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Considering a Woodstock Progress Hybrid, but have some questions/concerns. Any PH owners out there?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by John Drake, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. John Drake

    John Drake New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2012
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    Loc:
    Pacific NW
    Hi,

    I'm considering a Woodstock Progress Hybrid based on the positive reviews I've read & how efficient it sounds.

    I'm all the way in the Pacific NW however, so I have no way of looking at one aside from pictures on the internet.

    I have a few concerns and was hoping any Woodstock Progress Hybrid (or even just woodstock stove) owners could chime in & shed some light on them.

    1. ;? Some threads seem to indicate there being a possible smoke/smell leak on it. I have a strong sense of smell & this would drive me crazy if it were true. Is this something they fixed or that's easy to fix? Did anyone ever figure out why people were complaining about this?
    2. ;? Related to (1.), the top of the unit has soapstone that tips up and a cast iron plate under it to heat cookware on. Under the cast iron plate is the catalyst & exhaust. How well is this sealed, could smoke leak out of it? What keeps it sealed well enough that it wouldn't happen? Could whatever seals it break down over time because of the ultra-hot post-catalyst air; & leak smoke / gasses into the room?
    3. ;? Some people complained about it being loud when it expands/contracts because of steel plates beneath the soapstone. How loud is it & how long does it make noise while it's heating up / cooling off?
    4. ;? Their warranty is only 6 months, how good is Woodstock in helping customers after the warranty ends?
    5. ;? Their site says it's on sale for $500 of. ($3,000 vs 3,500); but many posts & reviews list people laying $2,400 - $2,500. Are they just raising the price to put on a sale as a sales tactic, or is this stove really normally $3,500? How much did you pay for it?

    Thanks a lot guys & gals. I'll be checking this thread regularly & try to clear up anything if I didn't explain something clearly or correctly.

    The sale says it ends Nov 9 (this Fri); so I'll have to decide before then.

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  2. HollowHill

    HollowHill Minister of Fire

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    I'm one of those that gets a smoke smell. This happens when I turn the air too far down. So, if I smell it, I just let more air in. I have one of the earliest models, it may be that this is not a problem on later ones. There is a gasket under the cooktop that seals things. I'm not bothered by the noise. WS is phenomenal in helping customers. I'm well past the 6 month warranty and they still go to unbelievable lengths to help me. Their helpfulness has not waned at all. The stove normally sells for $3500, first adopters (those who got it when it first came out) were offered a discount initial price of $2400, which is what I paid for mine.

    I love mine, it does a great job of heating my leaky old sieve of a house. I'm a newbie and find it easy to run, very controllable and responsive. And I find it beautiful year-round.

    Good luck with your search. Any more questions, please feel free to ask.
  3. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    If you don't like it, you have six months to send it back. On their dime. Try to find that service anywhere else.
    charly likes this.
  4. John Drake

    John Drake New Member

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    This is the thread where I first read about the smoke leaking.
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/new-progress-install-want-my-fireview-back.84006/

    The post was from February so I don't know if they changed anything since then. The only change I've been able to find out about is that they switched the top piece of soapstone for 3 pieces because the solid top soapstone piece was breaking in transport it seems.

    Is it a rope like on the doors? Binko, in that thread said that he thought smoke (smell) was caused by out the side door so he replaced the rope "with a MUCH softer and puffy er one that better filled in the door gasket channel-problem solved." One of my concerns is that if the gasket is a rope, that if the side door didn't seal correctly the top might not & gasses could leak into the room.

    Also fire_man mentions getting smoke on warm days, he then says the smoke seems to have been solved by insulating the flue. I'm not sure why that would work, but perhaps the design has slower airflow so it's harder to get a draft unless the air control is open wider?

    Thanks again for taking the time to help me
  5. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    It was on the reload in warm weather with a minimal length chimney that he was having a problem with smoke coming out the top of the door while reloading. Note that Woodstock has always had a hinged piece of metal at the top of the door that allows you to load wood (because it flaps back on its hinge when you encounter it) right to the top opening, but prevents smoke from coming into the room. He had removed this baffle because he found it a nuisance. I have a tall chimney, good draft, and have never had smoke leak out the door if I have the bypass and air fully open upon reload (which you are supposed to do). Also, if you allow your wood to burn through a full cycle (wood to coals) you should never have a problem with smoke upon reload, because there should be no smoke coming off the coals.

    The original steep discount on the stoves was given to the first purchasers because Woodstock was anxious to get a lot of the stoves into homes quickly so they could assess performance in lots of varied settings, see if there were any improvements or modifications necessary. So, for being guinea pigs, we got a great price. There were some early bumps, but theyhad nothing to do with the basic design of the stove, and Woodstock was both eager and impressive in their response to issues.

    This company is always just a phone call away. They graciously and comprehensively deal with any request you make, They stand behind their stoves forever, and are just as concerned as your are to have your stove running properly. They never make you feel as if you are bothering them too much. They are amazingly responsive.

    The original stovetop was redesigned because it proved impossible to get the large thick pieces of soapstone of the original top in a piece with no imperfections (if that is the right term). Upon repeated heating, a few of the stovetops cracked. They are still usable, but Woodstock doesn't want you to use them. (The crack closes once the soapstone is warm). So Woodstock redesigned the top to be several pieces that together are the same size as the original. The smaller pieces to not have a problem wth cracking on expansion and contraction.

    Woodstock also designed a subsequent top that permits comprehensive cooking on the stove. There is a cast iron grill that sits on the interior cast iron frame, which has a channel and gasket. The grill extends beyond and compresses the gasket, for a positive seal. There is no question of smoke leaking out the top. Then, there three soapstone slabs, somewhat thinner than the original design tops, that sit on top of the grill. It is nicely designed. The soapstone is easy to lift and rests in a track at the back of the stove when you are cooking. You can life as many or few slabs as you wish. There are three elements on the cooktop, each 50 degrees hotter than the one below. If the soapstone registers 300, the elements are about 500,550 and 600, I believe. They heat and cook very quickly and well, I do all my stovetop cooking, all my roasting, and some of my baking on the stove. You have the additional flexibility of cooking on top of the soapstone, when you want gentler heat, so you relly have great range of heat. Either (or, if you wish, both) of these last two tops are available. They are easily interchangable...takes about 5 minutes max.

    Woodstock stoves are beautifully built. You need have no concern about their safety, or ease of maintenance. They are beautiful, and built to last for your lifetime. They do not leak gases. The PH burns incredibly cleanly and efficiently. It is 20 degree out here at the moment. I have about 12 pounds of wood in the stove, cat engaged and the air completely down. There are some flames in the firebox, and the 1400 square foot first floor is 70 degrees. I've been working outside all day, so am quite comfortable. A little later this evening I'll fill the firebox about 2/3 full, and will get way more than a 12 hour burn. The night before last I started a fire at about 9:30 and still had a good fire going at 2:30 the next afternoon. I was going out again, so put a split on at that time.

    You won't burn this stove very much with the air open to any appreciable extent. It is open completely on start up and reloads, but with a decently drafting chimney and dry wood, one quickly closes down to at least 50% within about 5-15 minutes, shortly therafter has the cat engaged, and very soon closes the air almost completely, unless it is bitterly cold out. This stove produces a truely impressive amount of heat out its glass front very quickly, warms quickly and with a very soft, comfortable heat, and is almost unbelievably efficient. It puts out significantly more heat from the same amount of wood than the very efficient Woodstock FIreview.

    Those of us who are complaining about the stove being loud are spoiled because we previously had other Woodstock stoves and have upgraded to the larger Progress Hybrid. Woodstock's other stoves are cast iron and soapstone. This stove is cat iron, steel and soapstone. The steel makes pinging noises as it expands and contracts with heating and cooling. The noise is not offensive or loud, and you likely won't even think about it. It is just a bit startling to long time Woodstock users, whose previous stoves were completely silent. Any stove with steel makes these noises.

    The stove is beautiful, well designed, and well built. It is extremely easy to control and very responsive to air adjustments. It gets to operating temperature quickly, and stays at a very consistent termperature for hours upon hours throughout the burn. It burns and heats equally well with a quite small load for a warmer day, or a significant load on a bitterly cold day. For increased output simply increase load size and, when minus twenty weather, air supply. Once the cat is engaged on the stove, no further attention is required until the fire is down to coals and you are ready to relaod, although you may wish to open the air supply to about 1/2 when the fire has burned down to a moderate coal bed, to more quickly burn the coals to get a bit more heat per hour at the tail end of the burn, and to reduce the coal bed before reloading. This would normally be many, many hours after engaging the cat.

    It is pretty obvious I love my stove. I previously had a Fireview, which I also loved, but this stove is something else again. ( I still have my Fireview, sitting unused and pretty in a corner in the family room...can't part with it). If you have a larger home in the Pacific NW, you will find this stove keeps you very comfortable just cruising alone on a low burn.
  6. greenbrierwv

    greenbrierwv Member

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    i paid $2400, but im sure this is a $3500 stove. The workmanship and quality of the build of this thing is really excellent. The gasket under the cook top is a thicker rope style. It seems to seal pretty well. Mine came with the cooktop and three piece top stones. the cooktop is super nice and we use it regularly, if the power goes out we are set. i get a slight smoky smell if i shut the stove down too early and cut the air back too quickly. it is pretty minimal though, you really have to sniff around for it. the clicking noise is pretty minimal. it doesnt last long at all, generally after you shut it down and the catalytic starts kicking in. that doesnt bother me at all. I had an older Vermont Castings Encore before this and the difference in heat is night and day. The soapstone heat is really super nice...much more even. My house is 3-5 degrees warmer with the same amount of wood. I fill this stove up at 7pm and 7am, with plenty of coals and stovetop barely below 300 after 12 hours. This thing cruises for 12 hours and holds heat so well. I have no doubt i hold on to this one for a long time. no need for the 6 month warranty for me, this is a keeper. did i mention its really a beautiful stove that looks too pretty to have this kind of performance. love it.
    timusp40, charly and Backwoods Savage like this.
  7. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Stoves with that are real efficient don't waste a lot of heat up the flue so a good flue system is a top requirement. By insulating his flue he is keeping the internal temp higher which in turn creates a better draft on the warmer days. With these epa stoves the flue is as important than the stove itself.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  8. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I just started burning my PH this past week. I did have a FV installed for the last three years so I have quite a decent history with the folks at Woodstock.

    To the PH - you can read up here or listen to the answers WRT the smoke smell etc. Bottom line to me is that I have full faith in the folks there to stand behind their product and work with you to help resolve any issues you may have, no matter the cause. Now I'm not saying they will replace your chimney system, however I'm sure they will guide you to make sure you know what you need in order to have the right chimney to drive your stove.

    During my time with the FV I had several conversations with the folks there related to issues that I had and every time I spoke with them they were helpful (and patient).

    I suggest you give them a call and talk to them - you won't get a hard sell and likely you will learn a few things to boot.
    charly and Backwoods Savage like this.
  9. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    You may want to call WS and find out if they can put you in touch will someone nearby who owns a Progress. Not too many have been sold yet since the stove is fairly new, but you might get lucky and be able to see one in action.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  10. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    I don't really have much to add. I agree with all that has been said.

    I occasionally did get a little smell just like many others when engaging the cat and turning the draft down. I have not had this at all since I got the new screen. Maybe it's related? I know my old screen was never completely clean because it was a pain to do so. Maybe the slightly reduced draft from a partially dirty screen was just enough to sometimes get a bit of a smell. The new screen is very simple to clean and is just an example of how Woodstock is dedicated to improving their products based on customer feedback.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  11. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    Oh yeah, the cooktop is fantastic! I highly recommend it.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  12. 3fordasho

    3fordasho Feeling the Heat

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    I installed mine last Febuary. Only initial issue was the cat screens would not stay in place. Woodstock sent me a second set (original design) and they've stayed in place. I am about to call for the re-designed screen as it looks like a good improvement. I had two fireviews before the progress and any minor issues that came up were dealt with promptly, absolutey no complaints with woodstock's customer service.

    I do occasionally get the faint smoke smell with the Progress Hybrid, like others have mentioned it occures with a good load of wood and a pretty much shut down air inlet. I did redo the door gasket late in the last heating season but don't know if the smell issue is resolved yet. I did find it bothersome at times as the air currents in my house seem to bring it right up to our bedroom on the second floor. The fireviews never did it unless there was a backpuff but that is simple to eliminate. Like Waulie mentioned I hope the new screen helps and if that does not work perhaps I'll try adding another 3' section of class A insulated fue pipe to my chimney.

    One thing I really like over the Fireview (besides the larger capacity and viewing glass) is the PH is more forgiving on start up if you forget to cut back the air as the fire builds - the smoke path prevents flames from shooting right up the chimney like they can on the Fireview when the bypass is open. I don't think I've ever seen the temp go much over 500F on start up or reload with the PH. The fireview on the other hand can get to 1000F+ in a matter of minutes if you leave the air inlet open to far.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum John.

    At the Woodstock Open House in October 2011 we got to see the Progress in action! Some of the folks who have already posted were at that Open House as was my wife and I. We were so impressed that we put a deposit on the stove but at the time we still were unsure if we needed the stove or not because we had done some remodeling and also added a room. However, once winter arrived we could plainly see that the Progress would simply be too much stove for us. Therefore, we are still very happy owners of a Woodstock Fireview. Still, I will try to answer just a few questions.

    btw, you'll notice the software changed your numbers when I inserted answers. Sorry about that.


    Good luck to you John.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    At the Open House, I had asked Tom (Tom Morrissey, the owner) to adjust he draft to get the fire to lift off the logs. This is the video of that happening. Sorry about the chatter but there were many people there.

  15. binko

    binko Member

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    ALL of my smoke smells disappeared when I changed out the door gasket to a much softer and more compliant one.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. Cessna

    Cessna Member

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    Awesome video Dennis! Do you know how hot the stove top was?
  17. qain

    qain Member

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    Bought a PH last February.

    1. I have had no smoke smell that was not my fault. I have forgotten to open the bypass door a few times on a reload and get a some smell. I also get smoke smell if I keep the air lever open at all when the door is open. So I open the bypass, open the the air all the way for a few seconds to get the draft (if been burning low), close the air down totally and open the door. No smell.

    2. I just got the cooktop on wednesday. There is a rope seal all the way around the top. The weight of the cast iron top is plenty to seal it up. They even sent me a new gasket just in case the old one was too compressed. NO leaks with the old gasket, but I have the new one should it ever.

    3. When heating or cooling there is some pinging. Yes you hear it, no it does not bother me. In fact if I am doing something else I do not notice it. I swear sometimes I can hear the stove when the cat gets up to temp. It really only makes noise when its heating quickly from cooler or cooling quickly from being hot. Running normal, no real appreciable noise.

    4. Good grief yes yes yes. They have been awesome. When I asked about the cooktop I mentioned I had developed a small air leak in the back. They sent some cement free of charge to seal it up, the email included some tips on application. They also sent the upgraded screen and it is a HUGE improvement. I was never able to keep my old screens in place for more than a few days. They new screen system is perfect. Keeps in place, much more heavy duty, and the stove does indeed draft a bit better.

    5. I was one of the last early adopters for the intro price. They do offer sales almost constantly of varying degrees but it certainly is a 3500 stove. It is wonderful to look at, easy to opertate, and heats my 2400 sq ft home from the basement. Are there $20 bills in the ash...no...can I get 30 hour burn times....no, would I recommend it on a short list...yes.
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Cessna, I think I remember but not entirely certain. It seems the stove was somewhere around 450.
  19. Cessna

    Cessna Member

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    Dennis:

    Thanks Dennis. It is an awesome looking stove! Hope all is well with you and your's!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  20. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    All the information is interesting and helpful to me. Great to get ideas for tweeks to try with the awesome PH. Really have enjoyed this stove since I got it.

    Don't think we've heard from the original poster since Sunday.
  21. Sarad

    Sarad New Member

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    Quain --
    your tips for avoiding smoke on reload are very helpful to this newbie. The Progress is my first stove and I am very pleased. During Sandy and electric loss it kept me toasty.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.

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