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Avalon Olympic VS Pacific Energy Summit

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by cwayne, Mar 3, 2008.

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  1. cwayne

    cwayne New Member

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    Hello,

    I am currently burning wood in an old CRD Precision wood stove installed in the masonry fireplace on the main level of our raise ranch. It does a great job. I keep the natural gas furnace thermostat on 60 and it usually doesn't turn on. It has a 3 cubic foot firebox and can handle a lot of abuse when I try to jam huge logs inside. The worst that happens is I break a firebrick. My only complaint is it probably smokes too much.

    Therefore, I would like to move it downstairs for occasional use and install a clean burning fireplace insert in its place. I am considering the Avalon Olympic and the Pacific Energy Summit. Both have a 3 cubic foot firebox, are not cat, and cost about $2400. Does anybody have any experience with ruggedness and reliability of these 2 inserts? Does the insert have any advantages over the wood stove besides cosmetic?

    Thanks,
    Chris

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  2. BotetourtSteve

    BotetourtSteve Member

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    I can't believe the PE Army hasn't lit this up. (there is a sizable PE, particularly Summit, fan club on this site) I researched both stoves and, like you, found both to be comparable in most areas. I am a freestander, not an insert, guy so I can't give you much advice there. I believe you would not go wrong with either stove, and would probably base my decision on which dealer was the best to work with. If they are the same, then flip a coin!

    Not to throw a wrench in things, but did you check out cast iron stoves? With steel prices where they are, steel and cast stoves are pretty comparable in price, and the cast stoves (disclaimer - I just got one recently) have a slight advantage when it comes to holding heat longer than steel.
  3. swestall

    swestall Minister of Fire

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    I like the PE stoves and the warrantee is outstanding. If you could install a free standing unit you would get a lot more heat out of it.
  4. cwayne

    cwayne New Member

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    I do have enough room for a freestanding. It's what I do now. I just thought the insert had some special reflecting powers that prevented the heat from going up the chimney.
  5. swestall

    swestall Minister of Fire

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    I think all here would agree that the free standing unit will put more heat out.
  6. Garyvol

    Garyvol New Member

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    Hey folks,
    Correct me if I'm wrong, I think the secondary burn system is different.
    Avalon...has air tubes for its secondary burn ...thus you have dancing flames to look at.

    PE....uses a secondary chamber with a seperate thermo air control for the chamber, so
    I guess no dancing secondary flame to look at. But would it mean a better control of
    the secondary temperature. No runaway high temperature to worry about.
    -gary
  7. Jfk4th

    Jfk4th Minister of Fire

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    I can only tell you about the freestanding stoves as I have used both. In my opinion the Summit will give you a longer burn, maybe not hotter but definitely longer. Now you have to judge how long of a burn you want and how much you are willing to tinker with the stove and wood to get these longer burn times. The Avalon is a sharp, hot burning stove with a little less burning times. Can you still get that overnight burn with the Olympic, definitely. Will it burn as long as the Summit probably not, BUT, and this is a big BUT, the Avalon burns very hot so depending on how big your house is or what temps you want, the Avalon is still a great choice. I have a Summit right now and I love it, my father law has had the Olympic for over 10 years and he loves it. Confused yet? One feature the Summit has that the Olympic does not is the EBT which is a coil that opens up the draft when it needs to so no unburned fuel(logs left in the fire). I also have a Quad 5100 and in the past, not many times but sometimes I will have some log left unburned. This stove is still a great stove too but I like the fact that I can "shut the stove down on the Summit (put it to "L" and let it go the Extended Burn Technology will take over and do the rest. The Olympic does not have this but it burns so well you probably do not need this.

    The Avalon burns east/west, a nice looking burn but you cannot load up as much without the risk of logs rolling out when the door is open. The Summit is a north/south or front to back load so you can really stack some rounds and large splits for some good overnight burns.
    Overall you cannot go wrong, people swear by both of these so I would say go for the style you like. I am by no means an expert with any of these so just don't take my word. I am sure others will chime in and help you out but again you cannot go wrong with either of these, 2 great choices in my book.

    I would add to get the Pedestal with ash pan for the Olympic and the either the Pedestal with big(and I mean big ash pan) or legs with smaller ash pan on the Summit. Ash pans are great.

    Again it seems like you are more interested in an insert so I guess you won't have to worry about that choice

    Good Luck
  8. thechimneysweep

    thechimneysweep Minister of Fire

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    We have sold (and burned) both models, and both have great dancing flame secondary burn displays. There are other differences, though. Here's my personal take:

    The Olympic has a wider view of the fire.

    The Olympic can hold up to 24" lengths: the Summit maxes out at 20" (or 18" when loaded North-South, which is how we prefer to burn it).

    The Olympic loads East-West, and the baffle system slants downward from front to rear. This combination makes it difficult to get a full load in there. The Summit loads North-South, and the roof doesn't slant. It is easier to pack more wood in this design, and the pieces don't want to roll back out at you.

    Largely because of the Summit's EBT technology, and also probably because it is so hard to pack a full load in the Olympic firebox, we got much longer burn times from the Summit.

    The Olympic has a 7 year warranty on the firebox and secondary air tubes. The Summit has a lifetime warranty on the firebox and secondary burn chamber.
  9. cwayne

    cwayne New Member

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    JFK,

    Thanks for the analysis.

    I burn a lot of maple which leaves a tremendous amount of ash. Can the ash pan handle that. I guess what I'm hearing is people like the free standing stoves better. I guess what I liked about the insert is it plugs up the fireplace nicely and has the blower system built in.

    Thanks,
    Chris
  10. cwayne

    cwayne New Member

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    The Chimney Sweep,

    One thing I noticed about the Olympic is the additional damper on the top. The summit just had 1 air input control.

    Thanks,
    Chris
  11. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    As an Olympic owner and 24/7 burner for the last 3 years, I will comment on what I know:

    - not sure what the logs 'rolling' out issues are but I never have that problem. I load her full from the back to front and use the shape of the wood to ensure that no log will 'roll'. E/W is the burn with up to the 24".

    - I burn 24/7 - the overnight burns are easy and give good heat. Really only a 5-8 hour burn for me depending. The all day burns - the stove usually does not get refilled for 12 hours and always has coals to get it up and going again. I have let it go as long as 16 hours and still use the coals to relight, albeit with a bit more work and smaller pieces.

    - This stove burns hot and the fan really helps get some massive heat out of it. As an insert, I could not be happier.
  12. thechimneysweep

    thechimneysweep Minister of Fire

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    For whatever reason (maybe the slanting baffle system, coupled with the relatively shallow firebox), the Olympic tends to allow smoke to roll into the room when you open the loading door. The upper lever is a bypass, which opens a hole in the baffle system to allow free flow of the exhaust up the chimney when the door is opened. In operation, this lever is always closed.

    The Summit, with its deeper firebox and less-restrictive baffle system, doesn't tend to cause smoke to roll into the room when the door is open, so it doesn't need a bypass.
  13. Jfk4th

    Jfk4th Minister of Fire

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    Yep, the ash pan can, just burn it hot. I burn a lot of maple and the ash pan is a nice thing to have. Some people don't like them, they just use a stove vacuum instead or shovel it into a pan. When I shoveled into a pan I would get ash dust, not good for the kids or wife or room...

    I would go for the freestanding, both look great and both pump the heat out. You will be very warm and comfy, shorts and t-shirts in the winter. Tom is right on the view of the stoves, the Olympic burns east west and a larger window. Plus it seems like the coals are so hot, hotter than my Summit. Does this make it better, probably not, just different.

    I do like the feature of the blower on the Summit and I am not sure if the Olympic has it. The blower will turn on and off when set to auto once the temp is right. I like the fact that the blower is only one for a couple of minutes then shuts off for a couple and so on and so forth(It also can be kept on all the time) I think the Avalon just comes on when the temp is right and stays on until the temps are low then it shuts off. This may be minor but I like that feature on the blower. You may want to check with Tom to see if the Avalon's do that now.
  14. thechimneysweep

    thechimneysweep Minister of Fire

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    Avalons also have very good blowers, and they're heat activated like the Summits.
  15. cwayne

    cwayne New Member

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    Tom,

    If I have my stainless flexible liner hooked up to a Summit insert, Do I just sweep the crud right into the stove. Do you have to take the baffles out to clean. Also is there any maintenance with the baffles.

    Thanks,
    Chris
  16. thechimneysweep

    thechimneysweep Minister of Fire

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    Hey Chris,

    This is one of the beautiful things about PE's "Floating Firebox" design: before you sweep, you pull one pin on the underside of the baffle box, then remove the entire box. Your brush will follow the liner all the way into the firebox: have a cup of coffee while the dust settles down, clean out the stove, and replace the baffle box. There's no maintenance with the baffle box, but I like to replace the baffle gasket ($3.50) at cleaning time, to ensure a good seal.

    Note: there are some performance fanatics out there (some on this forum) who swear that doubling up the baffle gasket supercharges the secondary burn. I haven't tried that yet, but plan to next sweep.
  17. Jfk4th

    Jfk4th Minister of Fire

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    Good points Tom, I forgot to add that great benefit. So Tom you said Avalons are heat activated but will turn on and off every couple of minutes like the Summits do(not just turn on when hot enough)?

    Good post, hell great post as these are my 2 favorite stoves. I do like the NC-30 Englander though for the money, I bought one for my Dad for 499 Lowes 50% off. Oh boy I should have not said that, we already had enough posts on that topic :coolsmile:
  18. thechimneysweep

    thechimneysweep Minister of Fire

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    JFK, the Avalon blower comes on at temperature, then stays on until the stove cools down, just as you describe. I've never operated a Summit with a blower, so I wasn't aware that it comes on and off in pulses when the stove is hot. Maybe the snap disc is just more sensitive to temperature changes?
  19. Jfk4th

    Jfk4th Minister of Fire

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    Chris
    Here is another point to defend the Olympic, it is even easier to clean than the Summit. You just simply open the top by pass damper and Viola the chimney black powder drops right in to the stove. No firebricks to remove, no tubes, you don't even have to remove a pin or free floating baffle! Man what a hard decision. If I had a choice I would buy both, I am actually going to by the Olympic this week so I will have both for a while!
    Hard to pass up the good price I am getting
  20. summit

    summit Minister of Fire

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    jfk, if you have ever noticed, soot falls all over your damper area and baffle in the avalon product, even if you open it to clean the insert out. and you are forced to remove all the bricks and retaining irons to cleanit out. the pe is a one shot deal. we sell lopis, which are good, but since we started carrying pe too, i have found sweeps of inserts easier, and the baffle components do not need replacing every few years.
  21. Jfk4th

    Jfk4th Minister of Fire

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    I guess time will tell if this happens to my Avalon, hope not. The PE is an easy stove to clean but remember that gasket needs replacing every year or definitely every two if you want a nice tight seal. I guess no stove is perfect when it comes to cleaning and I am lucky to have two easy cleaning stoves, at least easier than most :)

    I really don't have to worry about too much soot anyway because ;-) I only get about 2 cups after each cleaning thank goodness.

    I have been doing some burns with the Avalon only right now just because I can't wait for the season to start, gotta stop this obsession and save wood :lol:
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Both are great stoves. We have a lot of happy Avalon owners in our neighborhood. But I like the PE design too. Ask me in a few years about servicing the unit. So far, very good.
  23. Jfk4th

    Jfk4th Minister of Fire

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    Yep, I am a lucky man to have both, of course the PE Alderlea T6 would be a nice addition too BeGreen.

    What is that commandment "Thou shall not be envious of another man's stove" :lol:
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'd like to try them all! But pyromania runs in the family I think. :coolcheese:
  25. Henz

    Henz New Member

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    Go Olympic!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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