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Best pellet stove insert

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by nctarheel09, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. nctarheel09

    nctarheel09 New Member

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    Hi all,

    I am new to using or having a fireplace and want to ask some seasoned fireplace veterans what's the best choice for me. I have a masonry fireplace with gas logs right now and I am wanting to switch it to a pellet insert since propane is costly. What type of pellet insert would you recommend for a 1600 sq. ft. home which would be cost effective and easy to operate.

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  2. kenfsr

    kenfsr Member

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    orange,ct
    We have a country winslow PI-40 insert in a cape with approx 1400 sf and it does a great job of heating the whole house. 74 in living room and 68 in bedrooms , and we keep it on a low setting #2 of 5, it is rated to 900- 2000 sf. Great stove, runs well, no problems 3 years running. had 1 problem with ignition, but was due to stove not cleaned well, did a good cleaning and it fired right up.

    http://www.lennoxhearthproducts.com/products/inserts/winslow/
  3. flynfrfun

    flynfrfun Minister of Fire

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    My recommendation is to get the biggest stove you can afford. You can always turn it down, but if you get too small of a stove, you can't turn it up. I have one of the bigger ones and am glad I do. I only heat 1900sf with it. My favorite 3 inserts are the Quadrafire Mt Vernon, Harman Accentra and Enviro M55 cast insert.
    Flynfrfun
  4. lecomte38

    lecomte38 Feeling the Heat

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    Harman Accentra Insert with the bottom feed system will burn almost any kind of pellet with no problems.
  5. CT Mets Fan

    CT Mets Fan Member

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    Watertown CT
    I have a Breckwell P23i, it came with the house when I bought it last year. I think the unit is a couple of years old. In the heating months, I shut it down in the morning when I wake up, and turn it on every night when I get home from work AFTER I clean out all the ash from the night before. My house is about 2800 sqft, and it seems to do the job pretty well. Best performing pellets for me have been Barefoot (4+ tons last year), Hamer's Hot Ones and Turman's (4 tons in the garage for this year).
  6. roadrunnermoore

    roadrunnermoore Member

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    I have the Enviro M55 cast insert and love it. It heats my 2400sf home.
  7. relxn88

    relxn88 Member

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    Ma.
    I agree with the highest Btu stove you can fit. Measure your fireplace to make sure which stoves will fit. My fireplace dimensions only allowed me to buy a 40000 btu. Bigger would have been better. But, it's enough to heat my entire home.
  8. Cincinnati Kid

    Cincinnati Kid Feeling the Heat

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    I believe the Harman Accentra Insert or Quadrafire AE Insert would currently be your best choices for a higher end quality stove. I've been burning wood pellets for over 15 years now and in my opinion, Harman's are the top of the line.

    I had a Harman Accentra insert but lost it in a house fire. I just ordered another one along with a P-43 Harman for my basement. They should be installed in November.



    Yes, Harmans cost more than other stoves but I believe you get what you pay for.
  9. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    I am a go big fan too! M55 cast is not only pretty she'll eat what you have available without complaints!

    We all have our opinions on whats the ticket! What I see in the end that usually makes the sale is looks and then price! Probably best to get some first hand looks at some and check the price tags. Also check ease of use as this will be a "labor of love" to keep warm with. What I mean is in order for the stove to work properly, You will need to keep it clean(labor) and it will keep you warm. So look carefully at the units and at least consider which is easier to maintain!
  10. RiddleMasterMorgon

    RiddleMasterMorgon Member

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    Any chance you can switch to natural gas ?

    Cost of new pellet stove and install and pellets will not pay back in a couple of seasons, really worth it ?

    Otherwise, I like my BOSCA and have no major issues with it. Since I have only one I can't compare with others. And yes, get the biggest you can fit in. COnsider a free standing as well if you have a nice alternative location in the house rather than replacing the fireplace you currently have (and keep it as backup ?)
  11. RiddleMasterMorgon

    RiddleMasterMorgon Member

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    Any chance you can switch to natural gas ?

    Cost of new pellet stove and install and pellets will not pay back in a couple of seasons, really worth it ?

    Otherwise, I like my BOSCA and have no major issues with it. Since I have only one I can't compare with others. And yes, get the biggest you can fit in. COnsider a free standing as well if you have a nice alternative location in the house rather than replacing the fireplace you currently have (and keep it as backup ?)
  12. nctarheel09

    nctarheel09 New Member

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    Ii wish we could get Natural gas but it's no where near us. The natural gas company told us that it just wasn't in our area. So I have to decide on whether Ii should go with wood or wood pellets.
  13. Ironhorse74

    Ironhorse74 Member

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    I really like the St Croix Ashby P. Ton's of great features. A huge ash pan. The ability to clean the vent without disconnecting it.

    Brad
  14. Nicholas440

    Nicholas440 Feeling the Heat

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    I had gas logs in my fireplace for about 5 years, and finally threw them out. The gas logs were vent free, and although I got some heat in my house I also got a lot of fumes, and in the spring when I cleaned the windows and walls they had a light film on them from the gas fumes, and Im sure this was not very good for my lungs either.

    I tossed the gas logs , and I bought a Quadrafire Castile insert, but as was stated I would look at the largest BTU unit I could afford, because you can always run it on a lower setting.

    There are many good brands out there, and its hard to say who has the best one. I think the best one is the one that fits your budget, and looks the nicest to you , since you have to look at it every day. Pellet stoves or inserts will require some work on your part and are much more complicated than a regular wood burner, there are a lot of components that can fail over time and some of the parts can be very costly to replace. I like a pellet burner because its' automatic, and I can fire it up at the touch of a button, and can regulate the flame and have it thermostat controlled as well. It can turn itself on, and off as needed, and cannot do that with a conventional wood burning stove.


    Take a look at the forum posts, glance over them, and you will see that some brands are more prone to fail than others.

    Good luck in your decision,
  15. DBCOOPER

    DBCOOPER Feeling the Heat

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    Some of it depends ou the size of your fireplace and what will fit.
  16. flynfrfun

    flynfrfun Minister of Fire

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    Also, if possible you really want to go to the stove shops and listen carefully to each model you like while it's running. Try to ignore the ambient noise and imagine it running in your quiet house. That is what I did. Noise was a factor in my decision making and the Enviro M55 was one of the quietest along with the Mt Vernon. My TV is right next to my stove in my living room. I don't even have to turn the volume up while my stove is running.
    Flynfrfun
  17. pfmaloney

    pfmaloney Member

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    The interesting thing about the M55 insert is that many owners complained about it not throwing out that much heat to the point where Enviro has created a stronger convection blower. I imagine that a stronger convection fan would be louder. I'm not sure if the new fan is standard or an option.
  18. Mr Whitfield

    Mr Whitfield Feeling the Heat

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    I would look on craigslist for a good used stove, I would look for a Whitfield Advantage II-t, one from the late 90's. You can pick these stove up used in great shape. This was the the number one selling stoves of all time. This will heat your home with no problem. As you can tell by my handle, I'm a big whitfield fan. Just remember with any stove you will have to maintain it.
  19. flynfrfun

    flynfrfun Minister of Fire

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    True...I'll be getting the new convection fan soon. I do expect more noise. Not sure how much. The new fan is standard on all new M55s BTW.
    Flynfrfun
  20. nctarheel09

    nctarheel09 New Member

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    What type of pellet stove has the least problems and least noise? Ii have seen some people say the harman accentra is loud.
  21. flynfrfun

    flynfrfun Minister of Fire

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    I had hoped to find out the answer to your question when I first started researching pellet stoves. But, I eventually learned there is no "buy this stove, it works the best" answer. There are a few well known brands that are pretty well respected by most. In my exhaustive research I kept coming back to 3 stoves of which I have already mentioned....Enviro M55, Harman Accentra, and Quadrafire Mt. Vernon.

    The Enviro and Mt Vernon are the quietest and have the highest BTU input. The Accentra is a bottom feeder which is nice because you don't hear the "plink, plink" as the pellets fall down the chute. However it's fans are noisier than the other two. The Mt Vernon has a (in my opinion) rinky dink automatic dump of the burn pot that I personally don't feel is engineered very well. It shuts down every 2hrs or so to dump, then restarts. Some don't mind, but I also hear others complain when they are in the dead of winter trying to keep the house warm and the stove is shutting down. Also, it doesn't slide out on rails which is an extremely important detail in my opinion for an insert. Also, some complain that it doesn't always dump the clinker as it will stick to the sides of the burn pot. These stoves are heavy and I can't imagine trying to slide mine out without a rail system like the M55 and Accentra have. The Enviro has a nifty burn pot with an agitator that keeps the burn pot free of clinkers and moves the ashes into the ash bin. I have had trouble with a noisy auger motor and squealing convection blowers. Enviro has been good to deal with on the warranty parts. I installed the parts myself as it's very easy. However the Accentra has a better thought out rail system that incorporates the exhaust as well as the OAK. Enviro seems to have forgot about the OAK in their rail system and unless you are mounting your stove by an outside wall, figuring out how to make the oak connection is a pain.

    I could go on further, but I think you get the idea. Each one has it's pros and cons. Keep researching and learn as much about each stove as you can. Then decide what matters the most to you and go for it.
    Flynfrfun
  22. JBWheel

    JBWheel New Member

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    This above post is very helpful. I didn't realize about the many differences as noted above. I just purchased the Accentra which is being installed tomorrow morning. As posted in another thread, after reviewing the Accentra and Mt. Vernon pellet inserts, I ended up with the Accentra. In leaving the store, I had Buyer’s remorse as I had already decided on the Mt. Vernon as I walked in the store. I think the Mt. Vernon looks better and has other benefits but I ended up with the Harman for various other reasons. I think the Mt. Vernon would look nicer in my house, more heat output, larger size, may be quieter. The Accentra fill hatch for the pellets seems more accessable, the cleaning instructions as explained by the rep. seemed easier and less frequent, and it was less costly than the Mt. Vernon. I think you can’t go wrong with either one. I understand they are made by the same company now.

    I didn't know much about the Enviro M55 but I would check it out as per above too. Once you decide on the stove, you can then try to find your choice of the best pellets which can be an obsessive task. It appears you can never have enough (oink) and have to try all brands. I purchased 4 tons, have no room in my garage, and I have been on the search for Hamer's Hot Ones. As my daughter picked up and now says... OMG.
  23. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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  24. Applezz

    Applezz Member

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    I have an old Austroflamm Integra insert built in the early 90s. All original parts and still runs fine, and is very quiet. I travel a lot and the wife wanted an autostart model, so I just purchased the Rike (Austroflamm) Integra 2 insert. Haven't heard anything bad about this brand, and if it lasts as well as the original I will be very happy.
  25. nctarheel09

    nctarheel09 New Member

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    Has anyone bought a Napoleon NPI45 wood pellet insert? A store in our area sells them but Ii haven't heard anything about it.

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