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Ordered a Harman--Took a whole 2 weeks...

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by cac4, Jul 29, 2008.

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  1. cac4

    cac4 New Member

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    ...to get it.

    :bug:

    I've lurked on and off here for some time...only joined recently, when I figured I best get going on getting a stove. I figured that "mid summer" is the time, right? So I come back, trolling for info, only to find out that I've probably missed the boat. (see thread: "missed the boat". LOL!).

    I called 5 local dealers; all told me the same thing: "sorry...next year". {sigh}. can't get the stove I want.

    Then the guy at work who is primarily responsible for talking me into "pellets" told me that a friend of his ordered a stove from "down south". So, I found out the place, and called them. They, too, were out of the stove I wanted. (accentra). But, they said they'd get one...probably in the fall. So, I hemmed and hawed, and then gave them my credit card.

    The next DAY, I find the article posted here, from the Maine newspaper, about how the rug was pulled out, etc, etc. So I figured I wouldn't be seeing my stove any time soon, either.

    last night, when I got home from work, there was a message on my machine, telling me that my stove was "in" and had already been shipped. I should have it in a day or 2.

    I talked to the dealer today, and asked how this is even possible, and they said that they did pre-order a bunch of stoves early-on...but also, that both Harman and Quad are trying really really hard to fill the demand. So...thats that.

    Lucky me. Now, I gotta go find some pellets. and I thought I'd have some time to clean out the basement, to make room....good problem to have!

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    12,384
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    As you found out, no stoves "stopped" shipping, but rather a run-on-the-bank in certain areas....mostly Ma and Maine...along with some bad communication, may have caused a lot of the mess. Many dealers still have stoves in stock....they just are usually not in Maine, CT or Ma......or NH for that matter.

    I suspect that things will turn out better than anticipated because many dealers may have ordered TOO MANY stoves and will start cutting back once the factory has close-in ship dates.

    It['s sorta strange - on one hand we have dealers calling customers and insisting that they take their deposits back (can't supply) and then we have others getting and selling stoves. As with any "shortages", these things tend to be spotty. I talked to a big pellet dealer on the west coast last week and asked him if he was going nut.....he told me he isn't even starting yet to deliver pellets for the fall or winter, and that all his customers are very chilled out (know they will get their pellets)....

    Maybe we can call this year the "great new england pellet stove fad, craze, run-on-the-back, gonna-die-without-it, gimme one now Phenomenon. Before I moved up here, I had this crazy idea that New Englanders were stoic and sensible. Now that I've found out about the Red Sox and Pellet stoves, I question that assumption.
  3. cac4

    cac4 New Member

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    Loc:
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    well, I think it is "sensible". I've been eyeing stoves since I bought my house, 14 years ago, but until now, every time I looked at the numbers, there was no big cost advantage...being a stoic and cheap newenglander, I just couldn't justify the luxury expense. Oil hits a certain point, and that all changes. Lots of people in the same boat...stuck with oil, not "wealthy", cold place, and they see it the same way. No, they're not clamoring for stoves (or pellets) in Chattanooga; it doesn't get that cold there!
    sure, maybe some people bought stoves that shouldn't have, and there'll be a rash of used ones on the market next year...and overstocks on the shelves, but I'll be that will settle out, and the market will stabilize and remain much larger than it was. as long as oil stays high, and it is likely to.
    My boss heard an energy analyst on the radio the other day, saying that in some cases, electric heat will be more advantageous than oil, comparing btu to btu. Never thought I'd see that.
    My last oil delivery was $5.50/gallon. It would be nuts NOT to try and do something about that.

    on edit: I just checked the calculator, and I've already paid more for heat with oil than I could have with electric!
    local electric company charges between 13-14 cents per kwh; so, figuring "14"...the break-even point w/ oil and an 80% efficient furnace is about 4.60/gallon. holy cow!
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, the question then becomes if it was sensible NOT to get a stove for the past 14 years, does it instantly become so to the point that tens of thousand of folks run out and order relatively expensive stoves that will take years to pay off? Folks who often claim they cannot afford oil (but can afford a 4K stove or 12K boiler installation).

    You are right that electric is getting close to oil, and when zoning is figured in it can beat it. Then again, you are talking 5.50 a gallon, when it is already $4 a gallon in my neck of the woods. As to whether the savings from pellets is long term or a blip on the charts....we will only know that after looking back in 10 years.

    I could understand if folks were rushing just as bad for window replacements, heavier blankets for the bed, added insulation, new thermostats and replacement of their furnaces and boilers with updated equipments....but we don't see the same rush there. Why? Well, I have my theories.......

    It gets cold in Philly and southern NJ, lots of people use oil, and lots of people have a LOT more money than Mainers......but you can't hardly buy a pellet stove or even pellets. Lots of factors at work.......I do remember big "runs" in Maine on monitor and other kerosene heaters years ago....more sold there than anywhere....

    Anyway, I'm somewhat on the outside looking in - and I sometime lament the lack of thought of some who rush out and get whatever the newest energy saving device is. I can't tell you how many people have asked me about pellets stoves....folks that were in the market and ready to buy them - and did not understand that they used electricity and would not work during a power failure....or that they make noise....or that they need regular service. There is definitely a lack of education in the marketplace, and who are dealers to say "no" when the customers are standing in line trying to force their money upon them?

    Pellets may be the solution for a lot of people, but I do agree that a lot will end up on the used market after a couple years. Of course, if you asked each buyer individually, they would say it would not be them.....who will sell it in two years.

    My general advice is still.....get one if you want one, or can afford one. Wait if you have to - for production to catch up. Consider all aspects of ownership, including servicing, hauling pellets, etc. - and DON'T buy them on credit cards at 20% interest. Any savings will more than get eaten up by interest charges.
  5. slls

    slls Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    central maine Lat 45
    I bought mine with credit card, zero interest.
  6. wayoutthere007

    wayoutthere007 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
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    Loc:
    Southern Maine
    I'm still wondering why dealers in other states are unwilling to sell (and ship) a stove they have in stock. I talked with a dealer (out of the NE area) and he genuinely seemed to feel bad about the shortage of stoves up here but would not sell me one he had in stock. He stated that, as a dealer, he could only sell in his area. So much for a global market. :(
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Harman was (in the old days) very strict about their dealers not selling out of their areas - because of service issues. While this may be technically illegal (to force upon dealers), it does assure a decent level of service to most who buy.

    It cannot be repeated enough - so I will say it again. Pellet stoves are very likely to need service that is above and beyond the capabilities of the "average" person. The incidence of service (%) is vastly higher than that of wood stoves, maybe 10x or more as high. Reputable companies want to make certain that the customer with a 2K to 3K stove is not sitting with a unit that does not function. Dealers, on the other hand, have told customers that they will not service stoves they do not sell. As you can imagine, the combination of those two can create some problems. Even customers who purchased from a dealer that went out of business (reputable brand) have had trouble getting service from other dealers. Dealers in this business are very independent....and will rarely be forced into ANYTHING. So to repeat old advice even once more, I suggest folks either buy from a reputable dealer who can service the stove - both in and out of warranty - OR, have enough DIY skills to be able to troubleshoot and repair their own units.

    Buying a Harman long distance, for instance, might be great until the day that it breaks down. Then it is unlikely that either the local dealer or the factory will be able to help you too much (given the past history and reports here).

    I actually agree with most aspects of these policies. Way back when pellet stoves started being sold, I remember that Lope/Avalon refused to sell any for over a year.....that were not within shouting distance of the factory. They did not want unhappy customers nor any lack of service until they were very sure what the % of reliability was. Then they required pretty serious factory training for most dealers. Harman is somewhat the same - serious about having their dealers know something. If you think about it, that is a good policy. Too many customers think pellet stoves are like other consumer products.....but you can drive your car in for service (usually)....very few customers can haul their 350 lb pellet stove back to the dealer. Also, there is no national org (GE service, etc.) which will be out at your house next week fixing the stove.

    I hope that answers some of the questions regarding long distance selling of Harman, etc......
  8. cac4

    cac4 New Member

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    um...yeah. "instantly". well...almost "instantly". oil prices doubled inside of a year. When things go up slowly, you can stretch your budget, and adapt, but at some point, you reach "critical mass", as they say. I think that its possible that this is what we're seeing; a broad demographic has, rather suddenly, hit "critical mass". It won't take long to pay off a stove with the difference in fuel costs, now.

    granted, I've been buying from the expensive guys. Their added cost was worth their great service...now, not so much. I just googled around, and the locals are around 4.50.
    again...some of us have already done that. maybe "lots of us". I'm beyond the point of diminishing returns for most of those conservation measures.
  9. Titus

    Titus New Member

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    Loc:
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    Dealers from "down south" probably have some Harmans in stock. Demand in south is more for fire ambiance than home heating. I'll wager most stoves available from south are "prettier" models like XXV and Advance, and less the ones that crank out BTUs, like P68. It's up here in New England with our dependence on heating oil that are desperate for replacements. In other areas, where natural gas is more prevalent, or electricity is cheaper, there isn't a big incentive to heat with pellets. Plus, the further south you go, the less heat they need. Somebody should invent pellet fueled air-conditioning!

    Ditto to serving concerns. Many dealers will refuse to service stoves bought from away. Luckily, in my town, there is a factory trained/authorized service tech. Nearest Harman dealers are an hour away, and they give reerrals rather than come here on their own.
  10. cac4

    cac4 New Member

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    well, I found that not to be a universally held policy.

    http://www.southernhearth.com/

    they told me that they've sold "a number of" stoves to us folks up north.

    buying from afar was a risk I had to think about, irt "warantee service", etc. But being a fairly accomplished DIY-er, and all other things considered, I decided to take the risk. If it were an option, I'd have much rather bought it locally. I'll try to throw the local dealer some pellet business, in the hopes that they might take pity on me if I get "stuck". But last I heard, they were out of those, too... 8-/
  11. cac4

    cac4 New Member

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    not entirely crazy. There are lots of propane-fired refrigerators in those rustic camps up there. got one in my camper! If you can make cold with a gas flame, why not with a wood flame? :)
  12. Kenny1

    Kenny1 Feeling the Heat

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