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Help with stove choice

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by mtbrewr, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. mtbrewr

    mtbrewr New Member

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    13
    Loc:
    SW Montana
    We're finally underway on our project to rip out the old zc fireplace and build an alcove with a new wood stove. This site has been a wealth of information and there are several great examples of folks who have done the same thing. We started demo this past weekend :)

    We're still trying to decide which stove to buy, I think we've narrowed it down to two choices. I'd like to get some feedback from you all on this. Without giving away the brands just yet, I'll say they are both from reputable manufacturers, and both are non-cat steel stoves capable of heating up to 2500 sq. ft.

    One is very plain, the model has been around for a long time and is made from 5/16 steel, the other is much better looking, its a new model and is made from 1/4 steel. I know the 5/16 stove is near bulletproof and I will have no issues with it for years to come, however I really like the look of the 1/4 stove better. Would love to get some opinions from those in the know.

    Thanks
    mtbrewr

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  2. DKranger22

    DKranger22 New Member

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    Dec 23, 2012
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    Firstly, welcome to the forum. I think the helpful folks on this site will be able to provide you with better advice if you tell us which models you are considering. It sounds to me like you know the proven, heavier-duty stove would be the better selection, but you’re blinded by the looks of the other (that’s just my first impression). Based on the little bit of information that you have provided, here is what I can offer you:

    · If I could choose good looks or good performance, good performance wins hands down everytime.
    · That being said, there are a number of good looking, good performing stoves out there. Perhaps you should consider other makes and models.
    · What good are “good looks” if you 1.) have problems with a new/unproven platform or 2.) find yourself loading the stove every 2-3 hours?
    · The thicker the stove, the heavier it will be. More mass = more heat retained that can be radiated into your living space There’s a 25% difference in plate thickness between the two stoves, which is not insignificant.

    And now some questions for you:

    · 2,500 SQ FT is a pretty substantial house to heat. What are you expecting from the stove (primary heat, supplemental heat)?
    · How often do you plan on burning (weekends only, 24/7 through the winter months)?
    · How well insulated is your house?
    · How open / closed is your floor plan, and where will the stove be located?


    By telling us more about the models that you are considering, what your expectations of the unit are, and what your setup is going to be like, the members of the forum will be better able to help you.
  3. mtbrewr

    mtbrewr New Member

    Joined:
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    13
    Loc:
    SW Montana
    I don't mind telling you the brands of stove, the only reason for not including them in the first post was to try to get objective opinions based on the difference in the thickness of the steel.
    I don't know if 1/16 makes much of a difference or not.

    The two stoves in question are the Kuma Wood Classic and the Jotul F-55.

    Our house is a 2000 sq. ft., 1978 ranch style with 8 ft high ceilings, 2x4 walls and pink fiberglass insulation. We are currently heating with a forced air propane furnace and would like
    to get away from that and use wood heat 24/7 and have the furnace as our backup. The stove will be in the 15x16 living-room which adjoins the kitchen. The family room and bedrooms
    are on the other end of the house. My thought has been to purchase a new furnace thermostat that has the programmable fan control and use that to help move air around the house once an hour or so.

    Thanks,
    mtbrewr
  4. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    SE MI
    I'm assuming you know the Kuma is steel and the F55 is a steel firebox with a cast iron jacket. I wouldn't hesitate on either one because of construction. Buy the one you want to look at. It's a long term investment.

    I think the F55 is larger than the Kuma. With 2500 sq ft and marginal insulation, I'd go big. Where are you located?
  5. mtbrewr

    mtbrewr New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
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    Thanks jeff_t, we're located in SW Montana, our house is 2000 sq ft. The folks at both stove shops have suggested going a little bigger which is why I'm looking at 2500 sq. ft. stoves.
    The wood we get around here is primarily lodgepole pine with some fir to be had on occasion.
    From what I've been able to gather scouring this forum the usable space in the F55 is about 2.5 so I think the two are pretty comparable in that regard.

    So here are a few of the issues I'm mulling over:

    A plus for the Kuma stove is that I know what kind of burn times are attainable. The local dealer uses one of them to heat the store and says they get 10 hrs. out of a load of wood.
    I see the F55 lists 10 hr burn times as well but I doubt that's with the soft wood we have here. Unfortunately the local Jotul shop doesn't stock the F55 and they can't speak to what's expected from that stove.

    The Kuma is made not far from here and I know I can get the owner on the phone if I ever have questions that the dealer can't address, whereas with the Jotul my only contact is through the local stove shop.
    That's not necessarily a bad thing its just more of an unknown going with a big faceless corporation. But they have a good reputation and sure make a nice looking stove.

    Alcove clearances for the stoves are a little different as well.
    With the Kuma I'll need ventilated protection on the ceiling (minimum unprotected clearance is 84 inches).
    With the F55 I'll need ventilated protection in the rear wall (minimum unprotected clearance is 19 inches).

    Jotul is having a sale through the end of the month that would make both stoves about the same price with the Jotul still just a bit more.
  6. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Manufacturer square footage ratings aren't very useful. Firebox size is a better indicator of heating capacity.

    In your case, I'd get the biggest stove that would fit, especially burning softwoods.
  7. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    1,329
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    Central Va
    ¡Shazaam!
    http://kumastoves.com/index.php?dispatch=products.view&product_id=15

    + it's a catalytic stove. The ol' cat vs. non-cat decision. . .
    If you're after long burn times, a big cat stove can't be beat.

    Soapstone kits to add mass to some Kuma stoves.
    http://kumastoves.com/index.php?dispatch=pages.view&page_id=21

    Always a bonus!:)
    Could be a bad thing. Local shops go out of business every day. . .or maybe they sell the business, and the new proprietor is an a-hole who doesn't want to cover anything under warranty, etc. I like Jøtul stoves, but I frown on all the manufacturers who try to avoid dealing with their customers. . .way too common in this industry, apparently for perceived potential liability reasons.
  8. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Southern Minnesota
    I'd lean towards the sequoia too. If you want just one stove in that climate, go big. I live in Minnesota, and while my 2.5 cu ft stove does a good job it definitely needs help from the furnace ( 3000 sq ft) during the winter months. I might be picking up a super 27 on Saturday to double my firepower for next year.
  9. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Southern Minnesota


    Sequoia in action.
  10. mtbrewr

    mtbrewr New Member

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    Loc:
    SW Montana
    Thanks for the input folks. Will keep you posted and add some pictures when I have something to show you.
  11. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    kuma-ba-ya mlord, kuma-by-ya Go for it.

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