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Review of Harman --- PC-45 -- Freestanding Stove burning Multifuel (Oil/Wood)

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Review of Harman --- PC-45 -- Freestanding Stove burning Multifuel (Oil/Wood)
Installation Type: Wood/Coal - Freestanding into metal Chimney
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): | House Size (Sq feet):
Bought in 2003 , Price Paid: $3000
Location : Tremont, Illin ,
Purchased from: Fireplace Retail Store - Stove Shop, Pekin, IL

Likes:

Dislikes:

Comments: I get lots of questions on the corn burner (Harman PC-45) based on the review I wrote in Jan 2004.

The date today is Oct 25, 2004. This is a supplemental review from 60745@myswa.com of Tremont, IL

To date, still no major problems with the Harman PC-45 Corn Stove. It is well made and functions well. We are starting the second heating season with it.

I did NOT install the external air supply. But I think it would be an excellent option. The only drawback is you will then have TWO holes in your wall. One for the chimney vent and another for the air return. Our stove works very well without the air supply, but imagine I'm pulling lots more cold air into the house from cracks, leaks, ect and reducing my overall home's efficiency. I'm trying it without the external air again this season and can always add it later if I decide to. Your choice.

Ash removal: I generally empty the ash pan with each full hopper of corn burned (about 90 lbs or 1.5 bu). It may go longer, but not a whole lot. I don't feel the ash pan would hold two full corn hopper's worth of ash.

The only problem other than the ceramic log falling apart (see last review) is that the glass cracked in the door. This was unexplainable? It happened in September and the stove had not been in operation all summer (we live in Central Illinois). I have no idea what happened. I got my young children together and asked if they had been "messing with the stove". They said, "no, Daddy, honest, we did not touch it." So I don't know what happened. Called the dealer and he got me new glass at cost for about $50. Don't forget to get a replacement gasket if you need to replace your glass (I forgot and had to reorder the gasket and pay ANOTHER $10 shipping for a $5 gasket)

Not noisy now: I my last review I noted that it seemed to be noisy with the mechanical movements of this unit. That is NOT the case now. Then, the house was under construction with NO carpet and NO furniture. This made the room "hollow" and the sound bounced around when the stove was in operation. Now the house in complete, carpet is down and furniture in the room. Much quieter now. But if your room has tile floors and is open, you could get more noise. Something to be aware of. I also would not put it against a wall that borders and adjacent sleeping room. There is some mechanical noise that will penetrate the wall and if you head (on your pillow - ZZZZZZZZZZZZ ) happens to be right next to the stove on the other side of the wall. You will hear it.

Here is the biggest item that I ask people to consider: CAN YOU GET CHEAP CORN? I live in central Illinois (Rural) on a very small farm. I get corn from our local grain elevator (Co-op). Today, (25 Oct, 2004) cash corn is $1.71 per bushel (52 lbs) at 14.5% moisture. Corn is generally cheaper in the Fall due to harvest, but may go up in the winter. Last year corn got up to a high of around $3.20 or so per bushel. This should give you an idea on what corn prices may be. Here is the website for our elevator so you can see what central Illinois corn is going for on any given day: www.tremontcoop.com

I have had some email and not really look into corn supplies. One guy on the east coast was talking to a "feed store" that was going to charge him around $5 per 50lb bag of corn. This is NOT what you want. If you are going to be paying close to $4 per bushel (52 lbs) for corn, it is not cost effective and you might as well run your furnace. The closer you can keep your corn to the $2 range, the cheaper your heat will be and the faster you'll recoup the cost of the stove's hefty price tag. I roughly plan on using about a bushel of corn a day for Nov,Dec, Jan, Feb and March (around 180 bu +/-). This is just rough planning. I buy around 15 - 20 bu every month or so and store it in the garage in plastic garbage cans with lids so the mice don't become as much of a problem. You may get mice. We keep a "mouser" cat in the garage. You could use poison. But NEVER use poison if you have a pet. The dead poisoned mice will turn up here and there. Then "Fluffy" or "Fido" will eat the dead mouse and get secondary poisoning. Bad deal if you're fond of your pets.

Here is a Penn State link for comparing corn to other heating fuels: http://energy.cas.psu.edu/energyselector/

Ask yourself these questions about corn:
- Is there a source close buy?
- What is the price? What is the handling fee? (ours is 7 cents per bu on top of the current market price)
- Will they sell it in smaller quantities, say 10 - 20 bu range for the average non-farmer type like you and is there an extra charge for the "little guys"?
- Do you have a p/u truck or trailer to get your corn. Sorry "Soccer Moms", you won't be able to take the SUV to the grain elevator to pick up a load of corn! You'll need a open bed of some type for them to bump the bulk grain.
- If you work some deal with a local farmer, make sure you are getting what the ag market calls "dry corn" at roughly 14% moisture or less. Grain elevator have to handle dry corn, otherwise it will rot while in storage.

Background on my usage of the PC-45: We have two stoves - The Harman Corn Stove AND a separate, independent, Wood Stove, a high efficiency LP furnace, super insulated home with sprayed foam (Icynene), all new construction.
- We have had a wood or coal free standing stove in all 4 houses we have ever owned (ex-military guy who moved a lot). We LOVE them and can not live without them. I still feel that wood is probably the best choice of heat, but that is based on several factors:
- Wood supply and cost?
- Cheap, but tons of labor if you cut your own wood (like we do - ohhhh my stiff back!). But we enjoy the fall ritual of getting out the Stiehl and the "Husky" and Uncle Dick's old home made log splitter! We "put up" a lot of wood, in line with our ancestors on our Centennial Farm (6th generation) - Sorry ......... I digressed ....
- The corn stove does not provide the radiant heat that a wood stove supplies. The corn stove is more of a forced air unit, but does have a small amount of radial heat.
- We use the wood stove when we are home in the evenings and weekend. But the Wood fire will die out at night after we go too bed. In the morning when we are all in a hurry for work or school, we just flip the corn stove to "on" when we get up and that's all there is to it! The rest is automated! It is so convenient and relatively inexpensive for fuel (corn). But the heat is not quite the same as wood.
- When we get home after work/school. The corn stove gets flipped to "off" and we light up the wood stove. Then it all starts over again the next day!
- As we get older and unable to cut as much wood (or too busy), the corn stove will pick up more of the heating of our home. It is a flexible system, designed for our house our buget and our desires. And there is always the propane furnace in a pinch. We work hard at all this home heating. It takes desire, handling corn, cutting wood, clean ashes, building fires ...... But you will be rewared with a truely warm home with low utility prices. Good luck!
OK, Hope it all helps
email if you have questions:
Dan
60745@myswa.com
Tremont, IL

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