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deciding on new stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by esox, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. esox

    esox Member

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    Made up my mind I'm gonna take the plunge and get a new stove. This is what I'm doing now and what I'm considering. Help me out if I'm off track.
    I have a 1400 sq ft rancher with a Fisher Granpa Bear in the basement. Its doing the job heating the house comfortably. My basement is around 74 degrees and the upstairs is around 66 at the far end and 68 above the stove which is fine. We dont like it too warm upstairs. I load the stove at 9 when I go to bed and plenty of coals for a restart at 5 when I get up without any kindling. Load it again when I leave for work around 6 and when the wife gets home at 3 she doesnt have to fool around restarting. Just open the draft and add some wood. A little more burn time would be great but this procedure is working for us.
    I'm thinking due to our limited time watching the stove and keeping things simple for her I'm better off with a non cat perhaps? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    From following posts on here and researching different stove manufacturers I've narrowed it down to a few. Quad Isle Royal, Jotul 600 and Lopi Liberty. I haven't been out shopping yet but I'm assuming these stoves are all around the same price? Also, what the manufacturers are calling burn time isnt much better than I have now. I realize that varies but are they referring to burn time as just being able to restart from a bed of coals or still having an actual fire?
    Thanks for any input. I'm looking forward to burning less wood, producing less smoke and not having to clean my chimney every month, Dave

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  2. sailor61

    sailor61 Burning Hunk

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    I'm new to a cat stove but from what you're describing as your routine one would fit in perfectly. When I get up in the morning I open the bypass and draft while I get the dogs taken care of. Then I stoke the stove and get cleaned up...once that is done I close down the draft and engage the cat. Stove is easily good for 7 to 8 hours. Then in the afternoon I repeat the process while I doing a few things around the house - there is generally a stronger coal bed at this point so bringing it back up to cat temp is much quicker process. And then the same around bed time. I was unsure about a cat but having now burned one for a few weeks they are not that big a deal to manage and do make a major difference in temps. Not saying cat is the right answer...just that you should at least look into them. Plus...and I'm biased...there aren't many stoves that are much prettier than the Woodstocks if you like traditional looks.
    charly, Bub381 and Backwoods Savage like this.
  3. topoftheriver

    topoftheriver Member

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    I'm partial to the Jotul 600.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Hi Dave and welcome to the forum.

    Okay, I'll try to correct you. I know not why you would state that you would be better off without a cat stove. But then, when we bought our last stove I felt the same way. I had heard some real horror stories. Long story short, we now own a cat stove.

    Moving along to your last sentence about burning less wood, producing less smoke and not having to clean the chimney every month. You have described a good cat stove there. Why do I say this?

    Before we bought our cat stove, a Woodstock Fireview, we burned an average of 6 cord of wood or so every winter and the most we burned was one winter of over 7 cord. We also used to clean our chimney 4-6 times every year. So now we have the Fireview, a cat stove. We now burn less than half the wood we used to burn. We stay a lot warmer in the house and we no longer close off part of the house in the winter. We do not have a smokey chimney and we rarely clean that chimney. We did clean it after 2 winter's use just to see what we'd get. About a cup of soot and no creosote is what we got. The chimney has not been cleaned since and this is the sixth winter with our stove. So, there are many stoves out there and many that can and will suit you. But do not rule out a cat stove. I'll also put in a plug for Woodstock. You have to buy direct from them but you will never find a better company to deal with and they are second to none in customer service. As for satisfaction, they will even give you a 6 month guarantee. Stove not right? Send it back for a full refund.

    Good luck.
    rideau and charly like this.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That describes a well run modern stove burning dry wood. Cat or non-cat will both have those results if run correctly.

    Burn time is more of a marketing term than reality. Your burn time varies with the wood, the stove capacity, design and time of the year. A cat stove will give you longer, clean burns at a low setting. If that is the goal, also look at the Blaze King Princess. When it is cold outside and the stove is working harder the difference in burn-times between cat and non-cat are less apparent.

    Does the 1400 sq ft include the basement sq ftg? If not, what is the total? In comparison to the Lopi Liberty I would also look at the Napoleon 1900, Pacific Energy Summit and while you are at the Jotul store, look at the model F50 and F55.
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Never said it wouldn't! I was clarifying the cat stove benefits that he thought he would not get.
  7. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    The 30 might be a good fit.

    Matt
  8. esox

    esox Member

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    Thanks for the feedback guys. I suppose the main reason I'm shying away from the cat stove is because I've never used 1 and the thought of spending a lot of money and having problems is in the back of my brain. I've only ever used older stoves. 2 here in my home and 2 in cabins that I've had. I'm sure I could master it with some practice and then show the wife. Shes willing to participate and she's not afraid of it. The only negative things I've heard was from a guy I know that was having draft issues and that may have been due to improper operation or even his wood.
    The question was raised about the sq ft of my home. The upstairs is about 1400 and I have a full basement, unfinished for the most part but used for recreation. So my total space being heated would be around 2800. Some time ago I did talk to a person from Woostock and they advised me to replace the Fisher with the PH stove. They felt the Fireview may not give me the same amount of heat as the Fisher is giving. When I gave you those temp readings of the house with the stove operating that was during normal temp days and nights. Say mid 30's during the day and low 20's at night. Colder than that my boiler will run to maintain 66 upstairs. This winter I will probably have burned about 4 cords at the rate we're going and have reduced my oil consumption by around 80%. Almost enough savings to pay for the new splitter I bought last year. Thank God for that. The wife wasn't too happy about that 1.
    As far as cat stoves it seems the PH, the Blaze King Princess and the new Lopi cat stove would be big enough for me. From what I see on here people seem to be very happy with them.
    I'm going to get out and start looking at both types of stoves and see how that goes. Plenty of dealers around here for just about anything within 50 miles or so.
    Also as far as burn time goes your saying the cat stove will give me longer burns until the outside temps drop below normal? Other than that burn times would be about the same?
    Thanks again for your help, Dave
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If the basement walls are unfinished and uninsulated, about a third of the heat is getting sucked outdoors. Put another way that is one and a third cords of wood so far this winter. If uninsulated, proper insulation and sealing of that area is going to be your best investment.

    The PH and the Cape Cod are hybrids. Besides looks, the biggest difference will be that the Blaze King has a thermostat. It runs and looks more like an appliance than a wood stove. And that is its downside, the glass blackens badly on a low burn. The hybrids have a much better air wash system that keeps the glass pretty clean from the reports we have had here so far. They also have a more attractive fire IMO. If the stove is going to be out of sight, the Blaze King could be the better fit. The thermostatic feature is a nice one and these stoves are legendary for their low, slow burn. On the other hand, if you intend to use the basement more, then a prettier stove may be more desirable.

    The suggestion of an Englander 30NC is worth considering as well. This is a simple, reliable stove. It will save you a couple thou and it will still get the job done cleanly, eating a lot less wood than the Fisher. If you run the stove mostly for higher heat to get the upstairs warm then the cat advantage could be minimal. You can put the savings into insulation and have a much improved heating experience next season.
  10. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    I know it's hard to express this but if you don't have good dry wood then and i mean at least a yr,a yr and a half would be better then you wont get much use out of 2ndaries ina stove.Get ya a cat stove,what brand is up to you.Look hard and look long but whereas you don't know which size stove you need you may want to look at Woodstock for that warranty.I do like the sounds of a Blazeking in the basement though,just don't like looking at them.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Dave, as for mastering a cat stove, there are 2 levers. One is draft and the other is the bypass. Mastering the operation of a cat stove takes about 2 minutes. As for the wife, my wife has no problems with it. Also, Woodstock was correct that the Progress would be the better stove for you.

    Begreen also hit on a very big factor and that is the basement. You lose a lot of heat to those walls.
    charly likes this.
  12. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    He wont heat that space with a Fireview for sure.He'd prob be pushing it if 1 floor weren't a basement wouldn't ya say Dennis?
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  13. rijim

    rijim Member

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    I think you have a pretty good list, if looking at the BK line you may want to consider the King for the size area your trying to heat.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I think you are correct Bub.
  15. esox

    esox Member

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    I understand what your saying about losing heat through my basement walls. I was told about that in the past and also read some articles on that a long time ago. I think that is the reason my basement doesnt get hotter than it does. Only about a 4 degree difference between the basement and first floor. I do know that with the stove I had previous to this monster which was also an old stove but smaller I had to run it much hotter to get the heat upstairs and the basement was a lot hotter too. It was doing the job but it wouldn't burn overnight. I'm burning this big stove choked down 24/7 and its doing the job but man what a pile of smoke its creating. So basically what I'm looking for is something that will put out the same amount of heat as the Fisher I have now at a low burn rate and prevent me from having to climb up on the roof once a month. I dont need any more heat than I have, I just want a cleaner burn. I dont really care what it looks like either. We hang out down here, shoot some pool, drink a few beers and listen to music or watch a game on tv. Its no paradice but we're easily amused. The walls are poured concrete which I made wider than specs and higher than specs, I believe their close to 8ft in ht and 10in wide. I made them higher figuring 1 day I might want to put in a drop ceiling which never happened. The advantage for me now is that having the upstairs floors exposed is allowing me to get more heat up there as apposed to having a drop ceiling which is almost what I'd have to do if I finished the walls correct? Dont really want to spend a bunch of money down here. Kinda comfy just the way it is. Guess I have to get out there and start lookin. From what you guys are saying it basically has to be big?
  16. rijim

    rijim Member

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    The three you mentioned(Isle Royal, F600 & Liberty) are all good options; don't think I'd go smaller. With any newer/cleaner burning stove you will need wood that is very dry (less than 20%), so give that some thought and begin to get a supply of 2-3 year seasoned wood. The only advantage that a CAT like the Blaze King King could offer is to be able to run it lower if you find it a bit warm when you're down there, then run it hotter when your not down there.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Get an Englander 30NC and put the savings into wall and insulation. You and your buddies can probably knock that off in weekend.
  18. charly

    charly Guest

    You also mentioned your worried about your chimney with all the smoke,,, I would think a Cat stove would give you the best of both worlds, heat when you wanted it, and the ability to slow it down and at that point eliminating your smoke problem with your chimney along with creosote any issue. Cat stoves for me seem to be a set it and forget it as far a simplicity in running the stove.. From personal experience,,, Woodstock has great customer service,,, hey,,, even the stove parts are very reasonably priced.. Don't forget they are coming out with a new stove too,, don't know how quick your looking to buy,,, supposedly a more mid priced stove or stoves...
  19. Hiram Maxim

    Hiram Maxim Minister of Fire

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    Ive been able to insulate about half my basement thus far with 2" foam board, it makes a hell of a difference.

    Begreen is spot on!

    I have both an Englander 30 and a Blaze King-King! Cant go wrong with either.:cool:

    Dennis speaks the truth, the CAT stove is easy to operate and has many benefits. IMHO its easier to operate than other stoves.

    If You went with rijim suggestion of a King model Your reload time would be about every 24-30 hrs depending on wood dryness,species, air flow, and heat requirements.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  20. esox

    esox Member

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    Thanks for all the help and suggestions. I do appreciate your time. I'm on track and I'm now rethinking the cat stove option. I have plenty of time as I plan on finishing out the winter with what I have and as far as the wood supply goes I'm constantly working ahead on that which I know is important. Already have enough hardwood drying for next year , oak, ash and what I believe is black birch which all came down during Sandy plus an endless supply of dead oak trees up at my cabin.
    I know I can research this but if anyone is willing to give a little advice I'll take it. As far as insulating the basement walls heres the program. Like I said I have poured concrete walls. They are basically covered with things trying to make the cove a little more attractive, such as pictures and posters, speakers, a dart board, beer lights and of course some necessities such as conduit and outlets and switches, some copper water lines and a couple sewer lines. Foam board was mentioned. I could do that without studding out the walls and adding a ceiling. Is that sufficient? That would mean just removing all the crap from the walls, installing the foam board and reattaching everything to the foamboard correct? Minus the piping, I could just go around that. Thinking about this whats the difference between looking at foamboard or looking at concrete right? Any thoughts? You have me goin on this extra heat loss now. I knew it was an issue but I didnt realize it was that drastic.
  21. Hiram Maxim

    Hiram Maxim Minister of Fire

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    Your suppose to cover the foam board.....:rolleyes:

    I plan on doing this but its going to be slow.....I plan to do studs 24" on center, save money, time ect...

    It really is worth it,you will save so much wood & be a lot warmer.

    Home Depot and lowes have 24 month 0% financing if you dont have the cash up front;)
  22. denn

    denn Member

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    Get something with grates and bimetal temp control.
    DS Machine
    http://messickstove.com/Stoves_DS_Machine_Stove_Menu.html
    Click on the stove to get more info on the DS Machine stoves.

    238b Old Leacock Road
    Gordonville, PA17529-9501
    717-768-3853
    Check around on prices for they vary a good bit.
    You can burn wood or coal with these stoves.
    You get a stove that you don't have to baby sit. You will find out that with the Englander 30NC you will be taking a step back.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You are supposed to cover the foam board, but it is not a necessity. You could just paint it and accept it as a soft wall surface. Don't forget to seal the sill and then insulate that area too. You may want to use fiberglass for that.
  24. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    That ash may be ready to burn next year but no way on the oak. Wait 3 years on oak.
    Hiram Maxim likes this.
  25. smithm1979

    smithm1979 New Member

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    As far as covering the insulation, you're supposed to due to the fact that it releases toxic fumes when it burns. That's my understanding anyway. I'm looking at doing the same thing. I read somewhere that the R value of 8 inches of concrete is equal to half inch plywood. After reading that, it made insulating my basement a top priority.

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