Harman Accentra 52i - what's wrong here?

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Kyle6286

New Member
Apr 4, 2019
36
New England
Some pics attached for reference. Please excuse the "mess" in the first pic. It's Sunday morning and we have a little one playing.

I've read enough reviews on here praising these stoves to know that something has got to be missing. Yes, it's the coldest it's been all winter here in New England these past few days, with nighttime temps dropping to single digits, but this stove just has an awfully hard time trying to keep our barely 2k sq ft cape comfortable. The stove is basically running at its max right now - room temp 70 (doesn't matter if I set it to 70 or 75, it won't get that hot), igniter is disabled, feed limit is set to 75%, esp temp is maxed out at 490, yet our living room is barely 68 degrees and will just not get any warmer. The past few days, with this cold stretch of weather, it's using 60 lbs of pellets per day, and that's with me turning it off at night (from 11pm to about 6am), otherwise I'd be using more than two bags of pellets a day, and for what, to get the house no hotter than 68 degrees. Of course, the further away from the stove, the colder it is, so 68 is the absolute warmest.

I understand a pellet stove may not be the cheapest way to heat a home, but two bags of pellets per day in this weather (rotating between Okanagan, La Crete, Green Supreme) just to get the room where the stove is installed no hotter than 68 degrees just doesn't make sense to me. A reputable company, at least according to Google reviews, installed our stove a year and a half ago, and I've been underwhelmed with its performance the entire time, now more than ever.

The fact that the esp stove temp is maxing out at 490 degrees makes me think there has to be an external factor(s) affecting this. Was it just not installed correctly? I've got to be losing a ton of the heated air somewhere for this to be happening, no? Does not having an oak installed really mean I'm just heating the room only for that heat to then be pulled back through the stove for combustion, allowing for cold air outside to come inside through any leaks around the house? All three dealers in Rhode Island who I called to see if they installed oaks said that an oak is absolutely not necessary, which goes against everything I've read on here.

I really apologize for the numerous threads over the last few weeks essentially complaining, but for $5,200 or so installed, I was expecting to at least keep our house relatively comfortable with this stove. I know there are a lot of variables at play here, and I tried my best to explain in detail, but please let me know if I missed anything that may be helpful.

Thanks

PXL_20210131_152752700.jpg PXL_20210131_152830162.jpg PXL_20210131_152839683.jpg
 

DAKSY

Full Time RVer
Staff member
Dec 2, 2008
9,206
Wherever we're parked
I'm running a P61 & burning 2+ bags a day to keep about 1100 sf at 68.
It's below 20 deg F outside & has been below zero for the last couple of nights.
Running room temp with the igniter on. FWIW, I never turn the igniter off &
it's the OEM igniter from 2010...Burning Currans, & just cleaned the unit this AM.
I DO have an OAK on it. It made ALL the difference on how much drafts were
cut down. Part of the floor it's on is exposed Cinderblock & some of the floor is exposed concrete as well.
Not sure how well your home is insulated & if the unit was installed with a block off plate,
but I'd think 52K BTU might not be enough without either of those...
 
Last edited:

gfreek

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2010
1,462
WNYS
OAK , outside air kits are frequently discussed on here. They are not necessary, but only make sense. Not having one is "like turning a bath or kitchen exhaust fan on 24 hours a day.." sucking air out of your house, creating drafts and being replaced with outside air.. Many factors involved here , & I would think at 50,000 btu rating that would be sufficient.. Hopefully others will chime in on how to do it yourself being an insert..
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
Considering that most central heat plants are in the excess of 100,000 BTU, I'd say at 50K it's doing about all it can.

Cold here too and windy and our 6039 is in notch 6 and the ambient is sitting right at 70 on the remote T'stat in the kitchen but the RH is at 50, so it 'feels' fine.

Been snoozing in the recliner next to it along with a couple cats, everyone is happy. Think I'll head back there in a short. Good day to do nothing
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
I understand a pellet stove may not be the cheapest way to heat a home,


Next year it may very well be considering the current volatility in fuel prices and the current administration's penchant for disabling the fossil fuel balance for 'green' energy.

IOW, expect to pay appreciably more next year for fossil fuels and if biomass fuels stay at present prices, it will be a bargain compared to every conventional fuel source.

Of course you can always invest in warmer clothes too.
 
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WOODNUT358

Member
Aug 1, 2008
98
RI
Some pics attached for reference. Please excuse the "mess" in the first pic. It's Sunday morning and we have a little one playing.

I've read enough reviews on here praising these stoves to know that something has got to be missing. Yes, it's the coldest it's been all winter here in New England these past few days, with nighttime temps dropping to single digits, but this stove just has an awfully hard time trying to keep our barely 2k sq ft cape comfortable. The stove is basically running at its max right now - room temp 70 (doesn't matter if I set it to 70 or 75, it won't get that hot), igniter is disabled, feed limit is set to 75%, esp temp is maxed out at 490, yet our living room is barely 68 degrees and will just not get any warmer. The past few days, with this cold stretch of weather, it's using 60 lbs of pellets per day, and that's with me turning it off at night (from 11pm to about 6am), otherwise I'd be using more than two bags of pellets a day, and for what, to get the house no hotter than 68 degrees. Of course, the further away from the stove, the colder it is, so 68 is the absolute warmest.

I understand a pellet stove may not be the cheapest way to heat a home, but two bags of pellets per day in this weather (rotating between Okanagan, La Crete, Green Supreme) just to get the room where the stove is installed no hotter than 68 degrees just doesn't make sense to me. A reputable company, at least according to Google reviews, installed our stove a year and a half ago, and I've been underwhelmed with its performance the entire time, now more than ever.

The fact that the esp stove temp is maxing out at 490 degrees makes me think there has to be an external factor(s) affecting this. Was it just not installed correctly? I've got to be losing a ton of the heated air somewhere for this to be happening, no? Does not having an oak installed really mean I'm just heating the room only for that heat to then be pulled back through the stove for combustion, allowing for cold air outside to come inside through any leaks around the house? All three dealers in Rhode Island who I called to see if they installed oaks said that an oak is absolutely not necessary, which goes against everything I've read on here.

I really apologize for the numerous threads over the last few weeks essentially complaining, but for $5,200 or so installed, I was expecting to at least keep our house relatively comfortable with this stove. I know there are a lot of variables at play here, and I tried my best to explain in detail, but please let me know if I missed anything that may be helpful.

Thanks

View attachment 273245 View attachment 273246 View attachment 273247
Same here. The only thing I do is increase the pellet feed rate,and the stove runs as hot as it can. This morning it was 7* with a WC of minus 2*. Kept around 70*. I also wondered about a OAK. I usually run feed rate at 3. But increased it to 4.
 

WOODNUT358

Member
Aug 1, 2008
98
RI
Same here. The only thing I do is increase the pellet feed rate,and the stove runs as hot as it can. This morning it was 7* with a WC of minus 2*. Kept around 70*. I also wondered about a OAK. I usually run feed rate at 3. But increased it to 4.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
I'm running about 120 pounds of mix right now myself and 3 gallons of water every 24 hours at 50%RH. Still have about 7 ton of corn and 3.5 ton of pellets in the barn.
 

gfreek

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2010
1,462
WNYS
My Harman P38+, smallest unit they made, sits in area with 18ft ceiling , & ceiling fan, it does most of my split level home, on room temp mode, minus the far bedrooms, 1500 sqft, minimal insulation...6 degrees last nite, 71 inside. Sure it ramps up occasionally but never continuous..
 

Washed-Up

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2011
882
Kananaskis,Alberta, Canada
Here’s another thread, not sure if you’ve seen it, regarding the oak and exhaust...hope it helps

 

railfanron

Minister of Fire
Nov 2, 2013
568
Perry MI
The OAK has something to do with it but my guess is you have an insulation problem not a stove problem or air infiltration problem.
Ron
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
In a few short months we will all be worrying about the heat and ac load...... ;lol

I remember years ago when I installed a few pellet stoves, installed one in a tract home in Toledo, cut the drywall for the vent thimble and pulled the plug out and was looking at the exterior sheathing, nothing in the wall insulation wise. Took my inspection cam and had a good look inside. Other than Romex, drywall, studs and exterior sheathing, the wall was devoid of any insulation. Kind of scary. I suggested the home owner contact an insulation expert and get some insulation because that stove wasn't going to to much good heat wise. Like sitting in a garage but in their living room.... Never asked what their conventional gas bill was but I bet it was steep.....

Here in our century home, we have foamed in insulation in the walls, thermal break windows and in the attic upstairs I had the contractor put R50 glass in. Basement crawl is all foamed too, we have a half basement.

If you have adequate insulation and good draft free windows a biomass stove running at 50K BTU input will work unless it gets extremely cold and windy out but lack of insulation and drafts really negate the limited output of any stove. Not a central heat plant and no where near the realized BTU output. They are considered a 'space heater' and if you are looking for heating an entire house comfortably in adverse conditions, you'll be disappointed
 

Kyle6286

New Member
Apr 4, 2019
36
New England
Thanks for the feedback everyone. This thing is so hit or miss and I know there are a ton of variables that affect the situation. Granted, it's warmer today (31 right now) than it was the past few days, but we're in the middle of blizzard like conditions, and with the stove set to room temp 70, it's able to maintain that, hovering between 69 and 70. The house feels comfortable today for once, which is weird because I didn't do anything differently. It's weird that some days I feel like it just can't get the chill out no matter how hot the stove is running, and then there are days like today where it's cozy.

On a similar note, I was able to get a quote from a local dealer to install an oak. $1,800! I think if I go this route I'm going to have to do a lot of researching and go the DIY way. That just seems super expensive to me, but who knows. I guess I'm happy that at least someone around here provides that type of service. They did tell me, however, that they would first need to come out to conduct a site visit, and if they determine that it wouldn't fit, I'd be out $175 for the visit.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
Pretty simple to install a fresh air kit in reality. You can buy all the necessary parts for under 100 bucks online (Selkirk sells them) and install is not much either. Too bad you aren't closer, I'd install it for you for a c-note and a beverage or 2.

One thing that people don't understand and that is, as winter progresses and temps get colder, your ambient RH drops in your home and the lower the RH becomes, the 'colder' you feel at any temperature because when the RH is low, your body aspirates more moisture and it evaporates off your skin and that makes you feel colder.

I keep the RH in this house right around 45-50% during the heating season and 67-68 ambient in here is very comfortable. I suggest you get a humidistat and find out where your ambient RH is and if dry, invest in a humidifier.
 

Kyle6286

New Member
Apr 4, 2019
36
New England
Pretty simple to install a fresh air kit in reality. You can buy all the necessary parts for under 100 bucks online (Selkirk sells them) and install is not much either. Too bad you aren't closer, I'd install it for you for a c-note and a beverage or 2.

One thing that people don't understand and that is, as winter progresses and temps get colder, your ambient RH drops in your home and the lower the RH becomes, the 'colder' you feel at any temperature because when the RH is low, your body aspirates more moisture and it evaporates off your skin and that makes you feel colder.

I keep the RH in this house right around 45-50% during the heating season and 67-68 ambient in here is very comfortable. I suggest you get a humidistat and find out where your ambient RH is and if dry, invest in a humidifier.

What if I buy your plane ticket too? Lol. I think part of the complication with our house, at least I think it makes things a little more complicated, is that this is an insert in brick our fireplace, as opposed to just a wall.
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
4,293
Lorraine NY
74? Man, what's that feel like haha. I'd be walking around in shorts and a t-shirt at that temp.
LOL Yeah we both do"the Warden says 74" and so it shall be!
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
What if I buy your plane ticket too? Lol. I think part of the complication with our house, at least I think it makes things a little more complicated, is that this is an insert in brick our fireplace, as opposed to just a wall.
Not a big deal either. You can bore through the backside of the hearth wall with a masonry core drill in an SDS hammerdrill. I have a couple in one of my toolboxes. All it is, is a hollow cylinder with tungsten carbide teeth on the front edge and an SDS (spline drive shank).

I don't fly anywhere now. No way am I sitting in an airborne petri dish. I have enough health issues as it is.
 

rich2500

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
1,399
Berks County PA.
Has the stove and venting been cleaned lately including cleaning the esp .
 

rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
1,265
ohio
What if I buy your plane ticket too? Lol. I think part of the complication with our house, at least I think it makes things a little more complicated, is that this is an insert in brick our fireplace, as opposed to just a wall.
Typically there are concrete coring guys around. Go on Google maps and search concrete sawing, drilling or coring. I put in a gas stove for my parents and had to get the 8" colinear pipe thru the triple thick brick wall. (1850's Federal style home) The local company came out and cored it for about $200.00 and did not even chip the plaster on the inside when the bit came thru. There are some things that are cheaper to hire out than rent the tools to do it.
 
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TLO03

New Member
Mar 3, 2019
15
CT
Some pics attached for reference. Please excuse the "mess" in the first pic. It's Sunday morning and we have a little one playing.

I've read enough reviews on here praising these stoves to know that something has got to be missing. Yes, it's the coldest it's been all winter here in New England these past few days, with nighttime temps dropping to single digits, but this stove just has an awfully hard time trying to keep our barely 2k sq ft cape comfortable. The stove is basically running at its max right now - room temp 70 (doesn't matter if I set it to 70 or 75, it won't get that hot), igniter is disabled, feed limit is set to 75%, esp temp is maxed out at 490, yet our living room is barely 68 degrees and will just not get any warmer. The past few days, with this cold stretch of weather, it's using 60 lbs of pellets per day, and that's with me turning it off at night (from 11pm to about 6am), otherwise I'd be using more than two bags of pellets a day, and for what, to get the house no hotter than 68 degrees. Of course, the further away from the stove, the colder it is, so 68 is the absolute warmest.

I understand a pellet stove may not be the cheapest way to heat a home, but two bags of pellets per day in this weather (rotating between Okanagan, La Crete, Green Supreme) just to get the room where the stove is installed no hotter than 68 degrees just doesn't make sense to me. A reputable company, at least according to Google reviews, installed our stove a year and a half ago, and I've been underwhelmed with its performance the entire time, now more than ever.

The fact that the esp stove temp is maxing out at 490 degrees makes me think there has to be an external factor(s) affecting this. Was it just not installed correctly? I've got to be losing a ton of the heated air somewhere for this to be happening, no? Does not having an oak installed really mean I'm just heating the room only for that heat to then be pulled back through the stove for combustion, allowing for cold air outside to come inside through any leaks around the house? All three dealers in Rhode Island who I called to see if they installed oaks said that an oak is absolutely not necessary, which goes against everything I've read on here.

I really apologize for the numerous threads over the last few weeks essentially complaining, but for $5,200 or so installed, I was expecting to at least keep our house relatively comfortable with this stove. I know there are a lot of variables at play here, and I tried my best to explain in detail, but please let me know if I missed anything that may be helpful.

Thanks

View attachment 273245 View attachment 273246 View attachment 273247

I would say theres something wrong , I have the same stove with the same style home with a little more sq footage .. and even on the coldest day I have very few problems keeping my home warm . 68 degrees in my bedroom 40 ft away . I often wake up and shut the door b/c its to warm to sleep on the warmer nights 30’s.. I burn all soft woods .. upstairs bedrooms are 71 degrees . I have an addition and its tough to keep warm at times ... My house is far from air tight ..

My setup is as follows . 52i tc W/oak and remote sensor . I place the remote sensor in my bedroom on the first floor for know . I burn about 1-2 bags a day I been playing with the feed rate down to 30% and still keep the temps good . I use to set it to get to max esp temp but im rethinking the strategy lately .
Maybe consider not turning it off at night those 5 -6 hrs can really drop the temp in the house ..
We have a similar setup , so if I can give you any more info just pm me..
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
I never turn my stove off. Reason being, it takes too long to recover with 50K BTU input. Mine stays on all the time unless I'm cleaning it. When it's off (cleaning) the central furnace is always on, holding the ambient temperature. I believe every owners manual states that not to depend on any stove as a primary heat source and I don't. Strictly supplemental for me.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
Typically there are concrete coring guys around. Go on Google maps and search concrete sawing, drilling or coring. I put in a gas stove for my parents and had to get the 8" colinear pipe thru the triple thick brick wall. (1850's Federal style home) The local company came out and cored it for about $200.00 and did not even chip the plaster on the inside when the bit came thru. There are some things that are cheaper to hire out than rent the tools to do it.
Smart move. I have the tools to do the boring but just the SDS drill was over 400 bucks (Bosch SDS Max) and the coring bits are very expensive as well. Bought a new 2" last year, I believe it was 150 bucks.

Once it's cored, it's a simple matter of running the outside air kit. Most of them come with everything from the external grill to the flex pipe to the clamps. Little bit of caulk on the exterior to seat the grill and that is about it.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
LOL Yeah we both do"the Warden says 74" and so it shall be!
Too warm for us, but then I keep the RH around 50% all the time so 68-70 feels just fine. Besides the cats don't shock me when I scratch them and we have quite a few (like 8).