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NH newbie looking to heat 3 floors. What stove to get?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by slkavenagh, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. slkavenagh

    slkavenagh New Member

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    Hi everybody, just signed on first property(condo) today. It has electric baseboard heat so i am looking to heat primarily with a wood stove. The condo size is 1536 sq. ft. Each floor is 512 sq. ft and the basement where the stove will be located is unfinished. The condo is between two other condos(in the middle) and was built in 1978. I am thinking about purchasing a Woodstock Soapstone stove. I have heard great things about them and think they look beautiful. I am looking for some input on which model would heat my space the best. I like the progress hybrid and fireview but I don't want to have to keep all the windows open all winter. I understand heat rises but how easy/hard would it be to get that heat up 3 floors? Any help would be great. Thanks

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  2. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Welcome to the forums slkavenagh My spell check hates your name lol.

    I would imagine your issue ( if any at all ) is going to be to much heat upstairs and on the first floor because the stove room will be hot and the rest will go up to the top fast. First thing first get ahold of the county, insurance company and land owner and be sure you can install a stove if you have not already. The reason is a condo is attached to other's so one or the other may not allow the install. It would really be bad to buy all the stuff just to not be able to use it.

    Pete
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If the stove is permissilble, do you have space for wood? If so, then a mid-size Woodstock stove like the Fireview sounds like a good option.

    How well the heat will get upstairs will depend on the floorplans. Is there a large stairway that opens centrally to the main floor? If so, it may work out ok.
    hickoryhoarder likes this.
  4. slkavenagh

    slkavenagh New Member

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    Thanks begreen, the stove is ok the current owner is heating with a stove now. it is a large old no name stove he is taking with him. and i can store some wood maybe 2 cords onsite and i have a family member close by where i can store more. from the basement to 1st floor there are grates in the floor and there is a large stairwell from 1st to 2nd but it is at the other end of condo. would need to use fans to move air?
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Get the chimney cleaned and inspected for sure. Then it sounds like the Fireview will work ok for you. You might need fan assistance. But the first thing you will need is dry wood. Get it ordered yesterday.
  6. fox9988

    fox9988 Minister of Fire

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    I lived in an apt while in college, sandwiched between two others and one overhead. I never turned the heat on in the winter. Mooched off the neighbors and stayed above 68F. If your situation is similar, a Keystone/Palladian would be plenty. (It may get down to who's the most stubborn).
    +1 on liability and wood storage. Modern EPA stoves need dry wood stored for one year min, depending on species/
    DexterDay likes this.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum slkavenagh.

    My concern would be the unfinished basement. If the walls are not insulated, most of the heat may be sucked up just keeping those walls warm. If so, then you would probably need the Progress. I also hear many times that folks do not get satisfactory heat movement but you may be okay there. Fans will help and you don't need them on high speed either. Low speed works best and keeps from getting the house too drafty. Also keep in mind when moving air it will work best to move the cool air and not the warm. That is, you blow the cooler air toward the stove room and this will force the warm air out much better than trying that in reverse.

    Living in NH, I would highly advise you to pay a visit to the Woodstock factory. They will be extremely helpful and you will come away with a very positive outlook because of the craftmanship that goes into building these stoves. You can even pick out the stone you want! It is also good that you will be able to see the stoves in different colors.

    Fwiw, we've had our Fireview for 6 years now and absolutely love it. From the old stove we had, we cut our wood needs in half!

    In addition, heed the advise Begreen gave about getting next winter's wood yesterday or sooner if possible! You'll be very sorry if you don't. Also, stay away from oak in your first couple years of burning. Oak indeed is great firewood but it needs a lot of extra time to dry out enough to burn properly.

    Good luck.
  8. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Your three floors are the basement, first and second floors?

    There is very little difference in price between a PH and a Fireview, and there is zero difference in the footprint of the stove/pad required, even though the PH is a lot bigger. The PH can be installed closer to the wall, and top vents.
    The Fireview has an epa rating of about 10,000 to 44,000 BTUs, the PH 12,000 to 72,000. as you can see, either can be burned at a very low output. The bigger firebox in the PH lets you load more wood, and the stove is significantly more efficient, so you use less wood to produce the same amount of heat, and you get a much longer burn with the PH in low cat mode - very easy 12 hour burns, For all these reasons alone, I would never buy a FIreview over a PH, even though I love the Fireview.

    In addition, you are dealing with a less than ideal situation when you are trying to heat three floors from an unfinished basement location. And you are in a cold climate. You are protected by having only two, rather than four, exterior walls. You have not indicated what your exposures are...N/S, E/W, , or number of windows, or whether you have a garage and if so what sort of doors, etc.

    I'd get the PH. It won't heat you out of the home, because you can adjust for a very low burn. If you have trouble heating the home, that extra 30,000 BTU potential will be very welcome.

    If you purcahse now while the sale is on, there is perhaps a $400.00 difference (maybe less?) in the cost of the stoves.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    He is also dealing with heated neighbors on both sides and only 1600 sq ft to heat. The PH costs more and in this case the expense may not be justified.
  10. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    My sister is in that exact same situation in Ottawa. Her place still gets quite cold, and requires a fair amount of heat. She is about the same size, but is built on a slab, finished first floor with unheated garage, and two upper floors, sliding glass doors on first upper floor.. Common wall on each side. Not exposed site. Built within the last ten years, premium building for this day and age (HA!). Were she putting in a stove, I'd advise the PH. New Hampshire can get pretty cold, too. Whether PH is overkill depends on exposure and construction, as well as fenestration and entrances, presence or absence of attached unheated garage and whether such a garage door is opened several times a day, and also ease of moving heat around the home and heat loss with install in an unfinished basement. Unless I was quite sure I would be fine with the Fireview, or didn't mind low temps in the bedrooms, I'd go with the PH. Quite sure I'd be OK with the Fireview, or don't mind risk of low temps, then I'd go with the Fireview.IF the $400 was an issue. PH still uses significantly less wood than Fireview, and heats faster from a cold start, which are benefits. Nice a tthe condo if he could store enough wood for the season on his property. More apt to be able to do so with PH. Also less frequent tending of the stove becasue of longer burns, so if he spends long hours away from home,PH may prevent back up heat from coming on. Over a few years, use of less wood makes the stove pay for itself. Pays for itself a lot sooner if back up heat is required less, or not at all.

    Fireview is rated something like 900 to 1600. Pluses that he is minus two outside walls. Minuses that he is placing the stove in an unfinished basement and needs to get heat up to two additional floors. His area approaches the upper limit of the rating, which is admittedly a conservative rating. . Plenty have heated larger areas comfortably, but a few have been unable to heat the upper limits of the rated area because of quirks of layout or construction. So it is nice the PH is available.

    Both are very nice stoves. .
  11. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    As Dennis suggested, you are going to lose a lot of the heat in the basement due to the walls being unfinished. If you are set on having the stove in the basement, I think I would first spend the monies on insulating the basement walls first....then see what type of temps you would be looking at. (I think just 1" rigid foam insulation = R5 will make a world of difference) At 500 sq/feet, you have a pretty small footprint to work with, so you cold probably get up to R5 without a big impact on the wallet)

    On a plus side, if you are the middle unit that is going to save you a lot of heating expense.....can you post pics of the layout? Good luck
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I would recommend sealing up and insulating the basement as a first step. Condo storage is tight. No point in wasting wood and warmth trying to heat the outdoors. If the basement is mostly for storage and will be overheated by the stove (in order to keep the upper floor comfortable), then I'm not sure I would put a pretty soapstone stove in there. There are less expensive alternatives that will do a good job.
    hickoryhoarder likes this.
  13. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    That's true. Don't know what his finances are. The Woodstocks are fine stoves. If he is even considering ever finishing the basement, it would be nice to have a Woodstock down there. Especially with a basement install, where you may not be down there generally except to load the stove, it would be nice to have a stove that will reliably burn for 12 hours +, like the PH will. It is easy to adjust its output to your needs.
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I suspect he will need to overheat the basement to get decent main floor heating. If so the basement room could be a sauna at 90+F. No matter how you slice it, not an ideal heating situation. If economics are important and the stove is basically going to be just for heat, then I'd put in an Englander 30NC or equivalent. I like the PH, but the $2000 difference is hard to justify for an out of sight stove.
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Correction: At present there is a $550 difference in price; full retail is $600 difference in price between the two.
    Defiant likes this.
  16. Defiant

    Defiant Vermont Castings Geek

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    Welcome to the forums slkavenagh,
    We love photos, great advice here, as BG said order your wood yesterday:cool:
  17. hickoryhoarder

    hickoryhoarder New Member

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    That the previous owner had a stove suggests it could work for you, too. The longer you're in a house, the better feel you have for how it performs. Convection, conduction, and ventilation are different in each design; without really thinking about it much, you'll know a lot more about the place in six or nine months. I would consider getting wood now (which you can always sell or give to a neighbor), and waiting as long as possible before deciding to get a stove, and which one.

    We got a stove insert three years ago. We didn't know all that much about stoves (less than anyone in this forum). At a local Lopi dealer we debated between the standard Freedom (72,000 btu) and smaller models. We got the Freedom, and were very glad. We can do any size of fire, any amount of heat we want, so there's no issue with over-heating (although my wife is from the Carribbean, so she sees no problem if the room goes to 80 anyway.) The smaller one would have probably worked in our case, but would be harder to load, and the window would be smaller (we only make fires when we're sitting in the living room).

    Sometimes people cut holes in floors to transfer heat, insert a grille. That works if you think the next buyer will like it, or if you plan to be there fifty years.
  18. slkavenagh

    slkavenagh New Member

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    I will look into the englander 30nc , do you have any other suggestions on comparable stoves. I would like to have long burn times as I'm am at work from 10-12 hours a day. I love the look of the woodstock stoves but as you said it will be a out of sight stove as i dont plan on finishing the basement. The money is not a big issue but i dont want to spent extra for something if i dont need to( i am a cheap/smart new hampshire boy). I was thinking about putting up some of the blue rigid foam on the walls but would that create a issue if the basement was 90+ to keep the rest of the condo warm. I wouldn't put anything on top of the foam as in sheetrock except behind the stove where i think i would want to put up some sort of cement board.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, take a look at the Blaze King stoves too. A Blaze King Princess should hold a low fire for 16-20 hours. Insulating at least the exterior walls in the basement is a good idea. And get the best wood you can find, now.
  20. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    What does a Blaze King Princess cost on the east coast? Is it significantly less expensive than the Woodstock stove, made by a local company? The PH will hold a fire that long. Know of one new owner in the Pacific NW getting 20-24 hour low burns with the PH.

    Can absolutely see the sense of going the an Englander NC 30, if the stove will give those longer burn times easily. I only know of the stove through the forum, so while I know it will heat very well, I don't know a realistic expectation re burn times. If it will burn for the length of time he wants, then financially it makes a lot of sense. No point in paying close to $2000 extra for appearance, when he won't have the stove in the finished portion of the home, if the alternative can produce the performance he requires.

    On the other hand, if he is going to spend the big bucks, my opinion is spend it on a fine, beautiful, local stove, rather than a fine, plain stove from the other side of the continent.
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'm not cheerleading for any particular stove, just presenting the options. The BKP has thermostatic control and will provide a more even burn over the long burn. I'm being conservative when saying it will provide 20 hr burns.
  22. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I know you aren't cheerleading any stove.

    He started with Woodstocks, and indicated he really likes their appearance. That's the reason I asked if the BK Princess was significantly less expensive.

    I really was trying to find out for the OP whether the price of the BK Princess was significantly less than the PH, and also what the expected burn time of a NC 30 is. He needs that info.

    There is a PH owner in the Pacific NW with a new PH, getting 20-24 hour burn times in his first few weeks of ownership. If low heat is desired, the stove can burn long, slow and steady.

    But I agree that if the NC 30 will meet his needs, he could spend the money saved insulating his basement, with much more efficient and comfortable results. He might even end up with a good chunk of change left to do a bit of sealing upstairs, if he finds any is indicated, once he gets to know the home.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Highbeam is just one of many owners of this stove. He is getting those times burning mostly softwood. The stove is capable of 30 hr burns during shoulder seasons. That is why I suggested it. The OP's lifestyle is such that he indicates he is looking for a low level heater for 10-12hrs while he is at work and that cost and looks are not a priority. Once he placed those requirements, I could no longer recommend the 30 NC as the ideal stove for his situation. He can get 10-12 hrs with the right wood and burning techniques, but with a wider temp swings. I am basing this on our experience with the 3 cu ft T6. Yes, we can run it for a once every 12 hr refill, most of the time, but we prefer to run it as a 3 times a day refill stove for more even heating. If the PH ends up a better value in his area, it may work out well for him also.

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