After much research, we dropped over $3300 on a soapstone stove. As if by some government conspiracy, the majority of posts made mention of how warm the stoves were, especially after the fires went out. Terms like "gentle heat" and "high efficiency" were thrown around a lot. Sounded too good to be true. When I talked to other soapstone owners face-to-face, I got a much different story about owning a soapstone stove. It is general nature that people who spend a lot of money on a single purchase develop a mechanism for justifying their purchase. Like that $1200 exercise bike you never use, or that new $45,000 pickup truck that gets 8.8mpg, when you should have spent $22,000 on a truck that gets 22mpg. Very few people are willing to admit they are wrong. Me, on the other hand, will confess when I have made mistakes. And this stove was an expensive disappointment. I am not going to write a tome here (although it is starting to look like one, isn't it?), but will share my factual experience with the soapstone stove. Our home is about 1850sq ft. The chimney is correct, has excellent updraft, and is insulated double wall pipe. Our previous stove was steel plate, from 1988, and could swallow a 18" log without complaining. For over 20 years it heated the house well. Maybe, TOO WELL. Because it didn't have a glass window, we adjusted the damper based on the surface temperature of the top of the stove. Burn temps easily maintained 475 degrees, right where I like it. Throughout the winter, even when it was -15*F outside, we felt like we lived in a super warm house. Short sleeve shirts were the norm. So, why did we replace it? The baffle inside of it fatigued from years of service, and was not replaceable. No matter how you attempted to reposition it to remove it, there was no way to because the stove was welded together. So, off we went to the internet to find a new stove. The soapstone stove we chose was attractive, pricey, and promised several things: 1. ease of operation 2. increased wood burning efficiency over the steel plate stove 3. better emissions & less creosote 4. radiant heat, and heat that would last past the time the fire burned out Ok. Sounds great, right? Lemme grab my check book............ The stove arrived. Installed it with new pipe (not inexpensive), and we are ready for WINTER 2014! I performed the break-in burns according to the owners manual. Three gentle small fires to work the moisture out of the soapstone, and season the iron (and also to cure the enamel finish). Much like realizing that your flaw-ridden 2013 Volkswagen will never.....EVER be as good as your 1977 Chevy, this stove taught me a few things. Innovations are good, but with their shortcomings. I'll go down my short list: 1. Ease of operation: Door latch squeaky after 1st month of use. Dealer said it was normal. I ended up oiling it with MILITEC lubricant EVERY WEEK to keep the door hardware from wearing out from friction. And we are to own this for 15+ years? The damper adjustment started making a metal-on-metal high friction grinding noise the 4th month in use. More oiling, and using graphite flake to quiet it. Other than that, it was a pretty easy going stove to live with (as long as you have ME living with you, to keep on top of it). 2. increased wood burning efficiency over the steel plate stove: Its true. It burned about 30% less wood than "old reliable." And a lot of it I lend to the ability to visually monitor the fire through the glass, and the air tubes above the fire that supplied air for more efficient combustion. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT 3. better emissions & less creosote: Chimney pipe has a light grey dust on the inside surfaces, looks INCREDIBLY CLEAN (as does the chimney cap), especially when comparing it to the creosote scale and buildup the old stove produced. All wood under 11% moisture (some under 8%), and seasoned to perfection. And now, my point of contention: 4. radiant heat, and heat that would last past the time the fire burned out. This deserves a new paragraph. The stove DOES make heat.....kinda. It just doesn't heat a house like the old steel plate stove did. It takes 90 minutes at full burn for the soapstones to even consider warming up. There's a load of good hardwood wasted. Then you watch your surface thermometer slowly go past 300*F, on its way to 400*F. In your mind you think......"I had better not touch the soapstone surface....'might burn myself." Then, like an idiot, I did. Oh, the disappointment. At a 475*F surface temp, you can hold your hand 1/2" above the soapstones, and feel ....literally.....a "gentle heat." And that is my problem here. The heat is gentle......TOO gentle. Even with a fan aimed directly at the stove to circulate air around it, the stove did not.....and I repeat....did NOT provide heat like the old stove it. Rooms at the ends of the house that would be 71+*F now were 63*F, and that was when the sun was out. Not to sound too much like a member of Monty Python, but you could put this thing in the middle of the playroom at a child daycare and have difficulty warming milk with it. WHEN YOU OPEN THE LOADING DOOR: you are reminded of the power and brilliance of F-I-R-E. Because, you are feeling all that heat that you should have been feeling through the "miracle" of soapstone. All of that clean, incredibly efficient burn. Feels wonderful. But when you close the door, it all goes away. It burns so cleanly, and so efficiently......BUT ALL THE HEAT GOES UP THE CHIMNEY. The soapstone isn't intended for heat over 525*F, to avoid cracking the stones. You would figure at 475*F, we would be opening the windows a bit, taking off our turtlenecks, and sending the cat to the neighbor's house......but, sadly, no. I am so annoyed with soapstone, that I wrote a poem about it. Soapstone stove You heat Mother Nature's toes So well. We have heated the house with this from late October to March. It does in fact hold heat through the overnight........but it is rather disappointing. And now its time to get rid of it. I am not too proud. I made a mistake. I will accept the monetary loss. And the new stove will be 1. ugly, 2. less expensive, and 3. steel plate or cast iron.