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)

Is buying an Enviro Empress on the Internet a Bad Idea?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Philip, Nov 20, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Philip

    Philip New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Messages:
    114
    Loc:
    Huntsville, AL
    I was going to order an Englander from my local Home Depot until my wife saw the Empress on the Internet. I have checked everywhere I can think of looking locally and can't find a single store that stocks pellet stoves so I've never even seen one in operation, but I've read a lot of threads on this site and decided the Empress will work in my situation. So now the problem is where to buy it. There is a wood stove dealer in town who can order one in white (the color my wife thinks she wants) from a distributor in Tennessee for $3,200 after tax. After the sale he would be able to order parts, but not service it, which I guess is okay because there isn't much mechanical or electrical that I can't fix though I'm not sure how warranty work would be handled. The nearest authorized Enviro dealer is 2 - 2 1/2 hours away and I haven't contacted him. I wouldn't mind driving that far to buy a stove, but I don't imagine the dealer would service the stove after the sale so I might as well buy one on the Internet, right?

    I found one dealer on the Internet who sells the Empress for $2,540 delivered. Has anyone had any experience with Dynamitebuys.com or advice about buying a pellet stove on the Internet?

    After I buy one can I go directly to the manufacturer for parts or help? How helpful is the manufacturer of the Empress likely to be? Has anyone had experience with their customer service department?


    Thanks for your help,
    Philip

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,332
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Did you try:

    Southern Hearth & Patio Inc. (Enviro)
    6513 Lee Hwy.
    Chattanooga, TN
    423-899-3853

    The Hearth Shoppe (Avalon)
    3209 6TH AVE
    Huntsville, AL 35805

    ATNIP DESIGN & SUPPLY CENTER INC (Quad)
    200 INDUSTRIAL DRIVE
    HUNTSVILLE, AL 35811
    256-859-2992
    http://www.atnipdesign.com
  3. RonB

    RonB Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    303
    Loc:
    Southwest MI
    Why not give the Enviro dealer that's 2 1/2 hrs away a chance? See if he would service it. I was able to buy my Quad stove from a dealer 1 1/2 hrs away on a cash and carry basis (my choice). Whenever I have an issue or question now I just call my dealer and say I bought my stove from you..yada yada. It's good to be hooked into a dealer for the service end of it.
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    28,740
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    My one bit of advice is that when you buy a stove that has to be shipped to you be sure you understand all of the seller's policies regarding warranty issues. That Empress weighs 230 pounds without the pallet and crating so if something happened that required it to be returned shipping would be a large chunk of change.

    Looking at the dynamitebuys website policies I see that you are responsible for the shipping costs for ANY warranty items.
  5. restorer

    restorer New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Messages:
    831
    Loc:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Not to be a spoil sport, but if no one is selling pellet stove locally, what's the availability of pellets? Can you buy for a reasonable price the fuel you need? Demand in some areas is so low that only specialty sellers carry them, and may only stock limited amounts for seasonal sales and will likely be sold out in the next sixty days.
  6. Philip

    Philip New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Messages:
    114
    Loc:
    Huntsville, AL
    I looked for a phone number for The Hearth Shoppe and couldn't find one so either they are out of business or so new they aren't in the phone book yet. No listing on InfoSpace.com, either. I haven't contacted any of the three Enviro dealers in TN yet. I'll do that before I buy. I'm convinced that there are no pellet stoves for sale in Huntsville, AL or the surrounding areas. Don't know why that is. Our weather is quite mild here compared to PA (I lived in the Lancaster area for 9 years) and MA (my sister-in-laws family lives in Brockton) but during the early '80s there was a wood stove or fireplace insert in nearly every house around here. I guess gas prices haven't gotten high enough for most Southerners yet. I'm convinced they will, though, in the near future. In the past I've never had to deal with returns or repairs under warranty so I really hadn't given it much thought. But you're right, it would cost a bundle if I had to return the entire stove.

    As I said in another post Tractor Supply doesn't stock pellet stoves, but they are sold out of pellets. I guess I should investigate the supply of pellets before I purchase a stove. Are the online pellet suppliers too expensive? I haven't tried to get a quote from any of them. Thank you for your thoughts. I really do appreciate it. I don't know how you keep up with all of the questions we throw at you. It seems like it would be a full time job.
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,340
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Yes, I would say to investigate the pellet supply big time! My guess is that there may be some new and reasonable sources due to the wood supply down south.

    I'd say this about buy a stove over the net - first, research the exact company. How long have they been in business? are they an offshoot of a successful brick and mortar store?

    Before I purchased a 2500 pellet stoves, I would consider two things:
    1. Am I mechanically inclined enough (or my good friends) to fix 95% of the possible things that might go wrong (with help from the factory).
    2. Will the factory help in this matter - a phone call to the factory telling them you like their stove but have no local service - see if they have a tech service person on staff full time to work you through problems and send you parts....NOT tell you to call the mail order place.

    Without those two items answered to my satisfaction, I would have concerns.
  8. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Web hit a homer concerning mail order purchases of pellet stoves great logical advice
  9. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,019
    Loc:
    Oakhurst, California, USA, Earth
    How is someone who spends a million dollars to have a showroom and product with burning stoves compeete with this chit.
    I guess we will be the burning showroom and sales people for theis guys.
    We will show the stoves spend hours with them and shoppers will order from this company with free shipping.
    then we will have to do the warantee work on it.

    I would not groan so much if is was at list price plus shipping but below list ($100's below)
    Bull chit.
  10. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    well Rod you make a good point unfotunately I have bid and designed additions only to see my plans and stock list used by another person
    what really is amazing I review the plans (PS at that point I stop the reviewing process and hand th plans over to the comissioner to avoid any conflict of interest Also I will not be the one inspecting that job) before issuing the permit and I see my own plans. I get fished all the time as does many other contractors

    you are right it had to compete when internet sales has no show room overhead. I would just repair the stoves sold by you I would refuse warranty work on stove sold by others.

    However economics dictate, If money id not coming in we all do what is needed to generate income and that might include warranty work on products you did not sell

    Might even win over a few customers
  11. Philip

    Philip New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Messages:
    114
    Loc:
    Huntsville, AL
    Thank you for your advice. As much as I'd like to get a pellet stove this year, I'll probably wait until next summer unless I can find a pellet supplier. I found that the Enviro dealer in TN also sells online and has a decent price including shipping plus I don't have to pay sales tax. That saves me about $200, but he doesn't sell the Empress in white. In your experience is white a hard color to keep clean? Might it turn yellow over time? Will pellet stove prices go down next summer or are they likely to go up like everything else? If there's not much demand down here might prices change less than they would in colder locations?

    Still, without pellets I'm kinda dead in the water. We have plenty of wood down here and I see cord wood for sale all the time, but neither my wife nor I want a wood stove again. After the second chimney fire in 1989 (probably would have burned the house down if it hadn't been for the metal roof) we changed to LP. It was selling for 80 cents/gallon back then. It's $2.80 now so this year I'm heating with electric heatpump for the first time, but my wife complains of being cold even with the thermostat set on 75. Somehow it's just not a warm heat. Does anyone make a direct vent wood stove? I've finished off the attic (2 bedrooms and a bath - not used in the wniter)so I can't put a woodstove chimney back where I took the old one out. So I'm sorta stuck with a direct vent pellet stove.
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,340
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Business is business, and the total costs of being in the "mail-order" business are similar to an efficient brick and mortar biz. That is exactly why Amazon has went ten years without making the kind of profits that folks thought would be available.

    Whether it is a local dealer, or a mail-order outlet, the cost of doing business is usually 25-30% or more of gross sales.

    So folks who are "giving away" stoves are really just giving away their own time and business....there is not ONE successful long term business of this type. In the end, they usually have to do two things to survive:
    1. Raise prices to cover actual costs (returns, servicing, lawsuits, etc.)
    2. Handle brands from third and fourth tier makers who will sell to anyone.

    I know a LOT of people who have made MILLIONS of dollars in the retail stove business. Although these dealers run the gamut as far as price, installation, service and brands....they do have one thing in common - a showroom!

    So Rod, don't lament those sales which fall through the cracks...just keep track of the manufacturers who are letting folks do business without a showroom. Then, when those manufacturers come begging to you.....well, you know what to say.

    All in all, the stove and fireplace accessory business lends itself much better to mail-order than the stoves themselves......sort of like cars.

    Phil, sorry to hear things won't work out this year. Did you contact that Hillbilly Pellet - they are in Ark or Mo and might be shipping into your area somewhere (or have a way to do so).

    Another thought on the "direct" - the fact is that a VAST number of people in the country do not have a dealer near them. For that, and other reasons, this is a bona-fide way of selling some products....... Hey, Rod, maybe you and I will coordinate on the "great hearth.com store"........ :)
  13. JimWalshin845

    JimWalshin845 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    599
    Loc:
    S. Jersey
    YIKES.... we'd be in our skivies with the stat set at 75. Maybe try a humidifier, especially if the humidity is less than 50% to give a more comfortable/warmer heat.

    As per buying over the net, it is a fact of life these days but 'we' always try to buy local. Manufactures want volumn, retailers want a 'resonable' profit, and consumers want the best price often forgetting about service.

    Even though I am very mechanically inclined I still want to be able to have something serviced if we are away OR if it is way over my head.

    Shipping on such a large item is a factor also. Many shipping companies will only deliver to a commercial business location, so add in renting a pick-up, paying for lunch and brews for your 3 friends to move 250-400#s of stove and get it into your home. Open the 'jack-in-the-box' and HOPE that everything is there and that it was not damaged in transit.

    In many cases, manufacturer and retailer relations have gone down the perverbial poop-shoot yet the manufacturer wants retailers to support and service their product. I don't know if I would carry a product that I could not have a restricted territory for a higher priced item like a stove.

    I feel badly for all concerned,
    -Jim-
  14. Philip

    Philip New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Messages:
    114
    Loc:
    Huntsville, AL
    RonB suggested I give the Enviro dealer that's 2-1/2 hours away a chance and that sounded like a good idea to me because as he said if I had a problem I could call the dealer. And he is the closest dealer to me so he's as local as I can get. I could go get it rather than have it shipped, but what I save in shipping I'd probably spend in tax and gasoline.

    I know nobody has a crystal ball, but do you think the price of stoves will go up between now and next summer? I guess I'm asking if I should buy now or wait? And what about white for a stove color. The backdrop for the stove would be a walnut wainscot that's 3' high so the darker color stoves wouldn't stand out as much.

    Thanks for your input.
  15. JimWalshin845

    JimWalshin845 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Messages:
    599
    Loc:
    S. Jersey
    The only thing I see going down in price is electronics. Everyhing we touch deals with fuel and oil prices. I think demand will remain strong with alternative fuel components and a repeat of the early '70s where you will find a bunch of new players. But on such a short term basis between now and the summer, I doubt you will see much fluctuation.

    So to sum it up...YEP.. the prices will continue to rise. You may find better deals in the spring with floor leftovers, just like you see the automobile dealers do, but you may not end up with the exact model you planned on.
  16. restorer

    restorer New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Messages:
    831
    Loc:
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Don't think that will be the case with the market holding strong. I think there will be the same end of season frenzie we saw last year. The driving force will be the inventory in the big box stores. Last year it was a 50% dump. It may not affect the independent stores and dumping at the same rate, but there will be a heavy discounting.

    I would suggest that you keep an eye on the stoves you want, open your mind and options, keep in touch with the sellers you are comfortable with, and when you are satisfied the deal is in your favor, go for it.

    Your situation is unique in that there is a "non-market" at home, you seriously need to find the fuel source, FIRST. Keep in touch with this collection of split heads and pellet heads and plan for next season. You know, you can burn wood and not be shunned py even those who burn a by product.


  17. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Messages:
    415
    Loc:
    Upstate, SC
    Philip, sounds like you & I are in about the same boat! lol In the south there just aren't many people who even know what a pellet stove is much less anyone who sells or services them. Since I became interested in getting a pellet stove and started asking around about them locally, looking for advice/opinions from local users, I've become sick and tired of receiving that blank look, DUH??, in reply. I've been unable to locate a single person who uses one in this area although I did manage to find three local stores that sell the stoves and two that sell pellets. I've been warned that there is no one closer than Atlanta, about 2 hours away from us, who will service them but like you, I think between hubby & I we can replace/repair just about anything on one that needs it so I decided to take a leap of faith and buy one despite the lack of local knowledge & support.

    Like you, I'd never even seen a pellet stove burn until I fired up the used Breckwell insert that I ended up buying off of Craigs List. Haven't installed it yet but hope to get that done next weekend when my chimney liner arrives, had to order that via the internet as well. So, I'll be around here asking all sorts of silly questions since I have no other source of info. on pellet stoves. It's a gamble for us southeners to go this route but I figure that anything that might get me off the teat of the oil company is worth the risk.

    If you are interested in the SC suppliers I located just give me a shout and I'll pass along the contact info. The brands I could buy locally are Harmon & Avalon. Our local Tractor Supply sells US Stove & the pellets. Here's a link to a list of pellet producers
    http://www.pelletheat.org/3/residential/fuelAvailability.cfm#south. You might try contacting some of the southern ones to find out who distributes their products.

    Good luck!
    Peg
  18. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    Maybe I should open a store down here hmmmm..
    Whereabouts are you in SC and what dealers have you found
  19. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Messages:
    415
    Loc:
    Upstate, SC
    GVA, I'm in Anderson which is about 30 miles southwest of Greenville and about 2 hours from Ashville and Atlanta. Might just be a good area for you. Honestly, when I learned that there was no on around who works on pellet stoves I wondered if I should find a place to learn to service them myself. There has to be people in the area using them as TSC says they sell a fair number of stoves and pellets.

    Local dealers:

    Harmon
    Yoder's Building Supply
    Fair Play, SC 864-972-3003

    Avalon
    Patio & Fireside Store
    Seneca, SC 864-888-4413

    And, of course, the TSC in Anderson sells US Stoves & pellets. The Patio & Fireside Store sells pellets as well but Yoder's doesn't so only two local sources for fuel that I've found.

    Sure, come on down! lol I'd sure welcome someone that knows the front from the back of a pellet stove!

    Peg
  20. Philip

    Philip New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Messages:
    114
    Loc:
    Huntsville, AL
    Peg, after reading your post I called my local TSC and was told they just got a whole pallet of pellets. Unfornately they want $4.98 plus tax/bag. I found a place online where I can buy them for $250/ton including shipping and no tax but I think I'd have to go to the trucking terminal 30 miles away to get them and to get them home in my S-10 pickup I'd have to make at least 3 trips. The TSC is only 15 miles away but with tax their pellets would cost about $70 more for a ton. If I buy a stove and burn pellets at the rate of 40#/24 hours, I'd need about 3 tons, I think. Is $5/bag a good price for premium pellets? I guess it depends on where you live and I've not seen too many southerners who burn pellets on this forum.
  21. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Messages:
    415
    Loc:
    Upstate, SC
    Yep, that sounds about right. Just under $5 a bag or $249 a ton + tax here as well. That's a bargain as the only other local source wants $5.50 a bag. with no price break for volume.

    I called the local Home Depot to see if they could get pellets for me since I know that they sell them up north. The silly girl I spoke to didn't know but said that if I could give her the store number or location of a store that stocked them she'd be glad to check into getting them for me. I didn't have that info. to give her but if someone on here could supply that for you your local store might be willing to order them for you. I doubt there'd be any shipping or anything involved and you could pick them up at the store nearest to you.

    The cost thing is tricky. I just paid right at $600 for 200 gallons of #2 diesel. If we don't have any really cold weather & if I keep the thermostat down to an uncomfortably cool setting that should last us about 6 to 8 weeks. If we start getting nights in the 20's and daytime highs lower than my thermostat setting then....well, we'll run thru it like water. Long theory short, I figure we'll definately spend more this year for heating when you factor in the cost of the stove and the install but like most any home improvement, such as insulation, it will pay for itself over a period of years. I'm sure that the cost recovery is simply higher/quicker for folks who live in colder climates since they have a higher annual heating cost to start with. So, it may take longer for my stove to pay for itself but eventually it should.

    As for the southern pellet supply I'm gambling that it will improve as more people in the area, who currently burn wood, get older...those baby boomers.....and start looking for an easier way to heat their homes discover pellet stoves. Demand should rise and supply will follow. Some good old fashion competition should be good for pellet prices.

    As long as I'm being long winded....our local TSC ran out of a specific feed that I needed yesterday so I drove to the next closest TSC to get some. To my surprise there sat an Englander pellet stove! DUH! Never occurred to me that, with a chain store, one would sell something that another didn't. So, it might be worth calling every TSC in your area to see if any of them carry a brand other than US Stove. Sure wish I'd known because I'd have bought that baby in a heartbeat!


    Whew! Need more coffee...
    Peg
  22. pcampbell

    pcampbell Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Messages:
    98
    Loc:
    Vermont
    So has anyone ever used dynamitebuys.com or could anyone recommend an internet shop with Napoleon and Simpson Duravent?
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page