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New Owners of the Harman P68

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by MySpecialGuys, Dec 9, 2007.

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  1. MySpecialGuys

    MySpecialGuys New Member

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    We are new owners of the P68 and I am so frustrated, stressed, and depressed...Please will someone help us...we just bought the stove last week and thought we were in heaven until, the stove was eating two bags of pellets/day. We have tried everything, we have the pellet stove on stove temp, temperature at 60, blower on high and the feeder for the auger is set at 4, and it still eats up the pellets. We also tried the temperature at 65-70 degrees and turned the feeder just above 1. The dealer came down and replaced the circuit board and the sensor and still eating the pellets, but it did turn the flame down. We don't want to eat the pellets so fast, but we want consistent heat. The stove is in a family room, which is a drop down room (just 2 steps) from the kitchen. I have to admit it keeps the rooms very comfortable, but it consumes too many pellets. The last stove we had, only ate a bag of pellets, and was efficient. Also, when we shut the stove off the auger continued pushing out pellets, is this normal? We are tired of hearing the Auger running, and now it is making squealing noises, once in a while. And thought this would be efficient for us. Help Please.....Thank you.

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Your post is not the first one of this type we have gotten on these forums - in fact, it is almost a daily occurrence lately.

    Although it may seem like a bit of a joke, read this article I wrote last week:
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/wiki/You_and_a_BTU/

    The translation is this - there very well may be nothing at all wrong with your stove.

    2 bags of pellets per day = 80 lbs, which equals about 400,000 BTU output into the home. Divide that by 24 hours, and your stove is putting out less than 20,000 BTU per hour, which is what is needed in many homes to do any sort of a job. Pellets are like wood, but maybe just a little bit drier. A person using a wood stove will EASILY burn 80-100 lbs of wood (3-4 arm loads) each day, and maybe more.

    Again, from afar I cannot tell you that there is nothing wrong with the stove, but I can say that 2 bags a day in this weather in New England certainly is not excessive....
    Less pellets = less heat (in general).
  3. MySpecialGuys

    MySpecialGuys New Member

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    I don't understand....My other stove put out less pellets and still kept the home warm..its just too bad because it needs a complete overhaul as I had to wash the glass constantly
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I can't speak to that, but we have certainly had some colder weather lately, and therefore your perception (having just gotten the stove during a VERY cold time) may vary. As you may remember, it was warm right up until Feb. last year, so you would of course have burned 1/2 the pellets at many times.

    Again, the proof will be in the pudding, but in general if you are burning the Pellets, you are getting the heat. There are only two other places the heat can go:

    1. Up the chimney (and we know pellet stoves do not run a hot chimney)
    2. As unburned smoke - again up the chimney - this would be quite evident as clouds of smoke would be coming out your vent.

    Other than that (in general), there is nowhere else for the heat to go. Certainly it helps to make certain a stove is within spec as far as adjustments and other things, but that is not going to make the difference between one bag and two bags per day.

    Please continue to monitor the stove, as well as the outside temperature, wind and sun (or lack of it), and see how these things affect your pellet use.

    As a side note, it might just be that your former stove was more efficient than the Harman at low settings. A bigger stove sometimes does not run as well on really low output as some smaller units.....but, again, in colder weather this should not have been a big difference.
  5. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    I would have your dealer come by and take the time to address the
    noises and other problems, and also to show you how to operate the stove to get it running the best for
    your application because according to the P68 manual online, that stove is capable
    of burning down to as little as 1lb of pellets an hour up to as much as 8lbs.

    So, fact of the matter is, if it's set up right, you can certainly get a bag a day out
    of the stove. Not sure just how much of an area you are trying to heat,
    but you many not heat as much of your home with the stove at the lower setting,
    but you will probably get out of it more of what you were expecting.
  6. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Put the blower on medium
    feed rate at 3-4
    room temp mode
    ignitor to auto
    move the room sensor to a new location.
    auger running after being shut off is normal it will gradually bring the stove down to a lower temp before shutting down.
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Just FYI, if you can get it to burn at 1 lb an hour (and this is more difficult with some models than others), you will be burning at the rate of approx one plug-in electric heater (5000 + or - BTU per hour). This is a good figure to keep in mind when trying to determine the output you need to do a certain job.

    DO NOT PLUG IN A BUNCH OF ELECTRIC HEATERS TO TEST THIS.

    But, doing the math from there, 2 lbs per hour (which IS a good low output), is about 10,000+ BTU an hour, which equals 2 plugin heaters or 50 lbs in a 24 hour period. That (10,000 BTU) is also about the lowest that a small woodstove can operate at. Most woodstoves are run at 15K to 30K, which equals the equiv of 2 bags or more (of Pellets) in 24 hours.

    Another method of comparison (for those familiar) is with kerosene heaters. The bigger kerosene heaters put out 17,000 to 22,000 BTU, so to get the output of the bigger ones would require 2 bags in 24 hours.

    All just FYI. In the end, the heat load (needed heat) of various rooms and houses if very different...and affected by weather, wind, letting the dog out and many other factors.
  8. MrWinkey

    MrWinkey New Member

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    Glad you guys could come on in and let Craig and the others on the forum help out.....

    My house 1800 sqf rancher....it's now a balmy 21 deg right now and the low was like 18 last night...my stove pretty much ate 1 bag of pellets just last night.

    I have a pretty good insulated house but alot of air to heat (vaulted roof)

    So yes when it gets cold I can chew through 2-3 bags per day....on warmer/sunny days I only use 1 bag per day.

    Few things to try are.....

    Put the blower in the medium setting....put the stove in room temp...

    Dont leave the temp probe on a cold heat sink.....aka dont let it sit on a cold tile floor or next to a drafty window or door.

    If you want to try it put the stove in stove temp mode and put it on a low setting...you will only burn 1 bag per day (depending on setting)

    You may get cold this way.....
  9. MySpecialGuys

    MySpecialGuys New Member

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    Loc:
    Eastern MA
    Thank You for all your responses...but I am tired of this P68 I have tried everything possible and still no change. I don't want the stove to be in control, I want to control the stove myself. I like the Harman brand but I don't know if this is a reject. Does anyone know which model I could control more? The last stove I had was an Adventi by Travis Industries and had only 4,ooo BTU and I was able to control what the stove did, it just so happened that it was getting up in years and needed a complete overhaul. Thank you in advance. So frustrated....
  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    You can't go wrong with a travis industries product. How long did your other pellet stove last? You have to consider that in your initial cost and potential savings. I would hope at least 10 years.
    What would a complete rebuild have cost?
  11. MySpecialGuys

    MySpecialGuys New Member

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    The last stove lasted over 10 years. I am not sure what the overall cost would have been, but it was not working to our potential any longer as we had to keep cleaning the stove everyday. We do like the Harmon but we are not having any luck with this particular one..we want to control the stove and not the stove taking us over.
  12. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    You've had the stove a week? Give it a chance man.
    That's not nearly enough time to become familiar with
    tweaking the settings to best fit your usage. And also,
    different brand pellets will also require changes that you
    have to learn how to make.
    It took me a few weeks of running it round the clock before I really knew how to
    tweak everything.
  13. tinkabranc

    tinkabranc Minister of Fire

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    South Coast MA
    Hi,

    I agree with the others. Both weather and brand/type of pellets can have an
    impact on what settings the stove will run best with. Good ole New England weather
    changes so often, the settings used today may not be the right ones for tomorrow.

    Give yourself more time to learn it's "personality". A week is not long enough to
    figure it out. I have been running my stove for a couple of months now and am
    still learning as the weather gets colder.

    You will get control over that stove.. ;-)

    This site is fantastic source of information to learn from!
  14. Kenny1

    Kenny1 Feeling the Heat

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    Eastern ON
    A BTU is a BTU - snappy lyrics Craig, got any music for it? :lol:

    MySpecial - as your last stove worked for 10 years, we can assume that you know how many pellets your home needs.

    But as was pointed out, 2 bags may not be that excessive.

    The squeeling noise does have to be fixed.

    One interesting comment you made was "I don’t want the stove to be in control, I want to control the stove myself." Can I ask what you ment by that? I ask because I just leave my stove in room temp mode and let it adjust itself to keep the area comfortable.

    Good luck


    Kenny
  15. MySpecialGuys

    MySpecialGuys New Member

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    Kenny...what it means is that I feel that the stove has a mind of its own and everything I do, for example changing the settings, there is no change it still produces the same heat and continues to eat pellets. With the Stove that I had, if it was 8 or 38 degrees outside I'd set my stove to 60 degrees it stayed at that...I am not using the stove to heat my entire home just a room or so. And I don't have the time nor do I want to sit around tweaking my stove... I want to set and forget it! I don't know why that should be so hard I set my oil heating at 65 degrees in my house...
    and it stays that way until I want to turn it up and it doesn't give me a problem....And I just feel that if your putting that kind of money out on a stove sitting around trying to tweak it until it does what you want ...Well Good-Bye Stove! And when I start going through 2 to 3 bags of Pellets a day to heat a room or two it just not worth it compared to my last stove using less then a bag! I love the look of their stoves and the way they distribute the pellets.. Just wish they weren't so sensitive...And now, I know looks aren't everything...
  16. MrWinkey

    MrWinkey New Member

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    Well all I can say is good luck to you then.....It sounds like you already made up your mind.

    Have you tried any of the suggestions people have offered? Moving the temp probe? Trying it in stove temp mode (manual) mode?

    Few of the guys on here it took a couple weeks. I know it took me a month trying to figure out the settings for the type of pellets and condtions of our home.

    Seems to me your throwing the baby out with the bath water. Maybe a 3k stove also.
  17. MySpecialGuys

    MySpecialGuys New Member

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    Well, Like I said if I could get the stove to do what I want and stay at the temp I'd put it at, I'd keep it, and why should you have to keep tweaking something! If you want it to stay Low, it should stay low, High it should stay high why

    even have controls on them then...This stove wants to do what IT wants...Yesterday, having settings on low except the feed I had that on 3 it still went through 3 bags of pellets...I have been tweaking it for 10 days now trying everything

    and still gobbles down the pellets...Like I said before, my last stove, I set it on Med and it stayed on that temp until I wanted it to be higher....even if it was 70 out that stove stayed at what I put it at and I never had to tweak that stove...

    I've tried everything, and leaving time in between for it to adjust...and, for the pellet brand I use the hard pellets (Premium) The only thing I haven't done is to rewire it to do what I want...

    I have the stove on (Stove Mode) and yes I have had the stove on (Room) also.....And by the way, I have my stove on 55 degrees and blower on (Med) and have had the stove higher too...
  18. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like that stove is not doing the job for you! That's a shame.

    One part of your expectations I would have to take exception to, and that is that a Pellet Stove is in no way similar to an oil furnace in terms of "set and forget". It is a solid fuel appliance with all the standard quirks, etc. - Yes, I know your last stove was satisfying, but that may have been the exception rather than the rule.

    Having owned a stove business for over 20 years, I found my happiest Pellet Stove customers were the type who actually didn't want to set it and forget it, but who wanted to interact with their stove, fiddle with the settings, etc. = Of course, I do agree with you that it should REACT to that fiddling. Folks looking for 100% set and forget should consider gas units (LP or Natural) as well as Central heating, etc.

    Even the posts here reflect that the happiest owners are those handy with the scraper, vacuum and oil can.

    It's strange that your stove is behaving differently than other Harmans. You would think that the computerized control boards and other such parts were fairly standard....especially since they replaced it once already. Oh well, I guess your dealer is going to have to expect some phone calls.
  19. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    So you're saying it's burning through 120 lbs of pellets in 24 hours????
    Holy holy crapstick batman, that's way too much. That's 5 lbs an
    hour and I know that stove has to be capable of burning less than
    that.

    Like I said and no offense but either there is something
    really wrong with the stove, or it's operator error.
    First thing I'd do would be to have the dealer check it out
    to see if there's something really wrong with that stove.


    Where are all the P68 owners out here?
  20. Dougsey

    Dougsey Feeling the Heat

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    According to the manual, the P68 has a feed rate of 1-8 lbs/hour so one with think that in stove temp mode with the temp dial at minimum you should be able to get a day out of 1 bag. If this is not the case, perhaps something is wrong.

    I'm of the school that thinks it takes what it takes to heat the room bags-of-pellets wise so I use room temp mode and add pellets as needed. A constant room temp is more important to me than amount of pellets used. But I'm heating my whole house (open concept cape) with 1-1.5 bags/day (73 in stove room). When the temp drops below 18 or so, the second floor heat will come on a couple times in the early morning (2nd floor stat set at 66).
  21. MySpecialGuys

    MySpecialGuys New Member

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    Believe me...I'm very handy with a scraper, Vac. Pellet brushes and window cleaner....The last one I had I did all that twice a week That's why I was looking forward to this model because it didn't need that but once a month or so (Except
    for the window) which was more.....And, I was using the thermostat for the oil furnace as an exsample ....Is it not true when you want more heat you turn it up, Down for less.....Well, that's what my pellet stove should do... NOT eat more pellets as this is doing!

    I went to a Harman Dealer because I have Friends that have the Harman and their doing fine with theirs also.... I just happened to get one thats not!
  22. Dougsey

    Dougsey Feeling the Heat

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    You're intending on scraping the burn pot only once a month?
  23. MySpecialGuys

    MySpecialGuys New Member

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    Thank-you....That's what I'm saying it's eating a lot and I have it set on 55 Blower on med and feed at 3 and you'd think it's cold in here, Right? No my house is reading at 70 ..
    They've already came here twice in a week. First time they found the probe was screwed on against bare wire. Second time changed the panel and it keeps gobbling down the Pellets
    Only doing about two rooms that is separated from the rest of the house, has it's own temperature gauge
  24. mkmh

    mkmh New Member

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    I am getting frustrated just reading through the post. :) Doesn't make sense to me, and it doesn't seem like we're getting all the information. On the positive side, it sounds like the dealer has been pretty helpful so far, replacing the board and coming out on another occasion.
    I see that you've mentioned a few times that you've tried every possible setting, but I don't see any mention of adjusting the feedrate. One of your prior posts mentioned a feedrate of 3. I have found that when the feedrate on my P61 is set to 3 (stove temp mode), I also go through pellets pellets very quickly. Probably not 3 bags in 24 hours, but probably greater than 2. You've got the big boy stove there (68,000 BTUs) so that stove is capable of "eating pellets" faster than most stoves in existence. I think you could burn close to 5 bags per day if you wanted to.

    Have you tried this:
    Set the stove to Stove Temp --> 60 degrees
    Set Distribution Blower to Medium/Middle Setting
    Set Feed Rate to 1

    Try to run this test with one 40 pound bag of pellets.
    If you can't get through a 24 hour period with those settings (exactly 40 pounds in the hopper) then I will be the first to admit that your stove is a lemon. Your house may be chilly during the test, because you'll only be getting 8,000-10,000 BTUs per hour from the stove...but I think it is definitely worth running the test. I have found that my feedrate setting is probably the most important factor in my P61's pellet consumption.

    When i'm testing out various settings I try my best to be as scientific as possible -- Recording pounds of pellets (and type) in the hopper, time of day, outdoor air temperature, and exact stove settings. I find that if i'm not making a concerted effort to record all the factors that i'm aware of, then it is hard for me to really draw any meaningful conclusions about the stove.
  25. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Something not mentioned yet.......
    What does the stove look like when it is running?
    Are the flames tall? They must be to eat 960,000 BTU's of fuel down in 24 hours.
    There could be lots of things wrong so lets go back to the basics.....
    Dealer install?
    Draft test?
    Venting config?
    Do you have burning pellets being pushed into the ashpan?
    What type of pellets are you using?
    Outside air hooked up?
    Is the flame lazy?

    I ran mine at about 78*
    feed of 4
    blower in the middle In room temp mode
    ignitor switch in auto
    and still only burned at the most 60lbs a day (and it was cold single digits)
    I know, I know......2 different homes etc....
    But we need a starting point here...
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