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Less wood with smaller stove? Homestead Vs. Tribute

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Andreas, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. Andreas

    Andreas New Member

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    New to the forum, what a great resource! We have a 900 SF house in Central Vermont with a heat loss of 26,000btu/hour at -10 degrees that we currently heat with a Hearthstone Homestead (50,000btu max). The house is a split level, with about 450 square feet on each level, the stove is downstairs. On all but the 20 below nights we roast with the Homestead and I'm toying with the idea of trying the smaller Hearthstone Tribute next season (36,000 btu max). We're also planning to replace the windows sometime in the next couple years dropping the heat loss to 16,000 btu/hour. The goal with the smaller stove would be to have a more even heat, not have to open the windows, and perhaps use less firewood. I read in the forums of another Vermonter using a Tribute with a 1300 SF house but he liked it cool. I feel like there isn't quite a stove for our bracket, Homestead too big, Tribute too small?

    An alternate idea is packing some mass around the back and sides of the Homestead like cob or stone to even out the heat and radiate it for longer. Any thoughts, experience or advice?

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Welcome Andreas. I don't think you need a smaller stove necessarily. You need to burn shorter fires when it is not cold outside and let them burn out. Or you need a smaller cat stove that can burn low and slow. Possible candidates for that are the Woodstock Keystone, Vermont Castings Intrepid or perhaps the Blaze King Sirocco 20.

    PS: Kudos on your progress with tightening up the house.
  3. Andreas

    Andreas New Member

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    Currently I just light one fire in the morning and let it go out. If it's 32 or above that's all we need, on colder days we light a second fast hot fire in the evening. I guess part of me just misses tending the fire more often having grown up with it!
  4. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    As much as I like fresh air, I'd be seriously annoyed with having to open windows in the winter to cool the place.

    Well, it won't give you the pleasure of additional stove tending, but a Cat stove generally can help quite a bit with evening things out as you can burn them slower/longer with the same amount of wood (close to same heat in total, but easier to get that low BTU output, just spread over time).

    I'm curious to know how you determined your heat loss BTU/Hr as well as estimating the change with new windows - can you share on this point? I'd like to figure mine out but really don't know where to start to end up with a usefully accurate number.
    gyrfalcon likes this.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You need a wood fired pizza oven, outside!
    Slow1 likes this.
  6. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    I think that was me. If I were you, I'd stick with the Homestead because you have a lot more flexibility. You could build shorter fires less often, or burn lower BTU woods like soft maple except on those super-cold days/nights. The big disadvantage of the small stove is the short burn times and the difficulty of getting the stovetop temps up above 350 when you really do need it.

    The Tribute is a great little stove, but I'm personally worn out by the need to reload and fuss and monitor it to hit the timing for reducing the primary air, etc., so often and I'm planning to get a Homestead myself before next winter. The short burn cycle on the Tribute means there's only a very small margin for error on all that. Miss the ideal time for a reload, and you end up laboring to get things back up to a decent temperature and a clean burn.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I too would hesitate putting in a smaller stove.

    We have the Woodstock Fireview and love it. It cut our wood needs in half when we bought it. Then after we did some remodeling, new doors, new windows, lots of insulation and even an addition, we cut our wood needs again.

    For sure we also could roast ourselves in the warmer weather. Nights around 20 degrees we get by with 3 or perhaps 4 splits very easily. But no way would we get a smaller stove.

    The worst of a smaller stove is that you can not hold a fire very long and when you need it, then you might find yourself waking up during the night to fill the stove so you don't wake up to a cold house.
  8. Andreas

    Andreas New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone, sounds like staying with the homestead is the way to go....
  9. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    Adding some firebrick would make it a smaller stove also. Maybe a layer across the bottom.

    Matt
  10. Andreas

    Andreas New Member

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    That's a good idea Matt, I don't use the ash pan anyway. Has anyone else experimented with adding a thin layer of firebrick on the bottom of a stove? Any type better than another?
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Andreas, I know there have been other threads on this so you might try some searching. But from what I recall, nobody has ever had a problem. As far as type of brick, it doesn't matter. They are cheap too.
  12. Nyquil Junkie

    Nyquil Junkie Member

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    I have an intrepid, and I just replaced it with a larger stove. I can tell you for me at least, a smaller stove did not burn less, it burned far more wood.

    It took 2 bushel baskets to burn overnigh in the cold weather with the intrepid, on bypass on low. One would think this would eat less wood. About every 3 hours, the stove needed repacked to the gills and set burnig again.

    Now I havent had this larger stove with a blowe jacket tha long, but I can clearly see, it burna much less wood, not even a whole bushel of wood to keep me sweating all night and it was only 6F last night.

    I'm not sure thats a rule, but it's somethignt to think about..... smaller doesnt always equate to less wood used. The new plate steel stove radiates more heat off less wood plus the blower setup makes even more heat into the house and not up the stack.

    I dont mind an open window, even if its brutal outside. I'm going to save much wood and work with a larger more effecient stove so some cold air drifting in a window all night is not only keeping the air fresh but it feels good.

    Then again, my 78 y old mother drives her little intrepid like a pro, and can heat her whole little house as hot or as col as she likes, better than I could with mine so.....
  13. Nyquil Junkie

    Nyquil Junkie Member

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    Skill has something to do with it also. lol
  14. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You just need to manage this more effectively. You don't sound to ever be too cold. With the stone stove it is easy to pump heat into the stone and then it just keeps on giving the heat back even when you don't want it. The nights that you are roasted seem to be the problem. On those nights, did you light a second fast hot fire? Perhaps you shouldn't have. Or, you built a fire with too much fuel. You can burn a few pieces of kindling if you want or you can load the stove stove to the gills. More frequent smaller fires is the way to make a smaller stove out of what you've got.
  15. colin.p

    colin.p Burning Hunk

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    Wow, I can only imagine what that's like...........
  16. Andreas

    Andreas New Member

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    I can manage the temperature quite well, it just means short fires which are a pain because of re-starting the stove each time and I end up blasting through a bunch of kindling. It would be nice to have more of an even burn cycle. I want to have a clean burn so I get the stove top up to 450 or 500 and then damp it down and that's all I need, even that is too much sometimes. Someone earlier mentioned trying a Woodstock Keystone, which seems like a good option as I could simmer it for longer, not crank a lot of heat, but burn on a more continual basis yet retain a clean burn with the catalytic technology. Another idea is adding thermal mass, either stone or cob, on each side of and behind the stove so store some of the heat to radiate out later. No weight issue as it's on a slab with cement wall behind (walk out basement).
  17. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, Woodstock sounds like it might be the right solution for you. Just FYI in case you're still vaguely considering it, the Tribute won't get you up to 450 very often or 500 maybe ever unless you're burning something you shouldn't, and it sure won't stay there for very long. And a smaller firebox is always going to mean more frequent reloading and much more attentiveness to the goings-on in there. Don't know if that's much of an improvement over starting fires from scratch several times a day.

    Speaking of which, if you get yourself some Supercedars (advertised somewhere on this site and easily findable through Google), you can ditch the kindling altogether and make starting fires much quicker and easier.
  18. Andreas

    Andreas New Member

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    Yeah, I've ruled out the Tribute, I'll try to find a used Keystone or pick up one of their refurbished ones that come up now and then, the Woodstock factory is actually not that far from me, 1.5 hour maybe. Anyone in New England need a barely used condition Tribute?
  19. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    If you mean a barely used Homestead, I'd definitely be interested. I'll PM you.
  20. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I had a hearthstone heritage for several years before switching to the catalytic BK. So I've made the switch that you are considering and do not regret it at all.

    The keystone would be a fine stove for the small space and you are right about the cat technology allowing long, low temp burns. Not sure why you were blasting the bajeepers out of the hearthstone but it certainly does not need to be run that hot to be clean burning unless your fuel quality is poor.
  21. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

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    That's certainly been my experience, but it may also depend on how your flue is constructed, too. But I have the small Tribute, which even with ideally dry wood only cruises between 350 and 400, and have struggled with less than perfectly seasoned wood, and there's never been more than a couple cups of powder creosote cleaned out of my chimney.

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