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Pellet Stove Decision Time!! Help!!

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by mmckee83, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. mmckee83

    mmckee83 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2012
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    Hi all, first I am a complete newbie to the pellet burning community. With that said me and the wife are looking to get a pellet stove this fall to help offset the fuel oil bill (like most everyone else these days). We have been to the 3 local pellet stove dealers and they all sell different brands but each place said that the stoves in the 43,000 - 45,000 btu range is what we would want (we have a raised ranch and would be looking to heat the upstairs which is about 1250 sf. We understand that the back rooms will not be the same temp as the room with the stove but we can try to improve it with ceiling fans). Just so everyone knows with us being new to the pellet burning community we fully understand the importance of clean, clean, cleaning the stoves.

    So the 3 stoves that we were pointed to are:
    Pacific Energy Warmland PS45
    Harmen P43
    Cumberland MF3800
    Naturally all three of them have things that we like and they are all about the same price making the decision even harder.

    The Warmland PS45 has the auger in the bottom of the burn box to break up any clunkers, that is nice but it is also another moving part that can malfunction down the road.

    The Harman appears to be easy to clean and I like the fact that you see more of the fire while its burning also it has the best warranty of them all.

    The Cumberland looks super easy to clean, the wife loves the look of it and it is a few dollars cheaper then the others, and the dealer will basically through in a install for next to nothing. We have a friend that bought a stove from this place and they were very happy with his install job.

    They all seem to be very comparable to one another but I am one that over analyzes and researches things to no end. So in my research I kept being brought to this site and the wealth of knowledge that everyone has. I know that there are some other posts on here regarding these stoves but any insight I could get about the three different stoves and what one may have better features over the others, which one is a better stove overall, etc. would be a huge help in helping us make a decision and me keeping my sanity!!! As I mentioned I am one that over analyzes and will select something then continue to do more research before we get it and completely second guess myself and then end up with nothing.

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  2. The Ds

    The Ds Feeling the Heat

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    Hi! Welcome to the forum!

    We also analyze and research everything. You might try using the search feature on here to look at what others have said about each type of stove you're interested in. We wanted a stove that would be easy for us to maintain with minimal assistance from the pros. I (Debbye) personally would lean toward to Cumberland since you know people who've used that business. I'd search for Cumberland stove posts on here and see what problems, if any, people have had, what they like about them, how easy they are to work on yourselves, etc. Lots of people will recommend Harman; they were our first choice, but not our final choice :)

    Be happy with the BUSINESS, not just the stove. We traveled about an hour to connect with our dealer, and he traveled an hour to deliver and install the stove. We have a stove dealer less than 2 miles from our house, but wouldn't give them our business.....

    I'm sure others will be along to offer more concrete opinions than what I've offered :) Best of luck and enjoy the heat!
    Eatonpcat likes this.
  3. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

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    Good luck with your decision and welcome to the forum, I have no knowledge of the stoves you mention, but the go to guys should be along soon to help you out!

    One warning though...Better check you spelling on the Harmen...Those guys are Stickler's about the spelling!;)
  4. mmckee83

    mmckee83 Member

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    Ahhh yes....HARMAN, for some reason I manage to spell that wrong all the time.
    Eatonpcat likes this.
  5. tsmith

    tsmith Minister of Fire

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    Check out the link below for cleaning of the Cumberland. Then check the manufacturers websites for cleaning and maintenance of the other brands to compare. I believe the Harman is the easiest to maintain. To me the Cumberland seems to be a little shall we say Cumbersome to maintain. Daily removal of firebox for cleaning means daily shutdowns and restarts. Just make sure before you buy to do thorough research.
    Eatonpcat likes this.
  6. mmckee83

    mmckee83 Member

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    Thanks for the video. I have seen that and I also read a post somewhere, where someone had a Cumberland and all they do is pull the rod that connects to the burn pot and that pulls the burn box forward and deposits the ash in the ash pan and that is the daily maintenance required by the manual, so you do not have to do a full shut down everyday but more realistically once a week , which I would presume is the norm for all pellet stoves during the cold months when they are running 24/7? The Harman does look fairly simple to do as well though.

    I was talking to another person last night that got a stove from the place that sells the Cumberland and they also were very pleased with the install job that the dealer did (not sure what stove they got though). The Harman dealer down the road from us does sell a lot of stoves and have been in business for a while and I have not heard anything bad about them.
  7. mfglickman

    mfglickman Minister of Fire

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    OMG you will fit right in here! ;)

    It does not sound like you can go wrong here, if you like all the dealers. I like the idea of a free install, IF you think the dealer will continue to be there to support you. But if the Harman dealer is down the road and is reliable that's a good bet too...
  8. silverfox103

    silverfox103 Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Littleton, NH
    My 2 cents go with the Harman!

    Tom C. (owner of 2 Harman's)
  9. Gman12

    Gman12 Member

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    Loc:
    Rutland, MA
    Welcome to the forum! I would say out of the 3 to also go with the Harmon. It is a great stove from all reviews I've seen on them. Good luck in your decision and I guarantee you'll definitely get great response and help from everyone on here.
  10. mmckee83

    mmckee83 Member

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    Well I could always go to the Harman dealer and see how close they can get to the Cumberland price with installation and maybe that will help with our decision. I mean they are only a $200 - $300 difference but that is also a ton of pellets that I could spend the difference on. One other thing that I did like with the Cumberland is that from what I can find is that it is a true multi-fuel stove and that the burn pot does not have to be changed and the Harman does do a 50/50 mix with corn. BUT, from what everyone is telling me is to stay away from corn and all of the other multi-fuels (cherry pits, etc.) are not available in my area. Even corn that is remotely good is not available here.
  11. Harman Lover 007

    Harman Lover 007 Minister of Fire

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    You won't do it for long with us sensitive Harman owners around....FWIW I have 2 Harmans, the first of which is in it's 16th year of operation.
  12. Gman12

    Gman12 Member

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    Sometimes dealers will include 1 or 2 free tons of pellets with the purchase of a new stove. You should ask about any promotions like that or check other dealers in area. I have seen ads like this in my area giving free tons of pellets with purchase. So you'll make out with the better quality stove and free pellets.
  13. Mike D

    Mike D Feeling the Heat

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    Just out of curiosity - where are you located? Some people on here may be able to give you better advice if they have an idea which area, dealers etc. you are dealing with.
  14. pell it

    pell it Feeling the Heat

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    For a price comparison, Ocean State Job Lot sells the MF3800 for $1799.
  15. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Prices would help too.

    1.) Harman P43
    2.) Pacific Energy Warmland PS45
    3.) Cumberland MF3800

    The Cumberland MF3800 would be fine if you are looking for an affordable unit to get into the pellet world. But So would Englanders and a few other brands. Not sure how reliable the company is. Also not sure of the daily maintenance required!

    I like the Pacific Energy Warmland PS45(well known company, Just not alot users with this unit). It has an agitator to do the burnpot chores, Pricey in my area though(Enviro M55 which is a multifuel unit is cheaper).

    Harman is the caddy and has the highest following(Very pricey). Does require some daily chores and is not as stat friendly as the other units listed. Doesn't like to shutdown sometimes and may effect stat performance. 6 blinky.
  16. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Welcome to the club.. The Cumberland only has one or two owners here. The PE has?? Dont know of any, but seems Like a SOLID unit. The Hormone (pronounced Harman ;)) is the Caddy..

    My list would prob look like this, based on what I would want...
    1.) Pacific Energy (again, just on what I have read) FWIW
    2.) Harman
    3.) Quadrafire Classic Bay 1200. :cool: I know, I know.... ;)
    3.-A.) Cumberland

    This based on what I know
    1.) Harman
    2.) Harman
    3.) Harman P-61a
  17. mmckee83

    mmckee83 Member

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    Harman P43 - $2810
    Cumberland - $2600
    Pacific Energy PS45 - $2882

    The hearth and vent pipe are all very similar in cost at all 3 places. The Harman dealer is $300 for install, the Pacific Energy dealer is $400 and the Cumberland dealer is $300

    I have heard mixed reviews on the Harman dealer installs. The Pacific Energy dealer is relativly new and I have not heard anythig about them (that sales lady was by far the weakest and new the least about pellet stoves). All she said was the same info that was in the flyer she gave us. I have heard nothing but good from the Cumberland dealer and have heard his installs are very good and clean. The Harman dealer has been around for sometime but they do seem to have a bit of a attitude when you walk in the store (we were ignored for the first 10 minutes we were in the store and I was about to walk out before someone came over). That makes me a little nervious about how they handle issues as well as the PE dealer, again the Cumberland dealer we have heard is solid and stands behind things in the rare case there is a issue and he seemed to be the most knowledgable. I mean I can get past some of the dealer flaws as long as it is a good product.

    We are located in Upstate New York between Albany and Binghamton.
  18. mmckee83

    mmckee83 Member

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    Last night as I was looking through the flyers that we were given on the stoves and I noticed that there is a pretty substantial weight difference between the 3, almost 100lbs. I am sure that the design would have a little to do with that but they are all relatively the same size and style, the Harman and PE look to be close to the same dimensions and shape and the Cumberland has its own look. The Harman is by far the lightest, then the Cumberland and the heaviest being the PE. Does this indicate the metals used for the making of the stoves and the "solidness" of the unit???
  19. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    The PE has a few extra details added(pot agitator) that will add some beef to it. Without cutting up the units to get the actual gauge of the material its hard to say which is made the beefiest. Pretty sure all 3 would last about the same time. Usually what ends the life of the stove is a user getting tired/sick of the unit. Parts availability could also have something to do with a units demise!

    Harmans have been made the longest so can it be used as an indicator? Probably, You can still get many parts for the old discontinued units. But be fair to the newer units that haven't been out there as long. As long as parts are available you should be able to keep them ticking.

    PE's make a hell of a wood stove, I bet with that you can bank that they make a hell of a pellet eater! Apples don't fall too far from the tree!

    As you can see I didn't drink the Harman cool-aide. I feel they are good units, But the price is steep and you are paying for the name. We see just as many issues with them as many of the other brands(maybe more cause there are more of them out there!). I'll stop here before the flood gate opens!

    IMHO, Choose the stove with the best support if you are unable to do your own repairs. If a dealer snubs you before the sale. Its a good bet you'll get snubbed when an issue happens. Just my 2 on it!
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  20. bill3rail

    bill3rail Minister of Fire

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    Where is the study (PDF) on repair statistics from the repairman who documented all of his service calls and listed the most and least common repairs?
    This study also showed what brands more commonly needed only a good cleaning and what brands needed part replacement regularly.

    Bill
  21. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    Will all due respect to all pellet stoves made and their ease of maintenance, I still think ours not too shabby.
  22. mmckee83

    mmckee83 Member

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    Thank you all for the useful input and information regarding the stoves that we were trying to select from. It looks like the winner is the Cumberland mf3800. We are going to go with this because the dealer is by far the best one that we delt with. We had it narrowed down to the Harman and Cumberland, we went to the Harman dealer tonight to talk with them and see if they would come down any on there price and the salesman completly acted like we were annoying him from the time we walked in the door. We walked in and he asked what we were looking for, I said pellet stoves, dident even finish my sentence and he just pointed to the back wall and said they are over there.

    That sealed the deal! 3rd time we were in there and same result every time. Like I mentioned the Cumberland dealer was great when we were there and his prices are better. I havent heard anything negative about the Cumberland so we will cross our fingers.
  23. IHATEPROPANE

    IHATEPROPANE Minister of Fire

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    Good luck and look forward to pics.....I am sure you made the right decision as bad service before the sale is most definitely bad service after the sale......
    tsmith likes this.
  24. tsmith

    tsmith Minister of Fire

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    Good luck, I'm sure it will serve you fine. Keep us informed and get us pics when its running.
  25. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    The Cumberland reads like a solid stove. And a regular poster here owns one and prefers it to his other stove (no names).

    I believe his Sister has one also? Or someones sister here has one. Never heard a lot of bad.

    On here, thats normally a lot of what you hear. Whats wrong with the unit. Not a whole lot of "Praise Posts".

    A good dealer can mean everything. I am looking forward to install pics. Congratulations.

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