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missed the boat

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by cac4, Jul 11, 2008.

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  1. cac4

    cac4 New Member

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    Silly me, I thought mid-summer would be the time to get a pellet stove. ha! 8-/

    Looks like I missed the boat on a Harman. I've been lurking on and off here for a while, but not much in the last few months, since last winter ended. Thinking that its time to get going for the upcoming season, and w/ oil prices being what they are, I'm back...and surprised by what I find. I called all the area harman dealers myself, and they all say the same thing: wait 'till next year. :-S

    I really wanted a Harman because...I'm lazy. Dealing with pellets will be pain enough...I'm afraid that if I have to constantly fuss and clean something, its going to become a very expensive end-table. {sigh}. But the fact remains, I've got a bit of a problem w/ $5 + heating oil. So I'm thinking that I've gotta do "something".

    So, what's the next best thing? Surely, there must be something out there that is relatively low-maintenance.

    Maybe I should get an Englander, and just "make do", until the perfect stove becomes available, whenever that is...then sell the old one. (do these sell well, on ebay/cragslist, etc? see lots of ads...never know if people actually buy them or not.) While the Englander looks like a pain to clean, for the cost, you could also buy a pretty nice ash-vac, and still be at a fraction of the price of a harman.

    FWIW, my house is ~1800 sq ft, by outside dimensions, so the inside area (- walls, cabinets, closets, etc) is even less. 8' ceilings...made in 1994, so it has 6" walls, double-pane glass. Open floor plan on the first floor, so its really a good candidate for pellet heat. I was figuring that an accentra would probably heat the whole house. 600gallons of oil per year on average, forced hot air.
    There's a Heatilator fireplace in the house, which, of course, throws no heat. Haven't even used it in years..."ambiance-only". But for reference, in order to light it, (pre-draft the chimney), a door has to be open. and its best if the furnace isn't running. Just to give you an idea of how "tight" the house is...

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Make-do is gonna be kinda tough.....keep in mind that many of our Englander pellet stove owners bought them in end-of-season closeout, for prices from $599 - $999........my guess is that you are gonna pay $1500 + for one now, maybe more, so the resale part is not as easy as it would be for those who paid less. Once you get into that price range (near and above 2K), there are dozens of models on the market.

    If you are really set on the Harman...I would wait. My opinion only. But if you have that kind of $$ to spend, there are also a lot of other good models in the marketplace. This coming winter is not likely to be the only winter when oil is over $4.
  3. mkmh

    mkmh New Member

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    I agree. I would wait for the Harman.
    Waiting will also give you time to see what happens with pellet prices, and to see what happens to the overall pellet stove market.
    You might also want to just spend some more time thinking about whether a stove is right for you. They don't require "constant maintenance" and fussing, but it is a bit of work to keep them running efficiently...and if they get neglected they can turn into major headaches (door stops).

    I'm predicting that there will be a good supply of used ones on Craig's List next March as user's discover that a pellet stove just doesn't work for their lifestyle. I know, I know...5 dollar per gallon oil doesn't work for people either, but some folks would be better off just buying some electric space heaters to cut their oil usage.

    Best of luck to you whatever you decide.
  4. JPapiPE

    JPapiPE New Member

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    Yeah $1500 is dead nuts for a pellet burner in this crazy economic boom for stoves etc. You sound like a good candidate for an englander 30NC wood stove still availabe at HomeDepots ... Look at the stove as an investment into physical fitness and i bet you could sell it next year for what you will pay this year
  5. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    Lmao. I guess you missed this comment below from the original poster:

  6. cac4

    cac4 New Member

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    actually, I don't have that kind of money to spend. I look at it this way: someone is going to squeeze 4 grand outta me this winter for heat; for that, I can (theoretically) get a very nice pellet stove, and the fuel to burn in it...and next year, it'll be cheap heat. or I can just give it all to the oil man...and do it again, next year. (and the next year, and the next year...)

    I was at lowe's the other day, and the guy said they expect to have them...1300 for the smaller englander.

    a wood stove: don't think thats really practical for me. Its not just the stove, itself, but I would also need 25 feet (at least) of very expensive chimney to go with it. I was told that the existing heatilator's chimney is just a "b-vent" pipe, and not adequate for a real heat generating device. (stove or fireplace). And I can't install that, myself. So, add labor.
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yep Zeta. The OP has three choices. Gas, oil or electric.
  8. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    From the "lazy" angle, you have to do a lot of calculation....

    Maybe overtime work is available - maybe you enjoy your work and make $50 an hour for those extra hours.....

    So even 2 hours OT (year round) a week would be enough to pay your total heating bill....and have a bunch of money left over for taxes.

    So, as with everything else - it all depends.

    Up until about 3 or 4 months ago, it would be safe to say that Pellet stoves were an optional and luxury purchase for 75% plus of users.....maybe even more...and maybe they don't even realize it! I have talked here to hundreds of user who "just wanted one".

    Lots of potential reasons - but at the same time, the words lazy and solid fuel don't go together. In fact, there is a bit of "forced suffering" that many of us have enjoyed - like the old joke that it cost $50K for some dude to heat with wood for the first year (truck, saw, hospital bill, frozen pipes, etc.)
  9. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    payment for heat of any kind has to be made, whether its money or time , just depends on which is more valuable to you. if you are 1800 sq ft and as well insulated as you have stated , the smaller unit probably would do the house, mine is smaller (1200 sq ft), but much older and much leakier and i heat with an 04 version of that same stove and dont have to push it at all. cleanup isnt as big a PITA as you seem to feel it is, takes me about 5 minutes twice a week with a loveless ash vac. monthly i clean the trap in my vent , another couple minutes, and seasonally i roll it outside and hit it with the compressor (which isnt a requirement but my house layout makes it an hour job from disconnect to reconnect). i will say this though , if you arent going to be diligent and maintain a pellet stove (of any kind) dont buy one , as a pellet stove is gonna treat you like you treat it , neglect it and it will let you down(probably when you want it most.
  10. cimbo190

    cimbo190 New Member

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    As long as you can get a stove and pellets you have not missed the boat.
  11. cac4

    cac4 New Member

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    well...I exaggerate about the "lazy" thing...a little.

    yeah, wouldn't that be nice.

    not available. I can't just "make more"...so I'm looking for other creative ways to save $.

    I guess "lazy" is all relative, too. I have a friend that heats w/ wood...he buys it by the grapple-load. I made some comment to the effect of "gee, thats alot of work", and he said, "nah...its only a few trees to cut/split/stack/lug"...like its "no big whoop". Obviously, he enjoys it, and has the physical prowess to do it. me? not so much...

    Now, mike makes the pellet stove maintenance sound e-z, too. 5 minutes, twice a week, I can handle. others make it sound like its much more than that.

    So the question remains, is there really much of a difference between makes of stoves in terms of weekly/daily maintenance? sounds like they're all pretty much the same...with the exception of "brand H".
  12. JPapiPE

    JPapiPE New Member

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    No Bart....I didn't miss "The Lazy part ". I'm lazy too, but I had to make up my mind that it was either a stove or spend every cent I have for K-1 (currently going for $4.86/ gallon in my neck of the woods.) Plus the spin off effects are gasoline is very costly as is food and other goods and services ...because the buck gets passed to us as consumers.

    I guess for some of us laziness is not an option. Going from oil heat to solid fuel just takes a certain mind set. For me making the decision to switch has been very pleasurable. I have stacked 3 cords so far, of some of last seasoned wood available in my area. I still got 1 cord to go, although I'll probably only burn 2-1/2 cords at the most. I did have a heart attack 4 months ago and was advised to take it easy. So easy for me today was that I cut the lawn with my push mower and stacked another cord. With each cord I stack, I decrease the time it takes me to do so. I'm getting into shape...and thats a good thing. I have limited space so i have the cords dumped in my driveway . I then have to wheelbarrow the wood some 40 feet to my wood pile. I did pay $250/ cord and bought the extra because prices will only go up.

    For instance my wood seller told me that when he delivers my last cord he is not going to take anymore orders... because he believes he can get $350 / cord come this winter. I wonder if that mind frame may be indicative of the Industry of wood sellers? Scary thought, huh? He and his partners buy log length hardwood in 100 cord parcels, but he explained to me yesterday that there are no more 100 cord orders to be had. This is Maine and it might be different elsewhere. My wood seller has become a friend of mine and I do believe what he tells me.

    I don't want to get off on a rant here, but my local stove shop "Frost and Flame", gets $750 for a wood stove installation. Plus parts of coarse. I figure my stove installion, including stovepipe supports and chimney will take me 4 hours and I have to go through a corrugated metal roof, and use uncoventional flashing. I confess i have spent some 50 hours researching the products and the toleraces for my particular system. I have been given misinformation by experts too, althought not on this forum, but the WW Grainger people put me in touch with their experts on the products they sell and indicated an EPDM boot was sufficient for my purpose, but having done the research I knew I needed a silicone boot. They did make it right, but it was me armed with my research that caught the error which could have been a fire hazzard.

    All this physical labor and research has become a labor of love. My point here is once one overcomes inertia...the rest is a joyful experience.
  13. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Sure, there are differences between them. In general, you get what you pay for - not to say there are not good values and bad values, but when you buy an Austroflamm or something like that, you are getting better motors, bearing, quieter fans, more up-to-date engineering, etc.

    Brand H - which I assume is Harman....always had the saying "built to a standard, not a price" and this was somewhat true - but also true of Quadrafire, Lopi/Avalon, St. Croix and probably lots of other brands...and even certain models within a brand.

    The truth is that some companies have engineers working full time on their lines.....constantly improving, upgrading and even coming out with new models...the standard evolution which you see with all consumer products. They learn from mistakes, improve efficiency, etc.

    Oh, another great brand is Thelin - these are made by Jay Thelin who is one of the few that tested the stove to both Euro and American standards for efficiency and publishes the results....

    As you can imagine, this is just the tip of the iceberg, which is always why I shudder when folks ask me "what stove should I buy?". Heck, if JPE spent 50 hours researching a wood stove and chimney, imagine researching a pellet stove which is much more complicated!

    Again, I'm still at the point of saying buy the stove you want to have eventually...if it's a Harman, wait for it - but there are lots of other premium ones from 2500 up also.....maybe even less if you get lucky.
  14. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    JPapiPE, it will really "pay off" when its cold outside and your sitting at a toasty 72 degrees, and when it gets colder you throw another log on the fire and sit with your feet up. Co-workers will be crying how much thier utilities are and you remind them your burning FREE wood. People are right its a trade off. I could afford the gas bill, I just choose to save for other things (two little guys 3 and 17 months) and would rather spend on them then the gas company.
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