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Narrowing options (BK Princess, Englander 30, Other?)

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Nimrod1911, Dec 27, 2012.

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  1. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    rideau,
    I realize that this is not about me, not about you, and not about our stoves.

    One of the reasons I participate in these forums is to share what I have learned about wood burning so that I can help someone find the right fit in a stove.

    I have nothing against a soapstone stove. It is probably a good fit for certain people.

    This OP wants to heat a large space 24/7. The efficiency that a soapstone claims depends on short burns with gaps in between to let the heat out of the stone. IMO that is not a good fit.

    Also, depending on where he lives in Utah, he may have a very high BTU output need. Again, not a good fit with soapstone.

    He said, "function first". Not style, not efficiency, he needs a work horse (on pine no less) that will operate on a 6" flue.

    MnDave

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    By this logic I recommend you get an Ashley Columbian. Its sides glow cherry red, pure radiant energy. But don't expect 12 hr burn times.
    PapaDave likes this.
  3. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I'm sure there are lots of stoves that would work for him.

    Efficiency of a soapstone stove is NOT based on short burns with periods (gaps) in between to let the heat out of the stone. The only time one would burn like that might be in the shoulder season, when you don't want much heat, just a bit at night. The soapstone stoves are designed to be burned 24/7, and to produce lots of heat in the process. Just look at the BTU outputs of all of them. What the storage of heat in the soapstone does is even out the heat produced over each burn...so during the beginning and end of burns the stored heat is slowly released, while the lower BTUs are also being produced by fire at the beginning and end of the cycles. So you get the BTU's produced, plus the BTUs stored , radiating heat at the same time, which increases heat radiated slightly, and evens out the temp a bit.

    The PH puts out very high BTUs indeed...don't know of any stove that puts out more until you get into monsters, or masonry furnaces.

    The larger soapstone stoves are a great fit for someone who needs lots of BTUs...form and function. However. they are not the only fit by any means, and there are many other great heating woodstoves that are less expensive, or look different, or have longer burn times, or are ligher, or have bigger fireboxes, or are simply similar to the soapstones in firebox, BTU and burn times. . So, the OP should get what fits for him, but it is nice if he is aware of the options.

    All the Woodstocks work on a 6 inch flue, I believe. Certainly the Fireview and Progress Hybrid do. I don't know about other soapstone manufacturer's flue requirements.
  4. MnDave

    MnDave Guest

    Of course, any stove will burn 24/7.

    I do not believe that the quoted efficiency is derived from continuous burning. I also believe that they qualify that by noting that the quoted efficiency is per the EPA efficiency test. I understand that the EPA efficiency test is based on burning a piece of wood (with known BTU's) and measuring how many of the BTU's went up the stack and therefore the number that did not can be determined. IMO that is thermal accounting gimmickry... accurate but misleading. Most people will not get into the details of this but I understand it.

    So, I believe that the BTU accounting that they advertise is not based on essentially continous burn cycles which is what most here care about.

    Furhermore, my question is, why coat an advanced "hybrid" stove design with a known insulating material (when compared to iron) when you could coat it with plate steel and put out even more BTU's?

    Sadly, I think it is part of the gimmick. Factory direct only? A 60 day money back guarantee? If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck... you know the rest.

    You seem heavily invested in the Woodstock Progress Hybrid - more than a typical user.

    I am a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic so don't mind me.

    MnDave
  5. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Seemimgly, this could go on forever.

    The EPA test of every stove is the same. Load it (not one piece of wood) with Douglas fir, dimensional lumber, run the full burn cycle. Therefore, stoves can be compared somewhat, based on EPA testing. That is not commenting on whether or not EPA testing is the most advantageous testing that can be done for the woodburner or the environment. Just stating there is a level playing ground in EPA testing/

    There is no reason to assume that the efficiency (tested the same way) will not be similar with every burn as with the EPA burn, assuming the wood burned has the same moisture content. Actually hardwood cordwood will put out more BTUs with a similar full load burn, while softwoods with less weight than Doug Fir will put out fewer BTUs.

    Both BK and Woodstock for sure are talking about continouous burn cycles when they discuss their BTU output. They tell you that, and tell you the stove is well suited to continuous burn cycles. And Woodstock is notably conservative in the estimates they give for burn time, BTU output and heating capability. This is likely true of other stove manufacturers as well. I have only read the BK and Woodstock manuals, so can't say.

    I don't really know why you are so skeptical about all stoves. I understand Quadra Fire apparently advertises burn times that are not easily reproducable in the real world. Not so BK or Woodstock, and I am sure not so lots of other manufacturers.

    Why coat a hybrid with an insulating material when you could coat it with steel and put out more BTUs? Well, soapstone is not an insulator, anymore than steel or cast iron. It simply holds more heat and transfers it more slowly. It gets very hot...as hot as other materials. Just doesn't transfer the heat fast, so (a) doesn't present as great a burn risk (b) radiates more heat at the end of and after the burn cycles. If anything it may put out more BTUs because it can store more of the heat. It changes when you get some of the heat, but none is lost because of that, nor is it locked where you can't use it.

    The reasons for a soapstone stove are myriad. The heat is a very comfortable heat...feels like the sun. The heat is quite evenly produced at a high level over a long cycle. The stoves last for a lifetime. The stoves weigh a lot and store a lot of energy. The stoves are beautiful. The stoves make great cookstoves as well. The stoves stand up well to rigorous use. I cannot imagine considering plate steel an improvement on soapstone...a different duck, but certainly not an improvement. It can be incorporated in a soapstone stove, for the advantages it provides for certain purposes, and Woodstock has done this with the Progress Hybrid. But it is not a substitute for the soapstone...it has different qualities that are good, as does the soapstone.

    Factory direct only is great. You are cutting out the middleman and his mark up, so you get a very expensively, well built stove for the same price as a much less expensively built stove. You get fabulous customer service, no matter where you are or who you are, from day one and for as long as you own your stove, whether it is a new stove purchased from them, or a used stove purchased in the aftermarket. . Woodstock service is as close as your phone, and you are taken care of immediately. They will help you with all aspects of your wood burning. Parts are very reasonably priced, shipping is prompt. There is not a 60 day warranty. There is a six month burn time warranty. If at any time in the six months you are unhappy for any reason, even if it is because you lost your job and need your money back, Woodstock takes the stove back and refunds your full purchase price. They couldn't do that if they didn't sell great stoves.

    I think almost all Progress Hybrid owners feel like I do about the stoves. Sometimes I take more time to address questions or statements, although there are others who do so more spiritedly. I am only vested in the product to the extent that it is what heats my home, and does so in a thoroughly satisfactory fashion. As with any wood burner, a lot of my "spare" time is spent processing my firewood, so I have a vested interest.

    It is OK to be a bit skeptical, but your statements go beyond that and aren't correct. I find it hard to let them stand without response. However, for further info, if you have questions about the burning qualities and care to be more knowledgeable about the woodstock stoves, it might be a good idea to ge the info from Woodstock. As I stated before, I will ask them for some specific info that was queried earlier re BTU output at different temps and with different sized loads.
  6. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    I have a 2010 Quad 4300 Step Top and get more disgusted with it with every day that goes by. Short burn times, 300-degree temps on double wall stove pipe, it rattles and hums, it burns out of control even when the controls are fully closed, etc. Quad used to be known as a quality stove manufacturer until, guess what, they moved manufacturing to China.
  7. Mitch Newton

    Mitch Newton Member

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    MnDave, just to keep you posted, I got an 11 hour burn time last night. First time. Temps after 11 hours were 200 deg. Burn times are increasing as I fine tune the loads, ashes, air control, etc.
    MnDave likes this.
  8. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Lets make sure replies are directed at helping the Original Poster.

    pen
  9. Waulie

    Waulie Minister of Fire

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    To the OP:

    Based on your requirements of 6" flue, large area to heat, and the desire for a minimum of 8 hours burn time, you basically are going to want to get the biggest, baddest heating machine you can that will fit a 6" flue. There are tons of them out there. I would definitely recommend the Progress for your purpose, but if it is out of budget, it is out of budget. The Englander would be a good choice, but you will get lower burn times than the Progress. Tons of heat though!

    Have you looked at the Pacific Energy stoves? There could be a good fit there. Lot's of people love their PE's. I almost bought one myself. You could look at the Alderlea T-6, which is a steel stove wrapped in cast iron so you get a bit of mass there to flatten the heating curve. This is going to cost way more than the Englander, but (I think)quite a bit less than the Progress. The PE's have nice burn times for non cat stoves.

    The Princess wouldn't be a bad choice at all either. Although, you probably wouldn't be enjoying the main benefit of the Princess very often which is the ability to burn super-duper low. With that large of an area, you probably would very rarely running at the lowest setting. Still, it would be controllable so you could set it for say an 8 hour burn, a 10 hour burn, etc. Since you realize you won't be heating your entire house anyway, this might work well as you could get a very predictable and consistent supplemental heat with nice burn times. I think the Progress would work similiar for you in that way. Again, if it is out of budget...

    Good luck!
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