Quietest pellet stove?

Warrigal Posted By Warrigal, Jun 20, 2018 at 9:15 PM

  1. Warrigal

    Warrigal
    New Member 2.
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    Jun 20, 2018
    5
    1
    Loc:
    Tehachapi, CA
    I'm new to the world of pellet stoves, thank you in advance for all the collective wisdom you have contributed to the forum - I've been soaking it in! But I am soliciting opinions and experiences for my situation:

    Setting: We recently bought a 1 bedroom 875sf fixer-upper cabin in the Tehachapi mountains in Southern California and it was in the 40s this past weekend (mid-June!) so the time is right to shop for my heat source! The cabin is decently insulated, has an open floor plan, and previously had a wood stove centrally located in the living area that was removed before the sale, so there is a chimney venting through the roof. Propane is expensive (natural gas not available), so pellets are what most people do. However, I'm not 100% committed to pellets over propane yet... We will occupy the cabin ~75% of the time (my husband commutes from there during the week, and we'll spend half our weekends up there).

    In reality, the climate is not too harsh - it's a pretty dry, high desert/mountain climate at 5600' and will snow a few times a year (without sticking much), and it gets windy. Winter lows in the 20s-30s, winter highs in the 40s-50s. But I'm a wimp who left Massachusetts 20+ years ago to come to LA and love the heat, so I don't tolerate cold well. This will be the only source of heat for our 875sf place.

    Priorities:
    • Quiet operation: This is huge. I'm not a fan of having a fan blowing, and I'm a little worried about the "tink-tink-tink" of pellets falling. I know there's some degree of sound I will get accustomed to, but part of the magic of this place is how quiet of a setting it is - and we won't have TV etc. to drown out any noise. Also, this is so important that if there is truly no quiet pellet stove, we would still consider paying the premium to heat with propane...
    • Smart/programmable thermostat: It would be great to have the smart phone feature to heat it after a weekend where we haven't been there.
    • User-friendly/low maintenance: probably means ease of cleanout and hopper capacity.
    • Aesthetics: it's a rustic little place, so I like the classic cast iron look. I'd love fake logs, if that's an option. However, if I have to consider something like an Italian modernist design to get the quiet I want, I will consider that.
    • Price is not a concern - I really just want to get the quietest stove with the best match to my other priorities. Did I mention I really want the most silent pellet stove out there?
    Options I've identified:
    • Harmon Absolute 43 - "quietest in its class" - but the cynic in me wonders how this is "class" is defined, and wonders whether I can get "quietest" without such a vague qualifier, or how quiet I can get going to a different "class" ... Available locally, though dealer/installer says neither this stove nor any of their other stoves has a wifi/smart phone option... seems to conflict with some things I've read on here.
    • Quadrafire XXV - Also available locally.
    • MCZ Deco - Seems hard to find and small capacity hopper - wondering if it's really even an option
    Are there perfect matches that I'm missing?
    Are there venting or other installation considerations that can optimize quiet stove operation that I should plan for?
    Anything I'm not thinking of?

    Thank you so much for your help with these questions!
     
  2. Don2222

    Don2222
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    Feb 1, 2010
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    Hello
    The Harmans do have the clink clink sound of pellets that drop into the auger chute when the slide plate opens and closes.
    Quadrafire XXV does not seem like the correct stove model.
    There is a Harman XXV that is a very pretty cast iron pellet stove.
    The equivalent Quadrafire cast iron model is the Mt Vernon.
    The MCZ Deco is the Italian import with smart phone support that neither of the other 2 have, However since the stove is hard to get, service and the service parts will be even harder to get and more costly.
    So here is some other things to think about.
    The best way to control a wood pellet stove is not to buy the control with the stove. The FCC limits the stove manufacturers controls to a small local radius using blue tooth for safety.
    The Harman Pellet Stoves and the Quadrafire Stoves(That do not come with the more complex data controller) can be controlled with the WiFi Thermostats using your smart phone that can be purchased at Lowe’s and Home Depot.
    The Enviro M55 or Hampton GC-60 cast iron multi-fuel pellet stove is quiet and can be controlled with the WiFi T-Stat with your smart phone. Parts are also readily available. These 2 Canadian made stoves put out plenty of heat and with the fuel stirrer in the burn pot can burn any pellet and corn too!
    https://enviro.com/products/catalogue/product/?prod=M55C-FS
    Also the last and most important item for any pellet stove you purchase is a very good surge protector or the much better isolation transform to protect the sensitive electronics! I only recommend the Tripp Lite brand simply because they really do work. Here is a good one that will protect your stove even if the transformer on the telephone pole is hit by lightning and blows out!
    https://m.markertek.com/product/is250hg/tripp-lite-is250hg-medical-grade-isolation-transformer?ne_ppc_id=946758658&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIsqLuttjj2wIVVrjACh3llAhCEAQYAyABEgJG3fD_BwE#ath
    Just my 2 cents. Hope this helps,
     
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  3. Warrigal

    Warrigal
    New Member 2.
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    Jun 20, 2018
    5
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    Loc:
    Tehachapi, CA
    Don - Thank you so much for your suggestions - the Enviro 55 is intriguing and that one had not come across my radar before. And yes, I had seen comments (probably yours!) on the surge protector recommendations so that's already saved on my amazon shopping list. And great to know about buying the controller separate from the stove.

    The more I've been researching, however, the more I wonder if I just need to suck up the operating costs and go with propane. From everything I have read, pellet stoves will simply be noisier than propane, between the feeding/falling of the pellets, the blowing of the fan, and other motor/augur noises. In my research (all of which is theoretical - not real life) - I have not seen noise to be an issue raised with propane, other than being able to turn the fan off. The higher cost to operate propane might be worth it if I get a quieter stove and less cleaning/maintenance. But I welcome opinions either way!

    However, I am considering a scenario where the pellet stove provides the bulk of the heat and ambience, but we use a propane wall heater at night or when we get sick of pellet stove noise. Or perhaps an electric heater for the bedroom at night.
     
  4. johneh

    johneh
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    Dec 19, 2009
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    Yes pellet stoves do have inherent noise . Circulation fan bring loudest
    But a circulation fan on propane is just as loud .
    When I first got my stove every noise made me wonder
    if I did the right thing now it is just back ground noise and we do not here it
    unless it changes then I am looking for something that is not right
    Pellet stoves are not for every one but if you want to spend less where I live it is the way to go
     
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  5. FirepotPete

    FirepotPete
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    Ditto on the Tripp Lite, top of the line equipment.

    OP, I hope you are also considering the maintenance of the pellet stove. The cleaner the happier they are. Also when installing make sure that you have good clearances on all sides for any maintenance you may need to do in the future. Minimum clearances to satisfy code are usually pretty tight if you need to remove the back panel to clean or replace a part.

    In my case I have a corner install so I doubled the clearance on the sides also. Glad I did that as now my back and knees are shot and wouldn't be able to even think about getting in such a tight spot. Well I might get in, getting back out would be the problem.

    I realize that a lot of people don't have the extra room but if you do please consider it.
     
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  6. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone
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    Jul 12, 2006
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    Why don't you install a wood stove? It's already set up for one, you have an ideal floor plan and stove location, they run without electricity and noise, and you can buy them to the aesthetic level you choose.

    I'd have the chimney and hearth checked to ensure they were in good shape.
     
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  7. bogieb

    bogieb
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    Oct 31, 2014
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    If you are looking for quiet, then I don't think you will be happy with any pellet stove. Additionally, you won't be able to use the same pipe that currently is there from the previous wood stove so don't forget you'll have that cost/effort too. I'm with @EatenByLimestone - go with a woodstove. Cheaper initial investment and very little maintenance, and no electricity worries. Downside is you don't have a thermostat or autostart. And there is the mess of the wood too but that can be mitigated by using compressed wood that is now available (huge wood pellets basically) - and around here the price is comparable to regular pellets. If those huge wood pellets had been around when I put in my basement stove, I probably would have opted for a wood stove down there just in case of power outages.

    However, if you decide on a pellet stove, I would think a cheaper model (as opposed to Harman or St. Croix) would be a decent option as you won't be using it as much as say, those in the frozen north
     
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  8. Warrigal

    Warrigal
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    Jun 20, 2018
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    Loc:
    Tehachapi, CA
    Thanks for all your comments - very helpful. Particularly good point about the existing chimney - although our inspection report noted that it was improperly installed anyway, so whatever we put in will need a chimney re-do - we just won't need to cut a new hole in the roof/ceiling.

    I've been thinking more and more that a pellet stove is likely not the right solution for me - both because of noise of the various moving parts, beyond just the blower, and also the maintenance and pellet storage. Wood stoves are lovely, and I grew up with them (though not as a sole source of heat) but I definitely don't want to rely on one as the sole source of heat for this cabin, mostly because, between busy/demanding jobs and commute, we want to maximize the time we spend at the cabin by minimizing the chores and logistics - like cleaning and buying/storing an adequate supply of wood - and by ensuring the cabin is at a comfortable temperature when we want it to be. So this brings me back to thinking that buying and operating a propane stove will be worth the extra money that it costs.

    Thanks all, for your contributions to this forum!
     
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  9. blades

    blades
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    Nov 23, 2008
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    wood stove main heat source - propane for back up ( those lpg prices will eat large holes in your pocket quick) if its available in your area CNG has more bang for the buck)
     
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