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Pellet Stove Debate

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by ynotwood, Oct 26, 2007.

?

Which is best Pellet insert for 1600sq ft home with oil heat

  1. Harman Accentra

    44.7%
  2. Rika Astroflamm

    3.9%
  3. Lopi Pioneer Bay

    7.9%
  4. Enviro Empress

    7.9%
  5. None- stick with oil

    35.5%
  6. Other Brand

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
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  1. harrymowrey

    harrymowrey New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    I have been burning a quadrifire castille model now for three years. It is a stand alone model and it takes about 5 minutes every Saturday to sweep the ash, wash the glass and fill the hopper. About every three months I drop the baffle plate and back plate and dust that out ...add an additional 10 minutes. Then about twice as year I run a 3" pipe brush through the piping. Mine is vented thru the back wall horizontally. It only has about 3 or 4 ' attached, very easy cleaning and it is all to code :>0 add another 5 minutes, I was afraid that the draft would not be enough but it works great. So total maintenance time so far is about 230 minutes per year...about 4 hours minus 10 minutes. A small price to pay considering when I get up in the mornings there is a flickering heat in my living room ....love the programmable thermostat..and it gives the wife something to push when she is cold instead of our central heat thermostat.
    When we installed this stove I had the hearth in place all ready, It took all of about 45 minutes from un crating to watching it burn for the installation. The stove place had qouted me $1200.00 to install. gotta watch those people.
    This forum alerted Me to the fact that there was a problem with the blower motor in these units , I contacted the store and I now have a FREE replacment sitting on my shelf when this one quits...thanks again.
    I bought my last ton of pellets in July for $265.00 out the door. Now they are going for about $300.00 so I think it does matter when you buy. My father is installing a astraflam insert this weekend, I will report back once we have some data on it.

    Harry Mowrey

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  2. MrWinkey

    MrWinkey New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    146
    Loc:
    Eastern Washington
    I just don't buy this Harman is going out of biz stuff. I would have no problem with recomending Harman. Yes it's something people should be aware of but that does not mean people should boycott that product.

    Obviously since they are merging or going into buyout it is planned to combine products or keep the products around. They are in the biz to make money plain and simple. HHT has a great product now and it's potential to grow has increased.

    The day and age we live in big companys merge and combine, spin off and do all sorts of trades.

    Auto makers have been doing this for years.

    Look at what Chryco did before.....Buy AMC....nearly go bankrupt.....get bailout loans....come back strong...get bought out by Daimler....go in the crapper.........

    Just because Chryco is going through another change now would that mean you would tell all your family to not buy any new Chryco product?

    Heck look at Nissan!!!!

    Agian yes it is something to be aware of but I dont think people should avoid the brand like the plague. It could mean more R&D;money for better products. This could be a benifit to all the Harman employe. If you look at the bennie package people who work for Hearth & Home get it's really pretty decent. It may mean cheaper medical care & better retirement.

    I guess my point is Yes factor Harman's sale into your overall stove decsion....but don't avoid the brand like the plague. If you feel that stove will meet your needs...your aware of the sale go for it. If a Quad, Englander or (insert name) of stove will work better then by all means that's the stove for you. These are wood/pellet stoves....not the space shuttle.
  3. moralleper

    moralleper New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    Messages:
    173
    Loc:
    Kalama, WA
    The maintenance on my quad involves the following;

    most Friday evenings I will let the stove cool down, then I start the exhast fan up to catch the fly ash. I wipe the glass down with a little water and vinegar. I open up the ash trap doors in the burn box and use a small paint brush so sweep all of the ash down the trap doors. close the ash trap doors and start it back up. it takes about 10 minutes tops, also about once a month I will remove the baffle and clean the heat exchanger tubes, this adds maybe 2 minutes to the 10 minutes to do the rest. I really do not get any clinkers that I need to clean out of the firepot because they usually fall down with the cleaning rod when pulled.

    As for running an operating, I will add pellets once a day and then I forget about it. I have my quad hooked up to a digital thermostat, thanks BeGreen, that has 4 time settings a day so I have is a little warmer when I wake up, a little cooler during the day, and 64 at night when we are sleeping.


    TK
  4. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    ynotywood Energy Saver in Holiston are decent people to deal with Don't want to comment on my experiences with the Norwood store

    the the owner of the Franklin store also owns the Canton store and one in Natick. I do not also want to comment on the store in Wayland
  5. Jimbob

    Jimbob New Member

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    Loc:
    The coldest major city in Canada
  6. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,724
    Loc:
    Madison, WI
    Just FYI, from what I have heard so far there are no plans to end the Harman Stove Company. We are excited to start carrying the Harman line for the next season (hopefully). Although as Craig said it is up in the air, plans can change.

    One of HNI's "values" is being a good corporate citizen so I don't think shutting down the plant and kicking everyone out the door would fit into that very well.
  7. Mrs-GVA

    Mrs-GVA New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Messages:
    57
    Loc:
    NC
    I've posted this before, and I'll say it again. Wood is messy, scratches your arms, more difficult to regulate the temperature, has bugs and snakes in it and more concern with chimney fires. I do speak from experience, I lived in a "wood only" environment for 21 years. When GVA "suggested" a pellet stove, I freaked out, wanted to just turn up the thermastat. However, due to the cost of heating our house with natural gas 2001 - 2003, I gave in and we went with the Harman. I can turn it on and it starts, I don't have to worry about lugging wood, kindling, and panicking because I cannot start a fire. If it gets too hot, I turn the thermastat down. We burn about 4 ton a year, it is easy, cleaner, and my house has been warm. ;-)
  8. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,384
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Up in the air is a kind word for it. I have heard everything from "sale may not close because there are no assets (at Harman)" to "Existing Harman dealers will be toast (in some cases)" - that's a big wide bunch of possibilities.

    As far as what HHT does, this was LAST WEEK:
    "HNI Corporation (NYSE:HNI) announced today that it will close its Richmond, Virginia manufacturing plant during the first half of 2008 and consolidate production into its Cedartown, Georgia and Muscatine, Iowa facilities. These initiatives are being undertaken in order to reduce structural cost and streamline customer fulfillment at The HON Company"

    The entire reason that companies like this buy other outfits is to "streamline" operations. We could call that by other names....like Chain Saw Al, Downsizing, Streamlining, etc.

    But until this is done, it is not done. I don't want to harp on it too much, but at the same time I think buyers need to know what is (or what is not) going on.

    More info on their hearth biz from their conference call - certainly sounds like consolidation is in the cards:
    "Our hearth business is facing increasingly difficult macroeconomic conditions like all building product businesses. Our hearth team continues to effectively deal with these conditions and profitably manage through them as they have done for nearly the past year. Despite experiencing that 22% sales decline, our hearth business generated a 7.5% operating profit margin. Consistent with our past practice, we remain focused on eliminating structural costs."
  9. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Craig I talked to one of my contacts in the biz, a contact that has considerable interest in the going on at Harman. They owe too much money
    money that will not be assumed in the buy out They also hold too much inventory that they have cut production down they have to move the inventory to pay off the creditors first.

    The expansion loans are also killing them and pellet pricing They make a quality product and I hope they make it threw the buy out, but Craig is right there is a real concern.

    I think I know where Craig is coming from he is speaking in caution because he would not want to influence purchasers and have Harman become non existent.

    I happen to like their products and I can't recommend purchasing for the same reason. Till I see what the final plan becomes. The hearth industry had a great year in 2005 and geared up anticipating a similar 2006. It did not happen. Sales were way under projections and anticipations. This warm fall so far sales are not up to expectations But that may be changing ,with oil at $95 per barrel and still rising The poor housing industry is not helping stove retailer either.
  10. MrWinkey

    MrWinkey New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2006
    Messages:
    146
    Loc:
    Eastern Washington
    I can understand Craig's postion...He is trying to help people be aware!...Heck if he wants to post a stickey where people can post updates or something like that I would think that would be a great idea. That way we can all get info and put this to bed.

    Personaly I'm not one that even can begin to understand biz stuff. My wife is the one who has a double major in that so she does the books.

    I do know that Quad has factory just a few miles north of me and they produce a good product. If HNI bought out Harman as has been announced I would not feel the slightest concern about buying another one or recomending them.

    Yes they may change the way the product is produced and the dealer network but that is to be expected in any buyout as they want to get the most bang for the buck.

    For me warranty work is not a big deal or service as I'm mechanicly inclined and have all the tools to make my own parts if I needed. I tend to forget everybody can not do this and for some people that could be a real issue.

    Anyways......I'll be quiet for now
  11. Bassdogs wife

    Bassdogs wife New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    7
    Loc:
    central ma
    Hi, looking for any good advice on purchasing a pellet stove in the central ma area. We are struggling between the Harman Accentra and the Mt Vernon AE. We know enough to be dangerous, and have been pulled in both directions by local dealers. We first saw the Harman, and thought it was good, and then checked out the Quad. We like the technology aspect Mt Vernon (seems way beyond the Harman), but are not thrilled with the local dealer and are VERY concerned about service after the sale. Any suggestions on a reputable Quad dealer in central or western MA? What is the outlook for Harmon now that they have finally been sold- wondering about the availability of parts, service, continuation of a solid product line? need your help. Thanx
  12. The Patriot

    The Patriot New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    96
    Loc:
    Southeastern Mass
    3) I do not have space in finished basement for a ton of pellets. Can they be stored in yard (no shed)? I'd suggest looking into Pelletsales.com. They deliver in wrapped pallets. I have left mine in my driveway for long periods of time with minimal problems.
    5) Prices are tough to bear. Harman Accentra: $3000, Lopi Yankee Bay $3000, Rika Astroflamm Integra II $3800, Enviro $2500 Plus $1000 installation, plus $270 per ton of pellets. So I figure I am in it for $5000 so it will take me 3-4 years to break even. Is this about right? If possible, I recommend looking into a freestanding stove. Not sure about your situation, but it can save in install costs, give you many more options for stoves, larger ash pans, larger hoppers. I'm not saying that you shouldn't get an insert, but I wouldn't limit to inserts unless there is no other option. Again, look at Pelletsales.com for pellets. Delivered prices can be a good amount lower depending on how many tons you order.
    6) Maintenance: Stores suggest cleaning by a technician one time per year at $125 per year. Is this necessary? I currently clean the stove flue every fall with a brush and am done for the year. It's not necessary. It can be done yourself, but you may find it worth the money.
    7) Closest store to me in SE Mass is Kirley Masonry in Mansfield MA, next is in Norwood for the Harmans; Lopi/Astroflamm/Enviro are in Middleboro. Any suggestions for others locally? I went to Kirley and Fuel and Feather in Woonsocket, RI. Fuel and Feather had a better price, so I went with them. The installer (All Pro Chimney in North Attleboro) was the same for both places, so that didn't matter.

    BTW one dealer swears that after I get a pellet stove I will trade in the wood stove within a year for another pellet stove. Depends on what is important to you. There are a lot of factors which can make either better for you. Ease of use, maintenence costs, access to free wood, automation to name a few.
  13. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
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    12,384
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    In Central Ma. it is hard to beat the service and knowledge of Squier in Palmer, Ma.

    They are big on Harman. Harman sale went OK and everything should be as good or better than before. Quad is a good brand - there have been some reported problems with early Vernons, but I think those are fixed. Still, I know a Quad dealer who does not want to sell that model (for now).

    At this point, both harman and quad are made by the same company. So it becomes a matter of function, style, price and local service.
  14. Cowboy

    Cowboy New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    central ma
    We have had nothing but problems with our Mt Vernon. replaced controller board twice, caskets, glow plugs, thermostat, and other things... in its second year as of right now it is not running... the convection blower is dead..
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Well, he certainly hopes so! That is more money in his pocket, both for the stoves and the service (and maybe the pellets).

    But that does not mean he is telling you everything from the consumer side. Always beware a sales person who has stacks of stoves in the warehouse and large bank loans.
  16. Mr Whitfield

    Mr Whitfield Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2007
    Messages:
    311
    Loc:
    Northern Cailfornia
    I would look for a used Whitfield Advantage II-T, or find one still in stock some where. The stove was discontinued last year. The #1 selling stove of all time. Don't worry about parts people will be supplying these parts for years to come. I heat my 1800 sq ft house. Temp range from Mid 20's to low 40's. This stove is a work horse, it runs 24/7 from Nov to March. I've worked on a number of stoves, and in my opinion this is the best stove. I like the austroflamm, but parts are from Germany. Just my 2 cents...
  17. Garrett

    Garrett New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    Messages:
    4
    Loc:
    Northwest washington
    I was told buy a local dealer/field tech here in NW washington that Harmen has a supperior burn pot design but very difficult to clean and some areas are not accesable to clean. He said from experiance that Lopi brand yankee is much more simple to clean and very easy to find parts if needed in years to come. And that twice a week burn pot simple clean all holes and once a year thought cleaning is needed. He said most coustomers with complaints have never cleaned the stove thoughtly. Or the allow the air flow to run to high in the wrong position and that allows the heat exchanger to fill with ash and then never clean properly they loose heat output and have burn problems. He highly recomended the Lopi because of good manufature backing and still being a strong faimly owned buisness that refuses to sell out to a larger corperation that will fail to meet coustomer demands. I belive he has very valid points and I belive that I will soon buy my first Lopi Yankee pellet stove from him because of these points he expresed.
  18. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Twin Cities, MN
    I clean the Castile daily when burning full time, just the basic brush the ash and scrape the pot. Takes less than 5 minutes. Every 2-3 weeks everything comes out, brick, baffle, etc and gets cleaned, takes less than 15 minutes. Every month or so I brush the vent. This is understading that the stove is our primary heat source during the winter, and the winters are long and cold here in MN. Like jtp said, I look forward to the better perfromance post cleaning, I'm also kind of nuts when it comes to maint.
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