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Replacing an old Garrison, and wicked confused.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by masonryheatertogo, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. masonryheatertogo

    masonryheatertogo New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
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    Loc:
    Glorious Maine
    Hi all,

    My wife and I are in a really cool solar envelope house. At the center of the house, parked in front of a big mass of brick, in a wide open first floor, is an old Garrison I stove. This stove is the primary source of heat (aside from solar assistance) for the whole house.

    We'd like to replace it with something new, efficient, and - well - just plain better.

    Here's where things get confusing.

    Conventional wisdom seems to be that the way to heat a house with a big, open floorplan on the first floor (not quite so open on the second floor - and about 2400 square feet total) is to use a convection-based heater. That it's the best way to get heat out throughout the house without baking the people on the first floor in the process.

    Ceiling height on the first floor is somewhere in the 9ish feet range.

    So, with that in mind, we've been perusing stoves like: the Regency 3100 - Lotsa BTUs (to heat the sq. footage), and designed for convection.

    But then, there's something that calls to me about the Jotul TL 50 Rangeley. It has a slightly smaller firebox (so fewer BTUs). But supposedly more efficient (they are rating it at 84%, as opposed to 75% for the Regency) - so seems like it would use more of its available BTUs - and so the difference is negligible. It blends radiant and convection heat.

    Before I really started looking, I was convinced that we were going to need something like the Jotul Firelight. A BIG heater. Primarily Radiant. The Firelight is bigger than the Garrison, but still radiant. And something tells me that just maybe it's important to have a radiant heater after all, so that big mass of brick in the center of the room (right behind the stove) will absorb (and later on emit) a lot of the heat.

    And my fear is that if we get a convection-based stove, it just won't cut it like this big ol' junky Garrison does. Even if it IS more efficient.

    So - what do you think? Big convection stove, like the Regency? Not quite as big, but still pretty big (and ultra-efficient) "hybrid" stove, like the Rangeley? Big radiant heater, like the Firelight?

    I welcome your thoughts. Thanks in advance! Happy to provide more info, too - if you need it.

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  2. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I think a radiant stove would be best for a big open floor plan and it would also help heat up that big mass of brick you have. The Jotul would be a good choice or maybe hold off til this Summer and check out the new Woodstock stove.
  3. masonryheatertogo

    masonryheatertogo New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Glorious Maine
    Thanks for your thoughts. I was all set to go with the Firelight, but then the dealer came by our house and started whispering about how a convection heater might help heat the house more thoroughly, while a radiant heater could bake the first floor occupants while trying to get heat upstairs...

    I called another dealer in a different part of the country, and got a similar "big open space + solar envelope =convection" response.

    hence my confusion. I don't know *why* the convention is to go the convection route in this type of case.

    I suppose it's worth also mentioning that when we leave this house, we'll probably take the stove with us. So the stove should probably be versatile...

    I like the look of those Woodstocks, but a little hesitant about the cat (have been assuming we would go non-cat).
  4. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

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    I normally would suggest a large convection heater...except for that big brick mass you may be able to heat up with a radiant stove. If you have an 8" flue, you could pop an Equinox in there. For some reason (may be smoke and mirrors) the Mansfield in my showroom (little brother of the EQ) can heat the showroom 30 feet away without making folks sitting 10 feet away feel too hot. Or maybe its just me.
  5. Mt Ski Bum

    Mt Ski Bum Member

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    The general advise around these forums is to stay on the bigger side when choosing a stove- take the sq. footage you want to heat & add on an extra 500 or so sq. feet & find a stove rated for that sq. footage. (In your case, I'd ideally look for a stove rated for around 3,000 sq. ft.). That being said, I honestly think that the Rangeley would be too small for your place.

    For convective stoves, I'd recommend looking at the Avalon Olympic or its cousin, the Lopi Liberty.

    For radiant stoves, I'd recommend looking at the Hearthstone Equinox.

    Or, if you like the cast iron/steel hybrid type stove (like the Rangeley), check out Pacific Energy's Alderlea T6
  6. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    If your house was chopped up into a lot of different rooms or the stove room was small I'd probably stay away from a radiant stove but for a centrally located hearth and a big open floor plan I would definitely go radiant. You will get natural convection from a radiant stove and ceiling fans or a small fan on the floor will also help distribute the heat just as well. IMO convection stoves don't really push any more warm air out into the room unless you have a blower helping. Convection stoves are also great for close clearances but you do lose a lot of that step out into the sun feel that you get with a good radiant stove. If you like the Jotul I say go for it, they are great stoves.
  7. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

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    I agree with Todd, if the Jotul catches your eye, go with the F600 and you'll be happy you did.
  8. grommal

    grommal Feeling the Heat

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    With an open floor plan and 9' ceilings, I think a radiant stove would be fine.
  9. masonryheatertogo

    masonryheatertogo New Member

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    I'm definitely feeling the love here for the radiant approach. I like the looks of those Hearthstone Equinoxes (plus, as you might have guessed from my moniker, I'm a masonry heater fan in general), but they just might break the bank!

    Perhaps my original pull towards the Jotul Firelight was worth trusting...
  10. Mt Ski Bum

    Mt Ski Bum Member

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    Another option, though probably more expensive, would be to go with 2 stoves- one on each floor ;)

    btw- you can always go to your local fireplace dealer & get their opinion- alot of them will do free "look-ats" given your home isn't too far away.
  11. certified106

    certified106 Minister of Fire

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    Another great option is a PE Alderlea T6 Radiant and Convection heat for when you really need it large 3.0 cubic foot firebox, Lifetime gaurantee on the firebox and stove baffle system......Just thought I should add I like my stove ;-)
  12. Fsappo

    Fsappo Minister of Fire

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    I sent you a PM there Masonry heater to go go..a wicked good one.
  13. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    +1 to Todd's comments . . . although I don't think he or anyone else jumped on board here about the cat comment . . . I was a bit hesitant about the whole idea of cats in stoves to be honest . . . and bought the Oslo -- the younger "brother" to the Firelight which I must say I have loved . . . but after reading many personal user's real-life experiences with cat stoves I would not hesitate to consider a cat stove . . . it seems as though there really aren't many problems with them . . . seems to me the most problems are people who can't figure out how to use these stoves (which is quite simple) or more likely folks are continuing to stick unseasoned or semi-seasoned wood in these stoves which can gunk up the cat.

    For the record . . . I would say go for your original thinking with the FireLight . . . then again I am a big Jotul fan . . . and you can easily move the heat in an area through the use of fans pointed towards the stove.

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