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Am I about to buy too big a stove?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Leftyinthewoods, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. Leftyinthewoods

    Leftyinthewoods New Member

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    Greetings!
    My wife and I are having a two story home built for us North of St Paul, MN, and plan to install a Hearthstone Equinox on the main level. Is this too big? Here's the facts:
    • Plan to burn 24/7 through the winter
    • 2300 finished square feet, plus 1150 sq ft unfinished basement (below stove)
    • open floor plan on the main level with stove against the the longest wall, near its center
    • want to be able to load only twice per day
    • no especially large windows
    • house will be built to energy star standards
    I've seen this stove burning a few splits at the dealer's, so it seems like we could build a small fire in the big stove, but I am concerned that the minimum heat output for a day-long burn will force us to open windows, letting in lots of dry air. Besides, the Equinox sure doesn't come cheap, and there's plenty of other ways to spend money on new construction.

    Thanks,
    -Stephen

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  2. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Are you attempting to heat the basement as well ? Another option for a house that size may be a wood add on furnace !

    Pete
  3. Leftyinthewoods

    Leftyinthewoods New Member

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    Heating the basement isn't important to us, and the dealer's told us that it won't be very effective, but I plan to try running the furnace fan to transfer some heat to the basement, with a return up high in the room with the stove.
    -Stephen
  4. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    To add onto Pete's question, would it be possible to install in the basement? I heat my 2300+ square feet from the basement.
  5. Leftyinthewoods

    Leftyinthewoods New Member

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    The stove's going to be a focal point of sorts on the main level, I don't want to hide it in the unfinished basement.

    For those who are unfamiliar w/ the Equinox, here's the specs:
    • Heats up to: 3,500 sq. ft.
    • Burn Time: Up to 12 hours
    • Size: 120,000 BTUs
    • EPA Rating: 3.0 grams per hour
    • Efficiency: 82% (Low Heating Value)
    • Maximum Log Length: 25"
  6. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    The stove will undoubtedly keep your house plenty warm.
  7. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    maybe look at the blazeking?
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Your dealer is correct. If you are building this to energy star standard I think a Mansfield will do the job nicely. Do you have heating load calc's done for the house yet for the primary heating system?

    In this class you might also consider the Woodstock Progress Hybrid.
  9. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    If you are dead set on getting that unit you can build smaller fires in a larger unit if its too much stove for the space.

    Generally you loose a lot of heat in the duct work, while running your fan to pump a significant amount of heat into the basement. The general consensus is its a loss.

    If that is a space you need to be heated it may be a good idea to have another smaller stove in the basement.

    Maybe that sounds ridiculous but that's just my two cents.
  10. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    In terms of Hearthstone stoves, you are closer to a Mansfield than an Equinox. Of the two, I would go with the equinox, but I like it warm and I like the flexibility an over-sized stove offers.

    I would go with BeGreen's suggestion and look at Woodstock's Progress stove. It's usable firebox is the same size as the Manfield, with the mass of the Equinox, and longer burn times than both of them.
    jeff_t likes this.
  11. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    The OP stated it was going to be the focal point of sorts. I love the BK stoves but in a new build I don't even think I would make it the focal point. If I was to build new there would be one in my house on the main level but not the focal point. ;)
  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum Stephen.


    Many are the times we hear that folks should have bought a larger stove but very few are the times we hear the stove is too large. Yes, small fires can be burned in a large stove. For sure having a well insulated home can cut down on the size of stove needed.
  13. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    If you really only want to load twice a day, I don't think either the Mansfield or the Equinox is a great fit for you. Yes, you can build smaller fires in bigger stoves but to get 12 hour burns with either of those, you are going to reallly need to pack them full which is likely to roast you in that house.

    Look at the Progress Hybrid or even the Fireview from Woodstock.
    Backwoods Savage and rijim like this.
  14. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I would look seriously at the PH. I don't know if this is totally accurate, but I've heard the 4 cu ft of the Equinox is optimistic. It's a looker for sure, but for my money, it would be Woodstock. If nothing else, for the legendary customer support and flexibility in the shoulder seasons. And, if you decide you don't like the Equinox, your stuck with an 8" chimney.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  15. wishlist

    wishlist Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to Hearth Stephan. Its a great site with many of us wood hauling haorders that are more than happy to give you our 2 cents! :)

    I live in mid Michigan and heat my 1700ish sq ft house with the Heritage. It's the focal point in a large addition on our ranch style house which is notorious for trying to move heat around. Personally I think either will work at getting you longer burn times, I can get a good 8 plus hours using good dry seasoned wood. Remember that the soapstones stoves will still be putting out a good quantity of heat even after the fire has died to coals. One thing that I really like is the side door on the Heritage. I never open the front door except to clean glass occasionally when the fire is out on a warm winter day. Maybe 2-3 times per season.

    If your new to burning these EPA stoves, please take the time and do some research in our " wood " forum and get some good info on how important seasoned wood is and most importantly WHAT it is. You will enjoy burning whatever stove you end up with soooo much better with quality seasoned wood! :)
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. rijim

    rijim Member

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    I agree with Waulie you can build smaller fires but to get the burn times you will have to pack that thing . The Equinox is a nice looking stove but the CAT or hybrid would give you better temperature control and long burn times.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  17. smokingolf

    smokingolf Member

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    When I started looking around at inserts, I was looking at the Quadrafire 2700i. The dealer I bought it from said "you want to install the biggest stove possible that will fit in your opening. The reason being is on a realy cold day a smaller stove may not keep your house warm that a larger stove can. On the not so cold days you can build a smaller fire. What I've learned from this site is you go with bigger not smaller and most importantly is good dry wood. I waited untill I bought the stove to start thinking about wood, the wood I got was cut and split but was not quit ready to burn. Start thinking about getting wood now even before you install the stove and get it stacked to start the seasoning process ASAP.

    It took me almost 2 seasons to learn how to burn properly, there will be a learning curve with your stove and wood to get a good fire going.

    But good luck with what ever stove you decide on, I'm sure you will love it.

    Brian
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  18. Leftyinthewoods

    Leftyinthewoods New Member

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    Thanks for all the great responses. We had rejected the Progress, not wanting to deal with the catalyst. But I saw today that the Hearthstone manual warns against prolonged burning with the damper all the way closed to prevent creosote buildup. I figure there's going to be a part of each year when all the way closed is the right level to heat the house, meaning either less use of the the Equinox and/or more frequent chimney cleaning, which makes catalyst and screen cleaning look pretty simple.

    I have zero experience with wood burning, unless you count campfires, but I've definitely gotten the message about need dry, seasoned firewood by reading these forums.

    -Stephen
  19. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't worry about dealing with a catalyst. Clean it twice a year, which takes maybe 5 minutes tops and you're good to go.

    If you really, really don't want a cat stove, I still don't think an Equinox is the way to go. You are building a very tight, well insulated house and I think you'll find the Equinox is a bit much. If you are really going to heat 24/7 and you really want to only load twice a day, I think a cat stove is the way to go. If not, then you are going to want a smaller stove than the Equinox but one with good burn times. Maybe the Pacific Energy line would be a good fit. Maybe the Alderlea T6? It's not soapstone, but it's a looker.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  20. Leftyinthewoods

    Leftyinthewoods New Member

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    I think you and others are right about a cat stove being the right answer for long, low burns, and I like the looks of the Progress, especially with the short legs. Thanks again.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  21. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    Don't be afraid of the CAT. My first stove and the one in my residence is a CAT stove. Its SIMPLE!! It seems harder for me to read the tube stove at the farm than the cat stove. Just have a probe on the cat and learn what your stove does over time and its simple. I just loaded mine an hour ago. I had loaded 24 hours earlier with ELM. I was still getting heat out of it and still had about what would add up to 1 medium split worth of red hot coals and charcoal waiting to be consumed. Loaded on top of it for the next 20 hours or so!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  22. Johnnny G

    Johnnny G New Member

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    Stephen, I currently have an equinox on the main level of my house. I also have a homestead on the second level of my house. My house is roughly 2600 sq ft with 9 ft ceilings and partial basement / crawl spaces, and 3 floors. My house however was built in 1860 and is solid brick with little insulation in only small parts of the house and drafty windows and doors.

    I love my equinox, it is awesome. I have a blower on it and it heats the first level of my house exceptionally well. It does a good job heating the second level during the shoulder season. During colder months the homestead comes into play, but thats really due to the old house that I have. I don't think you can go wrong with the equinox. I work 12 hour shifts and with drive time I'm gone for over 13 hours. I get home and I get still get a fire going off the hot coals in the stove. If I want it going quickly I'll throw some kindling in under some splits and its roaring in no time.

    I find that if I don't load the box all the way full its a much cooler fire and I really don't worry about being cooked out. That being said, make sure the room you put it in is very large and open or it will be uncomfortable. But being uncomfortable from the heat off of a soapstone stove really isn't that bad.

    I load 3 times a day with the equinox, once in the monring and close the dampner to about an 1/8 - 1/4 open. I get home and load it and burn it wide open until I go to bed. I like to send the heat up the pipe to burn off anything that might have been building up during the day. That also helps get my house nice and warm for the night. I then load it back up before bed and leave it open about half way.

    I will say that this stove has a huge box and eats wood like a tiger....but with long shifts and old house its perfect. Again, with the size of your house and its location up in Michigan I think its the perfect size. I know it says that its rated for 3500ish, if I remember correctly, but in colder zones its sq foot rating goes down.

    Let me know if you have any other questions about hearthstone.
  23. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Lefty, it is good you keep an open mind. The last time we were in the market for a wood stove we rejected a cat stove right away because we had heard some horror stories. But, we wanted to make sure we looked at the Woodstock line. Oh no! These are cat stove! But we knew about the quality of these stoves and also the quality of their customer service. We were able to meet with another owner of the stove and went to their home to talk. When we got back home, we ordered the stove. Wow! It is a beautiful stove that we needed for a long time.

    Here is what we like most about this stove:

    1. It cut our wood needs in half thereby saving us a lot of work and dollars.
    2. I keeps our house much warmer than our old stove. We used to close off part of the house when we had the old stove but no longer need to do this.
    3. Our chimney stays clean. We used to have to clean our chimney many times per season. We are now into our 6th season with the Fireview and have cleaned our chimney once and got about a cup of soot from it. No creosote. So this stove burns super clean.
    4. Very low maintenance.
    5. Very easy controls.
    6. Top notch company that will go out of their way to satisfy you.

    Good luck.
  24. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    With all due respect, there is a HUGE difference between a brand new, energy star, 2,300 square-foot house and a 2,600 square-foot house

    I'm not saying the Equinox is a bad stove at all, but if it was me I would save a couple thousand dollars (especially when considering the chimney) and get one more appropriately sized to the house and my needs. I really think that stove is going to roast you most of the year unless you build small fires, and what's the point of that?
  25. Leftyinthewoods

    Leftyinthewoods New Member

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    Thanks for sharing your experiences with the Equinox, in my mind they support the idea that it's just too big for our house. Now if I fall into some cash, I'd sure like to build a house for that stove, it's a beauty.

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