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Need recommendations for new pellet stove or pellet furnace

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by bit_flores, Dec 31, 2007.

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  1. bit_flores

    bit_flores Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Messages:
    44
    Loc:
    Ohio
    Hi All,

    My 15 year old Breckwell P26 Cadet auger motor died this week. I plan on repairing it and retiring it to the garage. The auger motor died because my wood pellets had too many fines this year and the fines ended up "binding" up the auger about 6-8 times. 1st time I every experienced such a problem. oh well.... I have to say that Breckwell customer support is truly sad. I called to order a replacement auger motor. I called them December 27th and left a message. I called December 28th and today, December 31st. No one answers the phones. Not only do I need a good recommendation for a pellet stove, but I also need to find a good company that supports it's products! I need a company that will be there to answer the phones when your pellet stove dies during the holidays! Anyone got a line on any other companies that offer replacement parts for my Breckwell pellet stove?

    ********************

    Can anyone make a good recommendation on a good solid pellet stove or furnace that handles the various qualities of wood pellets that you get year to year? Obviously a good pellet stove that handles excessive fines and the occasional pellets that run too long in length. I am looking for a stove that has a "robust" auger design that can handle these pellet problems.

    I saw a Bixby this weekend that has "ferris wheel" feed system that SEEMS it would handle long length pellets. It has a section in the bottom of the bin that is supposed to collect the fines. Price $3700. I also saw a Fahrenheit Endurance Biomass Furnace that looked very impressive, and it could integrate into my ductwork. It also had a auger feed system that apparently handles fines and long length pellets easily. I am unsure about it's history, as Fahrenheit looks like a newer company. Price: $3750. I am looking for something less pricey if possible....


    (I can install a replacement wood pellet stove or incorporate a new wood pellet furnace into the central air ductwork in my house.)

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  2. moralleper

    moralleper New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
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    173
    Loc:
    Kalama, WA
    I have had no problems with my Quad. you may also want to look at Englander Stove works. There are a couple guys on this forum that work for them and everybody says they have awesome support, especially if you talk to Mike....
  3. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Messages:
    1,640
    Loc:
    South Coast MA
    I have not had any issues with my Harman on different size pellets, but I agree
    with Moralleper to be sure to put Englander Stove Works at the top of your list.

    I do not own one of their stoves personally, but I have seen a few guys from ESW
    that frequent this site and their knowledge and support is outstanding.
  4. stovemanken

    stovemanken New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    69
    As has been said many times on this forum, the stove is only as good as the closest servicing dealer.
    SMK
  5. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    2,512
    Loc:
    South Shore MA
    Third year and nine tons of pellets later I've had
    no trouble with my St Croix. I'd buy another without
    hesitation. As mentioned, the stoves made by
    ESW come backed by them with awesome support.
    I'd buy one of those in a heartbeat too.
  6. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Messages:
    413
    Loc:
    Eastern Ma
    With all the recommendations of what stove TO get, I'll offer ones that you should avoid (according to your criterea):

    I believe that both the Harmon Advance and the XXV have weak augers that jam easilly.

    My accentra chews through over-sized pellets easilly (the pellets packaged in Palmer MA by NE wood pellet have about 10% of them over sized, and have a lot of fines. so far, so good)
  7. stovemanken

    stovemanken New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    69
    Not sure what this observation means. The actual mechanism (slide plate, auger and feeder) are identical and interchagable. In all fairness, the Advance, Accentra Free Standing and XXV all use a chain drive instead of direct drive. There CAN be problems with the chain hopping off, particiularly in early models without solid mounts on the auger motor. Sometimes there have been faulty augers, but those cause noise issues. The last cause of chains hopping off is poor burn pot cleaning. It you clean your burn pot as instructed once a week (thoroughly removing the carbon) you will have no problems.

    SMK
  8. Dougsey

    Dougsey Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
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    327
    Loc:
    Epping, NH
    Ken, Is that why they did away with the rubber grommets on the auger motor, because the motor would move causing the chain to come off?
  9. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    i would expect that they shut down for the holidays, cant say i blame them, we did take some time off as well , christmas eve , and day, as well as tomorrow for new years. however , phone traffic was actually not very heavy on the days we did work through the last week , so i imagine a lot of folks probably thought we were closed as well , or were travelling or somthing. different companies im sure have different philosophies when it comes to holidays, had i not expected with the heavy weather in new england that we would be busier i probably would have run with a short crew myself. i wonder also (dont know actually so im asking) does breckwell have an "online store" or web support available? if so do they make that known to their customers?

    as for the breckwell motor , do you have specs? might find on grainger or even from a diferent manufacturer depending on specs.

    closing, please dont think im being harsh in my post toward you , just commenting on the subject
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,122
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    One of our Forum moderators, Rod, sells parts, manuals and other stuff for lots of pellet stove models:
    http://www.hearthtools.com/parts/index.html

    Maybe he can make you a deal on some parts AND a new stove.....

    But, realistically, as far as a company that you know will be available.......in 15 years- the way I see it, that is always up in the air. Pellet stoves are relatively new technology and more companies have stopped making them and went out of biz than I can count. So there is hardly a way to determine what is going to happen in 5, 10, 15 or 20 years. If you buy a big brand, chances are that someone will offer spares for it (if there is money to be made), but that does not mean the price is right, nor that they will always answer their phones!

    One way of checking a companies future is to look at their past. Back in the earlier days of pellet stoves I often gave the following advice which turned out to be somewhat accurate "Buy a Pellet Stove from a company that makes a LOT more products than just Pellet stoves because that means they will probably be here in the future to service you"......... of course, you never know. Vermont Castings even sold a Pellet Stove back then, and I think parts are hard or impossible to get!
  11. mystro

    mystro Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
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    I don't think this is really the case anymore what with the net being such a great source of info and resources at least for most people who don't mind
    doing it themselfs.
  12. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

    Joined:
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    415
    Loc:
    Upstate, SC
    I don't think that Breckwell EVER answers the phone! It's been my experience that you call, get an answering machine, leave a message, and then wait & wait for a return call that may or may not ever come. The only time I got a return call from their support department, a full 48 hours after I left my third message, the guy was a real snot. When I gave him the model number & serial number off my stove he said he THOUGHT that it was a 1991....DUH! They don't know their own products very well but they sure don't have a problem treating you like you're the idiot! Maybe I just got the one bad tech they have but I've still never gotten what I thought was a pretty basic question answered. (All I wanted to do was confirm the year model of the stove so I could download the correct owners manual for it.) I've heard some really good things about their stoves but their service department surely hasn't impressed me.

    Mike, Breckwell has their stove manuals available online for download but that's the extent of available online info. for their stoves. No troubleshooting, etc. that I could find. Rod's site is actually MUCH more helpful than theirs.
  13. stovemanken

    stovemanken New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    69
    Dougsey:

    The original reason the grommets were used was to isolate the motor to reduce noise. Newer and quieter gearmotors were developed that made the grommets unnecessary. An unintended consequence of the grommets was movement that could cause the chain to jump off. With that being said, many of the stoves that I have seen have run with grommets with never an issue.

    The contributing factors are damaged augers, either from warrantable failures or rough cleaning that damaged the tip of the auger causing it to contact the auger tube. The other cause is not cleaning the carbon build up (commonly know as the Harman speed bump) that forms across the burn pot. If that is not scraped off for many weeks, the pellets are "backed up" in the auger tube and create enough resistance to pop off the chain. Botoom line: Scrape your burn pot well every week or two but be careful of the tip of the auger.
    SMK
  14. bit_flores

    bit_flores Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Messages:
    44
    Loc:
    Ohio
    WOW,

    Thanks to all of you for the great feedback. I have now ripped apart my Breckwell P26 Cadet pellet stove for a good overhaul. Turns out one of the auger gears had stripped teeth. I finally called Breckwell again and got a hold of a tech on January 3rd. He confirmed that the auger motor assembly went bad. It would feed in "fits & starts" but the pellets would hardly feed down the chute into the burn pot, even on the highest setting. I should have a the new motor & gear assembly in a few days here. I can't wait, the house is too chilly on electric baseboard heat.

    I know I have been hard on Breckwell, but yes, I do expect some type of message that would state: "Sorry, we are away for the holidays, please leave a message". BUT, they didn't. So I really did not know what was going on! I finally had to call back to them to talk to someone. I must admit, when I did talk to someone, they were competent.

    Breckwell does have an Online Parts store, but I have a discontinued model and the auger motor assembly for the P26 is not on the website.

    I know that this pellet stove that I bought 15 years ago is a good solid unit. This is the 1st major issue that I have had with it. It does crank out some serious heat! and I runs it constantly thru the winter. The parts are well made and the auger is a nice machined piece of steel. I have seen lots of new brands & models in the part few years and some of them look quite pathetic!

    I have never had any issues with excessive build up in the burn pot or problems with the auger. From what I read, some people have had some serious problems. I am thankful that I lucked out.

    oh yeah... my local dealer is so damn goofy, I won't go to him anymore. He is no longer a Breckwell dealer. Everyone that I have talked to said that they won't go back to the guy either. Apparently he rubs people the wrong way. I am not sure how he manages to stay in business. The next closest Breckwell dealer is about 40 miles away.


    anyways... I am still on the hunt for a good quality pellet furnace that I can hook up to my central AC ductwork. Ideas anyone???? Again, something that that can handle dust, fines & over-length pellets.

    Can anyone also recommend a good pellet sifter? I need to sift the dust & fines from the remaining 3 tons of pellets that I have here.
  15. bit_flores

    bit_flores Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Ohio
    Okay, I am puzzled....

    I replaced the auger motor assembly on my Breckwell P26 Cadet. The vent tube to the pressure switch is clear and the vent hole behind the burn pot is clean. The new auger motor works great and turns the auger fine.

    I am still experiencing the same problem. My flames are nice and lively. The both combustion and heat exchanger fans are running great. The auger motor and auger are spinning fine.

    BUT: The fire eventually dies out even when the stove is on the highest setting. The pellets seems to stop feeding about 3/4 the way up the auger shaft, they just "spin" there and go no further. The fire dies out. Then later on, the pellets "decide" to start come up the auger shaft and then I have a huge pile of un-burned pellets in my burn pot. There is no rhyme or reason on when this problem will occur. It could be in the 1st hour of starting the stove, or maybe a few hours later. I am playing "Pellet Roulette"!

    I have a nylon lower bushing and an upper brass bushing. The bushings seem good, with little or no play.

    I can see no pellets on the top of the auger shaft when looking up the chute from the burn pot. The auger spins, but the pellets simple are not feeding all the way up the shaft. I know I have crappy pellets this year. Lots of dust, fines, and extra long pellets. Are the pellets the problem??? Am I missing something?

    AAARRRRRGGGHHHH !
  16. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Upstate, SC
    If the auger is turning but the pellets aren't feeding all the way I'd think it almost has to be the pellets. Perhaps the extra long ones are stopping up the works on an irregular basis. I think I'd sort through some pellets, picking out the long ones, and run them through the stove to see what happens. If the problem goes away then you'll know for sure that the long ones are the culprit.
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