Pellet Stove yes or no

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Nov 23, 2005
101
I have been a wood burner for at least ten Yrs. but am now thinking about a pellet stove. I am a little skeptical however, because i hear allot of horror stories about them. for instance, i cam across a bunch of reviews of the Harman cast iron pellet stove I think the XXV

Purchase made on Nov 2,2010. In three months have had repair person at my house five times. Very noisy, started with the nasty squeal from auger, overall vibration like a train in the room, cracking, banging, knocking. Likes to be cleaned often. Have had the feed motor and auger replaced. Did not fix noise only the squeal.Puts out decent heat but is picky about what type of pellets used.
This makes me think twice, if a reputable Co cant make reliable stove what the heck.

I dont like the look of most pellet stoves, but do like the look of the cast iron wood stoves. so i would be looking at a cast iron version.

Any thoughts?
 

ChrisWNY

Feeling the Heat
I could write an essay about the advantages of a pellet stove over a standard wood burner (biggest advantage - no more chopping/hauling wood and dealing with the mess and insect issues). If you keep your stove clean (which involves less than an hour of your time per week) and follow the routine maintenance outlined in the owner's manual, your stove might out-live you. My parents bought a Jamestown pellet stove in 1993/94 and it is still going strong after nearly 17 years, heats their entire first floor, they run it for the convenient heating it provides (they have a nat. gas boiler system) and go through about 15-20 bags per season.

I have a pellet furnace ducted directly to my great room - invested in it last year to offset the cost of LP gas and expect to go through about 2-3 tons of pellets this season. The thing heats my entire 2500 sq. ft. 2-story colonial without issues. Love it.
 
Nov 23, 2005
101
Her is another comment i found

We have had our Harmon XXV for almost three years. So far we have had 3 ignitiers and one pressure valve replaced. It has not been a maintenance free item by any means…but we are still under the three year warranty. Currently we are lighting our stove manually and hope to get the maintenance person here. We are now questioning our purchase…After November we will be off of the three year warranty…could mean yearly bills of $100 – $400 for maintenannce and parts if the past has been any indication.

I like the look of this stove, and see aused one for sale near me, I am very handy but I don't want to get a lemon. I would never pay the 3,500-4,00 for a new one.
 

Bank

Feeling the Heat
Nov 27, 2008
363
S. Maine
Well you'll always hear the horror stories. I'm on my 4th year with a Harman Accentra FS and I've had NO issues, still have the original igniter (that's gonna come back to bite me you know where!!) I do the cleaning every Sunday there abouts and it's only a 1/2 hour, no major fussin either. So I say go for it.

Even the best built cars will have a few lemons from time to time. But I love not haulin and choppin the wood, not to mention the bugs and dirt as mentioned. So here's a plug for the Harman, BTW, the XXV is generally thought to be the top of the line for Harman. Just my $0.02.
 

tinkabranc

Minister of Fire
Oct 23, 2007
1,643
South Coast MA
Common to find more complaints than compliments on any product online.

Some may have problems with their unit but that doesn't necessarily mean their troubles
are widespread.

Going into winter # 6 with my XXV and don't regret it for a minute.
 

tjnamtiw

Minister of Fire
If you are handy with tools, which I assume you are if you're an avid wood burner, then that combined with the wealth of knowledge here should keep you running for years! Everyone has their favorite stoves and they are priced all over the place. In the case of stoves, I really don't think price is necessarily indicative of performance and reliability. Most problems are owner caused and not machine caused. Improper or no cleaning is #1 cause. Again since you are used to cleaning with the wood stove, you will be VERY HAPPY to see how little cleaning/maintenance these stoves need. I also was a wood burner for most of my adult life and finally had enough of the felling, limbing, cutting, hauling, splitting, hauling, bugs, dirt, chain saw maintenance, and back issues.
Don't zero in on one brand or stove yet. Look at the field. Look at local dealers and REALLY try to assess if they are reliable or just feeding you a line of BS. For most stoves, you will be relying on that dealer since the factory won't talk to you. There are exceptions and those should be seriously considered if you are a DIY'er. Don't be scared off by all the calls for help, especially at this startup time when people try to start up stoves that were not put to sleep properly in the spring or have just been installed in homes with no experience running them.
You don't have to spend $4000 to get a good, reliable stove.

Would you be using an insert or free standing? I have two inserts but some people make a very good argument for using a free standing stove if you have room. That way you have the fireplaces to fall back on in case of power outages.
 

Xena

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2005
2,493
South Shore MA
There are other similar designed cast iron pellet stoves
you can look at. Not sure how much of an area you
are trying to heat but have a peek at the Thelin Echo
and St Croix Hastings. Probably several others out
there that are cast and have a similar look.

Yeah bad reviews can be had regarding just about
anything out there.
On the same note you could read nothing but +
reviews on an item but then get stuck with a lemon.
We take a chance whenever we buy anything.
 

AVIVIII

New Member
Dec 3, 2010
241
New Hampshire
nrmahoney@cox.net said:
Pellet Stove yes or no
Thats like asking a bunch of kids if they like candy around here.....

In my brief experience, it is the people that think a pellet stove is a 'Set it and forget it' type machine that have the most problems.

Be nice to your stove, clean it as much and as thoroughly as you reasonably can, feed it good pellets, protect its electronics and summer-ize it properly and it will last you a long time. Yeah things wear out and break, it a machine, its part of the deal. Realistically, it is no different than your car/boat/motorcycle only that it is less expensive and it heats your house!!
 

Bank

Feeling the Heat
Nov 27, 2008
363
S. Maine
And on another point, just because folks complain about somthing, doesn't neccessarily mean it's the product. As said above, if you think it's just set and forget, your gonna be in big do-do! Many times, people don't know how to properly use something and then blame the product, when in fact they don't follow the directions or just assume their instructions are just to annoy ya!
 

tjnamtiw

Minister of Fire
similar looking stoves >> Quadrafire Castile, Quadrafire Mt. Vernon, Lopi Leyden, Enviro Empress, and St Croix Hastings
 

jtakeman

Minister of Fire
Dec 30, 2008
13,497
Northwestern CT.
www.facebook.com
I agree with tink, We mostly see the complaints due to people being very unhappy. There are probably 2x as many or more that are very happy but don't come forth!

Going on my 12 season with a pellet burner. Started with a used stove to get going(and saved a bunch of $). Moved up to what I have now and even though I heat from the basement(not recommended), I am doing just fine.

Some things to consider. Stove size is a big part of the pleasure. To small a stove and you will most likely hurting from the get go. Plus being used to gobs of heat from the wood burner. Try to size the stove to the mid point to give you some extra power for the cold season. Thats when people get unhappy with their stoves! Been there done that!

If you like the XXV look And want to save a buck? You might want to check Enviro's M55 cast or Recencys Hampton CG60I units out. People here seem happy with them as do the XXV owners.
 
You need about 5 happy customers to offset one unhappy one. Assuming Harman is still in th ebusiness and doing OK, you get the picture....

I have a BOSCA which I really like design wise, beats the Harman IMO. I would not give too much on some opinions, every stove can fail and anyone can end up with a lemon - its more interesting to see if these people got help from their dealer or Harman. Wood vs pellet is interesting since I am considering putting in a wood stove rather than a second pellet. Not because I am unhappy with my pellet, just out of curiousity and the grass is always greener on the other side.

ALso, pellets are already at 250 USD/ton, wood in my area is cetrainly cheaper to get (plus the work of course).

ALso, wood stove you can use during power outage, pellet stove you either need a battery backup or you are done. Wood stove can be very silent and nice looking (if y ou sacrifice better heat output from your convetion fans), pellet you always have the noise and the fire is not much to look at IMO.

If I keep talking like that I will get my wood stove asap.....but I really do like my pellet stove, it saves me lots of money every day. EVen better my wife likes it, its fairly clean and mess free (other than 15 min clean a day), the bags can be stored anywhere and stacked full wall height, 40 lbs bags can easily be carried, cut open and in the hopper they go, system works automatically with no oversight at all for 24h, you can even attach a thermostat if you want....

so all kinds of pros and cons as usual

you pick (and send us pictures) :)
 

heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,143
Northern CT
Ditto on the complaints. I just bought a 2010 vehicle, and if I had read the forums related to it, I probably wouldn't have bought it. People are quick to complain, slow to praise. The car has been a peach, none of the problems mentioned in those forums.
I'll reiterate - the dealer is important, but your attitude and ability are even more so.
 

SmokeyTheBear

Minister of Fire
Nov 10, 2008
13,363
Standish, ME
Put three motors, several safety switches, a bit of tube, and a computer control system on two pipe runs give it some solid fuel, mix with people who frequently can't or don't read, are all thumbs and you get a lot of grumbling.

To that picture add all of the set it and forget it advertising sales droids.

That is a recipe for something and it sure isn't grannies mincemeat pie.
 

Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,615
Salem NH
Hello

Travis "House of Fire" makes one of the most reliable pellet stoves on the Market.
See Avalon and Lopi Pellet stoves. Also if you scour the web, You will not find any bad reviews on them either!!

See videos below:

Lopi Yankee
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6533193&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color;=&fullscreen=1&autoplay=1

Avalon Astoria
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=6520407&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color;=&fullscreen=1&autoplay=1
 

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Vinelife

Minister of Fire
May 31, 2010
570
Northern Michigan
Love my Quad, works great.. just have to keep her clean ..
 

krooser

Minister of Fire
Jan 2, 2008
2,423
Waupaca, WI
www.rumblefest.net
Few dealers will instruct a new customer on the proper maintenance and cleaning of a pellet stove... many do not even know themselves... that's one of the biggest gripes I have.
 

heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,143
Northern CT
krooser said:
Few dealers will instruct a new customer on the proper maintenance and cleaning of a pellet stove... many do not even know themselves... that's one of the biggest gripes I have.
My dealer gave me no instructions on cleaning, or even that it needed cleaning. Thanks to this forum, I am aware of the importance of a clean stove.
 

PJPellet

Minister of Fire
Sep 6, 2011
591
Western NY
After the installer left my house, my dealer showed up and went through a basic cleaning; showing me how to access this and access that. He did a good job showing me all of this stuff. Then he stayed and fired the stove up to make sure it started and ran good. I feel lucky to have the dealer I have. If I need warranty service I hope he handles that the way everything else was handled. So as someone else has already said, finding a good dealer is just as important as finding a good stove.
 

Countryboymo

Feeling the Heat
Feb 24, 2010
424
W Central MO
I would seriously look at the Englander stove brand. These have tremendous support from Mike that is a member of the forum and the Englander company. They are also MADE IN THE USA which is one other bonus.

There are many good stoves out there with some really innovative features.

Some have auto dump burn pots and others have bottom feed and the ability to run for days without cleaning. There are models that have DC motors and a marine battery can provide hours of run time in a power outage without the need for an inverter and battery or generator. Some allow for multifuel use including straight corn, pellets, cherry pits and more. A model or two has the ability to feed air into a central air duct and some are actual boilers or furnaces. I guess I should not forget manual lighting or auto ignition and thermostat controls also which will bring your stove to life in around 5 minutes. Throw this in along with other features I didn't even get to in with design features and it can be a tough decision.
 
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