How To Clean And Maintain A Pellet Stove

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In addition to annual maintenance, a pellet stove needs to be cleaned every few days, especially during the heating season, in order to keep it functional. So, what’s the proper way to clean and maintain your pellet stove?

Maintaining a pellet stove means regularly cleaning its numerous parts, especially the storage container, the burn pot, the air inlet, and the glass. To keep a pellet stove clean, always use high-quality pellets, ensure sufficient air supply, and make sure there are no leaks.

Without regular maintenance, you’ll end up with ash, creosote, and soot build-up on the pellet stove glass, which eventually leads to stains that are very hard to remove. Let’s take a closer look at the kind of glass used for a pellet stove and how you can keep it clean over time.

What Is a Pellet Stove?

Man cleaning the ash on the glass of a pellet or wood stove with a paper towel and hot water

A pellet stove is a freestanding heating stove that can be used to heat just one room or the whole house. It burns compressed biomass or wood pellets to produce heat. Some use a pellet stove as their sole heating source, while others use it to complement an existing heating system. 

The way a pellet stove works is that a storage container continuously feeds fuel into a burn pot area, which creates a constant flame that hardly needs any physical adjustments.  

Even though pellet stoves resemble traditional wood stoves, they’re more efficient and produce comparatively less ash. In fact, they’re considered the cleanest form of residential heating that makes use of solid fuel.  

Are Pellet Stoves High Maintenance?

Since pellet stoves have numerous components to generate heat (more than the number of parts in a traditional wood-burning stove), they require more maintenance. 

With these stoves, users don’t need to manually add fuel or adjust the vents. Instead, sensors and a few mechanical and electric components take care of these processes.

But in order for the stove to work as it should to automate heat output and provide a clean burn, your stove needs daily, seasonal, and yearly maintenance and cleaning. 

How Do You Clean the Glass on a Pellet Stove? 

The more you use your pellet stove, the more ash, creosote, and soot builds up on the glass. Luckily, it’s easy to clean.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Make sure the glass is completely cool to the touch before proceeding.
  2. Take a damp newspaper, dip it in ash and scrub the glass to get rid of the grime.
  3. Make a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. Dip a soft cloth in the mixture and wipe the glass with it to remove streaks.
  4. Use a glass cleaner made specifically for pellet and wood stove glass, spray it on the glass, and clean it up with a soft cloth.  

Never use abrasive or oven cleaners since they can etch the glass. We recommend Quick N Brite Fireplace Glass Cleaner (on Amazon).

Also be careful not to scrape the glass with something sharp since scratches on the glass can compromise its strength and integrity. 

What Type of Glass Is Used for a Pellet Stove?

The temperature inside a pellet stove can go as high or sometimes even beyond 500 degrees. This is why the glass in pellet stoves is made with a ceramic material such as Neoceram or Pyoceram glass. In some cases, Robax glass can also be used. 

Tips for Keeping Your Pellet Stove Glass Clean 

Pellet Stove

In addition to regular cleaning, here are a few things you can try to keep the pellet stove glass as clean as possible.

Use High-Quality Pellets

The quality of pellets you use plays a big role in how dirty your glass gets. Low-quality pellets usually contain a higher amount of ash and moisture than premium-quality pellets (on Amazon).

As a result, they’re less efficient to burn and release more by-products because of incomplete combustion, which means you’ll have to clean the combustion chamber and the glass more frequently.

Lower-moisture pellets are more suitable as solid fuels since less energy is needed to burn them, and they combust properly.

Supply the Right Amount of Air

If you have a relatively newer model or an advanced pellet stove, you don’t need to worry about the airflow since it’s automatically controlled to get the right fuel-to-air ratio. But if you have an older model, you’ll have to manually adjust the air supply with a damper to get the ideal flame. 

The right amount of air is very important. Too much air can lead to a faster burning and hotter flame, which causes the pellets to combust poorly (due to a lack of oxygen) and produce more sooty by-products.

Make sure you adjust the damper so that the fuel burns efficiently. You should be able to tell if sufficient air is being supplied by looking at the flames. 

Clean the Air Supply

The path through which clean air enters the pellet stove should be clean and free of dust and debris to make sure the fire receives sufficient oxygen. To do so, you should regularly inspect and clean the air inlet to prevent problems that can cause the glass to become dirty. 

You should also clean the burn pot regularly to ensure that the holes are clean and free for air supply.

Look Out for Leaks

Pellet stoves are typically sealed to increase efficiency and allow you to have complete control over the airflow that goes in and comes out of them.

In case there’s even a small leak somewhere, it can result in an incorrect fuel-to-air ratio. In turn, this comes in the way of clean burning and causes the glass to turn black. 

To prevent that from happening, make sure you carefully check the flue socket and the door gasket seal for any leaks. Keep in mind that the seal around the glass door tends to deteriorate with time and must be changed occasionally before it leads to problems like air leaks.   

Also, make sure to periodically inspect the flue system connected to the back of the stove. 

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