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Help Selecting A Quality Stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by RossB, Oct 4, 2013.

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  1. stovelark

    stovelark Minister of Fire

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    That pix is prob cropped in, but it gives the impression that its a big room, with a massive stone wall going to the ceiling, a nice backdrop for this stove too. The IR is a nice stove, don't think it'd be too much for you.

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  2. RossB

    RossB Member

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    OK...I think I'm settled on the Isle Royale...I'll probably pull the trigger on it this week. Now I need to get down to installation. This is what I'd like it to look like...more or less...but with walls about 4' high and a mantle of some sort on top.

    [​IMG]

    Maybe a red brick version of this...

    [​IMG]

    And this is what my space looks like. The sliding glass door and the first 2 windows on that right hand side are coming out so that I'll have 5 feet of wall space on each wall to work with...

    [​IMG]


    The fenced in area for the puppy is going away as well
    Batman likes this.
  3. RossB

    RossB Member

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    Here's more of the room to go along with the questions I'm probably going to start asking next...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The room is a work in progress for now. We've been trying to figure out what to do with this space for some time.

    [​IMG]
  4. RossB

    RossB Member

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    OK...this may be the time to break off and post another thread in a different area. The floor is concrete so I plan to build the hearth and walls right on top of it. I'm trying to figure out what I should use on the walls where the bricks will go. Can I put up plywood and tar paper and then brick right up tight against it with wall ties every couple courses tied to the studs? Or should I use concrete backer board like I'd use under tiles? Is there an air gap for an entire brick wall against a wood wall? This would be my first foray into the world of masonry so I'm reading everything I can and watching plenty of youtube videos about laying bricks.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Are you allowing enough room for full clearances without relying on a wall shield? If so, perhaps use concrete backer board and a thin brick veneer as in the first photo. Consider making that mantel out of brick or a nice contrasting stone to avoid clearance issues there.
    http://www.centralvirginiastucco.com/cultured-stone-brick.html#brick

    Can you post a sketch of the floorplan? I want to see where the heat is going from this stove. It's a serious heater.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  6. RossB

    RossB Member

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    I'll post a sketch tomorrow, but I'd really prefer full bricks...they just provide a more substantial profile for the mantle to mount on. I'm thinking something like a granite mantel shelf 1.5" - 2" thick with a rough edge. I'm certainly hoping that a brick hearth will minimize the amount of space required between the stove and the wall. The Isle Royale in the Quadra-Fire literature is like 6" from the wall. I'm just trying to figure out what the recipe is for a noncombustible wall surface...a sheet of steel behind the bricks? The chimney will be going straight up and through the ceiling.
  7. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    Nice stove.. local dealer is a plus too. I'd still be checking the cost compared to some of the similar stoves.in BTU capability and styling. Alderlea T6 etc.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    No problem, full bricks can work. 6" is the minimum corner install clearance using a double-wall connector pipe. That would be the same if the wall was brick or sheetrock. It sounds like brick will give you greater peace of mind, so go for it.
  9. RossB

    RossB Member

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    oh no! Another option? My head is going to explode.

    In my tiny little rural town, we have 3 woodstove dealers.

    Dealer #1 is a real nice guy who I'd like to do business with. He's the guy who sells Vermont Castings. However, I've since gotten over my desire to own a VC and would prefer the simplicity of a non-cat stove. I was looking at $2750 for a VC Encore in black (non-enamel)

    Dealer #2 sells Quadra-Fire Isle Royale. He seems OK, but I don't get the impression that I'll be getting any exceptional bargains out of him. $2500 for the IR if I pick it up myself. I live 0.3 miles from his shop.

    Dealer #3 never seems to be open for business.

    I hadn't considered the Alderlea, but I know Dealer #1 has them in the showroom. I guess I'll go back and poke at that today. SO many choices...so many reviews to read...threads...specifications...ug! I'm getting the feeling that I'll still be deliberating come Spring. I hadn't considered the Alderlea because of the lack of top load access and the weird swinging top, but I just read some glowing reviews...
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  10. RossB

    RossB Member

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    It's probably more of an aesthetic choice than a peace of mind issue. I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the corner clearance (stove to wall) as it relates to single or double-wall pipe. Is it based on the location of the pipe as it relates to the stove? For instance, does a 6" corner clearance equate to a 16" pipe to wall clearance? Is that why stove clearances in the specs are called out single-wall pipe vs. double wall pipe? I see the exact same stove with completely different dimensions for these 2 scenarios. It can't be that the stove is any different. I assume that it's the pipe to wall distance that needs to be addressed if the stove itself is surrounded by brick. I thought that one of the dealers told me that single wall pipe needed to be 16" from the wall. I thought double-wall could be even closer. I'm still working under the assumption that I know absolutely nothing and all of my numbers will need to be reviewed by a professional before I go dropping a huge incendiary device in my home and lighting the fuse. Forgive my potentially silly questions.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Single wall pipe must be at least 18" from the wall. In the case of the IR corner install that requirement trumps the closest corner clearance. Double wall connector clearance is 6", but there is no way in a corner install that the vertical pipe can be 6" from the wall. In this case the 6" corner clearance represents the closest tested safe distance for the back corners of the stove. That said, remember, there is no harm in exceeding minimum clearance requirements.
  12. RossB

    RossB Member

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    That all makes perfect sense. Thanks. For the stove clearance, is that 6" to flammable wall material or non flammable wall material? Not that I would want the stove crammed in any closer than 6 inches regardless of the material.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It is to the combustible wall, typically the paper on the drywall. If you put up a brick veneer on cement board with no drywall, then it is to the studs behind the wall. For the big Alderlea T6 the corner clearance is 4". This stove is less radiant and more convective than the IR.
  14. RossB

    RossB Member

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    I can actually feel myself getting smarter...or at least slightly better informed. I'm headed back to the stove shops today to open and close doors and feign deep introspection. I don't have high hopes for a conclusive outcome. I just know that I'm going to get pulled back into the Vermont Castings vortex...they're just so pretty.
  15. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Take a look at this article first: The Encore is a "downdraft" design and widely thought of as something to avoid.

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/wiki/downdraft-stove-operation/
  16. RossB

    RossB Member

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    Here's a quick drawing of how I think the room will be configured once the woodstove is installed. The pipe is 18" from combustible surfaces.

    [​IMG]
  17. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    It would be very interesting to see the "whole house diagram" in order to understand if you've got a chance to heat even more of the home than the dining room and kitchen, as well as this TV room. What's the size of this room?

    Oh, you did say..what size it all was! Thanks!


    Great drawing by the way.. usually a pencil diagram scanned in works just fine, but this one is superb.

    The house is gorgeous too and you'll be happy with whatever you get. I have a VC Resolute Acclaim in the basement and it is a top loader. Nice, ...but let me tell you how difficult it was to change the "combustor" in that damn thing, and how it has really never worked as well since, because those metal plates never fit a 2nd time like they did originally.

    PE Alderlea T6 in one of the enamel colors, or the Jotul F600, or a Woodstock Progress Hybrid.. then you be stylin' man. :cool: But, you got to please yourself, so once you make up your mind, regardless what it is, we'll still be your buddies! :)
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  18. RossB

    RossB Member

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    I slipped out of work early today to go fondle stoves again. Went back to Dealer #1 to check out the Alderleas. He was adamant that the T6 was too large for my house and that I should be looking at the T5. Price $2460. I looked at it for a while, played with the little trap door for ash, swung the top grates back and forth, and admired the large window. It's nice enough, but I don't really dig it. He also indicated that he had never heard of Quadra-fire...carried by the only other wood stove dealer in town...0.4 miles away...in a town of 8000 people...where we all essentially know one another. I was a bit put off by what I perceived as dishonesty. To be fair, this was not the owner who I had spoke to a few times in the past and liked....this was an employee...so I took it with a grain of salt.

    Back to Dealer#2 and the Quadra-fire Isle Royale. I like the looks of this stove...the fit and finish seemed spot on...the top load seems like a decent feature...the flip down andirons were kinda cool...and the proportions just look better to my eye if that's a factor. The guy I spoke to seemed like he may have been an owner (i liked him much better than the guy i spoke to during my last visit). He made no attempt to disparage dealer #1, he seemed to know him well, and indicated that he had run a VC stove for many years himself. I appreciated his candor.

    So now I'm thinking I've settled on the IR. $2500 and they have a pile of them in stock.

    I'm not interested in Jotul, even though they are well liked, as the nearest dealer is more than an hour away. I really like to support my local guys whenever possible.

    So, who's going to rain on my parade and talk me out of the Quadra-fire Isle Royale? Anyone?
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  19. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Well, that's just nuts.:p
  20. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    It's a lot like motorcycles when I say "there's no substitute for cubic inches". Just make sure it's big enough. You can always have a smaller fire in a larger stove, but yes, with 1800sq ft in a tight home, you are probably fine without the BIG stoves, like the T6 or the F600. You really ike the IR and it is a nice stove and is big enough for your home.

    It's also a lot like motorcycles and guitars; at some point you look at them until one of them "talks to you". Then you know you found the one for you.

    Congrats!!
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Oh brother, here we go again. The local dealer refused to sell me a T6, swore it would heat me out of house and home. That was a crock. The T6 stove will actually be more comfortable than the IR for that space. It's cast iron jacket add a lot of mass that evens out temperature swings.

    Fortunately I spoke with Tom at the ChimneySweep and he gave me much better advice. The T6 is heating our 2000 sq ft house very evenly and nicely in a much milder climate. We have never been overheated by this stove. Unfortunately it sounds like you have a very ill informed dealer. PM me if you want more info.
  22. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Wow, that's just how I found my bike and my guitar!
    bluedogz, ddddddden and Oldhippie like this.
  23. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    In Rochester? Never mind. They're probably too far. I'm surprised a dealer would do that. I was kind of curious why you went to Tom with local dealers around.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  24. RossB

    RossB Member

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    This could certainly be the case. This was the same guy who said he hadn't heard of Quadra-fire. I'm sure that I could get the T6 if I insist. However, I'm still leaning toward the IR for no legitimate reason beyond personal preference. There seems to be a lot of happy folks running them and not a lot of horror stories out there.
  25. stovelark

    stovelark Minister of Fire

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    Hi Ross, had to chime in again. The IR is a great choice, a top notch top loading non cat stove. BG is right on though, the T6 would not be overkill, its in the same league as the IR and Jotul Firelight. If you're happy with the IR, looks like you've found your stove. Get plenty of wood ready, everyone in NE is thinking nasty winter, but it has been warm here the past week, the stove shop had been rocking in Aug and Sept, not so in Oct..... yet. Good luck.
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