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Advice needed on wood stove for 1200 sq ft

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Timnus, May 1, 2013.

  1. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I feel the PH is too much stove for 1200 sq. ft. unless you live in a home made out of Swiss cheese. The Fireview will provide a good view of the fire and give long burn times and be less likely to cook you out of the house than the PH. Don't get me wrong I love the PH it is simply too large for 1200 sq. ft. unless you live in Siberia..

    Ray
    alforit likes this.

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  2. westkywood

    westkywood Feeling the Heat

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    Another vote on the PE Super 27. I have 1300 sq ft to heat. I have good insulation in the attic, new windows and half my walls are insulated. It's perfect size for my house and for my area. I get long burns. Good flame and lots of heat.
  3. PA Fire Bug

    PA Fire Bug Feeling the Heat

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    We bought both of our Super 27s from the Fireside Shop in Lakemont (1332 Logan Blvd). When we bought the first one, they didn't have any in stock so I drove to a shop in Burnham to see the stove. I had reviewed the photos and specs on the PE web site but didn't want to buy a stove without actually seeing it. At that time, none of the other local dealers sold PE stoves. They may now - I don't know. Good luck making the final decision. There are several other members who live in the Central PA area. I started from scratch (no stove, no chainsaw, no firewood) and have gathered a lot of great advice from fellow forum members.
  4. westkywood

    westkywood Feeling the Heat

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    Wow. You're heating twice the area I am with my Super 27. I have an old house and when the wind blows hard ( say 20-30mph ), I can tell a huge difference in how my house heats. You must live in a newer home. If it's 15f outside with no wind, my stove will heat my house fine. But that wind picks up, the house cools off quite a bit. I've insulated some walls and have good insulation in my attic and I have added new windows. I'm impressed with your results.
  5. Seanm

    Seanm Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    SE BC Canadian Rockies
    Ive had fun reading about peoples older homes on this site.... I love the history they have. We have a 1982 built split level house with 2x6 insulated exterior walls, vinyl siding that has a bit of foam insulation on the back of each, modern thermal windows, a basement that is 3/4 underground, and an original natural gas furnace that looks ready to die. If you are a gardener we are a 3.5 zone where -30c is common each winter (but not this one) it doesnt stay to long and -20c is a normal thing with the mean temperature in January being -11c. Ive only seen it hit -40c a few times in the 13 years ive lived here. I remember a freak cold spell in mid april where a friend and I were able to climb a newly frozen waterfall. The key point which maybe I should have mentioned in my post is that we are self employed and are in and out of the house all day so once we have the basement warmed up we are around to fill the stove again when needed and this helps keep the walls, ceiling, furniture etc up to temperature which helps a boat load. In the past when we have been gone for the day and its arctic outside we have had a hard time getting the house up to temps. If I was gone for 12 hours a day I would have very different results. FYI We live in a windy area and boy do we notice it when the wind blows! The stove has to work extra hard.
    raybonz likes this.
  6. Chitty

    Chitty New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    Central B.C.
    PLEASE! do not buy too small of a stove! As far as newer stoves go and extended burn times the small fireboxes they are forced into supplying to meet emmision standards give a short heat cycle (even in the so called BIG stoves of 3-4 cubic ft firebox) The problem you will come to see is that when the stoves are loaded up, wood is charred and then set to lower setting for long burn time is that during the 12 hours of the burn the btu output is averaged by the manufacterer.
    In another way of seeing this if all the btu's the stove puts out during this period a percentage will also be lost depending on the insulation factor of your house and the outside air temperature.
    I live in a 750 ft up log home with a 750 ft cinder block basement in central B.C. Single pane windows, fair share of drafts, and moderate insulation. During -15 C outside no problems. Drops to -30 C and below better be raging that fire steady and that means keeping it loaded up to good btu output range at all times. If you allow it to do the 12 hour burn cycle they brag about the last 6 hours of the burn, the btu output is similar to having a turkey in the electric oven! At least it seems like lol.
    I researched EPA stoves and installed a PE summit, new solid 6" stainless liner in an existing masonry chimney ( which is centered in housea nd once stove has heated also works as a good radiant heat source of 80-85 F) and burn almost exclusively Fir during the winter.Cost was pushing $4k and installed myself with inspector brought in to ensure was to code. The square foot ratings they all say it will heat (3000 in this case) are biased towards the warmer climate zones, perfect insulation etc. so beware of All manufacterers ratings. I sure won't sell you a new car living on the flatland prairies and tell you it will only do 45 mph up the steep hills in the mountains should you decide to take a road trip, would I?
    Buy your stove with this in mind, you wanna cruise down the winter highway in a average sized car with all season tires and you'll probably be OK. Then it turns night and its snowing, and its cold, and it's slippery and ther's that darn hill. Now don't you wish you could lock in the 4 wheel drive hit the nice big lights and crank up the heat? Yep thats what I thought.
    Don't be afraid of the so called Big stoves.
    Physics show that a fire needs two pieces of wood reacting together to continue to burn ( one piece alone burns itself out). I can run my summit with a little bit of wood for warmer temps or I can load her up for the long haul and the big btu's.
    We cannot compare to heating your house with a gas furnace you do not and should not oversize as a gas furnace. When it is on, output is a given btu every time it is kicked in and to much btu in a small house makes a very short cycle to get it up to temp.Not good for the furnace.
    A wood stove does not put out max btu every time you run it depending on how you run it. If you buy a small stove and are hitting the max btu ouput in -10 then good luck therafter. No more room for wood no more btu's. If it turns cold with single pane windows and drafts and you are losing much more btu's than the ideal home also good luck.
    I have also installed a central electric furnace with the same theory as wood heat. The house square footage calls for 10-15 kw sized electric furnace. I installed a 20kw furnace . Too big I know. HOWEVER the 20 kw furnace has the option of a Mild or Cold switch. Cool outside I leave it on mild and only 2 of the 5 elements heat.( ie small fire) Cold outside I hit the switch to Cold and all elements (5) will heat and I get big fire Btu when we need it.
    I am also not a fan of catylitic stoves as you will be replacing components gaurenteed every 3-5 years ( although I know you will hear stories otherwise) , and the parts don't fall of the trees in the 50 acre lot next door. A bigger hotter fire is necassary to burn them properly and sizing is more crucial to each residence.
    Wood heating is an investment but the idea is to have an alternative economical heat, that as of yet, is not so price controlled by the energy moguls.
    Invest your money wisely up front, and don't make do with something that might just do the trick. To make the mistake and undersize you won't be happy. Make the mistake and oversize? Run a moderate fire part of the day or open a window and get some fresh air in the house midwinter, the air gets stale anyway!
    Just my opinion and best of luck!
  7. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Loc:
    CT
    I just purchased a Blaze King Princess Insert, here is what my warranty card for the CAT looks like:
    http://www.blazeking.com/PDF/10_year_combustor_Extended_Warranty_Aug2012.pdf

    With proper burning technique, I'm not worried about it lasting a good long time, but of course there are more experienced folks on this forum who can give their experience. IMO the cost of a CAT after the warranty expires is paid for by the more efficient use of wood.
  8. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    SE MI
    Welcome. That's a heckuva first post.

    Some pretty good points, but you're heating a drafty log home in BC, from an uninsulated basement, with softwood. The OP lives in central PA, and wants to put his stove in the living room. It is quite possible to go too big.

    Not sure where your statement on cat stoves came from. The biggest advantage is the ability to slow it down, let it smolder, and let the cat clean up the smoke. My stove should be way oversized for my 1600 sq ft home, but it's perfect because of the low burn capabilities. Well, that and some decent drafts and marginal insulation.
    raybonz and pen like this.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    As I said earlier, there is no reason for overkill unless you are heating a leaky sieve of a house. It takes a lot of btus to heat the great outdoors, but in my book that is a big waste of wood and the time it takes to cut, split, stack, load and reload it. Personally I would spend the money on tightening up and insulating the joint if that was the case. It has a much better return on investment.

    Point in comparison, we are heating a house almost 3 times the size of Chitty's with the same sized firebox. Next door neighbor is heating his old, 1600 sq ft farmhouse with a PE Spectrum and complains at times that it's too much heat.
    jeff_t likes this.
  10. Chitty

    Chitty New Member

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    Did not mean to overdo the first post ! lol
    In regards to the warranties on the cats, the manufacterers will decide wether you get a refund or not. Similar to most corporations it is highly likely that operating practice, misuse, too wet of wood, overfiring, etc etc will be the finding most times. Roll the dice as you may.

    As far as living in a leaky sieve I agree that a drafty log house in a cold climate does not directly relate to an air tight home in a warm climate. However I can efficiantly heat on warmer days and also have the ability to stay warm on the colder days even if the power goes out.

    Overheating your house is a matter of burning a big fire just because you have a big stove. IMO on a colder night when you need a larger BTU output you will be awfully frustrated when trying to stuff wood in a minature fiebox.
    I personally have a hard time loading the summit without custom splitting the wood to fit the firebox, and by the time you split the wood small enough to fill it to a decent capacity, and arrange them like a jigsaw puzzle, you'll wish you had a bigger stove.

    Wether it is a cat stove or a good epa certified reburn stove the efficiencies are similar in real life. The goal is a clean burn, clean chimney and maximize the energy in the wood species you burn. This is very much controlled by the learned operation of your particular stove.

    This house was heated for decades with a home built stove encased in cinder block for thermal retention. The stove could be loaded up with 4-5 unsplit rounds 7-8" in diameter and 3-4 feet long. Wow a lot of wood yes. How often was it filled? Once a day when it was cold cold. How easy was it to fill and how much splitting, monitoring time and processing time was saved? Lots. How effecient was it? Not like the new ones at all i am sure. Did it keep the home comfortable and liveable as a sole heat source? yes. Could you still have a smaller fire on warmer days? yes.

    Essentially everyones needs are different, wood is different, houses different, stove sizes are different. Once you purchase a stove you won't want to sell it and buy something else for quite some time. Do you want to heat the home or supplement it with a cozy fire to look at?

    In a nutshell it is a gamble that you are educating yourself on and I commend you on that!

    Overall advice don't buy a powerfull diesel pickup if all you do is pick up groceries. However if the need arises don't expect the compact import to perform the duties of a workhorse vehicle either.

    Again best of luck on your journey to wood heat! Hopefully you love it as much as a lot of us!
  11. Chitty

    Chitty New Member

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    Loc:
    Central B.C.
    South Pugent Sound as compared to elavation of 3000 ft , 3-4 feet of snow, - 20-40 C winters is definately not a similar situation agreed.
    As far as a leaky seive some additional insulation and better windows will be coming soon, however some drafting I prefer. Airtight houses are not healthy nor are a lot of the products used to seal them up. I have the abilty to crack a window for fresh clean air when needed and do not have to breathe recycled gas I passed this morning lol !

    As a note I have a fresh air intake plumbed to the summit under the basement floor so all combustion air comes from outside. When dealing with draft issues this is beneficial as the stove while burning does not vacuum the house and pull cold air in to expell the smoke and fumes out the chimney. Air out means air in and beleive me you will experince this and know wher the drafts are.
    Very important if you are also running forced air furnace of any kind. If the room you have your wood stove in is not appropriately pressure balanced during forced air operation backdrafting at low fire times is a real and potentially deadly issue.This is a much safer install method for Carbon monoxide issues etc.

    Again I would pay closer attention to the area you live in and the people that burn wood there, their square footage and the insulation factors of their dwellings. The information will be more relevant to your situation and needs. Stove quality, safety concerns and general feedback here is awesome tho! :)
  12. alforit

    alforit Feeling the Heat

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    I think it should be noted that a Blaze King is an exception here..............A BK can perform the duties of both the powerful diesel pickup and the compact import..............Just ask an owner of one in alaska (of which there are many) that need that high btu output, or western washington where the need is a much lower btu output that doesn't cook you out of your house.
  13. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Carver, MA.
    Come on a 2.0 cu. ft. stove will more than adequate for 1200 sq. ft. in PA.! Get a good quality stove like the WS Fireview and you won't be sorry!.. Yes you could use a T-5 or Super 27 and I run a T-5 here in SE Mass. for 1632 sq. ft. and at times it can be too warm so I have to pay attention but it is doable.. This is why I am steering you to the Fireview even though I run a T-5.. This isn't about me it's about you! Burning a 3.0 cu. ft. stove in a 1200 sq. ft. home in PA. would be a mistake in my opinion..

    Good luck!

    Ray
    Bub381 likes this.
  14. stovelark

    stovelark Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    SE CT
    Hi Tim, good choices all above, you can get all around pretty burn, longer burn times, reasonable pricing too. I'd check out the P/E Alderlea T5 like BG mentioned above, also the Enviro Kodiak 1200/1700 and Boston 1200/1700. The Boston is the same as Kodiak inside just cast iron jacketing like the P/E stoves BG mentioned. You get the convection flow for the outer areas of the home, and the radiant heat nearer to the stove. All stoves mentioned would be great, just remember good dry wood. Do that and the stove will do the rest. Welcome aboard too.
    raybonz likes this.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Last I checked this fellow is in Altoona, PA. Not in a log cabin in central BC.
    raybonz likes this.
  16. hman

    hman Member

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    Loc:
    Chillicothe,Ohio
    I would look at the Kuma Tamarack wood stove.I get great burn times,good secondary light show,burns clean,and can load n/s or e/w with 16" wood.
  17. Timnus

    Timnus New Member

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    Thanks everyone so far. I'm still sorting through my options for the type and size of stove. It is extremely helpful to have all your input. For now, I had a few more questions:

    1. Is it possible to heat my basement with the stove on the 1st floor of my ranch house? We plan to finish our basement soon as it is rather dry and clean. Any way to do an air exchange? We are in the remodel process, so any ideas are on the table.
    2. I thought I would ask again about comparing the Progress Hybrid vs. the Fireview. I like the look of the Progress Hybrid a bit better and like that it has a larger fire box for odd shaped wood, etc. So, my question is about the range of BTU's on each.
    The Progress Hybrid: 12,000 -73,000 BTU

    The Fireview: 10,000 - 42,000 BTU

    I agree that I would not need the high end of the Progress Hybrid much, but is there any issue with running the Progress Hybrid at mid range most of the time? Or with the same sized fire I would put into the Fireview? ​



    One factor with my house is that it is at a top of a hill and gets a good amount of wind that takes heat away fast. Also, the insulation is from 1972, and from a few places I have opened up it is not in the best of shape. So, it is not very well insulated, but certainly has some. Another factor would be that I plan to enclose the back porch in the next few years, which would add about 350 more sq ft to the house. So, I just want to be sure that the stove will be big enough to handle any future needs.


    Thanks,
    Tim
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    What are you currently heating the house with? How much fuel is used in an average December or January? With a little math that will tell you how many btus you are currently using to heat the place. Then you can decide if you want a stove you can run most of the time with a bit of supplemental heat from the central heating system or a stove that will cover the worst conditions, but may not be practical until it gets below 45 or 50F outside. Both are practical considerations.
    raybonz likes this.
  19. Timnus

    Timnus New Member

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    I am currently heating with an OLD forced hot air oil furnace. It is very inefficient - 60% is what the plumber estimated. So, I'm not too sure how to estimate the BTU's from that.
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Tim, you are going by the epa figures for btu output. This is just by their standard tests and does not state what the true output of any stove can be. So figure the Fireview as 55,000 maximum output and the Progress as 80,000. Still, this is the maximum so you will not be receiving that output for long periods. You can figure that on reloads you can get the high btu output but then through the burn the output slowly decreases. For example, I can load 4 splits into our Fireview and get the stovetop to over 600 degrees. However, it won't stay there a long time because there just is not that much fuel there. But it will stay between 400-600 for a long time. Last fall and early winter we normally put in 3 or 4 splits for our overnight fires and were plenty warm and still had coals to start the next fire. And our splits are what most would call medium sized splits. For example, a rectangle shaped split might measure 3" x 5" x 16" long. We also are burning mostly white ash. In mid winter when it get cold, then we use lots of oak for the night burns and stay with ash for daytime.
    raybonz likes this.
  21. dougstove

    dougstove Member

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    PE Super 27 is a great stove, and I love it.
    raybonz likes this.
  22. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    If you were putting it in the basement i would recommend a Harman TL-300(Non cat-long burn times) like mine but mine has a tendency to overheat the room its in. Even on the lowest air setting the stove room hovers in the 90s in my basement. But the floor above a comfortable 75 with warm floors.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Is this a hot water boiler? How many gallons of oil or gas are you going through a month during December and January?
  24. Timnus

    Timnus New Member

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    It is not a boiler, but forced hot air. We were going through 150 gallons per month in the middle of winter. Which is very expensive. This is why we are ready to switch to wood for sure now and the cost of the stove is not too big a deal. The old oil furnace is 60% or less efficient.
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That equates to about 29,166 btus/hr.. I suspect the plumber might exaggerating the efficiency a bit unless the ductwork is in bad shape. But taking his 60% we would come up at 17,500 usable btus/hr being delivered into the house. (At 70% it would be 20,416.) If that is correct, it looks like the Keystone or Fireview might be a better fit based on those numbers. Either should easily be able to handle the load. The Progress could fit but it would be working at the low end and that is during the coldest weather. During shoulder season burning it might be too much.

    If you haven't already done so, you might want to also consider having the ductwork sealed and insulated. That will make a significant drop in heat loss in the system.

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