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Defective hearthstone "Heritage" nightmare, please help

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by AlexNY, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. AlexNY

    AlexNY New Member

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    New York state
    I purchased a hearthstone "Heritage" model wood stove in August of this year. I had been using a Jotul combifire 4 airtight non-EPA stove for many years for 100% of my home heating needs, but wanted to take advantage of the stimulus tax credit.

    I did not try it right away, because the installer told me that part of the $5000 purchase package was a demonstration of how to use it.

    This morning was the demonstration. The company (called Ashwood, in Long Island) sent a young man who spent 2 hours trying to light the "heritage" using finely split 18 month seasoned wood, kindling, and starter bricks ... with no success. He was only able to keep any kind of flame in the firebox with the loading door open.

    After he left, I confirmed that there was no way to use the lower left hand air control to maintain a flame in the firebox. Even a lit firebrick, with no wood at all, would not stay alight. I conlucded that this device is delivering exaclty zero oxygen to the fire, which consequently smoulders and dies.

    I attempted opening the ash pan swing door and sure enough the fire came back to life.

    I have taken pictures of the bright yellow flames burning from a load of wood with the ash pan door open, followed by the immediate quencing of the fire when the ash pan door is closed. I also took pictures of the back, front, and both sides of the device. There is no visible air inlet anywhere (it must either be underneath, or this wood stove simply does not have an air inlet). Wiggling the air control has no effect on anything.

    I took pictures of the reasonably clean burning emissions when the ash pan door is open, followed by the billowing plume of smoke that results when the door is closed. I also climbed on the roof and smelled the smoke, just to verify that it is indeed toxic wood smoke as opposed to "consensation" as the young man suggested.

    Before buying this thing, I read a disturbing report about quality control problems with the "herthstone" company problems, but I chalked it up to people who did not know what they were doing. Now, I only wish I could have by old 1980 Jotul back instead of this broken "EPA cert" smoke manufacturing machine.

    Can anyone help with this nightmare? I don't know how to post pictures, which I have and might help.

    Thanks.

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  2. fredarm

    fredarm Minister of Fire

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    Call Ashwood and make them come back and fix it or replace it. The young man from the company should be able to confirm that the stove is not drawing with the door closed.
  3. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't classify this as a nightmare just yet. The first thing I'd probably do after telling them to get their butts back there, would be to verify the stove was not clogged or blocked up with any debris or packaging material. After a cursory look, I'd try to blow air through the stove, from the inside out if possible (I don't know much about the layout and/or air passage(s) of this stove). Moving the air control should obviously increase and decrease the volume of air flowing through the stove.
  4. AlexNY

    AlexNY New Member

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    If anyone actually has one of these, maybe you can help with this. I have kept the primary air control fully opened, BUT:

    The force that it takes to move the air control from full open to full closed is approximately the same as the weight of a pencil. I put a string around a pencil and through a couple of holes in the air control. Then I held the other end of the string, suspended the pencil, and moved it to the side. The weight of the pencil was enough to move the air control lever.

    It "feels" as though the lever is attached to nothing.

    I also see a low burning fire inside the firebox once the smoke clears away, meaning that some minor amount of air is getting in. This would be consistent with a stove that is operating with the primary air control fully closed (due to being disconnected).

    Perhapse the air control mechanism is simply not attached?
  5. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

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    I just went to my Heritage in the showroom and moved the air lever back and forth. You can hear a definate sound of metal on metal rubbing and feel some friction. I also know Mike and Steve who run Ashwood on Long Island, they are good guys. You should be able to ask them to contact Hearthstone and ask about checking the connection on that air control. Also, you didnt mention what your chimney installation is like.

    A way to tell if the smoke you see is condensation or not is if it vanishes a few feet after coming out of the chimney or not. Smoke will linger, water vapor goes away.
  6. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    It sounds like you've already found the problem. Next you just need to figure out how to reattach the linkage...
  7. AlexNY

    AlexNY New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I think maybe this problem is not too hard to fix.
  8. meathead

    meathead Feeling the Heat

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    I'd say take it apart and fix it...but for $5,000 I'd be calling them to tell them to get back to your house RIGHT NOW and fix your stove...and I'd be placing my lunch order and specifieing what scent massage oil I wanted.

    Great stove though - once you get everything squared away I bet you are going to be a whol enew level of happy and warm this winter.
  9. meathead

    meathead Feeling the Heat

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    And BTW if the air control is anything like it is on my jotul, it is a very easy fix. Take the dog house off and set everything back in place - they commonly get shaken loose during transport/installation
  10. edthedawg

    edthedawg Minister of Fire

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    It's not the simplest repair, but from that description the linkage isn't connected. For HALF of $5000 total cost, they should be running over there to fix it for you. It's a great stove - honest! You just have a very simple problem and need the dealer to fix it. Hopefully the stove won't need to be removed, and they can service it right there.

    If - for some reason - the dealer sends you on your way, then come let us know. Hopefully you aren't standing over the tech, wielding a sharp poker and breathing too much fire yourself ;)
  11. AlexNY

    AlexNY New Member

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    Loc:
    New York state
    I just talked to the guys at Ashwood, they said that they suspect it is wet wood. I am now burning pieces of kiln dried 2x4 lumber that are left over from a treehouse project for my son.

    So far, there is smoke billowing out of the chimney, little or no heat, and little visible fire in the firebox.

    It is also possible that my problem is that I got used to an older device that is simply leages better than anything that anyone knows how to make now.

    I never had smoke out of my chimney for more than 5 minutes when starting a fire in the old Jotul combifire 4. The guy from Ashwood tells me that it can take an etire load of wood, several hours of burn, before the "heritage" stove really starts to re-burn smoke?!?

    The EPA needs a new brain, I wanted to upgrade to something "better" and end up poisoning everone's air for no gain.

    I suspect these modern stoves are simply inferior to what we had 30 years ago.

    The Ashwood guy did tell me that, whatever I do, I should never leave a fire burning with the ash pan door open, advice that I will follow, even though it seems to be the only way to prevent smoke from billowing out of the chimney.

    How can anyone like this product? Even if the air control is defective and stuck at "fully closed", there should never be this much smoke coming out of a wood burning device.
  12. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

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    Tell them Frank Sappo said to go check the linkage. Half those guys used to work for me. If they don't help you, let me know. I'll contact Hearthstone tomorrow and get directions on fixing the linkage for you
  13. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

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    Alex,
    No offense, man, but why'd it cost $5,000? And it's only been a couple hours and you're going crazy!! "The EPA needs a new brain"? "It is also possible that my problem is that I got used to an older device that is simply leages [sic] better than anything that anyone knows how to make now"? Are you serious?

    In any case, you bought it from a dealer you felt was reputable, so they should take care of it. If not, throw it through their front window.

    S
  14. Bobbin

    Bobbin Minister of Fire

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    My husband's boss has a Hearthstone (don't know the model) and they've had it for several years now. They love it, it's performed faultlessly since it was installed. Hearthstone makes a very nice stove and there is absolutely no reason at all for you to be this frustrated by what is a very good and reliable product. Hearthstone doesn't want or need this sort of "bad press" and that gives you a distinct advantage!

    Clearly, this is a dealer/service issue. One that should not only be, but MUST be corrected since you've forked over $5K in "pork". Take a deep breath, jot down some notes on paper and call them again. Patiently outline the problem and your suspicions about its origin and tell them what you expect them to do to rectify the situation to your satisfaction. I'm sure you want to wring some necks, but don't get angry because it will only ratchet up the tension.

    All the smarties here seem to have zeroed in on the essence of the problem and the tech. at the shop hasn't! And there aren't many people who like to be "told their jobs" even when the person doin' the tellin' is right. So stick to your guns (you're right!), be firm and polite, and keep right on their sorry asses until they give you the service your $5K has purchased!
  15. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    A little off topic here - but in response to somebody asking about why it cost 5K? The reason why is probably that somebody doing the selling realized that to get the MAXIMUM tax rebate, 30% off, up to a max $1500, you would have to spend EXACTLY $5000!
    Somehow sounds kinda like a car deal. No offense meant (to consumers or dealers!)
  16. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    It's not easy to access the linkage on the heritage. The whole bottom casting needs to come off which is many bolts. My air slide takes about a pencil's effort to move but it has a snag that I need to jiggle the handle to overcome. I would love to have easy access to clean the slide mechanism.

    So Frank, please share Hearthstone's linkage fixing instructions.
  17. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Alex, I can't help you with the Hearthstone, but I can tell you that my stove purchase & install went through Ashwood.

    I was quite happy with everything, from the minute I started speaking with Steve, file folder in hand :) (I'd visited 3 other shops before theirs. )

    If you are close to me, I'd be happy to give you an armful or two of my dry stuff for you to try. PM me if you like.
  18. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Man I wish that old Combifire that was on craigslist here this weekend was still available. I would ship it to you in exchange for that Heritage and pay the freight both ways.

    That Heritage is a great stove. The problem just needs to be resolved. That is why you bought from a dealer. Don't let up on them.
  19. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    x2
  20. mackconsult

    mackconsult Member

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    Geese ..... I am planning on spending $2500 on magnum ZC, $900 for a new 8" 2100 chimney and cap, then $1500 on granite installation. I am doing the install and charging $80 an hour for my time plus all the extra 2x4's I am going to have to frame in that area. I will easily meet the $5k for the $1500 tax credit.

  21. meathead

    meathead Feeling the Heat

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    Something tells me that a) he didn't get any granite for his $5,000 and b) the guys he got weren't worth $80 an hour (couldn't get a fire going in a wood stove).


    Once that stove is up and running, you will not be dissapointed.

    You don't have to keep on the dealer - just get some dry wood in hand ready to go and call and tell them they need to come fix your stove and show you it works properly or they can come pick it back up and you are calling the bank to dispute the charges as soon as you get off the phone with them. Say it nicely...it's just the way it is.

    BTW if they are blaming the wood...the kid should have told you that was the problem while he was there.
  22. snowman89

    snowman89 New Member

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    I purchased 2 hearthstone wood stoves about 3 years ago. I paid 3500 for both including installation. I have the heritage in my living room. The air intake is underneath the stove near the air control. Carefull feeling around under there, if you have your finger in the hole an move the lever it could cut your finger off.

    Now.... If you are burning kindling and it goes out quick it sounds like a clog. Even with the damper closed you should still get a fire. LET ME TELL YOU. if you have ANY type of wet wood you will have a hard time getting heat. These stoves are a little to high tech in some ways. Every year I have to fight with a wood person to get me dry wood. The wood must be dry!!!! If not it will build up creasol and clog your flu and you will be out of buisiness. If the wood is wet, just toss your money out the window and put on a coat.

    You have to be careful when starting your fire for the first time every year. You must burn 2-3 small fires to dry out the stone or it will crack. I have a fire going now with last years wood and it works great, turn the air back and watch the fire dance. MY biggest problem I cannot get dry wood.

    These stoves are made of stone, there is no iron to give off heat, maybe the door and legs its just framed in stone.


    Heres my question due to my wood problem, I am looking at going pellet, Do you think a use Harmen accentra for 1600 is worth it or a refurbished Hudsonriver Niagra-new is a better deal. Im stuck on this one.
  23. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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    O my, I'd be very calm, cool, and collected with this situation, for about a minute....

    then I'd set up camp at this dealers place of business and tear 'em all a new orifice for defecation until the matter was resolved....
  24. snowman89

    snowman89 New Member

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    I have called heath stone many times, they are a buch of smart *ss. We go through about 7 cords of wood a year. and its alot of work with these stoves. I do not get 4 hours burn time.
  25. WOODBUTCHER

    WOODBUTCHER Minister of Fire

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    X3

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