home heating system annually. Checks should be made of the furnace or boiler, and its electrical and mechanical components, thermostat controls and automatic safety switches.

While heating contractors do not normally check chimneys and flues, you should ask that their inspection include venting systems. Possible blockages such as birds’ nests, mortar and other materials dislodge from chimney walls and debris may prevent toxic gases from escaping and can result in carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, check flues and flue connectors for tight secure fittings and for signs of rust or cracks that could allow toxic gases to enter your home.

A chimney sweep should be done to clean the chimney if the inspection reveals an accumulation of soot on chimney walls. Chimneys should be checked and cleaned, if necessary, on an annual basis. Homeowners converting to gas from oil should have their chimney inspected at the time of the conversion and then yearly thereafter.

If you are using a wood stove this season, be sure that the stovepipe was installed correctly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and local codes. If there is any doubt, a building inspector or fire official can determine whether the system is properly installed. Always operate your appliance within the manufacturer’s recommended temperature limits. Too low a temperature increases creosote buildup, and too high a temperature may eventually cause damage to the chimney and may result in a fire.

If it is discovered that work needs to be done on your present heating system or chimney, be certain to hire a contractor with a good reputation for dependable, reasonably priced work. Ask friends, neighbors and colleagues for recommendations and check out any company being considered with the Better Business Bureau.

Obtain at least two estimates for the work. All bids should be in writing and should provide a full description of the services to be provided and the materials to be used.

Pellet Stove Parts Finding Guide

Finding the right parts for your pellet stove can often be a daunting task if certain information is unavailable. Information such as the Make, Model and Serial Number of your Pellet Stove is crucial to a successful Pellet Stove repair. To Identify your stove you will be looking for a metal plate that is riveted to the back or side of the stove. In some cases, such as Whitfield pellet stoves the plate is inside the hopper lid. A Quadrafire pellet stove insert may have the plate on the side so you don’t have to pull the stove completely out of the fireplace.
Sending a picture of your stove to the techs at A-1 is another way of making sure you are going to be ordering parts for the right stove.
Once you have identified your stove it is a good idea to record that information in your manual.
Don’t have your stove manual? No problem!
Click HERE and download the correct manual in Adobe PDF format.
If the manual you need is not available send us an email to and we’ll do our best to the manual for your stove.
Most pellet stove manuals have instructions for doing simple repair tasks like installing a new auger motor or replacing the door gasket.
But, one of the greatest benefits found in manuals is a partial parts list of the most common used and replaced parts.
In the case of a Breckwell Auger Motor, the part number listed in the manual is “C-E-017”. Once you have your part number, type or paste it into A-1 Stoves dot coms web site’s Search Field and get instant results. You can also type in your stove Make or Model such as “Whitfield Advantage” and get results for many common parts like fire backs, combustion blower motors, and even control panels.
One of the most commonly requested trouble shooting guides on our web site is “How To Tell If Your Auger Motor Is Bad”.
Here are a few symptoms of a bad auger motor:
* Motor on when stove is plugged in
* Motor remains off when switched ON
* Noisy-Grinding motor
* Motor running constantly
* Motor running erratically
* Fluid leaking from gear box
* Red light blinking to slow-fast
When replacing your auger motor, most stoves follow these simple steps:
* Step 1: Unplug stove. Remove rear access panel to expose the auger motor.
* Step 2: Remove set screw on the bracket.
* Step 3: Loosen set screw on lock collar (do not remove entirely). Gently slide motor backward and away from auger.
* Step 4: Install new motor. IMPORTANT: Make certain that the flat spot on the auger motor shaft (D) lines up with the set screw on the lock collar.
* Step 5: Reseat set screw on the bracket.
* Step 6: Reinstall rear access panel as shown in manual.
* Step 7: Plug in pellet stove.
Another common problem with pellet stoves is that the room air blower (also known as the convection fan) does not come on.
If your convection fan fails to start it does not necessarily mean that the fan itself is faulty.
The room fan is set up so that it only comes on when the stove temperature reaches around 120 degrees so that you are not blowing cold air into the room. This problem is a low cost quick and easy fix with the replacement of your low limit switch.
For more information and excellent customer service, I recommend A-1 Stoves Chimney in Grass Valley, California for all your pellet stove repair questions and parts reference. MH

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