My name is Mike. My mother has the Integra and last spring the fire started going out and finally started actually “coughing” out smoke around the door seal. We had a local “expert” come to see if it needed to be cleaned. My mom had forgotten about the cleaning rods and so the heat xfer tubes were totally encrusted with creosote and carbon. He said it would take weeks or more to clean if he had to pull the stove and tubes apart and might cost a couple of thousand dollars because of the time it would take. He told her there’s not a lot that can be done. The repair person was nice and didn’t charge her but she gave him $20 for coming out.
Now she is having me disassemble the stove and wants me to just salvage the metal. Then she wants an electric insert in the fireplace. Is there a better alternative? Can it be cleaned? I’m disassembling it now but I keep trying to convince here perhaps I could clean it – even if she doesn’t want it anymore, wouldn’t it be better to sell it rather than junk it? It’s such a beauty. The fans, vent inlets, auger all work perfectly.
Thanks for your advice,
I’ve run accross this a lot and yes it’s messy but I actually have fun with these. If the exhaust fan still works you can do this job with the stove in the house with the stove running but no pellets feeding. If the exhaust fan isn’t running or is not pulling air through the stove you should take it outside as it produces a bit of smoke.
Start on the heat exchange tubes. What you need is a wire brush, maybe a small paint scraper, a flathead screwdriver with a broad head and a propane blow torch. Fire up the torch and burn that stuff off. Every where you can get that torch to the creosode, burn it off.
You want to be sure to get the cleaning rods free. Once you get as much burn off as you can, use the screwdriver to wedge underneath the bottom of the cleaning rake to work it free. Once you get it moving you can burn a little more at the bottom of the tubes. There are two sets of cleanning rods and rakes, get them both free.
With the cleaning rods up look behind the heat exhange tubes at the very bottom and you want to find four 1 inch square cut holes. This is what the exhaust air travels through. These are probably blocked, which is why the fire wouldn’t stay lit. Make sure those are completly cleanned out.
The other thing you want to burn off is the exhaust fan. It may be stuck in the houseing. ONce you get it out burn it off with the torch and burn off the inside of the house.
Last, check the chimney and clean out any and all ash the is in there. If there is chreosode in the chimney you may need to remove the pipe from the house and burn it out of the pipe outside your house. Use your judgement.
Once you have done all of that and put it back together you want to run it on high for two hours. That will help burn anything you couldn’t get to with the torch out.
If your mom will run the stove on high every other day for 30 mins and have the stove cleaned out every day this shouldn’t happen again.
Hope that helps.