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Ecoteck Ravelli Fransesca or Enviro Mini-A?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by bollyRZ500, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. bollyRZ500

    bollyRZ500 Member

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    Loc:
    Chalk River, Ontario
    Francesca and flue installed is $5000

    Mini-A and flue is $4500

    Help a new member out fellas, first time homebuyer and first time "potential" stove owner, home is 1100 sq/ft bungalow on a cement pad, current heat is elec baseboard...

    We like both units cosmetics, but unsure of the performance/problems of each??

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  2. Ironhorse74

    Ironhorse74 Member

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  3. gfreek

    gfreek Minister of Fire

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    Service after the sale on both?? I vote for the Enviro
  4. bollyRZ500

    bollyRZ500 Member

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    Chalk River, Ontario
    oops, sorry guys/gals,, Fransesca deal is $4500, Mini-A is $5000
  5. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    I have the Francesca. I'm not very happy with the construction of Ecoteck, great components, poor welds, poor craftsmanship on assembly. Mine makes a buzzing sound every time it feeds which I cannot make go away. I have tried every motor I can get my hands on...motors that run silent in other units buzz in mine. Something to do with the construction. A friend has the Monica and a customer that has the Monique (I think that its it) all do the same thing.
  6. bollyRZ500

    bollyRZ500 Member

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    Chalk River, Ontario
    thanks Scott... I'm the guy that emailed you last couple of days.... your posts have really got me not liking these Ravelli Ecotecks.... thinkin I'll get to the showroom and inspect both of these units

    Greg
  7. Chain

    Chain Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Lewis County, New York (upstate)
    That's a sweet "little" pellet stove.....Something like that in a micro-cabin on a lake in the Adirondacks.....A guy can dream.:)
    Ironhorse74 likes this.
  8. boosted3g

    boosted3g Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2012
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    Loc:
    Central PA
    I was just looking at a francesca yesterday. Its a nice little stove and are super affordable. They have a sale sticker of 2600 on the display model in titanium. They said they were last years models and that they were redesigned for this year.
  9. oldgoalie

    oldgoalie Member

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    Loc:
    Boyne City, MI
    I have a Francesca I used to heat a 1344 sq ranch. Once you get it set up right, it's a great stove. That can be an issue as the manual was translated from Italian. I spent a couple calls with the former distributor to get things ironed out. Throws a lot of heat. I really didn't find it any noisier than my Harman P-38 that it replaced. It does require a lot more frequent cleanings though. I could go a week on my P-38, while the Ecotek was every other day max. The dealer I bought it from no longer carries the line though, due to lack of communication (?) from the new distributor. The house I had it in is a rental now and I pulled it out. Sitting in my garage now.
  10. bollyRZ500

    bollyRZ500 Member

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    Chalk River, Ontario
    oldgoalie? can you confirm smwilliamsons comments on poor quality build of the fransesca?? how about noise level? thanks!!
  11. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Ok, so here is review from yesterday. I went to a customer's house in Newton, MA who has a Francesca. Here are the issues I faced.
    1. To get tat the parts which I needed to clean, I had to dismantle the entire stove which is difficult enough. The screws which you need to remove are all metric hex. I think they are assembled using an impact gun, cause many of them stripped by me just trying to loosen them. The metal used in the screws is very poor and is too soft...so they strip. Same as on my stove.
    2. There are parts to the stove that need to be removed just to be able to get to the screws, which if it were assembled properly, would not need to be removed but such is not the case. What should have taken a few minutes turned in to 1 1/2 hrs just to get at them.
    3. The top of the hopper is not sealed to the back of the stove, so when you're adding pellets, its not uncommon to get pellet spillage down and behind the unit as well as on top of the heat exchanger. This is bad cause pellets that fall on top of the exchanger will smolder and if they accumulate too much, could start a top load fire that extends into the hopper. FYI - The first Francesca I had was on loan to a pool store that was going to try and sell them for us and it actually caught fire in the store at 2am from those idiots making a mess from loading it. It almost burned down the store.
    4. Wiring - all of the terminal disconnects on this stove are made from low quality Chinese parts and routinely fall apart at the crimps or fall off the spade terminals of the components. This happened in mine as well as the stove from yesterday.
    5. The micro switches for the hopper and the door were afterthoughts for the US market and were adapted to fit units already assembled...they often fail or are misaligned...and cause error 8 codes.
    6. Auger bushing (nylon) was already loose on the plate and causing binding (has to super glue it)
    7. Top plate baffle above the firebox is wrecked (also on mine) due to the extreme heat above the Firex 600 (material the baffles are made from) This baffle as well as the heat exchangers and rake ought to be made from stainless due to the extreme heat conditions...I'm sure these will corrode over time too and then the stove will be wrecked.
    Overall, it was a 4 hour service that should have only taken and hour and a half at best....and I know what I'm doing. Still want one? The Enviro has none of these issues.
  12. bollyRZ500

    bollyRZ500 Member

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    Loc:
    Chalk River, Ontario
    smwilliamson!! THANK YOU for the time you took to type out your detailed reply, I now know I WONT be purchasing the Ecoteck - Ravelli unit even though their dealer quoted me lowest price on install of flue and stove setup!

    Will visit the other dealer and check the Enviro Mini-A on Sat!

    Seems the St Croix is probably a no-go as their dealer is ~100 miles away!!!

    I definately DON'T want the proverbial black box square stove :(
  13. oldgoalie

    oldgoalie Member

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    Loc:
    Boyne City, MI
    I used my Francesca for 2 winters. I've taken mine apart and though you do have to use a metric hex wrench, none of the screws were in so tight I couldn't get them out. They are a pain though. When I first bought the stove, I got the error 8 code and had to call the distributor and realign the door handle so the micro switch would engage. Last year my daughter used the stove and didn't clean it as often as I did. The top plate baffle is pretty corroded..I had to take a wire brush attachment on my drill to clean it and I can't get all the junk off it...I'm not sure I will use the stove for any extensive heating again. I might use it in a garage for some temporary heat. I bought it based on looks (my wife liked it) and my dealer's recommendation (his dad had a larger one in his home). I didn't find the stove excessively noisy, and it did heat well for me. Pellets can and do get on top of the heat exchanger, but I was always careful loading and when it happened, it was just a couple. I never had a hopper fire (like in the St. Croix I had!) This was my 4th pellet stove, so I wasn't new to heating with them. Looking at the stove now it definitely wasn't worth the money I paid for it as I'm not sure it will last another full heating season.
  14. bollyRZ500

    bollyRZ500 Member

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    Chalk River, Ontario
    aye aye aye aye aye carumba!! oldgoalie!!

    first the francesca, now the st croix..... Saturday is Enviro Mini-A day!!
  15. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    St. croix now has a sensor in the feed chute to cut power to the auger before a burn back situation occures...In the Element anyway.
  16. Ironhorse74

    Ironhorse74 Member

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    Oldgoalie: hopper fires happen for one reason and one reason only. Lack of user maintence.So don't go blaming the stove.

    Peace

    Brad
  17. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Had a friend at work who wanted a pellet stove for his small home last year. I hooked him up w/ a dealer that handled Enviro line, and he had a mini installed. Bottom line, he LOVED it. VERY quiet and plenty of heat for his place.
  18. oldgoalie

    oldgoalie Member

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    Brad,
    Mine was due to bad pellets, not bad maintenance. At first I thought it was the stove (which I cleaned religiously...I have with all my stoves). I found out from a pellet dealer that the pellets were full of crud. It was a common problem in my area a few years ago with a brand that was widely sold by almost every dealer. My mistake if I led anyone to think it was the stove's fault.
  19. Ironhorse74

    Ironhorse74 Member

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    Old goalie, my bad it came off like you were blaming the stove. Part of the problem with communicating over the internet instead of face to face

    Peace

    Brad
  20. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    To be fair. Even bad pellets dont cause hopper fires. They cause a condititon, which if not maintained properly cause hopper fires.
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  21. oldgoalie

    oldgoalie Member

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    Well, my stove was my main source of heat. It ran 24/7 unless it was off for cleaning. I was lucky to catch the fire before it got bad. I'd come home and found the hopper smoldering and it had started a small fire at the pellet outlet in the hopper, just past the auger. I found the pellet pot full of partially burned pellets, which had backed up the feed tube. I don't see how this had anything to do with maintenance. Maybe you do, but the stove wasn't dirty and had been cleaned on a regular basis. A dealer admitted to me that other customers had experienced hopper fires or as he put it 'gummed up stoves' and he'd ended up replacing a lot of pellets with another brand for free. Bad deal all around for everyone who used them that year. I've never used that brand since and won't again.
  22. Pelleting In NJ

    Pelleting In NJ Feeling the Heat

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    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/pellet-newbie-ecoteck-installed.72279/

    I am very happy with the construction and operation of my Ecoteck Elena. I have no problems, and find it to be well made, with quality materials, components, welds, and fit/finish construction. The heat exchanger, burn-pot, and the flame baffle are made of stainless steel, with no problems after burning 2 tons of pellets so far. It is also a quiet stove, no buzzing noises from mine. I do agree that you have to be carefull to not spill pellets over the hopper edges, into the cabinet, but that is my only criticism of the product. I also find the cabinet easy to open, to pull the sides off, but probably a few more screws than the typical pellet stove.
  23. bollyRZ500

    bollyRZ500 Member

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    hey hey Pelleting In NJ, thanks for your input!! I looked at your pics and can see the welds smwilliamson mentions, looks like silicone on a bathtub done half-arsedly heheh ;)

    I'll let everyone know what I find out today!! we're goin pellet stove shoppin!! :cool:
  24. bollyRZ500

    bollyRZ500 Member

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    Loc:
    Chalk River, Ontario
    drove by the guys house for Francesca, never answered my email this AM said I'd be in his area..... dufus!!
    other showroom we looked at;

    ecochoice heatilator - $1600 (flame looked like it was a couple of wooden matches on a stick)
    Harman P43 - approx $3500
    Harman Accentra - $4700 (real nice lookin stove!!)

    he had NO Enviro Mini-A's ($2600) in and never even had a brochure!! major dufus!! LOL!!

    offtopic but they had a nice Valor President gas for $2500

    I can't believe this showroom wants near $1000 plus tax for the flue pieces and parts, plain old galvanized metal on the outside... but can be painted to suit.... stainless liners he did say though... $695 labour for the install as well
  25. bollyRZ500

    bollyRZ500 Member

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    Chalk River, Ontario
    can someone do ol bolly a favour?? Is complete ducting/piping/adapters really close to $1000 in parts?? for some generic galanized pellet stove pipe??

    regular bungalow on a pad and attic, pipe will exit roof this side of the peak, about a foot or so, and about where the house numbers are

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