Pellet stoves are highly automated forms of residential solid fuel heating appliance where much of the processes that would need to be done manually with other forms of wood stove are done for you.
Pellet stoves can therefore burn for extended periods of time without the need for any user input, but they can also burn for up to 24 hours or even longer when the right conditions are met.
A common problem with pellet stoves can also be a fire that keeps burning out, which can be due to a number of reasons including problems with either the fuel and/or air supply.
To help prevent a pellet stove fire from burning out and to keep a pellet stove burning:
- Use good quality pellets in line with what the manufacturer of the stove recommends. Poorer quality pellets can be higher in moisture content and be harder to burn as effectively.
- Use the right type of pellets.
- Keep the hopper topped up with pellets.
- Ensure to clean out the stove regularly and thoroughly in line with what the manufacturer of the stove recommends, particularly the burn pot, ash tray, air inlet and hopper.
- Have the stove serviced by a qualified technician at the intervals outlined by the manufacturer, which can help to detect any problems with any of the electrical and mechanical components and help identify any air leaks.
- Use the stove on a higher heat setting.
We’ve explained the ways above on how to keep a pellet stove burning in more detail below using our own pellet stove as an example.
Why Does My Pellet Stove Keep Burning Out?
A pellet stove that keeps burning out can be due to a number of potential reasons, including:
- There is an issue with the fuel or the supply of the fuel such as using low quality pellets, a blocked-up auger and/or hopper, or a nauger that’s not feeding pellets fast enough.
- There’s an issue with the air supply to the fire such as a blocked air inlet, blocked-up burn pot, failing combustion blower/fume extractor, or there is a leak in the system.
For more information we’ve discussed why a pellet stove keeps going out in more detail in another article.
How To Keep A Pellet Stove Burning
1) Use Good Quality Pellets
Using good quality pellets (in line with what the manufacturer recommends) can be vital for helping to keep a pellet stove burning for longer and help prevent a fire from burning out.
The quality of the pellets can affect how efficiently and effectively they can be burnt by a fire in a pellet stove.
As more energy is required by a fire to burn off excess moisture content before the fuel can be properly combusted, it can be harder for a fire to keep going when trying to burn fuel that is too high in moisture content.
The manufacturer of a pellet stove will typically recommend the type of pellets to burn.
For example, the instruction manual for our own particular model of pellet stove requires to use wood pellets that meet Class A1 standards that in turn meets requirements for maximum moisture and ash content, and also explains that:
‘The use of wood pellets with a lower quality results in the need for more frequent cleaning of the combustion chamber, reducing heat output and efficiency.’Victoria-05
To help keep a pellet stove burning therefore look to burn the quality of pellets recommended by the manufacturer or seek to burn the highest quality of pellets available near you, if possible.
2) Use The Right Type Of Pellets
Using the right type of pellets for your pellet stove will help to prevent problems with the supply of fuel to a fire in the combustion chamber from the hopper via the auger.
Manufacturers will typically outline the type and size of pellets that you’ll need to be using with that particular model of stove.
Pellets are often made to widely used standards but if the pellets aren’t of good quality and don’t meet the same quality assurances then it can lead to blockages and pellet stove fires that keep burning out due to lack of fuel.
For example, we’re required to use pellets that:
- Are made only from wood by-products.
- Have a maximum diameter of 6mm.
- Have a maximum length of 25mm.
Look to use the right type of pellets in your pellets stove, particularly in terms of materials and size, to help keep a pellet stove running smoothly within minimal disruptions to the fuel supply to a fire.
3) Keep The Hopper Topped Up
Keeping the hopper inside a pellet stove topped up with pellets will allow fires to burn for longer with minimal user input required.
Each model of pellet stove will be able to hold a certain weight of pellets and also a certain number of pellets per hour within a small range.
For example, our pellet stove can hold up to 24kg (53lbs) of pellets and has a burn rate of 0.7-1.5kg (1.5-3.3lbs) of pellets per hour.
If we add one standard 15kg (33lb) bag of pellets to the hopper then we know it will last us for 15 hours or so of continuous burning without us needing to do anything within those hours.
Keeping a pellet stove hopper topped up regularly with pellets will help to keep fires burning for longer and not burning out due to lack of fuel.
For more information see our article on how long pellets stoves burn for.
4) Clean The Stove Before Each Fire
To maintain the high levels of burning efficiency that pellet stoves offer and to help prevent problems associated with fires burning out, they need to be cleaned out regularly in line with what the manufacturer recommends.
It’s often required to clean out a pellet stove daily, or before each fire, to help maintain airflow through the stove. Components in a pellet stove that commonly need to be cleaned daily include:
- Burn pot
- Ash tray
The burn pot needs to be cleared of any unburnt bits of pellets (stuck together known as clinkers) otherwise air supply can be compromised.
Ash should also be cleaned out from the ash tray when required.
Other cleaning requirements can include clearing out pellets and vacuuming the hopper every so often to keep on top of dust build-up, which can lead to auger blockages.
To help keep a pellet stove burning ensure to clean it out at regular intervals as outlined by the manufacturer in the instruction manual so that fuel and air supply doesn’t get affected.
5) Have The Stove Serviced
Pellet stoves should be serviced at intervals outlined by the manufacturer to help clean out areas that can’t be as easily accessed and to check that everything is in full working order.
If the pathway for waste air leaving the stove through the baffles and the flue is partially blocked up then it can indirectly affect the air supply to the fire.
6) Use A Higher Heat Setting
Using a higher heat setting can help to keep a pellet stove burning when you’re unsure of what is causing fires to burn out.
Depending on the model of pellet stove, it can have either a set of touch screen controls with the ability to set the desired room temperature or a set of buttons where the heat output is controlled.
Our own pellet stove allows us to change the room temperature and so we can’t directly change the heat output.
However, for other models of pellet stove that have direct high, medium and low heat output buttons, or something similar, using the low heat setting may cause the fire to go out due to a separate issue.
Increasing the heat output can help to keep pellet stove fires burning while the reason for fires going out at lower heat settings can be investigated.