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Big E or Integra II ??????

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by fishy, Aug 30, 2008.

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  1. fishy

    fishy New Member

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    These are the in stock options for us - any advice on which is better? Will be in the basement, heating 2250 square feet. HELP!!! Am also on a wait list for a Mt Vernon, but that does not look promising and am willing to give up on that.

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  2. pelletfan

    pelletfan Member

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    I guess it will be quite simple in this case with one question
    What is your budget???
    Big E runs you around $2,000.-- versus the Integra II around $4,100.--
    Both will heat aprox the same square footage. Hooper size is around the same on both.
    Styling and design, I guess the Integra wins in this case, but nevermind this is my personal preference.
    Efficiency is much higher on Integra 94% versus 81% on the big E.
    Thermostat functions - the Integra has much better control possibilities.
    On the Integra you never have to fool around with damper settings, its all automatic.
    I would say go to Website of both Products and download yourself the User-Pdf files.
  3. fishy

    fishy New Member

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    Thanks for your response. It's overwhelming to me, so when I finally narrow it down to 2 stoves I think will work -I'm scared to make that decision. As for the budget, I'm willing to spend the 4 grand if it truly is a better stove. I wasn't sure if the extra features on the Integra were really worth the extra $2000. I've learned a lot from these forums, but it still seems like a foreign language to me.
  4. pelletfan

    pelletfan Member

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    Should you go with the Integra, you will not be sorry.
    Yes it's more, but looking at the track record, features and capabilities you definitely get what you pay for.
    Rika the manufacturer has a great product line in Europe http://www.rika.at/en/pellet_stove/ and is very well known for it's quality.
  5. rebsamusa

    rebsamusa Member

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    I bought the Integra II in July and it was installed last week...LOVE IT!!!!!!! We did the test burn and even on 10% it was blasting heat (it was a little chilly lst week too :) ). The cost was a major factor but they had it available so we jumped at it before the 25% increase, in total with instal it was $4565 :gulp: but we feel it will be a good investment over the coming years!

    Good Luck
  6. fishy

    fishy New Member

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    Geez, now I'm so confused. Was kinda hoping that no one liked the Integra II as that would have made our decision easier. I haven't seen either stove yet, they are both due to come in next week or the week after. I guess one of my concerns is - with the Integra II there seems to be more bells and whistles that could break down. I have checked out the Rika site, but either I'm not findng it/reading it correctly, or it doesn't seem to have as much info (at least in english) as some of the other pellet stove manufacturer websites.
    I have another question about the efficiency. I understand the higher the #, the better - but what does it really mean? The pellets will burn longer and heat more? Is it cleaner?
    Also - what kind of pellets have you burned in your Integra II?
  7. imacman

    imacman Guest

    I went and looked at an Integra before I bought the Avalon. If money wasn't an issue, I would have bought the Integra in a heartbeat....that is some stove!!!
  8. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    The Big E is the all around best stove for the money. You will not be disappointed in it except the style needs to grow on you. Kinda looks like a tool box and not an appliance. I used one all last year as a running demo in the store and it was great. Upgrades to the the Endurance for this year, duct work to come.

    Call if you have any questions.
    Eric
    330-876-0200

    Attached Files:

  9. pelletfan

    pelletfan Member

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  10. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    That 94% efficiency rating on the Integra is a bit hard to swallow. How the manufactureres arrive at this conclusion really needs to be defined and standardized.
  11. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    You are correct, Sir!


    This is what I just posted under another topic.

    Please remember they are both rated on BTU input not output. There is a difference.

    If a stove will burn a pound of pellets an hour it is burning at 8,3000 btu input. If a stove is burning five pounds of pellets an hour it is burning at 41,500 btu input per hour. Please remember this is not taking into account what heat is lost out the vent. If heat is going out the vent pipe it is basically lost. There is no regulating authority on how a manufacturer rates his btu. A lot of manufacturers do not rate their stoves accurately.


    Eric
  12. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    I think the Big E is a good looking stove with plain and simple lines that convey simplicity / function over form.
    My Harman like many other similar designs resemble the look of a toilet with the raised hopper .
    But in my finished basement it`s not a factor.
    A nice brass tea pot or vessel on top adds a nice touch to any stove .
    Payback on the Big E vs the Integra is gonna come twice as quick as I`m convinced and wholeheartly agree with the Webmaster regarding the exaggeration of saving money burning pellets.
    Investing $4K+ in a space heater isn`t a wise decision in my view and would make me think long and hard about re-zoning my present hot water system and how to improve my insulation values.
  13. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    I like that description, "toilet". Mind if I use it???

    Eric
  14. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Be my guest Eric.
  15. caryski

    caryski New Member

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    i picked up the big e 3 years ago at fleet farm for 999.00 been burning corn pellet mix very heavy on corn 90 to 10 mix
    i get corn for around 50.00 a ton cant beet the price ...corn puts out some great heat...i have not had any problems at all
    just reg cleaning hope that helps ....Cary
  16. buildingmaint

    buildingmaint Feeling the Heat

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    WOW ,if an Integra is twice the price as a BIG E it had better 200% efficient for me to give up my BIG E. I would buy two BIG E'S or use the extra 2 grand to buy pellets, for the next three years. That is at my usage and at $200 a ton.
  17. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Spending $4K+ for a pellet stove with installation borders on insanity IMO.
    Burning cordwood is undoubtedly the cheapest heat available and choosing a top quality attractive wood stove priced at around $2K+ such as the Pacific Energy Spectrum model can pay for itself in a year or less but burning pellets is a far different story to consider.
    Pellet stoves are generally more expensive to buy , more expensive to install, and more expensive to maintain being it has so many moving parts and especially since the buyer is hamstrung to the selling dealer for service.
    And for kickers the payback time stretches far longer since pellets are nearing the cost of fuel oil.
    Add to this the fact that the availability of pellets don`t particularly give off a feeling of security.
    For these reasons I`d be not wanting to overspend on a fancy pellet stove that misrepresents efficiency.
  18. pelletfan

    pelletfan Member

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    It is already quite standardized in Europe and also strict regulated.
    You forget that the Rika Wood Pellet Stoves are made in Austria. Europeans like regulations like no one else. Austria has very strict guide lines concerning environment protections and efficiencies concerning Wood Pellet Stoves.
    We have the EPA in the good old USA and our rules are just a little bit more relaxed.

    If one reads the different manuals of Wood Pellet Stoves, you will see that a lot of them are just EPA exempt, but a few already are better then the given
    EPA Standarts and are called EPA certified. It's that simple

    There are people who drive an AUDI and other ones which are driving a CHEVROLET.

    It is a personal taste and preference, so goes the story for Wood Pellet Stoves.

    I can not envision a Wood Pellet Stove like the Big E in my livingroom, it just does not fit in my home. But that does not mean I have to knock the product.

    Different strokes for different folks!!
  19. terryjd98

    terryjd98 Member

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    Being new to pellet stoves I was in about the same postion you are in now. After asking a lot of questions on here and visiting 5 stores looking at different stoves I was going to get a Harman P61A but we all know what happened there with Harman and their delivery dates. I am heating 1400 sq ft. If not for getting a deal on a display but never been fired up Enviro Evolution for $2,200.00 I would have bought a Big E, they were wanting $2,799.00 for it if they installed, installation $1,000.00.
    To me the Big E looked like a good stove with the big hopper, big ash pan, good heat output and a good name. The Enviro was cheaper with a full warrenty, could install myself, came with a Hearth Pad, has a good name and Canadian made and I live in Canada. With taxes figured in, buying an install kit and doing my own install I saved about $800.00, enough to pay for 3 tons of pellets.
    I will know this spring if I made the right choice or not. If pellet stove prices happen to drop this spring / summer and the price of oil stays up I would be tempted to buy a big E to put in the basement, take some load off the Enviro that is going to go in the dinning room and with luck not have to use any oil at all, know I will have to use a bit of oil this year when it gets to -20 to make sure the basement pipes don't freeze, even though I do plan to put an electric heater in the basement and set it to come on if it gets down to 40 degrees or less down there which from what I have been told might not happen with the pellet stove being on the floor right above the part of the basement where the pipes run. No way do I want to pay the Oil Company the $4,200.00 they want me to pay on my equal payment plan I have.
    Anyways like others have said what I did was look at my budget, looked at the stoves and went from there. I tried to get a good name stove that I figured would do the job at a decent price.
  20. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Heh,heh,heh. I seem to remember similar things stated about the efficiency and superiority of the "Franco Belge" oil stove (made in France/Belgium) that I installed 9 yrs ago in my basement. It was a nicely made cast iron stove that was touted to be supposedly a state of the art super efficient European design , but in reality my Burnham oil furnace was more efficient and less costly to run. So much for superior European designs.
    Still, I didn`t mind the little more oil the stove consumed since fuel oil was reasonably cheap those past years and the fact that I enjoy a stove of some sort ..
    I don`t think it`s a good analogy or practice to compare cars to wood stoves either. I know for sure that my sisters Audi spent almost as much time in the repair shop as it did on the road. However she loves her new Lincoln.
    And I still can`t believe any pellet stove is 94% efficient regardless of how stringent your regulations are..

    But I do agree with you in that not everyone would be satisfied with the looks of a basic pellet stove in their living room. Maybe I should re- phrase it to not everyone would be able to "live" with the looks of a a basic stove in their "living" room?
  21. Flammam

    Flammam Feeling the Heat

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    I have a +10 year old intregra I got for free. I have had zero problems with it and it heats my 1900 sq ft house easily. Fill with pellets, light, set heat level, keep pouring the pellets in every day. Shut down once a week for a vacuuming. Nice and quiet too.

    JOhn
  22. rebsamusa

    rebsamusa Member

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    Our reasoning for the cost was when we figured out how much it would cost to heat the house this winter at a conservative $4.50/ gallon x 1400 gallons = $6300!!! (my neighbor just locked in at $4.29 and has a $400 monthly budget!) It was less than that for the unit, install, and 4 tons of pellets and I already have a full tank of oil to start with. I have 3 levels each with separate heating zones so I will be able to shut down the first floor all the time and most probably the second floor 75% of the time, the basement is half finished so even if I keep it at 60 so the pipes won't freeze I think I will do well. Also the weekly maintenance on it is fairly minor, compared to other pellet stoves, and since I will be taking care of it and my husband will only be loading the pellets (99 lb hopper) that was a consideration too.

    Our second reasoning for the Integra is that 2 of my friends in-laws live in Seville Spain and, surprise!, this is what they own and have had for the past 7 years to heat the water and house, mind you to get to go to the bathroom you must go outside on the deck to get to the bathroom but at least they are warm in the winter :p

    Here is my Integra insert...

    Attached Files:

  23. DiggerJim

    DiggerJim Feeling the Heat

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    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over again expecting the results to be different...kind of like what happens everytime the oil man delivers to my house & I think the price is going to be less this time and I'll have used less oil (65 degrees for 6hrs/day and 58 degrees for the other 18hrs, 2 zones, insulated, new windows, etc. and still paying 350/mo on my oil contract with a $40/mo surcharge being added as of this month).

    Cordwood is cheaper than pellets but suffers from availability issues - I can't go to the store & but a cord. It's quality control is iffy and portion sizes questionable (did you really get 128 cu ft of wood with your last cord or 128 cu ft of wood & air?)...cord wood here costs me $17.50/million BTUs and I would have to feed the stove 3 or 4 times a day.

    My pellet stove (Whitfield Profile 30 insert) cost me less than 2K delivered (actually since I did the install myself, the installed cost with venting piping and everything ran just over 2K)). I chose to pay silly prices for pellets because I wanted to lock them in my garage, so I've got 3 1/2 tons at $22.10/million BTUs. Definitely more than the wood stove alternative but my pellets are sitting in my garage vs taking up a bunch more space in the yard. I can pour a bag into the stove, set the thermostat and it will fire up and warm me in the morning before turning off while we're at work and then warming up again before we get home...no chance of doing that with a woodstove. Far less inconvenient and less mess than a wood stove.

    I guess "nearing the price of oil" could be true depending on your frame of reference. But, the pellets in the garage cost me nearly 50% less than the cost of the oil sitting in the tank in the basement. Although prices of oil have come down a bit (still near $4/gal in NW CT) I expect the Gulf shutdown in anticipation of Gustav will prevent a further slide and may cause another increase. Regardless of whether there's any damage to the oil rigs in the Gulf, the shutdown is going to cause increases - worldwide consumption is very close to worldwide production everyday. Taking 25% of our daily consumption out of the pipeline while the hurricane comes calling isn't going to help - and it's going to take a long time to build the stocks that would have been built up over the week + that the rigs will be shutdown. My pellets don't care about Gustav. As a result, my payback is likely to come in year 1.

    Pellets are available - no one's said there aren't any to be found - it's all about how much you're willing to pay. I can pay 290 in CT or haul my ass to Ohio and pay 220 or less. It's not a matter of overall supply but simply localized profit taking.

    I do agree with you about the efficiency rating issue - I expect the 94% to represent the "combustion efficiency" of the stove which is pretty much the same for all pellet stoves. That's why the EPA doesn't care about them. The "heating efficiency" - e.g. for a given amount of input BTUs, how much arrives in the home after burning - specifically excluding what's gone up the vent pipe. There's no magic fairy dust with an Integra - simple test of this would be to see how cold the vent pipe is. If it's warm (or hot even) it's likely that the 94% efficiency does not represent heating efficiency.
  24. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Oh, please don`t get me wrong. The Integra could very well be one of the best pellet stoves out there for all I know.
    What I question was the 94% efficiency rating regardless of any purpoted "European standard) , the need and benefits to overspend on a space heater , and the inflated and misunderstanding of savings and return on a $4-$5K space heater investment. My math doesn`t support any big savings burning pellets unless substantial sacrifices are made.
    I also stand by my comments about the rising cost of pellets and uncomfortable feeling I have about the availability of them.
    Next year could be even more difficult with the gigantic increase of stove sales and pellet users that will drive up demand and costs even more especially when combined with the dwindling wood byproducts supply.
  25. jacobaimhoff

    jacobaimhoff New Member

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    you do know that your not supposed to burn corn in the big e right?
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