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Main Content
pellet stove

How to Maintain and Care for a Pellet Stove

Like most homeowners, you’re always looking for ways to save money on winter heating bills. But turning down the thermostat and putting on a sweater can only do so much to beat the chill. Adding a pellet stove is a great way to warm rooms while providing ambiance and cutting costs.

Pellet stoves have the look of traditional wood stoves with the heating power of a furnace. Fueled by pellets made from compacted wood scraps, homeowners fill the hopper, set the thermostat and let the stove do the work. A mechanical auger feeds the pellets into the stove where they are essentially incinerated, producing lots of heat and virtually no ash, creosote or other types of emissions. One 40-pound bag of pellets provides approximately 24 continuous hours of heat, so it takes about 100 to 150 bags to run for the entire winter. As with other heating options, the better you maintain your pellet stove, the safer it is and the better it works. Following these simple steps can help keep your pellet stove running smoothly all winter long.

1. Clean the Auger Grate 

Pellet stoves come with a top auger or a bottom auger. With a top auger, the pellets are fed through the top of the stove, reducing the risk of fire reaching back into the pellet hopper. However, this can create a build-up of ash near the grate, preventing proper air flow. Keeping the grate clean helps keep the fire from smothering. Bottom auger stoves feed pellets in a more horizontal way, so that whatever ash is created is pushed to the side, making them easier to keep clean.

2. Empty the Burn Pot

Because the burn pot is the place where the pellets are incinerated, regular cleaning is required to keep things running smoothly. Sweep out the burn pot with a hand broom or a pellet stove vacuum at least once each week, and clean thoroughly with a pellet stove vacuum at least once each year.

3. Maintain the T-Vent Pipe

Pellet stoves have a T-vent pipe on the back of the unit designed to catch any ash when waste air leaves the stove. It’s important to keep the T-vent pipe free from accumulated ash so the stove runs properly. Most models have a T-vent pipe that opens on the bottom for easier maintenance, and this should be opened and emptied at least once a month. Simply place a bucket under the pipe and remove the screws from the bottom of the plug. Then turn the plug and release. The ash should fall directly into the bucket. Use a hand broom to whisk away any remaining ash that might be stuck in the pipe and from the edges of the plug before reinserting.

4. General Maintenance

Although pellet stoves burn clean, there is always a possibility of soot build-up with any fire source. Remove soot from any areas inside the pellet stove with a wire brush whenever build-up is present. Clean stove glass with soap and warm water weekly so you have a clear view of how the stove is burning. The heat exchanger should be cleaned and maintained based on the manufacturer's instructions.

Tractor Supply Co has a variety of pellet stoves and pellet stove accessories to meet your home-heating needs. We also sell pellets in 40-pound bags online or in the store to keep you warm all winter.