It's been a week so I thought I'd give some feedback on our initial experience with the Mt. Vernon AE. Overall, it's a smashing addition to our home. To start at the prequel, I do miss our wood stove. There's a primal caveman-like satisfaction to selecting just the right logs from the pile, building a stack, and getting a fire going strong and then sitting back to watch the flames lick away at the inside of the stove as the embers spark, crack, and pop while they give off their aromatic scent and bountiful radiant heat. No fans, no electricity, just air, wood, and some heavy black cast iron. Occasionally, you see a puff of smoke drift by outside a window. From outdoors, the gentle plume wafts into the wind telling everyone there is life inside this home. The smell from the chimney is such a wonderful offset to the cold winter. The pellet stove is a clear reminder that we live in a modern society where everything is point-and-click, just-add-water, microwaveable frozen dinners, internet banking, and remote controls. Someone else has already done the work for you. Plug-n-play. In daily life, it is a wonderful thing. It's as if the pellet stove comes with a butler who politely says in his British accent, "Now sir, you just go on and make yourself comfortable in your chair. Let's put your feet up. I will take care of the fire for you. Just tell me what temperature you would like. Can I bring you some tea? Might I light your cigar for you?" It's a little uncomfortable for someone used to hard work at every turn of the day. The idea of not having to stack wood, haul loads into the house, sweep bark bits and sawdust, monitor kindling supply and ignition sources, gloves, fire tools, flue damper, etc etc etc leaves you feeling a little toothless. There isn't as much payoff for the fire if no effort is required to get it. The only challenge with this pellet stove is from four buttons on a 4 x 6" white plastic box with a little blue screen on it. You hit an up arrow and the fire starts or gets bigger. Hit the down arrow and it goes away. Simple as that. Ooo. Yesterday, after one week of burning Energex pellets, we set about cleaning the stove. It took about 5-10 minutes to do. As I slid out the ash pan, I expected it to be nearly full. After all, it had been burning for a whole week. Nope. I pulled out the tray and there was a little pile of ash and clinker that was almost embarrassing to look at. It was like a newborn baby's diaper - nothing there! Out of a weeks worth of pellets (about 7 bags), we had maybe a total of about a quart of ash between the ash pan and the firebox. We vacuumed off the heat exchanger and combustion area and it was all done. We miss the mesmerizing wood fire but the long and short of it is that this pellet stove is so dad-gum convenient. With the programmable controller, we now come home to a toasty fire instead of having to dig through the gray pile of ash hoping a few embers are left to resuscitate the fire back to life before it is altogether too late..."Hurry up and get some kindling on there! Smoke is coming into the room, close the door quickly! Damn, this piece of wood is too green! Oh shoot, this one is an inch too long"...you remember the days. With regard to the Mt. Vernon stove itself, there isn't a single thing we would change. The stove is quiet as a church mouse in all respects. Motors, fans, even the fire itself are completely unobtrusive. It is really a marvel of technology. Perhaps, the two cleverly designed clips that hold the heat transfer plate in the stove could be changed so that they do not need a screwdriver to utilize. The ash pan could use some guides, like a bedroom dresser drawer, to help it slide in horizontally instead of the current sloppy and too-low-to see - go-by-feel-only mechanism in place. Truthfully, though, these are minor gripes. I do wish it could hold more pellets. You can only load about one days worth into the hopper. I also can't help but wonder, what is the need for the 400+ lbs of cast iron? It isn't being used to retain and radiate heat so why is it needed? I suppose it is probably like human hair and fingernails - evolutionary leftovers. I'd guess it's a marketing necessity. People equate cast iron with wood burning stoves and would scoff at the product without it. That's my thought anyway. We do have a few issues with the programmable controller: 1- There is no "On" or "Off" setting. Surprisingly, you can't tell the thing to just "Go". It has to be controlled by desired temperature. I would have thought that would be the starting point for the system design. 2- The system has a built in procedure for starting and shutting down. Once it has entered these procedures, you can't interrupt it. For example, in adjusting some settings, I accidentally lowered the desired temperature and caused the system to enter "shutdown" mode. Once it enters this mode, it gradually ends the fire and goes into its "autoclean" cycle, cleaning the burn pot. It takes several minutes to get through this. Then the system sits at "ready" for some time, then it will finally re-enter the "startup" mode and get back to where you were ~20 minutes previously. As soon as I realized I had lowered the temperature too far, I tried raising it back up immediately. This did not interrupt the "shutdown" cycle as I had hoped and expected. This is an area I would VERY MUCH like to see changed. 3- The temperature calibration has been flighty. I've been chasing the calibration up and down over the week to get it to match thermometers in the room. It seems to overshoot. 4- Some of the commands I would like to have access to more frequently are buried. "Convection blower speed" is one. 5- The buttons require too much pressure to actuate. Overall, the Mt. Vernon AE is a very welcome addition to our home. We are thrilled to have one.