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Seeking stove advice for new homeowners.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by BmoreWarm, May 2, 2013.

  1. BmoreWarm

    BmoreWarm New Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2013
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Baltimore
    Hello! New member, new homeowner, and in the market for a wood stove for the home. In my research, I was linked to this message board and found a lot of great info. Figured I'd see what advice everyone here might have to offer us newbies. We live in Baltimore and our main source for heat is our buderas boiler. Our house is almost 100 years old, and not the best insulated home on the block. To offset our oil costs, we're hoping to find an efficient wood stove to install in our living room that we would use regularly during the winter.

    We've done some research, but we are rather overwhelmed with everything that is available on the market and hope that folks here could provide a few recommendations. Ideally, we'd like to get an EPA approved model, but that is not necessarily a deal breaker.

    The main living area that we want to heat is approximately 350 square feet. These rooms can be closed off by French doors, so we figure we can trap a good bit of warmth in there. Ideally we'd also like to be able to heat the rest of the first floor of our house, which is a total of 1000 square feet, give or take.

    One model that we are attracted to is the Avalon Camano. From what I've found online, this model is in the ballpark of $2500-3000. That's pretty much at the top end of our budget, and since it is not on the EPA list in MD, we would not be eligible for the clean burning wood stove grant that is offered by the state. Bummer. Blaze King Chinook looks great too, but from what I've read here, the price jumps quite a bit simply by us being on the east coast. Aesthetically, that's what we're after, but we are obviously open to suggestion.

    We've attached a floor plan of the living area mentioned. We spend most of our time in the family room, and provided two spots we think the stove could work. As far as installation, can the stove be vented into our existing chimney? Can it be vented out of an exterior wall, or does it need to be vented through the roof?

    Thanks!
    - BmoreWarm


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  2. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Welcome.

    When figuring your budget, keep in mind that the chimney can cost as much as the stove. And I'm sure someone will be along to tell you to get some wood stacked up now that you may be able to burn next winter.

    Here's another example
    http://www.pacificenergy.net/pacificenergy/fusion.php
  3. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    4,174
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    Central PA
    If you are planning to use the stove for a significant portion of your heating, then long burn times are the number one feature you are looking for. I think a catalytic stove is the way to go because you can get long, clean, low burns. I wouldn't limit yourself only to the closest stove shop or two. Find the stove you want and then worry about where to buy it. A lot of people love Woodstock stoves, and blaze kings are well known for long burns.
  4. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    CT
    As of 2013 the distribution for Blaze King stoves has changed. There now should be very little difference in East/West distribution costs. I read the same threads u read when researching BK and I eventually called BK themselves for the low down. There was a problem in East vs. West, now there is not. I just had a BK Princess Insert installed.... go check their stoves and give them a call if you have questions. Very responsive, GL!
  5. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    BK fixed their West vs. East distribution cost problem in 2013. I wouldn't count them out...heck I just bought one. ;p GL.
  6. BmoreWarm

    BmoreWarm New Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2013
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    Loc:
    Baltimore
    Thanks for the input. That's good to hear about BK distribution. I'll spend more time looking at the BKs.

    I found the Englander VL-17 online. The price has me intrigued, but everything I've seen online as far as installs, it looks rather small. It boasts 1200 sq ft for heating area, and reviews on Home Depot's website sound promising. Can anyone here vouch for this stove?
  7. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    I would have a certified chimney sweep come by and look at your chimney to see if it can be lined and is usable, you can only run 1 appliance per flue so the boiler would have to go if used on the same flue for a wood stove. Most of the time lining an existing chimney is cheaper than installing a new one. Once you figure that out then you can look for stoves.

    The chimney is #1 priority.
  8. BmoreWarm

    BmoreWarm New Member

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    Loc:
    Baltimore
    Thanks Mellow. Boiler is staying, we still plan to use the radiators in the house (just hopefully much less with a stove installed). Sounds like we would have to do a through-the-wall installation for the stove chimney. Great info, thank you!
  9. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Someone in that house has the same mid-century modern tastes my wife does. $$$ haha.
  10. Dave A.

    Dave A. Minister of Fire

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    The boiler might be able to be direct vented -- out a wall (the stove certainly can't).
    Correction: should have said POWER vented (not direct) out a wall for the boiler, freeing up the chimney for the stove flue. But from what I'm reading power vents don't always work well with oil unless the burner is well maintained.
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    The vl-17 is a tiny stove. They will not have any extended burn times often associated with heating 24/7. Heating 1000+ sqft of low insulated house and wanting a 24/7 heater should send you looking at stoves with a firebox of 2.2+. I, personally would be looking for something 2.5+. Even if looking at a cat or hybrid stove, I would stick to a 2.2+ cuft box.
  12. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    Since you will be doing a Class A install check this online planner out to get an idea on what you will need: http://www.selkirkcorp.com/installation-planners/supervent-2100.aspx

    Straight up is going to be cheaper, but not always doable. If you have a professional install this you will need to budget more for your chimney install as you will be more in the $4000-$5000 range with a stove (depending on stove).
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The VL17 is a great small stove but at 1.6 cu ft, the Camano has almost 50% more firebox capacity than the VL17. That will mean longer burn times and the difference between feeding the stove every 4-6 hrs vs every 6-8 hrs..There is also the slightly smaller 1.4 cu ft Regency Altera 1200.

    I would look at a BK Chinook 20 or a Woodstock Keystone if you want a nice longer burning catalytic stove for lower fire, longer burn times.

    And yes, if you don't already have it, order 2-3 cords of dry wood now. Stack it off the ground so that the prevailing winds can blow through the stack and avoid oak for this load (it takes 2-3 yrs to dry), if you can.
  14. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    In a 350 sq ft room with normal height ceilings you don't really want a high output BTU stove

    can't / shouldn't share a chimney

    single zone furnace with thermostat in same room as stove ?
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum BmoreWarm.

    My first impression is why are you thinking of heating only 350 sq ft? That is too small of an area to heat with wood! First floor of the house is 1000 sq ft and that can be heated easily with many wood stoves.

    On the chimney, we have a through-the-wall chimney. Just have to make sure you have some rise to that horizontal section. Code calls for 1/4" minimum per foot of horizontal. We went 1/2" or more and have no problems. We also do not have the chimney in a chase.

    For heat we have a Woodstock Fireview which is just a tad larger than the Keystone that BeGreen mentioned. We easily get a 12 hour burn without roasting ourselves out. Still, we keep our house temperature at 80 degrees or more all winter and love it. We could keep it cooler or could even get it hotter as it is easy to adjust heat with the Fireview and good wood. And fwiw, when we installed the Fireview we found we now use less than 50% of the amount of wood we used with our old stove and are heating more space. In addition, we rarely clean our chimney and get zero creosote. But also, we have good wood.

    Ah, the fuel!!!!! Don't make the common mistake of putting in the stove then looking for the fuel. If you do this you will have some bad problems to contend with. As Begreen stated, you need to get next winter's wood on hand as soon as possible and stack it outside in the wind. Don't wait on this! In addition, stay away from oak your first couple years of burning because oak needs more time to dry.

    One more word of warning. If you plan on buying wood, all wood sellers will praise their wood and convince you that it is prime. It won't be. You can count on that and if you search through this forum you will find numerous postings about poor wood that people have bought even after told it was "seasoned" and ready to burn. Or check in on the Wood Shed part of hearth.com for more information on wood. You won't be sorry.

    Good luck to you.
  16. BmoreWarm

    BmoreWarm New Member

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    Loc:
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    We really appreciate all the responses this post is getting. Clearing up a lot of questions and getting us pointed in the right direction. The living areas (350 sq ft) are where we spend the majority of our time, we were most concerned with heating this area, but we obviously underestimated the potential that these new wood stove models have. Heating the entire first floor is something we'll likely aim for. Considering the cost of install, we'd much rather opt for a model that can we can benefit most from. The BK Chinook is looking more and more appealing.

    The thermostat is in the family room, and yes this is a single zone furnace.

    Jags, that is great info regarding fire box size, and exactly the kind of advice we're looking for. As is everyone's suggestion of getting wood sooner than later, totally makes sense and not something I would have made a priority without hearing it here first.

    We still have a lot of research to do, but all these posts are great and helping out tremendously. Thank you!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  17. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    350 sq ft, an insert will do, any larger get the stove
  18. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    One more vote for jumping on the wood supply now. I probably have enough good dry 1-2 year old maple and yellow birch already stacked to carry me thru most of the next 2 winters as a weekend burner, but I put my renovations are on hold for a couple weeks while I scrounge up more, now that the snow is pretty much gone. Really hoping to get 3 years ahead if I can. Fighting with a crappy wood supply is a real buzz kill for a prospective burner.
  19. Nimrod1911

    Nimrod1911 Member

    Joined:
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    I recently purchased a stove myself. After much research, I narrowed it down to a few that I like:
    1) Woodstock Soapstone (We opted for the Progress Hybrid, but we have a much larger house to heat)
    2) Blaze King (We were looking at the Princess model....very long burns, great reviews)
    3) Englander NC-30 (this is a secondary burn stove....not fancy but priced right and receives good reviews....would give you plenty of heat but wasn't enough for my purposes)
    We have only had a few fires in my Soapstone stove but we love it. Can't wait until next burn season. If you don't get one with long burn times (12 hours or more) then I would consider just finding a used Pre-EPA stove. We stepped up to a Cat stove to avoid the frequent reloads....and hopefully cut down on the amount of wood used. I can tell that I met those goals already.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.

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