Hearthstone Stoves

I am going to do something a little different. Most postings I try to make folks aware of offers, products etc that may require closer examination before purchasing. I recently bought a Hearthstone Heritage wood burning stove to have some alternative heat in my house and its not been a good customer experience so far. I hope in these entries to not only make other consumers aware of our experience with this Hearthstone product but to also give some tips on how to avoid the problems I have had if you are considering buying a wood-burning stove.

First a general overview.
I looked at several stoves-offered by local distributors and sold online. Because of the potential hassles of ordering online and then contracting with someone not necessarily familiar with the stove manufacturer, I decided to order from someone locally. This is turning out to be a HUGE benefit. So far our contractor JR Bolton is doing wonderfully and is working with me to solve the problems with the stove. Had I contracted with someone to just install then this would be a much worse situation. So first lesson: Put as much time researching a distributor as you do researching what stove to buy. I bought the Hearthstone Heritage because I liked the way it held the heat and this model had a side door for easier wood loading. The color and finish are beautiful.

The Problem.
I read the manual and did several small burn in fires to break in the stove as discussed in the manual. However the stove would not maintain the fire when the doors were shut and the air controller handle was wide open, I had to go to the stove every so often to open a door because the fire would keep dying out. I called Hearthstone and confirmed how the stove SHOULD operate, I looked online and read several articles and forum postings on the operation of the stove. No problem, pretty straight forward stuff. also for this stove there are several youtube videos so I could see how others stoves performed. Mine was not even close. The test of a good company is how they handle a problem. Reaching Hearthstone was hit or miss. Many calls were not returned. When we first raised the issue with the distributor we got some dismissive answer that the firewood was not dry enough. Well according to the folks that delivered it, it was very seasoned and very dry. The one time we spoke to someone at Hearthstone they said it should be dry but unless the wood is green that should not be a problem. When we told the owners of the distributor about the problem continuing and the answers we got, they quickly sent their senior troubleshooter out to the house. This guy, Scott, knows his stuff what a difference it makes to work with someone who cares about doing whats right. So far JR Bolton has acted like they are going to solve this problem. Lucky for me because the customer service out of Hearthstone has been terrible!! So we are entering the second week of trying to get this stove to work properly.

Lessons learned? 1. Do a lot of research!!! So much on the internet is marketing hype so its important that you learn the terminology. Understand how the product works and how it should work once you have it in your home. Know what you should be able to expect from the stove in terms of how it operates. 2. Try to visit more than one distributor and see as many types as you can. 3. Ask if they have referrals. This is important because I have learned that the same stove in different a setting and install can perform differently. 4. Ask to speak to their repair guy and have questions ready about what problems they have had to deal with. 5. Do enough research so you are very clear in your own mind what features you want and how you plan to use the stove.

So in summary. I am not happy with Hearthstone. Because both their product and customer service is so bad, in my opinion, I will never buy their product again or refer people to them. We have a fair chance of getting this fixed because the distributor is trying to help us. More on that as this situation unfolds.