Harman Advance Problems HELP!!

snowriderNovember 21, 2007

Hello everyone, this is my first post. We added an addition to our home last year. My father-in-law met a man who sold Harman stoves and immediately fell in love with these things. He put one in his house, and his garage, and he talked me into putting one in my home. I wanted a gas fired fireplace, but he talked me into the Harman because they were bullet proof, nothing ever ails them, never any problems.. well.. I am soooo soory I listened to him because it has been nothing but problems.....

I went with the Harman Advance. It's a pretty unit, and my wife and I liked it. I would like to preface this by saying that I am very anal abouyt everything I own. I break this unit down and clean it every two weeks.

Problem 1) After one month, it started to make this high pitch squeeling sound when the feed motor was on, to the point we had to shut it off. I called my father-in-laws new best friend, the Harman dealer. His response, "never heard of a problem before...sounds like the feed motor. Come up and get one." I went up, changed it myself, and the noise went away. After a month, it came back, got another one, etc.. noise came back, and the dealer said he found out that the auger shaft can make that noise so he told me to wiggle it and oil the outside of the bearing, and to also oil the hopper lever. I did that and the noise is still there sometimes, but now very infrequent, but it is still annoying. I guess the dealers daughters stove was doing the same thing so he figured it out... but i can still hear it.

Problem 2) I would say every 5 minutes or so the stove will make this loud metal bang to the point you can hear it anywhere in the house, almost as if the glass is going to smash on the door of the stove. Called the dealer.. "oh that's normal, just a pellet getting caught now and then, not to worry..." it does this quite a bit to the point if people are over they say what the hell was that... oh just the pellet stove...

Problem 3) The hopper is now smoking when we fill it. We open the glass, and it's smokey. The pellets are not hot as I feel around making sure that they are not going to ignite. I called the dealer.. "oh that's just smoke getting by, nothing to worry about...."

Problem 4) The burn pot is really carboning up to the point we have to scrape it every day. I don't remember it being that bad last season. I have it set on auto mode, room temp dial half way, temp set on 70', feed rate on 3. I am burning Pinnacle Pellets at the moment, but I have tried Cube X and Northeast??? they are burning the same. I am also seeing smoke from time to time out of the flu. I have the stove direct vented. I cleaned all of the pipes, made sure my air intake is free and clear, etc....

Of course my father in law is in denail because nothing ever ails them..., and the Harman dealer isn't helping me out.

Can anyone help?? Is this normal?? This thing is driving me crazy...not to mention my back ache from lugging around these pellets!!! I have only owned this for one year....

I would really appreciate any feedback.

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Doesn't sound normal to me.

I have a Harman Advance for 4 yrs. now and I think mine works great. I have oil hot water heat and haven't used it since I had the stove installed.

A few things to check though.
1)In the back of the stove, on the end of the augar shaft there's a bearing that spins around which is in very tight tolerance to the back cover that will produce a squeeling sound if they both come in contact with one another. I know because when I pulled covers off to clean my stove I didn't put them back on correctly and I would get a squeeling sound every time the feed motor kicked on. I just had to flex the cover out a little to avoid the bearing.

2)Check the chain on the feed motor to the augar, if not aligned straight or tensioned correctly and the feeder encounters a larger than normal pellet the chain will skip a gear and produce a loud pop. I know this from experience because I got a batch of pellets that were 2.5" to 3.5" long that caused my chain to pop a few times.

3)Smoke in the hopper...........I've never seen that. Did the dealer come to your house and set the correct draft setting? There's a place on the circuit board to set the draft but the dealer has to bring a draft measuring device to measure it and set correctly. I did read on here some where that if you have the optional outside air intake hooked up it was giving a few people problems.

4)I only clean my stove maybe 2 times per ton of pellets and can't recall any really bad carbon build up. But I don't really know whats normal. I did notice the longer I don't clean my stove the better the flame looks and spreads out more thru the fake log.

5)And concerning the Dealer I also read some where that Harman offers their Dealers training on the stoves. Maybe your dealer isn't that knowledgeable about the stove. You should contact another Harman dealer if your not sastified with your current one.

Hope this helps.

I love my stove and would buy another Harman.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 3:21PM
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I truly appreciate your response. When you say back covers, are you referring to the covers that slide in the gooves to cover up the workings of the stove? Which cover are you referring to?

As far as the gears and the chain... I beleive I have them lined up perfectly as the chain rides in the center of the gears, and the tension, I beleive is correct...If I tighten it too much it binds a bit.

As far as the dealer.. I'm about ready to really lay into him. He never has come out. I do have the optional outside air intake, but the draft was never adjusted. This is good to know... as I did not know this before.

I called the one other dealer in my area and he has stopped selling and servicing Harman. Interestngly enough the dealer I called said that Harman sold out to another company last week.

My stove just isn't right. I called Harmon and they pretty much told me to pound sand as I had to go through my dealer. When I told them I tried already, they said that they couldn't help me.....

I actually called the gas company today and have started to research alternatives, but I would prefer to keep what I have...but I'm getting tired of this. I will be calling the dealer this Friday......

I very much appreciate your response. Please have a happy Thanksgiving!!!


    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 4:49PM
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Yes I'm talking about the bottom rear covers that slide into the grooves. I know when I took mine off you can actually see where the end of the augar rubbed the paint away from the cover. Also, I don't have the outside air hooked up and my stove burns great.

I believe Harman should have a better customer service where as their dealers sound like their just in it for a quick sale. If it was me I'd call up Harmans and demand to talk with the owner and explain your situation.

Where are you located? I'm in PA and my dealer seemed very knowledgeable when he installed my stove, he even took the time to show me where to clean the stove and how everything works. Even when I order pellets from him he allows asks if everything is ok with my stove.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 8:18AM
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Check out Harmans web site. There's a place for commets and suggestions. Maybe a little negative feedback will get their attention.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 8:32AM
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Hi John,

I thank you so much for your comments. I live in Ma, so I'm not that far away. Since your first response I have done the following. I tightened up the chain to remove all of the slack. The noises the thing were making have drastically subsided!!! Every now and then you get a little clank or pop when it catches a pellet, but that's about it. I pulled out the outside air intake flex-hose and it really seems to burn much better. My father-in-law was like, no no no, the outside air will be much better. I told him to read the manual and it says the only benefit to outside air is for small tight homes or mobil homes..... Needless to say the outside air is gone!!!

The burn pot is much cleaner, I do scrape it daily and the last two days the carbon build up is down. The only thing I noticed is the glass doors are a little more dirty on the sides, but if the thing will run like it's been, I can live with that!!!

How often do you scrape carbon from yours???? and do you find the glass doors become dirty on the sides???

Frig Harman and their dealers, it seems the actual owners are much more knowledgeable....

Please respond when you have a chance.

Many Many Thanks!!!!

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 10:38AM
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I usually only give my stove a REALLY GOOD cleaning once for every 1/2 ton of pellets I burn, which turns out to be about once a month. That includes scrapping the burn pot, and vacuuming the inside and behind all the internal covers, clean outs, etc. If I have the stove off because of warm outside temps., I usually do a quick vacuum and clean the glass.

I do notice that the left glass gets dirtier more quickly.

I did read somewhere on other posts here that people were having trouble with the outside air hook-up.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 12:14PM
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Thanks for all of the responses. I have removed my outside air intake and it is operating fine at the moment; fingers crossed..... I tightened up the chain and the loud banging has been reduced to a little pop here and there.

I would first and foremost tell people looking at Harman stoves to understand that there will be "NO" customer service from Harman itself; you will need to find a qualified, educated, and commited dealer. Find out up front what he will and will not do. If he doesn't do service work, find a dealer who does and choose their brand.

Further, after reading the manual from Harman that came with my stove, I am convinced that they are not the most all together company. The spelling and grammar errors speak to the unprofessionalism of the company. Of course this is my opinion only, but for cryin out loud pay someone $100.00 to proof read!!!

This site was a great find. Thanks again to all !!!!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2007 at 11:05AM
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Was this a new stove? You should have a three year warrenty on it, and not have to pay for repairs yourself. Also, check out this site, exspecially the pellet and corn crib. Good luck.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2007 at 5:19AM
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Popping sounds like Chain problem, but it sounds like you addressed it.
one thing to check is to make sure the output shaft on the gearmotor doesn't have too much play (in and out) as this will cause the chain to pull out of line and make the popping too.
The chain may also be somewhat stretched now and is slowly chewing up the sprockets, thus starting a downward spiral.....
As far as smoke in the hopper.....
Are the joints inside the hopper siliconed? just wondering..

    Bookmark   December 2, 2007 at 2:31PM
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Thanks for the reply. The stove was purchased brand new by my father in law. It sat for a year in the box before I bought it from him.

On the advance, the gearmotor screws into 4 rubber plugs that attach the the mount. This system to me is stupid after looking at other Harman stoves which have the gear motor attached directly to the auger w/o a chain. When I put the new motor on, I noticed that the motor itself wiggles as it is screwed to the rubber plugs, even though I have them as tight as they will go. I called the dealer as I put a straiugh edge on the two sprockets and they do not line up perfectly. He said that none of them do, but as long as the chain is straight I shouldn't have a problem. It would have been helpful if he actually came out and looked at it. The popping is infrequent since I tightened the chain to remove any slack, but it still does it every now and then.

The smoke in the hopper has dissipated now that I have removed the outside air intake.

Other than the occasional snapping sound, which my dealer says is only a pellet getting caught, it seems to be O.K.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 3:00PM
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Greetings to all,
Just had one installed last week.
Running it on "Stove Temp", per the installer.
I want to switch over to "Room Temp",,as it was one of the strong selling points for our decision to purchase this stove.
Also, toying w/installing a setback t-stat per Harman's tech sheet to that effect.
Also have outside air kit installed, had a slight smokey smell in the first few day, but seems to have subsided, or I am getting used to the smell. (?)
Any thought either way?
Have the unit in the far corner of the short side or bottom of an "el" shaped open floorplan, 24' x 36' and approx 12' wide at the widesest point, blowing across the juncture of the long and short of the "el".
Keeps the open area at about 73-75 dgrees F, burning about 1 bag/day so far w/ temps in high 20's and low 30's.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2007 at 12:16PM
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The Installers came back and sealed the stove pipe behind the stove, and it solved the smoke smell in the house.
It has been running well since then on automatic mode, using the room sensor mode, and we are very pleased with the stove overall.
A weekly vacuuming, and one ash cleanout after the 1st ton burned. Almost 1 1/2 tons burned so far......

A nice appliance.
Still have to remember that the moderate amount of motor and blower noise is a suitable trade off for all of the $$$$ not being spent on heating oil!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 3:24PM
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Is there a way to hook up a digital set-back thermostat on
my Harman Advance? If so how do I go about doing this?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 7:20PM
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