Buying Pellet Stove INSERT and Don't know which to get

mammoth357October 9, 2005

Hi All;

New here...great threads and read alot but now wife and I are ready to buy and don't know what we want exactly.

Home area to be heated: 1960 Sq Ft

Currently have natural gas furnace and will keep that as backup and such but would rather it not come on! :)

Want this pellet stove to go into our fireplace (mason brick chimney)... fireplace box size is 35" wide, 29" high and 23" deep and the shelf that sticks out is brick and slate and extends out from the fireplace 15"... you can easily sit on it...

We want a pellet stove insert and have decided we are done with the work of wood (loved it but tired and no time)...want to stay under $5000.00 installed.

Chimeny we now have is about 15' high (one floor ranch)... Looks like Harman is the brand many of you like and that would be fine but I cannot see from their website where they have a pellet insert big enough for our 1960 sq feet area.

we are open to suggestions on brands. We want themostat and other features that make it easy as possible.

What would YOU buy with $5000.00 complete price to accomplish the job?

Does harman make an insert for this size area and if so which model?

And finally: Should we just get a stand alone model and keep the fireplace for any special reason we may not be thinking of?

THANKS ALL!

Jake

Upstate NY

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Switching2Wood

You've got lots of options. I'd suggest doing online research and narrowing it down to a few options.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 6:13PM
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Switching2Wood

Oh yeah, and, especially with a pellet stove with a large BTU range, my opinion is that you should err on the side of getting one that is more than needed.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 6:14PM
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Xanndra

Unless you know for sure that this exact model is available where you live, then you will have to wait until January or February for delivery. Harman, like most other pellet stove factories are back-ordered on pellet stoves. Plus, most places are already out of the pellet fuel. Check on availablity on the fuel too, before you buy.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 7:50PM
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mammoth357

Thanks all; I can get plenty of pellets no problem...lumber company my friend is manager and he has LOADS and also walmart, and tractor supply have them as does agway.

Stove: My research shows that Quandra 1200I will do the trick. Is this a good EASY and dependable unit?

Also; Still want to know if Harman makes an insert big enough for my needs. Their website shows only one model and that is smaller then I want. Is that ALL they have is one model insert? Does not seem correct to me to read all posts on harman. SOmething seems amiss.

Time: No problem. I have heat...and I can use the fireplace and we do not mind waiting long as we have to so long as I make proper decision.

Still not sure if we should get free-standing or insert... have read ALOT and it all left me undecided.

Anyone want to comment and maybe help me make up my feeble mind? LOL!
Thanks;
jake

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 9:24PM
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Xanndra

Well, if you take a look at the BTU's on each the Quadra Fire and the Harman inserts, you will see that the
Quad states:
Heating Capacity: up to 2,500 square feet
BTU Output: 15,000 - 40,000

Harman states:
Heating Capacity --1,400 square feet
BTU Output: 0 to 42,000

So you can see that the Harman has a bigger BTU output versus the Quad.

Never trust the "square footage" that they claim will heat. Always look at the BTU's.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 9:46PM
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mammoth357

I have read many of your posts Xanndra with great respect for your knowledge and appreciate your input.

I must admit I have been VERY impressed with all I have read on the net about harman. I was worried that their model would not handle the job.... but your point is valid and I missed that. I WAS caught up with the square footage stated....

SO... LOL.."if you were me"... would you get that harman model or keep looking for something with more BTU's?

Thanks again!
Jake

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 10:19PM
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Xanndra

Well, unless your fireplace is centrally located AND you have a VERY open floor plan, then most likely no one single insert will heat your entire home. There are always cold spots like down hallways, etc. If this is the case with you, then I personally would go with the Harman just because I am familiar with them and am confident in their performance. I do NOT know the Quads from a personal perspective so I cannot really comment.

As I don't know what climate you live in, how warm you like your home, the layout of your home, how well insulated your home is and if your ceilings are high, it is difficult to know which way to steer you--one of these pellet stoves or another one with higher BTU's.

Should you decide to go with a freestanding unit, then it will put out more heat than an insert that has the same BTU's.

It's your call.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 10:28PM
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mammoth357

OK... also, which do you like better for whatever reason; Quadra or Harman? I now seem to have it narrowed down to these two and HAVE to make a decision tomorrow morning as both dealers are near me...and I am leaving for work trip out west (Wyoming) and want the order in before I go.

C'mon Xanndra... help me out here... You were in the business...Pick a darn insert for me! LOL!
Thanks again;
Jake

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 10:28PM
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Switching2Wood

Xandra wrote . . . "Should you decide to go with a freestanding unit, then it will put out more heat than an insert that has the same BTU's."

I disagree.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 11:19PM
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mammoth357

I read "that thread" and know why you both disagree so no need to debate the point here. I am going to agree with "X" out of plain and simple logic on that one as a free=standing has got to offer some amount of extra "radiated" heat I would think from its other sides. However:

The insert would be the best location for the house as is in the middle of the house and the blower would blow the heat right down the hallway to the 3 bedrooms.

The free-standing only has one place it could go and it would be facing the other direction which is not optimal for the layout and would end up with the hallway and 3 bedrooms being cooler.

The house is pretty open layout as the livingroom, diningroom and kitchen are open to each other and seperated by a long center counter so the heat can really go through all 3 of these rooms easily.

There are 2 rooms at the other end of the house that might be cooler but nothing I can about that.

So the insert for the layout would make more sense in actuality...

I am going to the Harman dealer at 9AM when they open and see what can be arranged. I want someone from their shop to come to my home before I buy so as to make sure eveything will be A-OK with fit and installation.

If all goes well, I will buy the harman insert! I will post a follow-up here including prices, tomorrow!

THANKS AGAIN for the helpful comments!
Jake

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 2:47AM
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Switching2Wood

Jake wrote- "I am going to agree with "X" out of plain and simple logic on that one as a free=standing has got to offer some amount of extra "radiated" heat I would think from its other sides."

This conclusion assumes that the two units are identical, but one is shoved in the brick fireplace. This is not true.

"Plain and simple" logic, if such a thing exists, dictates that the parameters of the two devices should be compared.

Ask these questions . . .

Are the blowers the same on both units? If not, then net BTUs will be affected, of course.

Is the construction around the box the same? If not, then net BTUs will be affected. It's well and good to say the stove "radiates on all sides," but there are design limitations inherent in a device that stand alone.

So Jake, sorry to highjack the thread, but I feel compelled to point this out to anybody else who might be teetering between an insert and a freestander . . .

The conclusory statement that, for equivalent BTUs, the freestanding stove keeps you warmer than an insert has been unsupported on this website other than by the anecdotal comment that the freestander has more sides from which to radiate heat.

Although this certainly may be true, I won't believe it until there is better evidence, and anybody considering an insert purchase, in my opinion, of course, shouldn't be swayed by this topically appealing, yet substantively lacking conclusion.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 9:43AM
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mammoth357

Thanks for the comments... I actually don't personally care about what most lilely would be a minute difference anyway and as I stated the insert is better located for my home use so I, in the end, had no choice but to go insert.

Everyone told me this morning to get a harmon Accentra would be January and I had to wait. I called Dealers all around NY and heard that answer over and over. One dealer about 100 miles away said he had someone who had just cancelled for whatever reason, and I got it!

Price I paid: $3267.oo for just the unit. That was the same price MANY dealers gave me also.

The local Harman dealer would NOT agree to install it as I did not buy it from them (Idiots)... I would have paid their price and bought all the extras from them also... there are 2 local harman dealers, neither would take the job. THATS DISCOURAGING. They would have made profit from the extra's I would have bought as well as the install... and continued purchases from them. They left me feeling they are major idiots.

The dealer I bought from 100 miles way will bring it down to me and install it and I will, of course , have to pay extra.

But...I GOT ONE and ordered 3 ton of pellets from my buddy who manages the local Lumber place. Price was $200. per ton...delivered. Brand is Energex and they have a website energex.com
They are softwood pellets and supposed to be good for the task.

Anyone use these pellets and if so, give me some feedback on them please!

Anyway; Thanks all for the help! My purchase is done and just have to find out when its being installed which I will know later today.

Cheers:
Jake
"Soon to have a warm wife"
LOL!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 1:52PM
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Switching2Wood

Jake, good deal man. 600 bucks for 3 tons? Sounds like a real cheap way to heat to me.

Anyway, I hope it works out great for you.

As for the local dealers' refusal to instal it for you, I'm not sure what gives there.

I'll bet dollars to donuts that X will come out in support of the dealers, however. ;-)

I think there is probably an element of "you didn't buy it from us, so we are not going to help you" in their response.

Anyway, if they could do it but they didn't out of spite, then I agree that that's not great business.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 4:49PM
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Xanndra

Actually, as regards to those dealers not installing it, I will have to agree with the purchaser (that they are idiots).

Given that they could not sell you a unit, they should have at least agreed to install one that you found. Unless they now have a contract with Harman that says otherwise and unless they already had too many installs booked, then they should have installed it. This was another thing that I have warned about. When the dealers get too busy, they start picking and choosing which business they actually want. Installations don't bring in as much profit as the sale of the stoves do. Unfortunately, the dealers try to grab the biggest bucks they can in the shortest amount of time. It is very short-sighted thinking, but it is actually the customers that fuel the short selling/installing season.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 7:26PM
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Switching2Wood

Hey Xandra, what is the markup on a typical 2k stove?

They quoted me 800 for installation of a Regency insert, which I thought was bit ridiculous. If you figure two guys working for 8 hours, which is generous, that's a rate of about 110 grand a year, EACH.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 9:39PM
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mammoth357

I spoke to the owner this evening of the Harman store that refused to help me (I went there).
He DID say that as I did not buy it from him and he did not make the sale profit, he would not install it. He said have the other dealer install it (the one who is 100 miles away). He said he has plenty of business already and does not need mine. WOW. All I asked was to buy ALL the accessories (thermostat, log insert kit, rails, etc) from him and also pay his price for the install... and I told him he could add a couple hundred on for me getting it elsewhere... and he still said no.

I thanked him for his time and left.

I then spoke to the owner of the OTHER harman dealership about 40 miles away. They told me the same darn thing! WOW!

Moral of the story: If I am not willing to wait for THEM till January (which would become March as it looks now)....then they will NOT install it. So it goes.

Solution to others; Buy your units in AUGUST or earlier. The dealers have nothing to do then, and will actually treat you like a human and like your money is important to them.

I almost went to Quadra-fire up the street and said to hell with Harman. These harman guys are not doing the company any big service and I WILL be letting Harman know about it.

If the dealers had me buying something thay DID have I would then be their best friend!
I don't need friends like that!

My next plan to get expert care and installation is call the dealers in ALbany. Maybe I will get professional people to deal then.

Man...these harman dealers HATE each other and all I heard was them whine about "their territory" and how the "other guy" did not even belong in "their territory" etc...
VERY UNPROFESSIONAL.

You others who may read this BEFORE you buy: BUY EARLY and find a GOOD Professioanl dealership to work with. Take your time...ask around...and don't work under the gun like I did.
Later all;
jake

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 9:56PM
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Xanndra

Yes, by all means, let your concerns be made known to the Harman factory.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 10:10PM
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Switching2Wood

Hey Jake, here's my Harmon sermon . . .

I call a guy in my town. First, their phone won't take my call because I block my number. ?? Who wants them privacy nut customers? I guess.

Then I unblock, he answers, and I get hung up on.

So I call a few other guys, all nice.

Then I stop by the first guy's shop. His wife is minding the place. She takes my name and number. No return call.

My attitude on this? I'm glad he's busy. It's a good thing for him, I like his product, and so on. I imagine he's busy as heck. Me? If somebody calls my business, I call them back immediately, even if it's to say, "I'm not taking new clients."

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 10:12PM
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Xanndra

" what is the markup on a typical 2k stove?
40% is typical markup. Sometimes more sometimes less. It kind of depends on the time of year, the competition, and if they want to dispose of any old stock.

"They quoted me 800 for installation of a Regency insert, which I thought was bit ridiculous."

Is that labor only? Or did it include the venting? If it is labor only, the market/season dictates the price.

"If you figure two guys working for 8 hours, which is generous, that's a rate of about 110 grand a year, EACH."

That would assume that they are doing it busily year-round which is not the case. Usually, there are only 3 busy months out of the year. Summer months could have them only doing a couple a week at most unless they have a big apartment/housing contract. This year is a little unusual. Top that all off with the job that the crew is sent out on that the insert does not fit the fireplace, don't have all the venting parts, etc. That could be an entire day wasted and not gotten paid for.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 1:16AM
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Switching2Wood

That would assume that they are doing it busily year-round which is not the case.

It assumes nothing. I used the word "rate," which does not mean annual salary.

Busy or not busy,it's really pricey. I did the job by myself, with a little help from the wife, including demolition, in about 6 hours. If there are two guys coming out, one may have some skill, but the other guy is just some lackey.

How can they not be making a huge amount of money on the installation? Sure, maybe it's seasonal, but they're still making a lot of money when they do it.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 8:05AM
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jchap

Hi,
I'm brand new here but this is exactly what I'm looking for (along with everyone else I know).
Any recommendations for finding an Accentra?
It looks as if acquiring one is like being in Lord of the Rings.
Thanks all.
chappy

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 4:02PM
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begreen1

HI Jake,
I have the QuadraFire 1200i. It's going on its 5th year and has been a fine stove. We have it hooked up to a digital thermostat so it sets back at night, yet is warm and cheery when we wake up. Neither stove will thoroughly heat your house in your climate if the house is not tightly insulated with good windows. If it is really cold outside and blowing hard, then it is likely that your furnace may come on while the pellet stove is running. But the furnace will shut off much more quickly than if it was trying to heat the house alone. Chimney height is not an issue, the exhaust is presurized and will need it's own 3" pipe inside of the existing stack. The Quad and the Harmon are both good stoves. I think the Quad is easier for maintenance, but I don't think you would go wrong either way. If you're having trouble buying locally, consider buying from a NW dealer and have it shipped. They're made in WA so I would expect freight to be approx $400.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2005 at 12:41PM
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acymbal

I am waiting for a 1200i and i have been told it will be a while yet. As for ordering from the NW, who would I then get to install it? As the guy who started this thread stated, it seems dealers are unwilling to install a stove they did not sell.

Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 11:41AM
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begreen1

I live remote from the dealer and ended up installing the stove myself. It is not as hard as it sounds. I took my time and all went as planned. The Quad instructions were good and I got the materials from a local dealer. Another source for an installer might be a local chimneysweep.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 7:53PM
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Amaralluis

Hi Jake,

Sorry to bring this old thread up, but I just ordered an accentra that should be here in january.

I assume that you've had it for awhile now, so I was wondering if you could provide your opinion, as seeing you have a bigger house than mine and so if it is good enough to keep your house warm, it will be enough for mine also.

Thanks

    Bookmark   December 16, 2005 at 10:29PM
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zeta

Amaralluis - Have a peek at the yahoo pellet stove members group. Lots of folks over there have the accentra.

Here is a link that might be useful: Yahoo Group Pellet Stoves

    Bookmark   December 17, 2005 at 9:35AM
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cesca1

I live in NH and am looking into getting a pellet stove insert. I have a wood stove insert now, but would like to see if I can get an affordable pellet stove instead. Hiuse is two stories, about 2200sq ft, and the stive would be near the center of the house. Any suggestions??

Thanks,
Cesca1

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 3:05PM
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dianacarol

Hi, I live in So. NH and am looking to buy a pellet stove insert. From all I'm reading, it'll be either Harmon or a Quad, and I'm leaning towards the quadra as I'm reading a some negativity on the harmon. We want something that's easy, as low maitenance as possible, and don't want to light it with a match! If you find anything out that you can share, please let me know. Thanks, Diane

    Bookmark   June 7, 2008 at 11:50PM
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eddiejay

I am running into the same problem buying a Harmon Accentra. Luckily, I spoke to a dealer and he told me he would be receiving some next month so it looks like I might get one by July. This is my question, I spoke to a reliable heating contractor who advised that the insert could heat my whole home, which is 3200 sq. ft. He said that if I keep my blowers on ( I have forced hot air) the hot air would go into the return ducts and circulate throughout my house. Has anyone found this to be true?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2008 at 10:41PM
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