We have a Kimberly Stove in our basement. We bought it to heat the basement—and Mark’s new workroom—help dry clothes, and preheat, or even heat, the air flowing into the rest of the house. We were pretty excited by the purchase and had high hopes for its performance. However, we have NO IDEA how well it works, because of a series of unfortunate events. It is sitting in our basement, non-functional, four and a half months after purchase.
For those of you who do not follow wood stove technologies, the Kimberly Stove is a fairly new design. It is a small, highly efficient, gasifying stove, which means it burns off the carbon produced by the first round of burning in a secondary chamber, thus increasing the amount of heat produced and reducing particulate pollution. It is so cool that you do not need a special chimney or chimney liner to install one, which is what drew Mark to the design. About 500 have been sold so far. They are built in Medford, Oregon, a couple of hours down the highway from our house. This is relevant to our dilemma.
Mark purchased the Kimberly stove from Viking Vacuum, Sewing, Spa, and Stove, in Eugene Oregon, on October 25, 2014. Because they were reluctant to drive from Eugene to Corvallis (about 40 miles), Mark sent them photos of our basement, where we wanted to install the stove.
We sent the photos on November 2nd. Our stove arrived in Eugene on November 14th, and we learned that the specific piping needed for installation was backlogged and hard to obtain, but it would be there shortly on November 25th. Still, we were not scheduled for installation for another two weeks.
On December 18th, two months after the purchase, the installer arrived with stove and pipe. However, he discovered that he did not have the tools he needed to cut through the brick chimney, and was unable to install the stove. He was out a day’s work, as was Mark, who had taken the day off to be around for his new stove. Neither was pleased with the turn of events. We had to re-schedule.
It took several weeks for the installer to come back to town. Finally, around January 8th, the stove was installed. Mark noticed that the glass was cracked when he lit it the first time. We attempted to start a fire in the stove over the weekend several times, but, when I read the instructions, it was clear that the stove would not function properly with cracked glass. Fair enough. We contacted the stove distributor once again on January 20th, and the distributor told us that he had contacted the manufacturer that day. As it was coming from Medford, we expected it to be here within a week.
After several weeks, nothing had arrived. We emailed on February 1st. Nothing. Emailed again. (Perhaps the contact person had the nasty flu that was going around?) Nothing. On February 16th, I was home for a phone call from the stove distributor. He assured me that he was on the part, that he was going to contact the designer/builder that day, and would let us know the next day when to expect it. The next day, he had talked with the manufacturer and would be back within the next day or two.
It is now February 27th. We still do not have the needed piece of glass to make our very expensive stove functional. I am very glad that we are not relying on the stove to provide heat for our home. However, after four and a half months of run-around, we are very frustrated. It may very well be the most amazing stove ever—but we have no idea. We have been able to use it. It is my hope that someday I can add onto this piece, talking about how much we love our stove. Right now, I cannot recommend this very expensive piece of equipment to anyone. If fact, I would seriously discourage anyone from making the purchase.