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Help me choose a Stove!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Machria, Nov 7, 2012.

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  1. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    The key is always the objective. If you are aiming to supplement then you don't have to carry the full load - if it is for 'emergency' heat (even as supplemental the majority of the time) then consider that even if the stove can only hold 58* that is far better than the alternatives when the power is out. That 58 may seem nice and warm to some of the folks there in NY/NJ this week.

    Anyway, I'm eager to hear what the final decision (if any) is here and how well it works out. Clearly there are many "right" answers here that could work out well - at least we all agree that an open fireplace is not going to cut it :)
    Sprinter likes this.

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  2. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for all the comments so far guys! I will definitely post my choice when Imfinally make it, as well as pics of the install and my first burn. Can't believe how complicated this choice is! I thought this would be easy when I first started to shop. By the way, when I say "money no object", I mean pic any stove, I want to start with the best I can buy, then I will back off if I can't afford it.... But I like to start at the top. I'm not rich by any means, but I am foretunate enough to be able to say I could afford any stove, for the most part. My house is on stilts, so the masonry is out of question, can't support that much weight....

    I'm starting to think about wether I want a long burn time (24+ hrs) instead of the usual 8 to 10 hrs most stoves claim.

    What's the real difference between the burn of the Blaze Kings compared to others besides length? Does the BK put out less heat when it is burning low? Are they difficult to operate, need to babysit...?

    So my list is getting longer, not shorter!?#?! HELP! ! I need some serious help!

    Woodstock Progress
    Blaze King King
    Enerzone Solution 3.4
    Quadrafire 5700
    PE Summit
  3. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Keep in mind that the Progress is 700 lbs. You might want to be sure that your flooring can handle that much weight.
  4. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    The BK is easy to run..at least I think it is..and trust me it will put the heat out when called upon.
    I rarely see a fire even when it's in the teens..but once in awhile I turn it up to see fire!
  5. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Burn times like that are usually the domain of cat stoves, like Blaze King's and Woodstock's. Plenty of discussions on that topic, sometimes quite lively. If you start one of those, stand back;lol

    That's normal. You must be getting pretty tired of no power by now for sure. It must be tempting to just order a stove, any stove. But you're doing the right thing by making sure you do it right for the future. Heck, you'd probably have the power back the day your installer gets there anyway:)
  6. ditchrider

    ditchrider Burning Hunk

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    I'm just guessing, but yet I'm still gonna take a stab at it...
    Draft.
    Same room, same chimney. Similar mass. Take into effect altitude, humidity, barometric pressure, and your findings of the Defiant could have functioned better than the 30 under a different set of circumstances. Or maybe, had the airflow into the Defiant been engineered differently. Or maybe the 30 functions less effectively than the Defiant in a rather tightly constructed home.

    ...2150 sq ft of draftiness is a set of circumstances all it's own. But all due respect, BBar, yours would be a good model home to test the prototypes. And none the more perceptive operator to fiddle and observe. Get in touch with Woodstock. You belong together.;)
  7. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    We already got power back, but shhh! Don't tell anyone! ;). I always take forever picking things out, I'm anal about making decisions. They usually end up wrong anyway, so I shouldn't waste my time!
  8. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    I saw that, a possible problem....
  9. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    That is what I'm afraid of with the BK, I do like the "fire" part of burning wood, not just heating.
  10. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    LOL Kind of suspected that, since I'm the same way. Took me all summer to decide, but I wasn't in a hurry at that time...

    This is one of the points made by non-cat users, and frankly one of the big reasons I went non-cat, plus burn time is just not important to me. However, I was scolded by one member here who insists that you can get nice displays from a cat, too. It's my guess that the reason cat users may often have a dark looking fire is simply because they are able to turn their air down to the point that the fire doesn't flame much and still get a clean burn and the legendary long burn times. I imagine that you would get as good a fire if you didn't turn it down as much, but maybe that would make it too hot. Just my sense of things.

    To the cat users: What's the real deal on this subject?
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You're right, the cat stoves with long burn times do it by burning a huge pile of wood so slowly that it doesn't make flames. It's pretty boring but extremely effective. If you want flames you can turn up the throttle on the stove but then you will be roasted out since that huge pile of wood will be efficiently converted into heat.

    We had a cold snap this weekend Sprinter, I got to run the stove at half throttle for about 12 hours. It still did not make any flames. A nice warm glow for sure and we were very warm but no flame. Not even a flicker of fire, pure heat.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I think Marty Strand might take exception to that statement considering the large number of posts he has made on his masonry heater. We've had a few others post here over the years as well that have noted the distinct qualities of these stoves. Locally, I'm fortunate to have a Russian fireplace nearby in a public bldg. for all to experience. The quality of heat from a massive masonry burner is unique and very nice. It's quite difference from what most of us experience in that the room temperature is very constant, having almost none of the temperature swing that happens with most wood stoves. One or two fires a day provide nearly perfect heat. And you can sit with your back right up against the heater!

    Personally, I can note a very large difference in the characteristic heat between our experience with cast iron heaters we've owned and the cast iron jacketed T6. There's a large difference between a highly radiant stove and the soft heat of a heavily jacketed stove. Stove material has a very direct effect on how the heat is radiated or convected.
  13. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    That's a pretty good list. I've read a few posts about the Quad factory not providing good support to customers. . .not even talking about warranty claims, just trying to get parts. Quad appears to be one of those mfr's who steers you back to the dealer for everything. If you have a good dealer, no problem; if not, woe unto you. Also, dealers sometimes go out of business, so even if things are great locally, it may not last. I think it sucks when a mfr doesn't want to deal with customers, and before buying any brand, I recommend calling the mfr to try to get a good feel for how they are about this. If they don't want to talk to you before the sale, good luck getting any help after they have your $. Doh!

    Yes, the BK will put out less heat when burning low. . .any stove will, but catalytic stoves do this better, and BK is the best at this. (It also doesn't hurt that the square-shaped 4+ cu-ft firebox of the King model will hold more wood than just about any other modern stove.) When talking about 24+ hour burns on a regular basis, that's BK territory. They have Alien Technology® that lets their stoves control the burn better.

    Chris(BKVP) materializes here now & then to answer Q's and take care of problems. Bert(FyreBug) of SBI(Enerzone), Mike(stoveguy2esw) of Englander, and various Woodstock people do too. Credit where credit is due. :)


    In the size you are looking at, most of the stoves probably weigh around 500 lbs. Add another 60-80 lbs per load of wood. Any hearth you build adds weight too. You might want to put extra stilts under that part of your house.
  14. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Some of the folks here would call that a warm spell;lol But, yeah, that was the first time we actually burned all day and night.
  15. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Did you think that we were going to let you sail off into the sunset with your Flaming Droid robot? ==c
  16. HollowHill

    HollowHill Minister of Fire

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    I know what you mean about spending a long time shopping and then ending up displeased after all that. That's happened more than once to me;em However, can't say that about my Progress! I shopped for a couple of years, then had to wait for another year until it hit the production floor, but I can say it was well worth the wait and the expense. One nice thing about WS that helped me in my "did I make the right decision" moments was the fact that if it didn't turn out right for my situation, for any reason, I could return it and they'd even pay the return shipping. Now that I've had it for close to a year, they couldn't have it back for love nor money!

    To address your fire viewing concerns, the Progress is a hybrid, it combines both cat and secondary burning. It has a huge glass window for a reason! It is lovely to watch (actually, both in season and off season, as its lovely when its not burning as well).

    Living in an old house, I was also concerned about the weight. Just to be safe, I had my contractor beef up the floor, he put in a couple of extra posts, wasn't a big deal in my situation. Might be with yours.

    Besides the looks, I love the Progress for its ease of use and solid reliability. It is very controllable and responsive to the controls. After I've engaged the cat and turned down the draft, it will stay at whatever fire activity level I've chosen (dependent on how much heat I want).

    All that said, the BK is another viable choice. They are supposedly coming out with some new models in the near future, I think. Might be worth the wait. I gave BK a long, hard look when I was shopping, but couldn't get by how it would look in my house. Personal choice, and not to say that it doesn't look fine in other situations, just wouldn't have worked in my house.

    Good luck in your choice. And although it makes it difficult, isn't it great that there are a number of great choices out there.
    raybonz likes this.
  17. rijim

    rijim Member

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    The PE and BK don't appear to be the best option if you want to cook on it in emergencies ( maybe owners can comment), the ability to handle longer splits of the Enerzone and the Quadrafire is a benefit. Woodstock sells direct; if not doing yourself, do you have any idea of reputable installers in your area? What is the reputation of the Enerzone and Quadrafire dealers in your area?
    Just more to consider.
  18. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    Extra stilts isn't an option. Anyway, I think the floor and stilts can handle the 700lbs once set, but the bigger problem I think will be trying to get 700lbs up 3 flights of stairs, without breaking the stairs and it's wood flooring... 500lbs would be much mroe doable I think.

    If it were not for the 700lbs, I would be buying the Progress. I really like the cooktop part of it, the nice looking soabstone, and hybrid tech. Wish there was a lighter version of that somehow....?

    I'm now edging back to the Enerzone Destination 2.3. That one looks perfert for my decor, and I love the log storage under it. The BIG problem is, will I be happy with a smaller 2.3cu firebox? Will the shorter burn times of Enerzone be ok....?

    I'd REALLY love to hearfrom somebody with a Destination 2.3! Can't seem to find anyone. No comments on that unit!
  19. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Lopi offers a hybrid stove called the Cape Cod. It is a 3 cu ft firebox and weighs 600 lbs. For transportation, you would be able to remove some parts, like the door, to lighten the stove.

    http://www.lopistoves.com/product-detail.aspx?model=364#specs-tab

    No one here has one of these stoves at this point and it is a new stove. So, caution should be used when purchasing and you should be aware that bugs in new product can take place. I am sure it is a good stove, as the company has a good track record, but, issues can pop up in all stoves.

    When moving stoves I have removed stove doors, legs, ash pan castings, and any internal parts that are easy to remove. It improves the ability to manage the stove during moving by a good degree. With the Encore, I took so much of it apart I was able to lift the main shell of the stove using only one arm.
  20. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    Yep, depending on the stove you can really take off some weight. No clue about the Woodstock stoves though, I'd had probably bought the Progress but we got a really good local deal and the Progress wasnt available yet. But 3 flights of stairs... I feel your pain!
  21. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't let that concern stop you dead in your tracks before you look into it a bit further. I just had my PH brought into the house about a month ago. The movers brought it in via the back door to avoid the tight stairs in the front so they ended up bringing it up the deck stairs. Not exactly what I would call over-engineered for strength but there was no concern and frankly although the deck did shake a bit with each step they rolled up, there wasn't any sign of weakness in the stairs.

    If you really are interested in the PH and are concerned about the structural integrity of the stairs then have someone who knows take a look - if 700lbs (plus movers) is a concern, I would think 500 wouldn't really be a whole lot better... Then again, I like wide safety buffers so I wouldn't want to be within 200lbs of critical mass :)
  22. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    I should have added the Lopi Cape Cod to that list. I looked at that stove on Friday at a local dealer, I like that stove alot!!

    Great idea about removing parts.....

    Slow1, do you know if anything can come out or off of the Progress Hybrid for transport up the stairs??? Also, what kind of REAL LIFE burn times are you getting from the PH?
  23. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    Hey Machria. The top stones and the cooktop come right off (and are likely shipped separately anyway) so that takes off quite a bit right there. the door could be taken off without too much trouble. You could go further and remove the inside soapstone, etc. That said, I agree with Slow1. The weight of the Progress shouldn't be the deciding factor. If there is a concern about structural integrity at 700 lbs, there is going to be a concern about structural integrity at 500 pounds.

    Slow1 has been having some issues with burn times, but he is just getting used to the Progress. Most of us would say 12 hours easily with a less than full load. A full load will go 14+ hours (I've gone 17, others have gone longer). I get 12 hour burns very consistently and since reloading at 12 hours works great for me, I'm very happy. In warmer temps, I load a bit over half. In cold temps, closer to full. Either way, after 12 hours there are enough coals for an easy reload.

    The cooktop is great! I just made chicken potatoe curry on it Saturday night.
  24. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Being new to burning, you are going to have a hard time getting hard numbers when it comes to burn times and how they apply to you.

    Burn times vary from home to home and user to user.

    For instance, I can get 10+ hours of usable heat from the 30NC. But, I am heating a smaller area and I can reload at much lower temps than many users.

    I can get 14 hours from the Defiant, even though many users will mention they only get 9 hours from this particular model.

    The Progress will give you at least 12 hours of usable heat. How much more will vary for several reasons. Some of those reasons are that it is a new stove and a true burn time has not been defined. Some owners have reported 24 hours of heat from the stove. While this apply to you? Not sure. But, 12 - 14 hours of usable heat seems to be well within reason of expectations.
  25. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Late the party, but two statements to answer your question:

    1. There is a relatively fixed number of BTU's in a cubic foot of wood, so your primary controls are:

    a. How many cubic feet of wood you can stuff into your stove
    b. How efficient your stove is (or is not)
    c. The rate at which you release those BTU's.

    2. A cat stove and a non-cat stove do exactly the same thing, but with the aid of a catalyst, the cat stove can do it over a much wider range of temperatures. Your goal is to burn wood, and get as many BTU's out of that wood into your room. When burning on high, both cat and non-cat stoves do a nearly equally good job at this. The advantage of the cat stove is that you also have the option of burning very low, something a non-cat stove cannot do with anywhere near the same efficiency. If you could somehow try to burn a non-cat as low as you can with a cat (modify the stove), the secondary system would fail to operate at some point / you would have a smoke dragon.

    The comments about losing the flame show on a cat stove are somewhat misleading. When you shut down a cat stove to minimum air, for maximum burn time, you do indeed lose the fire show. However, if you burn it on a hotter setting (similar to the way a non-cat burns all the time), you get flame show.

    It's a trade off of a little extra expense and care, for a slight gain in performance, when considering cat vs. non-cat. Both stoves work on the same principle (burn / re-burn), but the cat stove can do it over a wider range of burn rates / temperatures.
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