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Installation this week. Should I demand an OAK?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Aquion, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. Aquion

    Aquion Member

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    I'm having a pellet stove installed this week. I've spoken to the dealer a few times about having an OAK put in at the same time. He is adamant that an OAK is not needed. From what I have read here, I'm thinking that I should get one anyway. My reasons:

    1. The manual recommends having one (M55 Cast Insert).
    2. Our house is very tight. We had the door blower test done recently and the testers were surprised at how tight the house was.
    3. It's easier to do it during the initial install.
    4. The OAK can be run up the chimney, so there's no need to cut a hole in my chimney.

    I'd like to rely on my dealer's technical expertise, but it seems that dealers never want to install OAKs. Why is this? Am I right in demanding an OAK?

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  2. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    It seems your dealers only interest is selling you the stove . Avoid him if you can , that is unless you got an exceptional deal you could do the oak yourself. Do not depend soley on the dealer`s expertise. Some of them are lacking.
    Learn all you can about your pellet stove , the venting of , and what an oak does as it will benefit you greatly in the future as you continue to burn pellets.
  3. khenault

    khenault Member

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    Demand an OAK. If your house is that tight it will create negative pressure which could negatively impact other appliances (e.g. gas water heater). If your house weren't tight it will cause nasty drafts. Either way it's not good.
  4. Trickyrick

    Trickyrick Feeling the Heat

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    Some of the reasons I have heard the first was from one of the less reputable dealers I talke to.

    The OAK has a cost associated with it and no-one makes much money on that extra work. (The least desirable reason)

    The dealer had a change at a $3000 sale why mess it up by telling you you need to spend another $200 for an OAK? (there are some customers who pull the plg when they add up all the extras. not the dealers fault they need to stay in business)

    Most houses are not super tight and since it will not affect the operation of the stove directly it isn't "needed" (Here is the old theory that if it doesn't affect the stove then why use it and do not mind the side affects)

    The combustion gets warm air so les energy goes to heating up the air. (This one is really BS)

    The single biggest reason to get an OAK. If you wouldn't open your window today and put a 100 Cubic foot per minute fan in it blowing your warm air out of your house, Why would you do it to install a pellet stove when you do not have to?
    If you are going to do the install without the OAK you will be movig some volume of air out of your house through the stove. That volume MUST come back in at the same rate through all the little cracks or else you will create a vacuum. Since I have never encountered a house that really had a vacuum in it, that outside air does enter and need to be warmed up. That will create areas that will actually be colder and harder to heat, usually far away from the stove in the bedrooms where you actually want the heat. You turn up the stove and use more pellets or turn on your more traditional heat sources to supliment the stove.

    You do what you want but both of the Harman dealers I talked to said I didn't need one but that they do improve performance. That was enough for me to spend the $285 for the kit.
  5. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    At $285.00 for a kit I`d not want one at that price either. However there`s no reason an oak should cost that much unless it`s an unusually difficult install. In most situations the materials are minimal.
    A dealer should always factor an oak into a stove install since its the most appropriate time to do this and the cost would be low to nil since the men and tools are already there in place.
    A dealer who tells you it isn`t necessary should be avoided.
  6. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    If you have an ash cleanout in the floor of your fireplace, it's a simple task to run a flex hose into the cleanout and stuff insulation all around it. Then just open the outside cleanout access door and put several layers of hardware cloth in there to keep critters out. Very cheap that way BUT if he has to go up the chimney then you need a long run of metal hose (but not the more expensive exhaust hose) and a 180 turn of pipe out of the chimney cap.
  7. Aquion

    Aquion Member

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    From the manual:

    FRESH AIR: This unit uses large quantities of air for combustion; outside Fresh Air connection is strongly recommended. Fresh Air must be connected to all units installed in Mobile and “Air Tight Homes” (R2000) or where required by local codes.

    "Strongly" is in bold in the manual.

    I sent the dealer an e-mail saying that I want the OAK. He quickly got back to me saying that they would figure out what it would cost and let me know. My install may be pushed back if they can't get the materials in time. He says that he's never done an OAK on a M55 insert before, so I'm a bit worried.
  8. Paul Raz

    Paul Raz Feeling the Heat

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    Don't know what an OAK even does, but if my dealer told me my install was basically the guinea pig install I might look for a different installer!
  9. Trickyrick

    Trickyrick Feeling the Heat

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    Chief I have an insert and in order to allow for easy pull out and for the method of attachment mine is more than a piece of pipe. 285 is well worth it on an insert....
  10. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    100% without a doubt GET IT. It's the one regret i have with my stove.
  11. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Understood. I did mention unusually difficult installs. And I`m sure there are quite a few installs that aren`t exactly simple or typical.
  12. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    Unless he can, like I said,use the ash cleanout, he's looking at a job putting it up the chimney and terminating it. For my Sante Fe, I would gladly pay $285 to keep me off the darn roof and 'rigging' a termination to an already installed cap. Unfortunately, there's no one around down here I would trust.
  13. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    I'd pay 500 for mine. still can't get anyone in...
  14. Aquion

    Aquion Member

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    It's going to cost me almost that much Brian. They want $400 to do the OAK.
  15. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    That's a little nuts to pay THAT much for them to learn how to do it! They don't need exhaust grade piping/tubing but just metal. A few sections of metal dryer ducting taped and screwed together and one of these http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Steel-Mandrel-Degree-Radius/dp/B002V19AQQ/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1352996513&sr=8-14&keywords=exhaust pipe 180 or 4"http://www.amazon.com/Aluminum-Mand...=1352996595&sr=8-21&keywords=exhaust pipe 180 and you're good to go.
  16. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    Id pay 400 all day for it. no questions asked. i can't get parts for it for half that cost. And time on my roof is worth about $100/ hr to me.
  17. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    may I ask what dealer? i may call them to do mine...
  18. Trickyrick

    Trickyrick Feeling the Heat

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    That is a fair price my 285 was just parts.... I did my own install
  19. Boobo0

    Boobo0 Member

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    This might sound extreme but, I wouldn't bother getting a pellet stove unless I was able to get the max benefit out of it. A OAK certainly plays into that "max benefit. I was lucky that I did my own install and the OAK materials came to about $25 and at most 2hrs. of my time. Yes I know there are much more difficult install situations, but the benefits outweigh upfront cost.
    briansol likes this.
  20. DonD

    DonD Member

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    Curious why you can't draw outside air from the same flue that the vent pipe goes through without having to go all they way out the termination cap. The vent obviously has to go to the top of the termination and by code you can't have anything else venting into the flue so it seems like it would be OK to draw outside air directly from the flue. You would probably have to poke holes in the termination so the only issue I could see is if it were to draw exhaust gasses back down the flue but that doesn't seem likely. I've been thinking about this, not for a insert but for a standalone with a Selkirk Direct Temp Vent.
  21. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    You can, but its not just as simple as it sounds. the sucking needs to be far enough away from the intake so it doesn't EGR the smoke. The damper carraige blocker thingge also needs to be cut, plus the grill to keep rodents out... and the actual process of hooking it all up.
  22. Aquion

    Aquion Member

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    Brian: My dealer is Cedar Mountain Stoves in Newington.

    Rick: I'm glad to hear your opinion re; the cost of the parts.

    Boo: I totally agree. I'm spending a lot for this stove. If $400 makes it run better, I'll happily pay it.
  23. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    It won't make it run better-- but it will make your room not feel cold. The coldest room in my house is the room the stove is in-- even though my thermostat says other wise. Go figure, it's because it's drafting in all the cold air through the cracks to feed it.

    I drive by Cedar every day on my commute home from hartford. I'll stop in one of these days.
  24. Trickyrick

    Trickyrick Feeling the Heat

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    Yes you can do that but not just "poke holes". You have to keep water and debris out. You need a 180 degree termination at the top outside the cap. then you are using you flue as a pipe. Then you just need to use metal flex pipe from the intake on the stove up past the fireplace damper.

    I like the Harman system, as it attaches to the harmon fireplace frame and it allows you to slide the insert in and out without any worry or disconnecting the piping or stretching/crimping it while moving the unit for monthly cleaning. One of the dissadvantages of inserts is to do the 1 ton cleaning you really have to pull it completely out of the fireplace of zero clearance housing.
  25. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, having an insert, i'll never buy another insert again. Everything about it is more difficult, more expensive, less producing, and leaves you no fireplace when the power goes out taking away the option to burn wood.

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