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Posted By coldinnw,
Feb 18, 2008 at 9:50 PM
Have narrowed pellet stove purchase down to these models. Would like some input . Thanks
I have a Quad cb 1200 freestanding unit. It does a good job its fairly easy to clean, easy to work on and depenpable. Also like having it work on its own thermostat.
IMO, one of the key decision issues is the quality of the dealer. We struck out on that one <sigh>.
We bought a Harman Advance last March. We are disappointed with it although I suspect some (most?) of the issues were caused by bad installation done by the dealer and a dealer who won't perform any warranty work. I've called Harman directly and they said they'd talk to the dealer and I never heard anything more. It hasn't really kept the house warm (1800 sq ft, fairly well insulated) even at 30 degrees.
One of our complaints is that the one glass panel smokes up so heavily within 24 hours that you cannot see the flame through it. The dealer claims this is normal and that the factory told him it was designed that way.
One definite drawback I see to the Harman Advance is that cleaning the baffles is a messy job compared to those stoves which just have a pull rod that operates back an forth along the heat exchanger while the stove is running. (I don't have any experience operating those stoves, so maybe they have disadvantages too.) On the Advance, you really need to shut the stove down, let it cool, and get up there with a brush or perferably a vacuum. Of course, all the flyash that comes loose falls down on your arm and outside the stove. The "tool" they provide for cleaning the baffles just isn't very effective, but it's still messy.
To be honest, I'm on the forum because we are planning on purchasing a wood stove. That should tell you something.
I had a Quad 600 (old) which worked fine. The feeder finally gave out and my local dealer said they could not be found any more. So I got a Harmon Advance and do not like it at all. As with Ken, the installation job was a disaster... leaks all over the place. The stove itself has detail quality problems. I don't like the way it stays on most of the time.
And yeah, cleaning it is a major job, with a major mess.
On the plus side, it does heat our house well (1970s house, only so-so insulated. We live in high desert Southwest US), but on the whole I am very disappointed in it. Top dollar for considerably less than top quality.
And to top it all off, after it was too late and the old quad was gone, I found a replacement feeder for $125.
Well I did solve some of the problems with our Harman Advance. As I thought, it was dealer incompetence (Southern Ohio Stove Systems/Cornett's Lawn and Garden). They pointed the exhaust down at a concrete porch about a foot below the exhaust with the air intake a couple of inches off the porch and only a foot away. I can see soot on the air intake. The Harman manual specifies a mininum of three foot separation, they did it with one foot separation. I questioned the dealer about this and they claimed that factory tech support said it was fine (yeah, I bet). Anyway, I pulled off the end cap (dryer vent type) so that the exhaust goes straight out and the stove burns better now, much better flame! For the moment, I just have chicken wire over the exhaust pipe. I plan to put 1/4" mesh over it and make some sort of rain shield.
I made the mistake of having the dealer install the stove, since I didn't know what I was doing. Now it seems that at least I could read the installation manual.
I still think we have an air leak on the door (since the day it was installed).
The other problem I think I have is that the ashes cake up in the burn box so that the air doesn't come up through the holes. If I scrape out the caked ashes several times a day, the flame seems so much better! I would appreciate any thoughts about this.
Good on ya, Ken... I wonder how common this dealer, uh, flakyness is...
Here's a few things I've learned, painfully, on this stove:
1) You may still get some smoke input from your input pipe, even after removing the end cap from your exhaust, if they are that close. We did, here, and ended up running an exhaust up the house to get them very separated. Another alternative would be to extend the intake pipe and run it off to the side, if that works better for your situation. We didn't go that route, so I don't have any actual experience on this; it just seems like a decent alternative...
2) Maybe check the glass and glass restraints in the door for tightness. And to make sure none of the glass is broken. One of ours was, as you may have seen in another thread here. I replaced the glass and also had to replace one of the restraint studs, as it was stripped from the factory and not holding anything. This was yesterday (Sat Feb 23) so still watching that, but it seems better.
3) Burn the best quality pellets you can get your hands on. Pellets marked as Premium work better. The dealer here gives a 'free' ton of cheap pellets with each new stove, and they junk up the burn box very quickly. Heat'rs pellets are much better, and we have a locally produced brand that is the best I've seen that keeps things cleaner. The premium pellets do cost more, but to me are worth it.
And have you found the online guide to complete cleaning of this stove? That has good advice. It is here if you haven't found it yet: http://www.homewarmth.com/advancecleaning.html
ETA: My apologies for getting so far off-topic from the original point of this thread... :red: To the OP: Based purely on my personal experience, I cannot in good conscience recommend the Harmon. I may very well have a rare 'bad' one, and the new Quads may be no better, but my old Quad was a much higher quality stove, in my opinion, than the new Harmon.
I've been thinking along those lines. I don't really want to go up since it's right in front of a big picture window. I could put a couple of elbows and zig zag to the right (I'd have to support that), or I could go straight out for a distance. We don't use that end of the porch, especially during heating season and I could take it off in summer.
I don't think the door seals well on the left bottom, the seal material doesn't look like it is high enough to compress against the stove. Right above that spot is where I get heavy smoking on the glass.
I've only used alleged "premium" pellets, but they don't seem to be as good as the "Harman's Hot Ones" that we had last spring. Dealer said their prices got too high and that their new brand was just as good (I'm not convinced).
No, I had not heard of it. Thanks, I'll look it up.