Informational Guide

Pellet Stove Keep Shutting Off? (Common Causes & Fixes)

What can you do when your pellet stove keeps turning off? Discover how to fix this common heating problem.

by Josh M

 

Brown Wooden Fireplace

Pellet stoves are an increasingly popular way to heat your home.

They operate using an age-old principle of burning wood to create light and heat, except they use compressed wood shavings instead of logs.

Pellet stoves are popular with homeowners because they look stylish and provide efficient heat.

They’re economical and simple to run, making them a great asset to a homeowner.

Unfortunately, even the best pellet heaters can encounter problems.

Some pellet stoves can start shutting off, which is really frustrating, especially if you’re relying on this stove as the primary source of heat.

In this guide, we’ll explain why your pellet stove keeps shutting off and what you can do to sort it.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an exact science, and there are quite a few different reasons why your pellet stove may have stopped working. That being said, there are some common causes, so we’ve given a breakdown of the most likely issues and how to solve them:

1. Dirty Pellet Stove Unit

Surprisingly, one of the most common issues is just that your stove is dirty. As your pellets burn in your stove, they produce ash and smoke, which can clog up your unit, even if it’s properly ventilated. Over time, this will clog up your machine and will prevent your pellets from lighting, which in turn stops any heat coming from the stove.

How To Fix:

This is a relatively easy issue to fix. Make sure you’ve turned off the pellet stove entirely and let it thoroughly cool down. Then, start by emptying your ash pan and wiping down the inside of your glass window to get rid of any noticeable dust and dirt. Check your fire pot and your hopper for any dirt or debris that needs to be removed. Once you’ve fully cleaned your pellet stove, you should switch it back on and see if it works.

2. Faulty Stove Wiring

Your pellet stove does rely on electricity to help light the flames and power the fans, which circulate the heat around your home. If your wiring isn’t done correctly, then electricity won’t reach these key components, and therefore it won’t light properly.

The other common electrical fault is that your outlet isn’t providing the proper voltage, so there isn’t adequate power for the stove. It’s vital to fix electrical issues quickly because they can become a hazard, but if you’re unsure about anything, you should consult with a professional.

How To Fix:

You should be able to troubleshoot and identify the specific wiring issue at home by following these steps. However, if you aren’t sure how to fix the issue, then you should ask a professional for help; it’s never worth taking a risk when it comes to home electricals.

  • Check The Switches
    Check all switches going into the stove and the outlet to ensure there’s no reason that power wouldn’t be reaching it. Make sure that you’ve checked the circuit breaker and nothing has tripped. If there’s nothing obvious here, you should move on to the next step.
  • Turn The Power Off
    You should now completely disconnect the stove and turn the power off at the circuit breaker. This is important to make sure you’re handling wires safely.
  • Check The Voltage
    Check the power coming from your outlet using a multimeter. Most stoves will require 115 volts, but you can check your user manual for exact specifications. Your multimeter will tell you if there’s enough voltage, but if not, you should try a different outlet for the stove.
  • Check Your Wires
    If your outlet isn’t the issue, then you’ll need to check the individual wires. Look for visible damage to the wires going into your stove, focusing mainly on your blower, thermodiscs, motor, and ignitor. Check for any cracked or frayed wires, and if you need to, you can replace them. The easiest way to do this is to take the cracked wires to your local hardware store and get the exact replicas.

Hopefully, going through these steps will get your pellet stove working again, or at least identify if your wiring is the problem.

3. Combustion Air Damper Needs Adjustment

Your pellet stove relies on a sufficient feed of air to fuel the flame within the device. Your air damper is used to regulate that airflow, but if there isn’t enough air, your pellets won’t light and soot can build up within the heater. Having your air damper set to the right level is essential to get continuous heat from your stove.

How To Fix:

You can usually fix this issue by amending the settings on your air damper. Every stove has slightly different settings, but each time you crank it up, it should open by ¼ inch. Start by fully closing your air damper and then opening it to its lowest level. Check the flame and keep changing the setting until it resolves itself. You should be able to sort this in a few minutes.

4. Combustion Blower Spinning Too Slow

Your combustion blower is used to circulate air within the firebox in the stove. Without enough airflow, the heat can’t be spread correctly, and it will prevent the air switch from sensing the right amount of air, causing the stove to switch off. The impellor within the combustion blower should spin at a high rate, and if it isn’t, you’ll need to fix it.

How To Fix:

Start by turning off the stove and making sure it’s entirely cool. Open up the stove and remove the combustion blower so you can perform some tests. Run your motor to see what speed it’s going. If it’s not moving at high speed, you will need to replace the motor. You can usually find these in a hardware store, and replacement just involves disconnecting one and putting the other in its place.

5. Burn Pot Not Mounted Correctly

Your burn pot is where the pellets actually burn in your stove. So naturally, if your burn pot has issues, your pellets won’t light, and you won’t get any heat from your stove. If there is an issue with your burn pot, it usually means there’s a blockage or it’s not mounted correctly.

How To Fix:

Make sure the stove is turned off and completely cool before you start work. Open it up and check the position of the burn pot. It should fit snugly above the combustion tube where the flame comes in to light the pellets. There should also be at least 1/8 inch between the edge of the burn pot and the wall of the stove to allow air to circulate. Adjust your burn pot to make sure it’s in the correct position.

Then check the burn pot and combustion tube for any obstructions. There are various vents and air holes in the pot, and it’s very simple for ash and soot to block them up. The best way to clear this out is to use an air compressor and make sure you disconnect the combustion tube to clear out any blockages there too. Once cleared, connect everything back up and test the device. Hopefully, it’s lighting correctly.

6. Lack of Air In Combustion Air Tube

Your combustion air tube is used to provide air and heat into the burn pot, which is needed to fuel the flame. If there are any blockages in the combustion tube, the stove won’t operate properly, and there’ll be no heat. There are two common causes for issues in your combustion air tube: faulty wiring or an issue with the damper.

How To Fix:

With the stove off and cool, start by disconnecting the combustion air tube and looking for, and removing, any visible blockages. Make sure the damper blades clear the inside of the tube and don’t cause any blockages. If needed, remove the damper blade and replace it.

Check that your wiring is connected appropriately. Check for any cracks or damage to the wires and, if needed, replace them. This should hopefully resolve the issue, and the stove will begin working again correctly.

7. Lack of Airflow

Your pellet stove operates by drawing air in and pushing warm air back out. Without this airflow, the stove cannot work properly and won’t provide any heat. This lack of airflow is usually due to a blocked vent or improper positioning.

How To Fix:

Open up the grills on the side of your pellet stove and check for any blockages. There will likely be a large amount of soot and ash, so clean out the grills before replacing them on the stove. This should allow air to flow into the stove again.

If your pellet stove is located in a chimney, then it could be there isn’t enough air actually reaching it. Try moving your stove an inch further forward and see if this resolves the problem. If not, you may need to have a ventilation duct installed behind the stove, which goes directly outside your home. You’ll need a professional to do this and it may be costly.

best pellet stove

How To Avoid Your Pellet Stove Shutting Off (Before it Happens)

We’ve given some guidance to help you solve an issue with your stove once you’re aware of it, but preventative measures are always best. By stopping the issue before it becomes a problem can save you time, money, and effort.

Most problems can be solved by setting up your stove correctly. The position is key. The best places for it are next to an exterior wall, in the corner of the room, near a stairway, or in your basement. Avoid putting your pellet stove in front of a door, in the middle of the room, near a window, or in your bedroom. Make sure you have a clear path to the outside so you can install a working vent.

Finally, make sure you’ve connected all the components up correctly, and all wiring is complete. It’s worth getting a professional to come and look over your work at this stage to avoid having to call one out later down the line.

The other way to avoid your pellet stove shutting off is to carry out regular maintenance. As you can see from the common causes above, many of the issues are caused by a build-up of ash and soot, so performing weekly cleaning can stop these issues. Make sure you fully empty the ash pan and clean out the burn pot every week and get a professional to perform a check of your stove every year.

Are pellet stoves safe? Learn more here.

How does pellet stove compare with propane heaters? Read the comparison here.

Why Do These Popular Pellet Stove Models Keep Shutting Off?

We’ve given some general instructions on how to deal with pellet stoves shutting off, but each brand is slightly different. Here are some of the other reasons specific models might shut off:

Breckwell

Breckwell is a well-known brand and makes good quality pellet stoves. If your Breckwell pellet stove shuts off, it’s likely due to a blockage and means the device needs some cleaning. However, there’s another common issue with the auger snap disk (otherwise known as the low limit switch), which will trip the device and cause it to turn off if there’s not enough heat. You should start by checking the wiring to the disk and seeing if anything needs to be replaced.

Quadra Fire

Quadra Fire pellet stoves are equipped with a heat sensor, and if the stove doesn’t reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit, it will trip. You should start by making sure your exhaust and vents aren’t clogged and that there is enough fuel. It’s also worth checking where the heat sensor (thermocouple) is, as it should be sticking into the burn port within the stove to gauge temperature accurately. This should hopefully lead to the pellet stove reaching the right temperature and stop it from shutting off.

Englander

Englander pellet stoves, like most other stoves, can suffer from dirt blocking the air supply. One of the key reasons this type of pellet stove shuts off is a faulty area within the device that prevents pellets from feeding into the auger. This means the stove won’t reach the right temperature, and it will shut off. Start by checking the supply of pellets and cleaning all blockages from vents and grills. Hopefully, this will get it working again.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Do pellet stoves turn off automatically?

Yes, if there is an issue with the pellet stove, the electricity will cut out, and the stove won’t light. This is usually due to the stove not reaching the right temperature, a lack of fuel, or a limited air supply.

How do you reset a pellet stove?

You can reset your pellet stove by turning it off, waiting a few seconds, and then turning it back on again. If this doesn’t work, you should ensure your circuit breaker hasn’t tripped and then try again.

What is the average life of a pellet stove?

Pellet stoves will last up to 10 years if they’re properly maintained.

Conclusion

A pellet stove is a great way to stay warm this winter. They combine efficient heating with a rustic style, and if you set them up correctly, they should be pretty low maintenance.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand why your pellet stove isn’t working and how you can resolve the problem. Remember, this is only a guide, and you should always consult your user manual to see if they provide specific instructions.

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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