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Help with New Stove Purchase for 1500 Sq. Ft. Home

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Mulebelle, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Mulebelle

    Mulebelle New Member

    Joined:
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    Hello

    I'm new to posting on this forum, however have been reading and learning from everyone who so generously have been giving such good information on their various experiences. Thank you!

    I used to heat exclusively with wood in my 1500 sq. ft. ranch style one-story home in northern CA with a 1970 version Warm Morning stove. It was a wonderful stove that could cook me out at times with a yummy fan that actually blew from the bottom of the stove to keep our toes nice and toasty! I miss that stove! It finally burned out after 23 years and I made the choice to go to a free-standing gas "wood-looking" Waterford stove in its place so I could have "push button" heat. It doesn't heat my home as well as wood and I've always wanted to go back to wood someday, but not exclusively. (Which means I now need to buy two heaters for my home...wood and a propane type heater.) _g

    Well, someday is here and I never thought buying a wood stove would be so difficult a choice! ;ex I have been trying to choose since the beginning of September and it's now almost December and, although I know so much more about wood stoves (probably even more than I want to), I still cannot come to a concrete decision and it's getting colder! :confused:

    Here's my situation.
    • Northern CA mild temperature (relative) getting to +20::F sometimes and very wet during the winter months (read...feels cold!).
    • Three bedrooms at one end of the house, hallway and living room, kitchen, dining area at the other. 1970's insulation, older double pane windows that are metal, and I would not consider them air tight because when windy, the temp inside the house drops rapidly. Live on a hill in a canyon so winds are fierce and come from every direction.
    • There are 12' cathedral ceilings in the living room (where the stove will be) as well as a back bedroom (at the other end of the rectangular house). There are ceiling fans in all bedrooms and in the living room.
    • I have a corner install that really requires a right-hand door opening. Most of the stoves have left-hand door openings. I am concerned about heat, flame, smoke escaping when loading from a top load but have no experience with top loads. (Although loading without bending so much does appeal to me!) Any info from experienced users would be helpful. I am leaning toward having a front-load option because I am thinking it would be easier to load larger splits and position them well to get a good overnight burn. I really like a large right hand side door load (maybe because that's all I have ever had, but it's easy to sit on the hearth and fill the stove that way in my set-up). I think the Keystone's door is way too small.
    • My hearth is made from 4" x 2 1/2" brick with a 1" airspace between it and the sheet rock wall and the floor of the hearth sits directly on the plywood sub-floor that has been reinforced with extra floor joists. I'm a little concerned, after reading some of these posts, that my hearth may not be good enough for the clearances that are needed with the new EPA stoves.
    • I have single wall stovepipe (with double wall going through roof area), but this will all have to be changed as it is set-up for the gas fireplace so I have options there.
    • I have 2 cords of Oak from a tree that fell & we cut & split in fall of 2011 and it was stacked early spring 2012 to dry in the sun and wind. I also have 2 more cords of "dry" Oak that I purchased from a very reliable local firewood dealer here that I have done business with for several years. Everything is cut to 16" length, but there are some longer pieces.
    So here's what's important to me (at this point):
    1. Long enough burn time that I can just stoke the fireplace with logs after about 10 hours or so. This way in the A.M. I don't have to restart the fire. I don't mind adding a log now and then during the day but would prefer I could be gone most of the day without having to re-start the fire.
    2. I would like to be able to cook on the stove. (A little concerned with the winter grill on the Rangeley getting food splatter inside the stove area.)
    3. Easy wood loading as I am getting older, not younger. Preferably a right handed door (large) and also a front load for wood maneuverability.
    4. Even heat would be nicer than very hot for a few hours then quite a bit cooler until reload time. I understand that the soapstone stoves and/or catalytic stoves would be better here.
    5. I like the ash pan from the Progress Hybrid...it looks as long as the stove is wide and that's what I had with the Warm Morning that was awesome!
    6. I really don't want to have to clean the glass all the time to have the stove not look dirty.
    7. Looks: I don't really like the gothic look of the Fireview. The Progress Hybrid is nice, so are the Jotuls but the Rangeley is...well...acceptable I guess. The Qudrafire Yosemite is nice looking, right hand doors but I'm concerned it isn't large enough a firebox for good overnight burns or a big enough stove for my home, and I'm not sure I could cook on it.
    8. Great reliability and customer support. (I think that Woodstock has this nailed from what I read.)
    So far, these are the stoves that I am considering (in order of what's on top at this moment):
    1. Jotul F50 Rangeley
    2. Jotul F600 Firelight (If this had a single door [with a right-handed handle] it probably would be on top of the list.)
    3. Quadrafire Yosemite (maybe too small for my house?)
    4. Quadrafire Cumberland Gap (local dealer said hinges on right hand door break easily)
    5. Progress Hybrid (No front load option and takes a longer time to get a build and delivery & then have to find someone to install)
    6. Hearthstone Manchester (I think the ramp-style side door with be cumbersome and potentially a surface to burn myself on)
    7. Lennox Grandview (concerned with fact the line has recently been sold by Lennox from what I read.
    8. Other suggestions?
    If anyone could chime in and give me some insight on my confusion, I would certainly appreciate it. I have even started an Excel spreadsheet to try and make heads or tails from all this information, confusion, and road-blocks. ;lol

    Mulebelle

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  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    8.) I am not a spokes person for my stove, but you may want to look into the Quadrafire Isle Royale. It would be a comparable size to the warm morning stove you are used to, it has a cook top (which I find more useful as just a heating element for pots, pans, etc. I don't cook directly on it). It is top loading (but I don't use that feature) and it has a double front door (which I really like) and a useable ash pan design. It also has fairly good clearance to combustibles for corner installs.

    Edit: and it would looks sexy as hell on that hearth.
  3. Mulebelle

    Mulebelle New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
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    Loc:
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    Thanks Jag!

    That is a really nice stove. I missed that one in my search. After looking at on their web site, I have a few questions to ask you from an experienced users perspective if that's OK.
    1. Is the front handle stationary on the double doors?
    2. This is a cast iron, non-cat, right?
    3. Do the front doors remove easily for firescreen viewing or do they just open wide?
    4. Do you find you get smoke or intense heat in your face or house when you use the top load feature?
    5. Do you have the blower option? If so, how does that work for you?
    6. They say a 20 hour max burn time. Is that your reality or generally how long do you go between loads?
    7. How is the ash pan option? Is it a funky small-hole set-up with a plug or a real grate that the ash can fall through? How often do you have to clean it out?
    8. Have you had any issues with the stove?
    9. How is their customer service?

    PS If anyone else would like to chime in...please do so!

    Thank you in advance for all your helpful information!

    Mulebelle
  4. Mulebelle

    Mulebelle New Member

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    Jag:

    OOPS! I missed that you don't use the top-load feature in your reply...is there a particular reason...like escaping smoke/heat, etc?

    Mulebelle
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    1.) No the handle twists to unlock the double front door.
    2.) Cast iron - non cat.
    3.) They open wide open. I started with a screen option and then sent it back to the dealer. No likey.
    4.) On the couple of occasions that I used the top load, no smoke or intense heat noticed. Again, I don't use that option, cuz I don't care for "dropping" the wood into my stove. Personal pref.
    5.) Yes on the blower. Works as advertised, but is a little noisy.
    6.) 20 hrs? BS. Have I had a few coals after 20? Yes. Was it putting out squat for heat? No. (plan on 8-10 hrs of real heat).
    7.) Ash pan has a grate, not a plug. Plug styles are useless in my opinion. My ash pan allows for fewer cleanouts.
    8.) I have had to tap the right hinge pin back into place once.
    9.) No idea - I have never had to use them. I do believe that customer service is handled by the dealer network, not Quad, so that may be very dependent on your dealer.
  6. Mulebelle

    Mulebelle New Member

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    Sweet! Thanks for your info Jag. This stove definitely is going on (and toward the top of) the watchlist. There is a dealer about 1 1/2 hours away that I will call to see if they have one on the floor I can look at.

    Gettin' closer! :)

    Mulebelle
  7. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    So, you have a drafty home, in a sort-of mild climate with a lot of wind. The stoves you listed are:

    • Jotul F50 Rangeley
    • Jotul F600 Firelight (If this had a single door [with a right-handed handle] it probably would be on top of the list.)
    Both stoves should work. They are oversized for your needs, but the draft and wind make it hard to determine how much heat loss you are experiencing. It might make the home too warm at times, but that is better than not warm enough. Living with a drafty house myself, over-sized stoves make life easier to work with in terms of managing temps and burn times.

    • Quadrafire Yosemite (maybe too small for my house?)
    • Quadrafire Cumberland Gap (local dealer said hinges on right hand door break easily)
    I would think both would be a bit undersized for your needs. Burn times would be shorter. As Jags mentioned, the Isle Royale would be a better fit.

    • Progress Hybrid (No front load option and takes a longer time to get a build and delivery & then have to find someone to install)
    This would be a good fit. It will offer the longest burn times of the stoves you have listed while also offering a lot of usable heat.

    • Hearthstone Manchester (I think the ramp-style side door with be cumbersome and potentially a surface to burn myself on)
    I don't think the Ramp would increase the risk of burns all that much. The Equinox has the same style side door and it has never been mentioned as a problem from users.

    • Lennox Grandview (concerned with fact the line has recently been sold by Lennox from what I read.
    I have no info on the stove and I can not find what size firebox it has. I have doubts that it will provide you with 10-12 hours of heat. It looks like it has a firebox smaller than 3 cu ft. I would bet it would give you 6-8 hours of usable heat.
    • Other suggestions?
    Blaze King Princess should be able to heat your place and still give you 10-12 hours of heat, at least.
    Any 3 cu ft steel stove like Lopi, Pacific Energy, Englander, Drolet, US Stove, etc would easily give you the heat you need, while still giving you about 10 hours of usable heat.
    Jags likes this.
  8. Mulebelle

    Mulebelle New Member

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    Thanks BrowningBAR!

    I'm also thinking a little over-sized would be better than under-sized. I don't mind opening a window in the winter to get some fresh air! :)

    I have looked at the Isle Royale like Jag mentioned and like that one. It seems close to the Jotul F600 as far as looks and front door style. The Jotul has that nice side door but I'm wondering about the top loads...if that might be an easier load option the older I get...like my raised bed gardens are getting taller...LOL! I'm concerned with my hearth size and the Jotul though.

    I like the PH but the wait list will just add to my indecision time and...well...winter is really here as it is. ;em

    I also noticed today a Harmon Oakwood that might work, however nobody in northern CA has one for me to look at! ;hm That may be a problem as far as any service, etc. down the road.
  9. Mulebelle

    Mulebelle New Member

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    Jag:

    I have called all around northern CA and nobody has a IR in their showroom. Is the firebox sized for both NS as well as EW loads? If so, have you noticed a difference in actual heating time with either of those?
  10. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    It is mostly an E/W loader. The firebox is too shallow to making N/S practical. Same goes for the Jotul F600, Woodstock Progress, and probably the Hearthstone Manchester.
  11. Mulebelle

    Mulebelle New Member

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    Thanks BrowningBAR:

    In my next life I'm going to design the "perfect" wood stove! ;lol
    mfglickman likes this.
  12. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I've learned there is no such thing. What is perfect for one home/owner is not perfect for another.
  13. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    BBar hit it. Its an E/W burner. I have done a few N/S loads when I had a pile of 16" stuff, but the stove darn near went nuclear on me.:eek: Probably my fault as I wasn't used to "paying attention" that early in the startup procedure.
  14. Mulebelle

    Mulebelle New Member

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    Well, I purchased the Progress Hybrid today! It came down to three stoves...the PH, the Jotul F-600 and the Qudrafire Isle Royale.

    The deciding factor was the longer burn times and the shoulder season burning options that the PH seem to deliver more consistently than the other two. Also, I really like the right-handed door option and the large right-hand slide-out ash pan...something my old Warm Morning had that I loved. The door is a little larger than the Keystone but not as large as the Jotul which I wish it was more like, but I'm learning how to give and take.

    I am also looking forward to being able to cook on top (and I love my cast-iron cookware) and the soft heat.

    I will definitely be letting everyone know how it goes. Looks like delivery will be around the end of the year. I may have to do some hearth adjustments but not quite sure yet. Now I need to look for someone to install this that I completely trust. The local dealers have nixed installation unless I buy from them even though I'm willing to pay $$$ for a professional install. That tells me a lot about their customer service. ;hm

    Anyway, THANK YOU everyone for all the wonderful help you have given me with things to think about that would make this decision the best for me and my circumstances. You all are the greatest!
  15. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Congrats. That new stove has quite a following.
  16. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum Mulebelle.

    Congratulations on the new Progress. You nailed it when you stated that this company has super customer service. The only thing different I'd have done would be to order that thing without the ash pan. Of course I also would have ordered the Fireview because it seems like it would be a perfect fit for your size house. In addition, we love the way it looks. On the filling of the stove, we raised our hearth 16" and that makes is really easy for loading the stove. We can sit on a chair while loading rather than having to bend. My back simply does not take kindly to that bending.

    On the installation, most carpenters or builders should be able to install that really quick as it is not difficult. Good luck.
  17. Mulebelle

    Mulebelle New Member

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    Thank you Jags for pointing me to the Isle Royale. I do think that stove would look prettier on the hearth than the PH and I like the front opening doors as an option (wish the PH had that option in addition to the side load), but that is another one of those give and take things. I still would like to have it all :);ex

    Backwoods Savage, I think you are right about the fact that the Fireview is a better fit size-wise for my house, but I'm more of a country type and the looks are just a tad too ornate for me. I'm stretching with the PH as I much prefer the looks of the Isle Royale and/or the Jotul (which look very similar to me). Why would you have not ordered the ash pan? If it is anything like my old Warm Morning's it was wonderful and I didn't have to dump ashes very often at all. What is your experience with it?

    Raising the hearth sounds like a good idea but that will have to wait for a while as now I also need to purchase some sort of propane back-up heating system. For now I just sit to the right of the stove on the hearth and load away -- or that's what I used to do with the old stove. I noticed my raised beds in my garden are getting higher and higher also so I don't have to bend so much! ;)

    I've noticed a "gas only" forum on this website that I will check out to see about the back-up system as that now comes up a few notches on the priority list and, of course, I know next to nothing about what would be best for that system.

    Thanks again for all your help.
  18. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Good choice IMHO. With that wet wind, I think you'll find that the PH has the "firepower" you need on those nasty days. I also think you'll love the ash pan. IIRC, some of the other PH owners are getting many days of burning before they have to dump ashes. There are lots of threads here with in-depth discussions on operating the stove...happy burning! :)
  19. Mulebelle

    Mulebelle New Member

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    Yes Woody...and we're getting hammered again with wet windy conditions...I think in the past week we've seen something like 15 inches of rain and lots of wind. I am really looking forward to wood heat as this propane heater just ain't doin' it!!!

    P.S. I'm sure glad all my wood is stacked and out of the weather! :)

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