The good, bad and ugly in biomass stoves

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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Not bad, good for a weeks worth of groceries. Your wife should be happy.
 
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rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
1,189
ohio
Not bad, good for a weeks worth of groceries. Your wife should be happy.
Yeah I was happy. Everybody said "u let it go to cheap if it sold in 20hrs!" This is not the best time of year to sell stoves. If I could make a few bucks and hustle it I am happy. If I would have held onto it and listed it in the fall, I may have been able to get close to $2k. Ill watch for another locally between now and then and try it again. We have a dealer in our area that have been in businees since probably the 70's and they have sold Harman pellet since they came out I think, so there are alot of Harmans in our area. The shop I work for is close by also and have been selling them since about 2001. I am in Harman country :) .
 
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rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
1,189
ohio
I just looked, I paid $1600.00 for my P38 in 2003. I had $2200 total in it with piping. Basement install. Pellets were $175/ton then from that shop. Probably cheaper elsewhere. Back then propane and Natural gas were higher than they are now. I remember propane hit $4.00/gal. Fuel oil thru the roof. People were buying Harmans and they were paying for themselves in a couple years on fuel savings. We use to stock stoves and have installs almost everyday. Now we install maybe 10-12 units a year. But the service keeps up busy on the stoves we install from 2002-now.
 
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Washed-Up

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2011
671
Kananaskis,Alberta, Canada
My pellet stove story...my parents and I bought a Harman PelletPro 2 in 1989. I bought a place in the mountains, brought it out and installed it in my place as propane is pretty pricey and it was great supplemental heat and easy to maintain/clean. I came across a P61-2 at a great price and my neighbor wanted my PP-2 so I sold it to him. It’s in my nature to learn as much as possible about the nature of the mechanics of any and all things I use and I came across this forum. In the past year I’ve refurbished a P61-2 and an Advance 2. The P61-2 was installed next door as the wood burning stove they had was unable to keep up with their heating demands, so I’ve been helping them with what they need to do to keep it running, the PP2 is across the street and something, helping keep that one running as well...the Adavance2 will be going into another friends place in the spring. Being a millwright by trade, Harman is the only real exposure I’ve had and seem very easy to maintain and repair when necessary. Attached are a few photos of the install next door. Love the simple mechanics of Pelletstove’s in general. And enjoy giving back all that I’ve leaned so far.
 

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rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
1,189
ohio
My pellet stove story...my parents and I bought a Harman PelletPro 2 in 1989. I bought a place in the mountains, brought it out and installed it in my place as propane is pretty pricey and it was great supplemental heat and easy to maintain/clean. I came across a P61-2 at a great price and my neighbor wanted my PP-2 so I sold it to him. It’s in my nature to learn as much as possible about the nature of the mechanics of any and all things I use and I came across this forum. In the past year I’ve refurbished a P61-2 and an Advance 2. The P61-2 was installed next door as the wood burning stove they had was unable to keep up with their heating demands, so I’ve been helping them with what they need to do to keep it running, the PP2 is across the street and something, helping keep that one running as well...the Adavance2 will be going into another friends place in the spring. Being a millwright by trade, Harman is the only real exposure I’ve had and seem very easy to maintain and repair when necessary. Attached are a few photos of the install next door. Love the simple mechanics of Pelletstove’s in general. And enjoy giving back all that I’ve leaned so far.
That set up pictured is a service mans dream :) . Back of the stove wide open and in a well it room. Typically the stove sits in the most dimly lit corner of the room!
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
I remember propane hit $4.00/gal. Fuel oil thru the roof.
It won't be long before propane and fuel oil prices will be back to those levels, along with NG under this new administration. I fully expect diesel to top 4 a gallon by summer and heating oil to be close behind and NG is going to go way up with the new administration's ban of fracking. Fracking is what produces the NG.

Why I topped off my propane bottles recently and fill my off road storage tank (and added biocide). A hedge against the coming fuel increases. Least this growing season I can hold my built in overheads, next year who knows.

You'll be selling a boatload of stoves next fall to people who are still working and have income that is.

Glad I have my little 40 mpg buggy. People who own those big SUV's and pickup trucks will be paying 100+ to fill their tanks because pump gas price will also skyrocket. My wife's new Suburban won't be driven much, will be a garage queen. Not doing a 100 buck plus fillup if I can avoid it.
 

gfreek

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2010
1,421
Attica,,New York
Been burning different fuels since 1981. Wood in a double barrel stove, Elmira cook stove, Vermont Castings, Woodstock Soapstone, Harman hand fed coal stove. After many hours stove shopping we settled on a Harman P38+, cost $2400 with $100 off Harman coupon, burning since 2011. Have to say it was a learning curve, hated it at first, but like anything it was a learning curve, operation, maintenance, and noises, upgrading to 3 knob panel made it more user friendly.. Handling the 40 lb bags much easier than harvesting fire wood or even buying logs, and all that goes with it, coal heat was awesome but decided to move on..especially since my helpers have grown up & moved out.. Had an Englander 25PDVC in my shop for quite a few years, besides combustion blower, upper auger bearing, vac hose, it worked fine and just sold it..
 

Watcher1

Burning Hunk
Sep 11, 2014
159
Ironton WI
I have 14+ yrs of ownership and service tech experience of with Harman and St. Croix. A little service experience with Quad Mt Vernon AE and non with the Box store stoves.
Being a service guy all my life ( inground pools summer, stoves in the winter) I have learned that the majority of people just want the output and benefit of a particular item with the least amount of manual input. Most of us on here enjoy tinkering with stuff. generally people dont. I get calls that someones pump is not running right or the pool heater wont start. First question, is the water level low and sucking air? You would not believe how many times I get the "oh Yeah"! Add a couple inches of water and all will be good. And alot of times this is coming from a customer that has had a pool for many years! Or at opening they walk out and ask for a quit lesson on how to backwash filter, A customer that has had this pool and filter for 20 yrs!
So, with that being said, there are a large portion of the population that is willing to spend the extra money on a Harman that you just turn the knob and set the temp. And they can have a live fire and stay warm. They will run for weeks with nearly no attention and last many years.
The other benefit for the owner and me as a service tech is the commonality of parts across the Harman line from 2004 til now. All take the same Comb Blower motor, Circuit board, Auger, A couple aug motor varations, different flame guides. 3 dist. blower variations ect. With that being said I can roll up to a call in a Honda CR-V and have the correct parts in stock on the truck to have the stove back up and running in approx. a hour. Parts availability are good also. The only real dispensable part in the fire box is the flame guide which last many years and are less than $30 to replace, The new TC stoves have there own set of common parts.
The other benefit is parts cost is not bad. If the stove controls are acting up you can replace the board and ESP for $300. All the brains and sensors that control the unit. The motors are not excessive either. Burnpot typically last many many years. The only time you typically run into high dollar repairs is if the auger tube wears thru or you have a burn back and feeder needs replaced.
We have rebuild a few Harmans this year, basically new motors and controls, painted them up and went all thru it. Brings it back to like new for 1/2 the money or less. 15-17 yr old units. I believe the stove body will last a lifetime with a little care.
The PC45 was a turd from the beginning in my opinion. We have brought a couple old ones in this year and converted them to P61A's.
I like the St Croix as a corn burner
I bought a PC45! I did have to weld the auger tube back shut. A real good cleaning, and it's doing a great job compared to my Magnum 3500 which now resides in my shop burning corn. I never got the 45 to burn corn, but our house is much warmer than ever on about 2 bags of pellets a day.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
One nice thing about what I do (work with metal) is I own all the necessary metal working tools, brakes, slip rolls, plasma cutters, welders in all disciplines and lathes and mills so when I need a part, especially a plain bearing, I go out in the shop, grab a length of appropriate material and machine what I need for a replacement and most times improve on the OEM item.

Makes replacement much easier. Besides I like to improve mass produced stuff anyway.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Well, as I predicted, propane is way up here and so is gasoline and diesel. I had to up my round bale pricing to compensate for the fuel and input costs quite a bit but I'm still below what the listings on Michigan Hay are at, actually quite a bit below. Average cost on Michigan hay is 60 bucks per 4x5 round in mixed forage and I'm at 30 but I don't have to deliver for one thing and I have one rancher that buys all of it. I run them, net them and he picks them up in the field, pretty turn key.

least it hasn't been cold enough yet to fire up the corn stove, very unusual for this time of year. No frost here yet and none on the horizon either. Cantaloupe plants are still making fruit, very unusual. Hopefully it will be a mild winter. Fingers crossed on that.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
You may be correct but last winter was a cake walk.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
I will say that I plan on being a hermit as much as possible this winter and sitting in front of the fire reading a novel.

I can listen to the radio and read in the paper about all the 'accidents' that aren't really accidents but preventable incidents perpetrated by stupid drivers. First snow they will be piling them up like cordwood on the e-way.

Just heard on the scanner, single vehicle accident east of town. motorcycle. Driver is deceased. There is a curve coming into town, clearly marked and has a huge oak tree on the side that has claimed many a a life and just claimed another. Says 45 and means 45. Probably loaded with 'liquid courage' too.
 
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