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Take me to school...I need some learnin'

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by smwilliamson, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Been here over on the Pelletmill for a long time, perhaps some of you know me there.

    So, I'm opening a store as an extension of my pellet stove service business and as part of that, I'm officially coming out of the closet and branching off into wood stoves. I know the principles of wood burning cause I know pellet stoves and because I had to learn it for my Solid Fuel exam but when it comes to wood stove and wood insert product....hmmmm, I really have no idea. I'm going to be a full out Enviro dealer and have personally looked at the Kodiak, Venice, Bostopn and Cabello stoves inside and out...I get it but what I really don't know (and won't for many years to come) is what is different about them vs. say anything else.

    What I do know is that in the freestanding equipment, there isn't an option for horizontal take-offs. Other than that...can you guys take me to school here? The good? The bad? The ugly? Really, what's your opinion on anything...greatly appreciate it.

    I know 240 models of pellet stoves up-side-down and sideways...wood stoves...I'm somewhat ignorant cause I have avoided them. HELP!

    This is where you fellas get to show off and I get to sit quietly and listen.::P

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  2. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I'm not too sure what you are looking for here?
    If you want to have stoves that vent horizontal, then cast Iron is the go to. Most have reversible flue collars.
    Cat stoves get the best burn times, hybrid stoves have a cat as well as secondary air tubes and they get great burn times as well. Other EPA approved stoves just have the secondary air tubes in the top. They do great and are pretty much maintenance free and hard to damage.
    That being said, stay away from down draft stoves. They have their secondary combustion in the back of the stove, behind a bunch of fragile, expensive parts. They will require a lot of maintenance and you will likely have unhappy customers as well as unnecessary warranty work.

    There are a lot of great companies out there and only a few to Avoid.
    Great companies to consider: Jotul, Lopi, Blaze King, Hearthstone, Regency, and Pacific Energy are at the top of my list.
    Joful likes this.
  3. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Thanks...any info is appreaciated. Who to avoid? I know who is on this list pellet-wise...perhaps the same? I understand it is an opinion, feel free to PM
  4. Nick Mystic

    Nick Mystic Minister of Fire

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    I doubt you are going to get what you are looking for simply by making the post you did. Your best bet is to set some time aside and start going back through the archives here at the forum and start reading. Most people start to get a handle on new information by being exposed to it many times over and over again. As you read through hundreds of posts you'll start to make connections and things will begin to fit together for you. This past winter when I was researching information on inserts to replace my old smoke dragon I stumbled onto this site. I ended up spending probably 20 or 30 hours reading old posts and got a real education. If I was going to actually sell stoves to people and put myself out there as someone with some knowledge in the field I'd probably read every posting I could manage here at the hearth.com site. Good luck on your endeavor.
    Trilifter7 likes this.
  5. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I'm not scared!==c Keep in mind this is my opinion, and many,many unhappy customers out there.<>

    Avoid Vermont Castings, and down draft stoves, like the Lopi Leyden. Lopi is a great company, but they had a stove designed for them by the same dude that designed the VC neverburn combustion system. It's a flop, go figure.
    VC has had some good stoves in the past, but have failed to resolve a lot of issues, if you want to avoid stress, steer clear of VC.
    Highbeam likes this.
  6. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I believe the Harman Firedome is also a downdraft design? My Jotul Firelight 12 cat stoves are downdraft cats. They all work well, provided sufficient but reasonable draft, but downdraft stoves are known to be trouble in weak or excessive draft conditions. I've only experienced the weak draft problems, so you'd have to ask others why they claim a downdraft is trouble under excessive draft.

    Vermont Castings, once a premier name in the industry, has had a very rough and shady recent history. They just fell under new ownership last year, and all expectations are that things should improve, but only time will tell.

    Camping out here way too often, the stoves with the most happy customers seem to be: Woodstock (direct / no dealers), Blaze King, Jotul, Pacific Energy, and Buck. There are many, many others... but these five seem to have a serious fan base, here.
  7. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    I hear ya...so I guess I'm speaking to the crowd that knows what I'm asking...which is...what do I need to know about so and so. I just don't know what so and so is. Like I said...I can name you 240 models of pellet stoves...I think I can get up to about 24 wood stoves...yikes..boy am I green heh?
  8. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I think the #12 is an exception, it's one of my favorites! I just don't bother excluding it, since it's no longer available.
  9. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    I would imagine a problem under excessive draft conditions would be a collection of heat in an area of the stove where is has trouble dissipating and therefore leading to structural failure..Yes?. Wasn't that the issue with many of the first CAT designs?
  10. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Cat vs. non-cat, and the new hybrids. Cast iron vs. welded steel, vs. soapstone. Radiant (Seasoned Oak :p ) vs. convective. Search on these terms, and you will learn a lot real quick.

    You can surely understand the difficulty in directly tackling a question like, "so, what do I need to know about pellet stoves to sell them?"
  11. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    useful thanks!
  12. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    I'm not trying to know anything more than my distibutor can supply me with, which is Enviro. Problems with these...obviously they aren't going to tell what the problems are. Maybe we can start there.
    Joful likes this.
  13. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    I am sure there are many, many people out there like me. I had a fireplace, it was totally inefficient,after sandy, I realized I needed something better, I learned about the insert and I was sold, I was thinking of adding a blower or a cast iron back plate to the fireplace, but those would have been mistakes. Capitalize on inserts for anyone that has a fireplace. It's a world of difference for me now...gl
  14. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    The problem is that most people aren't gonna have too much bad stuff to say about their stove. They either don't want to admit it, or they simply don't know the difference. I love testing out new stoves, and am quick to make a report, good or bad. I've always got my sights set on the next new stove! We install and service many different brands, it doesn't take too long to find out the good, bad, and the ugly. Stick around here and you find out pretty quickly.
    Trilifter7 and smwilliamson like this.
  15. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I thought you wanted to know more about woodstoves. You said you were already familiar with Enviro.
  16. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    What's the jury say on the Cabello? I know it was just introduced last year yes? Saw a few posts on here about it but they all kinda stopped short...like I'm out looking at this insert and wow it's nice and I think I'm going to buy one and someone else saying yes looks like a great one...then nothing
  17. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Enviro makes a 1200 and a 1700...I imagine that larger is always better cause you can always make a smaller fire,,,but size restrictions and all, I get it... that right?
  18. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Webby, I can only say that my VC montpelier is an awesome product for me to date, I can't comment on their other ones or their past performance, but their 2013 insert fits my bill as a customer, I am very happy and I look forward to my future burning experiences with it...
    webby3650 likes this.
  19. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    I have a customer with a Lopi Freedom that I clean out every year and play around with, anyone have this one?
  20. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    ok new topic...
  21. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I did. It's a great heater!
  22. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Mostly true! However, there is one caveat. To avoid smouldering and creosote, the makers of non-cat EPA stoves (like the 1200 and 1700) limit how far you can shut down the primary air. So, there is a limit to how slow and low you can burn such a stove. The answer is to simply build a smaller fire (less fuel) in that large 1700.
  23. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    The first fire I ever made in an insert wasthe Lopi Freedom. I think I have witnessed 100,000 firings of a pellet stove, but this wood stove thing......like I was a kid in a candy store! I was like wow! This is so frickin cool...you get to put the sticks in here anyway you want to...and I changed my mind half-way through and started over building the starting pile differently... and play with matches and news paper! Which way do you crumple it and tear it and stuff it in?...this fire building thing is awesome! And it's so quiet!
    Joful likes this.
  24. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    got it.
  25. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    :cool:

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