I’m a New England girl, born and raised in Berlin and Milan, New Hampshire and only ever venturing to live in Vermont and Maine for short trials. I’m used to cold winters. Or, at least I should be. But, the last couple of winters have been brutal and, last winter seemed to linger on and on! After a wetter than average summer and a seemingly too quickly moving fall, the snow, and cold, is right around the corner. And, lots of it!
The good ‘ole Farmer’s Almanac says this that winter is going to be a bit of a bear. Bitter colds, lots of snow. Life in the North Country, right? I suppose that its manageable if I’m not being a complete drama queen, but, as summer began to fade the hubs and I were thinking about our 120 something year old house, the cost of oil and the airy drafty feel we tend to experience throughout the winter. To be honest, I have often contemplated packing our goods into a uHaul and getting out of dodge on more than one occasion- but, of course responsibilities keep us grounded here in New Hampshire. Don’t get me wrong, I love our state, the beauty of fall, the warm summer days and slightly cooler nights, but I loathe being cold!
Great Bear Renewable Energy
While walking around looking at the various vendor offerings at the Lancaster Fair we stumbled upon Great Bear Energy. They had some pretty incredible pellet stoves on display and, even though we had never discussed putting in a pellet stove, the hubs and I both slowed, looked, walked away, and returned to the display. Heat! Warmth! Green Energy! Saving Money! Hmmm, maybe this was something to think about.
On our return, Grant, who probably noticed the fear of frost in my face, greeted us. We explained that 3.5 years ago we’d lost our home to a fire and that fire safety was something that was difficult for us to get past. He told us that he understood, explained the fire safety protections in place with a pellet stove and added that Great Bear Energy is the only pellet stove installation company with a nod from our local fire department. We were still unsure but I could feel our guard coming down.
Grant asked for our information and my husband filled out a slip of paper. At that moment I truly thought it would be the end of our newly formed friendship with the man who promised we could heat our giant house and still save a bundle. In fact, the hubs and I barely discussed the pellet stove idea again until he told me that Grant had called and scheduled a time to come to the house to tell us more and give us an estimate.
Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know how I feel about sales, estimates, and follow through. After giving a crook $9k to install new windows and our home and getting nothing in return but a bunch of headaches and a lot of traveling for court (which finally did result in a conviction), I’m not going to be taken for a ride again! So, with my guard up, I agreed to move forward with the estimate process. While waiting for the consultation I checked a few references, too. They are happy to give references which definitely gave me a level of comfort!
Grant from Great Bear Renewable Energy arrived right on time. He carefully explained everything to us and then took a few photos inside and outside our home to determine placement and pipe fitting for the estimate. He wasn’t ever pushy and we truly felt like there was no obligation to purchase. In fact, Grant explained he’s had customers come back a couple of years after the first consultation to purchase their stove and that was totally fine. He promised to send us an estimate by email the next day and sure enough, it hit the inbox as expected. I shuddered a bit and hesitated to read the bottom line …
I am being 100% honest when I say that the estimate literally knocked my socks off. I was expecting it to be so far out of our price range that I’d either be starring in the next Frozen movie by January or doing a lot of big oil behind kissing. I truly couldn’t believe that we could afford to make this happen! We did some number knocking and realized that if our pellet stove lives up to its claims it will pay for itself in just two winters. Cha-ching, cha-ching, baby!
We had decided on the Enviro Mini pellet stove. It’s a good stove! We gave Grant the okay and said we’d be stopping in to the Great Bear Energy showroom in Lunenburg, Vermont later in the week just to look around. (And, observe – see the crook note above! I’m guarded, and honestly, it’s our money so we’ve got some right to be guarded, don’t we?)
By the time we arrived at the showroom the following week I knew that the place he thought our stove should go just wouldn’t work for me. I’m a flexible gal but, eh, I like my living room setup the way it is. Without sounding like a spoiled brat (or, at least trying really hard not to), I explained to Grant that I’d recently purchased my corner desk specifically for the corner it was in – because I had to give up an entire room which formerly housed my home office, and I wasn’t ready to give up this space, too. He was completely accommodating and totally understanding!
We were given a tour of the showroom and of all of the gorgeous pellet and wood stoves. Some of them were just mesmerizing! There were also a couple of amazing antique stoves in a back room that begged me to buy a farmhouse but, I digress. Great Bear Renewable Energy carries some of the finest, most reputable stoves in the industry. Quadra-Fire, Heatilator, Lopi, Avalon, Fireplace Xtraordinaire, Enviro, Mendota, Valor and St.Croix, to name a few.
Heatilator EcoChoice CAB50
Anyway, throughout the tour I tried picturing the various stoves in our space. Some were too grand, some too simple (oh, but a garage or workshop sure would be a good home for those!) and then, there was the Heatilator EcoChoice CAB50. Just look at this pretty little thing!
I loved the design in the air vent – that was my attraction! Can’t you just picture an old-fashioned cast iron tea kettle on top of this? The hubs loved that it has a 120 pound hopper. It’s affordable, pumps out 50,000 BTU’s, 855 efficient and heats 1100 to 2800 square feet. Love!
We were sold – in a completely different direction than we had originally intended to go. Grant was again totally accomodating and promised us another estimate. He delivered on that promise and in no time we were scheduling our install!!
Great Bear Pellet Stove Installation
On installation day I was pleased to see the lead installation tech and an assistant show up a little early. There’s something about contractors running late that gets me. You? They were awesome, even lugging our very first ton of pellets into the basement and stacking them neatly on the pallet. Then, they got to work. They were very pleasant and it was obvious that they knew what they were doing! I felt confidant in their ability to install my stove safely and up to code. Plus, they were careful to not hurt my walls and entryways or my stove when moving it in, they put a drop cloth down to protect my carpet – and even though I had picked out my hearth board in the showroom they brought another along so that I could see them both in my space and make a final choice.
The installation itself only took a couple of hours. These guys were clearly experts and I learned that they are thoroughly trained and NGI certified! Once they were done they fired up the stove, made sure everything was working properly then gave me some training on the operation, cleaning and maintenance of my stove. I was nervous about it until that point but it is totally easy! They cleaned up all of the mess to the point that the stove was the only proof of the installation – no dust and debris from the cutting was left behind.
We’ve been running the stove for a couple of weeks now. It hasn’t been extremely cold although we have had a few nights of very cold weather (below freezing – in early October – why?!) It operates smoothly, isn’t too loud and it is really easy to keep clean. Overall, we couldn’t be more pleased with our purchase! We are very grateful to Grant for introducing us to Great Bear Renewable Energy and for making our new stove a reality.
Here’s my elevator pitch about Great Bear Renewable Energy-
Our pellet stove looks amazing and the installation could not have been done more professionally. We are very impressed with both the product and the service! We highly recommend Great Bear Renewable Energy – if you are like us and have no clue about pellet stoves, or where to start, do yourself a favor and have them visit you for an in-home consultation. Great Bear explains everything, welcomes your questions and really strives to make the entire process as smooth as possible. I changed my mind a couple of times about a couple of things and they were very accomodating. From start to finish, the entire buying, installation and use has been a breeze! The prices are not only fair, they are affordable and they really are willing to work with you to get the best stove in your home within your budget.
We look forward to a happy, safe and warm winter – and, ensuring that is Great Bear’s “highest priority.”
Bring on the cold, Mother Nature, we’re ready! Now, about that cast iron tea kettle … soon, very soon!
Note – While I do write sponsored posts and often review products and services that I have received free of charge, this pellet stove was not free! We paid the full price like any other customer. This review is to help spread the word about this great company because we truly did have a stellar experience and after having some trouble with a contractor in the past it’s refreshing to blabber on and on about something great! Stay warm my friends! And, if you live in New Hampshire or Vermont, check out Great Bear Renewable Energy for your pellet stove and wood stove needs!