- Link to a some pictures and descriptions of new products at the HPA (Hearth Products Association) Trade Show.(2001 show)
Past current affair - Vent-Free Gas Fireplaces, Stoves and Logs
This commentary written by Craig Issod (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Most of you have heard about Pellet Burning stoves. These stoves burn wood pellets, which are made from compressed sawdust. They have some great features, such as:
However, these appliances have had their fair share of problems. So much so that a large percentage of Fireplace and Heart dealers have stopped carrying and promoting the products. Let's talk about these problems:
1. Overselling of the Product: Yes, it was exciting when these stoves first came to market...a whole new category. However, some of the early "pushers" of these products made exaggerated claims about the efficiency, ease of use, cost savings, reliability and quality. Truth be told, many...if not most of the early units had terrible quality-control problems. Breakdowns and service calls became the norm rather than the exception.
2. Lack of Adequate Testing: In a rush to be in on the sales craze, many manufacturers brought units to market prematurely...resulting in service headaches and unhappy customers.
3. Lack of Infrastructure: When the first pellet stoves were manufactured, only two or three pellet fuel plants existed. There were actually shortages of pellets at some times, in addition to high prices (due to trucking pellets over a long distance).
These factors led many dealers, and some manufacturers, to rethink the viability of these machines. A backlash occurred, and pellet stove sales slowed.
What Now ?
I'm happy to report that things are now looking much brighter
1. Stoves are more reliable: The manufacturers are now into their third generation of pellet stoves, and have made changes that improve reliability and efficiency.
2. More Wood Pellet Plants: Most areas of the US now have wood pellet plants nearby. In addition, large companies such as Agway, Wal-Mart and others are offering pellet fuel.
3. Dealers that sell pellet stoves are now familiar with the servicing and realistic performance of these machines.
So, can I apply the ultimate test? Would I buy a Pellet Stove? The answer is now YES...I just love watching these things work....the auger feeding the pellets into the firepot, the automatic lighting systems. It feels good burning a fuel which is made from a renewable resource.
Before you rush out and buy one, do consider the following:
1. They do require electric to operate - some have battery backups in
case of power failure.
2. Fuel prices can vary - pellets do cost more than firewood, but less than propane or electric heat. See our fuel cost comparison calculator to compare the costs in your area.
3. Be sure of the dealer and manufacturer that you purchase from...how long in business ? What length warranty? etc..
ENJOY YOUR NEW PELLET APPLIANCE !
[ Return to What's it all about ? ] [ Specific Information on all fuels and products ]
Last years current HOT subject below
Ventless Gas Logs, Fireplaces and Stoves
have become extremely popular within the past few years.
This popularity is due to some great features:
Seems too perfect - there must be something wrong !
These ventless products have caused quite a stir in the Hearth Industry, and different Manufacturers , Retailers and Distributors have varied opinions about them. For instance, Heatilator Inc., one of the top makers of Fireplaces and Stoves in the US, has taken a stand against the use of ventless products. They refuse to sell them or to allow them to be used in their manufactured Fireplaces. Some States actually forbid the use of ANY unvented appliance, and even where they are allowed, certain Retailers, Installers and even gas providers have refused to deal with them.
Just what are the facts ? Should you consider an unvented appliance for your home ?
As usual when this much money is involved, many experts are available to spew forth dialog standing up for their side of the story. Here are some of the specific issues, followed by my personal opinion (as one who sells theses products). Hopefully, you'll be able to sort through these issues and decide if an unvented appliance is for you !