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Newbie Need Fireplace/Woodstove Advice

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Cinnamon, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Cinnamon

    Cinnamon New Member

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    Nov 18, 2012
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    Hi All,

    I've been perusing this site for a while and look forward to joining in some warm fireside chats! Especially the warm part...because as I type my fingers are cold enough to make it a bit of a challenge. So, a bit about me. My name is Cinnamon and my husband and I just moved to an old farmhouse in the mountains ~ 4500 ft elevation. We are thrilled, but the house is cold and leaky. It has a pellet stove and propane wall heater. We learned the hard way not to use the propane heater-$$$$$:eek: . Anyway, we are looking to build a sustainable farm. We want to heat primarily (or exclusively) with wood from the property or surrounding forest--pines and oaks. We have been working on our remodel plans for a while and are thinking Jotul or hearthstone stove in the garage conversion and a Heat n' Glo Northstar or Napolean (I'm thinking NZ3000, but the guy up here recommended the NZ6000) fireplace in the living room. Anyway, I was hoping to get some input on these or other options. I can post a proposed remodel floor plan, if that helps. I looked at the suggested size of uploads, but if I make it smaller the dimensions aren't legible. Thanks in advance, Cinnamon.

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  2. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Welcome! I heat exclusively with wood and invite you to try, it's a blast! You can't go wrong with a Jotul in my opinion. As for the fireplace, are you remodeling or adding on? The fireplaces mentioned would require some extensive remodeling to fit them in. If that is the plan you might look a little further into high eff. fireplaces. If I remember right the Napolean is EPA exempt, or doesn't qualify as high effieciency. You might look into the Fireplace Extorordinair. http://www.fireplacex.com/ProductGuide/ProductDetail.aspx?modelsku=98500113 The heat very well as do alot of others. Have you considered another freestanding stove in that room? It would be alot cheaper.
  3. Cinnamon

    Cinnamon New Member

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    Thanks for the response and the welcome! We are remodeling and adding on. I'll attach the floor plan. We are making the bedroom bigger and connecting the garage to the house to make a laundry/mudroom and add a second bathroom. Hopefully we will also add a greenhouse to the back of the garage (hoping to produce the majority of our own food). We are debating having vaulted ceilings in the garage conversion and/or the living room. I know high ceilings aren't great for heat but there are other considerations. We decided early on for a fireplace in the living room because we love the ambiance of sitting around fire gazing. Currently the plan is to build out a "box" for the fireplace because the room is fairly narrow and we were trying to get our furniture in and meet clearances. I'm concerned whether the fireplace will be able to heat the main portion of the house, especially since we have to build out. We are considering whether we should connect the fireplace to ducting to get heat to the bedroom or possibly have a central duct system and connect to that. I think Napolean can do the latter. I didn't like the Napolean NZ6000 because it's EPA exempt and read on here it was a wood hog. The NZ3000 is EPA certified, but can't recall how it compares to the Northstar. Still not sure whether these can do the job or whether we could move heat from a larger wood stove in the garage. We did look at the Fireplace Extraordinaire, but didn't want a catalytic unit. Remodeling includes updating windows, insulation, electrical, plumbing and kitchen. The final plan is ~1637 sq ft downstairs including greenhouse (because we are intending the heat from the wood stove to keep that warm as well). Upstairs is a converted attic--room and closet ~225 sq ft. Thanks again!

    Attached Files:

  4. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    You shouldn't be scared of a Cat stove or fireplace. Even it needs replaced after a few years, the wood it saved just might make it worth it. Also, with the FPX you get the added bonus of the positive pressure system! Cat heaters have come along way since the old days, they are pretty dependable these days.
  5. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    You mmight take a look at ICC's fireplaces....they look pretty impressive, and can be used with ducting to heat a large home. I'm sure would heat yours. Think they are called RSL stoves, but anyway know you can find them at the ICC website.
    And, I agree, nothing to fear in a cat stove. I've had nothing but, and they are incredibly easy to run.
  6. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    I think most fireplaces require electricity to run the fan, otherwise you won't get a lot of heat out of the fireplace. Are electricity outages common where you are? For us a free standing stove was vital because we needed a heat source when the power goes out. Many people have a free standing stove installed in or partially in a fireplace, which might be an option for you.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That would be RSF fireplaces and they are a good company. Also take a look at BIS and Kozy fireplaces while window shopping. Given the sprawling layout of the house I think a ducted fireplace is a good idea. Be sure to have the duct runs insulated to reduce heat loss.
  8. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum, you're in the right place. Lot's of expertise on stoves and the pros and cons. My only advice is to start cutting and stacking wood while you decide. Nothing worse than having a nice new stove and no good dry wood to burn in it. You'll end up getting annoyed or questioning your choice of stove when in fact it's the fuel.
  9. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Hi Cinnamon,

    Welcome to the forum. As already mentioned before, get your wood split and stacked soon to be ready for next winter. Modern EPA stoves/fireplaces require seasoned wood with less than 20% moisture content to run efficiently. Some species dry quicker than others; ash and pine will be ready next winter, oak will need at least 2 better 3 years.

    The layout of your house is challenging. Heat distribution could be problem. If I understand you correctly, you are planning on putting one stove in the studio and another one/fireplace in the living room? If you are able to insulate your house well that should probably keep you warm. Did you ever try that pellet stove you mentioned and where is it located? A fireplace has the disadvantage that you pretty much require a blower to get the heat distributed. A stove with its radiant and convective heat will keep you warm even through power outages. Many stoves also allow to cook on their top if the need arises. The price difference is also substantial. Many modern stoves have a large viewing area still allowing you to gaze at the flames. Here is an example: http://www.osburn-mfg.com/en/heaters/model-OB02211-description . The Osburn 2200 is a medium sized stove with a 2.2. cu ft. firebox which should be plenty if you also get another one for the studio. There are certainly other options. Be aware that "boxing" out the fireplace will cost you in efficiency as several sides will be exposed to the outside. Another point to keep in mind; you are pretty high up. Make sure your chimney will be tall enough to allow good draft. Otherwise you will be very disappointed with your new stove.

    What Jotul/Hearthstone models did you consider for the studio? Did you look at other brands?
  10. Isaac Carlson

    Isaac Carlson New Member

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    Nov 19, 2012
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    Have you looked at a kitchen queen?
  11. Cinnamon

    Cinnamon New Member

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    Nov 18, 2012
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    Hi

    Wow, thanks for all the responses and warm welcome! We have looked at BIS, Kozy, and RSF too. I have the RSF brochure and will look at it again. The BIS Traditions CE was on our initial list, but seemed comparable to the Northstar which we liked a little better. I loved the small propane wall fireplaces by Kozy Heat. Thought that would make a nice back up in the bedroom or bathroom...a girl can dream can't she?!?! I hear you Webby and Rideau--nothing to fear about a cat stove. But I still don't think that is the way we want to go. I just don't like the idea of expensive replacement parts/maintenance. I've lived with wood stoves as my primary heat source before and they were simple--clean the chimney annually, insert wood, light, be warm. If the stove was cold, I cleaned the ashes. We are using the pellet stove now, and I'm not a fan--it's noisy, not a pretty fire, not a radiant heat and more tedious than a wood stove to clean. It's a Quadrafire Classic Bay 1200 listed at 47,300 BTU. Considering it is keeping us from freezing, I'm warming up to it :) (pun intended).

    Grisu, the pellet stove is in a built-out alcove on the kitchen side of the living room. In the plan I posted, it is where we have the front door. I was clear I wanted to have at least one wood stove because of what you all mention--power outages and cooking (power goes out a lot but not for long and in an emergency we can live in the studio). I sort of fell in love with the fireplace look in our plan renderings and our architect seemed sure it would be functional. If I had gotten on this forum a year ago, I might have given up on the fireplace, but I would have come up with a different layout. Getting the house warm and getting heating costs down was at the top of our remodel priorities. It wasn't till we started looking at specs a few months ago, that I realized we would have to "box it out." Anyway, I do love the look of the fireplace and am willing to tolerate a little less efficiency for that, but it has to be functional. I was sort of hoping I could up the size of the stove in the studio to compensate. But as Begreen and Grisu point out, the layout is challenging and I'm not sure we can circulate that heat well enough. If I recall, the Jotul F3 CB was recommended for the studio and the Hearthstone Homestead was recommended for the living room. (We weren't impressed with Vermont Castings.) I was surprised that larger stoves weren't recommended. I don't really know how to size them. I understand bigger isn't necessarily better because you can either be blasted out of the room or you'll be constantly damping it down causing creosote build up and inefficient burning. Is that correct?

    I've read enough on here to know...dry wood, start early, season well, oh and did I say dry. :)

    Thanks for all your input and advice.
  12. Chopernator

    Chopernator Member

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    Welcome to the club Cinnamon the Hearthstone is really nice. They came out with a new model the Progress Hybrid and one called Manchester Both excellent wood stoves.
    they both heat up to 24 to 2500 sqft. But if your looking at an insert I'm lost cause I know very little about them. But anyways welcome to the site and enjoy, oh yeah
    HAPPY THANKSGIVING be ye thankful you discovered the website lol.
  13. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    The progress hybrid is made by Woodstock, and the Manchester is from Hearthstone, and is a cast iron stove. So, if you don't want a stove that is "complicated", then a hybrid stove is probably not gonna fit the bill. The same goes for the Manchester, if you are wanting an iron stove then there are lots of options, if it's the soapstone that you want, then you only have a few options. Woodstock and Hearthstone.
  14. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forums. How old is that old farmhouse? We all love pictures.

    While you are planning and cutting wood I'd also suggest weatherizing the house. If it is really drafty you can make a big difference with caulk and weatherstrip on the doors and windows. I've made if my 100+ year old windows near completely airtight with cheap v-strip vinyl... Makes a huuuuuge difference. The tighter you can get the house the easier it will be to heat. If you have minimal to no insulation, consider adding that as a second step. Don't know where you live but many states offer incentives and rebates on this work.

    Another vote for a cat stove. Operation is not that tricky, just one additional control. The extra maintenance is a cat replacement once a decade. In return you get much easier shoulder season heating, you can just simmer a low fire all day, rather than having to cold start a couple short hot fires and maintain a more even temp all day in the house.
  15. Cinnamon

    Cinnamon New Member

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    Hmmm, a lot more support for cat stoves here than the impression I got browsing around. I can see the advantages of a long, slow burn.

    Grisu, not sure I understood the tall enough chimney comment. Are you saying higher elevation means less O2, so we need more total volume of airflow? And a higher chimney accomplishes that? So no venting our stove out the back?

    Jharkin, the farmhouse is 1946--not as old as yours. We did put plastic storm windows up on some windows and that helps a lot. We have a few more windows to do. Will look into the weather stripping you suggest. We are planning to replace the single pane windows and improve the insulation. Since you say you love pictures, I'll include some--existing pellet stove, rendering of remodel with fireplace and wood stove as viewed from the proposed front door (where the existing pellet stove bump out is).

    Interested to hear if anyone out there has a fireplace ducted into a central heating system? For those with wood stoves, how would you circulate the heat to bedroom?

    Thanks and HAPPY THANKSGIVING:)


    fireplace.jpg wood stove bump out.jpg
  16. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    You almost got why you may need a longer chimney. Draft is induced by the heated air which rises upwards.To make it simple "warmer air is lighter than colder air." If the surrounding air has high pressure it will induce better draft than when the air around has lower pressure. That means your draft will be less powerful at that elevation. However, draft can be enhanced by increasing the height of the chimney. Most manufacturers recommend at least 15 ft but for your place I would go for 20 ft to be sure.

    Nice "pictures" but what can we see there? Is that the same room with different options? Or does it show the pellet stove in the first one? I asked for it because I wanted to know how that was heating your home. If you are thinking now about a cat stove I would ask someone here how it does regarding flames. From what I have heard here there are less flames than in a secondary burn stove. Since you like to look at the fire that may be an issue for you.

    The Jotul F3 CB is a nice, dependable stove but has a really small firebox at 1.1 cu ft. You will be hard pressed to get an overnight burn out of it. If the stove can be more functional than presentable in the studio there are certainly cheaper options around. The Englander NC-13 for example or the PE True North. Both can be had for under $1000. What kind of look do you prefer? I am sure we can give you some options to compare.
  17. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

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    I'm no expert, I don't even have a stove yet. Just ordered the Woodstock Progress Hybrid, to replace my fireplace, one of the many reasons why is for the exact reason you stated, the ambiance of a fire. After a bunch of research and searching, I found the Progress seems to have one of the nicest fire displays, while also being an efficient heating device. Search Youtube and this site for "Progress Hybrid", there are some great video's of it burning. The point is, I'd loose the fireplace, and install a stove! ;)

    Good luck in your search, there are ALOT of great choices out there!

    Oh PS, is cooking on it a thought for you?

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