Thursday, October 20, 2011


Here lately I have been getting calls from people telling me about the good deal that they got on a used pellet stove from a friend off of Craig' s list. They want me to come and check out the stove after they have laid down there hard earned cash. Here is Robins simple Rules for buying a used pellet stove:
  1. Have a professional pellet stove person look at the stove before you spend your cash.
  2. Stick with with the top brands Whitfield, Breckwell, Quadrafire, Lopi, Avalon. These products have ready available replacement parts for most of their models. Check with your Pellet stove Pro to find out which models and serial numbers qualify.Whitfield , Avantage llT serial number 17,000 and above are the best most reliable used stoves that I come across as a repair person.
  3. Refer to rule number one.
Remember its time to buy your wood pellets, the Pellet Stove Guy recommends Golden fire or Lignetics Brands. There has never been a pellet shortage for those that buy all of their pellets early and you get the best price! Warm regards, Robin McDonell The Pellet Stove Guy

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fireplaces all have tool sets in front of them for moving different size pieces of wood around and a shovel to scoop ash out. The pellet stove guys recommend that you buy your love one a Shop Vac for Christmas, so that they can clean the ash out of there stove in just seconds. It doesn't have to be a great big one like I use (pictured) they make small ones.

Happy Hollidays
The Pellet Stove

Monday, November 22, 2010

I was making calls to some really nice folks that need a little service on their pellet stove tonight. I couldn't help some of them and I felt really sad so I wanted to share this with you.

Many folks buy a Pellet stove based on looks. That could be a mistake, MANY brands have fallen by the wayside, Winston, Crossfire and Horizon Eclipse just to name a few.
Three things to consider BEFORE buying
  1. If I was buying a new or used pellet stove SERVICEABILITY would be number ONE on my list.
  2. Does the dealer or person who sold you the stove, service the product that they sell? Note that there are dealers in my area that will only service product that they sold. Yes even though you may have bought the same product up the street.
  3. Who will service your stove if the dealer goes out of business and are parts readily available?
The easiest stove to get parts and service for is the Whitfield AdvantageII. In the Northern California area there are a number of independent service representatives and a large number of retail and wholesale suppliers of parts. How ever the Advantage isn't currently being manufactured by Lennox
Breckwell, Lopi Avalon, Quadrafire are easy stoves to service, parts are a little harder to get.
The favorite stove of the East Coast seems to be the Harmon, however it is a heavy stove to have to work on, its hard to find technicians in Nor Cal and parts have to be ordered through a dealer. Nice looking stove, burns low quality pellets, hard to work on. THE LAST WORD: SERVICEABILITY Happy Stove Hunting

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Temperature in Sacramento today Nov11, 2010 will be a high of 66 and a low of 36, that means that there are thousands of homes with pellet stoves humming away keeping my customers and friends warm and happy. I have one very simple tip for you folks today check your mantels and make sure that there isn't anything that can fall in the fuel hopper. Over the last few years ( including today) I have pulled Christmas decorations, kids toys, screw drivers and women s underwear out of pellet stove augers. Today I pulled a brass Grass Hopper out, just remember if its with in a foot above or a few feet from the stove it can in up inside.

On another note, I hope you all have bought and stored, your pellets for the season, I have seen some great sales this year. I saw Golden Fire at one mass merchant as low as $200 a ton which is what we were selling pellets for in 1995!

Happy Heating

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday Pellet Questions

Hi Pellet Stove Guys,

Question--What is this a good pellet fuel?
Prestolog pellets are not my first choice. My personal list in order would be 1. Goldenfire. 2. Lignetics 3. Blazer 4. Atlas The top Three Brans are a Douglas Fir blend Pellet . They haves the lowest ash content The word PREMIUM Is to Broad It means any pellet under 1% ash and as low as .25% (1/4) that may not sound like much but it makes a big difference in your stove. At this time I cannot recommended any pellet made from oak or agriculture waste ( corn,nut shells etc. Always try a bag or two before you by a whole pallet of a new brand of pellets that you are not familiar with.

Question 2, The rope seal around the door is coming off. What do I use to secure it back in place? Any special instructions?

OSH has High temp Silicone in the stove section, that is what I use to seal rope gasket back on doors.

Warm Wishes for the holidays,

Monday, September 28, 2009

Clean air and pellet stoves

Here we go again folks, The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District is lumping you, the clean burning energy conscious pellet stove users in with wood stove and fireplaces burners.

Instead of giving you an exemption for choosing a clean air product, that not only eliminates barrels of oil that our state and country buy from countries that hate us, they have lumped you right in there with wood stoves. My guess is that Larry Green and his staff at the SMAQMD have never even seen a home heated by a pellet stove, if they had they would know that when you have your beautiful stove going that nobody in the neighbor even knows it is on while you enjoying your warm cozy home.

There were 5 community meetings in the Sacramento area this this summer. Oh, you say you didn't know about those? Do you suppose that's the way they wanted. Your air district board which is made up by the members of the Sacramento county board of supervisors supported amendments to "rule 421" to increase the number of days that you can not use your pellet stove. The only board member to vote NO vote was Robert J McGarvey Representative from Rancho Cordova. Thank you Mr McGarvey for standing up for what is right and not be a roll over politician.

Here is the Air Boards own numbers for pellet stoves VS wood stove and fireplaces

Board Memo
Rule 421
September 24, 2009, Page 10

Device TypePM2.5 perdevice per year

Aesthetic 3
Heating 24

Uncertified wood stove 71
Catalytic wood stove 47
Non-Catalytic wood stove 34

Uncertified wood insert 57
Catalytic wood insert 38
Non-Catalytic wood insert 27

Pellet stove 6 ( Do we belong with the above aplliances?)

Its time to get organized! Lets get Pellet Stove exempt from no burn days! Its time to let your politicians know that they work for you.

More to come,
Robin McDonell
The Pellet Stove Guys

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Last week, I stared doing annual summer clean outs on pellet stoves for my customers that plan ahead. So you ask why the picture of a car in several feet of snow? Well its been a long winter here in Nor Cal and I got a call asking if I could make a run up to a local Ski resort to make a repair.

After doing a 10 point service and clean out on the stove I notice one of the most common errors on Whitfield Advantage models 0- 27000. Owners take the ash drawer out to dump ashes but fail to tighten it up with a screw driver when putting it back in ( make sure your model is the screw type) most of these stoves are close to twenty years old now and need an adjustment with a hammer so that they latch up tight. Call your local Whitfield dealer if you don't fell comfortable doing this. With out a good tight seal around the ash draw you will get a dirty burn and almost no heat

Monday, May 24, 2010


This last season 2009/2010 there was pellet fuel every where, Local dealers, the big box stores, supermarkets, and the local hardware store. Two years ago all of the above suppliers in your local market listed above ran out of pellets (as I predicted would happen in my Blog ) There really was plenty of pellets (despite the rumor of plants and mills burning down) the problem was with the “Supply Line”. There are four parts to the supply line; many of you are familiar with this because you have a propane tank on your property.


1. Manufacture: makes and stores fuel and stores some on site

2. Shipping: Mainly truck, some by rail

3. Retailer: stores anywhere from 22-100 pallets of pellets, t if they have the room

4. Your garage or barn. Your storage of one or two pallets 50 to 100 bags bought early in the summer saves you money takes pressure off the manufacture and better shipping rates and guarantees you that you will have plenty of fuel through the next winter (like filling the propane tank in the summer)

Do you have a question, drop me a line at

Question--What is a good pellet fuel?

My personal list in order would be 1. Golden fire. 1. Lignetics 3. Blazer 4. Atlas The top Three Brands are a Douglas Fir blend Pellet . They haves the lowest ash content The word PREMIUM Is to Broad It means any pellet under 1% ash and as low as .25% (1/4) that may not sound like much but it makes a big difference in your stove. At this time I cannot recommended any pellet made from oak or agriculture waste ( corn, nut shells etc. Always try a bag or two before you by a whole pallet of a new brand of pellets that you are not familiar with.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The hunt for a good used pellet stove.

Tis the season it’s the dog days of summer and autumn is in the air

Today I bought a used stove from a private party. I thought many of my readers might find it useful to have a list to take with them when they are out on the hunt for that perfect stove

1. Look for brands that have lasted the test of time

Harmon, Quadrifire, Lopi, Avalon, Beckwell, Austroflamm and my favorite Whitfield.

2., Ask other people how their stove has preformed

Are parts readily available, most of the brands I mention above, having readily available parts. The exception is that almost all of them had a model that didn’t do well in the market and you can no longer get parts. A good example of a stove that might be twenty years old would be a Whitfield Advantage 2T they made over 100,000 and you can find any part or a new replacement. However the beautiful Whitfield Renaissance you can no longer get control boards for.

3. When you find that stove you want to buy have them plug it in and run it.

Does it have?

  1. Quiet fans , do they still adjust up and down ( fans run in the $150 range)
  2. Does the auger feed pellets? Is it quiet? ( these run about $130)
  3. The condition of the burn pot ( depending on type $65 to $180)
  4. Condition of the circuit board ( I have a big box of bad control boards at my shop beware these can run from $200 to $3000
  5. What shape is the fire brick in?( runs about $110 to $150)
  6. Auto ignitors, if it has one be sure and check the condition ( $130) . manual stove uses starter gel $8

Happy Hunting


Please be sure and add your questions and comments we want to hear from you.