Harman Pellet Stove Review – The Work, The Cost & The Upkeep

Dec 30 2018
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My new Harman Pellet Stove. First I have to start this post with a disclaimer. After living with a wood stove for three years and hauling wood 300 feet from my shed to the house alone last winter I am about as biased as they come. Is having a pellet stove as easy as adjusting the thermostat to a furnace? Absolutely not. Is having a pellet stove a cake walk compared to what I was doing? Absolutely!

My pellet stove is incredibly clean burning. I don’t think it produces more than 3 cups of ash a week even with it burning a lot of the time.

It is not totally without a little upkeep. Once a day I clean out where the pellets burn and I also sweep out the inside of it. (All in I might spend as much as 20 seconds a day on it.)

It is SO easy!

Once a week I empty its ash bucket, vacuum it out and also clean the glass – this may take me 5 minutes. Of course to do this I have to cool the stove down which usually takes about an hour.

(Ok, I’m officially an adult, I LOVE my little green Bissell vacuum and it works great on my pellet stove too.)

Of course I also have to fill it which I do now sometimes more than once a day because its so cold out. It is as simple as opening up the back of it and just dumping them in.

When I rave about my pellet stove I try not to start out with, “OMG it is SO much better than what I was doing!” Because a pellet stove is still a really great, low maintenance, heat source regardless of what I’m comparing it to lol.

My harman pellet stove is incredibly clean burning, how I clean it, the glass, maintain it and the work involved in owning a pellet stove, I love it!My harman pellet stove is incredibly clean burning, how I clean it, the glass, maintain it and the work involved in owning a pellet stove, I love it!My harman pellet stove is incredibly clean burning, how I clean it, the glass, maintain it and the work involved in owning a pellet stove, I love it!My harman pellet stove is incredibly clean burning, how I clean it, the glass, maintain it and the work involved in owning a pellet stove, I love it!My harman pellet stove is incredibly clean burning, how I clean it, the glass, maintain it and the work involved in owning a pellet stove, I love it!

The bags are 40 pounds and, for now at 32 years old, that’s no problem when it comes to weight for me though I suspect, as I get older, I may depend more on my electric heat one day.

For now I am burning pellets every day and its keeping my home warm with no problems whatsoever. Its wonderful because it has a thermostat on it and I just set it at whatever temperature I want my home to stay.

I am not totally reliant on my pellet stove as I installed an electric heater in my living room this fall. They support each other and neither runs constantly even when it is really cold out.

(After I had my electric heater and pellet stove installed I turned them all up and just basked in an 80 degree living room one night simply because I could. It was bliss!)

Not all heats are created equal.

This gives me the feel of wood heat and it provides the look of a fire without all the upkeep and danger of it in a home. It has a blower on it so it also circulates throughout my house really efficiently.

Though I am a total Do It Yourselfer I chose NOT to do any of this myself. I could have purchased a pellet stove at Menards (or any of the big box stores) for around $1,400 and probably had it installed for around that price too.

(So, doing it like that would have cost me about $3,000 all together.)

Instead, I chose to hire a local company and buy the stove they recommended and pay them to do it right. My complete cost was $4,800.

They recommended this small but mighty stove made by Harman. I even opted to spend a couple more hundred dollars for heat shields on the sides so it could be closer to my kitchen sink and thus centered on my window.

I got a far better warranty than I ever would have otherwise and I also got a two hour long training session on how to take it entirely a part and maintain it.

The training itself I was SO grateful for!!

I also got to know the owner a bit and I feel like I could call his company, day or night, if I had any problems whatsoever. There is something incredibly reliable when you go local and that is exactly the peace of mind that I was willing to pay for.

Funny story, the local company I purchased the stove from lost my number so he called my cousin (small towns lol) and got my phone number from him.

My harman pellet stove is incredibly clean burning, how I clean it, the glass, maintain it and the work involved in owning a pellet stove, I love it!My harman pellet stove is incredibly clean burning, how I clean it, the glass, maintain it and the work involved in owning a pellet stove, I love it!My harman pellet stove is incredibly clean burning, how I clean it, the glass, maintain it and the work involved in owning a pellet stove, I love it!

I am positively delighted with my pellet stove.

Nearly daily I was hauling wood 300 feet to a radiant wood stove in my kitchen. Daily I spent at least three hours just getting it going, feeding it, maintaining it and cleaning it. Weekly it was several more hours at least in just hauling more wood in.

(Yes it was a part time job not to mention the constant cleaning it caused from ash and wood covering my entire house. The damage it caused is going to require me to repaint my entire first floor.)

It also turns out that the pipe from the wood stove to my chimney was not installed properly. The man who cleaned my chimney told me flat out that I was lucky I didn’t burn my house down.

It makes me sick to my stomach just to think about it.

Not to mention angry! I just thank the universe nothing bad happened and its over.

My pellet stove requires electricity to run so, if I lose power, I’m out of luck. That may have been the ONLY thing about my wood stove that I appreciated in the end.

But do you know how many times I needed it because my electricity went out for an extended period of time? 0 times.

This is the first time I’ve lived here in the winter that I’ve come home to a warm house. It is something I appreciate daily and it still just amazes me. Before, with the wood stove, I would come home, not bother to take my boots or my coat off and spend the next hour starting a fire and getting it going.

Because it was radiant (no blower) my kitchen would warm up but my living room never got much above 45 degrees.

I spent almost all of my time when I was home just baby sitting it and worrying about it and filling it. Everyone I was close to just got used to my constant mantra of, “I have to go fill the wood stove.”

My harman pellet stove is incredibly clean burning, how I clean it, the glass, maintain it and the work involved in owning a pellet stove, I love it!

The anxiety of it was insane.

It was to the point where my mom asked me if I wanted to just go and live with her during the last of the winter months. But I was determined to get through it as all of my own choices and compromises was what put me right there in that awful situation.

I spent all this last year erasing the poor decisions (and terrible work) I allowed to happen to my home.

I still have a ways to go but this was the biggest one.

The bags of pellets themselves I purchased for less than $5 a piece and I got 120 bags. We shall see if its enough as our darn weather turned cold REALLY early.

So, how much is it going to cost me a year now to heat my home?

Less than $1,000

If I was purchasing wood then this is actually going to cost me LESS.

If I was able to find the wood for free, haul it, cut it and split it myself then if my time is worth anything than I’m literally paying myself thousands to no longer heat with wood.

Not to mention the anxiety of a chimney fire and the constant worry of lighting a 900 degree fire in my kitchen before going to work every morning… and during the coldest days of the winter I was also having to be home every 6 hours to fill it.

It would have been foolish of me to do anything less than get it out of my home.

In the end I absolutely love my pellet stove!

My harman pellet stove is incredibly clean burning, how I clean it, the glass, maintain it and the work involved in owning a pellet stove, I love it!

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12 Comments

  1. December 30, 2018 at 8:30 am

    We switched from a wood stove to a pellet stove this year as well! Although we’re still working out the kinks of the pellet stove, I already like it so much more than the wood stove! It super wasy to maintain & keeps our house a lot warmer than the wood stove ever did!

    • December 30, 2018 at 7:21 pm

      It does take some getting used to especially if it’s a switch from wood to pellets. Glad to hear so far you feel like it was the right thing for you! So far it is definitely the right thing for me! Happy new year!

  2. Kathy from CT
    December 30, 2018 at 8:47 am

    We have had a pellet stove for 13 years & absolutely love it, even without a thermostat. We also placed small fans in 2 doorway corners to push the warm air further into the house. Drying clothes by it is faster, with the added bonus of moisture being added to the air. Worrying about losing electricity prompted us to save up for a whole-house generator. We purchase during the summer sale about 4 tons of pellets, delivery & placement are included. I am so happy for you that your stove is making your life so much easier and cozier.

    • December 30, 2018 at 7:24 pm

      A generator is definitely something I’ve been considering. I’m hoping to start saving and working toward solar (or wind) power someday! It’s so great to hear other people who have been happy with them especially over years! I’ve worried and wondered how long they last.

  3. Toni
    December 30, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Clearly, you made the right decision! Could you answer a few questions please:Is the electrical part just the pellet delivery system? Would you be able to manually feed the pellets if (God forbid!) the power did go out? Does the heat reach out to the bedroom and bathroom?
    Thanks so much!
    Toni

    • December 30, 2018 at 7:26 pm

      Hi Toni! The stove both feeds the pellets, lights them on fire and runs it’s blower via electricity but my next step for my home is saving up for either wind or solar power. I’m very happy I made the switch but its need for electricity might be something to take into account for other folks. Happy new year!

  4. December 30, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Interesting post. We have a gas fireplace, but I still found this interesting. I do know a few people who have pellet stoves. I’m glad that you are enjoying yours.

    • December 31, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      Thanks Amy, so far I’m happy with it 🙂

  5. JoAnn Gebczyk
    March 4, 2019 at 7:53 am

    Hi Tarah,
    I’m the one that sent you a picture of the box we fill with our wood pellets
    about 2 bags at a time and about 1 in the hopper. We love our wood pellet stove
    and it looks a lot like yours. We have had it for about 8 years now. So glad
    you made the switch and you will be glad for a long time. We used to heat
    with wood too.

    • March 4, 2019 at 9:48 am

      Hi JoAnn, its great to hear from you again! I did take your advice, I happened to have a scrap wood box from my grandparents’ barn that I’d been using for extra blankets in my guest bedroom. It ended up darned near the perfect size, I can fit two bags in it! Totally love my pellet stove still especially after this brutal winter!

  6. Denise Fuson
    October 23, 2019 at 11:41 am

    Could you have a battery and inverter for when the electric goes out?

    • October 23, 2019 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Denise, absolutely! It plugs in to a normal wall outlet and runs on a 15amp breaker so a battery and inverter would work.

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