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moving to 21st century - which stove to replace our classic heat monster

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by timberkat, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. timberkat

    timberkat New Member

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    We have a centrally located classic cast iron timberline from the mid 70's that my dad pulled out of his house years ago. Our house is a drafty 3500SF 1930's stone carriage house that we've renovated. The stove does a really nice job of heating just about all of it except for the peripheral areas, which isn't a big deal because they're mostly bedroom areas and we like to keep the temps around 65. Since we installed it a few years back our propane use (we have a high efficiency buderus boiler that burns fuel on cold days like there's no tomorrow) has dropped by close to 80%! And while we're thrilled about the savings we've been wanting to upgrade to a modern stove for better efficiency, longer burn times, and safety (wife, 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 2 cats in the house). To give you an idea, right now we're reloading every 4-5 hours and we keep the knuckles and damper fully closed to keep the house at 65-70 on cold days (0* - 20*). The chimney is a straight run of all new 8" class a duravent with black stove pipe from the stove to the support. The draft is excellent.

    Here's the problem. I can't figure out if any of the modern EPA stoves will throw off the heat that our timberline does. I went to our local distributor over the weekend to see some newer models and my first impression was that these stoves were too small and I couldn't imagine how they'd even come close to doing what the timberline does. I saw the Jotul F55, Enerzone 3.4, and the PE Alderlea T6. All were very nicely made and reasonably priced but again smallish looking. Has anyone every made the switch from classic to modern EPA approved? Can you give me your thoughts on whether you're happy from a heat output standpoint? Are there other models I should be looking at might handle our house better? Thanks in advance for your insights.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Welcome. I would go up a size from the stoves you are looking at. For a big stove look at the Blaze King King, Kuma Sequoia, Regency 5100. 3500 sq ft is a large home. You might consider installing 2 stoves. One for milder heating, say above 20F outside and the second for those really cold days. The kitchen or a fireplace are nice places for the second stove.
    stoveguy2esw likes this.
  3. timberkat

    timberkat New Member

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    Thanks. It was tough to find a way to vent our current 8" chimney setup so I don't think having a second stove is an option. These guys you mentioned look more like the sizing that would work for our house. Give me few day to research and I'll let you know what we decide. Any words of wisdom as far as when the best time to buy?
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I have struck the best deals on a hot August morning when you can hear crickets in the showroom and hot tub sales have wound down for the season. That said, now is a normally good time to catch dealers that want to reduce inventory for the summer. However the cold wave in your neck of the woods may be delaying this.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Also look at the big Buck 91 or 94 stoves.
  6. timberkat

    timberkat New Member

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    I noticed in your profile you're burning a PE T6. Aesthetically, I like it the best. I also like the slide out top panels allowing you to cook on the stove top - something we do often with our classic cast iron. I'm having a tough time with the looks of the big stoves you pointed out. In your opinion do you think if I really pushed the T6 it could do a respectable job (say 63 to 68) degrees for our two story house during an average northeast winter or am I limited to the selection you pointed out? I guess adding a second stove on the second floor might be an option but it wouldn't be ideal.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    How large is the area where the stove sits and how open is this space to the rest of the house? What are the ceiling heights?

    3500 sq ft is large, especially if the walls are just adequately insulated and the place is drafty. As much as I love the stove I think the T6 might need help when temps drop into the teens. This would mean cycling the Buderus occasionally during cold spells. If you go for this stove, invest in an energy audit, seal up those leaks and insulate. The T6 is a great stove but it is limited by its 3 cu ft capacity. An attractive 8" flue 4 cu ft stove to look at would be the Hearthstone Equinox. That is a fitting stove for a stone home.
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    You already have an 8" flue. Apply that to a big box and be happy. BG hit most of the big players for the big boxes. The T6 is a mighty stove and a proven performer but it is not a replacement (in size) for what you currently have. Go big.

    (Did I use the word "Big" enough?:p)
  9. timberkat

    timberkat New Member

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    The room where the stove sits is small but it's open to about 2100 SF of space on the main floor via an open floor plan. The upstairs is 1500 SF and the stairway leading to it is pretty centrally located and adjacent to the stove. We have 8' ceilings throughout except for an 18' cathedral ceiling in a living area that's un-insulated and original to the house. The cathedral ceiling room is open to the staircase and to the stove room. The more I weigh your advice I think I really need a 4+ cu ft firebox to help offset the massive heat loss in the cathedral room. The Equinox is nice but it's pricey compared to the others you pointed out. It's a shame Jotul doesn't make a bigger firebox. Really liked the build quality.
  10. timberkat

    timberkat New Member

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    You're right Jags. Going big. Just need to pick one.
    Jags likes this.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The Equinox is expensive, but when you amortize the cost over the life of the stove it is not a big deal. It's also a nice stove to look at all summer long.

    Is there a fireplace in the house, maybe in the living room?

    Based on the description the T6 will probably heat the area all right, especially if the living room can be closed off during colder weather. The cathedral ceiling there greatly increases the cubic footage needing to be heated.
  12. timberkat

    timberkat New Member

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    There are two fireplaces but we're not willing to give them up to inserts. Hear what you're saying about the Equinox. I just got an end of season price for the Sequoia with steel legs and black door of $2165 out the door and $100 extra delivered to my house which is 1 hour away from the dealer. Don't think I can pass it up especially considering that the members seem to like the stove and it should heat my house just fine. I'm just a little hesitant about the catalytic thing but I guess I'll deal with replacing it when it goes on me. Think I'm going to pull the trigger sight unseen unless anyone can convince me otherwise. Dealer texted me pics of the stove and it's brand new.
  13. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    If your wood is not well seasoned I would not swap out the stove until the heating season is over. Take delivery but finish out the year with the old stove. Spend 5 min here and you will learn that new stoves need dry wood (<20% moisture). That does not usually happen until the wood has been cut, split and stacked for 2 yr. This is the biggest obstacle for first year success with an EPA stove.

    With good fuel you should get more heat with less wood from the newer unit. Keep us posted pics are always welcome.
  14. timberkat

    timberkat New Member

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    I cut the wood 4 years ago, split it 2 yrs ago, and it's been covered for about 1 year. I don't have a meter but I'd think it would be under 20% moisture. It burns great now in the cast iron stove. Maybe I'll pick up a meter just to be sure. Thanks for the tip.
    jatoxico likes this.
  15. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Excellent, just thought it was worth mentioning. Going from an older stove to the newer has frustrated many, sounds like you should be in pretty good shape.
  16. Hardrockmaple

    Hardrockmaple Feeling the Heat

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    I switched from my old non EPA stove to the EPA Austral last fall. I was surprised at the 'noticeable' difference the moisture content made when I switched from 26-27% to 20-22% wood, basically a different stove. Moisture meter highly recommended.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That's a good deal on the Kuma. Keep us posted and take pics once installed.
  18. JA600L

    JA600L Feeling the Heat

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  19. smokedragon

    smokedragon Minister of Fire

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    I would add the hearthstone equinox and the Buck 91 and 94NC.

    I envy you. I am looking for a larger modern stove, but have a 6" pipe. With that 8" chimney, you have all the big boys available.

    Buck 91 can be had for a good price if you are budget minded.

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