Looking for thoughts and advice for new stove!

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michaelb

Member
Nov 1, 2011
13
Southern PA
Hello All!

Been reading this forum for quite a while trying to get caught up on pellet stoves, pitfalls, etc. Was wondering if I could get some thoughts/advice from you experts! Am looking to purchase a pellet stove, though there's still the thought in my mind of a wood stove...here's my situation:

Locality: Just North of MD/PA line (Gettysburg PA)
Existing Heat: Central Forced Air via LP Furnace. Also LP Insert
House: Colonial, Built ~1995, 2500k+ SF (maybe more like 2700?). First floor is 2/3 Open Floor Plan, "average" insulation and windows.
The fam: 1 wife, 2 little kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats -> safety and/or pet hair concerns??
Budget: Less than $5k...but 3k-4k more to my liking
Goals: Reliable. Decent looking. Enough BTUs to keep the first floor warm, maybe get a little heat upstairs. Stop giving all my money to the fascist propane suppliers.

I attached some pics of where i'm thinking the pellet stove (or possibly wood stove) could go.

Here are my conundrums:
Stove Location I already have the LP insert. I'm thinking i'd like to keep it in case of problems with the pellet stove, a free standing will be cheaper, and were i to sell the house maybe i take the freestanding with me and just patch up the ceiling/wall. Given that, probably won't go there, would look a little silly venting over the top of it. So then it's the main open area (pics with white walls). Think it would be better to put it in the corner in the room with the ceiling fan? I was thinking the corner to the left of the tv, and pipe directly up through the ceiling (no second floor / metal roof for that part). Since the second floor is NOT above that room, i suppose i'll lose some just through the ceiling. Thoughts?

Which Stove? I like the idea of the multi-fuels. I would probably only burn wood pellets, but do like the thought of the agitator, gives me a tad less cleaning, and fuel flexibility. House size dictates a fairly beefy unit. Here's some of my research and thoughts:
A. Englander 10-CPM -> 'bout $1800 for the TIMBER RIDGE equiv. Great price, looks ok, made in USA. Would need to find someone local to help me install. Do you have to deep clean this thing every few days or every week?
B. Mt. Vernon AE -> Got a quote from a local dealer installed for about $4500. Lot's of BTU's, battery backup, looks very good. Have heard things from other dealers/installers about igniters and other pieces going up. Have heard claims when they moved manufacturing to china quality went down hill. Is all that hearsay? Deep clean once a week?
C. Enviro Cast M55 -> Really like the look of this unit. Seems like people have had fairly good luck with quality so far. Got a quote from a dealer for $3800 just for the stove. Then about $700 for install and pipe. didn't even include OAK. Seemed a bit high to me...
D. Found a local Regent Dealer who quoted me about $3400 for the cast M55 equiv. But they aren't even really a pellet stove store, and are still looking for an installer, etc. Would probably need to look around for an installer, or give it a go myself with some help.
E. Wood burning stove -> Definitely would want someone certified for the install. Like the idea of operating if electricity out. I think a cord of "seasoned" wood is going for about $360 in my area. A ton of premium pellets about $235. Am worried about the install. If you can tell from my pictures, going to the roof of the house will be a fortune in pipe. I have the option of going out through the metal roof extended portion of the house, but seems like I'd have a lot of pipe sticking up past the metal roof to have a decent stack (need > 15ft stack for decent draft?). Might look a bit ridiculous and be a pain to maintain if the top is at or higher than man height.

Strange side fact -> The Enviro dealer was really pushing me towards a Hearthland Itasca for $2500, even though I was interested in the cast M55...was strange, and couldn't find anything about Hearthland except for their website.

Second strange side fact -> Every dealer I talked to said there's no real advantage to an OAK and recommended not to get it.

Install Would probably either pay for the install, or pay someone to help me with the install. I'm having a bit of a hard time evaluating dealers. Many in my area are relatively new and/or I wasn't impressed with the sales folks knowledge.


Sorry for the long post...any related or unrelated thoughts would be much appreciated! The wife tells me I'm over-thinking this, I'm starting to agree with her :).
 

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smoke show

Guest
Well, I don't agree that your over thinking.

Much better/cheaper to cover all your bases now.

Only stove I can comment on is the Mt. Vernon AE, they have improved with time, and quad has worked out the quirks.

And in most cases if not all an OAK is preferable.
 
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imacman

Guest
Welcome to the forum. I'll leave other forum members to comment on the location.

As for the 10-cpm, since I own one I'll tell you that I went 56 bags w/o having to deep clean it (part of a "contest" we did), so no worries there. Typical deep cleaning is usually after 1 ton of pellets.

As for the install, here's a website that allows you to search all the installers in your area (by zip code). I recommend getting 2-3 estimates.

www.nwdinc.com/installers.php

And lastly, as for the dealers who tell you that an OAK isn't needed, don't buy it.....have one installed. It looks like your home is fairly new, and probably pretty well insulated and sealed-up. The OAK is a MUST!! Englander, Harman, and quite a few other stove companies require the OAK as part of the install. You're stove will burn better too.

Good luck.

EDIT: as far as the 10-cpm being just "OK looking", they CAN be dressed-up:
 

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kykel

Feeling the Heat
Jan 4, 2009
420
long Island
that 10cpm isnt bad looking . Thats coming from an enviro m55cast owner. I love my m55cast fs though. I would like to beat imacman with the 59 bags, but its killing me to see it dirty inside. Im dying to clean it but it really doesnt need it. The agitator system works well. I used to have to empty my burn pot once a day on my old stove. I dont even have to open the door on my m55. I think youll be fine with the choices you have. Id be more worried about dealers without any clue. If your handy people here can walk you through most problems.
Good luck and keep us posted
 
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imacman

Guest
kykel said:
....I would like to beat imacman with the 59 bags, but its killing me to see it dirty inside.....
Worrying about seeing it dirty would be your undoing....you have no shot..... :coolsmirk:

Could you deal with this?

And it was still burning just fine.
 

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michaelb

Member
Nov 1, 2011
13
Southern PA
Wow, thanks for the quick responses!

smoke show - Okay, that makes me feel better. The Mt. Vernon AE comments came from a competitor...so I was taking that for what it was worth. Wanted to throw it out there to see what you guys thought.

imacman - Thanks for posting pics of your setup, that does look sharp! Let me clarify the 10-CPM looking "OK". I think that unit looks good, there's a good chance I may purchase that one, and it looks a lot better than many of the others I have seen in my recent pellet stove dealer crawl. While I REALLY like the Vernon/M55 Cast looks, I certainly don't like the looks $2k more than the 10-CPM :) So now I'm trying to figure out what else I get for that ~$2k and if it's all worth it.

Are all 3 stoves about the same heat output? The sq. feet. is listed differently for each stove. 10-CPM 2.2k sq. ft, M55 2.5k sq. ft., Vernon 2.9k sq. ft. But it looks like all of them are rated at 55k BTU's input i think (found the 10-CPM BTU on a 3rd party web site, couldn't find on Englanders web site). Are they all really about the same heat output, or are there major efficiency differences?

Any other thoughts between the 3? Cost of replacement parts, etc.?

I checked out that installer link...closest installer that came up is prob 45 minutes away. I am a little handy, and certainly have friends and family who are way more handy than I who could help with the initial install. But if I was sure I could pay a guy $400-$500 for the whole install, and be certain that he would do it right, I would prefer that. It's going to be hard for me to find a weekend to dedicate to this in the next month or 2. There are a few more places I can check with locally...looks like i'll be doing that this week.

I'll let you guys know if I find anything else out.
 

soupy1957

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2010
1,365
Connecticut
www.youtube.com
".......though there’s still the thought in my mind of a wood stove." Good thing!! I still have a chance to convince you that it will please you more to go with a wood stove (imho).

"Locality: Just North of MD/PA line (Gettysburg PA)" Lots of good wood available in Pennsylvania!!

"Existing Heat: Central Forced Air." Another plus for a wood stove (or even a Pellet Stove, if you must). Great circulation potential with the blower.

"The fam: 1 wife, 2 little kids,......." Make sure you buy a good protective fencing to keep the kids from burning themselves.

"Budget: Less than $5k.........." You can buy a really nice wood stove for well under 5K.

".........a free standing will be cheaper." You're bolstering my case, with comments like this.

"Wood burning stove -> Definitely would want someone certified for the install." Absolutely!! Get it Inspected by the Town Inspector too, (may be
required anyway). Your Home Owners Insurance will want documentation of compliance to regulations (Inspectors Reports, etc).

The pics were helpful, but without a floor plan (sky view) to go by, it's hard to suggest what size stove and proper location. Bigger is better however. You can always build a smaller fire in a big box, but you can't build a BIG fire in a small box that will last long.

-Soupy1957
 
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DexterDay

Guest
Englander 10-CPM - 50,000 BTU's
Envirofire M-55. - 55,000 BTU's
Quad Mt. Vernon. - 60,000 BTU's

My vote would be for the true Multi-Fuelers. They may be rated at a little less BTU than the Mt. Vernon, but they are still workhorses. Having a stirrer (agitator) in the burn pot, helps them run longer and cleaner.

Welcome to the Forums....
 

xraycer

Member
Nov 2, 2011
162
Pelham NH
michaelb said:
I attached some pics of where i'm thinking the pellet stove (or possibly wood stove) could go.

I don't think there would be any issue, but I would like the stove where the tv is, and have the tv wall mounted well above the stove.
 

76brian

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2011
394
Ottawa, Canada
gplus.to
imacman said:
Could you deal with this?

And it was still burning just fine.

hahah nice! That's freakin crazy.
 

Pelleting In NJ

Minister of Fire
Sep 26, 2011
646
Central NJ
How bout an Enviro Maxx-M (Multifuel) ??
Or Enviro Evolution ?

Or, if contemporary looks are your thing, a Wittus, Ecoteck, or Thelin.
 

FyreBug

Minister of Fire
Oct 6, 2010
775
Kitchener, Ontario
If you're looking for Serious BTU you can also look at the Euromax by Enerzone. American Hearth in Gettysburg is a dealer. 70,000 BTU, bottom feed, modulating blower, will take the crappiest pellets. Also, its about the only unit on the market where you can add the optional ducting kit and pipe the heat somewhere else in the house. http://enerzone-intl.com/product.aspx?CategoId=5&Id=549

And yes, Imacman I've got pics to beat yours with this unit cleaning (or lack of it). Will post it shortly.

Ps I work for the MFG
 

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smoke show

Guest
FyreBug said:
And yes, Imacman I've got pics to beat yours with this unit cleaning (or lack of it). Will post it shortly.

Ps I work for the MFG

What a tease...
 

kykel

Feeling the Heat
Jan 4, 2009
420
long Island
imacman said:
kykel said:
....I would like to beat imacman with the 59 bags, but its killing me to see it dirty inside.....
Worrying about seeing it dirty would be your undoing....you have no shot..... :coolsmirk:

Could you deal with this?

And it was still burning just fine.
no way that i could deal with that mess. Although, all my ash falls under the burnpot and into the ash pan so you dont see it. I do believe my stove would handle 59 bags and still burn fine. Im at 30 now and just emptied the ash pan.
 

ssupercoolss

Member
Jan 28, 2008
223
southeast pa
xraycer said:
michaelb said:
I attached some pics of where i'm thinking the pellet stove (or possibly wood stove) could go.

I don't think there would be any issue, but I would like the stove where the tv is, and have the tv wall mounted well above the stove.

+1. a friend has his rather large expensive TV over the pellet stove. no problems, and it gives yo something to look at while the commercials or John Stewart are on.
 

lbcynya

Feeling the Heat
Oct 26, 2006
483
W Michigan
You're also in Harman XXV territory based on price and what you need to heat - http://www.harmanstoves.com/Products/XXV-Pellet-Stove.aspx

Pictures don't do the stove justice, need to see one first hand. Ideally, if you have a dealer in your area... Regardless of what you choose, a good dealer goes a long way...
 

SmokeyTheBear

Minister of Fire
Nov 10, 2008
13,363
Standish, ME
Since you already have a central forced air system, have you considered a pellet furnace?

I don't get into recommending stoves but this is also an option and where you already have a distribution system in place it seems a shame to not use it in some manner.
 
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imacman

Guest
kykel said:
....I do believe my stove would handle 59 bags and still burn fine. Im at 30 now and just emptied the ash pan.

Sorry, no good.....that would make you a loser. Part of the "contest" rules was that nothing could be opened or emptied except the hopper to load pellets. I never opened the ash pan either.
 

jdempsey

Feeling the Heat
Aug 21, 2011
263
kentucky
FyreBug said:
If you're looking for Serious BTU you can also look at the Euromax by Enerzone. American Hearth in Gettysburg is a dealer. 70,000 BTU, bottom feed, modulating blower, will take the crappiest pellets. Also, its about the only unit on the market where you can add the optional ducting kit and pipe the heat somewhere else in the house. http://enerzone-intl.com/product.aspx?CategoId=5&Id=549

And yes, Imacman I've got pics to beat yours with this unit cleaning (or lack of it). Will post it shortly.

Ps I work for the MFG
That would be the stove i would buy if i was gonna purchase a new unit. It looks great. And the option to hook up some ducting makes this unit really stand out. What is the price of the Euromax if bought new?
 

jtakeman

Minister of Fire
Dec 30, 2008
13,495
Northwestern CT.
www.facebook.com
SmokeyTheBear said:
Since you already have a central forced air system, have you considered a pellet furnace?

I don't get into recommending stoves but this is also an option and where you already have a distribution system in place it seems a shame to not use it in some manner.

I second the furnace idea! Plus they are multifuel units that handle lower grade fuels with much less fuss! Even if you decide on a stove, Look at the options a multifueler gives you.
 

michaelb

Member
Nov 1, 2011
13
Southern PA
Information overload! Head is going to explode :) I really, really appreciate everyone's input. It's definitely given me some ideas.

I like the underneath the TV idea...that tv is on the fritz anyway so maybe I upgrade to a Plasma/LCD, and would keep our family room setup intact and maximize space.

soupy1957 - Was hoping a wood stove advocate would jump in! I am still worried about the stack. I'd need to either run it all the way to the roof of the colonial, even above the fake chimney cutout, in which case I'm looking at a fortune in pipe. Or if i put it in the open area w/metal roof directly above, i think I'd end up with like 6 ft of stack above the roof to hit a 15' stack for draft. I'll try posting something on the wood stove forum to see what those guys think.

FyreBug - American Hearth is one of the last dealers in my area to visit, heading out there tomorrow and will be sure to talk to them about the Enerzone option. Not sure if would be overkill for a space heater unless i go the furnace route. Which brings me to:

FyreBug, smokey, etc - Furnace option - I had briefly considered, but not very seriously. Between install, venting, and if i go with a basement install, I wonder if I'd be over my budget. Would I need to vent all the way to the roof? If I don't vent to the roof, is the side of my housing going to turn black from smoke? Also, going the furnace route, then I'm committed to heating my whole house with pellets as opposed to having the ability to space heat with pellets. Am afraid I'd be at a 6+ ton of pellets per season commitment then.
 
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DexterDay

Guest
That Euromax unit looks tough. Cant wait to see pics of the firebox. I have said that my freestanding replacement would be the 55 or the CPM. But this may be a contender.

I 3rd the furnace. In T minus 2 days (Sat morning) I am going to Kinsman stoves to pick up my 4" pellet vent for my Fahrenheit Endurance. Cant wait to get it hooked up and snap some pics.

Fahrenheit, St. Croix, and Harman are a few Manufacturers of Pellet and/or Bio-Mass (multi fuel) Furnaces. US Stove and Magnum (AES) also make a furnace model.
 

jtakeman

Minister of Fire
Dec 30, 2008
13,495
Northwestern CT.
www.facebook.com
michaelb said:
Information overload! Head is going to explode :) I really, really appreciate everyone's input. It's definitely given me some ideas.

I like the underneath the TV idea...that tv is on the fritz anyway so maybe I upgrade to a Plasma/LCD, and would keep our family room setup intact and maximize space.

soupy1957 - Was hoping a wood stove advocate would jump in! I am still worried about the stack. I'd need to either run it all the way to the roof of the colonial, even above the fake chimney cutout, in which case I'm looking at a fortune in pipe. Or if i put it in the open area w/metal roof directly above, i think I'd end up with like 6 ft of stack above the roof to hit a 15' stack for draft. I'll try posting something on the wood stove forum to see what those guys think.

Not a woodstove advocate, But my wood eater just saved my beans during the power outage. You could always have one for back up or assist the pellet eater in the cold season. I may not burn mine all the time, But its there if I need it.

Everyone's situation is different. If you have to buy wood? Its easier to just buy pellets and you don't need to season them. If you have loads of free stuff! By all means utilize some of it. But you need to season a few years in advance to get good burns.
 

SmokeyTheBear

Minister of Fire
Nov 10, 2008
13,363
Standish, ME
michaelb said:
Information overload! Head is going to explode :) I really, really appreciate everyone's input. It's definitely given me some ideas.

I like the underneath the TV idea...that tv is on the fritz anyway so maybe I upgrade to a Plasma/LCD, and would keep our family room setup intact and maximize space.

soupy1957 - Was hoping a wood stove advocate would jump in! I am still worried about the stack. I'd need to either run it all the way to the roof of the colonial, even above the fake chimney cutout, in which case I'm looking at a fortune in pipe. Or if i put it in the open area w/metal roof directly above, i think I'd end up with like 6 ft of stack above the roof to hit a 15' stack for draft. I'll try posting something on the wood stove forum to see what those guys think.

FyreBug - American Hearth is one of the last dealers in my area to visit, heading out there tomorrow and will be sure to talk to them about the Enerzone option. Not sure if would be overkill for a space heater unless i go the furnace route. Which brings me to:

FyreBug, smokey, etc - Furnace option - I had briefly considered, but not very seriously. Between install, venting, and if i go with a basement install, I wonder if I'd be over my budget. Would I need to vent all the way to the roof? If I don't vent to the roof, is the side of my housing going to turn black from smoke? Also, going the furnace route, then I'm committed to heating my whole house with pellets as opposed to having the ability to space heat with pellets. Am afraid I'd be at a 6+ ton of pellets per season commitment then.

Pellet furnaces vent exactly the same as a pellet stove.
 
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