Reviews: Harman P68 Pellet Stove

The Harman P68 Pellet stove is a popular item among customers at AES AES Heath and Patio.  We happen to think its a great product, but we want to share actual reviews from our customers who use it everyday.  If you own a Harman P68 let us know what you think.  Do you recommend it?  Do you think it lives up to the manufacturer’s claims?

Here’s what Harman has to say about the P68.  Add a comment and tell us how it performs for you.  Thanks!

The Harman P68 Pellet Stove will burn any grade of pellet at maximum efficiency. Wood pellets have become a popular form of heat because they are environmentally friendly, extremely clean burning and cost effective. This means you can purchase the lower quality pellets and still keep your home at your desired temperature.

The P68 automatically lights its own fire and burns at the correct output to maintain the desired room temperature. When no heat is required, the P68 will shutdown and re-ignite when the demand for heat returns.

Just fill the hopper with pellets and set the desired temperature. The P68 will do the rest except for ash removal, which will be needed after approximately one ton of pellets has been consumed.

From the quality of the newly designed door handle, to the laser-cut and etched details on the accessories, the P68 is in a class all its own.

The P68 incorporates the Harman ESP Probe, which controls the exhaust temperature. The ESP Probe will shut down the feed motor if the temperature reaches a predetermined high limit temperature in the exhaust. A pressure switch will sense a loss of draft (from a door left open or a blocked flue) and automatically stop feeding pellets and shut down the P68.

Features
•    Fresh Look
•    Hook and Roller Door Latch
•    ESP Control
•    Automatic Ignition
•    Room Sensor
•    Patented Feeder
•    Patented Burn Pot
•    Large Ash Pan
•    Swing Open Ash Door
•    Accordion Heat Exchanger
•    Air-Cooled Combustion Blower
•    Super Easy Cleaning
•    More than 127 Square Inches Of Glass

Options
•    Direct Vent
•    Side Heat Shields
•    Hopper Extension
•    Decorative Tile Choices
•    Decorative Etched Slate
•    Brushed Stainless Steel Accessory Kit
•    Bright Nickel Accessory Kit
•    Gold Accessory Kit
•    Ceramic Log Set For a Wood Fire Look

Specifications
Fuel:  Bio-Mass Pellets
BTU Range:  0 to 68,000
Heating Capacity:  2,200+ sq ft
Hopper Capacity:  76 lbs (136 lbs w/hopper extension)
Blower Size:  135 cfm
Flue Size:  3 inches
Outside Air Size: 2-3/8 inch
Fuse Rating: 6 amp
Weight:  290 lbs
Depth:  29-1/2 inches
Minimum Floor Protection:  25″ wide x 33″ deep
Height:  36-7/8 inches
Width:  23-1/2 inches
Testing:  Tested by OMNI-Test Laboratory

Reviews: The Quadra Fire Classic Bay 1200

The Quadra Fire Classic Bay 1200 Pellet stove is a popular item among customers at AES AES Heath and Patio.  We happen to think its a great product, but we want to share actual reviews from our customers who use it everyday.  If you own a Classic Bay 1200 let us know what you think.  Do you recommend it?  Do you think it lives up to the manufacturer’s claims?

Here’s what Quadra-Fire has to say about the Classic Bay 1200.  Add a comment and tell us how it performs for you.  Thanks!

The Classic Bay 1200 delivers bold performance with ease. The impressive heating power with three heat settings is effortlessly controlled by a programmable thermostat or optional remote control. The stunning full bay view door is available in three finishes that will compliment any décor. The powerful heat of the Classic Bay 1200 will provide warmth for many years.

Height:  31 5/8
Front Width:  28 1/2
Depth:  27 5/8
Viewing area 13-7/8 x 11
BTU/Hour Input:  47,300

Available in Matte Black
Options:  Battery Operated Remote Control, Programmable Thermostat, Smart Stat

Accessories
•    Bay door
•    Grille
•    3 piece ceramic log set
•    Ceramic brick refractory

How to remove soot and ash from Your Fireplace

It’s Time to Say So Long to Soot!
If your fireplace is sending smoke signals that it needs a scrub, here’s the quickest way to get it done — without putting a damper on your day

By Carolyn Forte

Biggest Fireplace-Cleaning Challenges
1. A pile of old ashes in the firebox

2. Black soot on the glass

3. Smoky stains on the surrounding brick, marble, or tile

Fastest Fireplace-Cleaning Fixes
1. Trash the ash. A wet/dry vacuum with a disposable bag will handle the job, once the pile has cooled for at least four days. But if you don’t have one of those heavy-duty suckers — or just don’t feel like hauling it out — do this instead: After the ash is completely cold, sprinkle it with damp tea leaves or coffee grounds to cover the stale smell and keep down dust (so you don’t inhale it). Then scoop the pile with a fireplace shovel (don’t worry if you can’t get it all — leaving an inch or two behind is fine), and dump it into a metal can, bucket, or even an old stockpot or clay flowerpot. Discard the mess outside, ideally in a metal trash container, but definitely away from your house.
2. Clear things up. To remove light soot or a cloudy film from glass doors, mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm water and pour into a spray bottle. Spritz a bit on a paper towel and dip it into the fireplace ashes to use as a gentle abrasive (smart, right?). To finish, spray glass and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. If soldered-on gunk won’t budge (and if you really care), scrape it away with a razor blade.
3. Brush it off. If you have smoke stains on your fireplace facing, begin by squirting them with water — it’ll keep the cleaning solution from soaking in too fast (this is particularly important with brick). Then dip a brush in a solution of 1/4 cup all-purpose cleaner to 1 gallon water; give spots a quick scrub; rinse with a clean sponge; let dry. For marble or other stones, squirt with water, then go over with a soft cloth dipped in mild dishwashing liquid and water. Rinse and wipe dry. One exception: If brick facing is more than 50 years old, it may crumble if you scrub with a cleaner. Just vacuum the surface with your soft-brush attachment.

Chimney Cleanup Made Easy
•    Pick up the tools. Buy a dust mask, a metal bucket with a lid to contain ashes, and a commercial cleaner designed to remove soot and smoke stains from brick, stone, and glass (all products available at AES AES Heath and Patio or local hardware stores or home centers).
•    Also consider this: Schedule an annual chimney checkup with a professional sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (csia.org).

How to Buy Wood

Before ordering wood lets discuss the proper units of measurement so you know how to order and know what to expect when it shows up at your home.

1.  What’s a cord?  This is a unit of measure 8′ long by 4′ high 4′ deep, or 128 cubic feet.  The way wood is stacked largely determines how much wood you actually receive.  So, don’t let anybody short-change you.  There’s an old saying, “If you’re selling, stack it so a cat can run through.  If you’re buying, stack it so it can’t.”  Make sure you get your money’s worth and get a real cord of wood.

2.  Face Cord/Run/Rick – This is a unit 8′ long by 4′ high and any depth.  It’s important to specify “full cord” if that is what you intend to buy.  If you don’t, you may end up with less.

3.  Truckload – This is obviously pretty vague.  The average cord of seasoned hardwood weighs about two tons.  If it is delivered in a half-ton pickup, you’re not getting a full cord.

4.  By the Pound – A pound of wood, regardless of its type, is a pound of wood.  The only difference in types of wood is its density.  An oak log weigns more than the same size pine log.  This means there is more fuel packed into the oak log and is worth more.  When buying by any other unit of measurement, you may pay more per pound for softwoods.  If hardwood is available in your area, it’s a good idea to specify hardwood when ordering.

When ordering, ask questions and be specific.  Is it hardwood or softwood? 100% hardwood?  What type of wood?  How much per cord?  Is that a full cord?  Is it seasoned?  How long?  What lengths is it cut?  Is it split?

Specify full cord if that’s what you want.  If you have a choice of hardwood or softwood, specify hardwood because you will get more heat for your money.  If you don’t have a choice, go somewhere else.  Unless the price difference between the two is greater than 25%, pay the extra for the hardwood.

Specify dry seasoned wood.  The moisture content of green wood is typically 50% or more.  Seasoned wood has a 20% to 25% moisture content.  Green wood requires from six months to two years to season.  If the wood is green, you should pay lots less for it.  Also, tell them that you want it stacked, but be aware many will charge you extra to do so.

It’s important for you to be there when the wood arrives and be firm about getting what you pay for.  Check the wood as it’s unloaded.  Then measure it to make sure that what’s delivered is what you’ve paid for.  Check for dryness by looking for check marks.  These are cracks that radiate outward from where the center of the whole log would be.  The larger the check marks the better.  Green wood may appear dry, but without pronounced check marks, you can be assured it’s not.

Another method of testing is to hit two pieces together.  Dry wood will give a sharp ringing sound.  Green wood will give a dull thud.

If ordered hardwood, don’t accept pine, cedar, or other softwoods.  Follow this advice and you’ll get the right wood, and the right amount of wood you purchased.

Wood Stove Annual Maintenance

Now that its warming up,  it’s time to have your wood stove and chimney thoroughly inspected.  Most stoves have several things in common that must be taken care of.  Here are some things AES Hearthplace checks for:

1.  Clean the stove thoroughly.  It’s a messy job, but we have the tools to handle it.

2.  Worn GasketingAES can replace worn-out gasketing.  Gaskets make the door airtight, enhancing the performance of your wood stove  If you stove has a worn-out gasket or one that has come loose, the stove can get more combustion air than it was designed to handle.  Your stove won’t burn as clean and you’ll use more fuel.

3.  Does the door shut securely?  It may need adjustment.

4.   Draft ControlsAES can make sure the draft controls are operating properly.  Creosote will clog the controls making them difficult to move or to get a good seal.

5.  The Damper.  AES will make sure it’s functioning properly.

6.  Cracks.  If you have a cast-iron stove, check for cracks in and between the castings.  If you find some, we can probably repair them.

7.  Thin spots.  If you have a steel stove, you can check for thin spots by pressing firmly with the palm of your hand on any area that appears burned.  If it’s thinning it will flex.  If you discover a thin spot, its time to buy a new stove.

8.  Rust.  If you find rust, its possible to clean the rust off and repaint the stove, but you may as well look for a new stove.

9.  Catalytic UnitAES can remove and clean the catalytic unit.  This should be done every year to prevent it from plugging allow it to function efficiently.

10.  Cleaning the Glass Doors.  New stoves have an “air wash system” that keeps the glass doors cleaner longer.  For older stoves, or when you need to clean your glass doors, there are many great glass door cleaners on the market that will get rid of smoke stains and creosote from the glass. Just make sure the glass is cool before you clean or it may break.

11.  Important for Wood stove Inserts – AES will check the insulation on the surrounds, these are the plates that seal the area between the outside of the insert and the face of the fireplace.  If this insulation is worn, AES will replace it.

How to Purchase a Wood stove That’s Right for You

Wood prices are stable and are unaffected by oil market swings and national economic trends.  It’s an abundant renewable resource which can be obtained locally.  Burning wood reduces our dependence on foreign oil and protects you from wild swings in the energy market.  If energy independence interests you, than you should be serious about heating with wood.

When shopping for a stove take these questions into consideration:

1.  Figure the square footage of the area you want to heat and talk with us about a stove that will heat that area.

2.  Note the space configuration of the area to be heated.  Is it fairly open?  Or are there several walls and doorways?  If the area isn’t relatively open, you may need to purchase some fans to help circulate the heated air.  If your home has a central ventilation system, just turn the fan on, and the heat from your wood stove will circulate nicely.

3.  If there is an existing chimney, we have certified chimney inspectors that can determine if its the proper size for the stove you are considering.

4.  If there’s no existing chimney, our certified chimney installers can show you how to install a pre-fab chimney without damaging or adversely affecting the character of your home.

5.  Will the heat output be satisfactory for you?  You don’t want to overpower the room.  So talk with AES, invite us to your house to make sure the stove you like will provide the comfortable heat output you desire.

6.  Will the firebox accommodate the size of logs you will use?

7.  Match the style of the wood stove with the decor of your room.  Today’s wood stoves offer many options and finishes to suit your needs.

You’ll be satisfied with your choice of wood stoves if you give these points careful consideration.