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New (to us) home with Comforter cast iron stove

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by moerdogg, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. moerdogg

    moerdogg New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    West Newbury, MA
    My wife and I recently moved into our first home. It came with a very nice-looking woodstove, but we knew before buying that the stove did not have a permit. We were told the hearth was probably too small and the chimney might not be tall enough. We still need to get a mason out to check out the chimney (and fix the mortar on our furnace chimney).

    The stove is a Comforter made in 1976 (based on the casting imprint on the back). No UL tag or owner's manual. The best info I can find indicates that they need 36" to combustibles. Right now there is 18" to the nearest wall and more like 17" to the chair rail. The hearth extends 8-9" around the stove.

    Short of a massive re-do of the hearth, it looks like we are looking at a new stove. Is there any way around that? Our town basically goes by the manufacturer's recommendation, or at least the best info available on the 'net for older models. Are there newer stoves that might work with the existing hearth? Any other stuff I should look out for?

    And finally, any market for a well-cared for Comforter stove? :)

    Couple pictures. Masking tape shows 18" from stove.
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  2. tekguy

    tekguy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    335
    Loc:
    west mass
    i dont know about stove but I like those rustic pine floors, are they but jointed and nailed?
  3. moerdogg

    moerdogg New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    West Newbury, MA
    Thanks! They are indeed, all through the house. The place was built in 1840, and the prior owner's family had it since the 1930s. Well-built, but the PO did some quirky things here and there. For example, the hearth.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,566
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    An unlabeled, untested stove requires 36" to the nearest combustible in all directions. My greatest concern is the wall behind the stove. What is behind the tile? If it is masonry all the way, no problem. But if there is a stud wall behind it, problem. The side and rear walls could easily be heat shielded to knock that clearance down to 12". Here's an article on wall shields.

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/stove_wall_clear

    I'd also be mindful of the temps beneath and in front of the stove. The hearth is not only tiny, it looks like it has inadequate insulation value to shield the wood beneath the slate tiles. At a minimum, I would build it up with at least a couple layers of Durock NextGen under the new hearth tiles if you intend to keep the stove.
    raybonz and Heatsource like this.
  5. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    10,321
    Loc:
    Bend, OR
    If it was my house, if I wanted to use wood for heat, I'd be thinking seriously about replacing this entire installation with a modern, appropriately sized, listed & certified appliance. The existing installation has, in my mind, some serious shortcomings (I know it's been there a long time without apparent problem...unfortunately that doesn't really matter). I'm concerned about the clearances to combustibles, especially behind and beneath the stove. Some more info about the flue/chimney from stove to daylight would be interesting and helpful. Welcome to the forums! Rick
    Defiant likes this.
  6. moerdogg

    moerdogg New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
    Messages:
    6
    Loc:
    West Newbury, MA
    Thanks for the replies! To further complicate things, the front door is just out of frame to the left of the stove (you can see the corner of the door frame in the second picture). I have no idea what is behind the tile, but it is probably a stud wall. I'll have to snap some more pictures of the flue/chimney.

    I agree with the votes for replacement. The follow-up question is: are there any stoves that maintain the classic cast-iron look with modern safety and insulation? The ones I have seen are folded sheet metal and (IMO) fairly unattractive.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,566
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Take a look at the Pacific Energy Alderlea series stoves. They have close clearances and a cast iron jacket with a classic look.

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