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Your opions on stove manufacturers

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by TAC_Double, Feb 14, 2008.

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  1. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Sean, I feel your pain. It must be maddening.

    BUT, most of us, especially those who've spent any adult years in the cities and suburbs, have genuinely been ripped off and taken advantage of by cynical dealers or services of one kind or another, not least car dealers, so we've gotten hyper-sensitive. How do I know I can trust you, or anyone? After fighting with and getting badly dealt with by so many total creeps in the suburbs, it's been the biggest relief of my life to move to the country where nobody can get away with that, and nobody even tries. My plumber, my handyman, my stove installer, my auto mechanic, the fuel oil folks (although I see much less of them these days, thank God) are all essentially neighbors first and service providers second. Even the car dealers in the "city" treat a woman customer like a sentient being and not just a pocketbook to be emptied.

    From the stories I read here, there are clearly plenty of stove dealers out there who aren't all that honest, who provide truly lousy "service," treat customers like rubes, don't really understand their products, disdain to explain what their charges are for and evade answering reasonable questions. It's true of any profession, sadly. An awful lot of the time, if the dealer is mistrusted by the customer, it's the dealer's fault for not behaving in a trust-inspiring manner. Some folks, for sure, approach the whole thing with a chip on their shoulder and an attitude that they're out to "beat" the dealer, but most of us just want to to not be treated like we're a dollar bill.

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  2. stanleyjohn

    stanleyjohn Feeling the Heat

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    I would say the one thing stove dealers or any other business in fact!can do to win the customers respect is to RETURN phone calls when they say they will.So many times i would wait and not receive a call only to call them and here them say OH!! i was just about to call,its been so busy here.WHY!is it so hard to call on time or call back at all??.Some dealers are very good about returning calls and more likely than not those are the the ones i will give my business too_One other item that i dont like is when you call to get an update on a item you bought,service call,delivery etc and they cant give you a straight answer!they will say something like!it hasn't come in yet,two weeks,ill get back to you.Not looking for a speech!just a simple answer to my question that something is being done.Note!! I'm not the type that calls alot for updates!!I only call after i haven't heard back from them past the date that they said i would here back from them.
  3. The Dali Lima

    The Dali Lima New Member

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    Hi everyone. Unfortunately this thread has turned into a session about dealers and service! Wow! I'll give everyone a quick glimpse at the newbie life in this industry...

    Let me tell you, finding information and pricing (to see if it is even worth your time and effort) is MADDENING. Trying to figure out how much it will cost to install a stove or a fireplace for someone who doesn't know much about it is like solving the DaVinci code. Seriously. Unless you go to a dealer and talk with them you have no idea what this is going to cost. I try to do research and get my ducks in a row before I sit down with a dealer simply because I want to be informed. In addition, I don't want to waste the dealer's time trying to "sell" me a service to find out that it is outside of my budget.

    Seriously, I can find out how much a new car might cost me, the interest rate, what I can expect for my trade-in and the expected change in my insurance inside of 20 minutes on the internet. Finding out how much a stove costs, plus installation and extras - next to impossible.

    I just recently got the gist that my stove, materials and installation might be around $4000, but that is reallyjust a guess based on the stove price. I have no idea on the chimney cost, installation of that, hearth/backing costs... I guess I'm going to have to waste a dealer's time to find out if this is even worth it.

    A similar situation... we wanted to install some vinyl fencing around the house. I had NO IDEA what this would cost. I tried to get a sense from the big-box stores as to raw material costs, but really didn't know how much it might be for installation. I called a place and gave rough dimensions to find out the general cost to see if it was even something I could afford/want to pay for... well, they couldn't give me a price without surveying the property and taking "real" measurements. I didn't want to waste the salesperson's time, but they insisted. Of course, the idea is that "if I can get to your house I can sell the fence to you." I understand this...

    Of course, it was WAY more than I wanted to spend. So, no fence.
  4. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    sean,

    i didnt "quote" just to keep the screen smaller but i do suggest folks who missed it to go back and read his post.

    i have an enormous amount of respect for the dealers who frequent this forum. and i do suggest that folks who wish to have an in home service plan and local support backed by the manufacturer shop their local dealers and their products. above that i have yet to see a reason not to sugest any of the dealers who frequent this site. in my opinion it shows you care about what you do as much as i do.

    folks who wish this level of service need to understand that its part of the deal , but the deal is more expensive than a DIY deal will be. and it shold be , its simply that for the cost of the dealer's package you do not have to work on your unit should it become necessary that it needs it. the guys(and gals im sure) who do these service calls have to put food on their table too. to be honest i dont think paying a higher price is a bad thing in a lot of cases for that added layer of service. comparing this cost against the material cost at the DIY store is not fair, you have to add the labor as well and these folks doing the labor are professionals.

    quite simply , "you get what you pay for" is an honest statement. in paying more for a higher level of service (not to mention installation, not everybody who wants a woodstove quite frankly is qualified to cut a hole in their roof and needs the installation done by someone else)this costs money as well, but you get what you pay for, a great stove , a guarenteed proper installation , and in home service under the warranty. in my opinion its worth it if you fall under the "non-handy" category, or simply would rather pay for the service than have to do the chore yourself even if capable.

    the industry as a whole has various niches, all are essential. he DIY'er who wants to save and doesnt mind the work , well he can get a fine product from a DIY store but his payment includes doing his own work or hiring a local guy to do so (which im not as happy about personally, i think DIY means by gawd DIY!) if i was going to hire someone , i'd buy from a full service dealer, from him you can expect better work and more knowledge of the product, though he costs a bit more but you get what you pay for


    in closing , sean if i have commented in a way that offended you , it wasnt intentional. i have learned from you in here and i try to be a respectful student. i was a bit hot when i wrote my previous posts in this thread, none of which were specifically directed at you or any other dealer who helps folks out in this forum, from whom IMHO "you get even more than you pay for".
  5. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Check the EPA emsssions rating for the big Englander and the T6 The Englander is half ( 1.63 verse 3.56) the T6 and costs 1/3 of the Pacific Energy T6

    Arrow Stove ( being replaced)
    Shtil Pro 026
    Husky 65
    Yamaha 600 Grizzly[/quote]

    As far as I'm concerned the EPA GPH numbers don't mean squat. This test is a laboratory cotrolled test with perfectly spaced, perfectly dry 2x4's and 4x4's. How can the stove not burn clean? Manufactures can tweek a stove to pass the EPA test with flying colors but could be up in the teens or higher GPH with real world cordwood tests. Then they use independent lab testing to boost the BTU number so they don't have to use the EPA numbers. I would like to see an honest real world cordwood test for both numbers and a standardized heat output efficiency test. But it will never happen, too much money.
  6. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    As far as I'm concerned the EPA GPH numbers don't mean squat. This test is a laboratory cotrolled test with perfectly spaced, perfectly dry 2x4's and 4x4's. How can the stove not burn clean? Manufactures can tweek a stove to pass the EPA test with flying colors but could be up in the teens or higher GPH with real world cordwood tests. Then they use independent lab testing to boost the BTU number so they don't have to use the EPA numbers. I would like to see an honest real world cordwood test for both numbers and a standardized heat output efficiency test. But it will never happen, too much money.[/quote]

    oh yeah , they can "not burn clean" as for "real world" testing , what would be the "control" which type wood ? how much? what moisture content? what thickness for each split? how are they placed in the stove? the reason its done the way its done is so that a standard can be recognised. EPA requires manufacturers to post the tested numbers on the tag included with the unit which includes a BTU number for that test load , which is a heck of a lot smaller than a "real world" output (25lbs of dried doug fir isnt gonna match up well to 40 lbs of seasoned oak) granted it doesnt seem to be a big deal.

    but think about this, a stove comes in at 1.63 GPH in testing,(using our 30-nc as i know its GPH offhand) another stove does 3.26 GPH (which i made up , its 2X the 1.63)in the same test. granted that aint a lot when you look at the test load (although it really is in one respect) in real world conditions would a stove that hit half the GPH that the other stove still be that much cleaner? more efficient? why not?
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    oh yeah , they can "not burn clean" as for "real world" testing , what would be the "control" which type wood ? how much? what moisture content? what thickness for each split? how are they placed in the stove? the reason its done the way its done is so that a standard can be recognised. EPA requires manufacturers to post the tested numbers on the tag included with the unit which includes a BTU number for that test load , which is a heck of a lot smaller than a "real world" output (25lbs of dried doug fir isnt gonna match up well to 40 lbs of seasoned oak) granted it doesnt seem to be a big deal.

    but think about this, a stove comes in at 1.63 GPH in testing,(using our 30-nc as i know its GPH offhand) another stove does 3.26 GPH (which i made up , its 2X the 1.63)in the same test. granted that aint a lot when you look at the test load (although it really is in one respect) in real world conditions would a stove that hit half the GPH that the other stove still be that much cleaner? more efficient? why not?[/quote]

    Why not? I'll give you an example. VC everburn stoves were tweeked to pass the EPA Gph test at .08 so everybody thinks wow!That stove is the chit, it must be very efficient when it burns that clean. Well we found out that stove needed optimum conditions like the test charges the EPA uses for it to burn that way. When you throw ordinary corwood in there it stalls and smokes. It just wasn't tuned right for the real world, they were looking for a sales pitch.

    I guess it would be kind of tough to come up with a real world test. How about this? They could come up with some type of cordwood like Maple, Oak, or ash at 3" diameter and figure out a formula for max weight per firebox size, fill it up on top of an established coal bed and burn it 3 to 5 or however many times it takes till you come up with an average GPH, BTU and efficiency? I just think it could be done better.
  8. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Lots of reasons! Mostly given by others.....

    VC's new insert - with a small firebox - came in at 3.0 GPM. Why would VC make a stove that burns 2 or 3x as "dirty" as their Everburn? Did they lose their talent? Well, maybe......but more likely they decided that the GPM "game" was BS and tried to make a stove that worked well.

    Using your logic, why does THE SAME STOVE using the same test often come in at vastly different numbers? Again, some reason....lots of flexibility in the technicians that run the tests, the way they rake the embers, the way the stove is tuned for the test charges, etc.
  9. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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  10. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    VC has already reworked the Everburn - it's called the Lopi Leyden (wood) and the Harman Oakwood. Both are the same basic design but have 2 to 3X the GPM...and reportedly, both work better.

    Someday I may change my mind...but I'm a stubborn guy. I continue to look at EPA as pass/fail.....when it comes to wood stoves.
  11. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    I guess it would be kind of tough to come up with a real world test. How about this? They could come up with some type of cordwood like Maple, Oak, or ash at 3" diameter and figure out a formula for max weight per firebox size, fill it up on top of an established coal bed and burn it 3 to 5 or however many times it takes till you come up with an average GPH, BTU and efficiency? I just think it could be done better.[/quote]


    biggest reason they use doug fir is that its easy to get consistant CF to moisture content. to be fair to different manufacturers using different reburn methods and configurations a level playing field had to be established for testing. im not saying that the doug fir test is perfect. but it is fair to the manufacturers and it does give a reasonable criteria for clean burning standards. will the VC unit that hit 0.8 GPH burn 28% oak at that level of cleanlyness, heck no, will our 30 , ditto, aint happening. but it still is capable of burning it cleaner than a unit which just squeaked by in testing. its like car testing for mileage, epa rated mileage may be such for one car and different for another , now, when the car has been driven for a while and may or may not have burned the best gas or had the best oil used in changes or not at all. thats real world but a car that rates 30 MPG is still gonna get better mileage in the real world than a car that rates 15 MPG no matter what you put in the tank.
  12. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    That is a great way to look at it. But manufactures need some kind of bragging rights not only to sell but to make better stoves. Competition is good.
  13. Rickochet

    Rickochet Member

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    You might want to check out the Napoleon stoves. I have researched extensively and that is what I decided to buy. However, it’s kind of like the proverbial GM vs. Ford vs. Chrysler vs. Toyota debates. Everybody cannot afford the best of the best, so buy the best you can afford. Look around and talk to some reputable dealers before you buy. The topic that seemed to appear over & over was you can tame a fire output down by burning smaller amounts of wood, but you can never boost a fire over the fire boxes’ size. So if you are going to look at burning a fire over a period of days, go with a larger unit.
  14. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    Points well taken. I apologize that I was ranting a little there. My comments were also somewhat off topic. Guess it spilled over from reading through some other posts in unrelated topics.

    I'm fully aware that some dealers make a poor impression and do not properly represent the manufacturers products or our industry. I'm also aware that there are some manufacturers that do a much better job at customer service than some manufacturers who use the dealer network. I just wish there was a way to ensure my customers that I am not trying to rip them off just because I have a higher price than other outlets. But, wishing is for fairy tales, right? We just have to work harder at earning the trust. It's hard to hold our prices when so many other sources for stoves are using the discount approach. Oh well.

    Sean
  15. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    Steve, this is precisely the issue I have with getting on this forum or others and talking about price and getting the impression that one source is better or worse than another based on price. There simply is no short cut. You cannot get on the internet and get price for a wood stove installation any more than you can for an addition on your house.

    Sure, the stove can be priced, and that price will vary a bit between markets. The chimney can also be priced, if you know what you need. This is maddening because many folks do not know what they need or how to install a stove or fireplace. This forum can be useful for getting to know the terminology and learning the process and determining the best approach for you personally. But pricing must be done locally. And, in most cases, if you are not a DIYer, this means hiring a contractor. There is no short cut for this.

    Actually, if you do your research ahead of time, you won't be wasting the dealers time. A good dealer appreciates it when you know what you want and they will help guide you through the options. But early on we need to know your budget. If you can't spend more than $3000 or $4000, or whatever, we need to know that. That information will help guide us in our approach to showing you your options. Obviously, the higher your budget the more choices you will have.

    Some buyers will be hesitant to reveal their budget, thinking the dealer will use that information to their advantage and try to "sell" them on stuff they don't need. I suppose that can happen. But communication is a two way street. If you thin the dealer is not being fair to you say so. Get the dealer to clarify all the costs and let you know what is and is not included. You can then use that information to direct the discussion toward your actual budget. But, if you say "I can spend $4000" but you really can spend $4500, or $5000, then you will not get the best results. At the very least, set your maximum and minimum and decide if you will let yourself adjust to the actual costs as you see the value of certain options.

    What dealers like myself find a wast of time is being told the customer wants "this" and then we go out and estimate the cost and then we are told the cost is "too much". Adjust your wants and needs to the actual costs. If I give you an estimate for a system that is over your budget I want to know what I can do to get closer to you number. Will you be satisfied with another model of stove? An alternate location? A different hearth? We may be able to meet your budget if you have this kind of flexibility. But asking me to discount my products and labor to meet your price for what you want is not going to work. If you are able to get what you want elsewhere for less of a price than that's good for you, if the results are the same. If I end up starving because no one will pay my price than I have to adjust. But asking me to discount my prices shows a lack of understanding of the process and how the marketplace works. We are remodeling contractors, we are not simple retail stores. Price will vary, but so will the results.

    Decide what you want the end result to be and go shopping locally. Yes, it's hard. But if you do the work, the results will be good. Use the internet to bounce ideas off of other people. But shop locally and compare your local contractor's abilities and previous results. Review their reputation, groom a relationship, and then choose the one you think will best serve your needs and wants.

    Sean
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