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taking ownership of a Jotul Firelight Model 12

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by adkhunter, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. adkhunter

    adkhunter New Member

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    Hi all...new here and was looking to hear what ya'll think about the Jotul Firelight Model 12 wood stoves. My parents bought a house that has a big 3 car detached garage that they have no use for so me and my fiance are turning it into a 3 bedroom house for us and our 5 yr old and baby thats on the way and due febuary. It will be 2 floor and about 1900 sq ft once completed (about 3 months from now...starting construction tomorrow) We plan on heating primarily with a wood stove and my parents house came with this white Jotul thats in great shape and they have offered for us to have it because my mother wants a black colored stove instead of white. I personally dont prefer white either but hey its FREE haha! Figured I could always get around to painting it black later down the road. I have grown up around wood stoves but have no prior experience with a Jotul. Was hoping someone on here could fill me in on opinions of this stove and maybe known problems or advice on keeping it in good operating condition. Thanks for any insight anyone might have!

    photo.JPG photo-1.JPG

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Welcome. The price is right and there are some Jotul 12 burners here that can fill you in.

    I do know they work better standing upright. <>
    firefighterjake likes this.
  3. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    That's in really nice shape. The F12 is the predecessor to the F600. What is the condition of the catalyst?


    The Jotul should do just fine heating 1900 sq ft.
  4. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    PM member Joful. He has 2 (just obtained the 2nd because he liked the 1st so much).

    Thats a dandy of a stove.... But one thing that you will need with that stove is Seasoned wood.. By seasoned, it should be Cut/Split/Stacked for about a yr. Most old school burners cut there wood right before burning. But newer EPA stoves (Cat and Secondary burn) need dry fuel.

    Do you have any reputable firewood sellers in the area? A moisture meter will pay dividends when they deliver. Split a piece in half (split a split) and measure the moisture content on the fresh face. Below 20% is optimal. Although it may be hard to get that...

    Welcome to the Forums. Lots of friendly folk to help you with the install, all the way through to the operations of that Cat stove (its beautiful by the way!)
  5. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Nice stove! Yep... I just bought a second, but honestly, I have no clue what I'm doing. I've read more about wood stoves than any one person ever should, but having only one year on my first Firelight 12, I'm short on first-hand experience. I bought the Firelight 12 because it was the only attractive front-loading cast iron catalytic stove I could find without serious quality or maintenance issues. Jotul is a good company with a very long history of making top-notch stoves.

    The only common failures I've found with this stove are:

    1. Inner burn plate tends to crack if overfired. This is the small 12" square plate that covers the catalyst. A crack in it, as long as it's not a gaping hole, is not really a big issue. It's only separating the cat chamber from the firebox. If you're type 1 anal OCD like me, you can replace this part for $70.

    2. The air control lever tends to stick in the full-closed position. After the first few years (?) of manufacture, Jotul added a small access door to the tunnel below the front doors, so that you could get in there and lubricate / adjust this lever.

    3. The catalyst chamber is somewhat fragile. You will never damage it during normal operation, but a squirrel down your chimney can destory it, as can being clumsy when you remove and reinstall the catalyst.

    Read up on cat stoves vs. non-cat stoves, and decide if a cat stove is for you. If you think it is, then you'll likely be happy with your Firelight 12. Congrats!

    PS - If you remove the top, or disconnect the pedal mechanism for any reason, be damn careful about keeping that top load door SHUT! I've seen several Firelight 12's with broken lid hinges (and broken lids!), due to them flopping open in this circumstance.
  6. adkhunter

    adkhunter New Member

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    Thanks for the advice everyone!
    Sorry for the pics being sideways I'm not sure why they uploaded that way?..they were taken straight on and were straight on the computer but uploaded here to the site all goofy.:rolleyes:

    The catalyst is in good shape and clean..the previous owners of the house were VERY meticulous with everything they owned..The old man has every receipt to every purchased and even had records of ALL oil changes he even did on the 1967 Ford truck he had haha..they took great care of everything here.

    As far as wood goes I plan on burning only seasoned wood. I grew up with wood stoves and have had them in every house I've lived in so no problem there. My dads buddy is a logger and we get truck loads of full logs for no cost..just have to cut and split on our own which is no problem. We get enough logs delivered and split it all that it lasts about 3 years so everything will be plenty dry and ready to burn.

    Anyone know what burn time I can expect out of this stove by any chance?

    Thanks again everyone!
  7. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Do you have the logs cut yet? If not, it wont be dry/seasoned before Winter.....
  8. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    As a beginner, I was not loading it full. Even so, I was getting 10 hours on my loads.

    The minimum BTU's to keep the cat going is somewhere around 10,500 BTU. Seasoned firewood has anywhere from 15 - 30 million BTUh's, translating to 117,000 to 234,000 BTUh per cu.ft. So, make some guesses on the min/max burn rates within a given burn cycle, and how much wood you can fit in that firebox, and you'll come up with some theoretical number in the range of 15 - 30 hours. I personally doubt you'd ever see 20 hours without a BK-style thermostat control, and maybe a more experienced stover can give you a better number, but a 3.0 cu.ft. cat stove has the potential to burn a LONG time.
  9. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    I have no useful advice with what to expect with this unit. But my opinion on the ivory enamel: You are crazy to paint that stove. That is one of the most beautiful stoves I've ever seen.
    Dairyman likes this.
  10. adkhunter

    adkhunter New Member

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    No the wood for this winter is not cut since we just moved here last month. We are going to have to buy seasoned already cut wood for this winter unfortunatly. But I know a guy where I can get that from so no problem there!

    Thanks Joful! I was hoping to get 10 hours or even better out of this stove! I will be away most of the day at work so the wife will be in charge of keeping the stove going so I was hoping I could load it in the morning and it would last until I got home. As long as it keeps the house warm the wife is a happy camper...and you know what they say..a happy wife equals a happy husband haha!

    Haha ya it is a good looking stove I probably will never paint it..was only a thought haha. Im used to black stoves and have never had a white one...wasnt quite sure if I liked it or not at first but the more I look at it the more I like it...so it will most likely stay the way it is!
  11. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Just a tip; if you do decide to paint the stove you will need to sand blast the enamel coating first to remove it before painting the stove. Otherwise the paint will not adhere to the surface and will run and flake once the stove is in use. Painting an enamel stove will end badly if the enamel is not removed.
  12. adkhunter

    adkhunter New Member

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    Thank you BrowningBAR I thought I might have to do that. I'm pretty sure my buddy has a sand blaster if he hasn't gotten rid of it. Hes sand blasted a few other things for me in the past so if I ever decide to repaint I will have to give him a call. Thanks for the advice!
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Don't touch that stove. Sell it if you don't appreciate the condition it's in. Seriously, that is a rare find and just like an antique cabinet, it's worth more in original good condition than tampered with. If you don't like the white, sell it and put the money into a new, black stove. If the interior is in as good condition the stove is worth $1500-2000 as is to the right buyer. That will buy you a nice new replacement, in black.
    raybonz, dafattkidd and jeff_t like this.
  14. johnsgunworks

    johnsgunworks Member

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    That is a beautiful stove....+1 on doing a little research on the operation and maintenance of catalytic stoves if you have never operated one before. That stove should heat you and your family
    efficiently for years to come.
  15. HollowHill

    HollowHill Minister of Fire

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    I agree that stove is lovely as is. I remembered seeing a striking set up with an ivory Jotul stove that used to be on the home page for awhile, now see pg 5 under gallery, woodstove section (sorry, tried to paste link in and failed).
  16. myselfnjit

    myselfnjit New Member

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    ADKhunter, I sent you a "conversation" about the stove. wanted to make sure you got it...
  17. Oldhippie

    Oldhippie Minister of Fire

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    Don't paint the stove. Build the house around the stove/garage with an eye toward heating with the stove. I love a central stove that becomes a centerpiece of the house.
    7acres likes this.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  19. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I agree with BG it would be a sin to sandblast that enamel finish to paint it black! It looks like new so sell it if you must and buy a black one.. With proper care that stove should last a long time..

    Ray
  20. James Marusek

    James Marusek New Member

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    The Firelight Woodstove in my opinion comes very close to being the most ideal woodstoves ever built. It is a beautiful stove that was engineered for ease of use. It is very easy to load firewood and to remove ash. But it has one major flaw and that is probably why this wood stove is no longer on the market. The Firelight is very energy efficient and very attractive. The ceramic layer over the cast iron keeps the stove very clean. My Firelight is now 17 years old and looks like the first day I brought it home. The woodstove has a removable ashbin located under the stove, which allows the ashes to be removed cleanly. It has a foot pedal that lifts up the door for loading firewood. I walk into the house carrying several logs and step on the foot pedal. This lifts up the top door and at the same time opens up the damper. This prevents billows of smoke from filling the room. I load the firewood. I then close the top door and after the stove warms up to its operating temperature, I close the damper. The rope gaskets on the top and front doors are easy to replace. The windows on the front doors allow a lovely view of the fire, which is calming and pleasing.

    In my opinion, the main defect in this stove is the catalytically converter built into the middle of the stove. This ceramic honeycomb catalytic combustor helps to burn the creosote gases efficiently providing a little more heat out of the wood and a cleaner exhaust up the chimney. The ceramic converter is held in place with a back burn plate that is held by one large bolt (removable with a large Allen wrench). The original directions on this stove asked me to remove and clean the ceramic converter once each year. The first year I tried this and the ceramic converter literally fell apart in my hands. I purchased a replacement converter. They are expensive. Currently they run around $120 each. So I never took the back burn plate off again. The stove worked fine for over a dozen years without any problems. Then the back plate began to crack and the stove lost its efficiency. I decided to replace the converter but this was a major problem. The large bolt over time was almost welded to the stove. I had to cut the back plate off with a small diamond tipped grinding wheel to remove it. That gave me some space to use oils to free up the bolt and remove it. Fortunately, technology has improved and there are new catalytic converters on the market today. I purchased a STEELCAST Steel Honeycomb Catalytic Combustor (CS-552) manufactured by Condar for our stove. They are more ruggedized and heats up faster than the ceramic type. They are more expensive than the ceramic, costing around $200. But if they make this woodstove more functional, it’s worth it. I suspect this defect is the reason why this stove is no longer on the market. What a shame!
    raybonz and Joful like this.
  21. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Several of us feel the way you do, and so I discussed this with Mark at Jotul, a tech who has been the company since they were still producing the Firelight 12. He agreed that it is one of the best stoves they ever made, but said that the reason for discontinuing actually had nothing to do with the design of the stove, and everything to do with getting the average consumer to run a catalytic stove without problems. Apparently, their number of service calls due to improper use or maintenance was much higher on this stove, than on any of their non-catalytic stoves. Also, there is an incorrect public perception that catalytic stoves are somehow troublesome or inferior to non-catalytic stoves, which I guess they found easier to join than fight. These were the reasons he gave me for Jotul getting out of the catalytic stove business.

    Contrast that to those here, most of whom will admit that catalytic technology does build the superior heater, but the folks here at hearth.com are the exception. It's difficult to get the average consumer to even read the instruction manual.
    dafattkidd, aansorge and raybonz like this.
  22. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    My uncle has an '89 or '90 jotul that looks like that. Did they build this stove back then?
  23. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    They made stoves that looked like the F12 befor 1990, but I believe 1993 was the introductory year for the catalytic Firelight 12.
  24. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    His is catalytic....what do you think it is? It has the same air control, the same foot-pedal for top loader.
  25. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Then, I'd say it's a Firelight 12! I don't know of another similar catalytic stove they made with that foot pedal.

    Are you sure it's that old? Maybe I was just mis-informed (or mis-remember) the introduction date of that stove.

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