Posted on: 17 December 2020
More homeowners than ever are opting to replace their traditional furnace unit with a pellet furnace. While pellet furnaces require far less maintenance than a traditional furnace, they are still vulnerable to certain types of malfunctions. Here's a look at what you need to know about common pellet furnace issues and the repairs that they require.
Control Panel Errors
Most pellet furnaces come with digital control panels that include integrated error alerts. In most cases, the errors are indicated by flashing lights on the temperature controls or something similar. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the error codes from your pellet furnace so that you can recognize and address these errors when they are indicated.
Your pellet furnace requires a specific amount of air vacuum in the system, which means that the unit must be properly sealed. If you empty the ash pan and don't get the ash pan door closed all the way, you may get a vacuum-loss error code. This same error code could be indicated if heavy winds blow down into the vent pipe.
Proof of fire errors usually indicate that the furnace is unable to ignite pellets upon startup or the proof of fire switch has failed. If your furnace won't ignite, you'll need to reach out to a repair technician to determine if the problem is the pellet delivery system or the heating coils.
You may also receive an error related to the furnace's high limit switch, which means that the furnace is burning hotter than it should. That could be due to a vacuum error, dirty coils, or even a faulty high limit switch. A furnace repair technician needs to troubleshoot this to identify the source of the problem.
Finally, if the control panel itself is failing, it may need to be replaced. The control panels attach fairly simply with a wiring harness and two thermostat wires. You can often replace it yourself, but you'll need to be sure that you get the right control panel for your furnace and then program it for the fuel source that you're using if necessary.
Most pellet furnaces rely on motor-driven augers to feed pellets into the burn pot. That means that you have a margin for component failure with the augers and the motors themselves. If you hear squealing, grinding, or squeaking when the auger engages, you should shut the furnace down right away and reach out to a repair technician to address the problem.
You may be able to isolate whether the problem lies in the auger motor or the auger itself by emptying the hopper of pellets and inspecting the auger itself. Make sure that the auger isn't jammed with pellets or pellet dust. If there's no visible damage to the auger or the auger blades, and there's no indication of a clog, you should have a furnace repair technician inspect the unit for repairs.