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Review of Whitfield --- Optima -- Freestanding Stove burning Wood Pellets

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Caluwe Hydronic Wood and Pellet stoves
Review of Whitfield --- Optima -- Freestanding Stove burning Wood Pellets
Installation Type: Other (explain in the comments section)
Date Reviewed: prior to Nov. 2004*)

Satisfaction Ratings from 5 stars (best) to 1 star (worst)
Satisfaction with unit = ✰✰✰✰✰
Satisfaction with dealer = ✰✰✰✰✰
Satisfaction with manufacturer = ✰✰✰✰✰

Other Information about the Home and Stove
Room Size (Sq ft): 700 | House Size (Sq feet): 1600
Bought in 0000 , Price Paid: 2002
Location : Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA
Purchased from: Mail Order/Internet Retailer - StovesDirect.Com

Likes: Excellent appliance. Self-starter works perfectly. Works automatically with thermostat. Minimal maintenance. Burns amazingly clean.

Dislikes: Expensive; buying on-line helps some.
Blower fan can be noisy for some people (but is less noisy than my home's central heating system!).
Heavy--have three of your strongest friends help you move and install the thing.

Comments: StovesDirect.Com out of Idaho were very helpful over the phone--they helped me determine the size pipe for my elevation (needed 6" pipe instead of standard 4"). No trouble with shipping.
The Optima is hands-down better than the wood stove it replaced. I over-sized the capacity, as I have only a 1600 SQFT home. However, my home is not very open (L-shaped), so I wanted the larger capacity for really cold winters--I used highest setting only about 10 times last winter.

Fires up automatically EVERY TIME, even with the poor-quality pine-based wood pellets we have in Northern Arizona. Operates well at 7000 feet elevation.

But the "annual maintenance" needs to be done probably every three months--at least clean the flame sensor window (easy to do) bi-monthly with high resin-content pellets (like pine).

* Dates that reviews were submitted were not recorded prior to Nov. 2004