While winter may be over for the northern hemisphere and everyone is looking forward to enjoying warmer days, that doesn't mean that you should overlook the maintenance of your heat equipment at home. Owning a pellet stove is a cheap and efficient way to provide heat to your house. However, you shouldn't overlook the importance of dedicating time and effort to keeping a well-maintained, squeaky clean stove. After the cold weather has passed, you can look into our easy-to-follow guide to cleaning and maintaining your pellet stove to keep it functional, prolong its life and avoid any safety hazards next time you want to get some warmth for you and your family.
One of the main parts you should keep an eye out for ash accumulation is the burn chamber where you place the pellets. Before starting your daily or weekly cleanup, make sure the stove is completely off and cool before opening the door as a safety precaution and keep garbage bags alongside your tools to avoid spreading trash around the area. You'll be using a scraper to remove all burnt material stuck from the burn pot and allow it to fall into the ash pan. Take some time to check the grate and ensure that all holes are unclogged to allow the igniter to work properly. You'll likely need to aggressively scrape all surfaces to remove all debris off the metal surface.
When you use your pellet stove regularly, you should expect the bottom pan will soon start to fill up with ash and dust after a couple of days or weeks. Some larger pellet stoves can go for almost a month without any problem, but if you're deep cleaning your stove after wintertime, you should never overlook the ash pan. During cold days, part of your maintenance routine to keep your pellet stove clean should include checking and emptying the ash pan to avoid any clogging that may damage the furnace. The bottom area can also accumulate sawdust and soot, producing a burning smell filling up your home and, if left unchecked, it can lead to your pellet stove malfunctioning at some point.
When you're done cleaning and scraping off the pellet stove's interior, concentrate on cleaning the glass panel in the door by brushing any loose ashes down towards the ash pan. Some people tend to forget or neglect cleaning this part since they believe it has nothing to do with the stove's heating process. However, if you don't clean the window at least once a week, ash and grime can blackout the window completely, and it can end up breaking. You can clean off the inside with some moist paper towels until the glass is clean and dry up the rest with a clean paper towel.
Once you've cleaned the inside of your pellet stove thoroughly, it's time to focus your efforts on cleaning the outside surface. Wipe it down to remove any lingering debris, and make sure to gather all the ash you've collected into the garbage bags. In case you didn't know, ashes are compostable and aren't harmful to the environment since they come from wood pellets. They're a great soil amendment thanks to their high PH levels. Feel free to throw into a composter alongside your used paper towels or discard them into the trash only if they're completely cooled off. You can also use a vacuum to clean your pellet stove, but you have to make sure that it's a specific ash vacuum and avoid using your regular household vacuum for the job.
Another safety tip you may want to consider when cleaning your pellet stove is keeping a window open so that you're working in a well-ventilated area and actively counteract downdrafts. You should always use tools meant for stove cleaning and don't forget to wear gloves and a mask when cleaning your stove. Ashes can affect your health in the long term when you're not careful enough and inhale debris while working.
If you're able to divide your pellet stove's cleaning and maintenance into daily, monthly, and yearly tasks, you'll be able to enjoy plenty of days and nights of warmth and coziness. Owning a pellet stove is cost-effective and will keep you and your family warm as a primary or supplementary heat source, depending on where you install it. Combine it with proper insulation in window frames, and you'll never have to worry about shivering cold evenings ever again!