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Stove selection reassurance and other newbie Qs

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Leslielou, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Leslielou

    Leslielou New Member

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    Hi all!

    Today, my husband and I bought a free standing wood stove. Some back story: I have never had wood heat, but Tom grew up with it. His parents have a stove and he was the primary fire builder when living there. There's 80 acres of hardwood Forrest in the family in eastern Ohio, which is where our wood is coming from. Our house has 2600 sq ft in 2 stories with a walk out basement, adding 1400 sq ft. Built in '05 with fairly good insulation. Stove will be installed on first floor. We do also have a heat pump, but would like stove to be most of our heat. We typically keep our thermostat at 64.

    So...?s
    Bought a PE summit. Went back and forth between this and DW lg...did we make a good choice? Tried to read reviews and knew my I laws were not completely happy with their hartman(?)
    Will this stove be sufficient for our heating needs?
    There's wood that's been sitting, cut, but not split. We have no idea how much we should cut and we really only have now to early nov to do it in. Any suggestions? Next spring, we can be significantly more prepared.
    Dealer said we'd need to install on first floor to get sufficient heat to second floor. Basement installation would leave second floor cold. Is this accurate?

    Thanks in advance! I've read and learned a bit already from this forum

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  2. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    The first floor install is ideal. The Summit is a fantastic choice. PE stoves are top notch, and their big stove is likely a good fit for you.

    Wood doesn't really dry until it is split. You will struggle with less than ideal wood, but do all you can to get ahead for next winter. Get a moisture meter, and try to buy some dry wood. It's getting late, but if you can find something close to dry, you can supplement it with pallet wood, or eco bricks or similar. You'll probably need 4-5 cords to heat 24/7.

    Another option would be to find someone that has truly dry wood and work out a swap. Where exactly are you?
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like you are off to a good start. The main fly in the ointment is the wood. It won't start drying until it's split and stacked. Modern stoves really like dry wood. The difference when burning is significant.
    ScotO and Backwoods Savage like this.
  4. firewoodjunky

    firewoodjunky Member

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    While I do not own a PE Summit, I have read some very glowing comments about Pacific Energy. I'd say that you have a fine stove.

    Get going on getting that wood stacked! :) The first year or two (or three) is a TON of work, but if you can get a solid 2 or 3 years ahead of the game, it makes life soooo much easier. You get nicely seasoned wood and no more worries about not having enough, or not ordering enough, etc.

    Also, worst case scenerio, if you have another heat source as an option, use woodstove this first year as a supplemental heat source, that way you get used to the stove operation and are not fighting using wet wood and getting frustrated. THEN, next year use it as your primary when your wood levels are more prepared.
  5. Leslielou

    Leslielou New Member

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    We live in western union county, but our wood is currently adjacent to Mohican state park. If anyone is between here and there, or close, we have plenty of wood to offer.

    My FIL has maybe one cord of dry wood. We just helped him split last weekend. So, sounds like that's a no go. this is his normal splitting time. It sounds like there must be a fairly significant difference between our stoves? There's is approx 15-20 yrs old and is a Harman.
  6. Leslielou

    Leslielou New Member

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    We do have a heat pump, so we may be turning that thing on, worst case scenario. It's nice to know we won't freeze, but I'll hate to have those electric bills for another winter :)

    For wood to season, does it have to be in full sun? I read another thread briefly on this topic, but location of seasoning wasn't really discussed.

    My FIL usuualky just rents a splitter...any suggestions on splitting? Is renting the right way to go?

    It's a good thing my boys love the woods, it sounds like we will be there a lot in the spring!
  7. firewoodjunky

    firewoodjunky Member

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    I would imagine that a splitter would be nice. I use a Fiskars splitter (it's a really effective maul), so I split by hand. I see that you posted that you had boys (plural), if you wanted to reduce your start up costs, put them to work - they can take shifts, cutting, hauling, splitting, possibly hauling again, stacking.

    Stack your wood off the ground (I use pallets cut in half), full sun definitely won't hurt, but wind is the most important. Single stack will help also i.e. ( ------- single stack, ======= double stack).
  8. Leslielou

    Leslielou New Member

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    We have constant wind. I've cursed it in the past, because it can e so strong that its uncomfortable to be in the back yard, but maybe I'll learn to love it.

    Yes, my boys are 4& 6. They spent last sat loading unloading and stacking. I was shocked that they stuck with it all day. I hope they work as good for me as they did for papa!

    I'm not sure where I can get pallets...I assume I could use 2x4s in a pallets place?
  9. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    It sounds like you are off to a very good start. Wood is the main concern here. However, with that much wood back there, I have to imagine there is a good amount of dead standing mixed in so I'd suggest going in and targeting those this fall. Often times at least the tops of those will be pretty dry and may be good to burn. Armed with a moisture meter you should be able to sort out which is good and which needs more time as you go.

    You are fortunate to have the boys to help - I can't wait for my kids to get old enough to assist.
  10. Leslielou

    Leslielou New Member

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    What moisture level is optimal and what is acceptable? Also, are there specific species I should target?
    I know there's dead ash, thanks emerald ash borer.
    ETA: found another thread that states 18% moisture as target?

    There is definitely standing deadwood. There are also trees that have been either cut down or have fallen down for years and years.

    I will look in to a moisture meter
  11. firewoodjunky

    firewoodjunky Member

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    Jump on that standing dead ash. That would be your best bet. I don't use a meter, but under 20 is good.

    Also, you can use anything to get the stacked wood off of the ground. If it's a couple of inches up, that will reduce your creepy/crawly infestation levels. But I wouldn't worry too much as long as it is off of the ground - pipes, 2x4's, saplings.
  12. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Most of the standing dead ash that I have checked was around 25%. Not ideal, but burnable. It seems to dry rather quickly, so start working on it today.
  13. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    Well, 4&6 I suppose give them a little more time to grow into the role :) Good that they are helping already though.

    Pallets you can pick up in different places - I have gotten some at hardware stores. If you see some near the dumpsters ask if you can take any - often there are some that they return for deposit and others that they don't care about. I get most now from a landscape supply that does rock/bricks and they have a pretty good supply of very strong ones.

    Wind is good - well, as long as your stacking skills are solid, if not you will get more practice to improve them... But in any case wind really is good for drying out the wood.
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    +1 That's what I would start with. EPA stoves require drier wood than the old Harman does. But the results are worth it. You will use less wood, a hotter fire and have a cleaner chimney when burning dry wood. Ash burns well with less drying time. Split it and put the freshly split face of the wood against your cheek. If it feels cool and damp it will need some curing time, if it feels dry then it could be good to go. Also, bang a couple medium sized splits together. If the go clunk or thud, the wood is damp. If they ring with a musical note (like klaves) then the wood is probably dry.
  15. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    The biggest thing with a modern EPA wood stove is to get ahead on your wood supply. Burn seasoned wood and you will be fine.

    That has been said many times but it is very important.
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Second biggest need is to have adequate draft on the flue. EPA stoves need this to pull the air through the secondary preheat manifold(s).
    corey21 likes this.
  17. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter Minister of Fire

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    Hi & welcome, as was stated, go after the Ash first, tops & limbs might be in pretty decent shape to burn shortly. Lay down anything for now to keep your wood up off the ground. Saplings are usually the quickest way if your supply is fairly close. Wind is your friend when drying wood. You may need to reorganize a bit next year, but do what you have to for now. Also if I may ask, are you considering cutting through the winter? If the ground is frozen or dry, winter cutting is great. No bugs, Ivy, or other distractions. A little snow cover is nice for dropping trees on & not getting the saw chain in the dirt. Just a few thoughts. Hope that new stove causes you to have to open a window in January.:) A C
  18. Leslielou

    Leslielou New Member

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    How do I know if I will have adequate draft?

    We hadn't thought of cutting in the winter, but it's an option...not sure my little helpers would be up for that task:) I do like no bugs tho...the big brown spidies that hide in the wood are my least favorite...they're soo big!

    Thanks for the tips on IDing dry vs wet wood! Very helpful.
  19. Leslielou

    Leslielou New Member

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    I'm past the point of mods having to check my posts *yay*

    And, I hope you're right on needing to open a window. That'll be a vast improvement over a $600 electric bill and freezing my toosh off
  20. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I have yet to have to open a window from overheating the place, but we sure are saving on the heating bill.

    Besides all this, there is something just really nice about the heat from a stove that makes you want to be near it - makes one of the joys of winter, never said that about my oil heat and I somehow suspect you don't think of your electric that way either :)
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The draft will depend on the length of the entire flue system and whether it goes straight up or has 90º turns in it. An ideal setup for this stove would be a straight-up, 16ft or taller flue system. You would notice poor draft when burning dry wood if there is a lot of smoke spilling out the door when you open it (do this slowly and open the air control first). Another symptom would be poor burning with good dry wood.
  22. Leslielou

    Leslielou New Member

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    We have to go thru a wall and then the flue will be 2 stories tall. Would it be better to have 45s than 90s?

    Slow1, I regularly snuggle in the basement by my air handler reading or listening to prairie home companion. However, I do think the stove will give me a sense of peace that the central air just cannot provide :p

    I agree that there's something special about a fire burning. Now, I won't have to go to my inlaws for it!
  23. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    I used to listen to PHC alot. I still like the Tales From Lake Woebegon
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Did they mention the amount of class A (exterior) piping they will be using in the estimate?

    You should be ok with a 90º going into a proper, class A, 2 story chimney if it's over 22 ft in total height. The connector pipe on the stove should go up a few feet at least before making the 90º turn. How well this will perform is going to depend to a certain extent on other factors like the house and flue location, surrounding terrain and outside temperature.
  25. Leslielou

    Leslielou New Member

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    Its listed as 2 story (not a specific height) and will be 2 ft above our highest peak. It will definitely be 22ft tall to meet that requirement and will be class a.

    We live on the top of a hill with strong wind from the west. The flue will be located at the southwest corner of the house.
    I'd post a picture, but I don't think i can yet?

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