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Suggestions on used freestanding stove for use as shop heater?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by mitakuuluu, Jan 17, 2008.

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  1. mitakuuluu

    mitakuuluu New Member

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    This is my first post on here so take it easy on me :)

    Recently purchased a Vistaflame VF100 insert for our fireplace in our 1960's era 1400sqft house. Working great and keeping us toasty warm at 70-72F. Going through about 1 bag of pellets a day; or $4.19, as compared to at least $10/day when we were running our old electric forced air system (even though it never got warmer than 65F).

    Anyhow, since I now have one pellet-burning appliance, figure it might be getting close to the time to add some heat in the garage/shop as well. The shop is about 500sqft and basically uninsulated. Dimensions are 25'x20'x12' peak; concrete slab foundation and plywood lap siding. I plan on insulating eventually but not until summer, or at least until I get some heat in so it's bearable to work.

    I'm in Oregon so winter temps are not too cold - usually about 45F high and 35F low, with lots of rain. Coldest it'll ever get is about 20F. I want to be able to have the ability to get temps up into the 70's and 80's to speed up curing on paints & finishes.

    Looking for suggestions on stoves to put in that won't break the bank ($400-600 range for the stove, and another $200ish for the vent kit). From all I've heard, don't get a Kozi, but otherwise, what brands/models would be a good fit in there? Whitfield Advantage II circa 1995 has been recommended.

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  2. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Does this shop / garage have vehicles in it, or combustible gasses. You should check with the local inspector about restrictions of installing a solid fuel appliance in a garage. Most places it is not legal.
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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  4. mitakuuluu

    mitakuuluu New Member

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I was not aware of that restriction.

    The garage/shop is not attached to the main house, and I use it primarily as a workshop and to store a wooden boat. However, it *could* be used to store vehicles, as it is basically a 2-car garage.

    Having dealt with some incredible asshattery from our local permits department on a simple fireplace insert install, I'm 110% positive they wouldn't allow a stove in the garage if there's even an inkling of conflict with a code.
  5. mitakuuluu

    mitakuuluu New Member

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    In light of Lowe's having nice stoves on clearance for $598 + $98 for the vent kit, I'm going to go ahead and check with the local building department on Monday. As long as the inspector has to come back out to re-inspect the previous install, might as well ask him about the possibility of putting one in the garage. I'm guessing that the same guy does most/all of the fuel-burning appliance inspections.

    I don't want to blow myself or my garage up, but it would be nice to be able to work in there more than 4 months out of the year.
  6. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    In all honesty I plan on installing a pellet stove not only in my woodworking shop but also in my auto shop. No, I won't be running the installations past any inspectors! lol Is this potentially dangerous? Yes!

    This seems to me to be just another example of where a little common sense goes a LONG way. I'll use the stoves to bring the temperature up in the buildings when I plan on spending some time out there and then shut them off and let them go out before working with any flammables. My plan is to keep the temperature up with oil filled radiators while I'm working since they do a pretty fair job if the space is already warm. I've used a wood stove this way in my wood shop for years with no problems. I should point out that I also have an exhaust system that will completely vent the building in just a few moments time so what I do now, with the wood stove, is exhaust the shop, fire the stove, turn on the radiators, burn the stove until it's warm, shut the stove down, wait for it to go out, do my work, turn the radiators off, then vent the building again before closing it up. The big advantage I see to a pellet stove is that it will go out much faster than the wood stove.

    Good ventilation is key really. I figure that if there are enough of ANY kind of fumes present to cause an explosion that it's not a healthy situation regardless of whether or not there's an ignition source present. I don't want to be breathing that stuff!
  7. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    I gotta ask why? Not only dangerous but not very smart imo.
    Seriously pegdot, you might first at least check with your insurance company before you
    make such a hasty decision. If you have a fire in either of those buildings
    and did not have a permit for the stove, your ins. co. could quite possibly
    not cover the damages even if the cause of the fire is determined to be
    something other than the stove. In the auto shop I doubt they would
    even give you a permit anyway so if you put a stove in there and then
    had a fire loss in that building you'd be ska-rewed for sure.
  8. MainePellethead

    MainePellethead Minister of Fire

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    My fiances company that she is an agent for is a very large company in southern maine. They dont require seeing that a permit was pulled. Some of the underwriters want a certified installer installing it though. My city dont even require a permit be pulled. I guess it depends on the area and insurance companies....but their policies with houses with pellet stoves are very lenient. They write alot more wood stove fire claims than pellet stoves. They very rarely have a pellet stove fire/claim.
  9. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    Zeta, I just wrote and then deleted two really long and complicated rants about the permit and inspection process. I don't want to clog up Craig's board with a subject that really isn't on topic but the whole permit thing is a sore spot with me so I will say that I don't believe that the city, county, or state government has the right to tell me what I can and cannot do in my own home. A case of government sticking it's nose somewhere that it doesn't belong. My home is NOT a public place where others are apt to be endangered by something I did or didn't do during a remodeling or home improvement project. Public safety is the ONLY reason I can see that justifies government interference in something like this and IMO, that just doesn't apply to a private home in most situations.

    I'm a die hard do it yourself-er. I'll admit it. It's like an addiction. I just can't bring myself to pay someone to do something I can do myself. I'm a huge believer in the old saying that if you want something done right you should do it yourself. And I DO do it right! I dare say that what I do myself is done better than it would be if I hired a professional and had it inspected because it's not just a job to me it's my home. I own quite a few code books and the ones I don't have are available at the local library or on-line. Doing the research to know how to do it right isn't hard. I usually exceed the code on anything I'm doing because it is my home, my largest single asset, and I want it done better than good so, I tend to overbuild and err on the side of caution. I think most homeowners would. Sure, there are some idiots who don't have a clue or are willing to cut corners but who really gets hurt by their actions? As you pointed out the insurance companies are always looking for an excuse to deny a claim so I don't believe we can blame higher premiums on this kind of thing because the carrier is going to latch onto inferior or dangerous work and deny the claim.

    Our intrepid government seems to believe that they can legislate morality and common sense. That's a whole 'nother subject but common sense is what they are trying to cover with the permit process and I for one think it might be wiser to simply let the morons of the world kill themselves off with their stupid actions before they are old enough to reproduce. LOL!

    I didn't get a permit for the pellet stove in the house but I did call my insurance agent to tell him what I was doing. As expected, he had no idea what a pellet stove was much less how it might effect my coverage so he had to contact the home office before letting me know that it was okay. As for the shops, I'd be replacing a wood stove in one and the torpedo type heaters that my husband currently uses in the other. Since pellet stoves have a much better safety record than either of those I'd think that the insurance company would be thrilled with the change but I'll call them before I do the installs just to be sure.

    Is a pellet stove in that environment the best option? No. Unfortunately, like most people, I can't afford the best option, but I do think that it's a better option than what I currently have so it's a step in the right direction. Believe me, I have zero interest in blowing up myself, my possessions, or my buildings but...if I do something stupid and it happens it's on my own head. Personal responsibility has to figure into this kind of thing somewhere.

    Okay, I'm stepping off the soapbox now.... :roll: :cheese:
  10. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    Oh geeze, didn't mean to set you off but I think you've missed
    missed my entire point. Preaching permit is definitely not the intent of my post.
    I'm saying that it's quite possible that if you have a fire that's not caused by the stove, your
    insurance co. might be able to withhold payment just because
    you didn't get a permit for the stupid stove. Some insurance
    companys are like that so that's why I said it makes sense to
    check with them. It would be a shame god forbid you had a fire
    in your shop completely unrelated to the stove, then come to find
    out they don't have to pay you for damages just because you
    didn't get a permit for a stove that had nothing to do with
    the fire.
    If you already know the policy would still protect you in said scenario
    then cool - but for anyone else thinking of heating a garage or
    "shop" with any type of stove it is worth going over what would
    happen in case of a loss - regardless of whether or not an unpermitted
    stove was the cause. I wouldn't take their word either. I'd
    want to see where it states more or less, that I'd still be protected even if I
    had a stove that wouldn't have been allowed in such a building.
    Certainly not trying to bust anyones balls here. Just trying to
    help point people in the right direction before making a mistake.

    ;-)
  11. mitakuuluu

    mitakuuluu New Member

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    Loc:
    Eugene, OR
    I can see both sides of it.

    Recently purchased a Vistaflame insert for our house as said above, and had it installed by a contractor recommended by the stove store. We wanted to make sure that 1.) the install was done right and we'd be safe and 2.) the insurance company would cover any fire-related loss if the stove happened to burn down the house. Both of these are pretty important to us.

    This involved paying $110 for a permit and inspection. Shouldn't be a problem, right? (Stove store assures me they've installed dozens of this model and that the installer has been doing this for some 20 years).

    Inspector came to the house and found that there wasn't enough clearance between front of stove and combustible floor. He says 'needs to be 6", you have 5 3/4". (although it is a raised hearth so it's actually a good 10" away). Also, he questions the liner material used - and says that we need to show that the liner meets CANADIAN ULC spec because that's what it says in the stove manual (let me remind you, we're most definitely in the USA). Easy enough to find that it meets US spec (as the liner was made and certified in the US)... not so easy to prove Canadian compliance.

    Now, here you have an example of the letter of the law getting in the way of common sense. We put down a hearth pad to meet the clearance issue and I dug up paperwork on the liner, so it should be good to go when he reinspects tomorrow... but this is a whole hell of a lot of hassle that's not necessary. Two days of missed work for me to sit around waiting for the inspector to show up, not to mention the $110 for the permit plus the cost of the materials to make the hearth pad.

    On the other hand, unsafe / unpermitted installs that go wrong end up costing everyone money - in terms of higher insurance premiums, the cost to send out fire trucks, not to mention if your unpermitted install is next door and blows your house up, leveling mine in the process...
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