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Have you noticed, everyone is an expert !

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by allenfrme, Dec 23, 2007.

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  1. allenfrme

    allenfrme New Member

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    These days, almost everywhere I go, pellet stoves are popping up, pellets are being sold on most corners, and everyone is an expert. Even me. I stop and talk with anyone looking at a pellet stove.

    Now, I have to admit, being on my third year with a Harmon P68, I have been a Harmon snot. I viewed the others as too small, unknown, unsupported, un reliable, blah, blah, blah. I only had, and gave, one gripe about Harmon.

    They have negative PR. They have a dealer network that is fine, if you have a good dealer. But, the factory websote is simply a media hype site. They are a one way street, selling stoves, and ignoring the public. Think that's a small complaint ? Nope, in this day and age, I want to have factory communications. It's nice that I happen to have a good dealer. And even nicer I haven't had to need the dealer. The tech locally is someone I knew before buying, and I pumped him for information like crazy. Why? Because this is Maine, and when the wind is blowing, the temps are negative numbers, and the stove dies, I need to be prepared to take care of the problem. I can find a dozen people to work on the oil furnace. I find no one to work on the pellet stove.

    So there is was, the Harmon snot, talking with a guy in Lowes yesterday, and we were loking at a England's Stove Works model 55-SHP240L. neither one of us was particularly shy, so we started poking and prodding the stove, pulling things apart, and asking questions. Me? I was comparing it to the P68. And I realized, if I wanted questions answered by Harmon, I had to go see me dealer, who is more worried about selling than explaining. But, when the other guy asked "Yeah, but what do I do about support when I buy from a big box store, like Lowe's?" I smiled . and told him about this Forum. Always seems to be people getting answers from a tech that knows the stove, and actually is answering questions.

    I may not be such a Harmon snot anymore !

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    The folks at Harman were always weak in the PR and Marketing end.....Dane pretty much set the standard, which was "get your hands dirty in the shop"......

    Good point about how many people can work on the pellet stove - alas, I try to tell people about this, but I am just a voice crying in the wilderness. Until something breaks, well.....it works until it breaks, and folks don't think about it.

    In this biz, it comes down to whether you are lucky enough to have a local dealer who cares - plus other (very real) factors such as whether your dealer AND manufacturer stay in business, etc. etc.

    The good news (for customers) is that the new company that purchased Harman has resources, and although I don't think things will change instantly, I would guess that some policies and access (to factory, reps, etc.) will change for the better.

    In general the local dealer still has nothing to worry about (if they are decent) - while you may be able to rip a stove apart, keep in mind that many people (honestly) do not know how to use basic tools, let alone skin their knuckles working in confined spaces and checking voltages and draft.

    BTW, those with Harmans should check out this site for some tips:
    http://www.homewarmth.com/maintenance.html

    and before you buy (sizing, etc.)
    http://www.homewarmth.com/installation.html
  3. allenfrme

    allenfrme New Member

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    Well, the funny part, to those who know me, is I'm a retired geek, a network jock, a programmer, a manager. Everytime I headed into the maintenance shop, they would take the tools out of my hands and smile. "You take care of the computers, we'll do the rest." So, tackling the pellet stove is out of character for me. And, truly, there is nothing to it. I mean, hey, it's an auger, a blower to blow the heat, a blower to blow the fire. An old wood chisel from the dump, and some Windex, and just a little, very little , common sense ! I love the damn thing !

    Pellets however, are a another thing altogether. That market is so unorganized, price unstable, and technically difficult to maintain, from factory to dealer, to the customer, it's just interesting.

    The man that is going to make some money, is going to have a platform that you place a 40 lb bag of pellets on, and it makes it easy to get the pellets into the stove with no major lifting and pouring. Then, even the older folks, and there are plenty, that are uncomfortable carrying and opening, and pouring a 40 lb bag, will be an open market.

    Have you ever talked with some of the techs about some of their horror stories with customers. Some are absolutely hilarious. One local had a customer who called two years after buying, and using, the stove. He wanted it fixed because he couldn't see the flame.
    Course, he hadn't cleared it either, ever !



    And, that site for the stoves, is a classic example of the shortsight of Harmon. Do you see a link for the P68 ? Nope. Is it the same, basically as the P61? Yep. But, hey , what's it cost to support the P68 folks ?
  4. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    madison hgts. va

    should you have any of those questions about the stove you looked at in the lowes store, just let me know.
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Certainly, and there is nothing to Javascript either! Nor sql.

    Being a programmer, you prob have a logical mind - so you "see through" the appliance to how it works. But as you mention, those horror stories are many, and I would not be surprised to see a "vent free" pellet stove installed somewhere. This actually did happen with a wood stove at my old shop 'Chimney, what is a chimney?".

    As to the Pellet handing - funny - I am an inventor and I showed three prototypes or drawings dealing with this very thing to my local inventors club! But I don't know if I have the time or energy to follow them through. I'll probably file a provisional patent on at least one and then...if history is any guide, it will expire before I get around to finishing up the full patent app!

    My first line at the inventors presentation - "Did you ever see a piece of pellet stove lit which shows someone fueling the stove?".......the answer is that I can't find any, because they don't want to show someone shlepping a plastic bag and leaning it on top of the stove while they dig a hole into it!
  6. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    2,019
    Loc:
    Oakhurst, California, USA, Earth
    I like to think I am an Pellet stove PRO
    After 19 seasons
    I have worked on just about every brand and model of pellet stove made.
    If I have not worked on them I have poked at them at the Many Hearth trade shows that I have been to and tough classed at.
  7. petejung

    petejung New Member

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    There are certainly quite a few real pros on this board - I have yet to see a question go unanswered. Thanks again to everyone who lends a helping hand!
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