Heatilator vs ComfortBilt - reliability, performance, and EPA compliant

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aptidude

New Member
Oct 16, 2021
3
Colorado
Hi all- Long time wood, first time pellet user. I need to outfit a house in a city with an EPA 2020 compliant pellet stove, and would like the intall the unit that blends value, reliability, and ease of maintenance. Can't buy the top of the line Harman or Quadrafire, as money doesnt grow on trees (shredded money pellets? Possible future business idea!)

A local shop has a Heatilator CAB50 and PS50 leftover stock from a couple/few years back (complete with old decal, not the new Quadrafire), sitting there collecting dust, priced at $1800. Been looking at the ComfortBilt units- HP22 and HP61-sold at the orange store, each for about $1800. I spent a good hour plus with the head of tech support at ComfortBilt, asking all the questions I can think of- design, use of generic parts, electronics, etc. I came away satisfied at the ability for the company to be around for the long haul, and for them to happily support me with parts and knowledge/troubleshooting as needed. I will call Quadrafire on Monday to gauge their ability to do the same, and any changes to the Heatilator line since buying it. So I'd like to hear what this community has to say about each of these specific units and/or brands. Here's my pros and cons list:

CAB50- seemingly reliable, robust heat output 50K BTU, strong CFM blower (200+), easy access hopper with 120lbs size, part of the Quadrafire family of support, yet an older model, and looks like a utilitarian box. (Kinda reminds me of Ashley Automatic woodstove!)
PS50- same as above,but 43K BTU and more awkward hopper loading and 80lbs size, but def more attractive modern woodstove look.
HP22- no sweeping complaints here on this forum or online reviews, robust tech support, seemingly good internal design, 50K BTU, 55lbs hopper, medium CFM blower (140-150), fairly attractive bay window and snazzy color schemes, and wipeable powder coat finishes on some versions
HP61- pretty much same as above, just a little less attractive look, and slightly smaller hopper but easier to fill

Lastly, 'made in China' doesn't rank high as a negative, as the vast majority of our consumer goods and/or components are made there (or similar cheaper labor nations). Ive seen both substantial quality improvements and failures out of them all. Its all hit or miss, but today global economic realities- international products vs Made in USA aren't defining signs of quality one way or the other. ComfortBilt and Quadrafire/Heatilator have their own overwatch and control of their supply chain's quality.

As a buyer here? Would like to hear your experiences. Thanks all, and looking forward to your thoughts!
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
Far as I know all of them are EPA compliant. pellet fuel is considered carbon neutral anyway. Do keep in mind that the Gummit is giving a 25% (I think tax credit on any new stove that is 77% (I think again) efficient. Having said that, it's the stove only, not the venting and the venting is and always will be expensive.
 

aptidude

New Member
Oct 16, 2021
3
Colorado
Yes, they are all 2020 EPA compliant, and that tax credit for these efficient units always helps.... I see that Duravent (Pelletvent) has a decent little kit that will provide all the venting needed for a couple hundred bucks. Can't recall the part #. Decent deal, though since my runs are all short and it has all that I need....
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan

aptidude

New Member
Oct 16, 2021
3
Colorado
This supplier is getting out of the stove business altogether, and these dusty holdouts from a few years ago still sit in their storeroom. When I asked them about 2020 EPA compliancy I got the classic blank stare. I think the entire industry will work towards that level of emissions. I honestly could see some cities doing a 'cash for clunkers' program in the near future, as the city I'm in its air quality has gotten significantly worse over the last number of years. Many older homes in the neighborhood still fire up the heavily inefficient moss rock fireplaces. They look cool and are nostalgic for sure though.
 
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Sheetmetal0530!

New Member
Oct 15, 2021
3
Santa Fe, NM
hello - I've had a Comfortbilt 22HP for two years now - been nothing but terrific! No issues. Was originally a bit worried - so ordered a complete spares package - havent had to touch it. I had a Blaze King Princess originally, but switched to pellet. Now trying to figure out a remote / wifi solution - to turn on remotely.....
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
Pellet stoves have always been pretty efficient, especially with visible particulates (smoke). Nature of the beast.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Feb 7, 2010
5,273
S.E. Michigan
Yes, they are all 2020 EPA compliant, and that tax credit for these efficient units always helps.... I see that Duravent (Pelletvent) has a decent little kit that will provide all the venting needed for a couple hundred bucks. Can't recall the part #. Decent deal, though since my runs are all short and it has all that I need....
I myself prefer buying the longest lengths of vent that I can simply because the more joints you have the more chance of leakage of exhaust gases. I like buying mine in 6 foot sections. My runs aren't short, my vertical run is 23 feet and it's all 4".

The other advantage of long sections is, it's easier to take apart, something I do every spring and clean it out inside. I pressure wash it inside.