should I upgrade my stove

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azs

Member
Oct 2, 2012
22
I have an old englander that I bought used 4 years ago. I obviously can't control the temperature and it's loud and probably too big for the room it's in and it's ugly. I'm tempted to replace it with a big box store stove like a serenity with a control panel. But then, I think that if I am going to replace it, I should go to a stove shop. Then I think, if I am going to buy a new stove from a shop, I should get the best Harman with whisper mode etc. Then I think, if I am going to spend 5k on a stove, I should get a heat pump instead. Then I think, I should just keep the Englander and do nothing this year. Or buy a used Harman and install myself? Anyone else been through this? Anything I should consider?
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,206
SE North Carolina
I have an old englander that I bought used 4 years ago. I obviously can't control the temperature and it's loud and probably too big for the room it's in and it's ugly. I'm tempted to replace it with a big box store stove like a serenity with a control panel. But then, I think that if I am going to replace it, I should go to a stove shop. Then I think, if I am going to buy a new stove from a shop, I should get the best Harman with whisper mode etc. Then I think, if I am going to spend 5k on a stove, I should get a heat pump instead. Then I think, I should just keep the Englander and do nothing this year. Or buy a used Harman and install myself? Anyone else been through this? Anything I should consider?
How much do you burn through a season? Often times I would rather run something old that’s functional and spend money on other items/upgrades. But there is a point when it’s no longer functioning up to my standards. Do you have AC? That would be my deciding factor between stove and heat pump.

Evan
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,953
South Central NH
If you are somewhat handy, I would look for a used stove and install it yourself.

Something to think about: getting a different stove will ost likely change where the exhaust comes out, so the pipe will need to be adjusted. If you have a direct vent, that can lead to some heavy thinking on how to make it work.

How much do you burn through a season? Often times I would rather run something old that’s functional and spend money on other items/upgrades. But there is a point when it’s no longer functioning up to my standards. Do you have AC? That would be my deciding factor between stove and heat pump.

Evan

And of course this is something to think about. If you don't have AC, then getting a mini-split would be a great addition.
 

azs

Member
Oct 2, 2012
22
I live in Maine so I'm not too concerned about AC but I spend a lot on oil. I'd like to be able to have my pellet stove turn on downstairs an hour before I get up. Now I have a little push bot thing that presses the button but I still have to empty the ashes the night before and I don't always get to that and end up using oil. I've seen new stoves advertised to only need to be cleaned every 2 weeks or to have a separate ash pan and therefore ignite without needing to be cleaned every time. This is why I'm tempted to get a new stove from a big box store. I wouldn't put the heat pump in the living room I would keep a stove in there regardless. I would be getting the heat pump for unheated rooms in my house.
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,953
South Central NH
I live in Maine so I'm not too concerned about AC but I spend a lot on oil. I'd like to be able to have my pellet stove turn on downstairs an hour before I get up. Now I have a little push bot thing that presses the button but I still have to empty the ashes the night before and I don't always get to that and end up using oil. I've seen new stoves advertised to only need to be cleaned every 2 weeks or to have a separate ash pan and therefore ignite without needing to be cleaned every time. This is why I'm tempted to get a new stove from a big box store. I wouldn't put the heat pump in the living room I would keep a stove in there regardless. I would be getting the heat pump for unheated rooms in my house.

Most pellet stoves now days have some sort of ash bin (there are still those without though). Size does matter on those. I burn pellets for all my heat (FHW back up, but don't use it). I had a St Croix Hastings that was a great stove, but the ash pan was on the smallish side and I HAD to clean it every week. I also had to clear the versa-grate every day (I don't know if that is because it was a "drop" stove or what). My P61a can go 3-4 weeks and my P43 can go 3 weeks between emptying the ash pan. The firepots still needs to be scraped/cleared, but not neccessarily every day. And if I don't get to it, they light and burn just fine.

Another thing to look into while considering pellet stoves is the cleaning routine. The Hastings was a bear with having to take out baffles and grates and interior side plates to remove the ash. And getting to some of the cleanouts for the air flow paths was not easy. My Harmans are a lot easier. You can get a good idea of cleaning needs by downloading the owner's manual for any stove you are looking at.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
I've never considered an Englander to be a consumer friendly stove (I had one years ago and sold it). Not very adjustable and not ash friendly at all. Good starter stove, that is about it.

Do keep in mind that new stoves will keep going up in price every year.
 

Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,810
Salem NH
Hello
I bough two used Harman P61s and a used Harman Advance and a used Quadrafire Contour which I call the Pie Warmer because it is like a Quadrafire Santa Fe but it had the warming shelf. All for less than the price of a new Harman Advance. :)
Just took a little shopping around and a little fixin up. :)
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
One is enough for me. Was just perusing used prices here. Sellers are real proud. Too proud for me.
 

Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,810
Salem NH
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ABusWrench

Burning Hunk
Sep 11, 2015
177
East Canton, Ohio

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
3,621
Eastern Ontario
Amen to that!

I saw that. PC45's burn corn, right? What's involved for them to burn straight pellets. Comparable to a P61 in output?
Getting a PC43 and a P61 comparable output may be hard as the
max for a 43 is 43 thousand BTU and the 61 is just shy of 61 thousand BTU
Comparing apples to oranges.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
What do you think of the Harman in Sandusky?
I saw that and disregarded it. Price was too high and no fru-fru on it at all. There is a Magnum Countryside on CL for a lot less and the Magnum is very corn capable. Always on the lookout for another 6041 or 39 USSC in any condition (including deplorable) because I know them inside and out. There is one on CL but it has the old style 2 button board which is basically non user adjustable. I actually have a 2 button board in the shop that is fine. Mine came 2 button and I upgraded it to 4 button but the later models were 4 button and I have a lot of spare parts like combustion blowers and drive motors. When I replace a failed component, I always buy 2. That way I can replace the junk sleeve bearings with skate bearings.

My concern with any used unit is the same concern I have with buying used farm equipment. Usually, when a person puts anything up for sale, they don't take proper care of the item, IOW, let it go to hell.

Not tat I need a fixer upper, I don't but if I could find one for a reasonable price, I'd buy it and refurb it at my lesiure.

Despite all the hoopla on here extolling the virtues of a Harman, I one, think they are overpriced and two, I don't particularly like the fuel delivery system. I much prefer sticking to what I'm familiar with and my 6041 does a heck of a job heating the old farmhouse and has for years and with the 4 button board is extremely adjustable to suit variations in fuel.

If rice coal was available here, I'd have a Keystoker in a minute. Hard to beat a coal stove. I could order rice coal from Blashak but I'd need to buy a couple ton at a crack and pay shipping on it so that's out.
 
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railfanron

Minister of Fire
Nov 2, 2013
561
Perry MI
I have to disagree with you on the Harman. If I was burning free corn I might have a different opinion but I burn straight pellets of any brand. I've never had any not burn fine and I've never had any kind of a problem with the delivery system. Maintenance is easier than any stove I have seen/ worked on. There is not a bunch of settings to fiddle around with, the stove sets them for you and in my opinion does an excellent job. I like it's totally automatic features and it starts EVERY time automatically. As far as price after working on some of the lower priced stoves I believe you get what you pay for. I understand why you're so happy with your stove. It puts out almost free heat what's not to like about that. But the average user has no way of achieving the same results as you. So in my opinion there's not much value in your stove for me or the average user.

JMHO
Ron
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
You can disagree all you want, forums are about opinions and far as the corn goes, it's only been a recent development (5 years now) that I had the corn available, before that it was 100% pellets, whatever TSC had I roasted to the tune of 5 ton a year.

At least the switch to corn was painless (other that changing the firing parameters on the control board slightly) because the 39-41 Hearth Focus models are true corn capable units in the first place. They were initially designed to combust corn, not pellets but any corn burner (so long as the firing parameters are adjustable) can burn pellets but not the other way around.

A processed wood pellet unit cannot burn shelled corn efficiently because the burn pot and feed mechanism is designed for cylindrical pellets, not kernel corn.

Not saying it's impossible because it isn't but you will wind up with a burn pot full of hard clinkers and hard carbon coating the inner walls of the burn pot. Corn takes a substantial more amount of combustion air to combust and a much higher initial heat to get it burning. Auto ignition units will always be hard pressed to ignite corn. The Cal Rod don't get hot enough for long enough to support combustion.

Why mine (even though the board supports auto ignition and the burn pot is machined (stamped) to accept a Cal Rod, I've never installed one). I start mine with a handfull of pellets and corn and a shot of jelled firestarter and always have.

Interesting to watch the corn combustion process as the kernels split open and the guts come out in sort of a gluey mess (carmelization) and that burns and the husk stays behind and forms the clinker. I even get some popcorn once in a while.

You live close enough to me, sometime this winter come down and visit and see how it works for yourself.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Not sure how maintenance could be any easier than a 6039-41. You pop the pot, it goes in a bucket of water to loosen the hard carbon and the alternate pot goes in. Sweep the ash down the cleanout ports into the ash pan, reinstall the agitator and start it back u. Takes about a minute max. Use the same bristle brush I sweep the ash into the ashpan to clean off the view glass. Quick and easy. Takes 2 pots and they aren't cheap because they are stainless but it's a one time purchase. If I wear welding gloves I can do a hot swap so long as it's not so hot it burns the bristles on the brush.
 

railfanron

Minister of Fire
Nov 2, 2013
561
Perry MI
Simple there's no pot to pop. Daily routine is scrape down the pot which takes a minute tops while stove is running. Not necessarily needed every day I have gone a week without opening the door when my wife was in the hospital. When you've burned about 30 bags do a shut down and clean the inside of the firebox, remove the fan cover (just a latch holds in on) and clean the fan and horizontal exhaust run, brush everything down into the ash box and dump, Clean the glass with a paper towel put the fan cover back on and pull the 2 thumbscrews that hold the igniter cover on and vac that out and put the cover back on shut the door and light it back up or in my case put it back on automatic. Whole thing takes 30 minutes max and you don't need any tools other than the pot scraper and brushes. Manual says the box holds the ash from a ton of pellets but in my experience it's more like 40 bags. I burn a little less than 3 ton a year in total automatic mode maintaining 74 degrees plus or minus a degree or two.
Ron
 
Jan 29, 2021
145
VA, east central
I have an old englander that I bought used 4 years ago. I obviously can't control the temperature and it's loud and probably too big for the room it's in and it's ugly. I'm tempted to replace it with a big box store stove like a serenity with a control panel. But then, I think that if I am going to replace it, I should go to a stove shop. Then I think, if I am going to buy a new stove from a shop, I should get the best Harman with whisper mode etc. Then I think, if I am going to spend 5k on a stove, I should get a heat pump instead. Then I think, I should just keep the Englander and do nothing this year. Or buy a used Harman and install myself? Anyone else been through this? Anything I should consider?
You understand that efficiency drops significantly for a heat pump once outside temps get into the 30s, right? Depending on the specific unit, you can expect a heat pump to switch over to resistive heating at temps around 30 F.
I see from follow up responses that you're in Maine - I'm surprised that you can even get a heat pump that far north. Do not consider a heat pump any further, you won't be able to afford your electricity bill if you try install one.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,150
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
You understand that efficiency drops significantly for a heat pump once outside temps get into the 30s, right? Depending on the specific unit, you can expect a heat pump to switch over to resistive heating at temps around 30 F.
I see from follow up responses that you're in Maine - I'm surprised that you can even get a heat pump that far north. Do not consider a heat pump any further, you won't be able to afford your electricity bill if you try install one.

A lot has changed with heat pumps since 1980.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
My big issue is maintaining the RH in the winter and I go through a huge amount of bottled water as our well water contains so much minerals, it fouls the humidifier in short order. Far as 'poping the pot goes, it don't pop, it lifts out. It sits in a metal cradle and isn't secured in any way other than gravity.

Like I said, with welding gloves on, hot swapping is easy.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
If Firepot Pete chimes in, he'll tell you he uses a fabricated 'clinker pot' that he never removes. He uses what he calls a 'clinker hanger' which it a length of wire the corn clinker forms around. He removes the clinker and dumps the top burning corn off and keeps on trucking like it never happened. I use the OEM pots and run a mix of 1/3 pellets and 2/3rds corn.

I have the physical dimensions of his clinker pots and may someday build one but then my method works pretty good for me. Corn don't make a lot of fly ash anyway so cleaning of the venting and combustion air passages is basically a yearly (spring) job. The fly as I get is from the added pellets, not the corn.

Pete has the same unit I have with a 4 button board. 6039-41 HF Multifuel.
 
Jan 29, 2021
145
VA, east central
A lot has changed with heat pumps since 1980.
Not enough. I live just south of Washington DC and my last two homes have had heat pumps. They are/were relatively new, my current home's oldest unit is 5 years old. I'd have to double check, but they are of average, if not slightly above average efficiency. They suck at keeping my home affordably heated, not to mention comfortably heated. During the three coldest months, overnight temps are consistently in the mid to low 30s. We have times where we are in the mid to low 20s or below. Day time highs might be around 45. The colder it is, the longer they run and the less comfortable the house is.

Our electric bill was really high before I got the woodstove going - we moved into current house this past January.

I don't doubt you can get units more efficient than what I have, but that's going to be at significantly higher cost than 5k installed and I'm confident that they won't be great as a source of primary heat.

From https://www.weather-atlas.com/en/maine-usa-climate:
"November to February, during the winter, is generally the worst time to visit Maine.
The night temperatures often drop to 0°F (-17.8°C) and sometimes even below, while the day temperatures are around the freezing 32°F (0°C) during the peak of the cold season. Maine winters are cold even during the day as the sun disappears for long hours, sometimes even for days."

And from https://www.maineenergyfacts.com/heat-pumps/:
"Still, heat pumps are simply not ideal for climates like ours."
 

Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,810
Salem NH
I saw that and disregarded it. Price was too high and no fru-fru on it at all. There is a Magnum Countryside on CL for a lot less and the Magnum is very corn capable. Always on the lookout for another 6041 or 39 USSC in any condition (including deplorable) because I know them inside and out. There is one on CL but it has the old style 2 button board which is basically non user adjustable. I actually have a 2 button board in the shop that is fine. Mine came 2 button and I upgraded it to 4 button but the later models were 4 button and I have a lot of spare parts like combustion blowers and drive motors. When I replace a failed component, I always buy 2. That way I can replace the junk sleeve bearings with skate bearings.

My concern with any used unit is the same concern I have with buying used farm equipment. Usually, when a person puts anything up for sale, they don't take proper care of the item, IOW, let it go to hell.

Not tat I need a fixer upper, I don't but if I could find one for a reasonable price, I'd buy it and refurb it at my lesiure.

Despite all the hoopla on here extolling the virtues of a Harman, I one, think they are overpriced and two, I don't particularly like the fuel delivery system. I much prefer sticking to what I'm familiar with and my 6041 does a heck of a job heating the old farmhouse and has for years and with the 4 button board is extremely adjustable to suit variations in fuel.

If rice coal was available here, I'd have a Keystoker in a minute. Hard to beat a coal stove. I could order rice coal from Blashak but I'd need to buy a couple ton at a crack and pay shipping on it so that's out.
Hi
What do you think of this Harman P61 in very good condition I just picked up for $300.00

F0C98D87-1B3A-4DCD-AAC0-5F3A8849A1DF.png 9EDA9690-D384-4BEF-A9C9-13ECADA70774.jpeg
 

Washed-Up

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2011
664
Kananaskis,Alberta, Canada
Nice find Don, complete refinish? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a completely bare P61…
 

Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,810
Salem NH
Nice find Don, complete refinish? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a completely bare P61…
Not refinished but kept up very well. The lady said a guy called right after me and said if I did not show up, then he would come get it right away! So it was a lucky day! :cool: