Review of Harman --- TLC-200o -- Freestanding Stove burning Wood/Coal
Installation Type: Wood/Coal - Freestanding into metal Chimney
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): 1700 finishe
Bought in 2001 , Price Paid: tax & ALL option
Location : Pekin, IL 61554,
Purchased from: Fireplace Retail Store - The Stove Shop - Pekin, IL (309)
-GOOD LOOKING UNIT (Hunter Green optional color +$85, gold door +$125, Top air grill w/gold trim +$55). This is a standard "green" stove paint, so touch-up cans of paint are not problem to get. It is NOT a specialty paint or color.
-LARGE VIEWING GLASS in door, but it soots quickly.
-GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE at Harmon (Harry- sales rep)
-BURNS WOOOD VERY NICELY.
-SEEMS TO HANDLE COAL WELL. I have only had the stove 5 days and only fired coal twice. Still getting the hang of it, but this last firing is going very well. It takes practice and experience to get good with coal.
-looks like QUALITY CONSTRUCTION for the most part. I have yet to see the perfect stove, but this one is WELL within my standards and I'm pretty particular. I'll note the minor design flaws in the "Cons" section.
-GOOD BLOWER variable speed (+$175 - OUCH!). Quiet when on low speeds with good output. (Cord design. See "cons" below)
-TOP or FRONT LOADING for wood/coal.
-EXPENSIVE UNIT: You have to make the decision if it's right for you. Probably not as good with wood as a 100% wood stove design, but it still handles wood VERY WELL! (remember, you can burn wood in a coal stove but you CAN'T burn coal in a 100% wood designed stove.
-COAL IN GENERAL has more soot, "fly ash" and a nasty smell when first firing. But, once the coal is going, it is very nice, clean burning and last around 12 hours per fueling.
-SOME SMOKE IN ROOM WHEN RELOADING: You will have to play with the dampers with trail and error, but coal smoke still escapes when fueling. It has a thick oily smell that is not pleasant. Unlike a little wood smoke that does not irritate anyone much, coal smoke/gas is unpleasent. If you're having guests, make sure and reload the stove well before they arrive so the smell can dissipate (unless it's your inlaws, then reload coal when they get there, let a lot of smoke in the room and they won't stay long!!) Again, with experience this may be less of a problem.
-POOR DOOR LATCH DESIGN: Again, with trial and error I got the latch working just fine. But I had to adjust and re-adjust the latch as the door seal compresses with each firing. If you are not careful, you could strip out the door latch and set screw. Just be aware to this design and you can overcome it with patients and ajustments.
-CORD ON BLOWER has the variable speed control very close to the motor. It is a long cord and would be better if the variable control was at least in the middle of the cord or closer to the plug instead of right next to the blower/stove. To adjust the speed, you have to get down on your knees, reach behind the stove and turn the speed control. Be cardeful not to burn your shoulder or upper arm on the stove surface while reaching behind it. We are lucky, our elect wall outlet behind the stove is switched. All I have to do is set the speed (once) and the just turn the light switch on or off to turn the blower on or off, other wise it would be a real pain.
-HAVE TO CUT WOOD A LITTE SMALLER: I was use to a bigger firebox for wood in my other stoves. This one is still large, but just a little awkward to get the wood into the firebox (top load through smaller "coal" hole or front load over the top of the coal grates). I would not call this a design problem, just what I was use to before this stove became part of our family.
My backgound: 41 yrs old, Ex-USMC pilot now flying for the airlines, married with young children, live in central Illinois, used wood in out last two houses (lived in the South) but wanted to have the option to burn coal so I would not have to cut as much wood each year. In the past, we have heated primarily with stoves and seldom run our furnace.
I would consider coal more of a "fuel for the guys". It is dirtier to handle and harder to work with. I imagaine my wife will use wood when I'm flying and I'll use more coal when I'm home.
I know this is a lot of info, but I researched this stove a wanted to share my thoughts and first hand experences to date. I'll probably have more info as I use the TLC-2000 more. DO NOT HESITATE to call if you are considering this stove. I'll give you the straight scoop. (309)-648-7847
Overall, I am VERY pleased with this the TLC-2000. She'll be part of the family for many years to come.
Best of Luck!!
* Dates that reviews were submitted were not recorded prior to Nov. 2004