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Harman XXV or Quadrafire?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by modemgirl, Jun 10, 2008.

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  1. modemgirl

    modemgirl New Member

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    Hi All,
    I'm a newbie to this forum, from Plymouth, MA. This is a great website, lots of great info. I am looking to buy a wood pellet stove, been thinking of a Harman XXV or Quadrafire (not sure what model to consider). I would like the best value for my $. I have a large home with 2400 sq ft. Open floor plan, multi-level with 4 levels to heat. The stove would be on the bottom level (not basement) using my fireplace. I'm hoping to heat most of my home with the stove, with maybe the exception of the top level, using my oil heat on low. Any suggestions on either Harman or Quadrafire, also BTU or anything else I should consider. I would would like to make my decision within the next week or two. Thank you all for your help and time.

    Krissy with an OIL hog furnace, thats going to BURN all my $$$ this winter :(

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  2. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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  3. modemgirl

    modemgirl New Member

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    Hi I was thinking a free standing pellet stove. Are the inserts just as efficent? Thanks for your help
  4. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Inserts generally need a blower to get the heat out of the fireplace cavity, i.e., need electric power, otherwise they deliver about the same efficiency and BTUs. You need to shop for one of the larger units to get 2400 sqft coverage.

    An insert looks more like a fancy set of glass doors on a normal fireplace, look more natural to me. Except for a very old, large stone fireplace or something similar I'd go only for an insert.
  5. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    if you intend to vent through the fireplace and up , you will need to check specs to ensure that the long flue (4 stories is a long ways) is compatible with the units you are looking at and the cost of that type install should be factored in as well, as for the insert vs freestanding question , the "blower issue" is moot because the pellet inserts will have stock blower systems built into them , were it a wood unit it would be a factor. as for the brands you have chosen you really cant go wrong with either, both are excellent product lines. that said , 2400 sq ft on 4 levels i would look for at least 45Kbtu minimum and go bigger if possible. remember with pellet stoves its literally "dial a yield" as far as heat goes , so unlike with woodstoves you can go bigger and not worry as much about having too much stove. other than that i would go with the look you want in your price range , and importantly , which offers the more attractive service agreement (this is a very important factor in choosing a dealer based unit such as the brands you are looking at. remember you are "buying" the dealer and his services as much as the stove. hope this helps ya.
  6. modemgirl

    modemgirl New Member

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    Thanks for the info Mike! I was concerned about the flu height. My multi-level home is split in half, two stories on one side and two on the other with a walk up attic. The fireplace is on the side with two stories, plus the walk up attic, the chimney is higher then a regular two story home has. I will discuss this with the dealer. I did notice that the harman XXV has a good warranty (parts and labor for 3 years). My dealer did say they do the repairs. The Harman XXV has 50,000 BTU, max. The Harman is also very expensive. I have always believed that you get what you pay for, but the BTU isn't the best I have seen either. Ease of use is also very important to me, since I'm a woman and will be doing most of the work. I will also be moving, so I thought a free standing pellet stove was the best option if I take it with me. Since they can be installed anywhere. I want the stove, pellet purchase, and install to pay for itself in one season, plus some savings. I used 1000 gallons of heating oil last year, with the heat turned down low. If oil prices reach $5.00 - $6.00 a gallon, OUCH!!!(heating oil is $4.50 now), then I should see some savings, plus I would be much warmer! :) It's a hard decision, because my home is on the market (but nothing is moving either). The stove can also be a selling point. Thanks again for your help, still pondering what to do. Any suggestions or ideas welcome!

    Krissy with a big decision to make
  7. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Heating oil being what it is, and worse to come I suppose, the pellet stove should help sell the house, especially if you have to hold it over the winter and have real numbers showing the lower heating costs. Sounds like if you're there for one more year the savings will cover you costs... not sure what those costs will be. I'm having a Quadrafire 4100-I insert installed in my fireplace, with a a bit under 35 foot chimney run, the total cost with all parts and labor and tax is about $4,400, or about what you expect your savings to be in one year.

    Your house design sounds interesting, I can't picture it, sort of a raised split-level from what I understand. Nothing below ground?
  8. modemgirl

    modemgirl New Member

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    Hi Jerry,
    Yes, I agree with you, I think the stove could be a selling point. I'm not sure how high my chimney is, is your chimney higher then an average two story home? Thirty five feet high sounds higher to me then average. I think I need the dealer to come out to make sure the stove will work in my home and fireplace. My home is not really a split (raised ranch style), it's called a colonial conversion, but it is a multi-level. Yes, I do have a basement level, (half cement foundation, on half of the house), it also connects to a two car garage, under). I have six levels, but that includes the finished basement level, garage and walk up attic (both levels are not living space). The first floor of living space is the family room, foyer, half bath laundry room level, this level is where the front door entrance is. From this level there are two separate sets of stairs, (7 steps on each) they both lead to the next level, Kitchen, dinning room, and living room. The next level up is two bedrooms and one full bath The next level up is a master bedroom and master bath. People that come in my home say they get lost hahahaha but it's really not that hard to find your way around. LOL In your opinion is it hard to clean and maintain a wood pellet stove? I am a woman and I don't want to be sweating over a HOT STOVE!!! LOL I do want to be relaxing by it feeling warm and toasty LOL

    BTW if you know anyone that wants a beautiful home one mile from the ocean, let me know lol
    Krissy
  9. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    I don't own a pellet, I use wood, but I understand a key advantage of the pellet is ease of use...hopper feed and minimal ash. I have read they need cleaning periodically and I'll leave the metric on that to those who know. You dealer can tell you, and check that out carefully as I'm sure there is some variation among brands and none will tell you they have the brand that is the hardest to maintain. Overall you should find pellet the most like a oil/gas furnace, fill it, start it and set the level/temperature.

    Yes, your floor plan sound interesting, even great for a younger family where the adults would like to put some distance between their bedroom and the children's. But, it would not sell to an older couple like us, we have a two story traditional country style with the bedrooms upstairs and fine we like stairs less and less.

    The chimney is a bit higher than normal as the attic was built for a possible third story. The roof is high and steep and so if one added dormers a couple of more rooms could be added. This pushes the chimney a few feet higher. I think something under 30' is more normal for a two story. Ours isn't 35, but as we had to order a continuous piece of flexible stainless steel pipe we ordered more than enough, i.e., 35'. The dealer didn't have any concerns about the height, but it is taller than what Quadrafire tests with to produce their specs. I had a "slammer" (an insert just stuck in the fireplace, no special 6" pipe) that just dumped smoke into the fireplace smoke chamber, it worked okay for 20+ years, but did badly creosote coat the tile liner of the masonry flue.
  10. modemgirl

    modemgirl New Member

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    Hi Jerry,
    Figured out my chimney and it's about 30' high, I talked to the dealer and they said that it's NO problem with the install. I also did some research on the Harman XXV and it seems to have less maintenance, also the 6 year warranty 6 year ( three years parts and labor), appeals to me. So looks like I will go for it. I lived in this house for 22 years so it's time to downsize as I am not 20 or 30 anymore either. I'm looking at a ranch style home. I will let ya know how I make out after the install of the stove. Thanks for all your help everyone!

    Krissy
  11. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    My Quadrafire installation went well, one small 15 minute problem, today with a crew of three. The long chimney I have also has a "bend" in it, so after trying to feed the stainless steel liner down to the insert level and not succeeding, they pulled it out, attached a rope to the lead end and did it again, this time put a "pull" to help the "push", and the liner (flexible) came around the bend. I don't know why there is a bend in the tile lined masonry chimney, but there is. Maybe it has something to do with the smoke chamber and the draft... anyway, the 30+ foot liner went in and I'll not know how well the draft is for several months. The good news for me (an others who take action) is if here's a rush on stoves/inserts in the fall, I/we already have our :)

    Edit note: The whole on-site job took 2.5 hours, or 7.5 man hours. There was at least another hour for the three of them to pick up the stove and chimney parts and bring them to my house. I'd put to total man hours about 12, given they have to get back "home". Given what I saw and the time it took, the $650 total labor charge (plus tax) seems reasonable to me.

    Pictures added June 13.

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  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Congratulations on the new stove Jerry. Hope you'll post some good pics in the Pictures forum.
  13. modemgirl

    modemgirl New Member

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    Congrats Jerry

    Quite an install there! Sounds like you did good for all the work they did. I hope to stop at the dealer today, I called yesterday they were suppose to know when the Harmans were going to come in. It all depends on the delivery date if I order one today or not. I maybe looking at a different company if they are back ordered. I hope your new stove does you well! You will have to let us know how it works!

    Krissy
  14. modemgirl

    modemgirl New Member

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    Hi Jerry
    Pictures look great! You have a big fireplace there! It's really nice, with lots of brick, I may have missed it, but is the fireplace in your main part of the house or in your basement? I put a $100. deposit on the Harman XXV yesterday, they told me it should be in mid July, I hope they are right because I will be ordering pellets today. I'm doing more research on where to buy pellets with good quality. I hope all goes well, it's a big investment, but I need to do something. My friend just got an oil fill yesterday @ $5.00 a gallon! l YIKES Thats $1250. to fill 250 gallons! My last oil fill was in March @ $3.89 a gallon In Jan and Feb (depending on how cold it is, I usually go through a fill every three to four weeks! YIKES! I froze last year keeping the heat low, I have to put it up when it's really cold so I don't freeze my pipes! I use to get 6 fills a year, but I cut it back to 5 last year with the warmer temps and cutting back. I am hoping to get one or one and a half fills of oil per year with the stove. ( I also heat my hot water with oil). I'm going to order 5 tons of pellets for this winter. We will see how all the figures go this year, as to how much I have saved. I am hoping to be warmer then I was last year with the stove. Anyway, congrats with the new stove, you will have to let us all know how ya did with the stove. If you don't mind me asking what pellets will you be using?
    Thanx Krissy
  15. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Krissy,

    The picture is in our "country" living room. That's one of the economies we have in this house, a living room we use, no family room, fewer square feet to heat/paint/cool...economy of size. The fireplace is a major structure, being its own unit built on its own foundation..the house has a full basement and joins the fireplace structure on one wall. There is also a fireplace upstairs, just above this pictured area, in the master bedroom and there is a flue going down to the basement to a free standing wood/coal stove. The central heating/cooling system is geothermal, now the most economical heating/cooling. At current electric rates and current hardwood purchased prices the geothermal heat pump is more economical than burning wood. But, as I have some wood off my property and I scrounge wood, some of my wood heating is at very low cost.

    My main reason for upgrading my living room was to address the same concern: be nice an warm on occasion. We too run the house at lower winter temperatures than we'd like when sitting and reading or watching tv. So, using an old "slammer" insert in the same pictured fireplace, we'd often stoke up a wood fire and warm the living room up to 70+ degrees on a cold winter's night. This new insert may see more use next winter, some core heating duties, limited by how available wood is and at what cost.

    Best wishes on your new Harman XXV and I think you'll find pellets the best way to go, over wood, if you're doing core heating with your stove. Like everything else in our evolving world economy and shortages, hope you continue to find pellets to have an economic advantage.
  16. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    Very nice Jerry_NJ... be sure to post pics when you fire that baby up!
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