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Harman- again...

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by ilmbg, Feb 17, 2008.

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  1. ilmbg

    ilmbg New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    130
    Loc:
    Wyoming/Montana border very dry, very cold
    I talked with the place in Casper, Wyoming, where I bought my Harman Accentra Pellet. They have had so much trouble over the past years with both Harman products and the manufacturer that they are no longer selling Harman. I understand- comepletely! I will buy another brand when I build again. I am not sure which right now, but I know what it will NOT be! This store has gone to Quadra-Fire, I believe. Not sure, but think that is what she told me. For me, the quality of the stove, the rudeness of Harman (not the dealer), and the cost of using a pellet has not justified another pellet. With the electrical cost of the motor/blower, the cost of the pellets, I used the Cove Heating for a couple months, without the pellet stove. The cost difference was not worth it. (our cost for electric is $0.18). 2,000# of pellets is $185-200. Adding 30 bags of pellets a month or more, as I am home all day is not worth the cost of pellets, the gas to go 30 miles to get them, and the hassle of loading/cleaning/unit not working. I hope the next house has a fireplace/gas stove just for fun, not for a way of life! Boy, have these last few years with Harman changed me!! Beware!!

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  2. MSmith66

    MSmith66 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
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    357
    Loc:
    Central NY
    What were your issues ?
  3. Don B

    Don B New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Messages:
    17
    Loc:
    Springfield, OHIO USA
    I'd like to know the issues as well. I am on my second year with an Accentra and it is great. I also have a 5 year old Englander in my basement. The Englander has some issues, but that is to be expected after 5 years of use.
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,276
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    I have often made the point that pellets are often not worth it from a strictly economic viewpoint - when everything is figured in. Of course, lots of people claim they save thousands and I always know it is folly to debate folks who do not figure in their cost of gasoline, the original investment, future repairs, hauling tons of pellets, etc.

    I see a lot of both sides of the fence - folks buying pellet stoves because their neighbor or the sale person told them how much they would save - and then again, I see a lot of people who stopped using them or went back to a wood stoves, etc.

    Accurate information would be very nice. We hear only the best case....I have had members here chastise me when I said a stove user has to figure on a yearly cost of maintenance and cleaning! They said to me "what maintenance?". It would be REALLY nice to have an actual database of the reliability of pellet stoves in the field - like consumer reports has with cars.

    Even after 30 years in this industry, I find an amazing amount of disinformation. I don't suppose this "one man show" will ever be able to offset all the hype, but I believe products...whether wood, coal, pellet or gas - should be sold on accurate merits and that the consumer should be informed of all issues - from pellet supply to reliability, etc.

    While that may result in a lost sale now and then, at least it maintains a certain amount of honor.
    I guess I am just old fashioned........

    Back to the thread - I truly believe that Pellet stove problems are 5 to 10x as high as they could be...with proper design and quality control. Too many companies rush to market or do not do enough QC on the assembly line. In the case of Harman, it was greed that caused them to over-produce and at the same time that caused some problems with QC. Manufacturers are also used to having dealers and customer be the guinea pigs...with both losing money and time to fix problems. If manufacturers had to pay the "real" cost of service, they would have more impetus to improve the products.

    Well, I'll get off of my soapbox now.....
  5. Don B

    Don B New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Messages:
    17
    Loc:
    Springfield, OHIO USA
    Mr. Webmaster,

    I agree with a lot about what you say. A pellet stove is not for everyone. It is just slightly less work than a wood stove.

    But...Run the numbers if heating your house with propane. When I built my house 6 years ago, propane was $.69/gallon. Yes, 69 CENTS a gallon. For the first 2 years I was on a contract. I used 1500 gallons per year. Not bad at .69. Propane is now $2.40/gallon or more.

    So, I could change out the entire heating system in my house or look at analternative. A pellet stove is one alternative. 4 years ago, pellets in my area were $160/ton. Now they are $240/ton. You can't win any way you look, unless you live in a moderate climate.

    I bought an Englander for the basement and an Accentra for the family room. A couple of years before fully recovering my cost but my house is a lot warmer. I am on track to burn 3 tons this heating season and will use about 100 gallons of propane.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    12,276
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    I hear you - with LP there can definitely be savings. That is what I mean about approaching each situation and figuring out the math.

    For a lot of people, the price is not important. What makes me feel bad is when someone goes in debt and attempts to save money!
    If a person has money in the bank, then buying luxury or recreational products is one thing....but not on a credit card...or, at least figure in the interest payment.

    The same situation goes for wood or gas....some folks are spending upwards of 5K for a wood stove and installation.

    Maybe it's the way everything is sold these days (you hear the good, but not the bad), but I have had pellet stove users tell me they did not really understand that the things did not work in a power failure! Others have told me they didn't think about the noise. How much of this is due to their own ignorance or "rose colored glasses" and how much is from the salesperson is another story.

    Although my "job" is to promote hearth products and renewable fuels, part of that is not buying into the "fad du jour", but rather taking a longer term view that educated consumers will be happier and more stable in the long run...whichever fuel they choose.
  7. ilmbg

    ilmbg New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    130
    Loc:
    Wyoming/Montana border very dry, very cold
    The problems I was having started from the very beginning- the temp probe was way off. The dealer immediately sent a new one. Same thing. I have never had an accurate temp probe. I use my Accentra for about 2 months a year- October and Novemner, as I winter in the south. When I return in June, I don't need it. The stove is just started into its 4 year. I have taken care of it, although with the poor quality of a pamphlet that came with it, I did not see that the plate came off behind the combustion motor, where finds gather. When I did, because one of you guys told me how, there were very few to clean out. The combustion motor went out this past December, I bought a new one- Harman, and it worked for a few weeks, then something stopped- I am afraid my brain is 'off' tonite, as I don't remember what it was. there were so many times that it would not start by itself, or even when I tried to test, and then start it. Many times it would take 2-3 tries before it would turn on. That started last year. I had no idea that it was so noisy. I was told it would heat a 1500ft2 house with no problem. The house is not spread out- more up and down if that makes sense. I have had my house tested, and it is very tight and well insulated. The stove blower has to be set pretty high (noisy) to keep it at 70 degrees. I usually have it at about 62 degrees. Now, in November, a cold month, I used my Cove heating only. I have an all electric house. I am home 100% of the time. A large TV is on about 20 hours a day. My electric bill was Almost $200. December/part January also cold. I used the pellet stove almost exclusively. Went through 1 ton pellets. Electric bill $180, plus cost of pellets, which were $195. Plus gas to go 30 miles each way, cleaning the stove, a new combustion motor for $111.40 . I am looking forward to selling this house, and building a smaller home in a more moderate climate, with a fireplace/stove/whatever to have just for fun/emergencies. I think the best way to go is a wood stove- if you have access to free wood. I used to heat with wood only, and liked the heat better. Due to an injury I can no longer go get my own wood, and it defeats the purpose to have to buy it. Other people may have different circumstances that may make the outcome different. This past montthplus, in a very moderate climate, my electric bill in an all electric condo was $40. I used the furnace frequently. The condo is smaller, but not that much smaller.
  8. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,830
    Loc:
    Casper Wyoming
    I'm not defending Harman here but have you tried another stove shop? They have such a good reputation in general and it seems really fishy to me that they're not selling Harman anymore. Heck I'd gladly pick up that line if I was still in this business.
  9. ilmbg

    ilmbg New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    130
    Loc:
    Wyoming/Montana border very dry, very cold
    I think it is just like auto manufacturers- you get good and bad in every group, but there are more complaints in some models. I see so many complaints by people with Harman....but then again, you probably don't see as many people who like them make a comment. I understand that Harman has either sold out/outsourcing??. I certainly have no complaint with the store that sold it to me- they have bent over backwards to help. The store itself is unhappy with the Harman quality of the past few years, and are also unhappy with the way Harman deals with them and the rudeness that Harman gives to customers. They are happier now with another brand. I am sure it can't be easy for the store to deal with so many unhappy Harman customers- it wouldn't 'look' good. I have a relative on the east coast who wanted a fireplace insert by Harman, and had so much trouble with Harman just getting it that they ended up with another brand. They went 'round 'n' 'round' with excuses why it didn't show up- over many months, so went with another. Oh well- another lesson learned on what not to buy.
  10. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
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    Kinda funny how the other brand they're so happy with is a brand they've sold for years and is the same company that bought harman. When a customer is unhappy with quad they push the harman and vice versa. Care to see some pictures of them bending over backwards with horrible quality installs? Awesome company that launches a cabin off the mountain.
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