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I need to replace a BK KEJ 1101...

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by DCS, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. DCS

    DCS New Member

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    Greetings!

    Mine is a 3 story house built in mid 80's, "daylight basement". Original aluminum windows, so the overall R value is less than "modern". House has twelve 220v baseboard heaters, of which we use 2 or 3 sparingly on super-cold days when highs are below 10°F. We only need them 25 days out of the year.

    We live at 4500', with 4mo winters, 2mo each spring and fall, and the woodstove is off duty 4mos per year.

    For air movement between floor 1 and floor 2, there are 3 baffled airways (two have small electric fans) plus the stairway. Once floor 2 is warm, floor 3 just seems to stay warm as well.

    Sooo, this KEJ 1101 has been doing the job for us for 7 years. We burn doug fir, western larch (tamarack) and lodgepole. We use 7 cord per year. We load the stove every 6 hours on average, using 5 or 6 good chunks per load. A generous load at 11:00PM will leave a decent coal bed at 7:00AM.

    When it's cold out, i keep the stove running at 1200° on gauge. It will dang near run you out of the basement, but it heats the whole house nicely.

    When it's warmer out, I pinch it down to run longer between loads; and the gauge varies between 500° and 800°. It won't run below 400, it just goes out.

    It's a good stove, but old and losing a few bricks inside.

    I'm considering replacement. Goals:

    1 - Find best value in the middle price range, best balance of quality vs. price. Cannot afford top of line BK, etc. Need built-in blower system on the stove.

    2 - Needs to at least meet the capabilities of existing stove, if not exceed them. Need low-slow capability for shoulder seasons, but also mild thermonuclear capability for 25 days per year of sub-10° weather.

    3 - Would like to burn less wood per year. More efficiency.

    Does anyone here know standard efficiency specs for my existing stove?

    Thanks! I've done a fair amount of reading here, and will be checking out the Englander stove, but open to advice, suggestions, tips, etc.

    I need a big stove. I have no desire to limp on BTU's. I want to be able to make it damn hot if i need to.

    Thx!

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  2. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    1200 degrees is just plain scary. Your stove must be glowing.
  3. DCS

    DCS New Member

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    1200° on the drop-gauge that sits just above the cat. The gauge reads temp just above the cat.

    At 600, the stove is only warm to the touch on the corners.
  4. daleeper

    daleeper Minister of Fire

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    Only Blaze King can meet #2 goal.
    nate379 likes this.
  5. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    If you're talking 1200 on the cat probe, that's normal operation.

    You already have 8" pipe?
  6. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Thanks.

    That makes me a lot happier. We're talking cat temps. So stovetops of 240 to 400.

    Woodstock's Progress Hybrid would work great for you, but is probably as expensive as a Blaze King purchased out there. It is on sale now and is about 2800, I think with free shipping at the moment. A beautiful and powerful stove, but quite high end. It's usual price is about $3500, so it is significantly on sale, but may well still be more than you'd like to spend. Don't know if Oregon has a sales tax, but there'd be no sales tax on a stove shipped from New Hampshire, so that may reduce cost by a bit compared to a locally purchased stove.

    The stove does not have a blower, but many of us are heating two and three story homes in cold climates just fine with the stove. A small floor fan blowing cold air toward the stove room, either from the end of a hall or down the stairs, gets the air circulating easily, and temperatures evened out throughout the home.

    Woodstock has a new stove in the works, due for release by November I believe (you could check the expected date by calling them). It is going to have an even bigger firebox than the PH, is going to be front loading, and is going to be less expensive than the other Woodstock stoves. You could call them and get an idea of the range they expect to sell the stove at. If it is in line with your finances, then it might be worth putting your name on a list with them as someone who wants the stove, so you'll hear as soon as they take orders. You could decide then whether to actually get the stove. [ Edit: When the PH was first released, the stoves were sold at about 66% of list to the earliest buyers, to gets lots of stoves in homes and burning so Woodstock could get feedback of how they functioned in varied real life settings, since the hybrid stove was a new animal. I don't know if they will make a similar offer with the Union Hyrid, as thye now have significant experience with the PH, but they may be planning to. Would not hurt to ask. ]

    The heat output of the PH ranges from about 12,000 BTU to 72,000, burning dimensional Doug Fir. You can easily burn it low and slow or fast and hot. It is an easy stove to control and to run.

    It is a hybrid stove, and burns in both catalytic and secondary modes, switching from one to the other as dictated by temps and air in the box at any given time, without input needed by the owner. It is one of the most efficient stoves in existence, is miserly in its use of wood, accomplishes quite complete combustion of the wood, and gives long burn times. It has a firebox under three cubic feet, and can easily be burned 24/7 in winter on a 12 hour reload schedule. Below 0 F weather, or 10 F and very stormy/windy, you may go to an 8 hour schedule and faster burn to get maximum, steady heat output.

    The soapstone retains heat well, and helps to even out the heat emitted from the stove, so room temperatures stay remarkably even.

    If either the PH on sale, or the upcoming new Union Hybrid is in your price range, you would be pleased with both the stove and the company. Both the quality and service from Woodstock are unsurpassed in the industry. They keep their stoves working, and working very well indeed, with minimal if any maintenance, for decades,

    Others will chime in with the details on other stoves that will meet your requirements.

    Your stoves choices will be somewhat limited by your need for both massive amount of heat, and the low slow heat of a cat, in a moderately priced stove.

    What is the outside upper end of the price you are comfortable spending for a stove?

    Knowing that will help with suggestions.

    And what is yout flue/chimney set up? Details of that would help a great deal. Obviously it is tall, but have you a masonry chimney or a steel chimney? Diameter of the flue?
  7. DCS

    DCS New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    Yep, 8" pipe currently in service. L-shaped, one joint up to a 90° elbow, then one joint back into a stone wall, then standard stone chimney from there all the way up.

    I know a new BKK will outperform a new NC-30, but won't a new NC-30 outperform my 30-yr old BK 1101?

    That's why i was asking about specs for the older stove - to get some idea of btu and efficiency comparison.
  8. DCS

    DCS New Member

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    rideau - thanks for the informative post! Flue details above.

    To stay hot and effective, my current stove (1101) requires a reload every 5 - 6 hours when we're running it hot. I load it full at night and set it "just so", and it will have coals 8 hours later which is nice for getting a new fire started, but the house will have cooled off a bit because the stove temp has been dropping for 2 hours or so.

    In warmer months, I can pinch it down and get 8 hours of effective heating, but that is about max burn time.

    I don't mean to sound totally fixated already, but I've been reading here since I first posted, and if i can find a 30 on clearance for less than $700, it's hard to envision paying $2000 or $3000 more for a BKK.

    I know an NC-30 can get hot. Can they also go low and slow for 10 hours?

    I know the 30 is not a cat stove. Can a modern non-cat outperform a mid-80's cat stove like my 1101?

    Thx.
  9. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I don't believe you can burn any non-cat really low and slow. By definition, the secondary burn stoves have to be at a certain temp to brun cleanly and efficiently. A cat can do so at about half the minimum temp of a non-cat.

    There are, as you know, lots of great things posted about the NC-30.
  10. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    I know nothing about the 1101's, but if it has a cat and is a blaze king, maybe you have the right stove already. Have you replaced gaskets and the cat? If not, try that for a season. You may be surprised!
    jeff_t likes this.
  11. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    I will throw this out there, the Appalachian Bay 52 can be had for under $1500.00. It will not have the fancy auto air supply but will throw some heat and is a cat stove, free standing or insert with a blower built in. It is one of the cheaper steel cat stoves you can buy.

    The other stove would be a Kuma Sequoia, not sure how much they cost as no one has gotten one yet, they are a cat stove with built in blower.

    Or the Buck model 91 or high valley 2500 freestanding
  12. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Have you priced a new BK? Should be a lot more reasonable on your side of the country.

    What else is wrong with the old stove? Replacing bricks should be pretty painless, compared to a new stove. It seems like you should do a lot better than 5-6 hours, even with softwood.

    How old is the cat? Door gasket? How long is your wood split and stacked before you burn it?
  13. DCS

    DCS New Member

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    Thanks again for the replies.

    I've replaced gaskets a few times. The cat is not broken. Two of my neighbors have the same stove, they act the same. It's just old.

    A new BK will outperform my old stove, but apparently, so will a new NC-30.

    I think that's the nuts and bolts of it.
  14. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You won't be happy going from a 4.3 cubic foot stove to a sub 3 CF box. If your current king is getting cat light off, burning dry wood, and you still need to burn it so hard that you are refilling every 8 hours then you are consuming vast amounts of btus. They aren't being wasted, stove efficiency doesn't get a whole lot better than a cat equipped BK.

    What I'm saying is, if your older king can't do it then nothing can. Time to look for a wood furnace or a second stove.

    Modern BKs are superior basement stoves. If you can stand the looks of them then you can't ignore that the king is #1 most efficient, longest burning by a factor of 2, has the big blowers which will heat multiple stories better than a radiant design, and the deep firebox to hold 9 inches of ash for minimal cleanout.

    If you must replace the king with another stove then look for another king, maybe used. The nc30 is a great non-cat but it is a non-cat and does not do low and slow. You may not need low and slow since you are currently burning a huge BK at high settings.
    fox9988 likes this.
  15. DCS

    DCS New Member

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    Well, we've had a Summer's Heat (Englander NC) 30 installed for several weeks now.

    Day time temps up to 60's. Nights in the low-to-mid 30's. Not very cold, but cold enough to need some heat.

    Based on our experience to date, it's reasonable at this point to say a few things:

    1 - you can definitely run this stove "low and slow". Just shut the damper all the way and then pull out 3/4". We're getting an easy 12 hours of heat output using only 7 small splits north-south, with ample coals left to start the next fire. The box gets a bit gummy and the window gets pretty dark, but the heat output is consistent and generous for 12 hours. Western larch and lodgepole, cut as standing dead.

    2 - on the colder nights and days, using the same load, I pull the damper out 1.25" and the stove has run us out of the house on more than one occasion. Burns were 7-8 hours, with coals left. We had to open windows. Fire box and window cleaned right up.

    We are definitely happy going from the old BK to this stove. Wood consumption has dropped considerably. My son, age 14, chief firewood re-stocker, is amazed. His job has diminished significantly. I estimate that our comparative warm-season wood consumption has dropped by 40%. We'll see if the same holds true for winter.

    Other comments:
    1 - I believe the chimney will require more cleaning with the new stove than with the cat model, but time will tell. It may be that the hotter burns of winter will remedy that concern.

    2 - the 30 is happiest with a reasonable stack of small splits, whereas the BK required large stacks that included really big splits to make a decent burn interval. I think this is a big factor in reduced wood consumption. The 3.4 cubic foot box takes less wood to fill, but the stove puts out some heat!

    3 - compared to the cat stove, the 30 is much faster to get lit and set so you can walk away. If you hurry things, it will smoke like hell out the chimney for 15 minutes, but burns very cleanly after that.

    4 - The 1101 was old. I expected a new stove to improve efficiency, and it did. I don't own a modern BK, and never will. Can't afford them. So I can't make that comparison, but I can say that this new 30 is a huge improvement over our old stove.

    Thx.
    fox9988 likes this.
  16. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Sounds great, glad you're happy.The NC30 has a very good reputation.
  17. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    It does sound as if you are really burning a smouldering fire when you are burning low and slow for 12 plus hours. I would have some concern about creosote formation, and would like to see you check the chimney regularly, at least until you know the stove. But it certainly sounds as if you know to do that. If you don't need too much heat you might be better to load the stove moderately, burn the stove a bit hotter for shorter time, get the BTUs into the house with a clean burn, and then let the fire go out. Start another fire when the house starts to cool down.
  18. fox9988

    fox9988 Minister of Fire

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    Glad you're happy with the new 30. If it isn't enough during the coldest part of winter, install a second one. They're cheap enough and two would blast out some BTU's.

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