What size Harman for long -40C winters?

wilyum Posted By wilyum, May 2, 2018 at 2:32 PM

  1. wilyum

    wilyum
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    Planning a new build in northern Ontario, a chalet style, open concept, cathedral ceiling home, approx 1200 sqft with a full insulated walkout basement. The plan is to have a pellet stove in the great room, which will be the primary heat source with electrical baseboards as backup. At first I was thinking the P68 would be an overkill for such small square footage and above average R values, but if you factor in the large open space living room with 7 large windows, 2 bedrooms in the loft and a full basement....plus long stretches of -40 windy lakefront days, maybe its not an overkill? I've read on here over sizing a pellet stove can be a mistake, curious what some Harman owners think?

    ...also would it be a better idea to put it in the basement or would enough heat make its way downward with fans etc.
     
  2. doghouse

    doghouse
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    Don't own a Harman, but I heat a well insulated 4-square (2100 sf) in northern Maine. I know cold, but not quite N. Ontario cold, and I use 2 stoves. I never use max on the stoves but it's sure nice to know that its there if needed. When it comes to heat in these northern climes, no such thing as overkill.:cool:
     
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  3. jpeterson2322

    jpeterson2322
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    I'm in lower Wisconsin so no where near as cold. But I have the P61a and it easily heats my 1850 sq ft open ranch. I was being pushed towards the P43 but went bigger and don't regret it.
     
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  4. kenora

    kenora
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    I've got a Osburn 5000 that's going into a similar style and sized lakeside home N of Kenora (NW Ontario)... its going in the lower (walkout) and will have baseboard backup (in case I'm not there to feed the stove for a few days)... and a BlazeKing wood stove on the main level (thats in case all the power goes out.
    I like that the Osburn can be throttled down to 8500 btu or run full tilt at 50000 btu.
    My experience so far (as the house isn't finished) is with my insulated garage 24x30 (720 sq/ft 8 ft ceiling) slab on grade.... R20 walls.... R60 roof.... double pane windows (3 of em with insulated shutters on the outside during the winter and insulated stable doors over thetwo 7x9 insulated garage doors and an insulated steel man door with a double pane window behind a storm door) with a PelPro 130 ...
    The heat loss through the uninsulated concrete slab is enormous...(I'll be fixing that one day soon) :/
    At -30c (it didn't hit -40c this year)...it's EASILY able to maintain 10c in the garage/shop (holding temp) and bumps up quickly to 18c or so to work. My PP 130 has been using about 130 lbs in 4 days running at low constant.
    My Osburn has a lower constant minimum output than the PP130 but also has a thermostat setting that will turn the unit on/off as needed in the case it overheats the basement in the warmer (-20c) weather.
    I believe any Harman will be able to do the same...get a BIG stove that can be throttled back.
    Just my 2 cents (OK Canada doesn't have pennies anymore) 5 cents worth from NW Ontario.
     
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  5. wilyum

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    Would it be safe to say that with the stove on the main floor, most, if not all the basement would have to be heated with the baseboard heaters? Was hoping to avoid this considering how pricey electric heat is, but I also don't want to put the stove in the basement since the main living area is what will require the most heat.
     
  6. gutlo

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    How about two Harman P43's? That would give you flexibility in warmer weather and better coverage of your total area.
     
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  7. kenora

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    The flame view on either the Harman or Osburn is very nice...
    much nicer that the pp130 so it's almost a wood stove kind of view..I'm not sure about heating the basement with a pellet stove upstairs is going to work.. two pellet stoves can work but it's getting pricy...
    how about a cheap stove downstairs and the Harman up... my pp130 is $2k new at home depot and I love it... fwiw I got it used on kijiji... 1 yr old for $1k

    Sent from my SM-G920W8 using Tapatalk
     
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  8. kenora

    kenora
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    Oh yah.. hydro one.....aaaaagh...gotta love the Prov Gov

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  9. wilyum

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    having 2 stoves is an option, but that would bring me closer the point where economically its not that much of an advantage over a forced air propane furnace. Will have to crunch some numbers. Anyone know why Harman stopped making pellet furnaces, that can be vented to the upper floors?
     
  10. kenora

    kenora
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    before you pull the trigger on propane do the math...my neighbors just changed from electric to propane ($35k supply and install the propane...furnace/bigger ductwork/pad for tank/etc) and they are saving ZERO..

    There is a new program that will give you rebates on mini-splits (the new Mitsubishi and Fujitsu units heat to -25c)...then the pellet stove(s) and baseboards could take over from there.... advantage is they cool too for those dozen hot steamy days a year.

    and this is NEW TECH...not the old heat pumps from a decade ago... check out greenbuildingadvisor.com (you can browse the Q/A for free) for more info
     
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  11. gutlo

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    Harman stopped making furnaces because they were unreliable.
     
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  12. rona

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    I would buy two stoves. I have experimented with trying to heat from basement and it always ended up being the downstairs was 85 and still chilly upstairs. I ended up with a stove upstairs that does a good job for most of the winter except for a couple weeks in Jan then I start the second stove in the basement which keeps everything comfortable. We have two stairways and hot air flows up one and cold air down the other We have washer and dryer downstairs and of course water heater. We have a three bedroom Ranch style house about 2400 sq feet on main floor and same in basement. I bought two stoves 50,000 BTU the same brand and model so my parts will interchange if needed and I have a small spare parts inventory so I have parts if something goes bad.
    You can't make heat go down very well so don't expect a stove upstairs to heat down stairs. Actually I wouldn't expect a stove downstairs to do the job when it gets real cold either. Considering you are building the house from new it should be tight with good windows and lots of insulation. Make sure you insulate the basement walls as the cold seeps through the walls 24-7.
     
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  13. wilyum

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    that PP130 at HD is pretty cheap, how do you like it, is clean up easy? Definitely not as nice as the Harman, but in the basement I dont really care about aesthetics, flame appearance etc.
     
  14. Pete Zahria

    Pete Zahria
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    Just get the 68 and don't worry about it.
     
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  15. wilyum

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    yup thats always been the plan upstairs, but from reading here it wont heat the basement very well, and don't want to heat down there with electricity, so i'm thinking a 68 upstairs and a 43 down. Thats where im at now.
     
  16. P51mustang

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    If your basement is well insulated (outside wall and inside 2 or 3 inch foam board...or better yet, foam blocks with solid concrete walls) then anything you place down there should keep you toasty. I'd put a couple propane fully vented wall units down there and make sure you have a few vents placed into your floor above so that heat, if needed, can get upstairs should the P61A or Absolute 63 installed in your great room fails.

    Given you're only heating 1200 square ft. and I assume are installing good quality double pain or more argon glass filled windows, the P61A or 63 is more than adequate to heat that space. Especially with the backup propane and a properly insulate basement and house.....Post some pics when your build is complete. Good luck.

    PS....You mentioned a few posts back that choosing two pellet stoves would economically make a whole house propane furnace a better option, consider that wood pellets or a wood stove or a wood boiler heat output is far more instant, comfortable, consistent, and for a lack of a better word, intense....Ask anyone on this website who has tried to heat their house with fuel oil or propane or even electric and I'd bet they'll back me up in my claim that wood heat simply can't be beat.....If you're willing to put up with the minor inconvenience of using it, its thermal qualities and intensity is far superior to any other heating option. Especially in cold climates.
     
  17. kenora

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    Regarding the PelPro 130...


    It's the first pellet stove I've even owned...however before buying I checked out (personally) Harman/KOZI/OSBURN/PELTECK and the Canadian Tire brand (not sure what it is)...


    I saw the steep gradient between the least and most expensive stoves $1350 CDN for Kozi up to $6500 CDN for the most expensive Harman..


    I knew what I wanted..... a top tier, bottom feeder with a large hopper like the Harmans, Osburns and PelTecks.... however since (at the time) it was only to heat my garage I couldn't justify the big bucks for one of those stoves.


    What happened was I stumbled upon a Kijiji ad for a 1 yr old PelPro 130 for $1k CDN..that included the chimney and 10 bags of pellets...having already done the research and seen a new PP130 in the Winnipeg Home Depot I knew it was a deal so I jumped and bought it.


    Am I happy with it....absolutely 100% happy: at first I was concerned because the built in thermostat wouldn't let me run it on automatic (starting and stopping like a furnace to maintain temp) at a set temp of less that 65f. I didn't want the garage to be at 65f while I wasn't there, preferring 50f or so.


    The workaround turned out to be simple...I just turned the thermostat down to minimum continuous (that's about 10k btu)... at -30c for weeks on end...did I mention this winter would NOT end...the PP130 kept the garage between 50f-60f depending on the wind and weather...using 130 lbs of pellets ever 4 - 4.5 days.


    It is very easy to clean but requires an ash vac to do the job efficiently (I bought a PowerSmith PAVC102 10 Amp 4 Gallon Ash Vacuum with 2 Ash Filters from Amazon.ca..it was $119 CDN free delivery)… it gets the burn pot cleaned out weekly and a thorough cleaning monthly. A more thorough cleaning is easily accomplished in 20 minutes with absolutely no ash in the room escaping from the vacuum. The glass does gets dirty when running constantly on low but clears up when I bump the temp up to work in the shop.

    Would I recommend it YES 110%...I think it’s a great value for the full price at HD and a better one if you can find a deal like mine.

    The story about getting the Osburn 5000 would take some time but suffice it to say I paid about 1/3 retail on a NEW stove so I got the high end stove I want for the lower level of the house after-all.

    If I hadn’t stumbled on the Osburn deal I would have bought a new PP130 for the house.
     
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  18. wilyum

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    2 great post guys thanks, P51 great idea of having propane wall units downstairs as a back up over electric, in case we're not home and the power goes out, much cheaper than the cost of a propane forced air furnace install, just for back up. Kenora, the Pelpro sounds like a good stove, what is different about a Harman or an Osburn that can justify it being three times the price of a similar output Pelpro?
     
  19. stovelark

    stovelark
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    Easy decision. If you can afford it, go with the biggest stove you can, a pellet stove can be turned down, can't be turned up if its too small. The P68 is a heating beast too- Good luck.
     
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  20. kenora

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    Forgive the long post...again..

    The differences between the bottom and top tier stoves are obvious, heavier gauge steel in the entire construction, better quality components (blowers, motors, igniters etc)..it's in the middle I found the differences sometimes subtle like looks. Controls or the ability to finely adjust the stove (combustion air flow, room convection air flow, auger speed, ability to use a remote wired or wireless thermostat, self diagnosis of faults etc etc).

    I had considered a very highly rated (here on Hearth) stove called the Serenity which can be had for about $1k USD. But even from Winnipeg or Kenora (only about 3 hours from a Menards store in the US of A) I couldn't make a financial case for buying it given the exchange at $1.30, the drive (fuel) $150ish round trip and a variety of unknowns like the border "screw-you fees" (coming back to Canukistan) so bought a local stove.

    At the bottom end I went to the factory where the KOZI stoves are made in Winnipeg and spoke to the sale guy... he knew just enough to sell the stoves but made too many statements that were "out there" like there demo stove was only cleaned once a season... I could see that it was nearly spotless so that was a misrepresentation at best.... I asked about the price of replacement parts and got only "they are reasonably priced" and we never have to sell any cause they last a long time. I ran away thinking it was like walking into a Skoda Dealership (I'm old enough to remember those).
    I tried to speak to a salesperson about the TimberRidge stoves at Cdn Tire but no one was over 16 or gave a sh--. I was left to look at them and concluded they were similar at best to PelPro but higher priced. I also know that returning anything the Cdn Tire is nearly impossible vs HD.

    Harman was my first choice (but I couldn't find one used/demo or deal so I got the next best thing): I visited a dealer just outside Winnipeg who sells Harman and PelTec.. I LOVED the Harman stoves.. it was like looking at a Mercedes after shopping for Skodas (no I don't have a MB...... or a Skoda)... the step up in all aspects is easy to see.. it is in the $4k and up stoves I saw the bottom feeders (Harman, PelTec,Osburn) and the need to clean these stoves less frequently vs top feeder is a huge advantage (given my wife is an equal participant in this). It was the $$$$$$$$$$ of these bottom feeders that scared me away ($4400 to $6000 CDN) and that's before chimney and floor pad..add another $1k to that.

    PelTec seemed like a very well built stove but was both more $ than Harman and I couldn't find any "long term" opinions so it was out.

    That forced me into the middle tier and that's where..at least for me... the PelPro answered all my needs.. a good quality build, lots of good reviews, easy avail to parts, a large hopper and a reasonable price.

    The differences between it and the Osburn are most notable in these areas..
    - a nicer fireview
    - easier/less maintenance.. its crazy how much thought has gone into easy maint
    - much more adjustability, customization of input/output
    - bottom feeder so no plink...plink...plink of pellets dropping into the firepot
    - bragging rights (see previous ref to Mercedes)

    If I hadn't paid the HD price of a PP130 for the Osburn I WOULDN'T have bought it... I would have another PP130!
     
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  21. wilyum

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    Good read, the cleaning on the bottom feeders, would u say its half the time of the top feeders? 1/4?
     
  22. kenora

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    25% as frequent but they still need 100% the time you would spend on a top feeder when needed...

    Neither is hard...just a bit time consuming... like I mentioned and the long time users can likely attest... a good ash vac will make your life easier


    edit...thought about it a bit more..
     
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  23. rona

    rona
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    You bring up a couple of good points concerning cleaning the stoves. That is one thing that should be looked at before buying one. Some are relatively simple while others can be time consuming. I would also say don't go cheap when buying a vac for that purpose. Buy one that is made of metal and has filters to contain the soot dust.
     
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  24. FirepotPete

    FirepotPete
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    That's not good advice today as inspectors and insurance companies considered that a fire hazard. I know the argument that houses have open stair cases and the such and I agree. It's just that when it comes to code the open vents in the floor are no longer allowed. If you put them in at a later date and the insurance company wants to inspect at a later time they could cancel your insurance.
     
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  25. Mr._Graybeard

    Mr._Graybeard
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    I don't know that that's the case -- my PB105 boiler has been quite reliable through six heating seasons. I was damned expensive, though -- maybe too expensive to gain a lot of traction in the market. The Harman PF100 was also pricey, I believe, approaching 6 grand. My friend got a Fahrenheit Endurance furnace for quite a bit less than that.

    When products do not sell, people stop making them.
     
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