Pellet stoves provide a cost-efficient and simple way to keep your home warm during the winter months. However, similar to other heating devices, they can be prone to issues from time to time. One common one is when the auger fails to turn. What do you do in this case? We have looked into pellet stove issues and will answer these questions for you.
If the auger is no longer turning, chances are that it is experiencing a motor failure, pressure switch failure, or that it is clogged from pellets and debris. The best thing to do is to first unplug the stove and open up the compartment to test the motor and then clean it out completely. You'll also want to lubricate the components and bushings in the motor to prevent it from locking up in the future.
There are a few reasons why your pellet stove auger may stop turning. Sometimes the fix will be a simple one that can be done in a few minutes. And other times, the issue may be more complex, requiring you to take more time to find the culprit of the problem. Continue reading to learn about how to do just that.
Steps to Fix Pellet Stove Auger That Won't Turn
Things you'll need:
- Replacement bushings (if needed)
- Non-lubricating spray degreaser
- Hard-wire brush
- Shop vacuum
- High-temperature Silicone
- Adjustable wrench or socket set
- Replacement auger
- Nylon bottle brush
- Cleaning cloth
1. Unplug the stove and disassemble it
Make sure that the oven has completely cooled before touching it. Next, start by removing the power cord from the stove and then disassembling the auger motor. To do this, you'll need a screwdriver and a pair of pliers.
2. Vacuum the inside of the oven
Next, take your shop vacuum and vacuum the area around the auger to remove dust and debris. Be sure to remove any large foreign objects before applying the vacuum to prevent them from clogging it.
Frequently the auger will jam due to obstruction from debris. You can also use your finger to manually rotate the auger to loosen any pellets that may be clogging the area around the motor or bushings.
Here is a Youtube video to illustrate this step of the process:
3. Plug the stove back in
Next, plug the stove back in and then try to rotate the auger again manually. Make sure that the oven is turned back on first. If you hear the motor attempting to start, turn off the stove and unplug it again.
4. Remove the screws from the auger and inspect the bushings
There will be anywhere from two to four screws holding the motor housing in place. Remove them using your socket wrench and slide the motor off the top of the altar. Try to rotate it again with your fingers.
If it is fairly difficult to spin, take a close look at the bushings to see if they are dry or broken. Sometimes the bushing plate itself can break, causing the auger to stop spinning. If the plate itself is broken, you'll need to replace it. If the bushings are worn out, you'll need to replace them as well.
5. Pull the auger out from the motor
Next, slide the bushing plate out from the auger with a pair of pliers and inspect the auger. Look for any damage on the end of the blades or the bottom of them. If the auger appears damaged, you will need to replace it with a new one.
However, if the housing is just dirty, you can clean it using your bottle brush or the shop vacuum. Be sure to remove any debris from around the bushings and motor housing.
6. Lubricate the housing as needed
After cleaning the auger, apply a non-lubricating degreaser and wipe it over the bushings using a soft cloth. Be sure to pay special attention to the end of the auger, as this area is more likely to accumulate dust and debris. If replacing the auger, apply the cleaner inside the housing and wipe down the endplate around the opening.
7. Test the new auger
Install the bushing plate on the new auger and then attach the original screws that you removed. Next, set the new auger on a stable surface, such as a table, and then plug in the power cord. Turn on the auger to see if the motor starts to spin. If it starts to spin, you're good to go.
Other Possible Reasons Why The Auger Won't Spin
A malfunctioning auger doesn't always mean that the motor is bad. Sometimes the motor can experience issues when there are problems with other components in the oven. This will usually include one or more of the following:
A broken vacuum switch
Sometimes the pressure switch in a pellet stove can break due to frequent usage. You'll often find that this is the case with older ovens. To access the switch, pull off the wires using a safety pin or a paper clip.
Then replace the switch with a new one and re-attach the wires. Test the auger to see if it is working. You'll also want to check your chimney to ensure that it is clear and free of blockages, as this can also cause issues with the vacuum switch.
Faulty sockets or plugs
Over time, the wires in the augur's motor can become faulty, burned out, or loosen. If this is the case, the auger will experience issues, including shutting off completely, turning on, and running slower than usual. To determine if this is the problem, remove the auger using the steps above and then test it using a multimeter.
If the electrical wires don't have continuity, they will need to be replaced. In some cases, you can swap out a single wire. And in other scenarios, you'll need to replace the entire motor.
It's best to have some experience working with electrical components if you plan to replace the wire or the motor. If not, it's best to contact a licensed electrician to assist with this issue.
How Do I Know if my Auger Motor is Bad?
If the auger motor on your pellet stove is bad, you may notice different symptoms regarding the grill. Here are a few things to look out for:
- The pellets feed slowly into the pot, causing low pressure on the stove.
- The stove temperatures are fluctuating wildly.
- The auger motor suddenly seems super hot as soon as the oven is turned on
- The auger no longer turns and suddenly stops, appearing stuck.
- The auger suddenly stops feeding into the firepot.
If you notice any of the above signs, you may want to disassemble the auger, clean it, and inspect it.
How Do you Fix an Auger that Won't Turn on a Pellet Stove?
If the auger doesn't turn, you'll need to inspect it to find the source of the issue. The best thing to do is to first turn off the stove once it is cool and then disassemble the motor housing.
Be sure to inspect the auger, its bushings, wires, and housing. If there are pellets or debris wedged in the housing, you'll need to remove them using a Shop-Vac or spray cleaner.
How do I Reset my Pellet Stove?
More often than not, a pellet stove will not have a reset button. Instead, you will either need to let the remaining pellets run out; or turn it off and then unplug the oven for about 60 seconds to reset it.
If you aren't sure if your stove has a specific reset process, take a look at the user's manual. Some ovens, for example, the Englander brand, has a multi-step process to reset their ovens.
How much Does it Cost to Service a Pellet Stove?
The cost to repair a pellet stove depends on the repair being done. For example, a simple cleaning of the motor and grill can cost around $120, while motor replacement can cost well over $300, depending on the brand and model. However, if you need to replace the circuit board, this can be costly, ranging from $500 to over $800 for labor and parts.
What is the Average Life of a Pellet Stove?
A decent pellet stove can last anywhere from 7 to 10 years with regular usage. This is also given the oven is well maintained during this time. If the oven is used sparingly, it can't last over ten years.
Wrapping Things Up
We hope this post has helped explain what to do if the auger on your pellet stove stops turning. Remember always to let the oven cool down before attempting to disassemble it. In the event that the auger motor needs to be replaced, it may be best to have a qualified electrician perform this task just to be on the safe side.
Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts: