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Seeking Advice, Looking to Buy.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by scjfly, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. scjfly

    scjfly New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Hello everyone!

    Just signed up and I've got to say this is a great forum, very informative! Thanks to all of you with the answers that take time to help out.

    I live in an old brick home in eastern Idaho. 1300 sq ft main level with a basement of the same size. I'm wanting to put a wood stove in the basement because there is easy access to a block chimney. I am looking for advice as to suggested brands/models of freestanding wood stoves. I'm not commited to this house so if I end up spening a lot of money, i'd like to be able to take the stove with me.

    With the above info, hopefully you will be able to point me in a direction. I was originally drawn to the Oslo 500 at a local dealer, but am concerned about maintanance and moving it as it is cast (not the weight so much as durability). Do you really need to rebuild them often or after you move them?

    Here is a list of brands in my area. Please let me know if you heard anything really good or bad about a brand.

    Jotul
    Hampton
    Regency
    Excalibur
    Enviro
    Blaze King
    Lennox
    Lopi
    Pacific Energy

    I don't mind spending more, but are there good efficient stoves at a discount?

    Thanks in advance,

    clark

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,144
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Jotul makes good strong stoves. There's no reason to worry about moving it as long as the stove is not abused in the process. Looks like you have lots of good choices to select from. The real question is whether the stove would be appropriate for the new location if you moved. Basement heating of the first floor can be hit or miss. If the walls of the basement are uninsulated and if the heat has a poor passage to upstairs, this could be an unsatisfying experience that would have you buying a stove twice the size just to make the upstair feel the heat. But if the stove is somewhat central in an open and insulated basement and near the stairway then it can work.

    Yes, there are several good quality economy stove lines. You will often see Englander discussed here. In the Pacific Energy line there is the True North TN19. Drolet and Napoleon are a couple others.
  3. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,207
    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    I wouldn't bat an eye lash with any of the brands you mentioned . . . but I am an unabashed Oslo lover . . . it may not be the perfect stove, but it is wicked reliable in terms of maintenance . . . in 4 years or so I haven't done anything to it other than cleaning out the ashes.
  4. scjfly

    scjfly New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    It's a little of both. The basement isn't insulated well, but there are plenty of air paths to the main level. Like a dummy, I tore out all the old forced air vents and return lines so now there are at least two ducts to each room upstairs. Also the ceiling isn't finished and the upstairs floor is hardwood. I was thinking that in my situation it would work well to have the stove downstairs.

    There are too many stove options for a newbie like me to navigate so I've arbitrarily limited my search to 3 models. The Blaze King, Jotul Oslo, and the Englander from Home Depot. They seem very different and definitely have different price points. If you were in the scenario I have described, which one would you consider? Is bigger better? Are the three I listed similar in performance?

    I apologize for my questions as it is difficult to ask the appropriate and intelligent questions when I'm so ignorant on the subject.

    Thanks again
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    48,144
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    You've listed two mtgs and only one specific model. I would be patient and take a few days at least to learn what is in between. You'll need to oversize the stove by 25-30% for heating from an uninsulated basement. There are confounding factors like cost, firebox shape, maintenance, etc. that should be considered. Issues of clearance and hearth requirements are not a big deal in an all cement basement but they may make a stove less desirable when moved.

    What's your budget?
  6. scjfly

    scjfly New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Please correct me if any of my reasoning is flawed ;)

    The more I think about it, burn time and sizing the stove correctly (heat output) seem to be the two biggest factors for me. Does this point me towards the BK King? My understanding is that I would have the widest range of cruise temps available with this cat stove? Is this correct? What are the downsides of the BK besides the extra cost and cat mx?

    I grew up with a wood stove and love them. The key is getting one my wife doesn't mind tending if I'm out of town. I know she won't mind the work, but doesn't want to be a slave to the stove either. Would the BK be easier or harder for a rookie?

    Thanks again for your patience!
  7. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    1,324
    Loc:
    Central Va
    Yes, I think so. The BKK is just about the largest firebox you can buy, and it definitely sports the longest burn time.


    Yes, cat stoves are better at burning cleanly at low settings, which gives longer burns. BK's seem to be the best at this. Some think it's due to the thermostatic air control. . .I think it's due to Alien Technology® that is beyond the ability of our puny human brains to fully understand. ;)

    That said, a big Kuma, made in your neck of the woods, might make a nice second choice. Here are the big cats that I know of:

    http://kumastoves.com/index.php?dispatch=products.view&product_id=15

    http://www.buckstove.com/wood/model91.html

    http://www.americanenergysystems.com/model-bbf.cfm

    http://www.highvalleystoves.com/stove2500.php

    http://www.countryhearthllc.com/catalog_3.html


    That's pretty much it, and I hear the cost out west isn't that bad. Some people don't like the looks, but I'm guessing that this would be a non-issue in an unfinished basement. One thing to consider is that the BKK requires an 8" flue pipe, but so does every other Jumbo cat stove. You're install probably = dropping a liner pipe down your block chimney, so make sure that an 8" pipe will fit. Insulating the pipe might be a good idea too; BK's seem to be pretty sensitive to draft.

    I don't own/operate one, but my impression from all the reports here is that the BK is as close to an automatic furnace as a woodstove gets. I'd say it's a no-brainer, if you have the $ and the space, as long as the 8" flue isn't a problem.
  8. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Those are all good solid brands I agree with begreen Jotul is a solid stove. Because you want to heat from the basement you want a good long burn time if possible and the two longest will most likely be Blaze King and Woodstock soapstone. Both are great stoves and companies ! Another good company is England Stove Works they make a bunch of stoves at a good price point. There are many users here who use all of the brands you listed and have good reviews of them. I personally use a Jotul Rangeley non cat and love it ! You will have a learning curve no matter what you use and to be honest tube stoves and cat stoves are both easy to operate. The real difference is cat stoves go longer on a load. Woodstock soapstone stoves put out heat for a long time because of the sheer mass of stone and actually combine tube and cat tech on the there new stove the Progress Hybrid. Just bear in mind to go larger if your trying to heat from the basement due to heat being lost through the walls.

    Good luck
    Pete
  9. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

  10. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    Messages:
    8,426
    Loc:
    So Cent ALASKA
    Any stove has a learning curve to it.

    I've only had BKKs
    Many Alaskans have them, they are for heat , efficiency& clean burning. (not the prettiest stove out there)
    (accent on heat)
    Other stoves have the same, heat efficiency & clean burning, but not the long heat cycles with out a reload
    Since I got my BKK (catalytic), I've had a warm house & used less wood than with the non cat stove.

    Good stove. Spendy compared to some, but sometimes there are energy credits out there that can help offset the cost.
    The wood burned savings will add up every year. Your state has some energy & tax credits, worth checking into ;)
    http://energy.idaho.gov/financialassistance/taxdeductions.htm

    Down side for some is the black glass when burning on lower setting in shoulder season.
    But I get almost 2 days worth of heat from a load then, it's in the basement & no issue for me.
    May have to open a window for a while if over 50° out, to cool down some, but the furnace don't run if the stove is burning.

    I recommended to a few friends here, they love it too. A Heat dragon ;)

    Been in the tens at night, 24 hour of heat from 1 load of birch is the norm now.
    Still have room to crank out more heat for the cold times if needed, but only 12 to 14 hour burn times when around 0 °.

    good luck

    PS:
    Get some wood yesterday, get it stacked & drying . New EPA stoves like & work really well with good well seasoned dry wood ;)
    Pallet Pete likes this.
  11. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    That goes for all EPA stoves must use dry wood ! 20% or less moisture.

    Pete

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