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New member with gas stove question

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by patirwin, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. patirwin

    patirwin New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2014
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Alaska
    New to this forum so forgive me if I ask a question that's been asked many times. My wife and I live on the coast in Homer, AK in an 800 sqft 2 level gambrel style house and we are now hooked up to natural gas for the first time in either of our lives. I've already installed a tankless water heater and was ready to install a Rinnai 22 space heater to accompany our wood stove, which is our only heat source. When we went to pick up the Rinnai we noticed the Jotul and Hearthstone gas stoves that look like wood stoves, and we both began re-thinking my plan.
    We both are tired of cutting/splitting wood as we've been doing it most of our lives, so the new plan began to emerge to replace the wood stove with a gas stove and forget about the Rinnai. Due to space we're limited to the Jotul Sebago or the HS Bristol. The Jotul claims to heat 1500' and the Bristol 1800'.

    Is there anyone on here using either of these stoves in a similar fashion who can tell me if one of these stoves will heat my very well insulated house? Am I stupid to abandon the wood stove? Should I stick to my original plan?

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  2. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    5,725
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    What is the BTU rating of your current woodstove?
    How efficient is it in converting wood to heat?
    If it does the job of heating your home very well,
    you'll probably need a gas stove with a similar rating.
    Gas stoves are rated by BTU INPUT. That number x the efficiency will give you the output BTUs.
    From my experience, folks who go from woodburning stoves to gas stoves
    & expect the SAME heat are severely disappointed & generally have to bundle
    up a little more in the colder months.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
  3. patirwin

    patirwin New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2014
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Alaska
    Thank you for your reply, DAKSY. We had a Jotul F3 rated at 42000 BTU Max Output claiming to heat 1300 sqft. Burning dry beatle-kill Spruce we had a hard time keeping the house warm all day unless we were home to feed the stove constantly. Not much Birch/hardwood in our area.

    We sold the Jotul and brought in the wood stove from our old house which has a bigger firebox. This stove warms the house nicely only b/c we can load twice as much wood as before and we can leave the house for the day. It's an old Thelin Thompson pot belly but I'm not sure of BTU etc.

    I'm trying to trust the Jotul stats for their gas stove but due to our previous experience I want to make sure I get one that can truly heat my house. I'm thinking the constant source of heat (30,000+ BTU's) will make up for the constant up/down temp changes of burning very dry spruce, but maybe it's wishful thinking...

    I'm open to any advice!

    Pat
  4. danimal1968

    danimal1968 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2014
    Messages:
    89
    Loc:
    Pickerington, OH
    What DAKSY was trying to tell you regarding the BTU's you'll get out of a gas stove is that you need to figure out the efficiency rating of each stove you're looking at. If you look at the Canadian EnerChoice ratings, the Hearthstone has a huge advantage. You can find them here: http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/pml-lmp/index.cfm?action=app.search-recherche&appliance=FIREPLACE_G

    That Jotul is rated at 32k BTU/hr input, and at 67 percent efficiency will give you 21,440 BTU of usable heat per hour.

    The Hearthstone Bristol, on the other hand is rated at 80 percent efficiency at 36k BTUs max output, which means you'll get 28,800 BTU of usable heat per hour.

    That's a significant difference both in terms of whether the stove can keep you warm and to your pocketbook.
  5. patirwin

    patirwin New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2014
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Alaska
    Thanks Danimal! I'm just having a hard time trusting the manufacturer's claims after our Jotul wood stove problem. I got an energy rating last spring and the rater said a 20K BTU heater should be enough, so the Jotul wood stove should have done better than it did. I'm reluctant to invest in their gas stove b/c of this.

    Like I said in my first post we want to know if a gas stove can heat my 800 sqft 2 level house by itself. It's basically two 350 sqft open rooms stacked on top of each other, 8' ceilings, and a 100 sqft heated entry. Very well insulated. It shouldn't be hard to heat? Both of the stoves claim they can heat this space but as I said, I'm reluctant...

    I guess I just want someone to tell me it will or won't work and be done with it...

    Thanks again for your help!
  6. patirwin

    patirwin New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2014
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Alaska
    one last thing then I'll be quiet. How does a gas stove's 20,000 BTU/hour compare to a 20,000 BTU wood stove that doesn't maintain the same heat all day?

    Also will that gas stove w/ thermostat work much better for me than my 30,000+ BTU wood stove that cools down all day?

    I think I'm answering my own questions but it's nice to hear from folks more experienced than me.

    Thanks again!
  7. Fake coal burner

    Fake coal burner Member

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    Salt Lake City Utah
  8. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    20K is 20K. The gas unit on a thermostat will provide a more even heat. If natural gas is cheap in your area, I'd go with a gas unit & I wouldn't hesitate to get one of the Jotul gas stoves. I used to use one to heat a studio apartment over my garage, but the price of LP was killing me. I would get the 32K GF400 Sebago or the 40K GF600 Firelight, tho. You can always turn it down if the heat is too much. The 20K GF300 Allagash is a nice unit, but it might keep burning & never shut off if it doesn't satisfy the thermostat. My $.02...(FWIW)
  9. patirwin

    patirwin New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2014
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Alaska

    DAKSY,

    Thank you for telling me what I wanted to hear. Ha!

    We pretty much settled on the Sabego and removing the wood stove but my reluctance has kept me from pulling the trigger on the deal. Your input helps me make that decision.

    Thank you again!

    Pat
    BrotherBart and DAKSY like this.
  10. patirwin

    patirwin New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2014
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Alaska
    So I'm back with what I hope is a general question regarding gas stove set-up. We decided to go with the Hearthstone Bristol for our small house since that's the one that kept speaking to us. I installed it following all the instructions, used our existing 6" wood stove chimney after sweeping it out, installed a 4" inner flue per instructions, and fired up the heat.

    The problem I'm having is the flame won't stay lit. The pilot stays lit just fine but the flame goes on and out several times before staying lit. It's sometimes 20-30 minutes of this game before it stays on for good. The Bristol has an adjustable restrictor plate to adjust draft to the stove from the flue but it doesn't seem to matter if it's fully open or closed, the draft seems to stay the same. The flames dance around like there's too much draft all the time. The pilot dances around too, but stays lit just fine. Is there an adjustment in the stove that the installation instructions didn't mention? It's still in the 60's in Alaska so I'm not worried yet, but I need to fix this issue since it'll be our only source of heat.

    My local heater guys are quite expensive so I'm hoping to at least narrow the issue down before I call them. Thanks in advance.

    Pat
  11. patirwin

    patirwin New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2014
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    Loc:
    Alaska
    So the Bristol has been working great once I got it all set up properly. The issue I'm having now seems to be with the remote. It works 'most' of the time but being in Alaska I need it to work 'all' the time since it's my only heat source. The problem is we have awoken to a cold house 3 times in 2 months, and yesterday we woke up to a very warm house. We set the remote to 66 degrees overnight and 2 times we woke up to 58 degrees and yesterday we woke up to 75. Our dealer gave us a new remote yesterday and this morning we woke up to 64, only 2 degrees off but I have a feeling it would've dropped even more.

    Its been working great other than these few times and the problem is always around 5am. Again most of the time it works fine, but it likes to sleep in occasionally.

    Is there an adjustment on the stove 'brain' (receiver) that might be off? My dealer isn't open yet so I'm asking you guys if you can think of something I can do to remedy this.

    Thank you !!
  12. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

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    4,328
    Loc:
    Central NY
    I only sold one Bristol, but it heated a bar about 1500 SF.. Average insulation, doors opened and closed a lot, but also the added body heat of drunken rednecks. Very pretty stove
  13. patirwin

    patirwin New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2014
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Alaska
    Yea it heats our small house just fine most of the time. It's those few times when it didn't come on in the morning or came on too much that has me worried. I'm afraid to leave the house for a few days for fear that it won't come on when house temp drops below the set temp of 66 and it's below 0 F outside. Or as in yesterday it wouldn't shut off and went well past the 66 mark. Not sure how hot it would've gotten.

    I just don't trust it anymore and I don't know if it's the remote or the stove receiver. Again it has worked fine most of the time, but those few times it did not could result in frozen pipes. I need help in solving this issue so if anyone has any ideas I'm all ears.
  14. patirwin

    patirwin New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2014
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Alaska
    I just wanted to follow up on what I did to fix my problem. I swapped out the Bristol for a Jotul Allagash, ditched the remote and all the bells and whistles, and hard wired in a wall thermostat. Other than changing batteries in the t-stat every few months this set up works like a charm for me.
    Hearthstone was no help in dealing with my issue with the Bristol and the remote. My local dealer changed out both the remote and the brains on the stove and it still didn't fix the problem. The stove turned on when it shouldn't and wouldn't turn off when it should. I was a slave to my own home b/c I couldn't leave for a couple days to go work or vacation for fear of what could happen. Hearthstone finally said I must be getting 'ghost frequencies' from neighboring wireless devices like games and such. I have nothing like that and my elderly neighbors only live here in the summer, so I think the Bristol stove and it's inner electronics have a snag somewhere. Hearthstone did mention it could be a frequency from Mars but there's just not much I could do about that. I really miss that beautiful stove but I just couldn't take the chance. I'm sleeping better with the simpler stove.
    I hope this helps anyone trying to decide on which stove to get. Hopefully the electronics will get figured out but until then I'm staying away from wireless gas stoves.
    Pat
  15. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    5,725
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...

    When I was on the sales floor, Hearthstone had just ventured in to IPI & their own remotes,
    but the systems were AC with transformers to convert to DC.
    We found that minor fluctuations in the incoming AC power supply were
    wreaking absolute HAVOC with the Hearthstone systems.
    & voltage drop from 120 to 118 VAC would cause the system to malfunction.
    We rated the Hearthstone systems unreliable at that time & decided to suspend sales of their gas products
    until the bugs were worked out. I have since left thew industry & haven't kept up to date
    with the Hearthstone products, so I don't know for sure if they EVER got their remotes & IPI
    systems to runs dependably...

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