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Oslo vs Firelight can't decide Please help!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by fezragnus, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. fezragnus

    fezragnus New Member

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    fireplace from couch.jpg fireplace from tv.jpg DR:Kitchen from hearth.jpg


    Good Morning. I have been lurking around this forum for a while now and am amazed and thankful for the people in this forum as I have learned a staggering amount from you. I truly appreciate the time that everyone is willing to take to help and guide fellow wood burners. My wife and I just purchased a home in Virginia with gas heat and after getting a $500 propane bill this month, we are going to buy a wood stove with the goal of having it as the sole source of our heat.

    The Jotul line commands alot of respect here as well as with the installer we decided on so after much research its down to the F500 or 600. The installer is steering us more towards the Oslo but mainly because he said it was an overall more functional stove and fits our space.

    A little background first: Our home is 2800 sq. ft with 1800 on the top two floors. Our fireplace is in the center of the house with the large portion of the main floor being open.(LR/DR/Kitchen) The master bedroom is on the main floor as well so much of the actual living we do is on the first floor. The ceilings are cedars timbers with 1" foam insulation and the entire back of the house is windows. The ceilings are about 16' above the fireplace hearth and 24' adjacent to it in the stairwell/foyer.
    I have included pics to try and give you an idea of the space.


    My thoughts on each stove are:

    Oslo:
    1. Shows better in the fireplace opening.(about 5" all the way around w/short leg kit)
    2. Since we are sitting and spending much time near where the stove will be I thought the Oslo would
    not drive us out of the room.
    3. Will the Oslo be enough to rely on this solely and will it last if we leave for work 11 hrs during the day?
    4. The left side door is in a more closed in space, do you think this would be a hassle trying to get the wood over there?

    Firelight:
    1. Height will be almost to the top of the fireplace opening (33" opening) - Wife thinks the Oslo will be more attractive in the space.
    2. Will the Firelight drive us from the room or will the large room/tall ceilings mitigate this?
    3. The right side door seems like it would fit our space better.
    4. I have read that if you only build small fires in the F600 it will not activate the secondaries and you are not going to get a long burn time? We would most likely need 10-12hrs while we are at work.


    Bottom line I am really just hoping that some of you could provide me some guidance as to which one we should go with. I realize this is long and disjointed. I appreciate your patience as we are wood stove beginners and its alot of information to digest. Any help and guidance you could provide would be extremely appreciated.

    Thank you, Ezra


    2nd story walkway:ceiling.jpg LR ceiling.jpg house rear.jpg

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  2. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    In many cases, when it comes down to wood stoves, "Bigger is Better." I say that because in a big unit, you can always build a small fire. If you have the Oslo installed, & it's not quite big enough when (if ever) you hit a cold snap & the power's out for an extended period of time, you'll wanna kick yourself. That being said, I don't think in your location (Va) that you'll see the temps that we do in NY, & if your bride likes the Oslo better, who am I to judge? :)
    oldogy likes this.
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I suspect that you are in that area out around Winchester that is known as "Out Around Winchester". If so that area catches the raw edges of the coldest, snowiest weather around here. But if all of those windows are facing South you also get a ton of solar gain on sunny days. The Oslo will probably get the job done most of the time. But for those long burns it will be hard to beat the Firelight. And with the mass of the Firelight you can burn a morning fire and let it burn down and put off heat for most of the day on the days where you need some heat in the morning but it is gonna be fifty and sunny in the afternoon. Which is a lot of days around here.
  4. fezragnus

    fezragnus New Member

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    Close, we are in the Warrenton area and haven't been here long but have seen similar temps due to proximity to the mountains. Most our windows face West unfortunately, but we do still have some that are South facing. I am definitely trying to weigh the wife acceptance factor vs assuring we have a stove that will be capable in the event the temps do drop low overnight. I think the lowest we have had the past couple years has been in the teens and that is not often. Is oversizing a problem? IE if we were to get the Firelight and run medium sized fires the majority of the time, would we be risking more creosote buildup? I think one problem I am having is that I don't really have a basis by which to compare(being an extreme newb), so its hard to relate how much heat each of these will put out. Thanks again for the advice.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I would opt for the Firelight. With the high ceilings you won't get overheated in this space. A ceiling fan running in reverse will help break up heat stratification.
    DAKSY likes this.
  6. fezragnus

    fezragnus New Member

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    Ok so my better half corrected me on something. Apparently the house is 2800sqft on the top two levels with 1100sqft in the basement. Seems like the consensus based on my initial provided info is the Oslo will do the job in all but the coldest of nights here in VA, and aesthetics would be the deciding factor. Do you feel that the larger footprint changes this at all? The price quoted on both was only $200 different so I didn't see this as a factor.
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    2800 sq. ft. No question Firelight. Temps last year don't count. Warmest winter in many, many years. And this year hasn't been normal. Colder in November but above average a lot of the rest of the time. I am not too far due East of you and heat 2,500 sq. ft. colonial with a steel stove with a firebox pretty much the size of a Firelight. Lived here 28 years and worked in Warrenton for three years so am very familiar with the area.

    And for a two hundred dollar spread it is a no brainer. If it was for occasional heat support the Oslo would be fine. Heating that joint full time go with the big iron. Contrary to some of what you see on this site you do not have to work a EPA stove like a rented mule. Just keep some flame going in the firebox.
  8. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    I think you are asking a lot from the Oslo to put out meaningful heat for 10-12 hours. Can you give a better idea how cold it gets in your area and for how long?

    There are way more folks that kick themselves for undersizing their stove than for oversizing it.
    oldogy likes this.
  9. schortie

    schortie Member

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    Third full season with the F600 heating 2300ish sq/ft with 8ft. ceilings and two levels. Really glad we didn't go with the Oslo - especially during the real Michigan cold. With your ceilings and the size of your house, I wouldn't even think about heating with an Oslo 24/7.
  10. oldogy

    oldogy Member

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    I am heating 2400 sq ft with a cathedral ceiling great room where the F500 does its thing. I wanted the 600, the wife wanted the aesthetics of the 500 so we compromised her way. Although the F500 is a well built unit, it is just undersized and is nice for supplemental heat only. It is better at providing heat than the big stone open fireplace.:) Go for the bigger unit.
  11. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    That's a lot of space to heat. Prolly would need more than one stove here in the Northeast with that house. But a nice big stove will help. I'd be thinking about one of those Woodstock Progress Hybrid's too.

    Another thought I had.. call me crazy, ...is to put an insert into the existing fireplace location and then add a free standing stove and additional "straight up" stainless chimney in some other strategically located spot on the other side (perhaps) of all that big open space.

    Just a wild thought. ..and of course I'm great at spending other people's money. :)
  12. Detector$

    Detector$ Member

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    I also have a 2800 sq ft home with an similar layout to yours in Charlotte NC with an F600 and it doesn't run us out. Upstairs can get very warm, but the main floor rarely gets over 75 at full tilt. I can easily load up in the morning and count on enough coals to get fired up quickly around dinner time.
  13. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I would lean more towards the F600.
  14. Stubborn Dutchman

    Stubborn Dutchman Member

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    I was faced with the same situation two years ago. I went with the F600 and couldn't be happier. IMHO, an important point to consider is the advantage of the larger firebox when it comes time to reload the stove..It gives me a lot more flexibility in selecting and placing splits, especially for overnight burns. For some reason, I just don't end up with rows and rows of nice uniform splits like the pros here seem to manage. :rolleyes:

    I don't recall the ash pan set up on the Oslo, but the big ash pan on the F600 makes things easy and less frequent. I would consider the greater mass of the F600 a plus for extending burn time as well. For just a little more $$$$ it seems a no brainer.
  15. jotul8e2

    jotul8e2 Feeling the Heat

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    I have an Oslo. I love it. I was on the cusp as to which way to go, and the left hand loading door on the Oslo settled it for me as the outside door is on that side. It appears from the photos you would like the right side door on the F600 better.

    You, however, need a larger stove, and much, much more.

    You are trying to heat an uninsulated glass house of almost 4,000 sq. feet. There is not a wood stove made that is going to do it on the coldest nights. A BK Princess might work most of the time. The Jotul F600 will work a good deal of the time. The Oslo will provide a pleasing warmth on those cool days in the fall and spring.

    The first money I spent on your house would be on trying to provide some insulation on the windows. I don't know with what - cellular shades, quilted shades, simply framing in some of them, something. You simply will not be able to provide enough heat from any point source (stove) to keep from being chilled close to all that glass. Then I'd tackle the ceiling - one inch of foam? One INCH? That is r-5 or r-6! You need r-40 or better.

    If you want to burn hardwood next year, buy it now and have it stacked so it can season. Oak needs at least two years after it is cut and stacked to season fully.
  16. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    I heat a bit less sq ft, with a Oslo. All open floor plan with 16 ft cathedral ceilings. After the house temp is up for a day we don't need to have much more than 2 splits on a bed of coals with the air choked down. Even when it's single digits out. More in the stove and the house is 80. The Oslo is the right size for me. But that's a new house with R 19 in the walls and R36 in the ceiling and house wrap. I heard guys say the stove is cranking at 600 and they can't get the house above 70. It's all going to be how tight the house is, insulation and windows.
  17. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Ezra, I suggest you go Firelight. I heat a smaller but similar house with an Oslo.
    You really need to understand how different it will be heating with a wood stove versus forced air propane (I'm assuming that's what you have).
    You get two types of useful heat from a wood stove; radiation and convection.
    This means that the objects that are relatively near and directly facing the stove will feel warm due to radiation.
    Convection results in warm air and its pretty much gonna go where it wants...up.
    You'll find the that the extremities downstairs will be cold and and areas upstairs hot.
    There are many posts here about "moving the air".
  18. Valhalla

    Valhalla Minister of Fire

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    Get the F-600 Firelight, as there is no substitute for "cubic inches," an old car guy motto!
    In this case, more BTU is just better.
  19. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

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    There's no replacement for wood displacement? To paraphrase an old saw...

    welcome, Ezra - that's a beautiful home ya got there!
    Valhalla likes this.
  20. fezragnus

    fezragnus New Member

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    Good Morning all. Been having some internet issues and working on finishing the move(moving yourself is not my idea of a good time). I want to start by thanking everyone here for their excellent advice and experiences. It has been invaluable in determining which direction we should go and I'm confident we will not regret going with the Firelight. Seems like it was just about unanimous on that one and the only prior obstacle to purchasing the larger one(WAF factor was smoothed over after a couple more conversations.
    The installers are coming today and was now hoping to get some direction or tips on what should or should not occur. Installer explained that they were going to cut only 6" diameter hole out of the damper and as such we would not need a block off plate. Also, I am still up in the air about insulated liner and outside air kit? Our fireplace has an OAK built in so I believe it would just be a matter of attaching to this pipe in the brick , but is this needed? Also, Our chimney is in the center of our house and I have read differing opinions on whether the SS flue needs to be insulated. The installer offered to insulate the last 3 ft or so(above the roof line) for free, but to have the whole thing insulated is $300. worth it? Again thanks to everyone for their insight.

    Ezra
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Good choice on the F600. Does she want plain or enameled? If unsure I can recommend the blue-black enamel. It is an exceptional finish that she will like a lot. With care and a quick wipe with a damp rag, the stove will look like new year after year.

    My preference would be to have the block off plate lower at the lintel level rather than have heat collect up in the damper area. In the least I would have them pack Roxul around the damper plate and pipe and at the top.

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