Fix Pellet Stove not Burning Pellets Completely

How to Fix Pellet Stove not Burning Pellets Completely

A pellet stove proves very useful for providing heat in rooms that are not equipped with fireplaces. It is an appliance used to warm up the interior of your home or office in a tasteful way. These stoves are usually very effective in heat delivery but sometimes, they may not burn the pellets up completely. You can find that it is producing more soot or smoke than heat and consuming more pellets than usual. These conditions cause your pellet stove to become increasingly inefficient to maintain. If you are facing this problem, don’t worry for we have a solution for you below.

Factors that can cause your stove not to burn pellets completely

Inefficient combustion

A pellet stove is supposed to burn up pellets evenly and thoroughly while producing as much heat as possible. If your pellet stove is not burning them up to the last ember, it is performing inefficient combustion. Certain factors are causing your pellet stove not to burn through the pellets as evenly as would be required. One of these factors can be a malfunctioning part within your pellet stove.

If a specific part of your stove such as the igniter, vent or combustion chamber is faulty, it can actively cause inefficient combustion in form of the pellets not burning through completely. Another factor that can be the culprit is using the wrong type of fuel. Should you load up the stove with low quality pellets, their rate of combustion can be slower than that of good quality ones. They may be carbon-poor or soggy preventing the heat from penetrating them thoroughly. With this in mind, they can cause an inefficient burning process in your pellet stove.

Poor maintenance practices

Like any other appliance, a pellet stove has numerous mechanical parts operating in tandem to bring you heat by burning pellets. While there are modernized models of pellet stoves, people enjoy purchasing vintage-style models due to their charm and beauty. Pellet stoves require professional maintenance procedures on a regular basis to continue providing dependable services. Therefore, if you do not maintain yours, it will eventually start to burn inefficiently leaving charred pellets in the combustion chamber. It is important to remember that a well-maintained pellet stove can also exhibit this problem. Should this occur, the culprit is always a malfunctioning component within it.

Solutions for a stove that is not burning pellets completely

Analyze the settings on your stove

Upon realizing that your pellet stove is not burning efficiently, the first factor to check should always be the settings. Every pellet stove will operate effectively when it has the proper settings. Refer to its owner’s manual and find out how to properly set your pellet stove. Different models have varying methods of doing this so even if you have ever handled a pellet stove before, it is essential to go through the manual of your new one. Follow the instructions to the letter while setting up your pellet stove so that it burns through the fuel evenly for efficient heating capability. A further benefit of this is that the owner’s manual will shed light on troubleshooting methods for model-specific maintenance throughout the future of your pellet stove.

Assess your pellet stove for an air leak

If you have adjusted the settings properly and the stove is still not burning the pellets completely, there’s a high chance of an air leak. If a stove is not burning up pellets as thoroughly as it should, the air in the combustion chamber is not flowing well enough. The door seals may be leaking and air escaping outward instead of staying within the combustion chamber. If the problem is situated here, ensure that the door seal is tightly installed such that air cannot escape during the burning process. The door should always seal tightly when you shut it too!

How can you determine this fact? Use the Dollar Bill test. Pick up a dollar and hold it firmly on one end. Insert the other end into the door of your stove and then shut it. With the door closed, try pulling out the Dollar Bill. If it comes free with little resistance, then the door seal is not tight enough and your pellet stove has an air leak. Perform this test on every side of the chamber door so that you can figure out which side is leaking for prompt repairs.

Analyze the air inlet cap

Good airflow within your pellet stove is the key to efficient combustion so the air inlet cap also needs to be checked. The cap can become blocked over time and limit the amount of air entering the combustion chamber causing smoke and soot production instead of proper pellet burning. Take some time to inspect the air inlet cap for a blockage. It could also be leaking so assess it for this problem too. In case it is blocked, you can clean it up and reinstall the component but if it is leaking, it will require replacement.

Change up the pellets

Your stove may be malfunctioning because of the quality of fuel that you put in it. Manufacturers often provide instructions on the type of pellets that you should utilize in their stoves. These guidelines describe the size and carbon content that’s most applicable so that you can gain the best rate of combustion.

Large pellets can block the opening that feeds air into the combustion chamber of your stove. If your stove accumulates ash and cinders from partially burned pellets, this can pollute fresh fuel and cause uneven burning. Begin by reading the user manual to find out the best type of pellets to use within your stove. If that’s not available at hand, switch to using smaller-sized pellets because they do not block any feed lines and burn through more readily.

Check the stove burn spot

Every pellet stove has a special section that is known as its burn spot where heat is applied for the purpose of combustion. The burn spot needs to be clean and free from ash so that it can deliver heat effectively. If you notice that your stove is producing excess soot or smoke and not enough heat, check its burn spot because this component should be clean and free of debris for optimum operation.

The exhaust passages may be blocked

A pellet stove usually has an exhaust passage to get rid of the fumes or smoke that is produced during usage. This passage can become blocked after frequent or particularly heavy use. When this happens, smoke or soot accumulates inside the stove and hinders proper combustion. Your pellets therefore end up not burning up completely. When you notice these problems, take time to inspect the stove’s exhaust passages. Take note that they are an internal component so their blockage can be difficult to discover. To this effect, invest in regular servicing of your pellet stove so that a trained technician can unblock any problematic passages as fast as possible.


A pellet stove brings warmth into your home and adds a touch of vintage charm into your interior decor. It is an essential appliance in homes situated in cold regions. Your pellet stove may begin emitting soot, smoke or less heat that you’re used to. We have covered a host of problems that could cause this and how you can fix them to restore the proper operation of your pellet stove!

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