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Almost made a decision...my brain is broken.

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by newbieinCT, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Feeling the Heat

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    Thank you, everyone, for the advice over the past few days. I know I've been a jumble of questions and ideas as we try and negotiate our situation - all these things are going on at the same time: we are new owners to a leaky old house w/ a jigsaw of a floor plan, 25 yr old oil heat with no ductwork in master bedroom, the insulation and air sealing won't be complete until January, the Kozi XL that just died on us, wood stove from 1980s that we haven't burned because the chimney pipe is rusted, electrical upgrades need to be figured out and completed before insulation comes in a few weeks...the list goes on and on.

    Thanks to some kind people, I was fortunate enough to have some help thinking of solutions (ie: geotherm, ductless heat or pellet boiler woudl be better for us). We have some money from the wedding that we decided to use towards a new pellet stove. We also are living through snow storms with no heat or insulation in the bedrooms and the oil heat on 60 (because we are really afraid to heat this leaky house and pay the oil bill), so we are trying to get this done quick. With that said, we are trying to narrow it down on which one to get. If we end up getting anything else in the future (and we probably will) a good stove will have a higher re-sale value if we decide to sell it. :)

    A very kind and wise hearth member told me not to get caught up in "analysis paralysis". That's exactly what was happening....so I have narrowed it down, but need a little more help if figuring STOVE SIZE. Dealers said only to look to see how much area you are heating. They think we would be able to heat the living room, dining room and front room with the stove and calculated it that way. Thougth it would be too hard to get air to kitchen, so they recommended smaller stoves than I expected. First two dealers seems to push me toward 40k btu stoves, not higher ones.

    I've attached our floor plan of the bottom floor. We are looking to replace the wood stove. The master bedroom (with no heat ducts) is above the living room w/ the wood stove.

    I spoke with three dealers yesterday in my area. I don't think we need the MVAE and husband hates the look of the Quad CB1200, so they are out. I think the big issue is how big of a stove do we need for that area.

    Thanks,
    Meg



    Just for reference...here is what each dealer quoted me:
    #1: Recommended Harman p43 ($2699), said it would be enough BTUs.
    Said we could go up to p61a ($3399) but doesn't think we would need it.
    My husband likes the XXV ($3599).
    Dealer explained that XXV is only 50kbtu and more $ than the p61a.
    This dealer does not believe in OAK
    He also said registers with fans installed in floors will not help with a pellet stove, only wood stove.
    3-4 weeks for install

    #2: More wishy washy dealer - was willing to sell me just about anything I looked at
    Harman Accentra ($3599)
    XXV ($3799)
    p43 ($2899)
    Quad CB1200 ($2599)
    Quad MTAE ($4079)
    Didn't ask about OAK - forgot
    3-4 weeks to install

    #3: Small shop, would liek to give money to the smaller business but didn't liek the options
    Vistaflame VF55 ($3199)
    Hampton ($3699)

    Thanks,
    Meg
    upload_2013-9-28_8-21-30.png
    P38X2 likes this.

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  2. MikeNH

    MikeNH Burning Hunk

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    Did he explain his logic behind this one?
  3. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Feeling the Heat

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    At the time, I listened and said "I have to rememeber this for hearth forum...I know they will probably not agree"...and after going to two more stove stores after that, I forgot his *exact* reasoning. It was something along the lines of "pellet stoves are not radiant heat" and somethign about the air being not being up high. He also said OAK is not necessary, but he will do it. He doesn't like it because it's bringing cold air in and somehow that makes condensation.
    I knew I should have listened closer but I was set on hitting alll three stores for prices. There aren't a lot of dealers in the area so my options are limited. I was hoping to buy local so I would have someone that would come service it.
  4. MikeNH

    MikeNH Burning Hunk

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    My P61a produces radiant heat, though not nearly as much as a wood stove.

    Regarding moving heat between floors, I'm not sure what the store owner was getting at about warm air not being up high. Back in my wood stove days (radiant AND convective heat in my case) I would have to leave my basement door open as it was the easiest, quickest way to get heat up from the basement into the first floor. I messed around with floor registers and fans but it didn't work as well for me as I'd hoped. Good ol' natural warm air convection worked best in my house. I've read about people installing ceiling fans in their upstairs hallways to pull warm air upwards. That might be a consideration too.

    Regarding the OAK, I have to have one as my stove exhaust is too close to a window. I do notice that on cold days, water condensation will form on the OAK flex pipe. It sits above a ceramic tile hearth pad, so not a big deal for me.
  5. IHATEPROPANE

    IHATEPROPANE Minister of Fire

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    You will most like be fine with the p43. Most people on this forum, including myself only burn 1.5-2 bags per day. The p43 running full bore would be 3 bags a day.
    newbieinCT likes this.
  6. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the clearer explanation :) It makes sense - I had been telling the dealer that if there is air flow issues (and with our layout, I expect it will be hard to get the whole bottom floor and upstairs bedroom warm), we had considered registers with fans but we were waiting on it until we saw how things worked once everything was installed and we had insulation. I guess maybe he was adding it in as an aside. It's good to know about the OAK pipe - we have a brick hearth so if there was condensation, we would be okay as well.

    How does your p61a do with whole house heating? My concern is that the downstairs, the heat will only get to a few rooms (family room, dining room and maybe front or kitchen - all together that's about 760sqft). Theliving room and bedroom downstairs are far away and we will need to fix the Kozi stove to heat that area. Upstairs, there are two small bedrooms (about 300sqft) and our master (~320). We only need the masterbedroom heated - kids (yet! :p)
  7. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence in the smaller model - I just keep reading about getting a bigger stove than you need. I don't want to run it too hard. Unfortunately, we can't figure out how big we will need. We do have a lot of glass in that room - 3 exterior walls and 2 almost floor to ceiling antique windows and a big 4x6' antique window. No storms, so we are trying to build some custom ones to help with the heatloss. :)
  8. Micmann

    Micmann New Member

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    Definitely install an OAK. And floor registers WILL help. Air of different temps naturally convect and it will utilize any opening to move around. Hot air is hot air, whether from a wood stove or pellet stove it's still hot air. What is a possibility is if there is too much cold air upstairs leaking in it will continually drop through any floor resisters and not allow the heat to rise through the registers. You could put a booster fan on a register to suck heat through, possibly. But any register will help. His reasoning is not too good. Also the OAK is a must in my book This is copied from another thread for someone I posted the other day:

    "It's not really a determination whether to use an OAK or not. It's not a set of criteria one goes through to decide if it's necessary. It's just done because it's the best way to install a stove.

    Whatever air is being pushed out by the stove is going to be sucked into your home from somewhere. If your stove pushes 150 CFM out, 150 CFM must come in, whether through cracks, bad sealing windows and doors, poorly insulated walls, attic stairs or crawl spaces, etc. And what will be sucked in will be cold. The stove without an OAK will add to or create a negative pressure home and the cold outside air will want to fill the vacuum. Your stove is in the basement and it may be nice and warm there, but perhaps the largest air leak in your home is say on the second floor. The second floor will be cold since the air is coming in there and making its way down to the stove, being sucked into the fresh air port, through the burn chamber and blown outside. The basement will be warm and the second floor will be cold (a hypothetical scenario that could happen anywhere in the house). This makes an OAK a definite install in my book."

    The condensation inside the stove reasoning (if that's what he's talking about) will only happen in the off season, so plug up the OAK in the spring to stop moist air from moving through the stove when not in use - just remember to remove the plug before starting it up in the fall.

    Another option to move the heat based on your floor plan would be something like this http://www.amazon.com/Thru-Wall-Room-to-Fan/dp/B000JGSMUK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1387480175&sr=8-2&keywords=room to room fan

    If you put a few in the joining walls you could move some air.

    Stove size is tough to say. How cold does your house get? More importantly how fast does it get cold? If temps drop does the house quickly follow? If so a larger stove will be needed to combat the cold that is coming in and the keep up with the heat being leaked out. In your case and from what it sounds like you're looking to do you may need to sacrifice a better looking stove for a stove that will output decent heat.
  9. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Feeling the Heat

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    Great info here. I'm going to print out and show my husbant tonight. He's the handyman, I'm the researcher. I keep coming back and saying "hearth.com says..." and then have a list of info I found...I had a hard time explaining the nead for a OAK, especially after the dealer said we didn't need it. I'll definitely use this info.

    As for the house - it does get cold quick. We are getting insulation installed in Jan but we don't have it yet, so it's hard to know. The house takes a long time to heat up and cool down as soon as it sets behind the trees (and we are surrounded by trees). I'll take this into consideration, for sure. The husband wants the XXV, I just can't imagine spending the money if we could get more BTUs for less money!
  10. scottvwgti

    scottvwgti New Member

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    Meg,

    One other thing I haven't seen mentioned in your other posts is to not got too consumed with the S.F. the stove will heat. So much of that depends on the layout of your house, and how tight (or not in your current case) the house is. I would say, buy the "biggest" stove you feel you can afford.

    As far as floor registers and fans, I agree with the poster above that any registers and fans will help. The key is to make sure that air currents are maintained. For instance, you can put a register in the ceiling of the LR to heat your MBRM. However, if you have no place for the cold air to be displaced to (ie a return register elsewhere, or say an open doorway to move air to a different room) you will not heat the MBRM the way you'd think. When it comes to your bedroom and living room at the back of the house, a fan on the floor blowing towards your stove room will help heat those rooms a little. Hard to tell if heat can get that far around corners and through doorways. Some people will tell you fans make to rooms feel drafty. You'll have to try it and see if it works for you.

    Can you remove that small wall between the stove location and the dining room? I'd say that might help.
    newbieinCT likes this.
  11. MikeNH

    MikeNH Burning Hunk

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    My house is pretty open-concept. The stove sits in the corner wall of the living room and keeps the entire first floor at 72F. The second floor stays at about 69F. Our furnace never comes on. A friend of mine has an XXV and his house setup is more like yours - multiple rooms, walls, etc. He uses corner fans in the door frames to move air around.
    newbieinCT likes this.
  12. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for this reminder - it's easy to jump and look at sq.ft and forget about everything else. I guess I'm trying to think ahead because by Feb 1 we should have our whole house air-sealing and insulation complete. That makes me warmer just thinking about it. The one dealer was big on how we wouldn't get the air around the corner to the kitchen - which is a big possibility. We have thought or removing that little small wall space between dining and family room - closer to the kitchen. There is probably something loadbearing there since that is the outside wall of the original house (family room is an addition from mid-1980s). We are going to look at that and the heat registers (with fans) along with returns once we get the stove installs and we see how things go. I hate to think of cutting into the beautiful hard wood floors, but if we will be warmer for it, it's worth it!
  13. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks - I'm guessing we will have corner fans, registers, etc.
    As for a stove, I've read the xxv is quieter but can have more issues and is slightly more maintenance (but compared to what we have been dealing with, I think we will not even notice the difference). My husband wants the XXV pretty bad - if there wasn't such a price jump, I'd be on board. He started this whole pellet stove search out by saying "never getting a pedestal stove for this house!" b/c it just doesn't fit...now, he's at least considering it when he sees the price difference.

    I like the idea of sticking with the dealer recommended p43 but when I think about the large number of windows in the family room, I'm leaning toward the larger stove. will have to sit on this a while.

    And then call the dealer and beg him to install is as soon as he can. He said there's a 3-4 week wait. We are too cold for that. Will have to look at other options if the wait is that long :)
  14. MtDew

    MtDew Member

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    That 3-4 week wait may be because he doesn't stock the unit and it has to be ordered in from the factory. When I bought my P38+ it took 2-3 weeks to come in before I could pick it up.
  15. lbcynya

    lbcynya Feeling the Heat

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    Cure for analysis paralysis - biggest, highest quality, stove you can afford, install an OAK, buy quality pellets, sit back, grab a favorite beverage and enjoy the heat.

    XXV to me was a piece of furniture with a payback. I enjoy having it around, even in the summer.

    Based on your description/layout, I would say no less than 50k BTU to be safe, not sorry. Unlike a traditional wood stove, going too big on a pellet stove only results in a small potential loss of efficiency, but gives you plenty of headroom for really cold nights.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2013
    newbieinCT and St_Earl like this.
  16. chken

    chken Minister of Fire

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    I dunno. It doesn't look like a pellet stove in your living room will heat your house, so it's not really a long-term solution. I'd think about an inexpensive pellet stove for the living room, and an electric heater for the upstairs master bedroom. Then, after all your insulation projects are done, you can give some more considered thought to the problem.

    I'd rather go for the replace the oil burner with a pellet furnace solution. Then, all rooms get heat for less money, ultimately.
    newbieinCT likes this.
  17. alltherage

    alltherage Member

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    go big or go home...sorta like TV's...always nice to have some in reserve.
    briansol and newbieinCT like this.
  18. Enigma869

    Enigma869 Feeling the Heat

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    Spot on with this one. I still haven't met a single person who has told me that they wish they had a smaller pellet stove or a smaller TV. Hell, I just mounted a new, 70" TV on the wall of my Family Room and it already looks tiny to me. I should have trusted my instincts and went with the 80"!
    newbieinCT likes this.
  19. Lake Girl

    Lake Girl Moderator Staff Member

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    A quick fix on the windows is the 3M (or similar) shrink plastic until you get storms figured out. Adds an air space and cuts down on air infiltration.
  20. bbfarm

    bbfarm Minister of Fire

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    I would install your stove in the dining room since it is a more central room of your house

    We installed ours in the dining room

    Would it have looked nicer in our living room? Of course. But our goal was to heat the entire house with our stove and it does a pretty good job

    In addition to the biggest stove you can afford I would research problems with each model, how easy the model is to service and clean
    newbieinCT likes this.
  21. lightyear

    lightyear Member

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    Totally agree... put the stove in the dining room! And yes, get the xxv.
    newbieinCT likes this.
  22. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Feeling the Heat

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    We are headed to home depot tonight to pick some up! The windows are big - so hopefully they have the big stuff! We've put it in a bunch of rooms for for some reason, we keep thinking we are going to have time to make some storms before Xmas. Now that I've been on a stove hunt and hubby is trying to fix the old one - we haven't even figured out a plan. the plastic will definitely help :)
  23. Hoot23

    Hoot23 Minister of Fire

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    61 gets my vote.
  24. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Feeling the Heat

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    Pellet stove isn't going to be long term solution, you are right. We need something to supplement us for the next few years until we are settled in the new home and have a bunch of repairs completed. We are going with a bigger/better one for a few reasons: from we can see, the Harmans usually re-sell at a pretty good price, if we chose not to resell, we chose to go pellet/geotherm/ductless, we can always have it as a back or and finally, if none of those happen, my little sisters are getting homes now. They may need one and giving away to family would make me happy :)

    Hopefully santa is bringing us a bigger heater. Tried to buy an electric one yesterday and got a message from mom that the "elves" were working on one. I needed one yesterday...not next week! Brrrr...
  25. newbieinCT

    newbieinCT Feeling the Heat

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    After reading these threads, it gets mine too. Even though I am always going to feel like I compromised and got one that didn't fit the look of our house. We have been saying since the beginning that we like the xxv and other cast stove looks....much more rustic, like this ol' farmhouse. Of course, I'm practical too.

    Husband, is not so practical. He will do whatever (which makes this even harder) but I know he absolutely wants the xxv.

    going to have dealer come look at the space and see what he recommended for btus. Was thinking we could make it with the p43 and so did a few others here. Think I would rather not over work the stove, especially since we have a lot of windows here - hard to keep btus with lots windows!
    Thanks for the vote ;)
    Hoot23 likes this.

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