can anyone recommend this brand or more importantly not recommend it? we are looking at the one with the coal fireplace look, sort of hooded.
I've done repairs on Valor fireplaces. Generally they are pretty reliable and of good quality. The ones I've worked on have been a pretty nice, simple design--- which is good.
They tend to have a lot of specialty parts, but on the other hand the only thing that went bad with them was a burned out thermocouple or a bad wiring harness to the limit switch --- and they improved the wiring harness.
I'd consider getting one myself if I were in the market.
I have had that very Valor fireplace for over 8 years and I love it. It is the most used appliance in my house.
We moved into our house 12 years ago. It has a Valor fireplace insert upstairs. It is an uncomplicated device, throws out tons of heat and is the main heat source for that floor. We're in the process of building a house, a rancher with a walkout basement. We'll have a woodstove downstairs and I'm making sure that we have another Valor upstairs in the great room!
I've had a Valor fireplace insert for about 3+ years, trouble free. Things I love about my fireplace:
-It's looks. The cast iron facade looked better to me than most others I saw.
-Remote control. Hasn't failed me yet and so easy!
-Radiant heat. They make a big deal about how their fireplaces are designed to radiate plenty of heat without a fan. Creative marketing? I dunno, but it works as promised. I have a small cape with the fireplace in the center of the house and the idea of a more gentle radiant heat was appealing. If you have a large space and want to pump the heat out, fans are an option (at least they were three years ago!)
we have had the Valor Madrona for about 3 years and have had lots of problems. It was installed in a seasonal cottage so it has very limited usage. We hadn't used it for more than a year before it stopped working. The Reset Box (holds the batteries) showed considerable damage from heat and batteries were damaged as well. The nearest dealer was 8 miles beyond his travel area so we had to dismantle the whole fireplace and take it to HIM! He kept it for about 7 month, repaired it by replacing the entire working mechanisms as they were "fried"! We had serious carbonization on the inside of the glass and the logs. Bear in mind that this fireplace is used, maybe, 3 months out of the year!. Now after being idle for 5 months, the cottage is being opened for the 2012 summer season. We have used the fireplace for about 2 days now and just yesterday it stopped worked again. It appears that the battery box has damage again!!! Is it that we have a "lemon" for a fireplace? I don't look forward to having to pull this thing out once again. We wanted a fireplace that didn't require this much work!!!