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Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by cimbo190, Jul 17, 2008.
Is Harman the only problem manufacturer or is the other shoe about to drop?
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I got a call last nite regarding the stove I order. The dealer from St. Albans told me no dealers in Maine will be getting their stoves this year. They are trying to bring in Eco-Treck stoves to fill the need. No reaason giving by Harman on why they can't fulfill their orders for the Maine dealers. I'm off to buy a different pellet stove
From what I read and hear delivery times are out weeks for a lot of brands as well as pellets due to high heating oil costs.
Its not just Maine, its across the board.
I cannot imagine that this is unique to Harman. They were probably the worst hit. I predict there is more bad news to come.
Depends on the dealer. Some dealer stock stoves some order when purchased. One dealer I call said next march for a Harman, one dealer had them in stock. Some smaller dealer with stock will not sell them out of thier area and some will ship. The dealer with stock charged $750 more for installation and vent kits than other dealers.
The shop I bought my Regency from stopped taking deposits over a month ago.Thats when the manufacturer started hinting of production problems.
That is my fear also. I have a stove due in September, I almost do not dare ask if Travis Industries is having or might have similar problems.
Talking to the folks that make Cumberland Multi-Fuel stoves, their orders are up over 400% this year. And they sell mostly in the mid-west.
I think some others are backordered, but Harman and Quadrafire may be subject to more delays....both made by the same company and Harman was hardly back on their feet when this craziness occurred. Even if they were up and fully running, no manufacturer of complicated machinery can deal with a 4 to 6x (or more) increase in demand.
Maybe it is a blessing in disguise for some people. Oil may come down, and spending 5K on a stove and pellets ain't gonna pay for itself this year anyway....so if you are gonna buy a Harman, just as well in the spring as now (although I know it doesn't seem so now, I am taking the long view).
One thing that has not helped is the perception of a 1 - 2 year payback. Anything inside of 5 years is great, but I suspect some people shopped higher in product (Harman e.g) in anticpation of high oil prices and ensuing perception of payback.
Time will tell.
Check my math:
600 gallons of oil
$5/gallon x 600=$3000 (its $5 now; seen forecasts for it to go much higher)
1 englander stove: 1300
4 tons pellets @300/ton: 1200
pellet vent kit: $200
You math works, but I am not sure your application can be construed as across the board applicable.
Those are very favorable assumptions. Not everybody is a DIYer and likley is facing an installation cost, (possiblly a chimney lining also) and you have also selected a smaller stove (Btu wise) which may not solely heat many homes and could require secondary heat (that cost does not seem to be accounted for).
Not a knock on Englander either, but they are quite a bit cheaper than the Harman and other stoves which have all seemed to jumped in price by several hundred dollars during this early part of the season.
Your total outlay seems a little optimistic.
Payback has many meanings and relying on oil to stay at $5/gallon is great from a sales perspective.
I do not think that anybaody is saying that pellet stoves cannot have a one year payback, but that is kind of painting this in a rosy picture.
I think many of these things are debatable, but the point of the whole thing is it is that type of "perception" that has lead people to dive into the pellet stove market and created the chaos.
well, certainly. "nobody's" is.
Mine is a favorable situation, and thats what I'm describing...my situation. However, it isn't unique, either. There are lots of DIYers out there. Otherwise, HD et al wouldn't be ubiquitous, and Englander wouldn't be selling so many stoves. Those that need more than their $1300 model would also have bigger oil bills to overcome, so that should be a wash. My house is modestly sized...but really, the bigger the house, the quicker the pay-back should be.
I've been eyeing pellet stoves for years, and until just recently, I've only seen them as a luxury or "lifestyle" item. They've always been "expensive", to me. And every time I hear some news report that mentions 'average' oil consumption or "average" heating bills, I'm reminded that I have it pretty good, with my smaller, tighter house. Up until the last couple of seasons, there was simply no way for someone like me (cheap!) to justify such an outlay. (don't have that kind of money for "toys", and any fuel savings would be so small, it might take longer than the life expectancy of the stove to recoup). At a certain price point, that all changes completely, and we've reached it. People have this perception because its their reality.
And I know that Phil Graham thinks its all in my head, too, and that my pay *wasn't* cut by 10%, and that 30 of my colleagues *weren't* let go completely, and that I'm *not* paying twice as much to get to work this year vs. last, but he's fully of crap.
well...actually, his perception is based on HIS reality, which is that before all this happened, he was a rich man; after all this happened, he's still a rich man. so..."no problem. quit 'cher whinin'!!". (plus, he lives in TX, where they don't need heat.
I looked into a pellet stove in the spring when Lowes had them marked down to $680, 50% off, but I decided to go with a wood stove.
750 gallons fuel oil
$5/gallon x 750=$3750
1 Woodstock soapstone Firewview, $2200
Liner for chimney and stove pipe $750
Bought 2 chords wood $200, I collected another 2 cords
Year 2, If i bought all my wood $500, so I will save $3250 in the second year.
I do like splitting the wood and stacking it, it is good exercise for me
Ordered a pellet stove online from Zoobler 3 wks ago and was delivered in 6 days. They have many brands available.
When it comes to "close call" paybacks, the numbers can be manipulated just like polls.
The delivered efficiency (to the living area) of pellets stoves is up-in-the-air......my guess is that some models are 60% and others as high as 75%. Big difference! I am not talking EPA default ratings nor lab ratings, which do not take into account things like cold outside air, excess air sucked from house (when OSA is not used) or losses in fireplace inserts.
Heating oil has never averaged at $5 for a heating season...in history! That does not mean it will not this year, but most predictions are BS. It could be $3.50, it could be $5.50. Big difference.
Oil burners vary greatly in efficiency. Many have to be used for DHW, even if one has a pellet stove.
How much oil does a ton of pellets replace? Let us guess that someone has a 70% efficient (in real world).....
one ton = (7500 BTU heating value after moisture) - 150,000,000 BTU x .7= 105,000,000 BTU delivered to house.
100 gallons of oil - 138,000,000 BTU heating value times 80% efficient = 110,000,000 BTU delivered to house
This would put a ton of pellets at 100 gallon of fuel oil, probably a good factor to use, although a range of 90-125 gallons (best and worst case) might be better.
Perception is always reality. If I give 100 people a sugar pill and tell them it will make them sleepy, a good percentage will react.
I have watched heating oil prices since spring, up a lot, down a little, then up a lot. In my area pre buys are over $5 a gallon.
Then hurricane season, one 3 or 4 category in the gulf of Mexico and all bets are off, $6 maybe $ 7 a gallon, who knows with trades looking for excuses for highs.
I have been turned off on oil, am shooting for a oil free house, NG is no real bargain in my area, small company, low volume.
Every where I look I see wood, millions of acres, I am going to go pellets so it will help out the local work force, the ℓwith the Middle east.
Wish there was a car that ran on pellets, I would buy it.
yeah, but my oil burner is only running @80% right after the guy comes to tweak it, and its running in tip-top shape...which doesn't last. I think it was running under 70 when he was last here...before he adjusted/cleaned/tweaked everything. seems to me that the difference in efficiency is negligible. The oil-man's measurements to compute those numbers are taken right there at the furnace; not at the register where it is dumped into the room...which I can stand on with bare feet. the air is luke-warm, at best. much is lost to the ducts. I haven't found a way to quantify that "zone heater effect" of the heater (gas/wood/pellet) dumping all the heat right into the room where you're sitting. ..except that my friends that talked me into pellets used to burn "x" oil, and replaced it with "y" pellets....which, translated for my house should be in today's $$, $9-$1200 worth of fuel vs $3000. (+ work). (based on relative size/age/efficiency of their houses, compared to mine). its all "ball-park", for sure. but the difference in the numbers is significant enough to me to be compelling. a couple of years ago...it wasn't.
energy $ for water is energy for water. what bearing does that have on anything? If you have a boiler, then sure, you'll still use it for water, but it should be a similar savings. My dhw happens to be electric...which I used to think was a bad thing. Now, I'm not so sure...
LOL! :lol: I was thinking the same thing. "how can I come up w/ a truck design that runs on pellets?"
I'm thinking some kind of hybrid...like a diesel-electric train. except using a boiler to generate electricity, fired by pellets. Truck would actually be electric, and have batteries. Thats the only way you could simply turn the key and "go"; no waiting for a boiler to heat up. While you're under way, the boiler takes however long it takes to get going, and replenishes the batteries. When you get to your destination, the boiler just keeps running however long it needs to to replenish the batteries, then shuts itself down.
It would have to be a "truck" because thats the only thing big enough to hold a boiler, generator, water, + a significant supply of pellets.
Having a boiler stay hot to provide DHW and very little (only backup and make-up) heat is very inefficient over the entire season.....it is not teat for tat with most boilers due to jacket and chimney losses, etc. - max. eff. is gained when boiler is used more heavily.
Point there is only that as you use less oil with a boiler, the efficiency of the system drops.....
Back to the thread - bad news on the Harman end:
well, that makes sense. still doesn't apply to me. (and its all about ME, right? LOL!)
seems that FHA is more directly comparable. I guess, in effect, you're comparing 1 hot-air blower with another.
efficiency is important, for sure. My boss had fha/oil and paid about the same as me to heat a house that was half the size. Then he did this huge renovation, tripled the size of the house...now he pays less $ to heat more space than me. Big part of that was a super-whammy 96% efficient gas furnace...and gas hasn't shot up as much as oil. The new fha furnace works kind of like a harman stove, as it senses the heat load of the house, and adjusts its ouput accordingly, in both flame and fan speed. Apparently, this makes a really big difference, over the up/down cycling of conventional systems.
(that article about the Harmans was posted yesterday...a couple of times).
Hah, shows that I can't even start to read every thread - vacation time!
For the most part I agree with the calcs presented...It should be noted that the calculations should also include the realized cost that would also be incurred for the fuel...ie, one should not discount operating costs since they are a "real cost"....for example:
My household uses 700 gal/yr with the following breakdown based on the last 4 years of data:
500 gal/yr for heating
200 gal/yr for hot water
I discount the hot water since I will not be able at this time to convert to another system for hot water heating until next year. Therefore the energy need that I have is:
500 gal/year * 139,000 btu/gal= 69,500,000 btu's for the year (1 gal of heating fuel is approximately 139,000 btu's)
In order to offset this in terms of pellets I would need the following:
8000 btu/lb *40 lb/bag= 320,000 btu/bag
(69,500,000 btu)/(320,000 btu per bag)= 217 bags or a little over 4 tons
The efficiency of my oil furnace is generally around 83 to 85% versus a "rated" efficiency of my wood pellet at 78% (default according to the manufacturer. Therefore my boiler is 5 to 7% more efficient than my wood pellet stove. So the actual number bag of pellets is need is to be increased due to lower efficiency of the pellet stove...for sake of math lets call it 5% differance...therefore:
1.05 x 217 bags= 228 bags (roughly) to match my oil consumption for the year IF I were to solely use my wood pellet stove instead of my oil furnace to heat my home.
INITAL COST ANALYSIS
Cost of Stove: $1300
Installation and Materials: $500 (hearth pad constructed by myself, installation $150 for direct vent, dura vent $200 at Lowes)
Total Cost of Install: $1800
PAYBACK PERIOD BASED ON OPERATING COST AND INITIAL COST
Assume a savings of 400 gal/yr out of the 500gal/yr; it could be more or less depending on the individual and their needs.
Annual Fuel Oil Savings: 400 gal/yr x $4.50/gal= $1800 (I wish I could get oil here in Maine at my location for $4.50/gal...currently it averages at $4.70/gal)
Annual Wood Pellet Cost: Amount of wood pellets to offset 400 gal... (400 gal *139,000 btu/gal) / (40 lbs/bag *8000 btu/lb)= 174 bags
5% Efficiency markup to match oil burner efficiency then 182 bags or about 3.6 tons
3.6 tons x $275 per ton=$1003 per year (say $1000) operating cost using wood pellets
Realized Annual Savings: $1800-$1000= $800 per year savings based on fuel (energy) consumption
Payback Period: $1800/$800 per year= 2.25 years for payback
The calculations above are straight forward and within reason; probably about 3 to 8% variation. What it boils down to is the initial up front cost and annual operating cost. Regardless, it will take me approximately 2.25 years to realize my savings. In general it will take 2 to 5 years; depending on your initial up front cost; to realize the savings. However there are other cost considerations:
a. If something should happen to the oil supply chaing then expect the cost of oil to go up dramatically. I am a firm believer in that one needs an alternative energy source due to the volatility in the world today. If you think people are panicking by buying wood pellet stoves and pellets now, imagome what would happen if their was a supply shock due to decreae in production of fuel. So, don't put all your eggs into one basket grasshopper
b. Putting it to the OPEC, the Oil Companies, Congress, and all the other greedy people who are trying to profiteer= PRICELESS
Anyway, my 2c's worth ....good day