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Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by bluedogz, Dec 21, 2011.

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  1. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    So now that I have a proper chimney again, I've devoted a lot of time to making my old smoke dragon work right. I was pleasantly surprised how much heat I could get out of it with good dry wood and a real chimney; the fire is controllable pretty easily with just the primary air dampers on the front, and all-night burns are now doable without drama. I can keep the first floor at 72-75 pretty easily, and can push 80 if I try. Upstairs is a bit more... temperate.

    Anyhow, I am considering replacing this dinosaur with something more modern. I'd like to get longer burn times than the 4-6 hours I am getting now, and maybe use it as a more significant source if heat than I do now. Current install is pretty much freestanding on a purpose-built hearth.

    My house is about 2300sf, 2 floors, center-hall colonial style. Pretty much rectangular with stairs in the center, one additional 'wing' room that actually holds the existing stove.

    Based on browsing here, I am attracted by an Englander NC30, a Woodstock Progress Hybrid, a Napoleon 1600, and a BK Princess. As you might figure, budget is somewhat flexible- the current range is in between "for that price it can't be any good" and "HOW much money?" I expect a pretty good tax refund and the Mrs. has okayed the early stages of stove shopping- though it does need to be 'pretty' for final approval.

    There are few stove shops around here that carry inventory. The largest has gobs of pellet stoves but virtually no wood units. So off to the internet it is.

    As I figure, some of the questions should be:
    - Can it heat that house?
    - Cat/non-cat?
    - Englander= +/- $600-900 or so, Woodstock +/-$2400 or more- I would expect there to be as dramatic a difference as between a Chevette and a Mercedes. Could anyone specify whether that's true?
    - N/S loading I think would be kind of nice, but I'm doing ok now with E/W (I may be over-thinking here...)

    Any thoughts from the gang here would be welcome...

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  2. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Knowing what I know now I would have went cat years ago.
    It's going to cost you more upfront but divide it over 20 years or more and then add back in maybe 30% wood saved over a non cat and you will be ahead.
    The cat really shines in the shoulder season..and if you think about it..that's at least half the battle.
    Trust me..they will crank out the btu's when needed to. I rarely have to do that and I have a fairly big house.
    It's all about keeping the house a uniform temp and staying away from peaks and valleys.
  3. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I agree with almost everything you've posted except the 30% savings, you may save this over a Pre-EPA non cat but unlikely to see that savings over an EPA non cat.
  4. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    You could be right rdust.
    I'm seeing that 30% savings from my old pre epa non cat BKK.

    That said from what I read from people with tube burners is that most of them run hot..shoot their load in 5-8 hours...coals for a few more.
    Seen post of 85-90 in the room where those stoves are...wasteful imo.
    The few houses that I have been in with tube stoves always seem very hot and dry.
    All that said I bet the tube stoves will warm a area pretty fast if need be.
    Really great for part time burners or full time with the right one and operator.
    To me that cat stove seems easier to run.

    To the op..theses are just my opinions about wood stoves..your results may very..lol.

    Anyways whatever you do go one size bigger then needed.
  5. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    HotCoals, I'll have a good compare this season. I ran an Endeavor EPA non cat before this stove and used pretty much 5 cords each season. Only issue is the warm stuff we're seeing this year may screw up my first season compare.
  6. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Will be interesting!
    Used to be the weather man around here would give you heating degree days and seems you could get the total at the end of the season..maybe I'm wrong but you don't hear that talk anymore.
    Sure has been warm...my sleds are getting restless.lol.
  7. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    I haven't even looked at mine this year! We don't even have snow in the UP yet which is crazy...........
  8. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    It is crazy!


    Back on topic..lol.

    Would you rather teach your wife how to run a cat stove or a tube stove..I'm curious to what people would say.
  9. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    I see the op is in the south some..should not take much of a beast to heat there.
    I'm sure the Princess would do a fine job.
    Thing is though with the king and with this weather I'm still doing mostly 24 hr.burns.
    I usually load at around 9-10 at night...if it's colder I might throw 2 small to med splits on before i leave for work at 7am.
    Then before I reload at night I rake the coals forward once or twice and heat that way for maybe two hours or so.
    Sometimes there are pretty good pieces of wood then even...and my reloads are not crammed full..more like 3/4 load.
  10. snowleopard

    snowleopard Minister of Fire

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    You have a center-hall Colonial, with a wing room off to the side. A sketch of the layout would help, but my guess is that location isn't ideal for distributing heat throughout the house. What about, instead of getting a mongo-monster-sized stove, you keep the stove that you can already get a 4-6 hour burn from in the location that you have it. Then add a freestanding stove centrally located--say, next to the stairwell. Depending upon her idea of pretty, a stove that would give you an overnight burn could probably heat that house in the mild Maryland climate 80% of the time, and the other 15% you could supplement with a fire in the dragon or let the backup heat come on. That way you're not spending as much money, or sacrificing as much space, but could keep the house warm zonally.

    It's a paradigm shift that took me awhile to reach. Instead of seeing a one-stove-to-rule-them-all solution, it's more of a `what is the appropriate amount of stove I need to effectively do the job?'. This forum has more of a Tim-the-Toolman-more-power POV, but someone has to be the contrarian here.

    I am heating a two-story 2000sf house in central Alaska with what is essentially a parlor stove, the Hearthstone Heritage. I have never had too-small-a-stove regret, or wished I'd gone with the Blaze King. If I ever added on to this place (bad idea, then the kids would have no motivation to make something of themselves and move out), I would not get a bigger stove, I would get another stove and place it where it could work best.

    It's warm right now (about 24F), and I'm heating the house with just evening fires. Last night's fire burned out overnight, I emptied ashes and laid a fire before I left for work, and my son fired it off when he got home from school. I checked his fire around 7, threw on a split of birch, and it's 70F upstairs, and much warmer downstairs. That's it for that fire--the next one built here will be sometime tomorrow afternoon. When it drops down to -25, -40, then I'm burning 'round the clock, but the stove still keeps up without my having to run it hard. I usually have stovetop temps of 350-450 in extremely cold weather.

    I recommend you consider--just consider--this idea, then take a look at a Fireview, Heritage, or Keystone. Soapstone, in my experience, does a better job evening out the heat in a two-story house.
  11. snowleopard

    snowleopard Minister of Fire

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    Kathleen was going to look into importing a wife from some third-world country and get her trained up right, and I asked her to pick one out for me, too. I would rather mine learned how to keep the flatbed Ford running, hauled water with the truck, ran the chainsaw, and made the kids floss and pick up their socks. Running either stove should be no problem for her. Hey, Kathleen, how's that little project coming?
  12. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    <<quote snipped...>>

    Leopard, your idea is valid and we have the layout to do that. In fact, there are two pre-existing useless fireplaces at the opposite end of the house from the 'wing room' I mentioned that would be ideal for the placement of a second stove.

    The reason I didn't bring up a second stove is that the chimneys that service those fireplaces are unlined. All of the expense and drama associated with lining my other chimney (where the dragon is) made me want to avoid doing it again.

    I am really asking your question, 'what is the appropriate amount of stove I need to effectively do the job?' If it can be done effectively with a $600 NC30, then should we even consider a BK or other?
  13. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    This stove is incredibly easy to operate. My wife picked it up right away.

    I'll see almost half of the wood consumption, can tell even with the mild temps. It's not a totally fair comparison though. The fireplace is gone and I replaced two doors that were major leakers.
  14. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    I am really asking your question, ‘what is the appropriate amount of stove I need to effectively do the job?’ If it can be done effectively with a $600 NC30, then should we even consider a BK or other?

    To answer your question..

    Certainly any stove will work to add heat to your house.
    Notice that I don't ask about how much you want to spend...I was a salesman way back when..lol.


    Questions I would have for you if I were a dealer.

    (1) Conditions of chimneys and how many and where?

    (2) How big is your house...that question should be number 1 maybe.

    (3) Do you wish to heat your whole house or just supplement?

    (4) How long do you expect to have usable heat after a full reload and how many times a day would be ideal for you to load the stove?

    (5) Will there be other people in your house that could run this stove while you're not there?


    My dealer asked me none of the above.
    I would think each question above would bring 5-10 mins of conversation each though.

    Depending on your answers then we could choose some stoves for you of diff types for you to consider..and talk about the pros and cons of each.

    But be aware I will lead you to my higher priced units.
    Actually I'll let you lead yourself to my higher priced units as a good salesman should.
  15. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    Very well said, sir. Notice I didn't name a specific budget, to avoid that blurring the issue.

    1) 2 chimneys, 1 at each end of home. One is in "wing room", other in living room within main living area. Wing room is newly lined 6" SS, opposite is 13x13 terra cotta.

    2) about 2300 sf living space, unfinished basement. Reasonably tight with new doors, double-pane windows, etc.

    3) I'd LIKE to heat the whole house, but the Mrs. is not as committed to wood heat as I am, so let's say "supplement." Know what I mean?

    4) I am currently running on a 4-6 hour reload cycle. It would be nice to see 8-12 hours before having to re-stuff the stove (not sure this is possible... this requirement is flexible.)

    5) Well, yes, but see #3. In fact, I travel for work and school 4-5 days a week. That situation will end in 2012, allowing me to use it more fully next winter.
  16. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    If your going to be a serious 24/7 burner go with either the Woodstock or Blaze king, you'll be glad you did.
  17. fredarm

    fredarm Minister of Fire

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    I note this from your first post: "though it does need to be ‘pretty’ for final approval". That may rule out the BK Princess, depending on what the Mrs. considers "pretty". It also may rule out the NC-30. For "pretty" with longer burn times, and controllability, I don't think you can beat Woodstock. The Pacific Energy Alderlea T6 might also be worth looking at--the cast iron evens out the heat, although perhaps not as much as soapstone.
  18. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    3) I’d LIKE to heat the whole house, but the Mrs. is not as committed to wood heat as I am, so let’s say “supplement.†Know what I mean?

    Yep..supplement but with the ability to heat 24/7 with the stove.
    Smart choice..for sure when there is no power.

    4) I am currently running on a 4-6 hour reload cycle. It would be nice to see 8-12 hours before having to re-stuff the stove (not sure this is possible… this requirement is flexible.)

    It sure is possible.
    When my outside temps avg. 32f or above I can easily load once every 24 hours...below that and I might need to go to 16 or 12 hour burns.
    When it gets really cold and windy I still can usually do 12 hour reloads with no probs.
    I do adjust my reloads to outside temps..allowing myself 2 or 3 hours to rake forward and burn what wood and coal is left before the night reload..that is the only time I burn up excess coals before a reload.
    I empty out fine ash about every 3 weeks.
    I'm not trying to push a BKK on you..any bigger cat stove should be fine,
    For sure tube stoves such as a Lopi Liberty can get the job done nicely also if you prefer that type.
    I just feel the cat stoves do a better job on longer burns and for sure the shoulder season.
  19. Huntindog1

    Huntindog1 Minister of Fire

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    I went and looked at the Blaze King King and was shocked as it is listed as a 40 hour burn time. Amazing!!
  20. Agent

    Agent Member

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    I think the biggest draw to the BlazeKing is how un-intrusive it is in your life compared to most other stoves. You only need to putz with it once a day (maybe twice if it's awefully chilly out), and it even has a little thermostat thing to control heat output.
  21. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    It is, without a doubt, amazingly boring. I'm thinking I should get rid of my furnace in the basement, and get an Englander to have something to mess around with. I need something down there to warm it up a little when I want to do some work.
  22. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    One option is for the price of the Blaze King King you could buy a large and a smaller non-cat and the liner for that other chimney.

    And the hot chocolate for Hogz.
  23. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    I'll probably upset some BKK owners with what I have to say about the t-stat..but oh well..lol.

    You really have to learn where the t-stat needs to be once your into a long burn..like at night.
    It needs to be set at just where it closes...then it will open some when the stove cools some and fire things back up..then close again.
    It is a critical adjustment.

    The other night I had it set just right.
    I came down at 3 in the morning to check things out...I never usually do that..but I was experimenting.
    The stove was ablaze with flames..secondary flames bouncing all over.
    But it did settle down after awhile.
    But instead of a 350-400 stove top temp I was at 500..and to me it burned to much of my wood for the higher outside temps we are having...the house would have been plenty warm enough without that episode.
    For now on I'll do what I normally do and set the t-stat back to one or less so that will not happen.
    That said when it gets very cold out I do set it so that it will be effective.
    Believe it or not the t-stat is not all that sensitive..I'm thinking I really should say not fast enough..opening and closing times.. and I could live fine without it.

    I'm really interested to see how it operates with a OAK.
    WindandSolar says it works nice in his install.
  24. snowleopard

    snowleopard Minister of Fire

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    I have a `tube stove', and the idea of overheating one room to provide heat in the rest of the house is not an accurate scenario. For most of last winter, the house was so evenly heated I could have been on a thermostat: 70 downstairs, 68 up, even with large temp fluctuations outside. I think the soapstone makes the difference.

    I would not consider a BK in that application, based on my experience. It would be serious overkill. And trust me on this one, even the Princess ain't no princess. They seem to be magnificent stoves, but I've never seen one picked for its looks.

    I would not reflexively pick a stove and then go one size up; I'd pick the right-sized stove for that application. But as I mentioned above, you'll find that viewpoint in the small minority here.

    I have never been through the lining of a chimney, so I can't address drama or expense. I do know that getting holes punched in my house to put chimney through was dramatic, traumatic, and expensive, but I would do it again. (In spite of their having sent out an employee to do a pre-check and approve the spot I picked out, the actual installer nixed the spot and I had about 20 minutes to get a different spot chosen for the stove. High drama indeed.) I get enough heat thrown off that stovepipe that comes through my upstairs living-room that it's like having another heater in the house, and I would do it again. But, yeah. If you save a few thou on a stove, would that offset the price of the liner?

    I'd say just keep on doing what you are doing. Ask a zillion questions. Put stove-sized boxes in various spots in the house. Walk through the house carrying burning incense sticks and a flashlight muttering to yourself and watch the air currents. Look at all the stoves out there. Do not rush the decision. It's a miserable process at times, but in the end, it's very much worth it.

    Yes, you can get an 8-10 hour burn and even longer useable heat out of a stove--I do it all the time. My son is in school, and I am at work all day. I find the stove radiating heat hours after the fire died, and that never happened for me before I had a stoner. Our house is about 15% smaller than yours, but our climate harsher and we do it with birch and poplar and spruce--woods that many burners on this forum wouldn't waste their time cutting up and stacking. I would pick the Hearthstone again--couldn't be happier with it. However, Woodstock is throwing a heck of a sale right now: $1895 Fireviews, and 30% off Keystones and Palladians. And it's right down there in the Lower 48 with you--you could probably drive there in a couple-three hours and pick it up yourself. Now those are pretty stoves. Just saying.

    And yeah, many of us here started out planning on doing supplemental heating. I did. Then when my boiler failed last January, I went into a full-fetal-position panic, until someone here pointed out that all I had to do to was keep on doing what I was already doing. I did, and it worked. Boiler still hasn't been replaced.

    Seven a.m. in this time zone, and my alarm just rang. Time to hit the ground running. Best of luck with you on the decision.
  25. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Yep..and if burning more wood is your goal you're on track!
    Probably be able to get the house up to 100F that way!
    I know..I know...just run both when needed.
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