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In need of advice

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Holzstapel, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. Holzstapel

    Holzstapel Member

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    Hello to everyone. The wife and I are making the switch to burning wood and are looking forward to everything that comes with it. We have currently looked at Hearthstone and Jotuls and have a few other dealers in the local area to check out.

    We go to these dealers and tell them what we are looking to do and then we start to describe our house and the jukebox skips and the place goes quiet. We live in an A-Frame house with the peak of the house at 23' above the floor. There is no insulation, just 2" thick T&G boards with shingles on the exterior. Picture a large wood tent with plenty of windows on both sides. The usual loft area is open and is currently our computer and tv room. The existing fireplace is 55" wide and 32" deep and is just off-center in the middle of the main living/dining area (the great room i suppose). Its a massive cement block, floor to ceiling structure with a see-thru fireplace. The see-thru fireplace is elevated about 29" above the floor*. This structure also has the boiler flue enclosed on one side. The kitchen, bedroom and bathroom are located under the loft area on the main floor.

    The only feasible idea we have, which we are ok with, is to build a hearth on the larger room side of the fireplace and run a stove pipe up into the existing chimney. This way the original fireplace isnt destroyed and could be used again if we were to ever sell the house. This would also be the most economical way to do it, which is key also. The total sqft of the main floor and the loft (usuable space) is about 1200sqft. We would like the woodstove to be our main and only source of heat for that level of the house. We are ok with the bedroom being a little chilly on those winter nights and usually have a window cracked open. We have ceiling fans in the house too.

    We have been looking at stoves in the 1700-2000 sqft range (60,000 - 80,000 BTUH) because of the amount of heat loss we have through the roof. Both of the dealers we visited said its going to be toasty up in the loft area and we are fine with that. They also said it would be difficult to get the heat to the bathroom (which currently has no heat source other than keeping the door open) and the bedroom which is directly across the hall from the bathroom. One said fans would help, another said fans don't help that much.

    We would like to keep the hearth size as small as possible. The soapstone Hearthstone stoves have smaller hearths than most of the jotuls, except for the Jotul F45, 50 and 55. The Jotul brochure we have at home doesnt show the F45, which i just found on the website. I would like to get the longest burn time i can since we are both out of the house for about 10 hours a day during the week. I will need to show my wife the F45, but would the 50 or 55 be too much stove for the house?

    Open to suggestions for just about anything.

    Wow this is long. Hope everyone is stll awake. I have photos of the fireplace at home and could post later for those interested.


    Thanks all

    *edit - corrected sizes of fireplace

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  2. logger

    logger Minister of Fire

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    We have a log cabin with similar footage as yours and a cathedral ceiling. We went with the Jotul Oslo and have been nothing but pleased with the choice. They really are great stoves. Its a work horse and pleasant to look at. Good luck with your decision and install.
  3. Holzstapel

    Holzstapel Member

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    The Oslo is a nice looking stove, but sadly the minimum hearth size is huge and simply not feasbile. Good to know that you have a similar set up and a stove of that size works well.

    Thanks!
  4. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I second the Oslo! It's a great stove. And the dealer that said that fans don't help much is wrong. If you set up a fan or two on low, pointed toward the stove you will heat those rooms just fine. I'm heating my outlying rooms fine with the stove.
  5. Holzstapel

    Holzstapel Member

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    One thing I like about the Oslo is the side load feature. I just wish the hearth wasnt so huge.
  6. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    You will love the side door! Really any jotul will be a great heater and workhorse. Nothing wrong with hearthstone either, but jotul will be a more reliable 24/7 heater in my opinion.
  7. WeldrDave

    WeldrDave Feeling the Heat

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    You need a BIG OLD FIRE BREATHING SMOKE DRAGON;ex..;) Ok all, "just kidding" dont' throw stones at me.! First "welcome to the forum", my suggestion is keep reading this forum, These folks are a universe of knowledge and all will go out of their way to help. I burn the old stoves, "some of the gang here love um and some hate um" >>.. With that said, If I were to go to a new stove I agree with webbie on the Jotul. it's a very nice stove, my other thought is a Vermont castings. I have a good friend who has one, I don't know the model, but it's a super heater and is very pleasent to look at. Although I think his was a bit pricey$$$.

    Good luck in you quest, Keep reading....:cool:
  8. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    If you do much research, you'll find that Vermont casting isn't a very reliable heater either. The old ones were better. They are full of fragile parts, like the old ones, they'll need periodic maintaince that's expensive.
  9. WeldrDave

    WeldrDave Feeling the Heat

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    Agree webbie, his is maybe 20 years old. It's still heats well but I do think in the past he had some issues.
  10. Holzstapel

    Holzstapel Member

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    An old friend of mine had an old Vermont Castings stove and when he replaced it he went with another manufacturer because he heard they weren't same. I recall him saying they weren't made in the same location, but I've never looked into it.
  11. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    If you like cast iron, look at the T5 http://www.pacificenergy.net/alderlea/t5.php.

    The boiler flue is separate? You are planning on a stainless liner for the chimney, right? EPA stoves need good draft.

    Any chance of insulating? That's an investment that keeps on paying you back.
  12. Holzstapel

    Holzstapel Member

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    The boiler flue is within its own separate chase next to the fireplace chimney. I am planning on having this stove installed by a pro and the stainless liner will be there.

    I would love to toss up sheets of rigid insulation, but I have been told that doing that on the INSIDE of the house (which is the only option here) will allow moisture to get trapped between the insulation and the underside of the T&G roof. This will result in rotting my roof from the inside out.

    Thanks for another stove brand to check out. Dealers are close by too.
  13. WeldrDave

    WeldrDave Feeling the Heat

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    I forgot to also mention one other stove, I'm a fan of is the Harman oakwood series. I don't own one but you may want to give them a glance. I don't have any knowledge of them but they look well built from what I've seen.
  14. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like the image you have in your head is of a Hearth-mount stove installation. A whole lot of the feasibility of that depends on the vertical height from hearth to the top of the fireplace opening...which is missing from your initial description. Of course, If you're going to build a hearth in front of the existing structure to support the stove, then you have some control over that dimension. Have you given any thought/research into an insert? Welcome to the forums. Rick
    PapaDave likes this.
  15. Holzstapel

    Holzstapel Member

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    If we were to build a 4" hearth on the floor, the vertical height from hearth to the top of the fireplace would be about 44" (rough estimate, but I'll get an actual dimension tonight).

    We have thought about an insert, but with the elevated fireplace, I would have to build an elevated hearth, The hearth does run the length of the chimney at 55" long, but only extends 8" from the fireplace on both sides.

    I'll also post some photos tonight
  16. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Pics will help alot. I'm not sure why an insert won't work, although with a see through, something will need to be done on the back side for ascetics sake.
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum Holzstapel.

    I can easily picture your home and am betting it is also a beautiful home. I've always loved the A-frames and we came very close to building one. The lack of insulation is a huge factor and that is why you do need a larger stove else you could get by easily with a smaller one. For example, we heat a larger space with a smaller stove than you are picturing and we keep our home at 80 degrees or more all winter with no problem. And we do this with only 3 cord of wood.

    My suggestion is to look at the Woodstock line. In particular, the Progress Hybrid stove. http://woodstove.com/

    You also will not go wrong with the Jotul line as they make great stoves. What you will get with a Progress is one of the very best stoves for efficiency and a super clean burning stove. It also is a beautiful stove and if you have not experienced heat from a soapstone stove, you will be in for a real treat. Yes, there is a difference as it is a "soft" heat. I at first thought this was just hype at first but now I know first hand just how comfortable of a heat it is.

    You will also find that Woodstock is one of the easiest companies to deal with and they will also give you a six month guarantee on the stove. Picture what could happen if you purchased a stove only to find later that it was not large enough or maybe even too large? We know of several who have had this problem and they ended up selling the stove at a loss and buying another. But Woodstock guarantees you will be happy and if not, they will refund your money or even take the stove back and apply those dollars towards a larger or smaller stove. That is hard to beat.

    You will also notice Woodstock does not have dealers but sells direct only. That actually is a huge plus for most. The only thing negative I've heard about this is that they do not do the installation but that also is no problem. Any carpenter can install if you don't want to do it yourself. In addition, you will not be badgered with high pressure salesmanship. These folks are easy to talk to and are interested in solving your problems. They have also recently made some big improvements in the Progress to make it an even better stove. At present, they are also working on a larger stove yet! It will be much different in many ways but will also incorporate many of the features of the Progress; mainly the hybrid part.

    Good luck to you.
    Tenn Dave likes this.
  18. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I have to disagree strongly with this! I've seen lots of "carpenter" or DIY installs that are very, very poor. Not all sale people are high pressure, and most do care about service after the sale. Unfortunately, it's the horror stories that get told on the internet, rarely the good reports get repeated. It's important to get to know a dealer before you make a purchase. Simply ask around and get some references.
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Okay, I'll say any competent carpenter can do it. You can find shoddy work from many of them. And no where did I infer that all sales people are high pressure.
  20. Holzstapel

    Holzstapel Member

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    Evening everyone.

    The photos of the chimney and the house are >HERE<. They should help describe what we are working with and perhaps spark some ideas.

    We have dreamed about making an alcove out of the fireplace by removing the cement block to the floor from the top of the fireplace opening and removing the left 'skinny side' of it too. This would be a big undertaking and the chimney would still have to be supported by steel beams, but wouldn't that be neat? That dream came about when we tried to fit the Jotul Black Bear into the house.

    IRT Webby: The height from the existing wood floor to the top of the fireplace opening is 57". Existing floor to bottom of fireplace is 28".

    You can see in the photos that the Jotul Oslo's hearth would eat up a big chunk of the room and throw off the flow from the kitchen into that side of the room.

    I have not laid out the hearths for the F45, 50, or 55, but just might this weekend. I need to get some different color tape.

    The Jotul hearths (black tape) are, from largest to smallest: Oslo, F400, F3CB.

    Hearthstone Heritage (white tape)
  21. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    Our cabin has a similar layout, 28' X 36. The loft, our bed room is open to the (great room) below. I placed the stove at the end of the open room / corner. See my avatar. The stove heats the room from the top down. The loft bedroom is at the other end of the house, not over top the stove. It works real well with an open floor plan. The back bed rooms and bath on the main floor are 5 maybe 8 degrees cooler, but not an issue for us. The house is well insulated which is key to holding the heat. The Jotul Oslo has heated the house for the last 13 years. No matter what the temp is outside.
  22. Nick Mystic

    Nick Mystic Minister of Fire

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    Since you have a two sided fireplace and limited space have you considered placing a freestanding woodstove inside the existing fireplace? You didn't give dimensions on the fireplace opening, so I can't say what stoves would fit inside, but if the opening is large enough to fit a stove up inside it could solve several of your needs. For one, you would save a lot of floor space since you would only need to install a hearth pad on the front side of the stove and that wouldn't really impinge on your floor space. Second, with the back of the fireplace open you'd get a lot of heat off the back of the stove to warm that side of the house. Third, the height of the fireplace opening would make for a nice viewing angle through the glass doors of the stove. By installing a block off plate inside the chimney you'd get nearly all your heat thrown back into the house, so you could get by with a smaller stove.
    Joful likes this.
  23. Dave A.

    Dave A. Minister of Fire

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    Am curious why you've ruled out insulating the exterior of the roof deck with foam panels and roofing on top of that. Thought that was the usual idea with t & g decking exposed as ceiling.
    webby3650 likes this.
  24. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I really think an insert is the best option here. Install an insert on one side and leave the doors on the other, just to cover up the back of the unit. A stove sitting on the floor in front of that fireplace would look hokey. Don't ruin the look of that nice fireplace, it deserves a nice insert. http://www.lopistoves.com/product-detail.aspx?model=335
    jeff_t likes this.
  25. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Actually, you would not have to build an elevated hearth. You would merely need ember protection on the floor in front of the insert(depends on the insert). I would go 24" to 36" myself, but only 16" required in USA, 18" required in Canada in front of the hearth. I am fairly sure the the Summit I have only requires 8" of clearance on each side, and am sure there may be others that only require minimal side clearances.
    That thing is screaming insert.

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