Pellet Burner Usage and Care
After installation you will be provided with important guidelines to follow for the first use of your stove. Please do take note of these and follow them carefully, they are there to protect you and your new appliance.
The First Four Fires: Only use your pellet burner on the lowest power setting for the first four or five fires in your new fireplace. The paint, putties and seals on the fireplace and flue needs to cure and the fireplace needs to settle. Please do not touch any painted parts during these small fires – the paint is still curing and may smudge or peel off later.
Each appliance is different and you will need to familiarise yourself with the workings of your stove so please take time to read the manual.
Remember to keep safety distances of combustibles (curtains, rugs, wood, electronics) from the sides, back and top of the wood stove.
About Wood Pellet
Wood pellets are a biofuel manufactured from compressed sawdust and wood waste sourced from the off cuts and waste wood from South Africa’s timber industry and alien vegetation. The source of wood used for the timber industry is from a sustainable forestry system, cultivated for the timber industry with a continuous replanting program.
Much of the pellet material comes from waste sawdust, shavings, and chips remaining after lumber production; this waste is then compacted into tiny, dense pellets, which burn more efficiently than other forms of wood. Pellets are manufactured with 100% biological materials pressed through small holes in a spherical machine that binds the pellets together. Pellets have far higher combustion efficiency because the binding process reduces moisture to less than 10%, compared to that of an average log, which is typically 50% moisture by weight. Pellets’ uniform size, shape, and weight-usually 1.2 to 3 cm in length by 6 mm in diameter – makes them relatively easy to transport and store, as compared to wood logs. Pellet uniformity also allows a machine to measure fuel quantity accurately, in order to feed in a more precise amount of fuel to generate heat or electricity output.
Our wood pellets are produced by the largest producer and exporter in South Africa which guarantees a continuous and consistent supply of green fuel to the users.
Because ash is a non-combustible mineral residue, it can be disposed of as inert solid waste. However, many people who burn wood pellets use the ash as fertilizer or compost.
Purchase and store your pellet for the season in bulk. This way you will never run out, can get a better rate and save on delivery.
Never burn anything but premium pellets in your pellet burner. Anything else could damage the appliance and invalidate your warranty.
How much pellet to use
With your pellet burner there is no need to calculate how much pellet to use in order to stay within the allowable heat output of your appliance. Pellet burners automatically feed pellet into the hopper and smartly control the amount of pellet released.
The amount of pellet that will be dropped into the brazier will depend on either the power setting you have selected, the temperature you want to achieve (if you have set your appliance thermostatically) and the size of the pellet unit and brazier.
Most pellet burners, through their design and because of the calorific value of the pellets themselves are 85-93% efficient which means most of the energy potential in the pellet is converted to heat output. Very little ash remains in a pellet unit as a result.
How to control your pellet burner
Please refer to your manual for specific instructions on how to operate your particular pellet burning stove, fireplace or insert.
On most units this is done either on the unit, via remote control, SMS or WIFI and an app. The unit can be controlled in three ways:
- manually – as a power setting ranging from 1 to 5 depending on your unit
- thermostatically – meaning the unit will keep the ambient air at your specified desired temperature
- chronologically – set to come on or switch off or change temerature at paricular times in the day. Controlled on the unit, via the app, remote or the integrated website.
This will take between 5 and 10 minutes depending on your particular pellet burner make and model.
Depending the required heat output set your fire manually, thermostatically or chronologically as explained above.
No need to even open your pellet burner. Simply top of the hopper with new pellet. Should you pellet stove be running low it will notify you by beeping.
Night time mode
Some makes and models have a night-time mode which is a silent mode which maintains a comfortable ambient temperature.
Fireplace Servicing and maintenance
Regular inspection and cleaning of your appliance is very imporant. Remember this is fire and so considered operation and care is required to stay safe. During season inspections should be done daily.
Some key points and tips
- If using a glass cleaner ensure you only spray the cleaner onto a cloth or onto some paper towel and wipe down like that. NEVER spray the glass. The cleaner may get onto the fire rope and then this gets damaged.
- If the glass is very black then check the pellet. It is likely wet or of poor quality.
- With black glass, you need to clean this before burning again otherwise you risk cooking the black grime onto your glass. Cleaning can be done with a piece of newspaper or kitchen towel that is damp. Dip this into the very fine ash that you get after your fireplace has burnt (make sure not to burn yourself if the ash is still hot). Using the ash on the glass rub the black off.
- Then wipe the glass down with a damp cloth or more kitchen towel.
- Take care when disposing of the ashes. These can take a long time to cool down.
- Ensure you regularly check the fire rope, seals and pipes for damage. Most important is the fire rope on the doors. This needs to seal properly.
- Just like a car, certain parts of your fireplace may need to be replaced over time (fire rope, vermiculite boards most commonly).
TOP TIP: Remember to schedule an annual service to check your fireplace, flue system and to give it all a good clean. With pellet burners this includes re-calibration.
Suggested Daily Maintenance
- Remove all the ash from the fireplace
- Clean the glass of the unit (see above)
- Check fire rope on the door and if applicable the ash drawer.
- Check panels, cast iron, steel and ceramics for cracks or damage.
- Vacuum out the interior of the stove if you have an ash VAC.
- Use a soft brush to clean the ceramic plates.
- Brush off any rust if visible then use fireplace polish only on cast iron and steel.
After season it is highly recommended for the unit to be decommissioned, after it has been thoroughly cleaned and serviced. Decommissioning involves treating the cast iron and metal parts of the unit with a suitable anti rust application, like grate polish. In some instances it may be necessary to block the flue pipe to prevent moist air from travelling down the flue to the unit. The flue must then be unblocked before re-use.