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Not trying to poke a grizzly....

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by metalsped, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. Rebel Wood

    Rebel Wood Member

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    Wow! This may be turning into the most emotional thread I have ever seen on this forum. I still burn a pre-EPA stove, primarily for efficiency. I would like to upgrade, but get concerned when I read the many threads questioning stove problems I have never experienced in 37 years of burning. On a bigger scale, my postion with an HVAC contractor puts me in homes on a daily basis. I can tell you, even in rather affluent Bucks, & Montgomery counties pre -EPA stoves still rule 10to 1, some of the applications still out there would amaze. A true testament to the effort put into the 70's energy crisis, there are some brilliant set ups out there, some still in daily use, some have been cold for 20+ years. I really think the OP was trying to ask a simple, not controversial question.

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  2. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    My pre-EPA stove is not in-efficient. It is a gassifier (the first known gassifier). It has a HUGE firebox. It is extremely easy to operate.
    I lit it once so far this year. (still burning) I can get 12 hour or more burns from pine. With the cold predicted for the north east for the next few days, I switched to a better wood, soft maple, mixed with pine, half and half. After the January thaw, I will switch to oak and cherry, and just burn pine on super cold nights when I need to burn off excess oak coals. I don't burn wet or improperly seasoned wood. I have the next four years worth of wood already stacked on my property.
    For me, cost is definitely a factor, but it is untrue that I;
    A. Burn a smoke dragon. My gassifier is very efficient.
    B. Don't care about the atmosphere. I do. Very Much. That is why I season my wood properly. I burn less wood that way.

    I am looking for a good deal on a used insert, been looking for a while. Until a find the right deal, I will continue to use my Tempwood.
    When I find the right insert for the right price, I will make it as efficient as a modern stove by modifying it, if need be, because that is what I do.
  3. Scols

    Scols Member

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    Is a person being irresponsible if he drives a car built before catalytic converters even if it's a beautiful and does the job it was intended for perfectly? Absolutely not. So why should a perfectly good stove be discarded just because the EPA says something is better. For those who are wondering, I have used an EPA stove and found they run just as poorly with bad fuel as a pre EPA stove. Besides, I prefer the looks of my 70's Better N Ben and my 1880's Forrest Oak stove. And by the way, I make a decent living and care deeply about my enviroment since my living depends on it. I just dont need big brother telling me how to keep my house warm. Let them go after the industrial polluters. Oh wait I forgot big money can pollute as much as they want.
  4. georgepds

    georgepds Member

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    New member here.. very old stove user

    I've got a Jotul combifire #4 that I've been using since the mid 80s (~30 years) , and I've grown used to the old thing.I know how to start a fire in it, and keep it going. That, and I like the look of the stove, very distinctive (Easter island head) . Cost for the Jotul was $0, the previous owner's wife made him throw it out, and he offered it to me for free.

    The jotul works pretty well because
    1) I always use dry wood
    2) the chimney is about 25' from stove to peak and draws like a charm

    That said, I'm getting tired of hauling so much wood, and am considering a new EPA non catalytic stove, in the hope that efficiency would improve. What gives me pause is the cast iron ones ( that look good to me, Hearthstone and Vt castings) are all very expensive. The steel ones , that appeal to me to me (Englander 30-nc or Drolet Myriad), and are reasonably priced, just don't look as good (to me) as the old Jotul

    FWIIW.. you just don't see smoke pouring out my chimney. I know this is only partially related to pollutants, but is an indication that combustion is near total. The chimney is always clean too..I suspect that's because the Jotul leaks, and is not starved for air
  5. Motor7

    Motor7 Feeling the Heat

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    East TN.
    • That was directed at Wazzu, but even reading it now(without inflection) I am not sure of his intention. Either way, we are all opinionated in one way or another about our stoves. Sorry, but there are those that do look down their noses at non EPA stoves and that's ok. To be honest, I'd rather not drag the EPA agency into this since we are talking about max efficiency....EPA or no EPA...right?
  6. TX-L

    TX-L Burning Hunk

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    Loc:
    Tug Hill State Forest, NY
    Dollars, I guess. I have eight older stoves of varying types: 1 OLD box stove, 3 OLD cook stoves, 1 OLD pot-belly, 1 each pre-EPA Lopi, Timberline, & Bullard. Only one is hooked up and used; at the camp, and is only used randomly from fall to spring, probably a half dozen times per year. I certainly don't want to spend $xxxx on a new stove for the very limited use it would see. And one of these is going to go in the new garage this year, soon. I think the Lopi, but haven't yet decided. Perhaps I could sell all / most / some of these stoves and get a new one... an Englander 30 comes to mind...

    BUT ~ It sure is nice to have a modern stove in the house after growing up with a Home Comfort cook stove in the kitchen as the only heat source during my youth!
  7. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    It is not that cut and dry, really. I wood argue that just becasue a stove is older and pre-EPA, it does not burn less efficiently. There are many types of older pre-EPA stoves that are very good efficient stoves, like my older Earth Stove that has secondary air injection systems into the top of the stove area and into the stack. Oregon has a whole list of pre-EPA stoves that are certified by the DEQ (state level equivalent to the EPA) that qualify as clean burning. Here is the link to the DEQ pre/non-EPA better burning stove list:

    http://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/burning/woodstoves/DEQcertifiedStoves.pdf

    You could also take the argument one further and ask why doesn't everyone run a WA state certified stove, that has way better quality emissions standards? They are available now. My Englander 30 is not only EPA certfied, it is also WA state certified... it is efficient, and burns cleaner than a certified EPA stove! You could also say the same about CAT stoves, or any of the other better burning stoves out there.
  8. otsegony

    otsegony Member

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    Dec 19, 2006
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    This is a very interesting thread for me. I run an older pre-EPA woodstove in a new (2004) house. Presently, the stove which is located in my basement is the sole source of heat for my home. I have an oil-fired radiant floor hydronic system, but it has been my back up for the last few years as heating oil prices have risen to almost $4 gallon here. I had originally intended to add a wood-fired boiler like a Tarm to run the radiant system. But as we spent our building budget that turned into an improvement to add later on. Since the 8" chimney was already installed I decided to but a woodstove in the basement and see how much of the heating load it could handle. I have many years of wood heat experience going back to the early 1980s when I moved to rural Vermont. I found an old guy a couple of towns away who refurbed and sold used stoves. He was an amazing source of information and although he was well up in his 80s was able to move very heavy stoves around his barn with a very complete set of dollys, jacks and levers. I selected a Canadian built clone of a Fisher Grandpa Bear. At almost 500lbs, it was a real bear to move into my basement!
    I was pleasantly surprised from the beginning that it could heat the whole house down to the single digits. Anything below that and I fire up the radiant system to keep the second floor warm. At this moment it is about 27 degrees outside, 71 degrees in the basement, 70 degrees on the first floor and 67 degrees in our upstairs bedroom. Pretty good for a stove that cost me $400 plus my labor to hook up.
    Aside from my basic frugal nature that finds it hard to pull out a stove that is working perfectly well I continue to use this stove because:
    • I have run Fisher and similar stoves for many years and find they work well and burn cleanly. I am reluctant to go through the learning curve of a new stove.
    • Stoves from this era are virtually indestructible and will last a lifetime, each time I investigated a new stove and look at the feedback on line I discover problems with the quality of manufacturing or materials.
    • If something breaks on the stove it is so simple that it can be repaired using standard materials (firebrick) or by any competent welder.
    • The economics of pulling out this stove and replacing it with a $2500 or so model to save some wood when I harvest all of my own fuel just don't add up.
    • I still plan on putting in a Tarm or the like someday, but will have to save a longtime to pay the $15k price tab of a boiler and heat storage water tank system.
    Some things that I definitely do not like about some of the newer EPA stoves that I have seen:
    • Fussy catalytic systems that require replacement every few years
    • Poor quality metals and welding that limit the lifespan of the stove
    • Proprietary parts that will be difficult to replace if the company goes belly up or gets bought out
    Thanks for asking!
    milleo likes this.
  9. metalsped

    metalsped Burning Hunk

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    Quabbin Woods
    You are welcome. I like reading the responses. Not sure if a thread like this has been posted in the past few years, but I figured... why not? :)
  10. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    We've got a pre epa fireplace thing (the Temco). It's not a stove. I consider a fireplace built in. So it's a thing.

    Anyway, we aren't using it at the moment but do plan to.

    We heat with the Lopi because the old Fisher that was here was in poor shape and we didn't know how to recondition it, nor how to get it reinstalled even if we did, AND because the clearances it needed sucked compared to the Republic. We sold the Fisher on Ebay to a guy that came and picked it up-he planned to fix it up and use it. I think it was a Papa Bear. It was certainly a bear to move, lol.

    We have the Temco in an unheated sunporch with a concrete floor. It will be used whenever we want to sit out there, although I am almost positive we'll need to crack a window or get roasted, lol. It's there because we like it. The looks, the large open viewing area, the lack of doors or glass. It doesn't hurt that DH grew up in a house with a similar model (probably a Preway-it was red with a black eagle on it). Plus it'll burn the longer stuff we can't fit in the Lopi. It's got quite a log area.

    Temco:
    [​IMG]

    Pines, I'd LOVE to see a photo of your stove. I love antique stoves. If I could get myself to trust the gas versions I'd have one in my dining room. As it is though, eventually I'd like a (dv) thelin parlour there to replace my VF (backup heat, so it needs to be lp instead of wood).
  11. Peak and Pine

    Peak and Pine New Member

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    I will buy me a new-fangled camera someday because I don't think I can upload with a Brownie. The stove is tiny, dated 1878, good lookin', purchased 12 years ago, sat in storage for 10, decided autumn before last to cook it up, didn't know where, so began to build a tiny house for it (12'x16') which is nearing completion, working on hearth and surround today, cement board, tiles, oak from a desk I cut up. It's 16-degrees and snowing here and am cheating with a kerosene heater which is keeping me sorta toasty. Thanx for asking.
  12. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    Does it have mica windows? I LOVE the base burners.

    I had this vision of someone trying to stick a usb cord into the little holes in the side of a Hawkeye flash (where the flash mounts). I'm partial to Herbert George (like Imperial and Savoy) designed cameras.

    Wow...and I thought we had a small house.
  13. Peak and Pine

    Peak and Pine New Member

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    Deep Maine
    No mica, all iron. However, the kerosene number I'm using in the clutch does have mica, or isinglass as it's known to me. It's almost as old as the wood stove, came from a parlor car on a train. Yes the tiny house is tiny. It's in a hollow out back of a not-so-tiny house where I am at the moment. When Tiny House and Tiny Stove get a bit more photographable, late winter maybe, I'll bring it forth here in a thread, and get poked at probably for the non-EPA-ness of it all. But that's what this thread's about isn't it. Again, thnx for your interest.
  14. pen

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

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    I'm unsure as to why you believe anyone would jab you for running a pre-EPA unit.

    No matter the stove, if it's a safe install, burnt well, and you enjoy it, there isn't boo anyone can or should say!

    Also, items sold on ebay can be specified as local pick-up only :rolleyes:

    pen
  15. Peak and Pine

    Peak and Pine New Member

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    Really? Read the responses on the main forum to the currently running Pipe And Chimney Confusion thread. And I understand how eBay works. (I actually bought a Volvo there.) Wood burning and whimsy, not a mix for these parts perhaps?
  16. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    Ever hear of the Florida Bungalow Syndrome? Basically all of the EPA rules said "let's write the standards so there will be no offensive pollution from a single story bungalow chimney in the Florida Everglades. If it is good there, it'll be good anywhere".

    Just what we need a standard for wood stoves written to be compliant in someplace that doesn't need them. I have yet to see a Florida resident ask a question in this forum.

    Here's the original Florida Bungalow Report.
  17. dsljim

    dsljim New Member

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    I like that bungalow report,reminds me of burning my Hardy and Taylor years ago
    These 30-35% wood savings are proven where? Like a salesman telling me I could save money by buying a new truck,a new diesel Burns twice as much fuel per gallon as now.
    Every month in my electric bill there's a little propaganda sheet telling me to update my appliances to save electric, what a crock that is, I bought a kill-a-watt and cut my bill 1/3 by switching from a 40 year old freeezer to a 70 year old.
    There's no smoke and nothing stuck in the pipe of my 30 year old Hearthstone, and I built the baffle and secondary tubing from stainless and refractory so if in 30 or 40 years it gives me problems I'll do it again.
    I bet if you can find an old brochure that in there they stated they used cast iron because it was cheap, wouldn't last, and replacement parts would cost more than the entire stove did new.
    In my engineering manuals it says the fire box should be the same shape as a flame,and nowhere should the flame come into contact with iron or steel.
    Scols likes this.
  18. pen

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

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    There are 1.25 million posts on this site. A damn good portion of them are from folks who have actual burning experience with both types of units who are surprised with what they gain when they switch from one type to another. I am one of those folks. I LOVED my fisher stove, but due to deterioration of my chimney, I needed at add a liner. I didn't have enough room to install a liner large enough to feed the fisher, so I had to let it go. In doing so, I was surprised to find that my switch to an Englander 30 changed my wood consumption from 5.5 to 6 cord a year down to 4-4.5 cord. I also found that the chimney stayed cleaner and the stove held a fire and coals longer than the fisher could. With the fisher, on cold winter days I'd come home to a 60 degree house and be able to get it up to 70 within an hour. With the 30, on a similar day, I'll now come home to a 65 degree house, but it still takes the hour to get things up to 70. In other words, after trying things out, the only advantage the fisher had was that it could heat things up quicker if necessary, but since the new unit hold a fire longer, that isn't much of an issue.

    I'm certainly not a hater of vintage stoves, I just like to make certain that folks considering one are well informed. While I have a modern stove in my home, my cabin still uses 2 vintage stoves (a timberline and an atlanta huntsman which I just restored http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/atlanta-huntsman-hunting-camp-project.92569/ to replace our worn out atlanta homesteader) and I also operate several non-epa units (kalamazoo cook stove, fisher mama bear, double barrel stove) at other locations regularly and I have no plans on changing them out as they do all we need there, and efficiency isn't as important, plus I'm just plain nostalgic about them.

    As far as the Florida bungalow syndrome, it happens in some cases simply because of the type of chimney found on the home. Dealing with it is no different than one person running X vintage stove and needing a chimney damper because of their draft, while another person using the same unit on a different chimney doesn't need that. That is simply an explanation for the observations that some folks have found. No need to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

    At the end of the day, to answer the OP question, I had to switch to a modern stove due to the chimney and have been happy since then with doing it as it had many benefits. However, I WAS very happy with my pre-epa unit. Had my chimney not been the deciding factor, I would still be running that fisher and not knowing what I was missing as it did do the job honorably.

    For my cabin and other places that I still use vintage stoves, they do the job and a change simply wouldn't gain us anything in those locations considering the usage.

    For the average burner, I think many folks simply figure if it isn't broke, don't fix it. If what they have does the job safely, then why change when there are so many other things to spend money on. I keep 2 older vehicles around for the same reason. Sure I could get better gas mileage with a newer unit, and other benefits, but they are simply too solid to give up and as such I accept and am willing to pay for the inefficiency. At least for the time being.

    pen
  19. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    It really depends in this regard. Our 1950's Norge appears to be using slightly less electric than our 200? Kenmore, but we didn't use a meter on that outlet so I'm not positive. While they had almost the same footprint, I think the Norge is a bit smaller though too. However, I imagine the Kenmore would use less than a 1970's era version. Somewhere in the 60's fridges started becoming electric vampires.

    Rather like the hype over energy star rated windows vs originals. A well kept original is as good as any new window.

    Our 1970's era pickup gets about the same mileage as a new one.

    I've never burned comparable sized pre EPA and EPA stoves so I can't really say for sure if they DO use less wood and create fewer emmissions. It IS possible though. I think some times technology does actually do what it's intended to-I bet an old tube TV uses more electric than a similarly sized new Energy Star rated one. I know for sure that my new hot water tank uses WAY gas less than my old one. I don't think that the old stoves are as BAD as some people think they are, more than a lot of people practice poor burning techniques and make them appear worse. Although, I would bet that there are people burning EPA stoves the same way and causing smoke and emissions and using more wood than they should-however, I think the design of them makes it so it's not as "easy" to do as with the pre-EPA stoves. I know my Lopi HATES unseasoned wood and it burns like #^^$ with it. I'll bet the cone could handle it better...although I hope not to find out :D
  20. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    We did just this week.

    But agree that state is not our core constituency :)
  21. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
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    For some reason I just pictured Jade coming over here and jumping into one of the "I just replaced all my 18th century windows with triple pane wohoo!" threads in DIY and stirring up some fun.

    (sorry to 99.9% of folks here... the small contingent of ohw refugees here gets this)

    Like Pen above I have. Grew up with a first generation Resolute that my Dad still burns actively. Bought a house with a catalytic Encore. Now the encore is bigger (2.2 vs. 1.8 i think?) but even so... I can toss 4 splits in and be warm for 6 hours.. At my Dad's place we would be reloading in a half the time. And freezing on the second floor (more to due with stove size).

    But I dont have anything against those old stoves so long as they are operated right. I still use my open fireplaces :)
  22. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    Lol...and I think Jade might be a good addition to hearth.com in that regard. It's hard to believe sometimes, after having "new windows=good, old windows=evil" pounded into your head for so many years. ALTHOUGH, I do recall one of the energy upgrade type companies running a spot a few years back about how it was basically hype and only 5% of your total heat lose is through windows thing like that). A beautiful 1820's house we looked at years ago is back on the market...with "new energy efficient" windows. Such a crime-on top of it they did something wrong in the process and you can see at least one brick wall is now buckled a bit. I'm just happy we have some originals...and hopefully can replace the (junk) replacements (which are actually andersons, not cheap builder grade) with nice old ones eventually too.
  23. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    I'll be... I never woulda' thunk it. I guess us firebugs are everywhere.
    ScotO likes this.
  24. pen

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

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    Yep, it happens was a fella from Fla a while back with a Fisher Grandpa Bear in his home !!!
  25. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    We are lucky to still have 6 over 9s upstairs with working counterweights. They might be pre 1900 but certainly not original. Fantastic windows tho, smoother operation than any spring or friction track I've ever come across. Im going to take apart the spring track wooden 6 over 6s downstairs next summer for reglazing and will be asking the window queen about track replacement options.

    There is a house in town similar to ours but newer... Also 1820ish.. Last year they put up a huge new addition in place of an old ell, even went to the trouble of matching the 6 over 6 windows in the original part of the house with real wood divided lite 6over6 in the addition.

    Then a month later what happens? All the original windows get ripped out for 1 over 1 vinyl. ?????!!!!!
    ScotO likes this.

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