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New stove install- good or bad idea, need advice.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Dustin92, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. Dustin92

    Dustin92 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Messages:
    147
    Loc:
    Jackson, MI, USA
    We are currently heating our home (about 1200 sq ft per level, basement and main floor, built in 1950) with a 1990 Englander 28-jc insert in a masonry fireplace downstairs. The stove is in need of a new catalytic combustor, and the fireplace needs a good cleaning. The only problem is we can't seem to get the upstairs warm enough with the insert. I have literally heated the entire (finished, walk out) basement to 85 degrees with the insert, but it never seems to get warm enough upstairs, and when (more like if!) it gets warm, it takes half a day to get upstairs. We have an open stairway (doors at bottom and top, both open) on the north side of the house, which has the garage on the north side. The stairway basically makes up the south wall of the garage (attached obviously). The stove is about 12 feet south of the stairs, which lead into the kitchen upstairs. We have a 10"x10" vent with a fan about 2' to the left of the stove in the ceiling, which leads above to directly between the kitchen and living room. I have a desk fan blowing down the stairs and warm air can be felt coming up the stairs, and up the fan powered vent. Rarely will wood-heat-only warm the upstairs to 70 degrees- usually about 66-67 max, and that takes the better part of a day to achieve.
    My latest brain storm involved removing the insert (and selling it), and installing a small stove upstairs in the living room (would likely be in the northwest corner- the north wall is the garage, and the west wall (interior) is the kitchen). There is currently no stove upstairs (nor has there ever been), so would be starting from scratch. All that really needs to be heated well would be the living room and kitchen, the bedrooms are on the south end of the house and we like to keep those cool anyway. The basement would of course then have an open fireplace; the damper is still installed. The basement really only needs heated when family comes to visit as we have 3 bedrooms down there, along with a bathroom. We do have a gas furnace, but prefer to heat with wood as much as possible, the furnace is 20 some years old and even though it is a high efficiency unit, it still runs up a bill when we don't use the wood. I was looking at stoves online and it seems like the Vogelzang defender would fit our needs (needs to be a small stove, decent looking, and non cat *really don't want to mess with a cat stove*, and claims to heat 1200 sq ft) I haven't done much research, just came up with the idea today, but sounded good. I would also like to know what I might need chimney wise- it will most likely run straight up, through the ceiling and attic, outside. How high does the chimney need to be? It will be basically on the northeast side of the house. I saw the clearances are 11" to corners on the defender, does that mean to an unprotected wall? What other stoves would be of similar size and square footage? I know this post is just rambling on and on, but I need advice! Thanks!

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  2. pen

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

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    6,948
    Loc:
    N.E. Penna
    If it were my home, and that old englander is in good shape, no way I'd take it out for an open fireplace. Even if it's only used intermittantly, a new cat and occasional use in that should give you years and years of service. Putting it up for sale isn't going to profit you much.

    Then, I'd go ahead and put a new stove up stairs as well.

    My fear is that you are going to get rid of a decent stove and find that the fireplace won't heat that basement when you need it, and you'll be tending that open fireplace and chewing through a ton of wood, even for only occasional use.

    Does that old englander have a SS liner attached to it?

    pen
  3. Dustin92

    Dustin92 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Messages:
    147
    Loc:
    Jackson, MI, USA
    No, there is no liner, just shoved in the fireplace. It doesn't draw overly well, only one of the doors can be opened at a time (most of the time), or smoke comes inside. I would really love an open fireplace, and as I mentioned before, we do have a furnace, which works fine. 90% of the time we could forget about the basement, as even with the insert down there we spend most of our time upstairs, although I have been known to curl up on the couch while the fire is going (mostly because it's too cold upstairs!) I guess leaving the insert in or not is open for discussion, we are just considering the stove upstairs at this point, with the argument that the upstairs would finally be warm.
  4. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    3,629
    Loc:
    Central Mass
    There's literally a ton of stoves to choose from, what do you have for a budget and what kind of burn times you want will help to narrow the list down.
  5. Dustin92

    Dustin92 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2012
    Messages:
    147
    Loc:
    Jackson, MI, USA
    Budget- as low as possible for a decent safe stove, Burn times- hopefully enough coals left to restart from overnight, but needs to be a small stove, and non cat, so that is open for discussion. I would love a nice looking stove, but won't spend $3000 if a $800 stove will do the same job.

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