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Our Washington County has approved us for a wood heat upgrade to a less polluting stove. We had been talking of a change to a pellet since cutting, hauling, stacking, etc., has become more difficult over the last few years. Their program gives us a $3500 credit which you can't beat with a stick.


So . . . any one have a pellet stove brand they recommend and why?
:unknown:
 

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Marlin-we have one in the basement--ehh-good and bad-i guess.

bad-if power goes off-it smokes back thru somehow-and has filled the basement up/

good--i call it a rich mans wood burner-as all u have to do-to keep it burning is fill the hopper-no chain saw upkeep-no cutting wood outside, etc.
good-no need for a fancy chimney -all ours is a 4 inch pipe stuck out thru our cement basement wall

bad-it is a son of a gun-as far as keeping clean weekly--has a ash pan-we used a shop vac to hose it out.

would i buy one again--no way-ours with the gold legs was $3,000--it can go thru several tons of pellets easily a yr

i will have to check on the name of ours as i don't remember it.
 

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From what i have read about pellet stoves you should try to buy from a dealer that has a good service tech. There are sensors and circuit boards that will probably need to be diagnosed and replaced at some point.

Hearth.com has a pellet stove board where there is a lot of good info on the different brands.
 

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I have one made by Pleasant Hearth. They are sold by Lowe's, Home Depot, BJs... I've even seen them on Amazon. I do NOT recommend any of their pellet stoves. They require daily cleaning, they're noisy and they use cheap parts. I've had mine for 4 years now and replaced the blower twice and the burn pot melted and had to be replaced. I'd recommend staying away from any brand sold by hardware stores. Take a look at your local Craigslist ads. You'll see a lot of Breckwell, U.S. Stove Company, etc.. brands being sold. Most of them have the same recurring problems with bad circuit boards. Get yourself to a real stove shop and stick with a name brand.

Harman is probably THE name-brand people chase after. Jotul, Hearthstone and Vermont Castings are also big names in the field. You'll pay more for them but they are usually worth the added cost. There are some European stoves out there that are super efficient but come with matching crazy pricing.

And keep in mind that a pellet stove won't work if power goes out. A small backup generator can take care of that. Some of them even come with backup battery systems if it's a big concern.
 

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Oh, as another option for you, since you are concerned about the cutting/hauling/stacking aspect of firewood... consider another wood stove and buy/burn bio-bricks instead of firewood. They cost about the same as pellets and get handled the same way pellets get handled (i.e. you buy them stacked on a pallet). They might be a good compromise. The Wood stove is simpler than a pellet stove and the wood bricks eliminate much of the manual labor you're currently doing.
 

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Check out the web page at: Working at Hearth & Home Technologies | Quadra-Fire
It shows all the brands they own - Harmon, Quadrafire, vermont castings, etc. are all one company now.

Check your local Coastal - we've had good luck with them on an insert install (Quadrafire).
 

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We've had a QuadraFire for about 8 years that's been trouble free, but we don't use it to much-maybe just a 1/2 ton a year gets burned.
 

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I have a Harman P43. The p series comes in several different sizes from 43,000 to 68,000 BTU's. I consider this stove to be the best there is. I only have to clean it about every 3 to 5 weeks (about 3/4 of a ton burned). Harman recommends to scrape the burn pot once a day which takes about a minute and can be done without turning the stove off but when I was really busy I would let it go a week without even opening the door and just filling it with pellets. It can be operated in thermostat mode or manual constant burn mode. I have a standard set back thermostat hooked to it and it operates just like a furnace turning completely on and off as needed. It burns any kind of pellets I throw at it without complaining. It's 4 years old and so far it has worked perfectly starting and stopping when needed burning 3 tons a year which supplies half the heat in my 2250 sq. ft. home. I use it for only half the heat and use the Propane furnace for some air cleaning and humidity control. When the furnace ignitor went out the pellet stove heated the house completely in -20 degree F conditions for 2 days with a little help from an electric heater in the kitchen to boost the temp from 60 to 68. My exhaust runs up the fireplace chimney and it only needs to be cleaned once a year. Mine, chimney and all was about 3200 4 years ago.
Ron
 

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I looked at these a few years ago as an emergency heat source. The problem with the vast majority of them is they require electricity to use. I only found one model that did not, and it used pellets non-stop with no way to stop it once it started. I gave up.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
We've had a QuadraFire for about 8 years that's been trouble free, but we don't use it to much-maybe just a 1/2 ton a year gets burned.
Check out the web page at: Working at Hearth & Home Technologies | Quadra-Fire
It shows all the brands they own - Harmon, Quadrafire, vermont castings, etc. are all one company now.

Check your local Coastal - we've had good luck with them on an insert install (Quadrafire).
We're going through a Wash. County program for a $3500 replacement credit. They gave us four qualified suppliers to choose from, each offer only certain brands. I've been leaning towards QuadraFire since day one. The look of the pellet stove plus features like the 80 lbs hopper and programmable thermostat I like. Throw in the cast iron exchanger, firepot, and exterior and I'm impressed. (I haven't found the weight of the Mt Vernon E2 yet. It should high based on the use of cast iron. :thumbup1gif:)

Mt. Vernon E2 Pellet Stove | Quadra-Fire
 

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Marlin-we have one in the basement--ehh-good and bad-i guess.

bad-if power goes off-it smokes back thru somehow-and has filled the basement up/

good--i call it a rich mans wood burner-as all u have to do-to keep it burning is fill the hopper-no chain saw upkeep-no cutting wood outside, etc.
good-no need for a fancy chimney -all ours is a 4 inch pipe stuck out thru our cement basement wall

bad-it is a son of a gun-as far as keeping clean weekly--has a ash pan-we used a shop vac to hose it out.

would i buy one again--no way-ours with the gold legs was $3,000--it can go thru several tons of pellets easily a yr

i will have to check on the name of ours as i don't remember it.
Big Jim, and anyone else that may have this problem; if your stove fills the house with smoke with loss of electricity I have a question? Do you have fresh outside air piped to the stove? It is recommended to have outside combustion air if located in a basement especially if you have a gas or oil fired furnace or hot water down there.. Think of it this way, the stove works on negative pressure and it will try to suck air from anywhere it can and the easiest place in your basement is your barometric damper.. It will suck the exhaust right from your chimney producing CO in your house. Always have your stove inspected and installed per manufacturer's specs. reminder to all who install pellet stoves, follow the manufacturer's specifications when installing and get a permit and inspection. JIm if you had outside air, the stove most likely will not leak smoke as it will still be using convection to exhaust the smoke, and the smoke probably comes from the 2" air intake not being used on the stove. I would not install a pellet stove without outside air even if the manufacturer doesn't mention it. For 60 bucks you will have good insurance your house will not fill up with smoke during an electrical loss. I've seen to many issues with oversized chimneys (most do not what you to go over a 6" round flue in an existing chimney and 4" for new installations and that's when you get to 15' of total run),, lack of OA and no CO detectors in the home plus hazardous locations like a garage with gasoline being stored and no outside air connected to the pellet stove.
England stove works produces a pretty good stove too for a good price and they are made here in the USA. along of course with the others mentioned here. I've seen some of these stoves selling for 5-6 grand the englands are around 2-3. I have an england stove and have had it since 2005 in my workshop and have never had an issue, knock on wood... and yes it was permitted and inspected. If you do not get a permit and have the stove inspected and you have an issue your insurance company may not cover you.. Jeff
 

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My wife and I have a Whitfield, 16 years old, today's model would be the Whitfield Profile. Does an excellent job, we only supplement with it (about 1 ton per year), BigJim is right though, if it is running when the power goes out sometimes it will backdraft and fill the house with smoke. I do know they have been a main name in pellet stoves for many years. My in laws have an insert, unsure of the brand, they are on their second on in 12 years so I'll stick to my little Whitfield.
 

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Big Jim, and anyone else that may have this problem; if your stove fills the house with smoke with loss of electricity I have a question? Do you have fresh outside air piped to the stove? It is recommended to have outside combustion air if located in a basement especially if you have a gas or oil fired furnace or hot water down there.. Think of it this way, the stove works on negative pressure and it will try to suck air from anywhere it can and the easiest place in your basement is your barometric damper.. It will suck the exhaust right from your chimney producing CO in your house. Always have your stove inspected and installed per manufacturer's specs. reminder to all who install pellet stoves, follow the manufacturer's specifications when installing and get a permit and inspection. JIm if you had outside air, the stove most likely will not leak smoke as it will still be using convection to exhaust the smoke, and the smoke probably comes from the 2" air intake not being used on the stove. I would not install a pellet stove without outside air even if the manufacturer doesn't mention it. For 60 bucks you will have good insurance your house will not fill up with smoke during an electrical loss. I've seen to many issues with oversized chimneys (most do not what you to go over a 6" round flue in an existing chimney and 4" for new installations and that's when you get to 15' of total run),, lack of OA and no CO detectors in the home plus hazardous locations like a garage with gasoline being stored and no outside air connected to the pellet stove.
England stove works produces a pretty good stove too for a good price and they are made here in the USA. along of course with the others mentioned here. I've seen some of these stoves selling for 5-6 grand the englands are around 2-3. I have an england stove and have had it since 2005 in my workshop and have never had an issue, knock on wood... and yes it was permitted and inspected. If you do not get a permit and have the stove inspected and you have an issue your insurance company may not cover you.. Jeff
:dunno:i need some education on what u have asked me-ok. only have a exhaust pipe i call it-going straight thru my cement wall in the basement out to the outside. so what ur saying is-it should have another pipe on the stove??

the fella who installed it--charged me an extra $175 -just to bust the hole thru the wall-and install the pipe at the time. jeez-i was pi$$ed that day. the owner who we bought the stove from-didn't say nothing about that extra cost-when the wife wrote the check for it. this fella claimed he worked as a sub-contractor for Crooked Joe(what i called the owner after that episode) this sub drove the company van-ugh-:banghead::nunu:if the wife hadn't already of wrote the check-i really-really wanted to tell him to take that son of a #&*%% back.

IIRC-isn't there a fan that blows the smoke out thru the pipe-and when the electrically goes out-then till the fire goes out-that's how or why the smoke back drafts-right???

i believe ours is a Harmon stove-i think-not sure. it pretty much just sits down there as a eye piece for now. a bad decision-i think on my part-on trying to cut my oil consumption down. should of used the money instead for putting a inside wall up-against the cement wall-and then insulating that wall good-as my whole wall is exposed -like how a walkout would be. the other 3 walls are pretty much in the ground.

from our experience i could not nor recommend a pellet stove. here-pellets used to be only $58 a ton. now they are $200 a ton. it is far cheaper to burn oil-even if it gets to over $3 a gallon-on our experience.

i have Nationwide as my homeowners-been with them since 1976-auto, etc., they looked this install over-and said nothing bad, wrong with it, etc., so i guess that fella-knew nothing about a extra pipe being needed-yes-?
 

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We have been using a Harman Invincible RS pellet stove for around 20 years. It burns 2.5 tons per year running continuously from November to April.

Probably not as efficient as some of the newer stoves.

Have to replace flame guide every few years. Potentiometers on control board probably weak point.

Overall it just runs. we have tried different pellets and low ash is the best but it has burned everything from corn to pellets from lowes.

You need to clean annually and follow the manual for cleaning as there are areas that need to be cleaned that are not obvious.
 

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Jeff do some of the stoves come with the double wall pipes like fireplaces? This would provide combustion air and exhaust in one pipe. Just a thought.
Yes, some stoves do have the outside air and exhaust in the same pipe, but not all.. Most have a separate 2" (1.7/8) pipe..
 

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:dunno:i need some education on what u have asked me-ok. only have a exhaust pipe i call it-going straight thru my cement wall in the basement out to the outside. so what ur saying is-it should have another pipe on the stove??

the fella who installed it--charged me an extra $175 -just to bust the hole thru the wall-and install the pipe at the time. jeez-i was pi$$ed that day. the owner who we bought the stove from-didn't say nothing about that extra cost-when the wife wrote the check for it. this fella claimed he worked as a sub-contractor for Crooked Joe(what i called the owner after that episode) this sub drove the company van-ugh-:banghead::nunu:if the wife hadn't already of wrote the check-i really-really wanted to tell him to take that son of a #&*%% back.

IIRC-isn't there a fan that blows the smoke out thru the pipe-and when the electrically goes out-then till the fire goes out-that's how or why the smoke back drafts-right???

i believe ours is a Harmon stove-i think-not sure. it pretty much just sits down there as a eye piece for now. a bad decision-i think on my part-on trying to cut my oil consumption down. should of used the money instead for putting a inside wall up-against the cement wall-and then insulating that wall good-as my whole wall is exposed -like how a walkout would be. the other 3 walls are pretty much in the ground.

from our experience i could not nor recommend a pellet stove. here-pellets used to be only $58 a ton. now they are $200 a ton. it is far cheaper to burn oil-even if it gets to over $3 a gallon-on our experience.

i have Nationwide as my homeowners-been with them since 1976-auto, etc., they looked this install over-and said nothing bad, wrong with it, etc., so i guess that fella-knew nothing about a extra pipe being needed-yes-?
Jim look at your stove manual, or the back of your stove. You will see the 2" intake pipe or sometimes the 2" is not visible ( the stove may have a knockout on the back plate) that's why I said the manual. The fresh air kits can be installed thru your rim joist and not need to be drilled thru the cement foundation it's just cold air. It's simple, drill a 2.5" hole and install the flex pipe and water shield outside with silicone sealer and four screws.
If you lose power no fan will operate to exhaust the smoke until the fire goes out unless you have a battery backup or a standby generator. That's why the fresh air intake is so important to be utilized. The smoke you see is coming from the intake, it has nowhere else to go. You have to have an intake somewhere on the stove or the stove would not work. Here is an example of the air intake and exhaust on most stoves;

of course your stove may be different but the fresh air in this pic is on the lower left. You've got one somewhere on your stove.. Some require a kit that goes with the stove to be connected, your manual will tell you about it. Good luck and again the outside air will just about eliminate the smoke back issues you are experiencing. Remember a good seal is also required with all connections and joints. I like RTV or metal tape, the tape is so much easier and can be cut if you need to take the pipes apart..
 

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:dunno:i need some education on what u have asked me-ok. only have a exhaust pipe i call it-going straight thru my cement wall in the basement out to the outside. so what ur saying is-it should have another pipe on the stove??

the fella who installed it--charged me an extra $175 -just to bust the hole thru the wall-and install the pipe at the time. jeez-i was pi$$ed that day. the owner who we bought the stove from-didn't say nothing about that extra cost-when the wife wrote the check for it. this fella claimed he worked as a sub-contractor for Crooked Joe(what i called the owner after that episode) this sub drove the company van-ugh-:banghead::nunu:if the wife hadn't already of wrote the check-i really-really wanted to tell him to take that son of a #&*%% back.

IIRC-isn't there a fan that blows the smoke out thru the pipe-and when the electrically goes out-then till the fire goes out-that's how or why the smoke back drafts-right???

i believe ours is a Harmon stove-i think-not sure. it pretty much just sits down there as a eye piece for now. a bad decision-i think on my part-on trying to cut my oil consumption down. should of used the money instead for putting a inside wall up-against the cement wall-and then insulating that wall good-as my whole wall is exposed -like how a walkout would be. the other 3 walls are pretty much in the ground.

from our experience i could not nor recommend a pellet stove. here-pellets used to be only $58 a ton. now they are $200 a ton. it is far cheaper to burn oil-even if it gets to over $3 a gallon-on our experience.

i have Nationwide as my homeowners-been with them since 1976-auto, etc., they looked this install over-and said nothing bad, wrong with it, etc., so i guess that fella-knew nothing about a extra pipe being needed-yes-?
I found the same thing. 5 years ago we got to the point of not being able to handle firewood anymore. We bought the firewood cut/split/delivered for $150 per cord. That came to $800-$900 per year.

Looked at going with a pellet stove -the cost would be about the same and still would have to handle the many 40# bags.

So we replaced the oil furnace for $2400. Our oil last year cost $975 and didn’t have to touch a thing.

We still have the wood stove and about 3 cord of firewood for power outages. If oil ever makes a big hike again I will revisit all this.

Now with that all said - if someone was handing me $3500 to buy a stove I would go for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Well, Monday this week was a big day. We called one of the two QuadraFire dealers to confirm our decision of the Mt. Vernon E2 Pellet Stove. We were wanting to get an idea of their schedule now that it's turned cold and the availability of the Mt. Vernon E2.

They had one in stock and an install cancellation on Monday the 11th . . . they wanted to do it then. We stated we didn't have the floor ready yet, still trying to come up with the right height the would match the new laminate to be done. He said no issue, they'd lend us a floor pad till we could install the tile we've picked out. This with a CO2 detector would pass inspection and they could get their $3500 from Washington County to complete the deal.

So they're coming Monday. I need to clear the attic area so the new chimney can be easily installed. Tuesday I went into town for a ton of pellets for the new stove, so we'll be ready to go. I also picked up a trailer load of mill ends from Leroy from church since we were out of firewood and it's cold.

Pellets are stacked in the garage ready to go. I think I need an old 'coal bucket' to handle refills since I'm not supposed to lift 40# sacks just yet . . . and of course it will be easier for Missey to handle refills also. The pellets are local, a product of Oregon Fir trees made just South of here an hour or so . . . $211/ton with senior discount at our Coastal Farm store.

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Last year I paid $175/cord for Doug Fir and I had to stack it in the trailer and truck. I cannot do that anymore with this back surgery. I called on Monday about some local wood . . . Cherry or Maple delivered, $300.
 
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