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Equinox or Blaze King?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jb1951, Jan 30, 2008.

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  1. ancientoaks

    ancientoaks New Member

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    am late seeing this but wanted to comment...
    We bought a Hearthstone Heritage to heat our small home (primarily our 740 sq ft great room, brand new house, etc etc)...we too have been deeply disappointed..I posted here and got lots of great ideas from everyone and after 30 days of trial and error have come to the following conclusions.
    1. If you are a former cast iron stove person (we were Vermont Castings from the late 1970's) do your homework and realize these stoves do NOT perform the same. They are very cold blooded..you MUST let them die down to clean them out, the ash pan is a joke. It really is. We have found that the soapstone does NOT hold the heat anywhere near what is stated in the material.
    2. They require alot more 'fiddling' than the old type stoves, and this stove does not seem to have enough firebox to perform at the stated level.
    3. the wood must be PERFECT. dried, seasoned SPLIT, not round, without any moisture at all.

    Example
    Yesterday outside temps here in Mid Tn were 32 degrees, up from 23 the night before. Our stove has been running 24/7 , since Feb 1...We did our 'good night' load at 10 pm last night, ultra dry oak slab boards, some split cedar to get it up and hot ( we had to let it burn down a bit so as to get enough room in the box to fill it up), and some well seasoned split walnut. It was jammed full of wood, let it burn a bit to get hot, about 15 minutes, until we could see the fire rolling up and over in back, shut the air control to close. At the time the room temp was just at 70 degrees. Nice.
    Rose at 3:30 am, as we have had to do since the incept, to add wood...Stove had huge, hot coals, no wood left, the stone was warm to the touch, not hot,( 250 degrees on the gauge) and the slate surround had begun to cool down as well.room temp was now at 60 degrees, outside temp was 24..
    .we loaded with same wood to the top, waited a few moments (hard to do at that hour), then shut her down. Rose again at 6 am. Found the same situation, except room temp was 62 degrees, and coals were huge enough I had to get some out in order to put in enough wood to get the stove hot again... IF we keep at this stove all day, loading it every two hours with great wood, it will keep this ROOM (and some filtering upstairs) warm and cozy..DON"T go to town for a few hours, don't work outside at the barn for several hours, or you will come back to a cool house. NOT cold, but significantly cooler...AND when you have to do a thorough clean, you must let it die down a bit, am loathe to let it go out because it is a stinker to start up from a cold start. A stinker...takes a good hour or more to be sure enough of the burn to even think of turning it down slightly.

    Now, we have had the chimney checked (all is well and right, height, size, etc etc)...we have a tight house, but if it wasn't getting any air in the shut down mode, there would be wood left, there is not..NO ONE can give us an answer that seems to really work.
    At first, we couldn't get any heat out of it, and found out, thru here , that is was the wood. Needed to be perfectly, PERFECTLY dry..once we got that, we could get it HOT...but the trick is, to keep it hot enough to heat this room, and still last that 8 hours they brag about....so far, we haven't been able to...

    Our biggest sadness is that we love this stove and it's looks and proposed efficiency. It will hold a fire for 4-6 hours MAX, BUT it will not maintain that warm temp for that long,and the claims that the soapstone keeps on heating after the fire goes out is just not true in our case. DOn't know why, just isn't.
    Made the mistake of buying this stove online, from a dealer far away. He had no answers, so called a local dealer.. He had no answers, he told me to call the company..Company wouldn't talk to me becuase I am not a dealer...nearly $2,000 and we are looking to trade this off. So I understand your frustration with the Jotul...

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  2. rydaddy

    rydaddy New Member

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    Fellow Heritage feeder! I feel your pain. It sounds as though your situation is much worse than mine, but I agree with a lot of what you said. If I could feed my stove every 4 hours it would be a great stove. Otherwise a lot of what you said hit home. I have found that my front door gasket needs to be changed again already (I do at the start of the heating season every year anyway). I also started a new topic earlier regarding my stove running hotter than what it should.
  3. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    Just came across this thread. Kgrant, thanks for your response. I'm tired of hearing about the need to baby a cat stove. Blah, Blah, Blah!! Yeah, you need to know a bit about running a stove; not much, just let it heat up before you engage the cat. I think most everyone here is capable of that basic understanding. That's pretty much it. Oh yes, don't burn garbage, the neighbors' furniture, wet wood, snow covered wood. Duh?? My soapstone cat stove is coasting at 600 stove top tonight. OMG that's too HOT!! (not) It's cold out. It's warm inside. So understand that soapstone's a different animal than cast or steel. It soaks up heat first, then starts releasing it, takes a while, but keeps on giving. No you can't let it go out and get heat for days afterwards. Yes, it definately smooths the peaks and valleys of the heating cooling-cycle of a fire so you load it, let it burn down, load it etc... If you do that, your house is constantly and consistently warm, the heat is gentler and steadier than metal. That's what you get with soapstone. What you don't get is to come home to a cold house and have instant heat. So you have to plan a bit. With a cat, what you get is you can run it hot, you can run it cool, you can burn pine slow or oak fast, whatever you need. You need an extended burn?, there is nothing better than a cat, baby. And where did this babying thing come from? My wife does not care at all about the technical end of stoves. She's used a few (all pre-EPA) and if they went out could never light them. Wants to put wood in and get heat out. Yet she says this cat stove is the easiest stove she's ever used. Maybe it's because this stove don't go out, it's a cat (soapstone too) But for your situation, either stove would give you great heat, that's not the issue, but I suspect the BlazeKing would allow you to go away on vacation and come back and still have coals. ;-) I thiink the Equinox would be prettier and I'd love to have someone buy that big mama and give us a real review. If it were in your living space I'd say Equinox, in your basement, go BlazeKing. Worried about the cat thing? fogeht about it!!
  4. ancientoaks

    ancientoaks New Member

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    Loc:
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    First I may be going out ona limb as I don't know whether your response is either all or partially directed at my comments about the soapstone stove we have..but I will assume that some of it is.
    We don't have a CAT stove..not all soapstones are cat stoves...
    We are not children nor hillbillies trying to burn the trash we have laying around in the yard. We have burned wood for years, including my husband's childhood on a ranch where there was no other source of heat for years.
    We don't want to 'go away on vacation' and still have coals. Just to town to pick up groceries OR sleep thru a 7 hour night. We have had stoves where this was not only possible , but an everday occurance. We have kept this stove going for a month now, with only the cool downs that have happened because we were not home for a few FEW hours...or to clean out the massive coals and ash build up...we have had radiant heat for years (water pipes in the floor fired by a wood boiler as well as other types of woodstoves) so we understand the time frame involved in gettting the house 'warmed' and then keeping it maintained...
    Our soapstone does NOT 'release it's heat' slowly and maintain the house temps...that's our point. Once the wood burns down (in about 4 hours) the stove immediately begins to cool down, from about 500 degrees to about 300 in less than 2 hours...so there is no way it can keep our house warm at these temps..
    we have the classic paradox. get and keep the stove hot enogh to heat the house and you cannot let it go un attended for more that 2 -3 hours without total burn up of the wood...turn it down to get a longer burn time and you lose major heating ability of the room.
    sorry, but that's just the way it's working, and I am reading we are not alone. I would never recommend this stove if you are looking for a primary heat source, certainly not for those who go to work for an 8 hour day and want to come home to at LEAST a home with livable temps.
  5. d.n.f.

    d.n.f. New Member

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    Nelson BC
    Ancientoaks I had the same stove you had in my 1000 sq foot house and would totally agree with you. Great stove when it was running and I loved it but 4 hour burn was typical. It did release heat when it cooled but not much.

    I think the problem with this stove is it is too wee. Not enough thermal mass.

    Second stove in a different house was soapstone cat and twice as big (US brand not Hearthstone, name eludes me at the moment). What a great stove. Liked the cat, and the stove could do overnight burns in good conditions (when I wasn't using cottonwood, pine etc.). But I think the big difference was mass. This was a heavy stove and the soapstone could hold the heat.


    Back to topic, I know 2 people with Blaze Kings and they love them. They get huge long burn times on them. They load twice a day.
  6. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    AO, my comments weren't directed towards you but the original poster of this thread. I realize many soapstone are not cats, I happen to have one that is and as such wanted to comment on both my experience with a cat stove and my experience with soapstone. Your Heritage sounds like it is just too small for your needs. The poster is looking at the Equinox which is a massive stove as are some of the BlazeKings. In your situation a Woodstock Fireview or a Hearthstone Mansfield might give you much more of the performance you need as well as some of the medium to large Cast or Steel stoves. BTW, the reference to garbage was in regards to a couple of thread topics going around about people burning furniture in their stoves :ahhh: something I think most reasonable people would not do, it was not directed at you. Part of my response too was in regards to the general perception that cat stoves are hard to run. It's not my experience at all and I encourage more people to look into them, the Fireview is a cat stove. Hope that helps. I think many people have been sold undersized stoves for their situations. Unfortunate, but at least it still is taking a large bite out of your heat bill.
  7. ancientoaks

    ancientoaks New Member

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    appreciate the clarification. However, this stove was billed as capable of heating "1900 sq ft" and we are trying to heat 740 sq ft. so there is a bit of misinformation out there.
    I wish we had considered a cat now, hindsight is 20 20. additionally, we need to find a large capacity stove that will still take a 6" flue. as we will NOT change all the work and effort we have into this new one...and I hate the thought of reducing down from the stove to the chimney.
    This Blaze King sounds interesting, so will look into it, sell this 'pretty thing' and find something that does the job. We did an 'experiment ' the other night, just for fun...We have a new REAL Rumford style fireplace (not an insert, but a block, brick and stone work of art, got lucky and real artist was willing to work for us poor folks!)....
    so, we loaded it up at the same time we loaded this stove...by morning, we had more coals and wood left in the fireplace than in the stove.....Obviously this was not a real accurate measure as the fireplace is very large, BUT our point was we could not shut off the air to it anywhere like with the control of the stove, and put in only about 20% more wood by volume....just interesting...

    Yesterday we had to go to the city, were gone from 10 am to 6 pm...I had loaded the stove to max capacity.just it down immediately (so quickly I was a bit concerned it would not continue to burn, as you are supposed to 'wait' until the secondary burn...).when we got home, we didn't even have a red coal left..nothing by cold ashes...amazing....
    so, it's for SALE!!!!! we will look at many others this spring and summer as we have some time until next heat season...
    and yes, it has 'helped' with the heating bills, but boy what alot of work to keep it warm, and alot of wood. I like this Blaze King thing so will do more work on it. Thanks again for ALL the imput....point of this is only.....DO MORE RESEARCH, things are not all what they seem.
    we got so many responses in the beginning about how we were doing so much 'wrong' and just couldn't figure out how burning wood could be so complicated...and the company will not even return my calls...the dealers don't seem to now squat either....so...guess we are stuck...
  8. thechimneysweep

    thechimneysweep Minister of Fire

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    AO, I stumbled across this thread this morning, and went back and read all your previous posts as well. I'm a Hearthstone dealer. I've sold and installed hundreds of them. I have heated my 1680 sq.ft. showroom (with one 30' wide x 20' wall made of single-pane glass) with a Heritage. It is an excellent heater, gets rave reviews from our customers, and does exactly the job Hearthstone says it will do.

    So, why isn't your Heritage working properly? Let's look at your previous posts:

    As suggested by several forum members, you're burning unseasoned wood. Wood that is "a year down" is green: in my experience, green wood doesn't produce nearly the heat that seasoned wood does, and burns up much quicker.

    My take: If the sides of your stove are hotter than the top, you're not getting a good secondary burn. One of the biggest causes of this is excessive steam from green or wet wood, mixing with the wood exhaust.

    At some point, you seem to have gotten ahold of another load of wood, this one Maple. It doesn't sound like the Maple is any more dry and seasoned than your other wood:

    This has been my exact experience when trying to burn green or wet wood in several different stoves over the years.

    Another result of burning green or wet wood.

    Short burn times are a symptom of burning green or wet wood. The two hours of gradually cooling heat output after your fire burns down are a result of the heat storage properties of soapstone: a plate steel or cast iron stove would have cooled to room temperature two hours after the fire went out.

    Before going to the hassle and expense of replacing your Heritage with another stove that will underperform burning the same wood, I'd recommend you buy some compressed sawdust logs (Presto Logs) and burn them for a few days. I'm betting that once your fuel wood is out of the picture, you'll have a MUCH better experience.
  9. ancientoaks

    ancientoaks New Member

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    well, I certainly appreciate your imput and wish a dealer like yourself was within reach of us. However, you're not..

    As I said in my recent post, we had taken all the advice given from my earlier requests for help and, we really feel like we have 'solved', at least to a great extent, the 'green' or unseasoned wood problem. Since we are old wood burners (pardon the pun, but we ARE rather 'old' as well!), we understand to a degree green or unseasoned wood. It appears that this stove must have PERFECTELY seasoned wood, something that will require an entire year to develop...one really cannot trust many wood dealers to understand fully the difference in seasoned and SEASONED wood...as in Hearthstone type seasoned...
    We started using, with better results, the leftovers from our oak barn building projects...nice thick, already cut and stacked since last fall, pieces of construction oak (from a sawmill)..It did improve the ability of the stove TO HEAT UP...as we were, if you would recall, unable to get any heat from it...That is now no longer a problem. We CAN get the surface temps to well into 500 plus degrees (or more but we'd rather not!)...But, we still have the problem of being unable to maintain this 'heating temp' without adding wood every 2 -3 hours..It just burns down that fast, and oddly, the soapstone is NOT staying hot enough to provide the heat needed on really cold nights if you neglect to tend the fire..
    If you will note the details of my story about going to the city yesterday, you will see that big chunky coals were not the problem when we arrived home. In 8 hours we had fine ash,no chunks, and a cold stove...As in 'warm hot water bottle' temp....and it had been that way awhile because even the slate surround was stone cold...The wood used at this time could not have been better, in our opinion, the oak described above, and walnut splits that were very very dry....So.... we went from not being able to create the heat we needed (green wood, or rather not seasoned ENOUGH) to now being able to get the heat, but unable to maintain it without rather constant tending...I see that others are sharing this problem, not just with Hearthstone, but with other soapstone type stoves as well.
    I would love someone who is getting 'fabulous' results from this stove to be able to come over here, run it for us as they would their own, to show us what they are really doing so differently....so we could keep and love this stove.We spent far too much money to just trash it, but if it is not doing what was stated it would do, and we are unable to find the solution, than what are we to do?
    .I am not saying we are NOT at fault, but if we are we need to find someone to be able to show us, be able to truly find a solution...If that is not possible, then this stove requires more intellect than we thought a woodburner would require...or wanted...
  10. jpl1nh

    jpl1nh Minister of Fire

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    I think Tom has a good point. Your posts don't sound typical for most heritage owners. While it's not a very big stove, it is a capable heater. My experience with wood is that really dry is better and even drier than that is best. If you have the storage space, get 2010 wood now. Your point about dealer's versions of seasoned wood is very accurate. So just buy it green planning on burning it two years from now and you can take control of making sure it's seasoned correctly. I do think that most EPA stoves are less forgiving of poorly seasoned wood than the older stoves. But with a good quality fuel source, they perform really well. I would not be afraid to run your Heritage at 500, it gives off much better heat that way and you are storing an extra 100 degrees in the soapstone to elongate the cool down period. Soapstone isn't magic, but it does absorb substantially more heat than steel or iron and as such tends to moderate the peaks and valleys of a burn cycle. It takes a good deal of your initial fire energy just to heat up the soapstone so a soapstone stove takes a while to give off heat. On the backside though it takes longer to cool down. But it's not like your fire can burn down and the stove is going to continue to heat the room for another 6-8 hours. I find that it's important to get my house warm and keep it that way with the soapstone stove. If it cools 6-8 degrees its a long time to get the house back up to temp.
  11. thechimneysweep

    thechimneysweep Minister of Fire

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    jp also makes a good point: All EPA approved woodstoves, not just soapstone models, are "pickier" about the dryness of the wood than the older models were. EPA stoves are all about reburning the exhaust gases, and cool, wet fireboxes are not a good environment for secondary combustion. The target range is 20% - 25% moisture content.

    AO, I really wish you could pick up some compressed sawdust logs, or at least get a moisture meter to verify that you're now burning properly seasoned wood so we could eliminate that issue and get on with extending your burn time. Your leftover dimensional oak lumber will burn hot, but also burn up extrememly fast, and the fast part is what we're looking to avoid.

    Once you've determined that your fuelwood is seasoned to 20-25% moisture content, here are your next steps:

    Let the stove go cold and check the gasketing on the front door, side door and ash door. To do this, close the door on a dollar bill and tug: you should feel resistance all the way around the perimeter of all three doors. While you're down in the ash door area, make sure the ash grate closer is pushed firmly all the way in. If you find any loose or leaky spots, adjust the offending door handle to tighten it up.

    If you made any adjustments, try the stove again, with full loads of the known dry fuelwood (definition of a full load: you can't get any more wood in there). If you still can't hold a fire longer than 4 hours, put a damper in your stovepipe.
  12. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Ancientoaks,
    Those ash pans on the Hearthstones have had numerous reports on here about leaking air or causing an overfire. My Hearthstone Homestead had problems with this as well as the door gaskets leaking. Sounds like this is a possible problem, or maybe your chimney draft is too strong and could use a cheap pipe damper fix?
  13. Rich L

    Rich L Minister of Fire

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    Hi Ancientoaks,I agree with Todd and the other info you've recieved,however the pipe damper may be what you need to slow your draft.Though you didn't mention if you had a pipe damper or not.If you don't I urge you to try one first before moving to a new stove.My Hearthstone Mansfield was devouring my wood.I have a pretty strong draft and the stove is only made to be shut down but so much not enough for my draft.My wood would be gone in 4-5 hours, after installing the pipe damper I'm getting 7-9hour burn times depending on the wood I choose to use.Now I resting easy and recieving great heat.
  14. ancientoaks

    ancientoaks New Member

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    A pipe damper is our next step...and while installing, will check all the gaskets and ash pan areas..
    It's funny, at first we could not seem to get the stove hot so were concerned about the draft being adequate, now that the wood is so much better we seem to more than enough draft and cannot shut the fire down...
    however, even when we are managing the stove during the day, what we have been most disappointed in is when it does get good and hot (around 500 degrees) it heats the room great, even when cold cold out, but if you let the fire get down just a bit, say to be able to 'fully load it' for an extened un tended period, the soapstone cools far more than we expected...the room WILL drop 3-8 degrees in this time frame, and also we noted that the back area behind the stove (our is a slate surround, the stove is in a corner) is EXTREMELY hot, the right side of the surround is next, and left is cooler yet, and the front, if we put an individual stone or thermometer there, is the coolest...so, we thought a blower might be in order, or wish we had designed the house so that the stove could be inthe middle of a room...I think then it also would heat better, but would not as yet solve the short burn times...
    I think that the term 'burn time' can be interpreted different ways by different people...in our 'old days' pre EPA our old Vermont would have a good fire in it for 6=8 hours and be heating well the entire time...now, this stove will HAVE fire in it for 3-4 hours , rarely more, and in that time frame be losing heating capacity as the fire dies down.(which it must in order to reload it fully.).that is what has confused and disappointed us the most I think..but we are still working at it..We have been comparing firebox capacities on different stoves (which we did not when we bought) and are amazed at the differences. Could that also be a contributor?
    BUT, the other thing is if we have to put up wood two years ahead it really makes it hard to 'get ahead', yes? I mean what do we burn in the meantime? Trying to explain this all to a regular wood supplier just gets you odd looks...

    Off to get a pipe damper.....
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