1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Harman XXV or Quadrafire Mt. Vernon

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by ensoll, Nov 3, 2007.

  1. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Worcester County, Ma
    It's been a week so I thought I'd give some feedback on our initial experience with the Mt. Vernon AE. Overall, it's a smashing addition to our home.

    To start at the prequel, I do miss our wood stove. There's a primal caveman-like satisfaction to selecting just the right logs from the pile, building a stack, and getting a fire going strong and then sitting back to watch the flames lick away at the inside of the stove as the embers spark, crack, and pop while they give off their aromatic scent and bountiful radiant heat. No fans, no electricity, just air, wood, and some heavy black cast iron. Occasionally, you see a puff of smoke drift by outside a window. From outdoors, the gentle plume wafts into the wind telling everyone there is life inside this home. The smell from the chimney is such a wonderful offset to the cold winter.

    The pellet stove is a clear reminder that we live in a modern society where everything is point-and-click, just-add-water, microwaveable frozen dinners, internet banking, and remote controls. Someone else has already done the work for you. Plug-n-play. In daily life, it is a wonderful thing. It's as if the pellet stove comes with a butler who politely says in his British accent, "Now sir, you just go on and make yourself comfortable in your chair. Let's put your feet up. I will take care of the fire for you. Just tell me what temperature you would like. Can I bring you some tea? Might I light your cigar for you?"

    It's a little uncomfortable for someone used to hard work at every turn of the day. The idea of not having to stack wood, haul loads into the house, sweep bark bits and sawdust, monitor kindling supply and ignition sources, gloves, fire tools, flue damper, etc etc etc leaves you feeling a little toothless. There isn't as much payoff for the fire if no effort is required to get it. The only challenge with this pellet stove is from four buttons on a 4 x 6" white plastic box with a little blue screen on it. You hit an up arrow and the fire starts or gets bigger. Hit the down arrow and it goes away. Simple as that. Ooo.

    Yesterday, after one week of burning Energex pellets, we set about cleaning the stove. It took about 5-10 minutes to do. As I slid out the ash pan, I expected it to be nearly full. After all, it had been burning for a whole week. Nope. I pulled out the tray and there was a little pile of ash and clinker that was almost embarrassing to look at. It was like a newborn baby's diaper - nothing there! Out of a weeks worth of pellets (about 7 bags), we had maybe a total of about a quart of ash between the ash pan and the firebox. We vacuumed off the heat exchanger and combustion area and it was all done.

    We miss the mesmerizing wood fire but the long and short of it is that this pellet stove is so dad-gum convenient. With the programmable controller, we now come home to a toasty fire instead of having to dig through the gray pile of ash hoping a few embers are left to resuscitate the fire back to life before it is altogether too late..."Hurry up and get some kindling on there! Smoke is coming into the room, close the door quickly! Damn, this piece of wood is too green! Oh shoot, this one is an inch too long"...you remember the days.

    With regard to the Mt. Vernon stove itself, there isn't a single thing we would change. The stove is quiet as a church mouse in all respects. Motors, fans, even the fire itself are completely unobtrusive. It is really a marvel of technology. Perhaps, the two cleverly designed clips that hold the heat transfer plate in the stove could be changed so that they do not need a screwdriver to utilize. The ash pan could use some guides, like a bedroom dresser drawer, to help it slide in horizontally instead of the current sloppy and too-low-to see - go-by-feel-only mechanism in place. Truthfully, though, these are minor gripes. I do wish it could hold more pellets. You can only load about one days worth into the hopper.

    I also can't help but wonder, what is the need for the 400+ lbs of cast iron? It isn't being used to retain and radiate heat so why is it needed? I suppose it is probably like human hair and fingernails - evolutionary leftovers. I'd guess it's a marketing necessity. People equate cast iron with wood burning stoves and would scoff at the product without it. That's my thought anyway.

    We do have a few issues with the programmable controller:

    1- There is no "On" or "Off" setting. Surprisingly, you can't tell the thing to just "Go". It has to be controlled by desired temperature. I would have thought that would be the starting point for the system design.

    2- The system has a built in procedure for starting and shutting down. Once it has entered these procedures, you can't interrupt it. For example, in adjusting some settings, I accidentally lowered the desired temperature and caused the system to enter "shutdown" mode. Once it enters this mode, it gradually ends the fire and goes into its "autoclean" cycle, cleaning the burn pot. It takes several minutes to get through this. Then the system sits at "ready" for some time, then it will finally re-enter the "startup" mode and get back to where you were ~20 minutes previously. As soon as I realized I had lowered the temperature too far, I tried raising it back up immediately. This did not interrupt the "shutdown" cycle as I had hoped and expected. This is an area I would VERY MUCH like to see changed.

    3- The temperature calibration has been flighty. I've been chasing the calibration up and down over the week to get it to match thermometers in the room. It seems to overshoot.

    4- Some of the commands I would like to have access to more frequently are buried. "Convection blower speed" is one.

    5- The buttons require too much pressure to actuate.

    Overall, the Mt. Vernon AE is a very welcome addition to our home. We are thrilled to have one.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    Boston MA
    That means we can buy Quadrafire stove at any dealer you choice? I was asked a Harman dealer in HN to see if I can buy a Harman stove from him but he refused. I am in Boston MA. For Quadrafire, the story is different?
  3. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Worcester County, Ma
    I don't understand the question. Each dealer has their own line of products. What they sell is up to them.
  4. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Messages:
    435
    Loc:
    Eastern Ma
    I don't know about boston, but there is a Quad dealer in Canton, just off of the 95
  5. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    Boston MA
    I was interested in Harman pellet stove before. There are two Harman dealers in Boston area. I know there are few in NH. I called one in New Hamshire. He didn't want to sell to me after he knew my address because there is a Harman dealer more close to me. I called a Boston area dealer. He asked me the address first and told me they only service a certain of areas. It looks to me for each dealer, there is service distance to him, in the case of Harman dealership.

    My question is if Quadrafire also restrict his dealers only serve a certain of area to avoid competition between his dealers.

    I am close to Burlington Mall actually.
  6. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Worcester County, Ma
    Ok, I understand.

    Well, I asked my dealer if it would be a problem right from the beginning. They said it wouldn't as long as I was ok with them not coming to my house for service. I was fine with that because I'd rather do it myself anyway.

    If you are not comfortable being responsible for your own stove service/repairs/maintenance, I would recommend working with someone close by.

    Be sure you look at the Quad for comparison to the Harman before you buy and place a lot of weight on your impression of the dealer in making your choice.
  7. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,724
    Loc:
    Madison, WI
    Their not being a "ON / OFF" mode, and the fact that it will not deviate from its program of shutdown / autoclean / whatever I also find annoying. Maybe this is to keep people from abusing the stove and burning their house down. If you could somehow bypass the auto-clean I could see some people always making it skip and the pot would never get cleaned. Who knows, maybe its just lack of consumer testing and feedback.
  8. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Worcester County, Ma
    Well, a savvy engineer could design the intelligence such that if the program is autocleaning because it has met its time limit, then fine, keep on autocleaning but if it is going into an autoclean cycle because of a user setting adjustment (shutdown cycle entered), then they ought to be able to interrupt it. I think it shows lack of attention to detail but I'm sure it will improve with future products. Quad seems to be trying to make a better mousetrap.

    As for burning one's house down, I'd like to see the scenario where that would happen. I tend to think this machine has been tested for overheating and safety precautions designed in to counteract that possibility.
  9. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,724
    Loc:
    Madison, WI
    There have supposedly been a few cases of hopper fires in that unit (as well as every other pellet unit in existence I would assume). Although they design every possible way to keep them safe some idiot always manages to find a way around it and cause trouble.

    If you feel so inclined, you could basically copy / paste your earlier (long) post and send it in a letter to Quad. http://www.quadrafire.com/Contact_Us/Contact_Us.asp

    Include your model & serial number. They will enter the complaints / concerns about the control into their system and keep track. If they get a lot of the same feedback it would prompt changes, or at least considering changes (or maybe why they can't change it).
  10. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Worcester County, Ma
    Oh, I did that straight away. I also mentioned it to my dealer in case I was just missing something. If I had to wage a guess, I'd also figure they watch these forums like a hawk. That has been the case in my personal work experience at a former job.
  11. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    Part of this is because of the way Harman sets up their service structure - they expect the dealer to be the SOLE point of customer contact, and to build their costs to provide service into the price they charge for the stove. Thus the only dealer that is really responsible for providing support, service, warranty coverage, etc. is the SELLING dealer. The dealer in NH doesn't want to get stuck with an obligation to support a stove in Boston, and vice versa. One can argue the merits of this model, but that's how it is.

    Quad has a slightly different service and support model, so they are a bit less fussy about where they sell to, although it is still not a bad idea to stick with the local dealer.

    Gooserider
  12. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    Boston MA
    Anybody know if the dealer will sell me the parts in the future if I did not buy stove from him?

    And also what's cost range for a service (labor only)?
  13. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    In the past people have reported being able to get parts from non-selling Harman dealers, but you can expect that you will be a lower priority customer, and to have to pay the costs of any special services such as express shipment on parts, or that sort of thing. Service I don't have any idea on, but I would expect it to be on the same order as what other "trades" such as plumbers or electricians would get in your area, usually so much an hour, plus travel time.

    Gooserider
  14. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    Boston MA
    Hi Chris, How can you move the 420lbs stove? Did you use pallet jack? any useful tools for move it around?
  15. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    Boston MA
    Yes, you do have a pallet jack but I cannot use it in the insert stove. how can I move it around??? and how can I take it down to basement?? can the stove be dismantled into pieces??
  16. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Worcester County, Ma
    I used combinations of a chainfall, come-along, atv jack (shown in picture), straps, and a furniture dolly to get the stove out of the vehicle and made portable. The furniture dolly was probably the most rewarding tool. Then, the thing to do is use wood stacks and 2 x 6's and a hydraulic jack to lift it off of the furniture dolly and lower it to the floor.

    I don't know what to suggest for getting an insert into a fireplace except maybe a piece of cardboard under the stove but I've never done it before so I'd hate to recommend something that could be a potential fire hazard. Hopefully someone else can offer advice on that.
  17. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    You need to think like an Egyptian Pyramid builder... And use many of the same tools! In getting my current setup the way it is, I had to move three several hundred pound stoves around single handedly, up and down stairs, on and off elevated hearths, etc.

    The key thing is to plan everything out ahead of time carefully. Don't rush, and don't try to "brute force" it when you can use simple tools to ease the job.

    Among the things that I used -

    Ramps - 2 x 10's 12' long, w/ aluminum end peices.

    A two wheel dolly

    A couple of "Come-alongs"

    8 peices of 1/2" schedule 40 steel pipe, each about 1' long - as rollers

    Lots of 1x and 2x cribbing blocks

    A couple sheets of plywood

    Tie down straps and ratchet straps

    Pry-bars in a variety of shapes and sizes

    Etc.

    Gooserider
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,334
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Don't try to do this by yourself, even with the 1200i. Get some friends to help with the moving and have some sandwiches, beer and/or wine on hand to reward them. If you try to do it by yourself, you have no backup in case something goes wrong.

    The stove will be bolted to a pallet. Rollers, levers, and boards to slide it down the stairs with a safety rope (on a pulley, come-a-long, winch or vehicle) to ease it down the stairs. Or just pay for the stove company to deliver it in place. That shouldn't be much. You can have all the venting already installed and ready to receive the stove. Have a thin sheet of metal on the hearth for stove to slide on.
  19. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,724
    Loc:
    Madison, WI
    You guys and all your lifts and tools and crap... heres how we do it in Madison - two strong guys, done.
  20. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    Boston MA
    needs two?
  21. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,491
    Loc:
    South Shore MA

    Good for you in Madison. I had to use "tools and crap".
    Where the hell were your two strong guys when I needed them?
    ;-P
  22. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Worcester County, Ma
    I'd like to see "two strong guys" get this palletted stove out of the back of an SUV. Plus, two smart guys would know better than to try moving something like this as far as our stove had to and through the route it had to go. I prefer to save my back for more worthwhile causes.

    If it were just a matter of picking it up for a second off of a cart and setting it in place, well, that's just what we did. However, we removed as much weight from the stove as possible before doing so. We got the weight down to around half by taking off the doors, top, and heat plate inside. Most of the cast iron was removed at this point.
  23. Tristan

    Tristan New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    74
    Loc:
    Central MA
    Loaded the XXV into my Sienna. Drove the thing home. Pulled the Sienna into the backyard. "Watch out for the swing set Daddy!" warned my 3 year-old. Four people to lift XXV out from the Sienna, (1) 14 year-old 5'-6" 150lb, (2) 18 year-old 5'-5" 130lb each, and me old and decrepit. Brought it into the house and onto to the hearth, installed. Fire.
  24. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    Worcester County, Ma
    Yeah, who cares if the kids get hurt, right? They'll heal. Great idea.
  25. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    117
    Loc:
    Boston MA
    XXV is 375 pounds but Mt. Vernon is 425 pounds.

Share This Page