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Harman XXV or Quadrafire Mt. Vernon

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

  1. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

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    Suggest the cast iron stove manufacture to add one more functionality to the stove: safe box. Because it is heavy and we are always sitting close to it and watch it.

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  2. lmei007

    lmei007 Member

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    Chris, where did you get those exhaut pipes? what's the max temperature those pipes need to resist? how do you report to your home insurance company? thanks
  3. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

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    People have sent me private messages asking for updates on the stove. I answer their questions and in return only ask them to add their own impressions for others to read, but no one bothers. As a result, I am no longer answering private questions. Ask any questions through this forum only. I am subscribed to this thread and will be notified.

    Here is a recent email chain for those looking for an update. It's long but comprehensive:

    Hi Chris P.
    I live on the North Shore in Mass and am thinking about
    buying a new Mt Vernon AE.
    How has that stove worked out for you?
    I know they had some problems but have heard they fixed all the bugs and
    are now shipping good units.
    Is it quiet?
    Heat well?
    Does it use a reasonable amount of fuel or does it really use alot of it?
    Are you happy with it?
    Would you buy it again?
    Oil is so expensive. It's always sticker shock whenever I get the bill.
    Thanks alot for any help.
    David T.

    ---

    Hello Dave,

    It has been one of the best purchases we've made for our house. The programmable thermostat is key, even though it could be made a little better. It has a 'prototype' or 'early design' feel to it in its functionality. Some features are a little clumsy to manage. It's no big deal, though, it gets the job done and works dependably. Once set up, you don't normally need to bother with it unless diverting from the normal programming (i.e., staying up late at night)

    We cooked about 3 ton of high quality softwood pellet this winter and the stove worked flawlessly the whole time. Every once in a while it gives us a "burnpot min temp" error, which implies it ran out of fuel, when it actually had plenty of fuel left. We just hit the 'retry' button and everything came right back to life. I guess a pellet can get lodged in there the wrong way and block traffic from getting through. Unfortunately, sometimes it was after some time had passed and the house went down a few degrees in the interim. I think the system is designed to retry automatically a few times, which leaves me puzzled that it works right away when we hit the 'retry' button. I'm going to check with my dealer soon to see if there are any program updates available, as the manuf advises to do regularly. Maybe they found a way to overcome the minpot temp glitch.

    We clean the stove religiously once per week. It could probably go two weeks but the cleaner the stove is, the more efficient it will run so I stay on top of it. Cleaning takes about 10 minutes.

    Other answers:

    -Yes, the stove is very quiet. It has a 'quiet' mode and a 'normal' mode. Those terms are representative of actuality.
    -Yes, the stove heats well. That's not a difficult question for any stove, though. They all publish the heat output ratings so you can size the stove to your needs. I can tell you, though, that I can usually put my hand right on the chimney stack a couple of feet above the stove exhaust. It is warm/hot, but not burning hot. I really like that.
    -Fuel usage is related directly to heat output and efficiency. That's an easy comparison from brand to brand, however the Mt. Vernon is extremely efficient so this is moot (in other words, I wouldn't waste my time looking at other brands). Take a good look at the design of the heat collection system in the Mt. Vernon. Have the dealer pull it apart and show you. You should be impressed.
    -We would certainly buy one again, but we consider ourselves to be lucky to be able to afford one. For the money they cost, they should work as well as ours has.

    Lastly, we paid the extra ~$125 for the fake logs. I don't recommend them. One, they make cleaning the stove more trouble, and; Two, one of them chipped/broke just by bumping it inside the stove (when moving it to clean the stove) so now they are junk. Money wasted.

    Also, we highly recommend our dealer, All Basics Stove in Merrimack, NH. They have been ideal.

    Chris

    ---

    Thanks for all the good info Chris.

    I'm going to go with the AE. My house is small. I could get by with 40k btu's but I want some headroom just incase. Plus this will be able to run at ~0.66 capacity and heat the house well, instead of having to run flat out.

    And I like the multi-fuel capability, and the low noise.

    I started looking at this unit, then read that it had some bugs. So I looked around at others, educating myself, and always came back to this one. I like the looks and my dealer ( in Danvers < 10 miles away ) has one coming in that I'm going to get a look at.

    So it looks like my search is over.

    BTW, from where do you order your pellets? Do you have them delivered? How much did you pay this year? ( if you don't mind my asking :) )

    Thanks again,

    David T.

    ---

    Continued...
  4. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

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    continued from last posting...

    ---

    You won't likely regret it (after swallowing the $ pill)

    We got our pellets mostly from a local garden supply place. They had a good selection and weekly incentives. I looked for the brand that had the highest BTU/lb rating vs ash content vs $ and came up with a brand simply known as "Quality". When they went on sale, I bought our whole years supply and got them as cheap as I could expect (forgot the amount, ~$220-230/ton). The condition of the sale is that you pay cash and take them home yourself, no delivery. I just dragged our trailer down there and brought them home 1000lbs at a time. It was good exercise. Besides, paying ~$50+ for delivery gives me heartburn.

    Otherwise, Energex is a great brand. We used some of it and that is what our dealer sells. It was my second choice. Next year, we might well end up using Energex. That is how closely they compare.

    Another thought, be sure to explore all of the options available for the stove at time of purchase. All Basics didn't tell me about a kit you can buy that routes the exhaust to the rear-center of the stove. By design, it exhausts off-center. If you want a symmetrical look, you have to blow another $200 for the kit. I wished for it and didn't learn it existed until reading the owners manual. I was aggravated that I asked if there was anything else to consider for options with the stove and they said 'no'. Then, I had to order it and wait for it to arrive, etc etc. I guess any logical person wouldn't blow that kind of money on something frivolous like that, which is why they probably didn't even know it existed.

    Chris

    ---

    Hey thanks again Chris.

    I will buy that kit. No sense spoiling the looks of that stove with sloppy plumbing.

    Now I can't wait till next fall when I can start burning pellets!


    David T.

    ---

    David,

    Glad I could be of help. Feel free to add some of your own impressions and experiences onto the thread at hearth.com. It will really help others make the same decision you are facing, especially with this fuel crisis. And last, but not least, Congratulations on your decision and new investment. I believe you are making a very good choice.

    Great chatting,

    Chris

    ---

    Will do Chris.

    Thanks again,

    David
  5. EJRICH

    EJRICH New Member

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    Chris thanks for the info. It pretty much eased my mind as far as any concerns about the stove. I have been to a few places looking at other pellet stoves and after talking with them
    they all said to stay away from the Mt Vernon. Of course, they are not Quadrafire dealers and I am sure they just wanted me to buy one of theirs.
    I will be going to purchase the stove today. Once the stove is up and running I will update its performance.

    Eric
  6. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

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    Congrats Eric,

    That is surprising to hear dealers speaking ill of the Mt. Vernon. I would agree that it may well be for competitive reasons. As I have probably stated before on this thread, I encourage everyone to look at other brands/models for their own comparison. That is how we ended up with the Mt. Vernon.

    After looking at the effort invested in the design and construction of this stove as well as the attention to detail, especially in comparison to other brands, we were confident that this was the best machine available to us and remain as such.

    Chris
  7. Pha1

    Pha1 New Member

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    I live in SE Mass, I recently put a deposit on a Harmon P68 as it was promised for an October install. Long story short, looks like I wont get it till maybe March of 09 now due to none in stock. Anyway, I did extensive research before I committed to this stove. Now that it seems I will have to look for another brand if I want one for this winter, the quad Mt Vernon AE is 2nd on my list. I am disappointed, but it is what it is. After a few days of trying to get some feedback on the Mt Vernon AE, this forum has given me a better feeling towards it. I am still a bit hesitant, as there is a bit of a loss BTU wise going with the Quad. I have a small cape house, no room on the 1st floor for a stove, so I will be putting it in the basement and do one of two things, or even both to get the heat to the 1st and second floor. There are already openings in the floor from a wood stove I took out of the basement back in 1990, I could re-open them to get some natural convection going, or I will run a small return duct down from my 2nd fl crawl space to the basement and draw heat and distribute it through the house via my AC unit on low speed ( I am a HVAC tech, so I can mange any control modifications etc to suit my needs). The basement is about 700 sq ft, as well as the 1st floor, 2nd fl is about 400 sq ft. So we are talking about 1800 sq ft. I only heat the house to 62 Deg all winter as we don’t like it any warmer. Assuming of course I can even get a hold of a Quad Mt Vernon AE any time soon. I am beating my self up, should I get one, or wait for the Harmon P68??? The Harmon seemed to be best for minimum maintenance that was one of the key features I was interested in. Any suggestions on local dealers in the Attleboro area. (I did read about the salesman tricking for Contact info 1st, then not providing a hard copy quote). Thanks for any feedback. I have 3 tons of pellets and no stove yet,,,,:{
  8. slls

    slls Minister of Fire

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    I ordered a Quad in June, might get it in August or September. If you can find a MV in stock that would be the way to go. I think you should wait for the P68, I don't think you will ever be happy with the MV, P68 being first choice.
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Quad is getting backed up further now, and unless dealers are wrong......very few, if any, will be available until next year.
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Said it before and I say it again. Man there are going to be a bunch of pissed off people on this Forum from January-on. This is gonna get fugly, as Zeta would say.
  11. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    If you don't want a black one, our warehouse has like 4 of each of the 3 colors sitting collecting dust. Although we might be selling those off pretty soon here. The black ones are back-ordered way out.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Got that right BB. But if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on November being an ugly month. Right after the first oil bill. By January, we'll be hearing from the shoulda, woulda, coulda crowd.
  13. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

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    What evidence shows the Harman P68 extracts more BTU's than the AE?
  14. Pha1

    Pha1 New Member

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    The product literature for the AE states “up to 60,000 BTU”
    The Harmon product literate states “up to 68,000 BTU”
  15. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

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    Oh, I see. That isn't efficiency, that is heating capacity and given the size of your house, it sounds like either one would provide more than enough heat for you. I've forgotten the actual figures so can't quote evidence, however.

    Keep in mind that specifications published by manufacturers are generally obtained in laboratory conditions with optimization. Real world results depend greatly on things like maintenance and cleaning, fuel used, etc. My point with this is to be careful with getting tunnel vision on heating capacity and be sure to consider having to live with the thing as well. When push comes to shove, you probably won't notice the difference between 68,000 and 60,000 BTU. You will notice how often the auger jams, how much work is involved in keeping it loaded with pellets, how much work it is to clean it, installation challenges, repair frequency, etc.

    I have no idea how the P68 compares to the AE in this light because one of the constraints of our search was to only consider traditional styled stoves, such as the Harman XXV.

    Good luck in your search!
  16. Pha1

    Pha1 New Member

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    I found a Mt vernon AE locally, but I gotta move fast if I want it. My head is spinning, do I wait another year for the Harmon, or get the MV AE and have it for this winter???? OHHHH GOD, what do I do? If I can be reasonably assured that I will be satisfied with the maintanace and component reliability of the MV AE compared to the harmon,,, I will jump on it and relieve this stress hahahahaha,,,, insert magic wand here,,,
  17. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

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    Obviously you are fixated on the Harman. Why don't you start a thread of your own on the board and ask your question there? This isn't a P68 thread.
  18. Pha1

    Pha1 New Member

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    Thanks for the response, yes I am partial to the Harmon, but im looking for feedback on the MV AE as my 2nd option. Not feedback on the P68, hence the postings in this thread,,,, seems like the right thread to me to get feedback on the MV AE. Thankyou.
  19. kenmjohnson

    kenmjohnson New Member

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    My wife and I purchased the Quardrafire Mt Vernon in September after researching pellet stoves for months.
    We ended up with the insert with mahogany finish and must say it is quite the handsome appliance. As you walk through the entrance its the first thing folks notice and comment on. Being the first year with pellet in a 3200sqft open concept living area i can say that we are VERY pleased with our purchase. Me being more a form and function person where my wife leans toward the esthetics this stove satisfies both and both are thrilled about this addition to our decor. The first year is all about learning whether its the settings or the pellets used and keep a journal so I can review end of heating season and prepare for the next. I have just now entered the phase of manual mode run and calibrating(easy to do via thermostat) the pellet stove 1 degree below my furnace thermastat. They are both on the same time schedule as to when to come on and when to shutdown to 'night time' and 'away' tempatures. In doing this my oil furnace comes on and runs appx 15mins in the am and NEVER comes on again since the pellet stove came on at the same time running 1 degree below furnace cap. This allows the house to heat up to daytime temps rather quickly and safeguards against running out of pellets overnight (hasnt happend yet with temps in teens and 20;s)
    We did have a power outage in a freak October storm and the Mt Vernon battery backup proved to be a great asset.
    So to all those doing the same comparing and analysis on pellet stoves e.g. Harmon Vs Quadrafire - my vote is Quad hands down!!
  20. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Thanks for the update on this rather old thread... It is nice to see how people's decisions worked out.

    Gooserider
  21. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

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    We're up to four years now with this stove and all is well. The main PC board died at some point, just barely within the warranty period. Good thing because it was a $500 part.

    A few weeks ago, the electric igniter element finally died for the first time at four years old. It was around $50 to replace and required quite a bit of contorting, twisting and cussing, but next time won't be as difficult now that I've done it once. I had to also temporarily remove the burn pot thermocouple to change the element wiring.

    The only other noteworthy replacement was the cast iron baffle plate inside the stove. I guess they had an early design flaw and it eventually formed a crack where the flame repeatedly licks. This was replaced under warranty (just last weekend in fact). Not a big deal.

    All in all, the Mount Vernon AE has been a great purchase. One thing I would greatly welcome would be a low pellet chirp alarm to let me know when more are needed. Cold mornings really stink.
  22. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Hmmm.... Not a pellethead, so I don't follow most of these discussions, but I don't know of anyone making a low pellet alarm. Would seem like it should be doable though, I can think of several possible approaches...

    1. Optics - have an LED shoot a beam at a reflector on the side / bottom of the hopper, that bounces back to a photodetector - position the parts so that the reflector is exposed when the supply gets low...

    2. Have a "follower" that sits on top of the pellets, with a switch that gets tripped by it when the level gets low - lots of options, probably simplest would be to put the switch in the lid, and attach the follower to it with a chain, so that it would trip when the pellets got low enough not to be able to support the follower...

    Regardless, the tricky part would be figuring out how to do the low level signal - once you have that it is trivial to feed the signal into an appropriate noise making circuit...

    ex-Gooserider
  23. BIGISLANDHIKERS

    BIGISLANDHIKERS Feeling the Heat

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    LOL the quad control board has an icon that indicates when the pellets are low. It doesnt work. It says that they are low all the time. I think the sensor on the hopper uses humidity or something. Maybe one of your ideas would work better.
  24. ensoll

    ensoll New Member

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    The low pellet icon works fine on our controller however I have much better things to do than standing by watching for the 1/4" x 1/4" icon to light up.

    As previously stated, the programmable controller on this stove could be a lot better in my humble opinion. Granted, it was still better than anything else on the market (at the time anyway). Unlike the Honeywell (and similar) programmable controllers available for oil/gas heating systems, this Quadrafire controller has a definite "homemade" or "prototype" feel to it. I can't complain too much, though. It's been doing its job for four years.
  25. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    I glance at mine every time I walk by.

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