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Best stove for me

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by SGF13, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. SGF13

    SGF13 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1
    Loc:
    Eastern NC
    Here I am, new to the group and with the famous “which stove is best question”! I have spent hours on line reading and looking for information. Much of that time was on this site where there is clearly a lot of helpful info., so here I go.

    I currently have a Gatling wood stove that came with the house. It uses LOTS of wood. It is clearly an inefficient stove. My original plan was to run it until it died. These tax incentives have changed all that. I want to replace it with a stove that is efficient, as we do use it a lot, to supplement our heat.

    I have had two masonry fireplaces in previous houses and a wood insert for a time, so I am not new to wood heat. I also have a chimney sweep friend, who isn't local. He like me agrees my wood stove is in a lousy location. That said, it has to stay where it is, which I will try to describe in the hope it helps you give me advice.

    For some reason the folks who built this log house put in a brick chimney complete with flue tiles. It even has an ash cleanout door outside. Maybe they planned a fireplace but what I have now is a two year old 6" flexible flue liner in the flue that connects to the wood stove I mentioned. What really stinks is it is in the stove is in the corner of a small den that is off the living room/kitchen. I don't think I could have chosen a worse place for it to get heat to the living room and kitchen. That said, it is what I have to work with.

    In the past we have put a fan on the den floor to bring air from the overheated small den to the living room and open kitchen. All rooms also have ceiling fans. I attached a picture that was taken with me standing in the living room. My goal was to show you the angle from stove to doorway but it is more pronounced than the picture indicates.

    So, what do I want?
    1. An energy efficient stove that is under $1500 and meets the stimulus requirements.
    2. To find a stove with a blower if that makes sense for this application. It seems to make sense to me that moving the hot air from the small den into the larger kitchen/living room space is good on all accounts but what is your opinion?
    3. Stove should be of a style appropriate to a log home.
    4. I'd like something with a long burn time but I guess that comes with energy efficiency.
    5. 6" flue pipe outlet has to come out the back vice side of the stove due to hearth configuration.
    6. I am not concerned much about having glass. The ones I've seen always seem to be filthy which defeats the purpose. It isn’t a deal breaker either way.

    So there it is. I have asked you to answer an almost impossible questions. Seriously, I'd appreciate any and all input on this. Hopefully this book of a post provided some worthwhile details.

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  2. dougand3

    dougand3 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Messages:
    859
    Loc:
    North Alabama
    Welcome, SGF. #6 - New stoves have an air wash system, so "glass" stays quite clean. Helpful in monitoring fire status and throws some ambiance into the room. #1 - Englander makes efficient steel stoves under $1500.
  3. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Messages:
    3,878
    Loc:
    Central NY
    I'd be looking at a cast iron stove with a true convection system and a 2 cubic firebox or more. The first stove that comes to mind is a Regency Hampton..oops, never mind. There "Large" Cast iron stove is 1.7 foot firebox. May be hard to get good overnights with that....although, you are in NC. Well, let me use that as my suggestion. The stove retails for $2200. For a little while, Regency has a sale where the blower option is free. It is a great quality stove and I have sold a few of them for folks heating small ranch houses. No complains about the heat, and even though I would guess a shorter burn time, no complaints on that either. I dont know of a decent quality stove with a blower that would look good in a log cabin for $1500.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,170
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Greetings SGF. Yes, a new stove is going to be a nice improvement.

    In the 2 cu ft range, the Englander 13NC, Napoleon 1400 will fit the bill here. I'd also check out a Pacific Energy dealer and price out a PE Super27 stove which sells for about $1500. All of these stoves are top vent which would mean relocating the thimble higher. That would be a good thing in that it will allow flexibility for the install. Otherwise, you may be stuck to a very limited range of stoves. One that might work well would be a Woodstock stove, but it will cost a bit more.

    Two important questions: What is the height at the top of the current flue exiting from the stove? How big an area are you trying to heat?

    For evening out the heat, many of us have found that it works better to blow the cold air - towards - the stove. Try placing a fan on the floor in the adjacent room and blow the cold air into the den, fan on low speed. This will help establish a natural convective current. Hot air from the den will come in to replace the cold air. I think you'll see a 5-10 deg. temperature rise in the colder rooms using this method.
  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    27,816
    Loc:
    Michigan
    Welcome to the forum SGF.

    You face a situation that a lot of folks face. As for a new stove, there are many to choose from but why limit yourself? Your top dollar amount might leave out some excellent options that you could have. For instance, a Woodstock Fireview soapstone (sold direct only and not through a dealer) would be all the stove you should need and would do an excellent job. As for heat output and fuel efficiency, I can tell you our experience. We used to use between 6 and 7 cords (mostly around 6 cords) of wood per winter. We have now used our Fireview for three full winters (our only source of heat) and the most wood we've burned has been 3 cord. Even better is that we stay much warmer than we ever have in this old house of ours.

    Here is a link to the stove: Woodstock Fireview Stove

    Our house is probably similar to yours with trying to get heat to rooms other than where the heating stove is. However, you might be very surprised to find that you are not using the fans in the best way. Please bear with me here as this will probably sound totally backwards to you as it did me, but I found you can teach old dogs new tricks!

    Simply put, you have a difficult time moving warm air into the cooler rooms. However, if you reverse the process by blowing the cool air into the warm room you will be amazed at the difference. What actually happens is you use the natural flow of air to your advantage with a fan sitting on the floor blowing the cool air into the warm room, that warm room warms that air and pushes the air out and back into those cooler rooms. It really works.

    It is the same with a ceiling fan. The fan should be blowing up in the winter and down in the summer. Picture in the winter that the natural flow of air is along the outside walls being the coolest, the air moves down. So by blowing it up that actually goes with the natural flow and does a better job of evening out the air temperature.
  6. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    9,226
    Loc:
    Lake Wissota
    Looks like your current set up has a rear exhaust? If so it's going to cut down on your options unless you can move the flue up like Begreen suggested. What is the square footage your trying to heat? Looks like a small room, soapstone may be the ticket. A Woodstock Fireview or Keystone would look nice there.
  7. pyper

    pyper New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    491
    Loc:
    Deep South
    I live in western SC, so we probably have similar winters.

    We bought a Dutchwest stove. I probably wouldn't have, given what I know today, but it works. It throws off a lot of heat. You'll recall that last winter was really cold, but we had no trouble keeping the room with the stove (the livingroom) really warm. It's not hard to make the livingroom too warm, in fact. The heat pretty much stays in the livingroom though. We have two ceiling fans in the livingroom too. We burned about a chord of wood last winter.

    I did a lot of experimenting with fans, and I found that for my house, the best solution was to have the fan near the ceiling of the warm room, blowing the warm air down into the adjacent hallway.

    I have a glass window. I think its also nice to be able to see what the fire is doing and how the wood is burning. As long as it's a hot fire and dry wood it stays clean. When it does get dirty, a little windex on a paper towel will clean it right off.
  8. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,452
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    1) Stove for $1,500 . . . it can be done . . . and there are several models in this price range . . . ranging from the "budget" steel stoves such as Englander, Regency and Napoleon to the smaller steel and cast iron stoves built by other companies. However, the real question here is the one thing I don't see you mention . . . the size of your home . . . as this will help us determine what makes and models might work well for you. It seems like a lot of folks come here (and I'm not picking on you) and say they want a stove for X amount of dollars (and we know money is tight and folks are on a budget) . . . but folks fail to see that a) while money is an issue a person who buys a stove simply because of its price (or its looks for that matter) without factoring in their size requirements will not be happy and b) some things are worth spending money on when it comes to safety . . . and putting a good woodstove in the home that you can trust to safely keep you warm is one of those things.

    2) As others have mentioned even folks with lots of experience can learn new tips and techniques . . . just hang around here for a bit and you'll be amazed at what you will pick up . . . using the fan "trick" by pointing the fan towards the stove seems counter-intuitive for moving the heat out of the smaller room into the rest of the house, but it really does work . . . and work well. That said, moving the heat out of the smaller room where it will be trapped could be a real challenge. I've never used a soapstone stove (either a Woodstock or a Hearthstone), but folks say these stoves tend to have a "moderate" and "different" kind of heat from steel and cast iron stoves . . . perhaps these might work for you better in this case.

    3) Style . . . as this is a trick question is it not? Who is to say what style stove would fit in with a log cabin? Perhaps you've gone the traditional route and have all rustic furnishings . . . so would a traditional matte black cast iron woodstove work for you here . . . or would you prefer the simple, austere look of steel . . . or perhaps you want a nice enamel stove in a color to match the brown log walls . . . or maybe a stone look to blend in with the stone work in the home . . . or maybe you're living in a log home, but have eclectic tastes or a more modern taste and want one of the more modern, European style stoves? Only you can decide if the style of the stove works for you . . . in my own case I love what I hear about Woodstock stoves in terms of the performance and customer service, but don't care for the design . . . it really is up to you.

    4) Generally long burn times = bigger fire boxes . . . and this usually equates to more money . . . of couse folks using catalytic converters in their stoves also tend to get some fantastically long burn times as well.

    5) If you are dead set against putting in a new vent you will limit your choices even further . . . although some stove manufacturers have models that can vent either way . . . such is the case with the Jotul Oslo for example.

    6) It is the exception these days to find woodstoves without "glass" in the front . . . once you experience secondary burning and are rewarded with the view of the fire most folks will most likely not want to go back to the days of not being able to watch the fire burn . . . plus when you can see the fire at a glance you don't have to constantly open the door to check on the fire. Thanks to new tech and air wash systems it is possible to burn wood and only have to clean the glass infrequently . . . in my own case I clean the glass with a quick swipe of wet newspaper once to twice a week . . . now as for that burned on black or brown gunk you see in some stoves . . . that's easy to explain . . . this is usually the case where someone is not burning hot enough or they're burning unseasoned wood (although they may tell you it is seasoned simply because they truly believe it was . . . or because they were told it is seasoned.) The key to keeping the glass clean again is to burn at hot enough temps . . . and burn seasoned wood (for me this is wood that has been cut, split and stacked at least a year prior.)

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