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What is the life expectancy of a wood stove ?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by buildingmaint, Feb 4, 2007.

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  1. buildingmaint

    buildingmaint Feeling the Heat

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    How many years of service is expected from a well maintained well constructed wood stove? Also how long will a stainless triple wall chimney last until you have to replace it ?

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  2. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    I'll let you know. ;-)
  3. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    A year maybe two tops. They just don't last that long. Really though I would venture to say that a quality wood stove has 20+ years of life in it. Many more if rebuilt & properly maintained etc. I have customers with wood stoves that are nearing or past the 30 year mark. Although you can't always expect manufacturers to provide parts past the 10 year mark.
  4. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    Our wood furnace is 20 years old. I rebuilt it this year and I could see it easily getting 20 more. Looking to upgrade someday, but I could see a good stove lasting for years. Maintanince and proper operation play a big role.
  5. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    As it is now , its more likely that technology will surpass the life of the stove for any need for an upgrade to any stove this is worth its salt.

    I had rebuilt over 30 stoves 25+ years old with a little of this and a little of that and some internals needing rebuilt and I'm sure they will last another 25+ years , but again , technology has passed up the old stove for maybe the need for an upgrade to a different direction.
  6. restorer

    restorer New Member

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    I understand there are wood stove (cast iron) from the 1600's still serving very well in Scotland and Ireland. That long enough?
  7. buildingmaint

    buildingmaint Feeling the Heat

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    Only 400 years ? That seems a bit limited.LOL
  8. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    They usually go bad just after the warrantee runs out. This thing must be a Morso.
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    No doubt thost Woodstock Soapstone things will make it a few generations.
    As far as others, I think it depends on the use. For full time use in the north country, 20 years seems like a good deal - with parts replacement along the way. But most people do not use a stove 24/7 from Oct to April. Those stoves seem to last forever. That is why they have these stove changeout programs - where they pay you to scrap the old ones. The heavy steel plate stoves (fisher, timberline, etc.) from the late 1970's are mostly still around.

    So, in summary, from a low of about 10 years to almost forever. The 10 year is given because some stove models end up needing major parts and labor replacement that can cost up to 1/2 the price of the stove - that does not count as "lasting". Examples include early Defiant Encores and Resolute Acclaims. Not to single out VC, because I had an Acclaim and loved it to death. But a fancier car usually has more parts! In the case of an Encore, an early model might cost you $500 in parts and another $300 in labor for cat, cat enclosure, some minor cast parts, gasket, etc. etc after 8-10 years. That's $80 a year, which is not too bad....but it is more than some steel boxes are going to cost you.

    As with anything, you make certain choices. A Dutchwest will probably give you more years to the dollar than a fancier model.....that does not mean either is bad, as there is an "a** for every seat".
  10. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Its hard to put your thumb on how to determine how a stove will last. The biggest issue i have seen is user problems / misuse and overfiring of stoves as well as the big problem i even see on this forum is the "under sizing" of a wood stove. Tho a stove might work fine 50° ~ 25° to heat ones home but once it gets below 25° now we are overfiring the little stove to keep warm and the internal parts dont have a chance.
  11. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Good point Spike. I happen to be one of the guilty ones on that front.

    In the Lesson's learned department:
    1. Given that I have a small-mid size insert installed in a Majestic 0 clearance fireplace and the Majestic was the size limiting factor, what could I have done different? Answer: replaced the Majestic with something like a Quad or Fireplace Extrordinare 0 clearance epa approved unit.

    2. Installed a stove out in front of the majestic. (not the best option really)

    3. Remove the Majestic completely and build an alcove for a large freestanding stove.

    The other thing to remember is that a stove that is undersized must not be expected to heat like a large stove such as a PE Summit or a Lopi Liberty. If you need to assistance of the primary heat in the house for 4 or 5 really cold days, then use it.

    My expectation for my stove was that it was to do about 3/4 of the heating needed. It actually does better, but on these cold days, it' does need help.
  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I just tore apart my 1992 model Lopi Freedom bay to replace the baffle supports and clean the secondary chamber and everything looked good. It has been in use as primary heat for all of those 15 years.
  13. dego

    dego New Member

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    Well constructed and properly maintained stoves should last at least 25-30 years, unlike my 9 year old Osburn 2400 that crapped the bed last weekend.
  14. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    After a few months of good use of that Summit under your belt you'll forget all about that Osburn.

    Hear anything back from Osburn customer service on the issues ?
  15. Gunner

    Gunner New Member

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    Welcome Dego, good to see another Canadian summit owner on board.
  16. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    Oh great, two or three more Summit owners and Al just might be right. ;-)
  17. Cord

    Cord Member

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    I have a 20 year old Vermont Casting and getting parts was tricky. When I asked why this was so difficult every body exclaimed that it was a 20 year old stove! Apparently they were expecting me to own something a bit newer. Honestly, I don't see why I shouldn't be able to get 40 years from a cast iron stove. The flue pipe will live indefinetly, or at least until your first good chimney fire.
  18. latichever

    latichever Member

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    My neighbor has working coal stove stamped 1853. It came with the house. I doubt that it's EPA certified.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Sure it is - Early Pre-Antietem. :)
  20. dego

    dego New Member

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    Roo, I have all but forgotten the 2400!! I have had the Summit for a week now, and if that is long enough to form an opinion, I have to say it is twice the unit. I have burned at least 1 wheelbarrow less wood (my wood storage box in the basement holds 4, 6cubicft barrow loads and I normally fill it every Sat or Sun). The production of heat is more constant. The 2400 would take forever to get hot, then gradually get cooler, over a period of 2-3 hours. After a 6-hour burn I could lay my bare hand on the cook top! Can't do that with the Summit, unless I want to leave my skin attached to the stove. The Summit fires up hot, and burns evenly. I'm still experimenting with the primary air…sometimes I think I have too much, other times I think not enough. Once I find the sweet spot, it will be golden.

    And no, I never heard from Osburn. I just sent the pictures yesterday, so I think I should hear back by tomorrow or Wed. I imagine they will have their engineers look at the pictures to determine if I caused the cracks by over firing the unit. It will certainly be interesting to see what their first move is; actually I can’t wait. I fell asleep reading the Oxford Thesaurus last night, after the end of the 3rd quarter of course. Guess I’m tryin’ to learn me some new words!!!
  21. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Sounds like a winner and you came out ahead. Good review of how things works for you and looks like its getting better all the time.

    As for the "sweet spot" ............. there is just so many sweet spots on the stove and changes all the time. Different size load , different wood , different heating needs per what the outside temp is doing. It doesnt take long to master the stove and there is nothing to fight with. let the wood char , turn it down to your heating needs and let the EBT take over and do its job.

    You'll notice the Summit stays hot for a long time even after the fire is gone and the coals are burning down , she really holds the heat and as you said it is a nice steady even heat.

    Did you get the blower option with the stove ? if so how it it working for you.
  22. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    18 years and still going here for mine. It needs a complete rebuild. I'm thinking of doing that this summer. The fan is a little loud but it has been for the 3 years I've owned it. rebuilding will run me nearly 300 bucks. If I were to replace the fan that would probly take the cost up to 500. That's steep ......always wondering which way to go with the stove.
  23. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    Historically, we have many VC stoves still going after 30 years. Yes, sometimes it's harder to get parts for some of the older models. Also, since EPA stepped in there is less need to support the pre-EPA stoves. We used to keep some old Lange's going long after they stopped production by using a local welder to fabricate some parts. But that was all pre-EPA. As of this year we stopped supporting all pre-EPA stoves directly. We will still sell parts if available but we feel twenty years is a good run for a stove, especially given the improvements in technology we have seen in recent years.
  24. dego

    dego New Member

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    My intention is not to hijack the original thread, so this will be my last twix.

    With all stoves, each are individuals…..you are exactly right Roo. They all perform at different efficiencies. My old Brooklyn was a smelter!! I happened upon a fella one year who was cutting oak (white, pin and red) for hardwood floors. I managed to scrounge the equivalent about 5 cords of slabs, which were mostly butt cuts, averaging about 8 inches thick. I stuffed a load of those into the old Brooklyn one afternoon. It was bitterly cold out, so I had the draft open about 60%. 45 minutes later, my wife was wondering what the noise was coming from the stove. When I looked I was amazed. It was glowing cherry, the whole stove and half the length of smoke pipe!!! It was huffing, almost gasping for air. I was afraid that if I touched the damn thing it would collapse. Luckily I had a liner in my masonry chimney, so I had no worry’s there. I backed the draft to almost shut and pulled up a chair to wait it out. After an hour, it burned down to the point that I could open her up and have a look. The fire warped the 5/8” thick baffle plate, which I had to replace.

    As for the blower, I did not see the need for one. The Summit is in my basement, which is not used for ‘living’ space. I might consider it in a couple years when I get around to the missus’s ‘honey do’ list and finish the media room. Actually, at the store I bought the Summit at, they had one burning, on display. Atop the stove, was one of those convection fans that require no electricity. I could feel the air push at about 10 feet. Those run about $120. Might be an other option.
  25. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Dan , See this thread for a fan option i use on my stove.

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/6284/



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