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Regency 5100 - the first few months

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jjd, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. jjd

    jjd New Member

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    So I know the Regency 5100 is a new stove, and lots of folks are looking for reports of it out in the wilds, and how it works.

    About 2 months ago I bought and installed a 5100.

    Price:
    Stove, blower, ash pan, freight, state sales tax, sitting in my garage was just a whisper under $3000.

    Performance:
    The house I'm heating is a 1600-ft basement. Fully uninsulated, 1 30' wall above ground, with a garage door in that wall... not even close to what you might call air-tight. First floor is also 1600', upstairs is about 1200'. So a total area of about 4500 to heat. House was built in the early 80's so its not a drafty old house, but it sure isn't super tight modern construction either.

    With the outside temps in the 30's ovenight, and days in the upper 40's I've been able to keep the floors at 70-72 basement, 68 1st, and 64 2nd. This is a nice gradient, as the upstairs is all sleeping rooms, and we like it cooler up there. The basement ceiling/first floor at about 72 is nice on my toes, and gone was the previous cool draft that I disliked so much.

    I was able to load the stove in the morning before I leave for work, and still have a good coal bed 12 hours later when I got home... not a ton of heat coming off at that point, but plenty good to get some fresh wood to ignite in just a few minutes. Again, in the morning there was plenty of coals, and a fresh piece of wood ignites in < 20 seconds.

    Now that temps have dropped into the 10-12 overnight, and daytime highs in the 20's, the 5100 can't keep up. I've lit the harman coal stove in the family room, and that plus the 5100 is keeping us toasty.

    Frankly I'm stunned that this stove puts off enough heat to keep the whole place warm down to normal Virginia winter temps. I think with some sealing upgrades, and some additional insulation the 5100 might stand a chance of keeping the whole place heated even in the cold periods.

    The brochure says 80,000 BTU, but that seems low for a stove of this size, and the volume of wood in the box, and stack temps. The F2400 F3100 and F5100 can't all be 75-80K-BTU stoves?

    Also the brochure claims 30 hour burn... perhaps a chemist might call it a 30 hour burn, but those who are heating with it, 15-18 hour max.

    One surprise is the draft control. Its a single lever on the left-front that has about 1.5" of total movement... that is all the control/precision you get in regulating the burn. There are no marks, guides, or references to try to get the control back in the same place once its moved.

    The ash pan is HUGE. I've burned about 3/4 of a cord at this point, and have only had to empty the pan 3 times.

    I have the blower, it was a 'free' upgrade when I made my purchase. I've run the stove with and without and it really doesn't seem to make a huge difference in the total heat extracted from the stove. I can see cat/stack temps are a bit (50 degrees) lower when I run the blower, so some extra heat is being pulled out of the stove, but net-net the temp change in the house is nil blower vs no blower. It might be the total surface area of the stove is enough to radiate the heat.

    Speaking of size, the stove is HUGE. I read the dimensions, I held a tape measure up where I was planning to put the stove, and knew about how big it was.. but once it came out of the box it sure felt a lot bigger in person. Roughly 3'x3'x3'


    The one problem I am seeing, is coal buildup. Because during the week, we are out of the house a lot, there isn't much time to leave the coals burning, and I'm forced to load up the stove before the coals have burned down as much as I would like. On the weekends I'm able to burn them down, but I loose a bunch of wood capacity due to the volume of coals.

    This stove has a voracious apatite for wood. When I'm burning it hot on the weekends, I can easily go through most of a wheelbarrow a day of wood. The house stays nice and warm, but dang, that's a lot of wood. This now leads back to the plus side of having that garage door in the basement.... Getting a wheelbarrow of wood to the stove is quite easy. =).

    I'm really able to see the difference in the burn between some very well seasoned wood I have and some less well seasoned stuff. The dry burns a whole lot better, amazingly so.


    So the overall is, I like the stove. Heats better than expected, easy to live with, should only take two heating seasons to to pay me back vs running the heat pump.
    Blue2ndaries, fox9988 and Huntindog1 like this.

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  2. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Nice info on the stove as I know several on here was interested in that new design.
  3. Jack Fate

    Jack Fate Feeling the Heat

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    Northwest Ohio
    Thanks , good to get some up to date info .now if I could actually see one. it could be a contender in my new stove quest

    Cheers
  4. jjd

    jjd New Member

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    I can offer a few picture, but there is no substitute for being able to go hands on in a local showroom.
  5. Jack Fate

    Jack Fate Feeling the Heat

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    Northwest Ohio

    The local dealer (65 mi ) doesn't stock any or any cat stove either. So far I can't find a cat stove for 100 mi. Any brand ! Gonna end up buying blind . So may end up with a Woodstock . I really want to see the refractory in the stove I buy ,
    or the lack off
  6. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    How does it do with a low burn? When it was first mentioned here, everyone was hoping for a non-ugly alternative to a BKK.
    FWIW, I'm doing about 14-16 hours heating a lot less than you in these temps, though with crappy insulation and drafts that need attention. To be fair, we've been single digits and below zero night, and today is the first day we've been over 20.
  7. jjd

    jjd New Member

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    I was originally looking at a BK, and the girl vetoed it.

    So I really don't have a good point of reference, as this is my first modern stove, but I can get 14-16h out of it when the draft is turned to low. It might 'burn' longer than that but the heat output is getting down too low for my needs.
  8. turbocruiser

    turbocruiser Feeling the Heat

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    Rocky Mountains Majesty
    Thanks for taking the time to do that terrific review! Really gives a great idea of what the stove is able to accomplish. I know you already know all this and also made a mention of it but a big source of heat loss is the garage door down there in the basement. I'd love to see the stove's performance with that somehow sealed and also insulated. Maybe I missed it but what type of wood/s are you burning?
  9. jjd

    jjd New Member

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    it is both sealed, well as well as you can seal a garage door, and is insulated.


    Almost exclusively red/white oak.
  10. Todd 2

    Todd 2 Feeling the Heat

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    NE Ohio
    Nice post of the 5100, not bad for 4500 sq ft and a single stove. Coaling with full loads burning 24-7 is an issue we all get better at working out in time. Glad you are enjoying it other than its apatite :)

    Todd2
  11. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    jjd, don't forget the particulars- temps., air setting, dbl. or single wall pipe, etc.,etc.
    This is all good stuff.
  12. jjd

    jjd New Member

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    The included cat temp gauge is what I call in a car, an 'idiot gauge'. There is an active/inactive range, but no temp's marked. I've got no idea what the in-cat temp is, but...


    I have a thermometer right next to the cat thermometer, that reads 475-500, stove temp. Stove pipe, about 2-3 feet above the stove reads 300-350.

    This ia with the stove fully open.



    Stove pipe is single wall. Comes out the top of the stove, runs 3' 90 degree then 18" into a clay pipe that runs into a masonry chimney. Chimney is +/- 30-35', Runs from the basement up 2 more stories, and then exits above the main roof.

    My firewood is a bit less dry than I would like. We didn't get enough put up early enough, and have gone through the very dry already. Next year I've got a better idea of how much I need to get stored.
  13. michburner

    michburner Member

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    the thumb
    what region are you in? How much wood have you gone through so far? This is an 8" flue, correct? Dealer near me doesn't have one on the floor, so I couldn't actually put my hands on one. Is it built sturdy and made to last forever? What are your dislikes about the stove? Would you buy it again?
  14. jjd

    jjd New Member

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    Central/Northern Virginia

    Only started burning in Jan '13, so far, about 1.5 cords. My guess for a full season I would burn closer to 6 cords.

    before we get into whats a cord, I subscribe to the 4'x4'x8'=cord.

    Yes.

    My stove guy could only get a 6" clay pipe from the local masonry supply, so I have a 8->6 reducer on the top of the stove. I'm not thrilled about that, becuase the step down from 8" to 6" pipe is a MASSIVE reduction in cross section area... about 40% reduction.

    I'm going to hit him up in the sumer to source a proper 8" pipe, and redo the connection at the proper size.

    Appears to be.

    Was hoping for longer burns at higher heat outputs. While it will be 'burning' 12-18 hours after loading, it really isn't putting out much heat. The brochure quoted 24 hour burn times, and I'm sure that combustion could be occuring 24 hours later, if I can put a hand comfortably on the stovetop, then is sure isn't heating much. If you can tend it every 8-12 hours you can get good heat out of it. If you can tend ever 4-6 hours, you can get A LOT of heat out of it.

    There are 'side shields' that install into the top, outside edge of the firebox, and are about 2" wide running front to back. These are not firmly fixed and are held in by gravity. If you bump them with a log when your loading, you can dislodge them. With a hot fire, there is no sane way to get them back into place. This has happened 2-3 times so far. If we let the fire burn way down, and I put on a heavy welding glove, I can generally be fast enough to get it back into place.

    The door latch gets hot in operation. If you have the stove fairly warm, its too hot to touch with bare hands.


    If the wife didn't get a vote, I would have gone blazeking. Its got a great reputation for long burns and steady heat throughout the burn. This stove is a bit more uneven in heat output. A few hours after loading you can get great, chase you out of the room heating, but it won't do lower steady burns as well as I would have hoped for.

    Lets face it, this is a HUGE stove, with massive heat output. If you need that capability it certainly delivers on the promise. If you wanted a 20k BTU for 18 hours, well it won't do that as well as I'd like.

    As we get into March in Virginia I should be seeing warmer temps, and I'll get more of a feel of how it will do low-er burns, assuming I don't run out of wood first. I've got about 3/4 of cord left, and its going to be a race to see if I run out of wood, or heat needs first. The house has a nice heat pump, and it should do a fine job in March's more mild temps, but I would like to not have to run it if I can.
  15. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    Didn't realize this was a cat stove until now. Wow, that is quite a stove. I wonder how much of an affect the substandard flue is having on overall performance. Still sounds like it is throwing a ton of heat for a pretty darn long while.
  16. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Be interesting to see the change in performance with a properly sized flue. The short vertical before the 90 probably doesn't help much, either. What is the flue size of the masonry chimney? Any chance of getting an 8" liner in it?

    How does the air control on the stove seem? Do you get much secondary burn from the tubes? Wonder if it's capable of a cat-only burn.
  17. jjd

    jjd New Member

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    8x8 square clay.

    Having never had anything to compare it to, I have no idea if the air control is good/bad.

    Yes, when I get a good dry load of wood, there is lots of secondary burn visible around the air tube just before the cat.
  18. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Six cords of wood in Virginis'a climate is a lot of wood. Lot of work getting it ready, lot of time, lot of space needed to store it.

    You replied to someone that you are burning with the air open, exterior single wall flue temp 300 - 350. You are loosing some heat up your chimney with flue temps that high, and if you are indeed burning all the time with your air wide open, you are loosing some of the advantage of a cat burn. Smoke will go through the cat too quickly for the cat to have time to combust it all. Are you doing this because you have to to keep the fire going because of wet wood? If not, once your flue temp thermometer reads 250, try engaging the cat and starting to slowly close the air down. Keep closing it down slowly, as much as you can, as long as you are able to maintain at least red glowing on the wood. That should give you a long, low, even cat burn with a great deal of heat output from the cat's combustion of the volatile gases. As the cat combusts more of the gases, the stove top temp should rise and the flue temp drop. You should be able to get substantially more heat from less wood. If you cannot achieve this type of a burn, install a stovepipe damper. You have a really long flue, and you may be getting too much draft to slow the stove down enough for a nice long cat burn. If you do have too much draft, there is nothing else you can do to stop wasting wood/heat. You'll always have a secondary burn rather than a long, slow cat burn, and you will burn a lot more wood in the same period of time.

    Addendum: Just read on another thread that the firebox will hold 90 pounds. Of course, that will vary with the species of wood, but by comparison the PH holds 60 pounds. It very easily achieves 12 hour cat burns, putting out substantial heat all that time, with way less than a full load. I would think if you can get your stove burning in low cat mode, you'll easily get 18 or more meaning ful hours of heat out of it. If you can get it near the performance of the PH, I bet you can aim for 24 hours of menaingful heat with a firebox containing 90 pounds of wood. Go for it.
  19. jjd

    jjd New Member

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    The stove came with very minimal directions on how to set the drafts, what temps to try to achieve etc...

    I was trying to heat the house, and full air, was not over heating the house, so I was running it there.

    I;ve already gotten 2 cords put up for next year, and should have another 2-3 cut by the end of March, so I should have lots of dry wood for next year.


    I will. I'm out of wood for the year, and it hit 63 today, so the burning season is over for me, but I've goten some good tips from reading here, and should be in better shape for next year.
  20. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I was trying to heat the house, and full air, was not over heating the house, so I was running it there.
    That right there is your problem. Full air is sending all your heat up the stack and out into the wild blue yonder.
    webby3650 likes this.
  21. jjd

    jjd New Member

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    all makes sense....
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    After the wood is starting to burn fully, drop down the air supply in 50% increments or so, every 5 minutes or so. With dry wood you should be able to run the stove once it is burning well with the air almost all the way closed. Do that and I think you will notice a major increase in heat output and with less wood consumption.
  23. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Holy Cow!! I'm in mid-south Indiana. I am going through a about 2 cords. Thats with two stoves and sometimes 3. Wood is our only heat source. I'm heating a '71, 2300 square feet ranch and it's way too hot in here most of the time. Are you sure you are burning 6 cords?
  24. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Do you have any pics of the stove, or any of the secondary,cat action?
    The Cape Cod sure has some great action, and could easily get 18-20 in a bit smaller house. I just demand a little bit more since we don't have a central back up.

    Attached Files:

  25. jjd

    jjd New Member

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    Ya, I am.

    Remember I'm heating more than 2x the space as you are, 40% is UNINSULATED, and has a very non-air tight garage door in the space as well.

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