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Review of HearthStone --- Heritage -- Freestanding Stove burning Wood only

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Review of HearthStone --- Heritage -- Freestanding Stove burning Wood only
Installation Type: Wood/Coal - into masonry chimney
Date Reviewed: 2012-12-24 00:27:43

Satisfaction Ratings from 5 stars (best) to 1 star (worst)
Satisfaction with unit = ✰✰✰✰✰
Satisfaction with dealer = ✰✰✰✰✰
Satisfaction with manufacturer =

Other Information about the Home and Stove
Room Size (Sq ft): 700 | House Size (Sq feet): 2000
Bought in 2012 , Price Paid: 2550
Location : Oxford, MS 38655, USA
Purchased from: Fireplace Retail Store - Lavastone

Caluwe Hydronic Wood and Pellet stoves
Likes: Puts out lots of heat
Keeps heating hours after the fire has died
Rock solid construction
Extremely efficient
Front and side doors
Glass front door (we can see the fire)
Solid construction

Dislikes: Extremely poor ash grate/bin design (unusable, really)
Takes a while to bring up room temperature

Comments: The vote is in, and my wife, daughter, son, three dogs, and two cats agree.

This stove is wonderful!

Our cheap 50-year-old sheet metal box stove died; a hole had developed in the bottom, which had worn too thin for repair. I had already chosen a Hearthstone stove as a replacement, which I had planned for about three years in the future.

I had tentatively chosen the Equinox (Hearthstones' largest model) before we saw the stoves on the showroom floor. It was rated for a space far larger than my house, but I was thinking that I'd rather err on the side of too large a stove. I could always build a smaller fire in a larger stove, but I could not run too small a stove beyond its capacity to heat.

The owner of the store, however, assured me that the Heritage would more than meet our needs, and he was right. If I run the Heritage at maximum output, it will just about run us out of the house, even on a bitter cold night.

I'll deal first with my only two "complaints," which are nothing more than minor quibbles. First, the ash pan and shaker grate are, well, awful. The pan is about 1/3 the size of the bottom of the stove, and the gaps between the grates are quite small. Thus, to use the grate and pan, you have to pile the ashes in the middle of the stove, then try to shake them into the pan with the grate. Put simply, it just doesn't work. It is, however, quite easy to scoop the ashes out of the stove with an ash shovel, so that's what I do. I can go about a week between scoopings, and it takes about 5 minutes.

Also, once I get a fire going, it takes a good 40 minutes for the den to start getting warm. This also is no big deal; it's the compromise regarding the heat retention of soapstone. Yes, the soapstone retains an astonishing amount of heat -- and releases it slowly for 3-4 hours after the fire has died -- BUT, that means that it takes a while to heat up the soapstone when you first light the stove. For us, the benefit of extended heating time more than makes up for the long warm-up time.

The rest of the review is just glowing. The construction of the Heritage is rock-solid. The latches on the doors were a little hard to close, but broke in nicely after about a week of use. Everything seals well and moves smoothly. No complaints.

Lighting the stove is easy, now that I've had some practice with it. I put two large logs across the bottom, then two smaller pieces of wood diagonally on top of the bottom logs, leaving air gaps between them. Then I use two 1/4 pieces of Super Cedar disk to light the fire, with the vent control all the way open, and the side door barely cracked open. I leave the door cracked until lots of coals have formed on the wood and the fire is roaring. Then I close the door, leaving the air control fully open. Once the fire dies down a bit, then starts roaring again, I dial the air control to about 1/4 open. The will burn 8 or more hours like this.

The only "control" to adjust on the stove is the air flow -- and single lever with a "+" and "-" on it to show how to adjust it. You cannot completely shut off the air flow, but you can dial it WAY down. At minimum air flow, the glass will start collecting soot. At maximum, the fire burns hot and fast. Pretty simple.

The Heritage is not very picky about wood. I've burned red oak, white oak, dogwood, cedar, ash, and hickory with no trouble and without excessive creosote buildup that I can detect. The wood had only been seasoned about 9 months. I hadn't insisted upon better seasoned wood because my old heater was not airtight and burned nearly anything without trouble.

The quality of heat from this stove is divine. My old-school stove-loving friend Jimmy calls it "heavy heat," and he calls gas logs and electric units "light heat." I like his terminology. Once the Heritage has warmed the room, my animals and my girls (wife and daughter), all gather 'round -- and soon everyone is dozing in the warm glow.

The air wash feature does a great job of keeping the front glass clean. I just have to open the air flow control full bore for an hour or so each day (making the fire burn extremely hot), and the only soot on the glass is just around the bottom corners. I have some stove glass cleaner, but I've only used it once. I haven't needed it.

I find it easier to load the stove and add wood from the side. The potential for sparks out of the front -- and ashes spilled on the hearth -- is too great for the front, though front access has been handy on several occasions -- particularly when scooping ashes.

Aesthetically, the stove is simply . . . beautiful. The black cast iron, grey marbled soapstone, and chrome and black wooden handles work well together and blend with nearly any decor. Our den looks MUCH nicer with the Heritage perched on the hearth

The stove is heavy. Very heavy. That reflects its solid construction. The dealer offered to deliver and install the stove for $300.00. My thought was that between me and my two strapping teenage boys, we'd have no trouble moving the stove. I was wrong. Though we eventually got the stove installed, it was DIFFICULT, even with an excellent dolly and teenage help. If I had thought about it, I would have realized that the stove is made of cast iron and stone. Of course it is tremendously heavy.

As you can tell, I LOVE this stove. If you're in the market for a wood burning stove for about 1,900 square feet, then I would recommend the Hearthstone Heritage.

* Dates that reviews were submitted were not recorded prior to Nov. 2004