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Need help with picking first wood stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by hendu, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. hendu

    hendu New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
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    Loc:
    Central Iowa
    First off, I've been lurking for some time now. This is a great site and believe some of you may be willing to help me out.

    Some background on my situation: Never have had a wood stove before other than using one in my friend's one room cabin during hunting season. My home is a 2007 walkout ranch with 2000 sf up and 1800 sf down. 2x6 walls with blown cellulose up and open cell foam down-very efficient. Have geothermal and keep it set at 67. Stove will go in the basement I finally finished. House is very open. For wood I have several acres of honey locust which I would like to burn and hardwood.

    I want one as a good off grid backup and for occasional use just to have a fire. I have been to 3 dealers in town, and of course they all suggest different brands. They are a Jotul Oslo, a Pacific Alderlea T5, and a Lopi Liberty. I have read a lot about each and am more confused than when I began my search. I am cheap but always try and buy the best so I won't have just replace it later. Do you agree with the sizes they suggest for my home size? Will locust wood not be OK in any of these? Do dealers make more money for one brand so they suggest it? 2 of the dealers carry all 3 brands. If you need any more info or have any other suggestions I'm all ears.

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  2. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Do you have a family room in the basement that you use? If you don't need the stove for heat and don't plan to use it unless you lose power or want to enjoy the fire, be sure the stove is where you can enjoy it. Since you want to enjoy looking at it, and also have it for back up, be sure it is attractive and has a large viewing window, and is big enough to and located where it can make a difference if you lose power. And make sure it isn't dependent on a blower. A stove in the basement if you lose power and have no fan to circulate air isn't going to give you a ton of heat upstairs, especially in a big home. It will make a big difference compared to no heat, though. How open is air flow from the basement to the upper floor?
    All the stoves you list are fine stoves, as is the Woodstock line, which you have to order directly from the manufacturer. Worth looking at their site and adding to the stoves you are considering. Handsome, efficient stoves, service that is unsurpassed, amazing quality.

    Good luck.
  3. tim1

    tim1 Member

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    columbia river gorge,portland or
    Pacific energy and enjoy! Tim
  4. rijim

    rijim Member

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    Of the 3, the Lopi will probably give you the most heat and longest burn times; if you don't have any clearance issues that would be my choice. If you want cook top or have clearance issues it wold be the PE. All 3 are great stoves you can't go wrong with.
  5. Trilifter7

    Trilifter7 Feeling the Heat

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    I would recommend a 3 cu ft stove. It will give you longer burn times and more heat when you are without power. Of the three stoves you mentioned I would say the Lopi Liberty. Maybe check out the Jotul F600, PE Alderea T6, Woodstock Progressive Hybrid, Quadrafire Isle Royale or 5700 step top. Depends on if you like the cast iron or steel stove look. Also the soapstone design is something to keep in mind.
    northwinds, jeff_t and raybonz like this.
  6. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Ya, not sure why anybody would recommend a T5 or Oslo for that much space. You can have some pretty tough winters, too.

    Add the Englander 30 in there, too. Hopefully HD will be dumping them again this spring. I need one.
    Trilifter7 likes this.
  7. lopiliberty

    lopiliberty Minister of Fire

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    I have a lopi liberty and that thing cranks out some serious heat and is built like a tank. It keeps my 2400 sqft house between 85 and 90 degrees. If you have properly 2-3 year seasoned wood this stove will run you out of the house. I can get 8 to 12 hours with oak and locust depending on how well I load it. If you go with the liberty I suggest cutting your wood to 15 inches and loading it N/S. You can get more in there and don't have to worry about wood falling against the glass.
  8. hendu

    hendu New Member

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    Loc:
    Central Iowa
    Thanks for all of the replies so far. I went to the Woodstock site and looked at their stoves and their Progressive Hybrid looks very nice. There is a chart on their site that compares max output and emissions of large stoves, and of course theirs are on top, with the Lopi Liberty and Quadrafire Royale a little below. Surprisingly, it shows the max output of the Jotul Oslo higher than the Firelight. But, I tend to take any of these types of charts with a grain of salt. Still, it's interesting to me.


    stove comparison web.jpg


    This will be in my family room in the basement and this room is 25'x45', no clearance issues. I was hoping that with a large stove (and a worst case scenario extended power outage from a large ice storm) I could live in the basement and the heat output could keep upstairs livable with extra clothes on. I've never cared before when it was just me, but with a new wife and a kid on the way, and myself working on the road all week, I need to be prepared so they can be safe and warm if they get stuck at home.
  9. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Progress Hybrid would certianly heat that area. My first floor is 46 x 32, 2nd floor same, third floor same footprint but under the roof except for a 26 foot dormer room. Heats the house in Ontario.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    How will the heat get upstairs hendu? Where is the staircase and where will the stove be placed in relationship to it?
  11. Butcher

    Butcher Feeling the Heat

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    Where at in Iowa? I'm just north of Waterloo and if you want to see a oslo in use I got 1. Whitch dealer are you talkin to?
  12. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I'd consider a cat stove because cat stoves give longer burn times, and are good for long, low burns. I think long burn time is the best feature a stove can have. You have plenty of space so a big stove won't overheat the room easily. Big firebox and a cat would be my choice. When comparing stoves I'd look at the firebox sixe and the secondary burn technology (cat versus non-cat), and not pay too much attention to the BTU output or the square footage provided my manufacturer except as a guideline.

    HOney Locust is excellent hardwood and will do great in any stove. Get out immediately and cut, split, and stack a whole lot of wood. YOu will get much better results with wood that has dried for at least one full year, and two would be much better. I'd plan to burn three or four cords per year. Once you get a stove you may find yourself using it all the time.
  13. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I've heated two walk-out ranches with the Isle Royale, but your home is over 60% bigger than either of the two homes I heated if I'm understanding the 3800 square
    feet correctly. If you put a stove on your top floor, your basement will be cold--no doubt about it. I'm not sure how warm your top floor will be if you place
    the stove downstairs, but heat will rise. A lot will depend on whether the stove is near an open stairwell and how air moves in your house. Iowa gets cold. I would get the biggest stove you can, whether it's cat or non-cat. And Wood Duck is right. You're going to need lots of well-seasoned wood. I'd plan on at least four or five cords in your climate with your square footage.

    Many people don't understand walkout or hillside ranches. For many of us with walkouts, the lower level is the prime living space. In my last house, three sides were framed and were basically on a slab with only the back wall having a normal basement wall. My kids' bedrooms were down there, even as toddlers, and we spent
    most of our time in the lower level. It isn't like living in a traditional basement. We had lots of light and windows, high ceilings, and lots of exercise going up and
    down the stairs. :)
  14. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    With the brands you named there are a different looks. Do you want cast iron? Do you like the steel look? The Liberty was our top choice if we ended up going steel, it just does the job. My wife did not want her stove to look like a typical stove thus the we started looking at the Jotul Firelight. Then another dealer showed us the Isle Royale from Quadrafire. We saved about $500 with the Isle Royale while all of the research showed similar performance to the Jotul. If money was not an option we would have gone Jotul just because the company has been around so long and the reputation is outstanding. So I would say consider the look you want as both steel and cast iron stoves are going to get it done, I will say that cast iron does stay warmer longer than steel does once the fire is out.
  15. hendu

    hendu New Member

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    Loc:
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    The staircase is located almost straight away from where the front of the stove will be, about 20' away though. Stove and stairs are centrally located along length of house, just on opposite walls. Bad part is there is a doorway the heat would have to go thru to get to the stairs. Once thru the doorway at basement level, it would be open again all the way up to the first floor ceiling. (the staircase goes up 1/2 a flight, then 180 on a landing, the up 1/2 a flight)
    I'm guessing by your post that heat doesn't transfer thru the floor between the basement and upstairs too well.

    Thanks for the offer Butcher, I'm located just south of Des Moines. I've been to the 3 dealers that show up on searches in Des Moines (Chim Cherie, Fireplace Superstore, and Fireplace and BBQ Center.) Who did you use or recommend?

    They are definitely all different looks. I do much prefer the look of cast iron over steel. The soap stone looks good too, but I'll have to find out if anybody around here will install a Woodstock for price comparison. The picture of your Isle Royale looks great on their site. It looks to be Quadrafire's only pure cast stove? Do you like its top load feature?

    Quick question on the wood. My neighbor was planning on building when I did in 2007 and dozed over about 1 acre of the honey locust. He hasn't touched it since and it's been sitting in a monstrous pile for the past 5 years. Would you even mess with this stuff or has it been down too long? It was dozed over root balls and all. Is there any chance it's been seasoned without being cut or split yet?
  16. Butcher

    Butcher Feeling the Heat

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    Probably to far away for you but this is were I bought from. http://mickgage.com/
    Might be worth a call though. He doesnt carry any cat stoves if thats what your looking for.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Would it be possible to open up the wall alongside the ascending stairway by putting in some framed openings between the studs? Done right this could look quite intentional.

    For an installer you could use a certified sweep. Check either of these sites for names" www.csia.org and www.ncsg.org

    Definitely! Locust is very slow to rot. That could be a gold mine. Be aware that you may find some critters have set up homes in there.
  18. DickRussell

    DickRussell Member

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    If your house is fairly tight, and arguably even if it isn't supertight, you ought to think about having an outside air kit (OAK) provide the combustion air. Some stoves provide for direct connection of the duct, while others don't, and you just end the duct "in the vicinity of the stove." This is one reason I picked my small Quadrafire 2100 Millenium over a small Jotul. There was a thread on OAKs here not too long ago. Search for it.
  19. daleeper

    daleeper Minister of Fire

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    It is possible the locust is still good. I haven't had experience with downed locust. I am working on some red and black oak that has been down 3-4 years, and it is dogy on the outside, but core is good solid wood. I am cutting and splitting anyway. It will burn but will be a bit messier than usual.

    That locust would need cut and split before it is going to dry down on the bigger stuff. The smaller limbs will be dryer, but still may not be dry in the center.
  20. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    Never use it
  21. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I saw a Lopi Cape Cod today. I took some time and went over pretty well. Really nice looking stove. If it was in my price range, I'd probably have one.
  22. kwikrp

    kwikrp Feeling the Heat

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    BLAZE KING !! you will completely happy with absolutely no regrets!
  23. hendu

    hendu New Member

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    Must be a coincidence, but I went to my local dealers today and narrowed it down to the Cape Cod or the Jotul Firelight. This dealer was really pushing the Lopi Liberty with it being built so well and calling it his work horse. He said he's never sold a Cape Cod and was hesitant on it. He thought for a while then said he would like to have me as his test pilot for one and will give a nice price break on it since it's not a proven stove yet. Hard to choose between matte black or the enamel brown just from brochure pictures. I've searched for reviews on the Cape Cod but not much is out there. It was a $900 difference for the 2 finishes...yikes. I just can't quite decide to be my usual risk taker self or stay with the tried and true Jotul.
  24. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    The Locust should be prime for the cutting and should be ready for next winter by that time. Definitely go for the pile over fresh cut for next winter's supply. I cut up 5 to 15 year old blown over oak all the time and most of it is fine. Still needs two dry for two years, but amazingly most of it is still solid. Dead ash laying down is excellent and often close to ready.

    As far as stoves go, all the brands listed are great from what I've read and seen. I've had a Lopi republic and it was a great heater for its size but its fans were noisy. After reading on this site for awhile, I'd go Woodstock or Blaze King now or if tight on the $ Englander 30.
  25. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    That sounds like a pretty good offer, if he's going to work with you if you have problems.

    There is only one here that I know of. He gave a really positive initial report, and we haven't really heard anything since. Maybe that's good? Somebody else has installed several, and says he's impressed.

    The only thread I know of with any info http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/the-cape-cod-is-here.100342/

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