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What's the best Harman pellet stove for Southern California high desert climate?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by SoCal65, Oct 3, 2006.

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  1. SoCal65

    SoCal65 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Messages:
    29
    Hello,
    I live in a 1800 square foot house in the Southern California high desert. The average low temperatures here are November (35 degrees), December (29 degrees), January (31 degrees), February and March (35 degrees), and April (45 degrees). The lowest recorded temperature was 4 degrees back in the 80’s. We have a lot of wind here through out the year.

    My wife finally agreed on a freestanding stove = ^ ). I was not interested in any of the fireplace inserts for my zero clearance fireplace. My dealer said installing a Harman on the hearth would not be a problem (elbow up, elbow into the fireplace and elbow up into the new stainless steel chimney liner. He will also install a piece of flat black sheet metal behind the stove to cover the zero clearance fireplace.

    The hearth is in the main living area about 1000 square feet. Most of this area has a cathedral ceiling 13 feet on center, plus a little higher for the two sky lights (no ceiling fans yet). This entire area is a porcelain tiled floor on a concrete slab. The other 800 square feet is the rest of the bedrooms/bathrooms. Double pane aluminum windows (no argon gas and about 15 years old).
    My dealer seems good. I have heard good things about them from several sources. He carries all of the Harmon stoves but I couldn’t get a good stove sizing estimate from my dealer. I currently have a central hot air system driven by a natural gas furnace. All of the vents blow the heated air from the ceiling down (smart way to heat a house). The less the furnace comes on the better. As long as the back bedrooms don’t get too cold.

    I really like the XXV. I read the user manual and all of the reviews I could find. The automatic temperature control would work well here. When the sun is up the temperatures are mild but as soon as it starts to go down run for shelter. I know the Harmon stoves are sized for the Northeast.

    Would the XXV be too much stove for me out here?
    Would running it on low or medium most of the time be inefficient? ,Cause dirty glass?
    Should I be looking at the P38? Crank it up at night and turn it down during the day?
    Any Harmon owners in the high desert areas?

    I know there is a big price/feature difference between the stoves too. Money is a factor but getting the right tool for the job is more important to me. Keeping the house between 70 and 72 degrees would keep everyone around here happy. I am ready to buy. Thanks.

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  2. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Messages:
    990
    Loc:
    Western Massachusetts
    I dont think you can oversize a pellet stove which is thermostatically controlled. All of Harman's line, with the exception of the P38, can be controlled in such a way. The XXV can produce 50,000 btu/hr. The P68= 68,000 btu/hr. The Accentra= 40,000 BTU/hr. The Advance= 46,000 btu/hr, and the P61/a produces 61,000 btu/hr. Here in nippy New England, I heat my home with a P61, and Ive got 2000 square feet.
    If you like the XXV, go for it.
    Pros: Quieter than any other Harman unit.
    Autoigniting
    Thermostatically controlled
    Can burn nearly any pellet, as well as 50% corn

    Cons: One of the costlier Harmans
  3. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Another con the cost of pellets make sure you have a suply in many areas it not so much the cost but very limited supply
  4. SoCal65

    SoCal65 Member

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    I have a good pellet supply available, the dealer, Lowes, Home Depot, and Walmart. I better buy them soon though. Should I run the XXV on its highest setting once a week? I know running a good hot fire in your wood stove is recommended at least once a day.
  5. pelletheat

    pelletheat New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Messages:
    72
    Set the temperature to a comfortable setting and let the stove maintain that temperature. No need to fire the stove "hot" once a week like a wood stove. Scrape the burnpot surface once a week and shutdown the stove every ton of pellets and do a "good" cleaning, do the same at the end of the heating season.
  6. SoCal65

    SoCal65 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
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    Thanks for the replies. I guess it is better to have an oversized stove instead of an undersized stove.

    How often do pellet stove owners sweep the chimney, annually like a wood stove? I know pellet stoves burn a lot cleaner. Is 10 years a good estimated Harman stove life or should I expect 15+ years with proper maintenance. I am trying to get a handle on the return of my investment.
  7. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    2,140
    Loc:
    Waxhaw, NC... Formerly North shore Mass
    First don't worry about the glass getting dirty they all do it.
    Second I clean mine about every 1/2 to 3/4 ton, but scrape the burn pot alot more often if it turns off during the day like this time of year.

    The pipe there could be some debate after I post this but I was told once a season.......... I try to clean it at the same time as my routine cleanings It depends on how cold it is outside :)
  8. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    954
    Loc:
    Chazy, NY 12921
    Don't count on Lowes, Wallyworld or Sams for pellets once the season gets going. Lowes does get resupplied on occasion but the other 2 haven't got much of a track record in my town for avialability. Great pellets , great price but once they are gone they are for the most part gone for the season. Stock up early.
  9. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Messages:
    434
    Loc:
    Eastern Ma
    And before you buy the pellets, take a look at them - I was just at Home Depot, and they had pellets. But when I took a close look, I noticed that there were little bits of black & green embedded in the pellets.

    And they were priced higher than the premium pellets I bought from a reputable dealer.
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