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Advice on which pellet stove or insert to buy

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by mikeb83, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. mikeb83

    mikeb83 New Member

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    I am new to the forum and I am looking to heat my 2700 square foot raised ranch with a pellet stove or pellet stove insert. Some special considerations that I have is the house is poorly insulated and I have cathedraI ceiling in my living room and dining room. The cathedral ceiling peaks at 14 feet. I have a ceiling fan at the peek of the cathedral ceiling. Last season from December to March I burned 900 gallons of oil. I am trying to cut down on my heating cost. I prefer a insert, but my main concern is heating the whole first floor of my raised ranch. Here is the lay out of my first floor:
    [​IMG]

    The dimensions of my fireplace are :
    [​IMG]

    I was looking at the quadrafire mt vernon insert but I just realized that my fireplace is too small for it. Can you guys recommend a reliable and efficient pellet stove or insert? I forgot to mention. If I go with a stove I will place it in my living room/ dining room where the 30' is in the picture.

    Thanks in advance

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  2. Chain

    Chain Feeling the Heat

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    I'd go with a Harman P68 and forgo an insert. Mostly because a stand alone stove is easier to clean, can hold more pellets (especially if you buy the hopper extender), and I think has greater BTU capacity. Thing is, you may have to build a hearth of some sort in order to install the stand alone stove and run the piping up your chimney.
  3. mikeb83

    mikeb83 New Member

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    Chain Thank you for your advice. If I go with a stove, I think it makes since to put it where the number 30 is on the picture for a couple of reasons. First it will be facing the back of the house. Which should help move the heat back there. Second I can have the exhaust go through the wall. Do you have a harman? I read a couple of reviews that state their service department is not reliable.
  4. AbetterChimneynm

    AbetterChimneynm Member

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    For the price of a P-68 you could go with a Rika Integra 2 and get a stove that holds 4 bags of pellets and puts out as much heat as a P-68 IMO
  5. Chain

    Chain Feeling the Heat

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    Yes, I have a Harman P61A that I installed this past April. It replaced a Lopi FoxFire that I've had for many years. Since the Harman is brand new, I can't say how the Harman service dept. operates. I would agree that placing whatever stand alone stove you buy near the number 30 is the best location as it will move air toward the back of your house.

    Whatever stove brand you decide on, I would just recommend that you go and look at it and hear it operating and ask questions about reliability, follow-up service, replacement parts, etc. Also, don't undersize your stove.
  6. will711

    will711 Minister of Fire

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    First Welcome Mike.

    I agree with Chain on a free standing stove more btu's than insert also with a bigger stove you won't have to run it as hard to keep warm. I think that placing the stove on the back wall is a good idea easy install and pushing heat back in the living space.

    I own a Harman and the service if you need any will come from the dealer that sold you the stove. So go visit the dealers in your area talk to them ask lots of ??? Do they stock all the most common parts that may fail. Wife and I went to 2 dealers closest was ok the one that was a little further away was great spent 2+ hrs. with us demoed all the stoves we wanted to see no hard sell, he got the sale.

    If there is any way that you can add some insulation to your home it will make what ever stove you buy better.

    Hope this helps good luck and Happy burning

    Will
    gbreda likes this.
  7. gbreda

    gbreda Minister of Fire

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    Welcome aboard !!

    With Harman, the service is directly related to your dealer as Harman has no communication with the end user. Not the best business practice IMO, but it is what it is. Sooo, good dealer good service, poor dealer poor service.

    That being said, the P68 is a tank, very reliable and will blast the heat like no tomorrow. Yes you can vent it through a wall.

    Biggest problem I see will be getting the heat into those bedrooms down the hall, especially after combating the 14' ceiling and poor insulation. This is an issue you will have with any stove.
    will711 likes this.
  8. AbetterChimneynm

    AbetterChimneynm Member

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    The harman P-68 is a great stove, The rika maybe to hard to get in your area as i am not sure what dealers are where but I wish you the best luck and if I can be of any help let me know

    Shawn
    will711 likes this.
  9. fmsm

    fmsm Minister of Fire

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    Keep in mind that with the angle of a cathedral ceiling the heat will "roll" down your hallway. It may work out better than you think!
  10. flynfrfun

    flynfrfun Minister of Fire

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    Does that stairwell go up or down? If it goes up, that combined with the cathedral ceiling is going to make holding any heat downstairs very difficult. Ideally, you need 2 stoves. One in the living room and one where the closet is at the other end of the house. Of course the closet would have to be remodeled. That one would really help get the heat to the bedrooms. Between the 2 stoves you'd probably be in good shape. Maybe you are a candidate for a pellet furnace?
  11. mikeb83

    mikeb83 New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the advice. Flyn the stairs go down. I have a family room, laundry room, storage room and 2 car garage on the ground floor.

    I started checking out the p68. It has alot of good reviews.
  12. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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    From the person who may have the draftiest house on the forums...also consider adding insulation and sealing up air leaks. 900 gallons of oil is probably what we would have gone through last year had we not switched to wood and pellets...we're slowly chipping away at it, did the attic through Home Depot last year, doing spray foam in the crawlspace this year, caulking and weatherstripping and foaming up leaks wherever we can find them in between...

    Good luck!
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  13. mikeb83

    mikeb83 New Member

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    Mfg I am slowly working on insulating the house. So far I added r-30 insulation in the cathedral ceiling, took down the sheet rock on gable wall on the living room / dining room and the other wall in the dining room and replaced the insulation with r-15 (2x4 studs). I also replaced the windows in the cathedral ceiling.
  14. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    mfglickman,

    If you are or have someone who is able to use a saw, screw driver, some corner clamps, and a heat gun (or hair dryer) then here is a link to look at dealing with interior storm windows http://www.arttec.net/Thermal-Windows/
  15. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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    Thanks. My windows are surprisingly tight per the blower door test. My walls, floorboards, beams and hearths are a little challenged...
  16. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    I'm going for the insulation ability of the interior storms. If you get the thin clear shrink wrap and wrap both sides of the frame you get two additional dead air gaps and boundary effects. It cuts the heat loss. Even if your windows are tight there is still quite a heat loss through them compared to a wall. Normally after air infiltration the next biggest heat loss is your windows.

    Hearths are always an issue because one has trouble getting them closed off if you still wish to use them in the traditional manner.
  17. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Harman doesn't provide service to folks who bought their stove, the stove dealers who sell Harmans provide the service.

    That is why we tell people thinking of buying stoves (especially those that can't do more than press a button to be certain the dealer actually has a good record of providing reliable service and to not rely on them being at your place "20 minutes" after you call with a problem) to research the folks you are buying from more than what you are going to buy.
  18. mikeb83

    mikeb83 New Member

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    What happens if the dealer you bought the stove from goes out of business?
  19. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    well, that wouldnt be a reliable dealer then, would it?!!!

    all kidding aside, the next closest dealer would be asked by Harman to do any warrantee work that might be deemed necessary. Generally speaking, the dealer would ask Harman to reimbuse them for travel time as well, given the longer distance travelled, and the low amount given for reimbusement for the work done.

    Its an issue really, since any stove company offers THE BEST service (just ask them!)......I would rely more on the folks you know and trust for advice as to how good or bad a company is. Also, please note that if you are a "do-it-yourself" kind of person, you wont void the warrantee by working on it yourself. Sometimes its cold, a part goes, and the stove co cant get a service person out there at the drop of a hat due to previous work being scheduled....the room sensing probe is kaput because the dog ate it? Pretty easy to fix yourself......
  20. JBWheel

    JBWheel New Member

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    We chose the Harman Accentra Insert and the heat gets around surprisingly well in a 2 story colonial with doors open. We looked at the Mt. Vernon and ended up going with the Accentra as per my other posts. In our case, it was easier to go with the insert than a free standing stove as there was no really other place to put a stove. Based on your specs, it looks like the a free standing stove would go in the living room near the fireplace too. I wouldn't get caught up too much in maximum BTU output as your only deciding factor.
  21. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    I can't tell from your layout but some pellet heaters allow for heat ducting up to 30 ft away. You may also want to consider a pellet furnace. Do you know what your house average BTU load is?
  22. mikeb83

    mikeb83 New Member

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    I got two quotes today. One for a harman p68 and the other for the quadrafire mount vernon.
    The mount vernon im mahogany is $6130.00 installed with out a oak.
    The P68 is $5848.98 with a oak installed, with out a oak it is $5695.43 installed

    I am undecided on whether or not to get a oak. Harmon recommended it and it is only $143 extra. Quadrafire did not recommend it and quoted me $130 for the fittings plus the cost of the pipe. The reason they did not recommend the oak is because it will be heating cold air from the outside instead of the warm air from the inside of the house. Thus causing the pellet stove to use more pellets to heat the house. My concern is causing a negative pressure in the house causing my house to be even more drafty. What do you guys recommend?

    I am undecided on which pellet stove to get. I like the P68 because it puts out close to 16,000 more btu then the mt vernon. The P68 is rated for 3900 square feet. The p68 is $300-$450 cheaper ( with or with out the oak) then the mt vernon. I like the mt vernon because the mahogany will fit in better with my furniture. What I am concerned about the mt vernon it is rated for 2900 square feet. Even though I will be heating 1800 square feet. I am concerned about the extra space from the cathedral ceilings. Also being that the square footage is near the maximum for the mt vernon I will be using more pellets to heat the space. Are my last two statements correct?
  23. flynfrfun

    flynfrfun Minister of Fire

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    Don't pay any attention to the advertised square footage the stove is capable of heating. The BTU input is what really matters. Both are great stoves. You are right about the OAK, you definitely want it installed. Dealers try to talk people out of them for whatever reason. You are right, w/out the OAK, the house will have a vacuum due to the fact that heated air is less dense than cold air. But mostly the stove will be using air from inside the house for combustion and blowing it outside via the exhaust. The result is cold air being sucked into every crack and crevice and the house will feel colder than with an OAK. You should see if you can find an Enviro dealer around. The M55 comes in an insert or freestanding and is 55K BTU and should be a lot cheaper than what you have been quoted. Probably in the neighborhood of $4K. I've seen them as low as $3500 and they have several optional colors that may suit your fancy.
  24. mikeb83

    mikeb83 New Member

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    I went shopping again for the p68 stove. For the stove with all of the trim and moldings, 36x36 hearth, harmam wall pass with oak, venting and installation for $5300. Is this a good deal?
  25. Bioburner

    Bioburner Minister of Fire

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    To bad you started the project so close to the heating season as dealers stick to thier guns on prices now.
    Most repairs on the Harman can be done yourself if need be with a little help with those here or other stove site. Some after market parts are available for less than Harman and maybe available locally. Someone on this site just got a used Harman for 300 and after cleaning was pleasantly surprized that it fired and ran.
    I had the same thing after buying a older pc45 at auction very reasonable and it had extras and bought one used with spare ignitor, full trim package, extra pot and stirrers, and hopper extention as in my avitar. I do not see any problems with these stoves. Closest dealer if I should need one is 150 plus miles away. Good luck on what ever you decide.

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