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Can you compare listed BTUs across brands?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by WestVirginian, Dec 9, 2005.

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  1. WestVirginian

    WestVirginian New Member

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    Hi everyone--

    So I'm trying to figure out the right size woodstove to buy, and basically looking at Jotul and Vermont Castings. My main question is...if the VC Defiant is listed by VC as having 55,000 BTUs, and the Jotul F400 is listed by Jotul as having 55,000 BTUs, can I assume that they kick out very similar amounts of heat? Or are there other factors?

    And then can I assume that the Jotul F500 (70,000 BTUs) kicks out significantly more heat than the 55,000 BTU stoves?

    One reason I ask is because I'm looking for a stove that will do most of the heating for my 2700 sq. ft house, and need something big. But I was a little surprised that Jotul has a couple of stoves (F500 and F600) that according to statistics are significantly hotter than the biggest VC.

    Grateful for any information. Ian

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  2. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    The Morso 3610 is a big one too
    http://www.morsoe.com/us/3610.htm
    I have one and it heats my 1800 SQ FT Cape without issue
    They claim up to 2400 SQ
    Has a big firebox
    I do not think you can look at BTU output alone, just too many factors (wood quality being the biggest one)
    Run as much stove pipe (single wall) as you can inside the living space, its like adding size to the stove
  3. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    You need to look at overall efficiency.
  4. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    BTU numbers can be misleading. The manufactures have different specs like EPA tested btu's and cordwood btu's. Look into firebox size. The more wood you can jam into a stove the more heat or BTU's you will receive. I would recommend a stove with at least a 3 cu ft firebox to heat 2700 sq ft.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I think BTU's are the only figure one can judge by, though one can calculate efficiency + box size for a better estimate. Square footage (should be cubic) heated is just a guess and often optimistic at best. There are too many variables with trying to determine the space the stove will end up in, such as insulation, ceiling height,caulking, windows, wind load, wood type, and especially climate.

    FWIW, I am biased towards Jotul. The old VC's were great, but I have friends with the recent stoves that are pretty unhappy with their VCs after a few years. Also, though maybe not quite as esthetically pleasing, the Pacific Energy Summit stove is turning out to be a real winner if you are looking for a good heater.
  6. fireman

    fireman New Member

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    BTU's that are posted by the manufacturers in their brochures are fabrications for marketing reasons so you cannot rely on them for comparison data. THe EPA does not test btu or efficiency, they only test for particulate matter. Efficiencies are not tested they are implied by the manufacturer (made up to be more precise). The only thing you can rely on for comparison is firebox size (the larger the box the more btu's , volume of wood @ 6,200 btu per pound cordwood) and the epa figure which indicates which product is burning the wood more completely. In other words the lower the particulate (grams per hour) the cleaner the stove. The everburn stoves from Vermont castings are currently the cleanest stoves made.
    The burn type will effect the burn rate. Baffled stoves burn faster and hotter but have less overall controll. Catalytic stoves, soapstone, and "everburn" stoves burn longer and provide a more even heat.

    Still a vc believer!
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'm glad VC is staging a comeback and wish them very well. My 1979 Resolute was one of the best stoves I've owned. Unfortunately, it's going to take a few strong years to overcome the damage done to the VC name to prove a real turnaround. Note, based on VC's own literature, this everburn insert is not the "cleanest stove made".
    http://www.vermontcastings.com/content/products/productdetails.cfm?id=170
    as compared to Pacific Energy Summit insert or Hearthstone Clydesdale for example.
  8. Stove Guy

    Stove Guy New Member

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    RE"the cleanest stove made"

    Unfortunately VC does not make an everburn insert yet.

    However;

    Check the EPA's web site and you will find that the "everburn" Encore by vermont castings is rated as the lowest particulate woodstove on the market today. And vc has been touting that in advertising recently. Calling yourself the cleanest stove and proving it are two different things and the EPA proves it in this case. Industry folk know that the efficiency listed on epa hang tags on stoves are default ratings (63 for non cat and 72 for cat stoves) and is not an actual proven #. Hearth manufacturers do not post efficiency #'s in their brochures that are approved by anyone other than themselves. They are marketing #'s. Particulate matter is the only proven and approved test that can compare an contrast how completely a stove burns its' contents.

    See:http://www.epa.gov/airprogm/oar/woodstoves/index.html
    and List of EPA-Certified Wood Stoves on http://www.epa.gov/Compliance/monitoring/programs/caa/whcert.html

    BTW I think very highly of Pacific Energy and hearthstone products as well .

    I just feel that the new VC needs some defending. I am a bit tired of old arguments against a new company. Jotul, for example ,has done a tremendous job of resurecting their company (and product) in North America and we do not spend much time discussing their awful , by their own admission, line of stoves from the early the 90's, or the fact that they nearly had to pull out of North America in the mid 90's as a result of poor sales. Keep in mind a lot of damage to the Vermont name was done by an all-out assault by compettitors, to what has been a leading brand in the hearth products industry for 30 years, at a time when Vermont Castings past ownership was not interested in defending themselves.

    Give them a chance and you will see a lot!
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, something that happened less than a year ago and was the culmination of 10 years of BS (long story) is not exactly ancient history!

    They made their bed and have to lie in it. That said, there is possible redemption for all and I have high hopes for VC now that they have gotten rid of the top dog! (the stories would amaze, frighten and shock you!).....

    As to whether they have become better, I can get some reports from both workers and townspeople in the Randolph and Bethel area...I know quite a few. The proof is in the pudding.

    Just to get the public up to date, what happened with VC is a long story, but it is in this order:
    1. They went broke in the early 90's because they bought dutchwest - a bad buy.
    2. Then they were passed from one investment group to the other, who all hired "hit men" to reform the company...well, perhaps hit men is a strong term, but a decent fella named Bill Mathewson actually succeded in returning the company to profitablity....and was not too bad in the process.
    3. The return to profitablity was for one reason - so the investment group could sell it and make some bucks...this is when CFM bought it.
    4. CFM fired virtually everyone who was there from the old days and most walked away with nothing....
    5. CFM decided to pursue a "sell stoves to anyone" policy, which basically meant that the long time stove dealer who sold hundreds of VC's a year now had to compete against his local plumber.
    6. CFM decided to go big into the box stores, so now dealer had to compete againt the plumber AND the box store.
    7. CFM goes broke because they made the wrong bets or executed in the wrong way.
    Oh, and they lose a patent suit (they knocked off Dimplex electric fireplaces) to the tune of 15 million or so!
    8. CFM's creditors take over....this was last March, I think.

    I may be wrong about some dates, etc. and would love additions and corrections from people in the know...

    Back to the subject: In general, the amount of wood that can be fit into a stove is the best way to compare. Also, ask dealers for their opinions and check the ratings section of this site.

    EPA efficiency numbers and outputs don't mean much.

    As I've said before, I've sold VC, burned VC and would still have a VC. BUT, for us stove dealers, business IS personal and VC cheated on all of us after promises that we were "married". That is a stench that takes some time to clean up.
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