How To Start A Pellet Stove

How To Install A Pellet Stove In A Basement

A pellet stove is a great way to reduce your heating costs in your home and to stay warm during the cold months. Pellet stoves use compacted wood pellets to heat your home, even the smallest stove available in the market, which means that you can save money on gas or electricity bills. To start a fire in an automatic start pellet stove, all you need are stove pellets. If you have a manual start stove, you will need a lighter or matches and some ignition gel. Either way, starting a pellet stove is easy as long as you know what you are doing.

Starting an automatic stove

Read the instruction manual first. An automatic start pellet stove does not require an igniter, like a lighter or a match, in order to get started. Read the instruction manual so that you know where to pour the pellets and any other details or warnings you need to know. The instruction manual will tell if you have an automatic or manual start pellet stove. Automatic pellet stoves will have a control panel with an on and off button or switch. Pour the pellets into the stove’s hopper. Automatic pellet stoves have a hopper on the back of the stove that steadily feeds pellets to the tray inside of the stove. Open the back of the pellet stove and carefully pour the pellets into the hopper until it’s 3/4ths filled, then close the lid. You can purchase pellets from a hardware store or online. Some stoves will have option that dictate how quickly the hopper feeds pellets into the stove. Open the control panel and push the “on” button.

Look for a control panel on the front or the side of your stove. The control panel will have the on and off buttons, temperature controls, and an option to turn the fan on and off. Sometimes, this panel will have a plastic door that you need to open in order to access the stove’s controls. You can then wait for your stove to start burning the pellets, after you press the “on” button, the stove should ignite and start to gradually heat up. The fire should look active and bright yellow. You can then turn on the stove fan, turning on the fan will make it run more efficiently and will cycle the air inside of your stove. If you do not do this, you run the risk of filling your house up with smoke. You can also raise or lower the temperature of the stove with the options on the control panel.

Turning on a manual start stove

Read the instructions that come with the stove, before you ignite your manual start pellet stove, it is important that you read the instruction manual. It will have important details and warnings that you need to know before you start using the stove. Fill the stove’s hopper with pellets, the hopper is the mechanism on the back of the stove that feeds pellets into the burn pot. Open the lid on the hopper and pour pellets into it until it is 3/4th’s filled. Close the lid once you are done. Remove the ash from the burn pot, open the front door of your pellet stove. The burn pot is the tray in the bottom of the stove, where the pellets burn. Scrape out the ash with a metal object like a gardening shovel or fire iron. Fill the burn pot with pellets, scoop a couple of handfuls of pellets into the burn pot until it is full.

These pellets will ignite the stove’s fire. Pour ignition gel on top of the pellets and stir them, you can buy ignition gel online or at hardware or department stores. Thoroughly saturate the top of the pellets with the gel and mix the burn pot with your fire iron or small shovel. Lighter fluid can drip through the burn pot and to the bottom of you stove. Avoid using it. Light the pellets with a lighter or a match, ignite a lighter or a match and carefully put the flame on the ignition gel. A small fire should start to catch on top of the pellets. Wait for the fire to strengthen, then close the door, wait for 1 to 3 minutes.

The fire should gradually get stronger, if you close the door too quickly, the fire won’t get enough oxygen and it will go out. Turn on the stove’s fan, the fan button can be found on the side or the front of your stove. The fan will recycle the air in the stove and it can prevent it from making your house filled with smoke. The fire should sustain as long as it is filled with pellets. Once the fire gets going, you can also adjust the temperature higher or lower.

Pellet stove maintenance

Pellet stoves are very efficient heaters, but they require more maintenance than the typical furnaces and wood stoves. Avoid performance and saftey issues with your pellet stoves by following these steps.

1. Use high quality pellets

When you use the best pellets, your heating costs may increase slightly compared to using lower grade fuel. However, avoiding the soot buildup and other issues with low grade pellets make the extra expense worth it. You must remember that pellets should have a low moisture content no higher than 10%. If your pellet stove also burns nut shells, corn kernels and wood shavings, buy the best quality fuel of these types that is available. Use fuel without multiple fillers and glues to avoid excess smoke and ash in your pellet stove. Look for pellets that are PFI certified for your intended use.

2. Check the ash and the dust content

Some pellet stoves can handle pellet fuel with a low or high ash content, other pellet stoves may gum up or fail to burn them properly if they are fed with pellets of the wrong type. Check to make sure that your pellets are the right ash type for your stove. Top-fed pellet stoves are often designed to work best with low ash pellets. Continuous feed hoppers and chutes on heaters are susceptible to sawdust accumulation in the same way that fans and chimneys collect ash and soot. Check your pellet supplies to ensure the integrity of the pellets is good. Avoid pellet bags with an abundance of sawdust and loose fuel at the bottom.

3. Have your pellet stove serviced and checked each autumn

Schedule an inspection by your local fireplace and stove-repair service before the cold weather starts each fall. The pros know how to check for broken, dirty and missing components on your pellet stove. Some of the areas that they check include the hopper, the augur, the pressure switches, the electrical wiring and switches, the igniter, the electrical, vacuum and pressure sensors and the combustion or the convection motor.

The technician will also check your pellet stove’s firewalls, burn pot, and chambers for proper operation. If needed, you are advised to hire a professional cleaner for your type of exhaust system. Another thing that the professional will do is to lubricate and replace parts that are needed to be lubriacted and replaced. They will switch out a bent or corroded fan for a fresh replacement. This preseason check ensures that problems are spotted and they are fixed before temperatures drop so you and your household can have a comfortable winter.

4. Raise efficiency with a soot sweep

Pellet stoves require at least a weekly tidy to brush away collected sawdust, ash and soot. Cleaning up the hopper and feed areas is not difficult, but buy a cleaning set with an efficient, ergonomic broom, whisk, and dust pan to make your job easier. Allow the stove to cool periodically so you can remove excess soot on a regular basis. Use fire resistant tools for this job, and always dispose of ash properly to avoid fire. Pellet stoves are extremely safe when you follow the simple cleaning regimen weekly.

5. Clean your stove’s window periodically

Experts recommend that you clean your pellet stove windows at least once a week to prevent the glass from completely blacking out your total view. Soot, grime, and ash build up rapidly on the glass. If you wait until the end of the season, the cleanup may take a lot longer than a routine wipe down. Check your owner’s manual for the correct window-cleaning methods for your pellet stove. Allow the glass to cool completely before you being cleaning it.

You can use newsprint or lint free cloth as a cleaning rag. Ask your fireplace and stove repair service to recommend a cleaner for your pellet stove glass if you prefer to use a commercial product. For a homemade solution, dampen the rag with vinegar. You can also use a rag dampened with water and dusted with wood ashes to wipe away the glass. Then, use water-dampened newsprint to wipe the class clear. Allow the glass to dry thoroughly, never use abrasive products or cleaners for ovens, as these products can mar the glass. You also do not want to introduce unsafe chemicals that create fumes when heated.


All appliances last longer and perform more efficiently when you keep up with recommended maintenance tasks. Take a moment to find your owner’s manual for your pellet stove. Read over the recommended cleaning and other stove management tasks you should perform throughout the year. If you do not have the manual or you can’t locate it, you can find most owner’s manuals online for your convenience. You can also ask your HVAC and fireplace supply professionals to supply you with a manual.