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Mount Vernon AE Opinions please..

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Waldo14, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. Waldo14

    Waldo14 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    New Jersey
    We just bought the free standing Mount Vernon AE as a gift for my father for Christmas. We chose this unit over the Harmon XXV but are now very nervous about our choice after reading some horrible reviews. We are not sure if we should be returning the unit and getting the Harmon XXV? Any opinions would be greatly valued! It does seem like most bad reviews on the Mount. Vernon stem from earlier production years.

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  2. Caribfan

    Caribfan Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2012
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    Loc:
    Southern Maine
    I have had a MVAE for almost 2 years and love it. You are most likely correct abut the reviews you have read. The non AE model as well as early AE models seemed to have some issues. I chose the MVAE over the Harmon XXV for 2 reasons - 1) it seemed to be quieter than the Harmon and 2) it has battery backup capability during power outages (marine deep cell battery and special connecting cord that I found online) so you still have heat. I have only used the backup once, and the battery ran for about 16 hours and still had plenty of juice left. I don't have anything to compare the MVAE to since this the only stove I have ever owned, but I have been very happy with the product. The only problems i have had in 2 years is a couple of pellet jams and a little carbon buildup on the autoclean system. The pellet jams I cleared in seconds with a coathanger and the autoclean system issue took me about 20 minutes to resolve once I found the info on this forum and I don't consider myself to overly handy. I think you narrowed your decision down to 2 VERY good options and really can't go wrong with either. Having owned one for 2 years, I recommend the MVAE without hesitation.
  3. jimfrompa

    jimfrompa New Member

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    Oct 24, 2013
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    32
    Loc:
    Spring Grove, PA
    This is my first year with the Mt Vernon AE. I also chose the Mt Vernon because it was the quietest and for the BTU output. I was told by the dealer that comparing the Mt Vernon to the Harmon XXV was like comparing a sports car to a Mack Truck. He sells both brands and said either is a very good choice. He pointed out that the Mt Vernon is a bit more complicated because of the autoclean feature. The Harmon is the rock - chugs away without much possibility of breaking (reading this forum, though, shows me that XXV owners do have breakdowns). I also have found that some attention should be paid to cleaning the Mt Vernon AE at least once per week. The autoclean feature has given me some headaches in that there is some creosote buildup in the firepot that I must scrape out about once per week (five minute job). Also, I have discovered that I have to lubricate the rails that the firepot travels on every 10 - 15 days. I do this by removing the ash pan and putting a bit of silicon grease on the tip of my finger and putting on both rails. I'm retired and I actually enjoy taking good care of my stove (just like I do my cars and my small yard implements), so that doesn't present me with a problem. But so far, just set it and forget it. Take some care in programming the wall thermostat so the unit functions just the way you like it. I have mine set on manual with a temperature differential of 3 degrees. I think my flame height is set to +2. There are many videos on youtube that will help you greatly. I have burned over one ton this winter so far and have had only one pellet jam (long pellets got cross jammed in the pellet shoot). Like caribfan said in previous posting, I cleared it in half a minute. I am very please with my choice and I think you will be too. Good luck.
    RockyMtnHigh likes this.
  4. tsmith

    tsmith Minister of Fire

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    Sep 13, 2009
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    Loc:
    Kutztown, PA
    I own both the Mt. Vernon AE as well as the Harman Accentra, similar to the XXV. I like the Harman better. Burns anything without a problem, no problem with clinkers and the autoclean. I also like that I have more control over the operation of the Harman.I also like to be able to have it run in maint. mode instead of always shutting down as the AE does.
  5. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
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    905
    Loc:
    Southeast PA
    Can you summarize your concerns so we can address them directly? I used to own an XXV. Great stove. The MVAE is a good stove. The autoclean is probably its biggest downside. Lots of heat and whisper quiet.
  6. Harvey Schneider

    Harvey Schneider Minister of Fire

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    Oct 9, 2012
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    964
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    Southbury, CT
    I have had only one problem with the MVAE. That was an igniter failure after 3 months operation. It was replaced for free and I haven't had any problem since. It will burn anything without problems. I have never had any problems with the auto clean mechanism other than a squeak that I took care of with a tiny spray of moly lube. That was early last year, and there hasn't been a squeak or squeal since.
    I consider this an extremely robust stove that is capable of putting out a tremendous amount of heat.
    The thing that made me choose this over the XXV was the fact that the MVAE insert is zero clearance and that made for an easier install.
  7. Madcodger

    Madcodger Guest

    Have owned one for four years now. Early thermostat and ignitor issues but newer models have resolved those (and I use those updated parts without issue). Our stove runs 24 x 7 ranging from 73 in day (about 17 hours) to 67 at night, so a lot of use.

    Very low maintenance - about the least you'll find with a pellet stove. I vacuum out the ash drawer and inside the firebox once / week, and clean behind the backplate and inside the exhaust ports once/month. These are routine pellet stove maintenance procedures, so make sure your father in law can and will do them (otherwise no pellet stove is a good idea).

    I actually really like the autoclean feature. Keeps the firepot clean and helps to decrease maintenance to clean out firepot.

    I would be perfectly happy buying another MVAE.
  8. LMPS

    LMPS Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2010
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    390
    Loc:
    Coastal, Maine
    I have had mine since 2008 and like others have said the ignitor at first was an issue but they have seemed to straightened this out with the low wattage one.
    The only issue like others I have with the stove is the autoclean, but if you turn up the flame height when its cold out this will cut down on the heat loss when the autocleaning takes place.
  9. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
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    985
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    CT
    when the MT VernonAE was first released in 2006 had a ton of issues the great thing about the www is that nothing ever goes away but the new units are fine and you have nothing to worry about it is a good heater and one of if not the quietest stoves on the market
    john193 likes this.
  10. Waldo14

    Waldo14 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    New Jersey
    Thank you all very much for your input! We are feeling much more confident in our decision and have decided to keep the stove. If my father so chooses he can exchange for the Harmon but I doubt he will. Both do seem like fantastic options either way. My father is also retired and is very handy so I know maintenance will not be a prob. My mother suffered a massive stroke last year and is most comfortable when the house is kept pretty warm. It's a 3200 square foot ranch and he currently has a fireplace and wood stove in the home. The pellet stove will replace the current wood stove in the family room. Thank you again and Merry Christmas!
    Madcodger likes this.
  11. BigJohnfromCT

    BigJohnfromCT Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    111
    Loc:
    Danbury, CT
    I, too, have an MVAE. Got it on February 2011. It's my first pellet stove. Had it installed in the wrong area for heating a 3000+ sqft contemporay w/ 12-14' ceilings but it was where I wanted it. Consequently once it gets cold it runs flat out round the clock. Let me tell you it is a real work horse. Only problem I ever had was due to my not cleaning the fire pot as diligently as I should have been. Learned from my mistakes. It just RUNS. Good luck.
  12. VA Bugler

    VA Bugler New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2013
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    12
    Loc:
    Virginia
    I definitely recommend the MVAE. Burned around 1.5 tons thru my MVAE since installed in Sep. It's very efficient and transfers heat well via the cast iron heat exchange design. I have learned to keep the burn pot clean. Wood chisel and wire brush wheels via cordless drill is recommended.
    john193 likes this.
  13. LMPS

    LMPS Feeling the Heat

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    Dec 12, 2010
    Messages:
    390
    Loc:
    Coastal, Maine
    One additional thing, if you did not get an OAK, Outside Air Kit, you will want to get one installed. This will allow air to be drawn from the outside instead of using the air in the house or pull air from drafts in the house.
  14. peirhead

    peirhead Feeling the Heat

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    Aug 8, 2008
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    Loc:
    PEI Canada
    Can't beat the looks of the Mt Vernon!! Best looking stove on the market....... IMHO!
  15. Powerhorse

    Powerhorse New Member

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    Sep 21, 2013
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    9
    I have had a Mt. Vernon AE since 2010 and use it as the main heat source for my 2500 Sq.Ft. home in NJ. I never run the propane furnace I just keep it's thermostats set at about 60°F in case the MVAE ever shuts down. Other than a few pellet chute jams which were cleared in seconds and a carbon buildup in the auto clean it has been excellent. Highly recommended. I chose the MVAE over a Harman P68.
  16. rickwai

    rickwai Feeling the Heat

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    Nov 1, 2011
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    289
    Loc:
    ohio
    They r a good stove but eat igniters, even the low wattage ones. You can buy them on ebay ffor $100 for 3. I would recommend having at least 1 on hand. Have the dealer throw one in with the sale.You will need it. Harman igniters can last 5 years plus or minus.
  17. Harvey Schneider

    Harvey Schneider Minister of Fire

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    Southbury, CT
    It has been two years since my high Wattage heater failed and was replaced by a low Wattage heater. I run my stove with a one degree swing, and I switch from auto to manual as outside temperatures decline. I don't understand why you are having heater failures but, either your system is atypical or mine is. I'm still on my first low Wattage heater.
  18. dsnedegar3

    dsnedegar3 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Southern Connecticut
    I've had my AE since 2008... gone through a couple of igniters but that's it. I love the stove...quiet and cranks heat when you need it. The wife stays warm and I've reduced my oil usage by about 600 gallons a year. I added an OAK a few years ago and it helped reduce drafts in the house a lot. Also bought a couple of marine batteries and ran the stove when we lost power in the cold...wife liked that too. Personally, I look the looks... I have an insert and finally got use out of my fireplace! ;lol

    Stay warm... you made a good decision.
  19. oldmountvernon

    oldmountvernon Minister of Fire

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    Same for me ^^^ oil for hot water only havent changed a part yet, im not gonna say the name, i dont wanna jinx myself :D
  20. Powerhorse

    Powerhorse New Member

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    I'm still on my original igniter from 2010. However I do have a spare on hand if needed.
  21. Powerhorse

    Powerhorse New Member

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    Sep 21, 2013
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    I do the same as you with both the 1°F swing and auto to manual (Currently in Manual as it is 20°F outside). My flame height is set at -4 and after reading some of your posts I may play with this setting and see how things react. I believe you are running in the +3 to +5 range.
  22. RockyMtnHigh

    RockyMtnHigh Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Colorado
    Theyre both great stoves and I don't think you could go wrong with either one. Pellet stoves require a learning curve for sure but once dialed in they are awesome!
  23. Waldo14

    Waldo14 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
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    Loc:
    New Jersey
    Thanks again all! Quick question.... Can anyone recommend a pellet? It seems a high quality pellet is our best bet however there are an abundance of choices out there.
  24. Madcodger

    Madcodger Guest

    You will get many responses and opinions. Personally, I have had great success with Hamer's Hot Ones in two different seasons (four years ago and this year). I switched back to them despite their slightly higher price vs. those purchased online by the ton or "box store" (HD, Lowes) pellets. Great heat output (I actually measure different brands in my other stove from time to time) and less ash than most other brands. Ash quality is more sand-like and less likely to be sticky and/or go airborne easily.

    However, I must also add that I've recently had good results from PrestoLog brand, sold at Home Depot in our area recently. About the same amount of ash as Hamer's, and almost as much heat, at almost 15% lower price. ($5.70 / bag vs. $4.98). Prices will vary greatly based on local area and retailer. I have seen very poor results from Green Supreme (much less heat and much more ash), and reasonable but lower quality from Cheat River (in both heat output and ash amounts). I did have reasonable results from WoodPelletsdotcom hardwoods a couple of years ago, but less than Hamer's and not worth buying again for me given the deal I can get from a local dealer on Hamer's. Service was great, though. Their Pacific Blend softwood was very hot (about like Hamer's) but produced more ash and the ash was sticky and sooty. Definitely not worth burning again, for me.

    I will continue to buy a few bags of box store pellets for testing this season, at least into January, and report overall results. Others will likely do the same. For now, Hamer's is in the lead followed by Presto, but there are many more brands available. Hope this helps...

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