Harman pellet stove concerns

Jake86

Burning Hunk
Oct 8, 2015
153
Plymouth, Massachusetts
Thinking of getting a second ps and putting my Castle Serenity to work in my finished basement. Always wanted to go Harman and know they are considered one of the best from reading Harth.com. The only negatives I've heard about Harman's is they burn way to many pellets compared to other stoves and there may be a problem with safety as far as a bottom pellet feed as opposed to a top feeder. Anyone out there who can answer these concerns? Thanks
 
  • Like
Reactions: ASWZ71

jackman

Feeling the Heat
Jan 15, 2013
482
Oregon
I've had my Accentra freestanding for 10 years. In that time I've replaced the igniter, distrubution blower, and two weeks ago the auger motor. It's been a great heat source. I fail to see any safety issues and there's no way to judge whether it burns more than another stove. That would be a hard test to make.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bogieb

railfanron

Feeling the Heat
Nov 2, 2013
448
Perry MI
I agree with Jackman there is no way to measure pellet burning accurately. That said because mine runs mostly in room temp auto and only puts out the amount of heat needed to keep the temperature at the required setting so I can't see how that's burning too many pellets. My stove is in it's 4th year and I've replaced nothing compared to my neighbor's Hudson River that has had 2 combustion blowers and an igniter in the same amount of time. As far as safety mine has been running automatically and lit itself thousands of times with no problems and the ONLY time it has failed to light is when it ran out of pellets.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bogieb

Peterfield

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2013
1,379
New Hampshire
Thinking of getting a second ps and putting my Castle Serenity to work in my finished basement. Always wanted to go Harman and know they are considered one of the best from reading Harth.com. The only negatives I've heard about Harman's is they burn way to many pellets compared to other stoves and there may be a problem with safety as far as a bottom pellet feed as opposed to a top feeder. Anyone out there who can answer these concerns? Thanks
The only place I ever heard those "concerns" was when shopping at a pellet stove shop that didn't carry Harman's.
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,740
South Central NH
I don't know how you can compare pellets burned to other stoves. The only way I know of is to have a stove, then replace it and have the exact same weather you had with the previous stove (impossible). I will tell you that I had a St. Croix Hastings on my main floor (950 sq/ft). It's hopper was claimed to be 40#, but in reality it was about 35#. During really cold weather, with it running on a thermostat (and the P61a downstairs providing some heat too), I would top off the hopper before leaving for work and on a regular basis I would come home and it would either be on the verge of running out or had already run out of pellets. I have not had such a thing happen with the P43. Okay, so I put a hopper extension on the P43 to ensure that wouldn't happen - but there have been very few days I have actually used an entire bag in 24 hours. However, we haven't had a vicious winter since I installed the P43 in the fall of 2015. The Hasting and P43 are comparable in expected BTU outputs, so they are at least close to being able to compare, but you can't do that with disparate stoves

If I had put in a P61 on the main floor instead - I would expect it to use more pellets just because it is meant to put out more BTU's, but I can't compare my basement dwelling P61a to either the Hastings or the P43 as it is carrying a heavier load just trying to keep my foundation and concrete floor warm as well as sending some heat up the stairs and warming the floors to the main floor.

I'm with the others - I only remember hearing the "bottom feeder safety" concern from those who don't have / sell Harman's (or the few other bottom feeders out there - Harman's aren't the only ones IIRC). I was more worried about sparks being blown out of the door of the Hastings if it happened to be dropping pellets into the flame as I was opening the door.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Wrathlon

Bioburner

Moderator
Aug 4, 2012
7,317
West central Mn
Early bottom feeder designs started with a positive pressure burn chamber. Pellifier. Had burn back issues if one tried to shut down as it had no disconnect- air gap between auger and hopper.

Harman is a negative chamber and a unique shuttle that separates the hopper from auger and if following the install guidelines with some rise in the venting has pretty much eliminated the burn back issue.

The only negative I have with the Harman stove I have is the room fan could be more robust but I hardly use it testing the stoves limits with the use of the crosslink boiler insert to heat my domestic water and infloor heat system. Nice toasty floor this AM with the outside temp around zero with some ugly winds howling.
 

pageyjim

Burning Hunk
Oct 9, 2014
229
Deleware
I take burning too many pellets to mean that it is less efficient. There are many types of efficiency. I always felt that thermal efficiency was the best test but it seems that Harman does well in that department when actually tested. It got very good marks when tested for efficiency and heat output by this independent lab.

"On medium burn the most efficient of the 6 stoves, the Harman and Piazzetta, had 10% to 12% oxygen in the stack on their best days, and an overall average of 13% and 14% oxygen (Figure 8). The Enviro with the worst efficiency overall, averaging 18% at medium burn, 20% at high 17% at low (Figure 8).

By “efficiency,”we are referring to thermal efficiency, which is the ratio of heat delivered to the heated space to the heat content of the fuel burned, expressed as a percentage1. Efficiency is measured by what is known as the “stack loss” method, that tracks how much heat and chemical energy is lost through the chimney compared to what remains in the house."

http://www.forgreenheat.org/decathlon/efficiency.html

http://www.forgreenheat.org/decathlon/rating.html

I don't think to many Harman owners would trade their stoves for another.

Like this article states I think many claims of efficiency are exaggerated by companies so they use the default claim of 78% which may be a bit high imo.
 
Last edited:

bags

Minister of Fire
Oct 12, 2014
2,381
Kentucky
Many Harman models use more pellets because they are larger and produce high BTU's You can not compare a 30,000 BTU stove to a 68,000 BTU for pellet consumption. Or a 45 K BTU stove for that matter. More BTU's = more pellets used.

The bottom feed auger is a non-issue with Harman stoves. Harman makes a great pellet stove so I wouldn't have any concerns about any model they make.

Comparatively speaking, IF you heated say a 1,200 SQ FT space with a Harman P45 vs. another stove in the same space I doubt the Harman would really use more pellets if everything was equal.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zeus and bogieb

Harman Lover 007

Minister of Fire

jp99

Burning Hunk
Jan 7, 2015
140
Ohio
Many Harman models use more pellets because they are larger and produce high BTU's You can not compare a 30,000 BTU stove to a 68,000 BTU for pellet consumption. Or a 45 K BTU stove for that matter. More BTU's = more pellets used.

The bottom feed auger is a non-issue with Harman stoves. Harman makes a great pellet stove so I wouldn't have any concerns about any model they make.

Comparatively speaking, IF you heated say a 1,200 SQ FT space with a Harman P45 vs. another stove in the same space I doubt the Harman would really use more pellets if everything was equal.
The pellet consumption rate is only true if the stoves are running at full power. The Harmans are variable power stoves, so for example my PC45 can run 8,000-45,000 BTU/hr on corn (and up to 50k BTU/hr on pellets) according to Harman.

If you have two stoves running at 20k BTU/hr, they should both use about the same amount of pellets when the are running at steady state (not heating up or cooling down). The only significant variable might be if the efficiency is markedly different for the two stoves at that power level, which is likely at the bottom end of the usable power level. So I would expect a 38, 45 or a 61 to have the same fuel usage at around 20k.
 

Ohio P43

Member
Thinking of getting a second ps and putting my Castle Serenity to work in my finished basement. Always wanted to go Harman and know they are considered one of the best from reading Harth.com. The only negatives I've heard about Harman's is they burn way to many pellets compared to other stoves and there may be a problem with safety as far as a bottom pellet feed as opposed to a top feeder. Anyone out there who can answer these concerns? Thanks
I have heated my home exclusively with a P43 since 2009. I use room temp mode so it cycles on and off pretty often. The only item I have replaced was the circuit board. The stove still worked but it would never shut down. The only way to turn it off was to unplug the unit. The board was pretty cheap. I doubt I would ever buy anything other than a Harman.
 

bob bare

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
2,960
park county montana
Wow good stuff here.In my opinion,a bottom feeder does use more pellets for the same amount of heat output,over time.My integra will put out more heat than my harman,over a period of time,but the harman requires vastly much less maintenance.
 

Zeus

Burning Hunk
Mar 12, 2015
180
Pa
I think the reason harmans burn more pellets is they produce more heat?
 

Tonyray

Minister of Fire
I have a Harman P61A..
61,000 btu at Max output..
Logically I would use more pellets than most models of lesser output I would Assume...
 

Harman Lover 007

Minister of Fire
  • Like
Reactions: Lake Girl

Pascal_Maertens

Burning Hunk
I take burning too many pellets to mean that it is less efficient. There are many types of efficiency. I always felt that thermal efficiency was the best test but it seems that Harman does well in that department when actually tested. It got very good marks when tested for efficiency and heat output by this independent lab.

"On medium burn the most efficient of the 6 stoves, the Harman and Piazzetta, had 10% to 12% oxygen in the stack on their best days, and an overall average of 13% and 14% oxygen (Figure 8). The Enviro with the worst efficiency overall, averaging 18% at medium burn, 20% at high 17% at low (Figure 8).

By “efficiency,”we are referring to thermal efficiency, which is the ratio of heat delivered to the heated space to the heat content of the fuel burned, expressed as a percentage1. Efficiency is measured by what is known as the “stack loss” method, that tracks how much heat and chemical energy is lost through the chimney compared to what remains in the house."

http://www.forgreenheat.org/decathlon/efficiency.html

http://www.forgreenheat.org/decathlon/rating.html

I don't think to many Harman owners would trade their stoves for another.

Like this article states I think many claims of efficiency are exaggerated by companies so they use the default claim of 78% which may be a bit high imo.
Tell me one thing how the...bip, do you want those test to be reliable. there is no real good test because they are no good testers. Do you really think that they know how to set all of these stove properly pouaaaaaaahhahaha!! come on ! Just look on this forum only, how many people complaints about their installer or technician. I have put my heart for more than 6 years understanding only one stove, and I still continue to learn... so please they can say what they want about any stove I'll believe in me and my good will, to find solution for customers. I don't really have time for this but I would make a web page with numbers that would prove you that a yellow school bus is the most efficient stove in the world. after all, aren't we on the internet, where you can find the most reliable information on hearth !! in europe they built their stove to use softwood in north america hardwood so how can you compare using the same pellets !? it's all bull $$$$. sorry, this was only my opinion !
 
  • Like
Reactions: rich2500

pageyjim

Burning Hunk
Oct 9, 2014
229
Deleware
Great you are a certified technician. Tell me how you measure and test for efficiency when you set up a stove. Also curious what test instruments-combustion analyzer you use and how you use it. The tests quoted above were not perfect to be sure. You said is is all bull$$$$ and it is only your opinion, your words. I would be interested in you backing up your opinion and learning how you measure efficiency and set up your stoves and what criteria you use.

Forget the school bus, I would really love to see numbers for a stove and hear what they mean.

They used Curran pellets and had them tested by an independent lab. They are a blend of soft and hardwood. They stated their imo valid reasons for the type of pellet used. Interesting that you say that European stoves are made for softwood and you say you burn Cubex.
 
Last edited:

Pascal_Maertens

Burning Hunk
Great you are a certified technician. Tell me how you measure and test for efficiency when you set up a stove. Also curious what test instruments-combustion analyzer you use and how you use it. The tests quoted above were not perfect to be sure. You said is is all bull$$$$ and it is only your opinion, your words. I would be interested in you backing up your opinion and learning how you measure efficiency and set up your stoves and what criteria you use.

Forget the school bus, I would really love to see numbers for a stove and hear what they mean.

They used Curran pellets and had them tested by an independent lab. They are a blend of soft and hardwood. They stated their imo valid reasons for the type of pellet used. Interesting that you say that European stoves are made for softwood and you say you burn Cubex.
When I say bull, let's just think of VolkWagen, Toyota... recently and all the other, that's what I mean by; the tests can say what you want, depend on who you are getting paid from. this is why I do not and will not believe any of this. it's all $$$ talk. just imagine the time and money a test like this would cost !? naaah not for me sorry.

To take a faire test on a stove, first you gotta have it setup properly some you can't and some you can because they do have adjustments. but for all I can read on forums most technician dont even know how to set a stove or don't really care should I say ! and yes I do run on CUBEX because in my region it's hard to find good quality softwood. and what I really meant is in europe all they talk about is softwood for their stove, in north america it's hardwood all the way. two country two speech !
 
  • Like
Reactions: rich2500

pageyjim

Burning Hunk
Oct 9, 2014
229
Deleware
Their financial statements are on this page.
Funding for the Alliance for Green Heat

http://www.forgreenheat.org/about/funding.html

Most of their funding are grants from the govt and the rest is there to see.
It was all there to see from the links I previously posted.
In follow up seminars I see at least one member here who held a seminar and was highly rated from people who heard him speak. The whole test and follow up seemed to be very honest and open to improvement and criticism.

If you are not measuring flue gases from combustion you are only guessing. Guessing makes it an art instead of a science. Combustion is science. As a technician I would hope you would agree with that. Good flame-bad flame that is often used reminds me of oil and gas technicians from 2 generations ago. While I respect them they were simply guessing and they got it right MOST of the time. I don't expect homeowners to have a combustion analyzer or even to expect that most would have a technician service their units. But I do believe that a manufacturer and a technician should have that ability to have actual data. I think a technician should welcome information like this because it helps elevate what they actually do and they can give concrete answers to customers needs, wants and concerns.

Even if the tests were not perfect they invested a lot of time and energy to put some actual numbers and good information out to consumers and manufacturers alike.

This is good for the industry and consumers alike.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Pascal_Maertens

Pascal_Maertens

Burning Hunk
well I saw the installation of Piazzetta laboratory and they have more than one, here is a pictures I took during my trip to the company,

When I install a Piazzetta, I always use a manometer never go without it, and I have all the different technician chart for all models, so they can be set just like the company recommande. and believe me they made big test, do they really reach all the scores, I don't know. but once this is done and the customer is using clean pellets with no dust, they rock. The most common problem found and it's frustrating many installer will not do this, because they are use to install most north american stove that have few, or no adjustments at all. you can make a Piazzetta run like a ferrari or smoke like a diesel truck if you want ! that's how deep you can go into adjustment with these stove.

And to be honest, I haven't read much of those link. Every time it come to comparaison i'm very septical about the honesty of the testers,
But I will go and have a better look at all that, you seem to be convince and got me curious about it.

Regards
IMG_0297.JPG
 
  • Like
Reactions: pageyjim

bags

Minister of Fire
Oct 12, 2014
2,381
Kentucky
I'll just simplify my method of testing. I am warm and that is good. My pellets put out great stats proven by my teeth not chattering from the cold. End of test.

By the way, there are many softwood burners here in the states as the soft vs. hardwood pellet use is regional and depends on what is available to said burner. Yes, studies / testing can be possibly biased but here in the states if that is revealed or a false claim is made these companies and entities are subject to law suits which no one wants.
 

pageyjim

Burning Hunk
Oct 9, 2014
229
Deleware
I'll just simplify my method of testing. I am warm and that is good. My pellets put out great stats proven by my teeth not chattering from the cold. End of test.

By the way, there are many softwood burners here in the states as the soft vs. hardwood pellet use is regional and depends on what is available to said burner. Yes, studies / testing can be possibly biased but here in the states if that is revealed or a false claim is made these companies and entities are subject to law suits which no one wants.
Tried and true method.;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: bags and bogieb

bob bare

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
2,960
park county montana
Wow,really good stuff.Will disagree with pascal,you will find way more softwood burners,and softwood/hardwood mix,as softwood grows so much faster.As far as testing the stoves--not gonna go there.And thanks to pascal for helping out people here his experience is appreciated. And,as shipping wood across the pond is not environmentally friendly,as the uk has found out,they may be buying less commercial pellets,in the near future,which will lower our prices