So... I have essentially found my dream home. Well, in about 10 years it will be anyway... That being said, it's got some serious promise of being the last home I will ever purchase if I have MY way, and I typically get my way I've been leasing it for a few months now and we are working through the "offer" currently. Even if he doesn't except the offer, I am willing to pay his asking price IF NEEDED. So, safe to say we're not going anywhere. Anyhoo, this 1200 sq ft post and beam 1850's farmhouse (which is in near outstanding condition especially given it's age) is pretty close to being all original, with a more recent (made to look original) addition off of the back that ties the main house to the garage (which is an original structure that was converted back in 2000 after the addition was built). The addition is considered a "Great Room", stands one story and a half (cathedral ceiling) but is currently being used as an unofficial master bedroom for myself. This room is NOT heated by my furnace, only the "Main House" has duct work. This "Great Room" is where my VC Defiant sits, and I assume has been sitting since the addition was built, 30 years ago. I will attach a picture of the general first floor layout - the large black boxes being the woodstoves (Below). The second woodstove, The VC Intrepid II, sits in the living room. These stoves were set up properly and still run given that they are in varying stages of needing repair. The Defiant, as far as I can tell, has really no immediate issues other than needing new gaskets around. Even with little to NO gaskets left, it runs pretty efficiently for the way I run it. The Intrepid runs, just not efficiently. It needs work and it just burns through wood like nobody's business as-is. So, until I have someone look at it I have chosen NOT to use it simply because it seems to need work in order to be "safe". It back puff's terribly more often then not and the draft is poor. I love the smell of wood, but not THAT much, lol. I guess since I'm not using the smaller stove I will keep my questions to the Defiant for now, until I get an experienced set of eyes on it anyway... Even though I have dowloaded the manual, read a few VERY informational posts on this site, have been running the stove virtually every evening in updraft mode (usually with the screen in and doors open) I have MANY questions... My main objective (once I lose the romantic effect of wanting to see a fire every night) is to learn how to run this in order to eventually virtually replace using my very efficient newer furnace. I am told that this stove is a BEAST and certainly capable of heating the whole house. However, ho-hum, that might not be the case this year as I AM using this room as my master bedroom and don't want to be blasted out... It almost seems as if I should switch stoves, especially since I might like to keep this as my bedroom but switching these stoves is NOT going to happen this year (for many reasons) so I might find myself out on the couch in the living room for most of this season when I decide to run it in a more efficient way. First question: How, can I run this somewhat efficient without creating creosote, in updraft mode, with the screen in? I seem to have gotten the hang of keeping it in the "burn zone" (using a Rutland burn indicator on the griddle) at about 3-400(which is on the low side of the burn zone) consistently, but I seem to go through A LOT of wood using it this way. I do need to crack a window in order to even hang out in this room while it's running (which is fine) and it doesn't really effect the rest of the house much, if at all, when using it this way. Is that just the way it is when using like that? For my overnight burn or when no one is in this room, I tend to close the doors and still run it in updraft mode (mainly because I'm scared to close the damper, damper closed = FEAR.) and by morning (usually 4-5 hours from last fuel) I am down to barely a few embers, if that, so I can't just re-vive it. I clean it out after every overnight burn (It does NOT have a removable ash tray that I can just empty, I have to actually shovel it out every morning before using it again) so continuous use is apparently NOT an option due to build up. Updraft mode just doesn't seem to be efficient with regards to using wood fuel and I know you're all probably smacking your foreheads thinking "well, NO DUH stupid"! Now, when I burn with the doors closed it tends to burn hotter (near 500-600 until the fuel starts to burn down) so I REALLY need the window open... But, again, I'm using a lot of wood and when I wake up at say around 3-4 AM I have no "wood" left. And I really don't want to fool with it at this point because it's chilly and I like being under my fluffy blanket! I guess my second question is: In order to run more efficiently (using less wood) should I learn to deal with my FEAR and close the damper? Yesterday I did run it with the damper closed for a couple of hours and we didn't all die, so that's a start I reckon... But, I have NO clue what Model Defiant this is (other than it was safety tested in 1980), if it has a catalytic combustion mode or not, how to check if I have one (much less if it's in good condition) and how/when to get it going in this mode OR does it just o it on it's own... When I closed the damper I had a well established fire going in the range of 450showing on the griddle (which is why I decided to try the damper) but when I closed the damper it dropped by about 50 degrees. Why did it do that? Is that normal? It did recover and went up to about 600 about 20-30 min later and stayed there for the duration of the 2 hours. When I went outside to look at the chimney it was clear gas, the whole time. That's good so I did something right However, I'm not sure WHAT I did. I just need a starting point I suppose. I am NOT comfortable with this stove yet and tend to want to just look at some open flame for now. I assume I will have to deal with it not being an efficient heater when using it this way, but maybe there is a way to make it a little better? My MAIN concern is creosote build up or just plain ruining this stove by running it improperly. Maybe I really should consider switching stoves when I plan their restorations? It really doesn't make much sense to me WHY they are in the positions they are in but I didn't place them here afterall. Thanks in advance for ANY assistance P.S. In adition to the layout of my first floor, I have also included a picture of the inside of the Defiant. If anyone can tell me ANYTHING about what you might think I have here that would be GREAT! Chimney Sweep isn't coming out until the very end of the month (I inspected both chimney's and both are fine to use as-is, not very dirty at all and the owner said they were cleaned at the end of the last burning season.