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Video of my new house... size my insert & answer my Qs please!!!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Bster13, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    I am leaning towards a CAT stove so the Enviro stuff would be out, but then reading this quote:
    ....makes me worried a bit. I want ease of use, controlled temperatures (worried I will cook myself out of my living room), and long burn times for LESS playing with the insert. I am an engineer, but I also value my time and ease of use. If a CAT stove takes a few initial minutes to get up to temp and close the bypass, that's OK, provided my understanding is correct in that if the insert temps are heading South at the risk of the CAT cooling off, I can just put a few more splits in there, shut the door, CAT comes back to life and the thermostat and blower settings to their thing?

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    All stoves are going to involve user input. It is not like a gas appliance that one just sets and forgets. Starting a fire in a non-cat is going to take about 30 minutes because you need to gradually keep reducing the air supply as the wood heats up and starts outgassing. If she is also going to operate the stove a simpler operation could be a plus.

    If not, the Princess should work ok for you. It will still take around 20-30 min.to warm up the cat depending on the wood supply. Once the cat is up to temp the thermostat can be turned down to a fairly low level. With the thermostatic control, she shouldn't have to fiddle with it once it is set.

    One thing not mentioned here, how tall is the chimney on the fireplace? Ideally you'll want at least 14-16'. The wood shown in the picture looks pretty fresh and wet. Do you have a good supply of seasoned wood that is split and stacked under cover?
  3. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    One story ranch with relatively easy roof to climb up on, so not sure of chimney height at this time. I guess I could get on the roof at some point and stick a tape measure down there to get a measurement. But I am pretty sure it is >14 feet as there is an attic I can stand in above out 8 foot ceilings and the chimney is close to the roof's ridgeline and extends above that a few feet.

    Yes, wood is very green.... just starting to collect now in prep for next year's heating season. I have 3mil clear plastic sheeting that I need to cut up and cover the loosely stacked pile shortly.

    The scenario you described with the princess... letting it warm up the cat and then set it would be very nice in my opinion and I could teach her to add a split here or there. Opening the door constantly is not a good thing in adding splits, but I figure she could add a split here or there if I am not around and the firebox seems to getting "low" (however we both learn/define "low to be).
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Once it is set up and going, unless you are gone for over 10 hrs at a time I don't think she'll need to touch the stove. Burning dry wood that is.
  5. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Here are the dimension of my current fireplace. Please note the fireplace may be taller in the front (>30.5") but I could not see where the fireplace ended and the masonry started, there may be a gap, but the 30.5" measurement was from the inside bottom of the current fireplace up to the inside bezel of the fireplace if that makes sense.

    Attached Files:

  6. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Attached Files:

  7. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Ok, figured out where the actual cutout of the masonry starts as opposed to the top of the fireplace surround...there is a piece of steel horizontally placed in the mortar joint of the stone wall I have. I need a surround that is 30.5in talls. :(

    Looks like I have to opt for the larger surround, unless there is a trick to making the standard surround just a bit taller.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Hotlink to imageno.com is not working. Use the upload option in the post to copy the images directly to the forum server.
  9. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Corrected, thanks for the heads up!
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Looks like the oversized shroud has you covered.
  11. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Newsprint won't hurt a cat stove.

    If you are burning 24/7, you won't need newprint or firestarter very often...just relight from hot coals.

    Supercedars start your fire more quickly. Sounds like you want them, since you want ease.

    Am not familiar with inserts.

    Show your SO some modern woodstoves. The Woodstocks, Jotuls, fireplaces made by Excel stovepipe co, and many others are very beautiful, well built,easy to use. They'll produce more heat than an insert, and don't need a blower (noisy) to function well. I believe they have a better chance of heting your home.

    If you put a small fan on the floor at then end of the bedroom wing and point it toward the main part of the house, you should get the air circulating, which should help heat the home. You probably don't need an outside air source. And I would not put a grate in the floor in front of my stove or insert for air, if you do.

    The Woodstock catalytic and hydrid stoves are very easy to use. You load the stove, light it, watch it until it gets to a temp where you can engage the cat (10-15 minutes for the PH, 1/2 hour or so for the Fireview), engage the cat, adjust the air; next time you need to do anything is when the fire has died down to coals 10 or more hours later depending on the stove. You don't add splits during the burn, unless you add one near the end to get extra heat while the coals burn down.

    Do yourself a favor and consider a freestanding stove. Lots of people love them. They are beautiful. Produce more heat. Don't need fans. Woodstocks and many others aren't dependent on power at all. So no problems when there are power outages.

    Maybe you will still choose an insert. They can be elegant. Won't heat quite as well.

    Whatever suits your needs. Good luck.
  12. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    My comments about cat stove owners vs. non-cat owners are only a half truth, and I do believe Blaze King should be considered a seprate animal altogether. For some historical perspective, Jotul used to make cat stoves, when that was the only known technology for meeting the EPA standards. When the non-cat secondary burn technology was perfected, they redesigned their stoves to that, and dropped cat technology like a hot potato. Reason? They were getting too many calls from frustrated customers, having trouble with their cat stoves. Whether it be avoiding trash wood (treated, painted, plywood, etc.), getting the cat up to temperature and engaging at the right time, or whatever... a lot of folks seemed unable to follow some relatively simple instructions and run these stoves properly.

    Blaze King is unique, with their thermostatic control... not that they're the only one who has it, but they seem to be the only ones who have perfected it. BAR reports VC has had similar technology for years, but that it's unpredictable and inconsistent.

    Ignore any comments about "maintenance' and "cost" associated with cat stoves. I've seen far more reports here of broken baffles and burn tubes from non-cat stoves, than I've seen of destroyed catalytic combusters, although that's at least in part due to the number of non-cat stoves sold in recent years. The maintenance of a cat stove is no more than a non-cat, and a $200 - $250 catalyst will typically last 5 - 6 years when burned 24/7, amortized to roughly $40/year.

    Your bigger problem is aesthetics. Most catalytic stoves on the market today are ugly steel boxes, the two primary exceptions being hybrid and full-catalytic stoves from Woodstock (soapstone) and hybrids from Vermont Castings (cast iron). The Woodstock stoves have many fans here, and you'll have trouble finding anyone to say anything bad about the product or the company. Vermont Castings is another story, with numerous quality problems, high maintenance, and a company with which very few can report a positive exchange. Speaking of hybrid stoves, Lopi just released their first attempt, the Cape Cod. There is too little data on this stove yet, to say how good it is, but expectations are high.

    FWIW... I'd put money on my wife being more short tempered and less interested in things like woodburning than yours, but she's taken to it in short time. In fact, she thinks she's better than me at driving this big old catalytic stove... and she may be right.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Many non-cats have no tubes or baffle boards to crack.
  14. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    My Fianceess says "HAH!" and that was it. haha.

    FWIW, today marks a milestone for me. I finally got to calling the local arborist and asking for free, green wood from him. He says he'll be over with a "rack truck, or large pickup truck's" worth of hardwood shortly.

    I'm curious how long that will take to split.....here's to taking the plunge!

    Also... while driving home, I spotted this at the site of a new McMansion:

    (what kind of wood is that?)
    image (2).jpeg image.jpeg



  15. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    I'd stop and ask if they wanted the wood ;)

    Welcome to the forums, BTS, in case I missed you somewhere around here.

    I have both a stove and an insert, due to a lay out with difficulties similar to your. BUT 600 SF of the house is an accessory apartment, and that's where the stove is, for now.

    I think an insert would work, with a little fan ingenuity. If nothing else an occasional space heater in the master would get it done. I'd watch those baseboards (looked they were oil h/w, I could be wrong), you wouldn't want them to freeze... what is your current heating set up?

    Keep working on that wood pile. It'll get done.
  16. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    If the local arborist is willing to unload chunks at my house vs. paying by the pound at the transfer station, I'll go the easy route rather than try to harvest at the site I posted pics of, but it sure looked nice,

    I currently have Natural Gas, but CT has high utility prices. If my wood insert did not meet my need, the 3-zoned gas boiler would take over with minimal set thermostats.

  17. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    That's a good thing, then.

    I'd go with an insert, and save some room.
  18. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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  19. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Get it if you can . . . looks like white ash.
  20. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    psst... Jake... we say "caucasion ash," or "European American ash" in mixed company.

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