Knowing how to troubleshoot your home heating appliances is critical, particularly in the winter when a malfunctioning heating appliance can create discomfort in the home at best and cause your energy bills to soar out of control and put your family at risk at worst. A Harman pellet stove, for example, occasionally can fail to light under certain circumstances. Troubleshooting this issue requires only a few simple steps.

Low Draft

Like all combustion appliances, pellet stoves need air to ignite properly. Under normal circumstances, the required air is drawn in through the chimney flue and through air holes in the stove itself. If either the flue or the air holes are obstructed by ash, soot, unburned pellets or any other debris, the stove will fail to ignite because no air is making its way into the combustion chamber. Clear the chimney flue of animal nests, leaf piles or built-up ash and soot, and remove obstructions from the stove's air holes.

Fuel Problems

Another critical component to the stove's igniting and firing is the fuel feeding into the stove. For pellet stoves, combustible pellets take the place of natural gas or other fuels, so open the stove's hopper and fill it with pellets if it is empty. Remove any "clinkers," or glass-like byproducts of pellet burning, from the hopper. Close the hopper and again attempt to use the stove after refilling.

Electrical Problems

If the electrical components of the pellet stove are not receiving a good current, the stove will fail to operate normally. First, check the breaker that controls the circuit that the stove is using and make sure it is not tripped. Also make sure the stove's power cord is plugged in securely. Alternatively, the stove might have blown a fuse or its electrical components might be damaged, in which case you need to have the stove serviced to restore it to full working order.

Other Possibilities

There are other, less likely possibilities why your stove would fail to ignite and work properly. If one of the gaskets is damaged, the stove might not be receiving enough air for proper combustion. If you use a poor quality grade of pellet fuel (you should always use the type of pellets recommended in the manufacturer's instructions for your specific model of stove), or if the pellets are damp, they could fail to ignite. A failure of an individual part such as the feed motor or combustion blower can cause wider problems for the stove, in which case you need to have those components replaced. Contact Harman customer service if you cannot diagnose the problem through your own troubleshooting.