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Lowest maintenance/ease of use pellet stove?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by rwthomas1, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. rwthomas1

    rwthomas1 Member

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    Hello All,
    The nice older woman that watches my kiddo a couple of times a week has become interested in a pellet stove. I guess spending time in my 72*+F living room will do that.... She and her husband are in their 70's and have oil heat. Their house is kept very cold due to the cost. She has no problem with lifting bags of pellets, shes very healthy and active, its the stove care and maintenance she is concerned with. So, that said, what would be the recommendation for the most low maintenance and easy to use pellet stove? Her husband is clueless mechanically, (his admission), so she will do the stove upkeep. What say the crowd?
    TIA, RT

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  2. whlago

    whlago Feeling the Heat

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    Can't you work out a deal with her? You do the weekly cleanings and she watches your little one? I would think she can pay someone to do bigger maintenance but its keeping the stove constantly clean she would need to deal with. The good thing about stoves like mine (Enviro M55) is it has a stirrer that keeps the burn pot clean. Still need to clean once a week IMHO (Vacuum ash, empty ash bin, scrape burn pot, etc.) I would think with any Pellet stove this would be the minimum to keep it running efficiently.
    will711 likes this.
  3. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    They are all going to be about the same once you get into it. And it will vary too much depending on WHAT you are burning as well to give any nod to what one needs less maintence.
    In general, look for a bigger hopper with a bigger ash drawer and a burn pot stir and an air wash system for the glass.

    either way, 1-2 weeks, it's going to need to be opened up and cleaned.
  4. bbone

    bbone Member

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    whlago said it best Barter system
  5. will711

    will711 Minister of Fire

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    Why doesn't she get what ever stove you got? then you clean & maintain for her like bbone & whlago said Barter. Think about it sounds like a win win;)
  6. newf lover

    newf lover Minister of Fire

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    While it makes sense to work out a deal with her to clean her stove, you may not want to get all that involved in the situation. My husband is not mechanical, nor am I. I find the Harman I have easy to maintain, but I do have it professionally cleaned every year. Don't know her money situation, but the best thing would be for her to get a stove from a place that gives really good service, and pay to have it cleaned out good twice a year. If it's done once in the middle of the season, then the end, she should be able to plug along the rest of the time with scraping the pot and vacuuming it.
  7. subsailor

    subsailor Minister of Fire

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    Are they going to be able to handle 40 lb. bags of pellets on a daily basis?
  8. Mackdog

    Mackdog Member

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    This is what I was thinking too. We are middle aged and delivery day every September getting 4 tons is not my idea of fun. We do it to save money as propane for this house is $1000 a month in the winter before we got the stove. They are alot of work though, as you know. Maybe her husband can come over and they can see if the bags are heavy to them and you can explain whats it's like to take care of the stove and haul/get delivery of the pellets and maybe they might change their mind. My husband and I are also not mechanically inclined and when things go wrong it can be really challenging or expensive to diagnose. All that aside, when it's working, a Harman is easy to use. I also don't have anything to compare it to because it's the only one I've ever owned. ;)
  9. Northwoodneil

    Northwoodneil Feeling the Heat

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    Do her a favor and tell her get what you have if you like it. If barter is not an option clean it for her anyway. I have never known an old gal that would let you work for nothing. They make the best pies and one of them covers my hour of labor. Probably why I'm 20 pounds over weight. Treat all your elders like gold....because they are.
    becasunshine, 343amc, whlago and 2 others like this.
  10. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    with their situation a dealer service based product would probably be better. while basic cleaning is quite easy with most pellet stoves, maintenance and upkeep beyond this can be challenging for folks who aren't mechanically inclined, so a "DIY" stove such as mine should they have an issue would require someone to help them where a dealer based product while more expensive usually does include in home service should they have an issue outside of just cleaning

    i dont say this lightly as i sell my products in the DIY market, they are less expensive though just as high in quality , the difference is you are your own mechanic , i will help with phone based support but i do not have (nor do most any other diy based manufacturers) have in home service. they would have to pay for someone to come in and fix a unit even under warranty if not able to do so themselves with my guidance. the initial outlay is higher as the cost initially includes this service contract (nothing is really free), but the added security for an older couple who may not be able to change out a part physically makes a dealer supported product a more prudent investment.
  11. Bioburner

    Bioburner Moderator Staff Member

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    I have parents in thier 70's and the only problem my mother has with running the Countryside is the initial fuel handling. Bucketing smaller amounts is the norm. 15 to 20 lbs a bucket. She wants a Harman now though after seeing the ease of cleaning and not needing to be adjusted all the time.
  12. rwthomas1

    rwthomas1 Member

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    Thanks for the replies thus far. I was thinking of a Harman P38 for them. I may have a Lopi Pioneer, but I needed a slightly smaller stove and it does seem to need more care than the Harman's I've seen. The P38 should do a decent job with their little ranch house, the local dealer has Harman (same place I got the Pioneer) and has a decent rep for service, etc.

    I don't really want to get too involved with becoming their "stove tech" I have a 2 year old and my wife is due with twins any day now..... I ain't got the time.

    Regarding the ability of the "older woman" to carry bags of pellets here is what I've seen: She has carried my two year old daughter in one arm, and her pedal car in the other, all over my neighborhood when my kid decides she won't pedal anymore. She has no problem carrying 50lb bags of dog food for her two dogs. Lastly, she gave me an old 5KW generator that didn't run, it was sitting in her garage. She insisted on helping me put it in my truck. I felt pretty guilty about even considering having her help me, but she insisted. Shocked the hell out of me as she picked up her half of a full sized frame generator and plunked it on the tailgate of my truck. She looks like a broomstick but I think she carries anvils around for fun. Bags of pellets? Not a problem.
  13. subsailor

    subsailor Minister of Fire

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    You might want to think about the P-43 simply because of the autoignite feature.
  14. Bigjim13

    Bigjim13 Feeling the Heat

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    I would recommend a Harman from the P series. We have a P61 and are very happy with it. Reading some of the other posts from owners of other stoves, we don't have those same issues.

    I do t have to worry about what air setting, feed setting and I really don't have to worry about pellet quality. I have burned good, not so good and great pellets. The only real difference I see is the amount of ash. When it comes to cleaning its pretty easy and accessible.
  15. DirtyDave

    DirtyDave Feeling the Heat

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    Take the time to make time. You will be happier in the long run with yourself. I am sure after Her watching you clean it a few times, she will push you out of the way and do it.

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