Yeah when we moved here in '03, it didn't take long to figure out we couldn't afford to stay warm in here burning oil. That first winter we went through 4 tanks of oil - about 900 gallons - to freeze at 58° during the day, and 56° at night and when we were at work. Oil was $1.90 a gallon then!!
So I saved my pennies and by fall of '05 I was able to buy a brand new Mark I. Made a HUGE difference in heating comfort & cost. We were warm, AND saving money. But after burning it for 3 years I realized this unit was far too small for the heat load this building was putting on it. So, during the summer of '08, just a mere months ahead of the big panic, I decided to upgrade. I chose the SF250, since it was the biggest, baddest hand fired in the Harman lineup. However by September, I called to ask of the status on when it would be arriving, my heart sank BIG TIME when they told me .... FEBRUARY!
So I told them in no uncertain terms that was not going to work for me - I had a seasons worth of coal, and no unit to burn it in, as I had just sold the Mark I for $100 less than I paid for it new! It was full panic mode in MA - people were lined up out into the parking lot to order stoves - wood, pellet, coal - didn't matter. People were freaking out at possible $5 gallon heating oil that winter. Even made front page news in our local paper!
Anyway, the dealer says ... well I've got a Mark III on the floor right now, brand new on the pallet still shrink-wrapped if you're interested
... before she could even finish I said I'LL TAKE IT!! And the rest is history.
We've been warmer than ever, but the coal consumption went up quite a bit over the Mark I. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I should've made a better decision and bought a stoker boiler to run the whole house.
So now thanks to a good friend & forum member, I now have that stoker boiler!
But, circumstances caught me off guard and I was unprepared. No money to switch from nut to rice, nor to buy plumbing supplies. Then add in a leaky barn roof and a car I had to overhaul to make a profit off of, and my time & money to do anything with the stoker was finished. Next year.
The saga continues ......