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Prefer pre-EPA stoves?

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by area_man, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. area_man

    area_man Member

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    I'm curious about whether anyone prefers pre-EPA to modern stoves. I can burn junkier wood in it and it will get hot, use paper grocery store bags as firestarters, bust up my Christmas tree and let it sit until next year to burn it in the stove, etc. Does the flexibility of using 2nd tier combustibles provide you with some extra stockpiling? I would PREFER to use only three-year dried oak, but I'm not there right now. It's probably going to be five years before I'm in that situation.

    Right now I'm thinking I might not upgrade to an EPA just for the flexibility. Maybe that's dumb.
    Scols likes this.

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  2. PassionForFire&Water

    PassionForFire&Water Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm, you forgot to mention that you can also burn your paper $$$bills in them .... .

    How hot is your stack temperature, on the inside, not on the outside? Probably 700-800F. Speaking of global warming.
  3. pen

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

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    It depends on the situation. Had an old fisher here in the house for years that was a heck of a heater, but I went through way more wood (5-6 a year instead of 4 now), chimney wasn't as clean, couldn't go as long between loadings, etc.

    So for the house, I really like the modern stove. My cabin however, still has 2 pre-epa stoves in it. Since that place is ambient temps when one arrives, the pre-epa stoves can chew through wood quicker and heat a place like that up better than my modern stove could. Since we only go through about 1.5 cord a year out there anyway, it just wouldn't make sense to change them.

    pen
  4. rkshed

    rkshed Feeling the Heat

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    I prefer my pre-epa stove.
    It cost almost nothing ($75), heats our home perfectly (0 oil used) and there are no maintenance parts to replace,
    Ya ya, I know its not a popular opinion to hold these days...
    fox9988, Earth Stove and Scols like this.
  5. Scols

    Scols Burning Hunk

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    I wont say that I prefer my pre EPA stove but when I had one I found it to be alot more tempremental because of poor wood. Right now I cant justify the cost of an EPA stove, especially since my wood is free. Besides if you burn poor wood in an EPA stove you're still gonna smoke out the neighbors.
  6. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    Have not had an "EPA" stove, so really can't compare the two. Though I DO much prefer my stove now that the secondary air system has been installed. Many of the things you mention...paper bag firestarter, christmas tree, junky wood, etc might apply to a catalytic stove, but I don't think they'd be much issue in a secondary air stove. Given that, I think the secondary air is only a benefit. True, if you happen to get into wet wood, it might not light off the secondaries as well. But in that case, the only bad thing is it knocks you down to the efficiency/emissions you'd have with the old smoke dragon anyway. But then if you get back to good wood, you're right back to the cleaner/efficient burn. With the smoke dragon, you're always less clean/lower efficiency, no matter how good of wood you shovel in.
  7. oppirs

    oppirs Member

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    I'm old fashion and like quality, and where I live wood smoke is not an issue.

    I see old smoke dragons as well built like my Lopi. Or my pot belly or Russo. And made to last. I like things to last way after planed corporate profits.
    Earth Stove likes this.
  8. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    I have loved my grandpa fisher for many seasons. still works and I can still sell for what I bought it for. great stove.
    I have seen and burned many other newer stoves that I could not afford never made the leap.
    If I where shopping for a new stove today I would feel much better laying out the dough then years ago. They are much better. My favorite is Woodstock.
    The big advantage I see to new stoves is that the chimney is much cleaner. and of course burn times.
  9. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I use both. Pre EPA and home built for quick temporary heat,such as garages and workshops and EPA stoves where i want to use less wood and burn all day.
    tfdchief and swestall like this.
  10. topoftheriver

    topoftheriver Member

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    I've heard changes are on the horizon in the near future. Having said that, I burned many stoves. Presently, a Jotul Oslo but they say the emissions are OK. But maybe not for long. In Maine, we can burn pretty much anything but in Mass the sunset is bringing a new morning of rules and nationally also. For now, just burning and staying warm. That's why we're here.
  11. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    As you can see in my signature, I have both and love both. They are just different.;)
    Earth Stove, oppirs and pen like this.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I like my Jotul 602. It's a fun little stove, but I don't like the smoke coming out of the chimney. I like the EPA T6 a lot better. Less wood, more heat, cleaner flue.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Burn fir or alder. It's readily available in OR and is a nice firewood that seasons in a year. Save the oak for the very cold nights after it has fully seasoned.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  14. swestall

    swestall Minister of Fire

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    EPA in the house, see avatar. As others said, burning 24/7 you want to get the most from the wood and dirty the stack the least.

    But, for the shop it is the Pot Belly all the way; no better place to sip coffee and ponder life and projects. I only burn it when I am in there and I stop loading at least an hour before I am leaving. OH YEAH, I never have smoke out the chimney, always run 450- 600 on top and 350-400 18" above. There is no sense in burning to smoke, it makes a mess and doesn't give you the best heat.
  15. topoftheriver

    topoftheriver Member

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    I'm with you brother. I burn a Oslo 500 and what ever it does, it keeps us warm. In Maine where the lodge is sometimes sub "0" it also keeps us warm and we also cook on it not to mention we have a propane stove. When the wood is dry and hot, the smoke is little to none. Why is the government getting into a twist over this. Burn and stay warm.
  16. defiant3

    defiant3 Feeling the Heat

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    The question is too broad. There are many great stoves out there, some old and some new. Modern stoves have definite advantages, but not all will turn out to be reliable and cost effective. Some older stoves are just classics, and will always find a good home, others are best forgotten. Which stoves have you looked at?
  17. Dell

    Dell New Member

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    I burn a Fisher because that is what came with my house. I research new stoves (Kuma, Blaze King, etc) , but am skeptical of reviews on them and can't part with that much money right now, especially if its not going to outproduce my current stove. I wish they had a trial program or a return period of 30 days...
    I have friends who are amazed at the tremendous heat the Papa can produce. I replaced fire brick and installed a baffle, no other repairs needed after 35 years of overall use. I burn a lot of wood, but that is what I have it for. With 0-5 outdoor low temps currently , I am keeping my 2500 ft cape at 90, 75 and 69 degrees in basement, main and 2nd floors respectively with no fans or vents (almost all oak wood). I clean the black pipe from stove to chimney about once a month and do get some creosote buildup. I had a VC before and could not achieve overnight burns.

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  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Woodstock does even better with a 6 month return guarantee.

    Heating from the basement you have to be going through a lot of wood. With a good stove on the main floor I think you could cut fuel consumption in half. And you would have the delight of a warm stove to cozy up to plus a beautiful fire view.
  19. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Granted, but some stove put out so much heat that it overwhelms the space. Better they are overheating the basement than your living space. Most days my basement stove room is 90+ With the air all the way down. That makes the living floor above a comfortable 75.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    When the stove is used as intended, as an area heater, you are better to get a right-sized stove and then regulate the heat by the load. In most cases it's not the stove that's overheating the space it's the operator.
  21. Dell

    Dell New Member

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    If I could afford a Woodstock stove or a PE, I'd have one in my main floor fireplace. I keep looking for the right insert or stove for that fireplace, then I can cut back on wood usage and smoke.
    My basement is finished, there is no better place to warm up and watch TV. I would like to see the fire. Lugging wood down the bilco steps in recycling bins at 65-75# each is not preferred either. I go through a lot of wood, but I get it all for free. My biggest concern is creosote.
    So, I would try a new stove on main floor if I could afford it but in the meantime I'm content with my dragon.
  22. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Its not always simple. In my case Id love a stove on the living floor,but there is no place for one and im moving within a year or two,so no desire to reconstruct. Smaller loads equals less heat but also shorter burn times. Its a necessary evil that you overheat the basement in order for the upper floors to be comfortable. At least in my case.
  23. area_man

    area_man Member

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    I looked around at different stoves for a bit but my hearth isn't really set up for a freestanding stove unless I want to give up a lot of floor space for it. I would really have to go with an insert. Not that inserts are bad, but the radiant heat won't quite be there. As is, my pre-EPA will throw off a lot of heat.

    The other thing is it doesn't make sense for me to spend a ton of money on a new stove. I did a little math with our electric bill, and the most money I'm going to save in a cold winter is about $250/mo. Wood heat is a lot more comfortable than the electric heat pump, so there's that. There's no way for me to pay for wood and come out ahead, at best I could break even. Lucky me I just hit a goldmine of a scrounge today. I'm going to have to see if it's as good as it seems, but apparently this nice tree service guy around the corner from me will stack up bucked hardwood for me for free, all you can eat, all year long. He already filled up a couple of other neighbors until they told him they just can't take any more free bucked hardwood.

    I picked up about a cord of oak limbs today. If I'm not mistaken, an EPA stove will choke on all the bark, and the constant opening and shutting of the door will mess with the delicate balance that has to be maintained in an EPA stove. The other wood I have is construction ends that are all full of nails and stuff. It's junk wood. Thing is, it keeps my house warm. If I upgrade, this marginal wood isn't going to burn right.

    Spend a bunch of money on a new stove, spend a bunch of money on premium wood, and possibly break even but probably not. Why?
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Epa stoves don't balk at burning bark as long as it's dry. Nails mean nothing, they are inert as far as the stove is concerned.
  25. area_man

    area_man Member

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    Now that is a major concern. I had the local power company come out and pressure test my house. I need a little more insulation in a few places and should replace a couple windows. Once that's done, the house will be nice and tight. There are places I can add cold air drains from upstairs, that will help with convection. For example, if I install a cold air drain in the living room straight down to the burn room, I can take that 68 degree air and flood the 90 degree air up the staircase. Upstairs won't get to 90, probably just mid-70s, but the burn room won't get so hot. The bonus to that is the greater the air temperature difference in the burn room, the greater heat transfer from the stove to the air. That will help the stove work more efficiently.

    So, you can get a basement heater working better. Obviously a stove in the main living area is going to be the best, but there are ways to live with less-efficient setups. I think the main concern is to
    1. Get wood
    2. Dry it out
    3. Burn it

    If you can get through those three things in a time and money efficient way, dialing it in is just frosting.

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