How to Clean a Pellet Stove – Step by Step Guide

Knowing how to clean a wood stove is necessary to keep it running at optimum condition. Basic cleaning needs to be done every two weeks, but if you use the stove frequently, cleaning every 3 to 4 days will be required. There are two ways to clean a pellet stove, basic and thorough cleaning.


Basic Cleaning Step by Step

  1. Begin your stove cleaning by removing the ash in the burn pot. Check the front part of the stove containing the burn pot as that is where most of the ash will be stored. An ash vacuum will be fine.
  2. Get the cleaning tool that came with the pellet stove and remove the carbon deposits, scraping the burn pot as necessary. If you no longer have the cleaning tool that came with your stove, use a wire brush or a putty knife.
  3. Remove the carbon deposits in the exchanger tube by pulling and pushing the lever at the top or front of the wood pellet stove. You may have to do this a few times.
  4. Vacuum the burn pot and the surrounding area if there is some ash remaining.
  5. Once you’re done vacuuming, the wood pellet stove’s front glass windows have to be washed. Complete this step and you’re done.



Thorough Wood Pellet Stove Cleaning

  1. Use a stove pipe brush to remove the fly ash in the stove pipe. If your stove pipe has a T-connection, the clean out door should be opened and the ash removed.
  2. Clean the fan and blower motor with a paintbrush and a vacuum. Make sure the dirt build up are removed.
  3. Check the gaskets near the door and remove any residue, replacing them if damaged or worn out. If necessary have a chimney liner get rid of the ash.


Pointers and Suggestions

It’s best to use a long hose with the shop vacuum, and the vacuum should be outside so ash doesn’t get scattered inside your house. Ideally, a thorough cleaning should be done prior to the heating season, a couple of times during the season, and one more at the end, though the frequency will also depend on how often you use it and how many pellets are burned.

If there are unused pellets, remove them at heating season’s end to prevent corrosion, and clean the wood pellet only when it has cooled down. Don’t remove the ash from the bucket until it’s cooled down.

Proper Wood Pellet Stove Maintenance

Read the manual that came with the product and follow the directions given for cleaning and maintenance. You should also burn only quality pellets, and make certain that the pellets are clean and dry before you put them in the hopper. Do not use wet pellets because they’re going to clog up the auger system and cause decomposition. The auger system is responsible for putting the pellets in the burn pot, but if the auger is wet the pellets will get stuck, causing the stove to malfunction.

If you’re shopping around for pellets, buy one bag and try it first prior to purchasing a large quantity. Different types of pellets are available, but never make cost your number one criterion because low quality pellets have a tendency to crumble which will block the auger.

Make it a habit to check the auger and hopper whenever you add pellets, and make sure there isn’t any sawdust or debris in the system that could affect its performance. Just to be certain, put in only one pellet bag at a time and allow it to run in the system before you add anymore. If the auger has sawdust, use a vacuum cleaner to clean it out, and use a screwdriver or knife to get rid of the clogging.

If there’s severe clogging or dirt buildup, have the stove serviced by a professional. By having an expert look into the stove, he or she can tell if the ash traps, venting system and pipes have to be cleaned or replaced.

How to Clean a Fireplace


Cleaning a fireplace isn’t that difficult provided you follow these steps

  1. Remove the grate and the andirons off the fireplace. Get a nylon brush and scrub it to remove the soot. Rinse them with water and wipe until dry. If necessary, apply metal polish to give it some shine.
  2. Go to your fireplace and use the fireplace shovel to remove the soot, ash and other debris. Throw them in the trash.
  3. Once you get rid of the big piles, start scrubbing the walls with your nylon brush. Make sure to put newspapers or a tarp underneath to catch the falling ash and soot. Starting at the top, work your way down, cleaning thoroughly. Once you’re done cleaning, discard the newspapers.
  4. If cleaning a messy fireplace of dust, ash and soot is not for you then consider purchasing an ash vacuum that will make cleaning up less of a chore and much quicker too.

Thorough Cleaning of a Fireplace

  1. Remove the dust, soot, ash and debris as described in the steps above.
  2. Prepare a solution consisting of warm water, Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) and bleach, and use this to thoroughly clean the floor and walls. Simply mix a gallon of warm water, a cup of bleach and 6 tablespoons of TSP.
  3. Wear gloves, put the nylon brush in the bucket and scrub the fireplace floor and walls with the solution. Keep scrubbing until the walls and floor are cleaned, and if necessary prepare another solution.
  4. Rinse the walls and floor with clean water. Dry with a towel.
  5. If it’s necessary, replace the andirons and grate. 


Learning how to clean a pellet stove is not that hard, but it does require patience on your part. Cleaning regularly can be a chore, but it will be less so if you schedule it beforehand. And the more frequently you clean, the less dirt, ash and soot will accumulate, which will extend the life of your pellet stove and / or fireplace.

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