Help-my auger is jammed

You know your auger is jammed when you hear the auger motor trying to turn but no pellets drop into the burnpot. Make sure there are pellets in the hopper and the auger is primed. Some stoves take 10 minutes for pellets to work their way from the hopper through the auger and drop into the burnpot. Also take a peek and make sure the auger motor is still attached to the auger shaft. Really!

Some stoves have a auger cover that is easily removed from the inside of the hopper, Austroflamm and some Whitfields come to mind as having this feature. If you know that your stove does not, then follow the steps as outlined below. If your stove does have a removable auger cover remove all the pellets from the hopper and remove the cover. You should then be able to clear any jam quite easily.

O.K. so your auger is jammed. Here are some things to try to free it up.

The first thing you need to do is determine if the jam is at the top of the auger flight, in the body of the auger, or at the base of the auger at the bottom of the hopper.

Take a flashlight and a mirror and look up the feed tube (thats the hole the pellets drop from into the burnpot). If you see a pellets at the top of the tube then its jammed there. Use a long flathead screwdriver, chisel, or some similar device and run it up the tube and pry, pick, and knock out the pellets. Use a vacuum cleaner intermittently to suck out any loose particles. You can use a hammer and tap tap tap the feed tube, and directly above the feed tube (as long as any insulating panels are removed first). Also, if you can access the top of the feed tube through the hopper you can tap tap tap (not bang bang bang) there also. The idea again is to knock loose the jammed pellets. Keep at it picking,vacuuming, and tapping until you see no pellets in the feed tube. That should do it.

This type of jam is typically the result of pellets overfilling the burnpot and filling the feed tube until it jams. When you relight the stove make sure it is not overfeeding or so dirty that the pellets are dropping quicker than they are being consumed. Is your glass getting black and sooty quickly?

If the stove is jammed and you don’t see pellets crammed together at the top of the feed tube your going to need to remove all the pellets from the hopper and vacuum out all the pellet fines (particles). Gingerly search around the the base of the auger screw and the area where the screw disappears up into its housing. Do you feel something foreign? If you have young kids don’t be surprised to find a duplo or lego. There could be a nail, screw, or rock jamming the auger. You would not believe the things I have removed from the base of auger flights. If your lucky you can wiggle out whatever you find. you might try grabbing the center of the auger shaft with a pair of vise-grips and reverse the screw a bit. Don’t mar up the surface of the screw itself and don’t force anything to the point of damaging it.

O.K. The auger is still jammed, there is something stuck at the base of the hopper but you just can’t remove it. Or, you look up the feed tube and you see something up there that just should not be there; cardboard, reading glasses, a pen that fell out of you pocket, whatever.

Its time to unplug the stove. Access the back of the stove, remove the auger motor (there is some sort of set screw that holds the motor to the auger shaft), remove the plate that holds the auger screw up into the auger body, tap the auger screw out of the stove using a hammer and a wooden block through the hopper. Remove whatever was jamming things up and inspect the auger screw making sure the distance between each twist is the same. Sometimes the top of the screw becomes compressed and acts as a dam restricting the flow of pellets. Put everything back together and give it a whirl.