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Replacing the old Blaze King

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by GrampaDennis, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. GrampaDennis

    GrampaDennis New Member

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    Hi - I'm new here. If I gave my entire woodburning history, and the history of the stove I'm now looking to replace, this would be a very long post. I'll give the "Reader's Digest" version here, and fill in more details if anyone is interested. I have been burning wood almost continuously since 1979. Here is the old Blaze King Royal Heir, Model RHT-2100, installed in my living room. The TV and stand have been replaced since the photo.
    P1020905.JPG

    This stove has had at least 3 owners, and is 25 years old or more. We have owned and used it since we were finishing our new home, in the late fall of 2004. The catalyst has been replaced at least twice that I know of. It would need replacing again, if I continued to use it (there are big holes in the cat now). The stove has been overfired many times, and the top baffle is buckled badly. The pops, snaps and banging noises with temperature changes have become a bit disconcerting. My wife and I have decided to retire the poor old sweetheart, and buy a new EPA stove.

    Since we had such good service from the Blaze King, we went to a local stove shop chain that sells them. At one of their stores was a Blaze King Princess. At another store, they had a King Ultra, but not in the version we were interested in. Considering that we came in the door predisposed toward buying a Blaze King, we were surprised to find that the salesman was not particularly high on that brand. He introduced us to a Jotul F 50 TL Rangely, a Regency F3100, and a Quadra-Fire F3100. I think part of the salesman's hesitation on the Blaze King was that it was about $1,000 more than most of the others. Maine people (myself included) don't usually like to spend more money than we have to.

    Next, we visited a local appliance dealer that sells Napoleons. We considered the 1900 Pedestal model there. That was the lower end of the price range that we have looked at, but seemed to be a good value.

    Our next stop was at a stove, canoe and kayak shop. We, and some of our relatives, have bought kayaks there. Friends of ours have also bought a stove there. They also gave us very prompt service in getting a replacement catalyst for our "oddball" Blaze King, when a closer stove shop kept putting us off for over a month. This dealer had other brands, but after listening to our discussion of what we wanted, particularly recommended the Enviro Kodiak 1700. He has been heating his store with it for almost 2 seasons. We liked that, but also priced the next larger model, the Kodiak 2100. We also looked at a Boston 1200 in this store. It is a convection stove, with the same firebox as the Kodiak 1200, but with cast iron exterior panels, similar to the Jotul Rangely.

    When I got home, i checked Envio's website and learned that the Boston series is also available in the 1700 size. I asked our dealer for a quote on that. It turns out that you pay plenty for the cast iron look on a convection stove. It's $560 more than the quote we got on the Kodiak 2100. Still, if money were no object, that's probably the stove I would buy.

    The new Blaze King is very interesting, but I would prefer to get a non-catalyst stove this time around. I'm almost ready to pull the trigger on an order for the Enviro Kodiak 2100. It's a step-top pedestal setup. Our house has about 1800 SF on the main floor and 1500 upstairs, which we do not use much, except three of four times a year when the kids come to visit. While the Kodiak 1700 might suffice, the 2100 will take longer wood. I am used to sizing my fire, based on how much heat I want to get. I don't think that going to a larger firebox should be a big problem.

    I would welcome your comments and suggestions. I have searched this forum for the Enviros, and have found a very few comments and reviews. If you have an Enviro, this would be a good chance to give us an update.

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  2. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Don't let a salesman sway you, come to the store armed with your decision and see what they can do for price. I've never met a salesman that was more interested in my happiness than in his paycheck.

    Enviro brand stoves are rare in my region. Might only be a locally popular device.
  3. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    The Enviro 1700 is larger than the 1200.
  4. GrampaDennis

    GrampaDennis New Member

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    Highbeam - Looks like we're both John Deere tractor owners. We could talk about that, but we'll save it for TractorByNet.

    Blaze King is kind of rare here in the Northeast. There is only 1 chain dealer in Maine. There is another dealer in New Hampshire. The Maine dealer, who also claims to be the largest stove shop in Maine, seemed to be a list price-no discounts type of outfit. However, If I were to decide on one of their stoves, i would still try to haggle a little.

    One of the things that I liked about the Enviro was that they claimed to be made of heavier steel. Their Kodiak 2100 model weighs 500 lbs, which is 100 lbs more than the Napoleon 1900, for instance. Another feature of the 2100 is that the firebox is totally firebrick lined - even on the top.
  5. GrampaDennis

    GrampaDennis New Member

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    I made I typo, which I have since edited. In one place, I wrote "1200" when I meant "2100". Sorry ' bout that.
  6. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Ah, okay. Just making sure you don't end up buying the smaller stove.
  7. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

  8. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

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    I think you'd be very happy with another Blaze King. I wouldn't get to hung-up on stove steel thickness. I think all of these steel plated stoves are of sufficient thickness that - that would be the least of my worries. Some other brands to consider would be the Pacific Energy Alderlea series or their steel cousins like the PE Summit. These are nice looking stoves and are not cat stoves. If you have an open floor plan vs a smaller stove room AND you want to be in the same room as the stove without being fried, if large/open then an Englander 30NCH might be a good choice. It will crank out the heat, but I wouldn't recommend it for cramped spaces or if you can't move the heat out of the room. If the space is smaller or it is hard to move the heat out of the room, then I would defiantly go for another cat stove. You can burn these hot or dial them down without making a creosote mess of the chimney.

    My best advice is to continue to burn your stove, slow down and consider all of the choices out there. I know when we bought out Woodstock Keystone, we were all over the map in our stove choice, but a lot of reading, research and questions/answers here brought us to the best stove for our wants/needs.

    Good luck,
    Bill
  9. GrampaDennis

    GrampaDennis New Member

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    Pete -
    Thanks for the tip. I have3 looked at the ratings here. They are helpful. Whatever I buy, I plan to post a rating after I have used the new stove for a while.

    Bill -
    Thanks for the thoughtful advice and good wishes. Our floor plan is fairly open, and the heat easily circulates to the kitchen/dining area from the living room, where the stove is. Our master bedroom is on the first floor as well, in the southeast corner of the house. It stays a bit cooler, but that's how we want it. The BR gets warmed up some by the morning sun, which is fine, too. I have my office in the northeast corner. It doesn't get as much of the heat. I sometimes resort to a small electric heater when I'm using that room and it's cold.

    We have 3 zones of oil-fired radiant heat on the first floor. We have the thermostats set so that will come on in the central part of the house if the fire is allowed to die down too much at night. Otherwise, the oil burner only comes on to heat our water. We typically use about 650 gallons of oil and 2 cords of wood in a season. If I pay attention to burning wood more of the time, I can shrink the oil usage by some. If the new stove is truly as much more efficient as they appear to be, I may be able to use less oil without using more wood.

    We have 19 acres, mostly wooded, but most of the marketable wood was cut before we bought the land. There's still enough hardwood that I can supply most of my needs from it for a long time. This year, I put in quite a lot of time at my "part-time, seasonal" job, and quite a lot of time building a deck and screened porch. Consequently, I bought what was supposed to be 2 cords of wood. I already had about a cord of seasoned wood in the basement. After I bought that wood, I was offered some from a relative's woodshed, which had been in a semi-open shed for close to 10 years. I got about 2/3 cord of that. Over the next few months, I'll try to get more ahead. I have a clump of maples which is near my power line. I'll have to pull the trees with come-alongs, to make sure they fall the right way, but there's a lot of wood in that clump. I've "been there - done that" with green or wet wood. I'm going to try not to play that game again.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Did you mean the Kodiak 1200? There is no Kodiak 2100 that I know of. If so, the Boston 1700 is a larger stove and by all reports a very good one. I think a 1200 might be too small. Yes a cast iron jacket will cost more, but the added mass is very nice. Our Alderlea is similar in construction (with a different baffle system) and we really like the way the cast iron jacket softens the heat and releases it slowly after the fire has died down. The Jotul Rangely also has this feature.

    You are looking at good stoves. The Napoleon 1900 has receive praise from its owners too. How large is the area that the stove is heating?
  11. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    Blaze kings are definitely one of the favored stoves on this forum. I'd look at the chinook 30 model.
  12. GrampaDennis

    GrampaDennis New Member

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    Here's a link to the Kodiak 2100:
    http://www.enviro.com/fireplace-products/wood/freestanding-fireplace.html#2100

    In one of my posts, I mentioned the square footage - 1800 downstairs and 1500 upstairs. Heating the upstairs is not a priority. We don't use it much, as our master bedroom is on the ground floor.

    I agree that the 1200 would be too small. I'm glad to hear that you like the cast iron jacket of the Alderlea. I'm not familiar with that stove yet. I should look into it. Meanwhile, I really do like the looks of that Boston 1700.
  13. daleeper

    daleeper Minister of Fire

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    Could you give us an idea why you are wanting a non-cat this time?

    It appears the Blaze King has done you a good job, and I believe they have improved the warping problem in the bypass area of their current stoves, that was a known issue on that particular model stove (the larger of the Royal Heir family).

    I do understand the extra cost, but I think you will really miss the thermostatic control the BK offers that no-one else does.

    I like the looks of the new Sirocco, but I think the Chinook with its convection style outer shell would be an almost direct replacement for your Royal Heir in the way it operates and should heat. Remember that the King model takes an 8" flue, it appears as though your flue is 6", but I may be wrong.

    Good luck with your stove hunting.
  14. GrampaDennis

    GrampaDennis New Member

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    It's good to know that my old Blaze King was not the only one with a warping problem. The bypass damper in the new Blaze Kings is an entirely different design than my old one.

    I have an 8 inch flue. The chimney tile is 8" x 8" as well. It is a double-flue chimney, with the other side being used for the oil boiler.
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm . . . combination kayak/canoe/stove shop . . . sounds a lot like Wayne's . . . thinking you must be in the Skowhegan/Waterville area perhaps? Just curious.

    With an 8 inch flue you may want to stick with the Blaze King . . . personally I think they're uglier than Satan himself . . . but the amount of wood and burn times on those things is nothing short of a blessed miracle by a Saint.
  16. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    I would go with the BK Princess and run a 6" liner down that flue.
  17. meathead

    meathead Feeling the Heat

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    Gotta be Wayne's...which reminds me I have a part ordered there that I need to pick up...just as soon as deer season ends or my tag is filled.

    As the last couple posts have pointed out, with an 8" flue you would be limited to the King model blaze king unless you want to play with adapters and hope it drafts right and doesn't overfire. If you are going to be running a 6" liner anyway, you are good to go with a lot of other options. My only advice is to take your time and do your research, then buy the one your wife wants. My vote, for the record, goes to Jotul - but there is someone here to speak up for every option you'll look into.
  18. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    Look what hes replacing !!!
  19. GrampaDennis

    GrampaDennis New Member

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    Yup. It's Wayne's. I live in the southeast corner of Readfield, about 9 miles out of Augusta. I like your characterization of the Blaze King Stoves.
  20. GrampaDennis

    GrampaDennis New Member

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    My chimney (and the house) was constructed in 2004. The chimney has the 8" x 8" clay tile liner, and is in good condition. I don't understand why I would want to run a 6" liner down it. I'll talk with a stove shop or two, but I was under the assumption that I could just use an adapter at the wall thimble and run 6" pipe from the stove to the adapter. That way, if I should decide later to spring for a stove (Blaze King or other) that requires an 8" flue, I'm still ready.
  21. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Ah yes . . . Satan's Dad -- "Harold."
    weatherguy likes this.
  22. meathead

    meathead Feeling the Heat

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    Chances are you can and it will be fine. I ran my Jotul F600 (6" discharge) into an 8" clay liner for the first year I ran it and it went along more or less fine. The new EPA rated stoves can be pretty finicky, and sometimes an oversized flue will draw harder on the secondary air than is ideal, leading to shorter burn times and more wood eaten at best and a stove that is prone to overfiring at worst. Then again, especially if your chimney is on the short side, it may draft just right as is and you'd never need to think about it except to check the condition of the tiles from time to time.

    I will say, for what it's worth, I have the same stove running into a 6" class A chimney now and I get 1 to 2 more hours of useful heat from very similar fuel source - same wood type, same moisture levels - so as best I can tell it's the chimney that's making the difference.
  23. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    It is all about draft, venting a 6" stove into 8" will kill your draft, you could have smoke spillage when you open your door to load wood. Most of us run a 6" liner, some insulated some not depending on the chimney.
  24. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I forgot to add something very important GrandpaDennis . . . welcome to hearth.com.
  25. meathead

    meathead Feeling the Heat

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    Mellow has a more likely explanation - I should have mentioned my experience is kind of backwards from the normal. Usually a larger chimney doesn't have the draft strength of a decreased flue size. Bottom line is the flue size recommendations are what the manufacturers feel will lead to the best operation from your stove. My vote would be to try whatever you get without a liner first, and add one later if you feel you aren't getting great operation from your stove.

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