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Down to 4 Stoves: Quadrafire, Pacific Energy, Drolet, Englander

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by eric-holmes, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes New Member

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    Hello to everyone from Arkansas. I have grown up with wood heat my entire life (28 yrs.) and now I am out to build my own house. I am looking to heat as much as I can of my 2300 sq. ft. (single story with small bonus room above garage) house with wood heat. I know that I will not be able to keep all the rooms as warm as the living room and that is where I will rely on a natural gas furnace.

    We plan to have the stove placed into an area like shown in the picture.

    I HAD it narrowed down to 2 stoves: Quadrafire 5700 and the Pacific Energy Summit. I went and looked at both today and then came home and started doing some research online. That is when I came across two more stoves: Drolet HT-2000 and the Englander NC30.

    I am new to all of these being that my father has an old Earth Stove that is just massive compared to these stoves and their boxes now days.

    Can anyone offer any opinions on these stoves and help steer me straight?

    Also, what is the difference between cat vs. non-cat stoves? Or are all stoves cat now?

    Thanks,

    Eric
    014866a93956557f426e9bc25a33b3da.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2014

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Take some time to search on each of the stoves you've mentioned. There are reviews and several threads on them.
    Reviews - http://www.hearth.com/talk/ratings.php
    and use the search function in the upper right. Enter the stove model and you will get lots of threads.
    Cat stoves are an option but the majority of stoves are still non-cat.
  3. Rickb

    Rickb Minister of Fire

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    I will only say this.... If you have the stove like the pic in a enclosed alcove, you will need a fan system.........

    mine---> [​IMG]
    Osagebndr likes this.
  4. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes New Member

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    Thanks, Rick. That was what I was going to lead into next. When you say fan system, do you just mean a blower on the stove or something else?

    I have been worried about putting it in an alcove like this because of heat absorption and loss. I'm used to one free standing on a hearth with nothing aroud it. Is this alcove way inefficient?
  5. Rickb

    Rickb Minister of Fire

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    I just use the optional blowers on mine. The heat loss is not bad once you add a block off plate just above the stove.
  6. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes New Member

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    Block off plate above the stove where the brick starts?
  7. Rickb

    Rickb Minister of Fire

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    Mine is a few inches above where the stone starts so you cant see it.
  8. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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  9. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes New Member

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    It would be an alcove. It's a new construction home so I can make it however I want to.
  10. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Ok, for an alcove installation you don't need a block-off plate, just a properly installed chimney. Since it is single story you may want to put the chimney in a chase, will look better. Plus, check for minimum heights of the stoves you mentioned. Having a chimney sticking out 6 ft or more over the peak of your house may look a bit funny. The PE stoves usually draft easily and should be no problem to operate with just 15 ft of flue. However, your other options may work similarly well, I just don't have any experience with them. Consider adding an outside air kit, that will help with draft when your house will be relatively airtight. Please be also aware that stoves are space heaters, the closer to the center of the house the stove will be located the easier it will be to heat your entire home with it.

    Since it is a new construction: Did you look into EPA-approved zero-clearance fireplaces? They heat as well as a modern wood stove and give you the look of a real fireplace. If you ever want to sell the home, it may make the house much more marketable. In addition, the cost may not be that much more than adding an alcove for your woodstove. Here are just two links with examples, there are certainly more:
    http://www.fireplacex.com/ProductGuide/FuelTypeOverview.aspx?fueltype=wood&fueltab=0
    http://www.icc-rsf.com/en/rsf-woodburning-fireplaces
  11. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes New Member

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    Ok, great. Lots of good info in that post.

    So, I started checking into the installation instruction on the PE and I was looking at the space requirements for an alcove installation. The user manual quotes, "Alcove: Min. Height 7' ". Now, does that mean 7' to the top of the alcove or 7 feet of chimney. If to the height of the alcove, then I definitely couldn't do what I suggested from the picture in the first post.

    Edit: Further reading leads me to think that it would be seven foot from the base of the alcove to the top of it.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014
  12. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    The pic you posted further up is a stove installed into a masonry fireplace. It would not make sense to build a masonry fireplace for 10+ grand only to put a stove in it. An alcove is essentially your standard building structure just as a bump-out from the wall. Here the minimum height of the alcove is listed as 84": https://www.chimneysweeponline.com/cpacsumm.htm I personally don't like an alcove for a stove very much. You lose a lot of radiant heat gain, you'll need to run a blower, and the alcove needs to be really well insulated or you lose quite a bit of heat to the outside. See if you can place the stove somewhere along a wall relatively central in the house or look at the ZC fireplaces I mentioned.

    The Summit has a minimum of 15 ft of flue from the base of the appliance. (manual page 9)
  13. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes New Member

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    Would the height on the alcove still have to be minimum height if you had the top and all 3 other sides lined with masonry fire brick? I'm with you though, I am much more a fan of a free standing stove out on its own. The wife and I are trying to find a compromise. But we definitely want a freestanding stove and not an inset or something similar to that. We just have to decide on how we want it set up.
  14. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    See if you can just put it somewhere along a wall. The Summit has a rear-clearance of only 7.5" when installed with doublewall pipe and not in an alcove. Or look at the corner installation requirements. If you want you can post a floorplan to get some recommendation where a good place for the stove would be. I also just noticed that you are from Arkansas. How cold does it get there in the winter? A 3 cu ft stove in a new and probably well insulated house may be way too much for your climate. You should maybe also think about a catalytic stove. That can be burned with a lower heat output for a longer time than a secondary burn stove.
  15. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes New Member

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    It can easily get to 0* here in the winter and we like to keep it a comfortable 80* inside ". :) We like it nice and warm. I have looked into cat stoves but I'm not too sold on them yet. I'm not sure of the put out as much as I'd want when it smolders.

    Stove is planned to go on that top wall in the living room.

    Attached Files:

  16. smokedragon

    smokedragon Minister of Fire

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    I think those are all respectable stoves......but if you are in the area and can get one, I would go with Pacific Energy. The Summit will throw more heat than any of those other stoves, and I am a big fan of oversizing ::-)::-)
  17. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    I guess I underestimated the winters in AR. ;) Yep, 3 cu ft sounds about right then. I don't quite understand your complaint about cat stoves, though. They have the advantage that they don't smolder when being put on low. That means at days you don't have those frigid temps you can load a cat stove, set it on a low burn and enjoy a low, steady heat output for many hours. Burn times of 20+ hours have been reported here. With a non-cat you fire it up, it gets pretty hot at the beginning and then cools down over time until the stove is pretty much out after 10 to 12 hrs. Nice if it is really cold outside but otherwise you get sweaty early on and then you are making a fresh fire every time your house temps dropped too much for your liking. If you just have occasional dips to 0 F and most of the time you are more in the thirties you may benefit tremendously from having a cat stove. The BlazeKing 30 series or a Woodstock Progress or maybe the Ideal Steel would be prime candidates.

    So you want to place the stove where the fireplace is indicated in your plans? Not a bad location, relatively central. You may get problems with the heat transfer due to the ceiling height as the rest of the house (and especially the corridor) has a lower ceiling. If you have proper clearances there is no real need to have any special walls around the stove but it may look nicer. One example:
    [​IMG]

    Please be aware that the NC-30 requires a hearth with a r-value of 1.5 while the others I think are ember-protection only.

    Regarding the 4 stoves you mentioned: They are all rather similar as they use secondary burn technology. Efficiency will be not that different and more dependent on properly seasoned wood and burn technique than on the stove itself. They are all steel stoves which heat up quickly but also cool down more quickly. Thus, you will get the typical burn cycles of a lot of heat early and then it slowly gets colder. Cast-iron stoves (.e g. PE T6) and soapstone stoves (e g. Hearthstone) even out those temp swings better. In general: the heavier the stove the more thermal mass it contains.

    The main difference between the stoves you mentioned are in the "secondary" considerations like looks, confidence with your dealer/installer, customer service, warranty etc. I would try the forum search to find out about those. And don't disregard the "looks": You will need to look at the stove for 365 days a year for the time you live in that house.
  18. smokedragon

    smokedragon Minister of Fire

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    Grisu, I can't see how this statement backs up your point about cat stoves, as most folks are able to tend their stoves every 10 - 12 hours.

    I do agree with you that some situations call for one or the other. He likes it hot, a secondary burn stove that will get him a 10+ hour burn will probably make him happy.

    I still think you are right that the correct cat stove will do the job for him, but I understand. I was wary of cats too, but many like yourselves guided my recent purchase and I have a cat stove on order now==c


    Great point.......I know if I had four similar stoves and one required a beefier hearth, I would wipe it off my list. Of course, that is the reason the NC30 is priced lower than these others.



    Why not go HYBRID? You could get a stove that can be cranked up with secondary burn, but cut back with a cat burn.

    Woodstock and Lopi both offer hybrids now. I think you will see more in the future.
  19. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes New Member

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    Great point about the hybrids. I had also heard the they cat stoves create more creosote and there for require more chimney cleaning. From what I read and my understanding is that they actually burn the creosote and potentially require less chimney cleaning.

    Back to my plans...

    Red is where I had planned to put the stove.
    Blue is where I wouldn't mind putting it but then the chimney would be on the front side of the house.
    Id like to keep the yellow wall completely clear.

    Im not saying that Grisu misread my plans. I just didnt think I had it in a too central location. The Blue circle are plans for a built in computer desk.

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  20. smokedragon

    smokedragon Minister of Fire

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    I think the red circle is a good spot.....not perfectly central, but it is hard to do that sometimes.
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I like the blue spot better. It's more central. The chimney could have a chase installed.
  22. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    BTW, the term Hybrid, to my understanding, is a marketing and advertising term.

    I sold stoves in 1990 which had actually passed EPA without a cat - but that the maker also put a cat in (they soon stopped using the cat).

    There have been many many models which use air injection AND catalytic converters...over the years. VC and Harman, just to name a couple.
    http://vermontcastings.com/family/Stoves/Convertible/Encore-FlexBurn/
    (not a hybrid - a "flexburn"......another marketing term - note the numbers on it)

    If "hybrid" is a true descriptive and scientific terms, I'd like someone to show me it in the EPA regs or documents or lab testing notes. My research shows two standards, one for cats and one for non-cats.

    Our mission at hearth.com is consumer education. I'd rather not start throwing around new stove types which don't exist. It's one thing for a manufacturer to describe their own stoves in sales literature, another for people to start deciding which stoves are part of this category.

    Let's try to keep it real. There are cat stoves and non-cat stoves. Probably 90% of the stoves sold are non-cat (if anyone from the industry has real numbers, let's see them).
    Each type has advantages and disadvantages.

    In terms of what you will see more of in the future, that will probably be a similar product mix as now. Manufacturers will certainly attempt to, and probably succeed in, making their non-cats pass the EPA standards as we go along. Cats will continue to exist and probably get better also. Cats will probably always cost more....and also sometimes require more upkeep and the need to learn about the bypasses, etc.

    Dealers as well as the big boxes will be the primary "deciders" as to what is sold....as they must set the prices, profits and also stand behind the stoves.

    So it will be, so it has always been.

    Forge on......
  23. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Correct. Cat stoves (like the BlazeKings) usually have less particle emissions and "hybrids" can be even cleaner.

    I said central in regards to the East-West orientation of the house. Most people want to put the stove on an outside wall, so the red circle would be about as good as it gets. The blue one may be even better but that will be an alcove installation with higher clearances and you will require a blower. It would be a perfect spot for a zero clearance fireplace. Sure you don't want to look into those? They are essentially like woodstoves designed to look like a fireplace. This here would be the PE Summit equivalent: http://pacificenergy.net/products/wood/fireplaces/fp30/
    But there are others if you don't like the modern look.
  24. eric-holmes

    eric-holmes New Member

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    Sorry, I know I'm uneducated on all of this. I've been reading and researching extensively but I've always though fireplaces and/or inserts were a lot less efficient than a stove. How much heat do get when the power goes out and you don't have the blower?
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That depends on the insert design. As a general rule, the more it projects out on the hearth, the better. Flush inserts usually need the blower running most of the time. But inserts that stick out on the hearth can do a decent job without the blower.

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