Pellet Stove Not Burning Pellets Completely – Guides 2020

Pellet Stove Not Burning Pellets Completely

Is your pellet stove not burning pellets completely ? Is it producing more smoke and soot? Are you using up more pellets?

It’s time you find out what could be wrong with your stove and how to resolve it.

One of the most common faults that occur with pellet stoves is the inefficient burning of fuel. Most of the time, this can be caused by one of two things – a faulty component, or a poor grade fuel.

Interestingly, both cases almost always result in your pellet stove not burning pellets properly, thereby causing a lot of dirt and soot.

Negligence or poor maintenance can also hinder the rapid or complete burning of fuel. But sometimes, even a well-maintained unit can also have issues.

Given the diversity in pellet stoves, it would be almost impossible to discuss all the possible causes of an inefficient system. However, we will focus on the most common causes and solutions.

It is most likely that the issue with your stove falls under one of the problems below:

Pellet Stove Not Burning Pellets Completely – Make Sure You Have the Right Settings

The first thing to check before you troubleshoot for any problems in any appliance is the settings. And the pellet stove is designed to operate efficiently only when it’s properly set.

So before you start checking for any loose parts or damaged spots, be sure you have the right settings for your system.

Since there are various brands and models of a pellet stove, the particular settings for individual systems may differ. This is where the owner’s manual comes in handy.

So make sure you check your manual for specific instructions on how to adjust the stove settings. You may also find helpful information on how to troubleshoot common issues.

If you’re lucky enough, you may just discover what is making your stove not to burn efficiently and instruction on how to rectify it.

Check for Air Leaks

If, after adjusting your settings, the problem persists, then it is possible you have a leak somewhere. When a pellet stove doesn’t burn as much pellet as it should, then it is possible that air is not flowing properly.

There could be a leak in the door seals that is causing air to escape from the appliance.

So make sure the sealing on the stove door is tight and secure to ensure there’s no way for air to escape. Make sure the door fits perfectly when closed.

A good way to test the door seal for air leaks is by performing what is called a “dollar bill”. Get a dollar.

Hold it on one end and then insert the other end into your stove door, and close it. Now, while the door remains closed, try to pull out the bill.

If you succeed in doing this without a stiff resistance, then it means the door likely has an air leak.

But if not, then something else may be responsible for the poor burning of your stove. Make sure you perform the dollar bill on every side of the door.

Check the Air Inlet Cap

Besides a faulty burn spot or a leaking gasket, another thing that could cause pellet stove not burning pellets completely is a blocked air inlet cap.

If the air inlet cap becomes blocked or develops a fault, then it would be very difficult for the pellets to burn completely.

So make sure you inspect the air inlet cap to ensure there are no damages or faults anywhere.

You can clean it if you notice any blockages. If you find out the cap is damaged or leaking, then you can always have it replaced with a new one.

Change the Pellets

Sometimes the problem may not be with the appliance but the fuel you’re using. And some manufacturers may specify the type of fuel you should use as well as the pellet size.

However, using larger pellets can block the feed opening and hinder the free flow of the fuel feed. Also, there’s a build-up of waste deposits from partially burned pellets.

Under such situations, it is almost impossible for the pellet stove to burn pellets completely.

In this case, it is advisable to switch to a smaller pellet size. Smaller pellets are usually easy on the feed components and tend to burn more efficiently than larger pellets.

It is also important to use high-quality pellet materials to prevent clogging of the system and ensure efficient fuel conversion.

Check the Burn Spot

Another thing that could cause incomplete burning of pellets by a pellet stove is a faulty burn spot. This is the most common indicator of when the stove is producing smoke or soot.

In this case, what you want to do is clean the burn spot. You can use a rag to wipe it and remove all debris that has piled up.

Blocked Exhaust Passages

A plugged or filthy exhaust passage could also be responsible for the partial burning of pellets.

It is usually very difficult to discover this problem because it’s internal. This is why it’s important to have a schedule for a thorough cleaning of your stove.

Also, if you never cleaned the inside of the stove during installation, then there’s likely going to be accumulation in the exhaust passages.

Under this condition, it would be very difficult for the stove to work efficiently, even if you decide to burn one ton of pellets in a single month.

This is because there would be severe blockage disrupting the normal flow of air. Even if there are no air leaks, the ratio of air flowing in and the one flowing to the exhaust will not be balanced.

The simplest way to resolve this problem is to vacuum out the chimney liner and fire chamber. If this sounds like a lot of work, then you should consider hiring a professional to do a better job.

Check the Vent

A less common but possible cause of inefficient burning of pellets is the vent system. Clean the vent thoroughly to remove every waste deposit.

Then check to see if it is properly installed in the correct position.
The vent elbows should not be positioned more than 90 degrees with a maximum horizontal length of 10-inches at any point.


It is said that “prevention is better than cure”. You can prevent many problems, including pellet stove not burning pellets by simply practicing regular cleaning.

Depending on the model of the pellet stove, you could pick a day in a week or month to do this.

Also, schedule professional maintenance at least once a year or after you burn up two tons of pellets. Always dispose of the waste from the tray ash before it gets filled.

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