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Did I Get a Decent Deal?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by CantAfford$5Oil, Jul 5, 2008.

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  1. CantAfford$5Oil

    CantAfford$5Oil New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
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    Loc:
    CT
    Hello everyone,

    After being certain that we were going to go with a wood burning insert in the downstairs, for various reasons we have decided on a freestanding pellet stove upstairs instead. Assuming we don't change our mind again, here is the deal we got on a Harmon XXV, and I was wondering if we did OK - it seems no matter what we picked from any dealer, wood or pellet, somehow they all averaged right around a $5,000.00 outlay. I am OK with that if pellets don't go crazy and it saves us money in the end over oil the next few years. I keep hoping I'm not caught in a bubble buying the pellet stove, and oil is going to come down significantly, but maybe that's just a desperate fantasy!! Is it reasonable to think that even if pellets keep going up that they will always probably be less than oil? We've looked at it so many ways I just confuse myself. I just don't want to spend this much on a pellet stove and find it idle if pellets outstrip oil!!

    Here is what we got - did we do OK or is there room for wiggle here?


    Harman XXV, venting 3 (feet up, one foot over), outside air kit, delivery and installation, and half a ton of pellets, all tax included for a total of $4,650. We will be providing the hearth pad. Do I have any room to ask for anything (more pellets, accessories?) We have been told we will get it just to be patient, though they would not take a deposit till they get an exact date form Harman.


    Also, do I need just a floor protector, or a true hearth pad with a certain k value?

    Thanks!

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  2. terryjd98

    terryjd98 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Messages:
    91
    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    About the only question I can answer is for a Harmon P61A thats about the same price I have been looking at, right around $5,000.00 installed. $3,550.00 for stove with taxes. $1500.00 for pipes, labour and taxes. That was as of July 4'th.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
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    49,892
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Not to make you feel bad, but it seems like pellet stove prices have suddenly gone through the roof. It reminds me of generator sales during a hurricane.
  4. Shortstuff

    Shortstuff Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    461
    Loc:
    Southeastern MA
    I agree with BeGreen. A month ago when we purchased our stove, the suggested retail price listed on the Quadra-Fire website started at $2399.00 and last week I saw that it has been changed to $2699.00.

    Supply and demand and perhaps a little greed thrown into the mix.

    Steve
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,101
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    I usually suggest that a decision to buy a 5 grand Pellet stove be based on more than the price of fuel alone.....of course, somewhat depends on where you get the money!

    For instance, if a person was to buy that stove using credit card interest rates, just the interest alone would wipe out the potential savings.....

    Even at a relatively low (consumer) rate of 8%, that equals $400 a year in interest.....

    You probably have no room to move on a Harman........but, at the risk or repeating myself, if you really need a Pellet stove to save money you can find something for at least 2 grand less - more if you can DIY.

    Look at the big picture - are their some home improvements which are less sexy than a pellet stove, but would save you as much or more money? For instance, you could upgrade a lot of insulation and even some doors and/or windows for that.....resulting in a savings of hundreds of dollars per year without the hassle.....point is that conservation usually has the quickest and best payback in $$$.

    Pellets MAY always be cheaper than oil, but keep in mind that when all the other stuff is figured in (service, initial cost, labor, delivery), the price difference has to be large for a actual payback......

    On the other hand, if you want a pellet stove or wood stove for ambiance, a center of heat, the gadget factor and/or other reasons......heck, it's probably a better investment than the ungraded interior in a new car........
  6. CantAfford$5Oil

    CantAfford$5Oil New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    CT
    Webmaster Craig's response has me thinking and wondering if such a large upfront expense is worth it ... we would either pay for the project upfront, or use 0% financing on a credit card to preserve the savings account intact (my preference).

    We conservatively calculate that (all things being equal) we would probably save $800.00 a year after annual servicing costs if we install the pellet stove, making our break even just about six years. We figured that we could not eliminate oil usage for hot water and still need to pay for the pellets. Not quite the dramatic savings we first envisioned, but still a savings and we would like the stove, but have some doubts now.. If oil skyrockets, the winter is colder than the last few years, and pellets stay at or under $300.00 per ton, we would save somewhat more (a lot of ifs there!).

    Would a Harman XXV have enough of a useful life to make a 6 year break even worth it? I have been told anywhere from 10 - 20 years useful life on a pellet stove. Yes there are other projects needed in the home and we are trying to figure the priority list. The stove would be really nice, but is it the best use of limited resources. Then again, $800 is $800 and will eventually add up over time to either oil receipts up the flue, or a pellet stove free and clear.

    The oil company said this morning they are all confused too , because in an election year they really expected it to come down and instead keeps going up. We locked in at $4.49, but even existing customers as of today are being quoted $5.19 and they say that is one of the lower quotes for our area.

    My main fear is pellets will follow suit and make the savings disappear. The pellet companies do have an incentive to stay at least a certain margin below oil, right?

    Thank you Webmaster for the link to the calculator in one of your posts. It was helpful in confirming our savings calculations; yes it would be more helpful if it went to different interest rates and project prices. Thanks again.
  7. kilarney

    kilarney New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Vermont
    This is the problem with almost all energy saving measures. (Replacement windows, insulation, etc.) The payback period is just so darned long! We live well north of you, so we'll get some additional savings based on greater heating degree days. At current rates, our stove will pay for itself in approximately 3 years. There are a lot of variables, though.

    What I like about the pellet stove is that it gives me options. There is something to be said for that. Heck, I'm even considering installing a woodstove in addition to our pellet stove. I'd like to have choices given the uncertainty that's out there.

    I'm no commodities expert, but I truly believe that oil prices are cyclical, and we are in the midst of a spike. I don't believe that we're in a peak oil situation right now. I remember back in the Carter years when everyone thought that the sky was falling - and we came out just fine. There are other factors at work today, but keep in mind that oil was $30 a barrel very recently. You can't tell me that China and India account for a quadrupling in price.

    I'd recommend that you look at what options are available to you and go for the biggest bang for your buck. In our case, that was a pellet stove. For you, it could be replacement windows or a new furnace. The one major downside to putting our $$$ into a pellet stove is that we're not actually reducing our energy usage. We're just using a cheaper (for now) fuel source. Just realize that you can't predict the future of all of the variables involved. It's going to be a gamble no matter what you do.
  8. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    2,225
    Loc:
    western Ma , close to NY state border
    My feeling on all this (with all the if`s factored in) is not to spend any more than absolutely necessary. Read: a modestly priced pellet stove such as an Englander. That means skipping non essentials and going for the bang for the buck. Five grand just to burn pellets in a stove isn`t necessary in my book.
    John
  9. terryjd98

    terryjd98 Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Ontario Canada
    The comments on upgrades is a good point but the payback is long. This year I used 798 gallons of oil. Furnace is all I use oil for, thermostat set at 68 degrees all winter long. If I figured right in the Fuel Cost Calculator I should save $2,300.00 by going with wood pellets. Right now heating oil is $5.00 a gallon, I kind of think by winter it will be higher the way things are going. Right now if I sign up for Hardwood Pellets they are $255.00 a ton. Efficiency is 80 % on either the Furnace or the Big E or Hammond. So using thes figures the Calculator says -- $4,240.80 per year for normal home for Oil compared to $1,877.20 per year for normal home for Pellets. I will pay cash so no finace charges.
    So even if I have to spend a few hundred on oil during the 20 below weather I should still pay for the Big E in 2 years, if oil stays high. From what I have read the experts say it is going to be untill 2012 at least. Now if I can get an answer from Canadian Tire here in Canada on the Englander and what they are going to sell for I would go with one of them and should be in the $3,000.00 range and savings would be even faster.
    Is a tough choice what to do over all.
  10. MButkus

    MButkus Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2008
    Messages:
    105
    Loc:
    Jersey
    What cost $5K ?
    The biggest item is the exhaust. Out the back, 4 feet of pipe and a rain cap.
    Every problems I have hear about fires going out and smoke has some 12' of chimney with bends and turns.
    Zero problems since '95.

    Just stick a UPS on it. Those control panels are sensitive and a power outage for 3 seconds shuts them down.
  11. globewyre

    globewyre Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    North, NJ
    Are harmons worth the extra $1500 if you can get one. Does the bottom feed make that much of a difference. If style doesn't matter and BTU are about the same.
  12. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    personally i dont think there is a "better" between top and bottom feed. both have advantages and both have disadvantages neither are substantial IMHO

    shopping for a pellet stove can be kinda like shopping for a car, the overall look,features and options , warranties, price point and such are the issues that are at hand , all pellet stoves heat, or they wouldnt be out there, question is , do you want the bells and whistles or the basics. the combination of the look and features you choose balanced against the price is the real question at hand.
  13. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky New Member

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    Central Massachusetts
    Consider also that the plants are probably running at overtime to pump these out that means labor costs are running 1.5X.

    How about the greed to all of a sudden to "have a stove" when oil has been going up for two years, like this is news or something?
  14. CantAfford$5Oil

    CantAfford$5Oil New Member

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    CT

    Sorry, but you've hit a bit of a nerve there... :mad:

    It's not greed, it's finally hitting the limit of just how much your budget can take. After a certain point there is just NO MORE left in the disposable, discretionary category in people's budgets each month. I may not have LIKED seeing all my extra money that used to go toward other things get put into my gas and oil tanks just to be burned up with nothing to show for it, but what was the choice - you had to heat the house and get to work so you cut back in all areas when and where you could. But I think for many people it's simply getting to the point that there simply isn't any more extra cash to devote to it, never mind extra cash to do anything necessary or enjoyable with. It's not greed, it's not having found a tree that actually grows free money, at least not in my neighborhood! ;-)

    At last year's $2.79 for oil we were ticked off and growing apprehensive, but never imagined it could jump so fast as it did this year, but at $5.19 :ahhh: we simply can't afford it, but absolutely must have it, or an alternative, thus the stove which is no sure thing either with the way pellet prices have gone..

    I don't know about other folks, but I much would prefer to not have to lay out any money for a stove either just to try and recoup it over the next few years and hope it will eventually get me ahead of the game. There are plenty of things I could be using the stove money for in the intervening break-even period... I don't think the majority of people rushing for alternatives are greedy or seeking a luxury item. If I was choosing a luxury toy, my first purchase for sure would be a wide screen TV or a laptop, neither of which I own, or a true vacation which have been scare the last few years, certainly not a stove which takes up precious space in both the living room and garage, requires work and a major financial outlay... sheesh - might as well go to the casino on this issue for all anyone can predict!

    Good luck to everyone whichever way you go to stay warm this year :exclaim:
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