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  1. #1

    Confused Quadrafire Castile Pellet Stove Problem

    We have had our Quadrafire Castile for about 4 years and have had minor problems on and off, but now, seem to be stumped with the latest problem. We are unable to get any assistance from Quadrafire (who seems to have removed the tech support # from their site) or any assistance in terms of repair from any dealer. Here's the problem: When we turn up the thermostat to turn on the stove, the exhaust fan comes on, pellets drop, igniter heats up red hot - stove doesn't light. Once in a while the pellets light but then the exhaust fan eventually turns off and the pellets go out before an additional drop of more pellets. Push reset button - pellets drop, igniter heats up - stove doesn't light. After going through this procedure many times, it will start up and smoke comes out of the back of the stove into the house until the fire gets going and then it stops. This is our only source of heat so fixing is pretty important. We have taken everything apart including the vacuum hose and cleaned and vacuumed all. The snap disks have not tripped and we have checked and cleaned the exhaust tubing.

    Any help or advice would be appreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    1,078
    Take out all the baffles and clean behind them. Sweep the vent. Sounds like you have an airflow problem. Could also be leaks around the burn pot, or the channel in front of the igniter could be blocked. I believe most of this info is in the owners manual.

  3. #3

    Quadrafire Castile Pellet Stove Problem

    Thanks for the response. I will try what you have mentioned. As far as the manual goes, we have done everything they suggest. I just wish they were a little more service oriented at Quadrafire

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    1,078
    They are, they help the dealers and the dealers help the customers. Unfortunately many dealers don't have trained people or even competent people. Quadrafire offers plenty of training classes all across the country every year. If you really need to talk to someone on the phone we can get in touch, check out my profile.

  5. #5

    Smile quadrafire castile pellet stove problem

    Thanks to everyone for the tips and advice. I had tried most suggestions except the idea of gently using a paper clip to probe into the 2 vacuum hose ports. I tried this and didn't really feel any blockage or see any debris. However, when I was doing this, I noticed some fuzzy buildup around the edge of the circular housing of the exhaust fan on the back of the stove. I used my paper clip to clean out the fuzzy "dust bunny" dirt and it seemed to improve the air flow.
    I don't want to jinx myself, but the stove has been working properly since.
    The pellets start right away without having to press restart button and there is no smoky output at startup.

    I believe the stove wanted to start, but didn't have the proper airflow because of the dusty fuzz packed in around the exhaust fan housing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,054

    Cool

    The three most common sources of problems with pellet stoves are cleaning, cleaning and cleaning. If you are dropping pellets but they are not igniting or sporadically ignite, get a mirror and inspect the slot in the base of the burn pot towards the front. It looks like the coin slot of a vending machine. This is where the heated air from the igniter touches the pellets to ignite them with 650F+ hot air. If this slot is clogged with clinkers, it cannot warm the pellets.

    Clean or have cleaned the entire stove and venting system. Make sure there is not a collection of fly ash in the exhaust plenum before it reaches the vent. The vacuum sensing hose should be blown clear and checked for proper vacuum. If a tech goes through that stove and addresses all these things, the next step would probably be to replace the thermocouple. This senses the pellets igniting and orchestrates the entire sequence. If the ceramic cover is not touching the tip inside or if the TC is bad, the problems you described will occur. However, it is a trap to skip the detailed cleaning and just replace parts. Clean first! You shoudl replace parts only when you know they are bad. A tech can read the millivolts off your TC and tell if it is bad or not. No DIY info on this site so I cannot divulge more but this should get you started in the right direction.

    HTH,
    Hearthman

  7. #7

    Angry Quadrafire fire

    Hi we have had our Quadrafire Castile for almost 2 years. 2 weeks ago we had a fire because of this. My husband does clean the stove everyday and has taken the panels off and cleaned behind them. We are wondering if anyone else has heard of the problem that we had which was that the pellets backed up the drop shute and stopped the auger system and then burned back up and through into the hopper then starting the pellets that were in the hopper on fire. What a mess.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    1,078
    Only time that will happen is from lack of maintenece. If there is so much stuff (ash / clinkers) in the firepot that the pellets build up to the top of the pot and back-up into the drop chute. I have seen firepots with a false floor of clinkers. The person was opening the ash dump but the giant clinker was stuck inside so it would not fall. They were burning pellets on top of this giant chunk of crud. Only reason they called was because it was not lighting every time (gee I wonder why?).

    Other possibiliy would be many failed ignitions, but someone would have to keep hitting the reset button or the temp in the room would have to go up and down to trigger the stat off / on a few times. Prob after 5 "startup" cycles with the auger the pot would be full. Seems very un-likely unless someone hits the reset button many times.

  9. #9

    Same problem

    Quote Originally Posted by stacyld View Post
    Hi we have had our Quadrafire Castile for almost 2 years. 2 weeks ago we had a fire because of this. My husband does clean the stove everyday and has taken the panels off and cleaned behind them. We are wondering if anyone else has heard of the problem that we had which was that the pellets backed up the drop shute and stopped the auger system and then burned back up and through into the hopper then starting the pellets that were in the hopper on fire. What a mess.
    Boy does this sound familiar. New stove installed 11/26/08. Stove would not stay lit for more than 18 hours without having to clean thoroughly. Serviced on 12/04/08. Feed rate adhusted by techs. Same problem within 24 hours. New technician arrives on 12/09/08. Replaces igniter "just in case". Said firepot might be defective. Checked control box and said everything should be fine. Woke up at 7:40 am Sunday morning 12/14/08 to the same exact situation as you, Stacy. Emptied pellets as fast as I could to cut off fuel source. Fire burned up chute and finally went out. Replacement stove installed. Now it's wait and see...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,054

    Cool hopper fires

    Hopper fires are uncommon in Castile stoves and inserts. Usually takes a lot to do. The hopper, auger, drop tube, fire pot and combustion chamber are under negative pressure. Any sparks or heat will be sucked out through the vent. So much air is pulling down through the hopper/ auger/ drop tube that if you run low on pellets, the vacuum switch breaks contact and quits feeding pellets. You must maintain a certain minimum load in the hopper for the system to work.

    I would examine the sizing, layout and installation of the venting. If it is too restrictive, you could get a backup causing such fires. Look at your fuel. If you have a lot of 'fines', they can ignite in the hopper. Remove all the pellets from the hopper then see if you have a lot of dust in the pit at the tip of the auger---if so, you need to sift your pellets before loading. If your auger is full of pellets but not feeding, you probably have some cross-bridging caused by pellets too long or trash in the auger. I've removed a pair of reading glasses, a candle, army man, plastic pellet bag scrap, cloth, and a lot of 1/5-2" pellets---all from stoves where the customer was cussing the stove as if it were the devil incarnate.

    In these times of short supply, we're seeing a lot of lower grade pellets with higher ash content. This requires additional maintenance. What I'm seeing is the extra ash not only forming clinkers but simpy occluding the ignition slot at the base of the firepot. Quad's firepot has what looks like a coin slot in the front base where heated air from the igniter touches pellets and ignites them without direct contact by the heating element. If ash blocks this slot, no ignition. Also, keep all the air holes in the firepot clean as I noted previously.

    HTH,
    Hearthman

  11. #11
    Hi In both cases there is defiantly an air flow problem, has there been a magnehelic reading? If so what was it this will help on the tech side alot! What is the flame like? active or lazy. On the first one you had it for two years and it worked fine? a couple things to check #1 stove air passage ways ,Exhaust fan and venting for dirt blockages, #2 gaskets (door,fan,ect.)#3 voltage test on exhaust fan(should be done by local dealer) (Vacuum swith does not always trip)

    What grade of fuel are you using?

    Second one: What is the configuration and size of the venting? how old is the house is it R2000,is the stove in the basement, is there outside air to the stove?
    And again was the a magnehelic reading?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,054

    Cool Welcome

    Welcome Hunter.

    What sort of range of pressures would you deem acceptable, what would you deem actionable and if so, what action or what problem is it telling you? Since there are many types of manometers available, you might consider refering to a *manometer *reading instead of just one kind.

    What sort of voltage range are you looking for with the blower and what would you consider to be a problem? Again, if you have an unacceptable voltage reading, what does that tell you? Are there any other readings you could get from a blower that might be important?

    I don't disagree with your advice as it basically is repeating mine. However, when you ask a leading question such as your mag. readings, it would be helpful for you to follow your query with a short explanation of what or why it would be a problem. Keep in mind no DIY advice on this site, too.

    Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your knowledge with pellet stoves and hearth appliances?

    Welcome!
    Hearthman

  13. #13

    Also having problem with Castile Pellet Stove

    About 2 weeks ago, the stove begin to periodically shut down. The only way to get it going was to hit the reset button. It would run fine and then do the same thing the next day. Now, it is shutting down more frequently. It also restarts fine when you hit the restart button. From what I am reading, I need to go through and do a good cleaning. I clean it weekly but will try to do a really good cleaning. Any other possibilities as to why it would do this? Thanks

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