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Will you help me choose my new woodstove?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by BBnewengland, Apr 12, 2013.

  1. BBnewengland

    BBnewengland New Member

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    Hi everyone, been lurking for quite a while. I'm in a pinch with what to do and need a little help with my indecisiveness.

    Recently moved to some farm land and just spent my first winter ever without a woodstove. Hopefully it will be my last. Im currently cutting all my wood (mixed hardwood) for the next few winters and i am putting it up on pallets in a very windy area that receives full sun all day, hopefully it will do the trick.

    The house is 1200 sq ft, well insulated single floor but with a full basement. Stove will be going in the middle of the house on the main floor. My issue is that in the past i have filled my large stove three times a day (morning, home from work, just before bed) in a larger house. Even though this is a small house, i'm looking for a firebox large enough for an 8-10 hour (overnight/work) burn but a stove that wont get so hot that it kicks me out of the house.

    Originally i was looking at used Hearthstones, thinking i could get a big enough firebox from something like a Heritage and the even soapstone heat wouldnt be unbearable. If i can find one without spending too much money, i think this is still possible.

    There is also an Oslo nearby for $1000, and i would love to have it but i'm worried i wont be able to burn it low enough and it will heat the house over 80 degrees.

    I've owned or operated most things out there with the exception of a cat stove. Looking at the BK princess parlor, it seems like the perfect stove. Except for getting my wood to 13% this year (and the creosote that will come with it), i cant really see any other problems.

    I stopped by a dealer today and told them this much. I was most surprised when the BK dealer told me cat stoves were just creosote factories and "BK's are for people who want 30 hour burn times, and people who want 30 hour burn times shouldnt have woodstoves, they should have oil furnaces." They also said the jotul oslo would overheat the house. So by process of elimination i was kind of pointed in the direction of the Heritage, but at $3,500 new its about twice my budget.

    What do you think? Will i be able to control the oslo in a 1200 sq ft house? Is the dealer ignorant when it comes to BK's and cat stoves? Should i wait for a used Hearthstone to catch my eye or do you suggest something else entirely? I kept the thermostat at 65 from 6pm to 10pm otherwise it was at 60. Still went through way too much oil. I would like to raise those numbers by 10 degrees next year.

    Thanks for all your recommendations, if you need any more information please let me know.

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  2. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    A blaze king princess sounds like a great stove for you...well loved around here. A woodstock fireview would be another good choice. For non-cats, maybe a pacific energy T5.
    raybonz and Oldhippie like this.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I think the BKP might be a bit of overkill for 1200 sq ft. The smaller BK Scirocco 20 might be better. Aslo, I'd be looking at/for Woodstock Keystone or Fireview stoves.
  4. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    Cat stove don't generate creosote, wet wood does. Blazeking recommends wood to be 12 to 18 % moisture I think.

    When I first started burning, I cut my wood for the winter the summer before (3 to 6 months dry time!) and got a ton of creosote for all my work. Now I cut year round and try to keep three years ahead. No more creosote!
    Backwoods Savage and PapaDave like this.
  5. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    The dealer is ignorant!! The Princess will do great! After owning the King, I can say it would do OK, you just couldn't spread it's wings. The BIG advantage with the cat stove is, you have total control over the fire, low or high, you get to choose. The Oslo will likely run you out! My Olso overheated 1600 well insulated square feet. That dealer doesn't know a thing about cat stoves. I would guess they don't know much about other stoves either..
    They also have the Heritage priced way too high! It should be around $2800, we have the Mansfield priced under $3500 in Indiana. Look into the new Hearthstone Castleton, it's rated for the area you want to heat and should retail for around $2,000.
  6. BBnewengland

    BBnewengland New Member

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    Yeah i saw the castleton. The lady didnt know if she could order one yet so i'll have to see on prices but i doubt it will be as low as $2000. I had looked at woodstocks in the past, i'll take another look at them and i will admit i need to do my homework on Pacific Energy stoves. Thanks for the advice, i think i will invest in a moisture meter to get an idea of how the drying process is going.
  7. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Always a good idea, especially if you can get to the factory. ;)

    To keep your stove options open, I suggest cutting to 16" length.
    Also the smaller you split, the quicker it will dry and the better it will burn, if not fully seasoned.
  8. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like the dealer may not sell cat stoves, so is trying to steer you to what he does sell.
    Or, he's ignorant of cat stoves.
    Or, both. There are other possibilities as well. I'd stay away from someone giving such poor, possibly self serving, advice. JMHO
    You should seriously consider a cat stove such as a Keystone or Sirocco 20, as begreen suggested. The princess should work as well, but it's larger.
    Low and slow is the way to go in a small-ish, well insulated home such as yours.
    How much do aesthetics play into your decision?
  9. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    I recommend Woodstock as well.. Loads of wood burners here have them and love the company. I have been there too and I suggest you visit them and see what we're talking about.. Nice people making a great stove for a reasonable cost with terrific support..

    Ray
  10. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    The dealer is either ignorant or dishonest. The reason you want a cat stove is that they can burn very slow and low, without producing creosote. I would not even consider a non-cat for your situation.
  11. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    The Woodstocks are on sale through April 19th. The Fireview (900 - 1600 heating capacity) is $2450 new, the Keystone $2300. Either would meet your needs.

    They are beautiful catalytic stoves of the highest quality, produce an amazingly comfortable heat. The company is unsurpassed in service and ease of contact. Even when simply considering a Woodstock, you are treated with courtesy and respect. Throughout your period of ownership, the company will cheerfully spend as much time with you as you wish, consulting in all aspects of your wood-burning. They will help to keep each Woodstock stove in prime condition through every owner it has, so you can feel very comfortable buying a used one.

    It appears a new Woodstock stove on sale is $600 - $750 over your budget. Keep in mind that you have two nice options available with Woodstock: You can buy a stove from them now at their sale price, for delivery when it is paid for, and make payments on the stove. Should you not be able to afford the stove, or decide to go another direction, they will refund your money; you can finance the stove through their local bank. They have arranged an interest rate of 5%. Both of these options make a stove much more affordable than if one needs the full cash in pocket at the moment.

    Cat stoves are easy to run, and produce a wide range of heat, depending on spllit size, air setting and amount of wood fed the stove. They are forgiving of wet wood to under 40% in terms of heat production, complete combustion, nad reduced creosote formation, although burning wet wood consistently will likely reduce the life of your cat significantly, and require slightly more air in the firebox, and more wood consumption for the same heat output (to burn off the water). Burning with 20-25 % moisture content tops, the cat should last at least 5 years. With the PH (bigger stove), if the steel cat fails within the first 2 years it is replaced free. After that it is prorated. So whether the cat lasts 2 or 5 years, you can count on a cost of about $30 a year for the cat. It saves way more than that much wood, and produces a lot of additional heat - about 14 % more efficient on average per EPA testing than secondary burn stoves.
    raybonz likes this.
  12. BBnewengland

    BBnewengland New Member

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    Thanks for the tip, i have been cutting my wood 16-17 inches.

    As far as aesthetics go, whether the BK model is a princess or sirocco 20, as long as it has legs and not the pedestal my girlfriend and i find them to be a good looking stove. I wouldnt put any of the fancy "trim" pieces on, they really dont help anything.

    I didnt realize the woodstocks were catalytic stoves. I still cant find anything on their website that says they are and while the emission rating for the Fireview is rock bottom (1.3 gms/hr) the efficiency rating is also quite low (72%). The catless Hearthstone Heritage for instance is quoted as being 81%. I remember this is why i didnt give Woodstock much of a look. However it seems like you guys love them and i know you are on top of your stuff so i must be missing something.
    raybonz likes this.
  13. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    They definitely are cat stoves and they are definitely efficient.. Backwoods Savage should be along anytime now to give you the scoop on WS.. All EPA rated stoves are pretty darn efficient in my opinion some a little more then others but all are decent..

    Ray
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  14. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Every cat stove is by default rated at 72% efficiency by the EPA, every secondary stove @ 63 % efficiency. Some companies choose to post their own efficiency actual test ratings, which may be higher. Some post the EPA rating. Unless the company gives significant detail about how they achieve their efficiency rating and why it is high, pretty much ignore efficiency rating. Go by firebox size and type of stove. The bigger the firebox, the more wood it will hold and the more heat it is capable of producing. Cat stoves are on average about 14 % more efficient than secondary stoves. Hybrid stoves are about another 12 % more efficient than cat stoves. Woodstocks stoves are all catalytic. The stoves tend to burn in a combined cat/secondary fashion, even when they are not the hybrid Progress Hybrid model, and are every efficient.
    PapaDave likes this.
  15. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence.:)
    Yes, that 81% rating for the non-cat Hearthstone is certainly the LHV; the same rating for the Fireview is 90.9%. Some folks think that a cat stove is not their cup of tea, and to each their own, but there is no dispute regarding the cat's efficiency advantage. Non-cats have the advantage in maximum output level for a given size of stove, but it doesn't sound like max output is what you're interested in.
  16. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    I haven't owned either, but I've read my fair share of reviews on this website and Woodstocks seem better than Hearthstones. Catalytic is the way to go for your situation and don't believe the low number on the Fireview...they seem to use wood very sparingly.
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I hope many people read your post aansorge and learn from it. Thanks for posting that.
  18. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum BBnewengland.

    Congratulations on the new home and soon you'll be congratulated on a new stove.

    Since Ray gave me a vote of confidence and since we too looked at the Heritage and several other stoves before we last purchased a new stove I think you'll find some of the results we have received to be an eye opener. Yes, we bought from Woodstock and before we started shopping, we had ruled out any cat stove because of some bad things we'd read about them. I'm happy to say those things proved to be false.

    Our last stove was a large Ashley stove and we had that for over 20 years (and we now wonder why we waited so long to get rid of it). After looking at many and then going to the home of one who owned a Woodstock Fireview and hearing his views of both the stove and company we decided on our way home that day that we just had to have a Woodstock stove. We bought our stove somewhere around March 1 but did not install it until September. That cut in to our 6 month guarantee that Woodstock gives so they extended the guarantee. Not once though did we consider returning the stove. Why?

    With our old Ashley we burned at least 6 full cord of wood every winter (I think the highest was 7 1/2 cord) and we were cold most of the winter even though we closed off part of the house. Still, looking at the size of the Fireview we were not entirely sure we could heat our house with it. Yet, in the first winter we had this stove, we never closed off any part of the house and burned only 3 cord of wood! In addition, we stayed very warm all winter.

    We checked the chimney but found we did not have to clean it even after that first full season's use. In the second year, we also burned 3 cord of wood. Then we decided to clean the chimney anyway but got only about a cup of soot and no creosote. Wow! With the Ashley we could clean the chimney 3-4 times every winter. Yet, we cleaned this stove after 2 year's use for a cup of soot?! On top of that, we have not yet cleaned our chimney since which means it has been 4 years since we've cleaned our chimney. fwiw, our chimney is a SS chimney and we go out through the wall and up the side of the house, the same as we did with the Ashley stove.

    We have since done some remodeling, added a room and also installed new windows and doors. The first season after this we were not sure what we'd need but found we used only about 2 cord of wood. However, that was the 2011-2012 winter which as you know was not much of a winter. This past winter has been much colder and we are still heating (even getting snow today). So last fall we put 2 1/2 cord of wood into the barn. We have burned all of that 2 1/2 cord so far and it appears we'll be about 2 3/4 cord for the winter. That is after adding a room too but we also added a lot of insulation.

    The topper on this story is that we keep our house much warmer than most folks do as we keep it 80 degrees or more all winter long. I just looked and we are at 80 right now.

    As for control, we have no problem with that. As for ease of operation, a child can tend this stove and that includes the minimal maintenance of cleaning the catalyst, which takes only a couple minutes. What you will get is one of the prettiest stoves on the market and a stove that is not very hungry at all. You will get a comfortably warm house which is what you want. You also will not have to be concerned about creosote unless you burn poor wood but if anyone burns poor wood, they will get creosote no matter which stove they buy. So burn good dry wood. If it is oak you want to burn, do not try to burn that after only a year of drying. We always give oak 3 years after being split, no matter what stove it is going in because that stuff just does not like to give up its moisture and we still do not know how to burn water.

    Do not forget the 6 month money-back guarantee from Woodstock. They are a great company with good people who will work with you. If you have problems, they will help you solve them. They won't high-pressure you either. If you ever get the opportunity to visit the factory, take advantage of it! It is worth the time.

    One more thing is that I would definitely recommend the Fireview over the Keystone as it is just a little bit larger firebox. I also prefer the looks of the Fireview but some prefer the Keystone.

    Good luck to you.
    Joful, charly, Bub381 and 1 other person like this.
  19. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Took you long enough to post that Dennis :)

    Ray
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    ;lol

    Sorry Ray. I had been splitting wood then I also hauled some wood from a neighbor's house. They bought the house but did not want the wood that was stacked by the house so I did them a favor. While I was doing this we had a snow storm! Almost a whiteout for a short time! Felt great coming in to an 80 degree house.
    raybonz likes this.
  21. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    OK OK I'll let ya slide this time ;) OMG are you saying your neighbor gave YOU wood?? LMAO you must be down to 600 cords by now! I just finished moving 4 cords into my wood shelter and think I have 6-7 cords under the roof now.. Talked to my firewood guy and am getting 3+ more cords of locust and ash delivered plus I have a cherry to cut up and another cord to stack.. I need more pallets to stack on now..

    Ray
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  22. fox9988

    fox9988 Minister of Fire

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    Woodstock also has refurbished stoves at a discount. They are mostly repo's (WS finances through a local bank) and a few returns from the 6 month satifaction guarauntee. The refurbs have a full structural warranty minus the 6 month satisfaction garauntee. They are completely rebuild and gone through at the factory, I couldn't tell there had ever been a fire in mine. I gave about $1800 for my Keystone delivered. No regrets after my first season coming from a smoke dragon (pre EPA). If they don't have a referb in stock, you can get on a waiting list.
    Backwoods Savage and raybonz like this.
  23. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    We heat warm like Dennis and we're 1300 sq ft and uninsulated and we ran at 550 on the cold spells and 450 when it was in the 20's or so.We are looking into insulating which will cost $2500 but we have to have the rest of the tube and knob removed 1st.I have had this stove at 650 degrees but we didn't need it.Just me burning some dust off.You can control this stove easily and accurately.Anybody that tells you any negatives about a Fireview hasn't had 1.They may make better but i'm very happy with mine.I wouldn't have anything but a cat stove and the 10 sec's it takes to remove this 1 is unbeatable.Cleaning it in another minute and having it back in will take another 20 sec's.Bragging? Yes sir!!!! I am.
    Backwoods Savage, charly and raybonz like this.
  24. BBnewengland

    BBnewengland New Member

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    WOW. I am blown away by the support for this company and their stoves. You've convinced me! My girlfriend has been reading these posts and she is just as excited as i am to call up Woodstock and look in to ordering a Fireview.

    Thank you Dennis for such a long, informative and thoughtful post.

    I will definitely be looking in to the refurbished stoves but with the big sale i am thinking it might be worth it to just buy new. It appears the used stoves on craigslist and such really still command a premium so I don't see any advantage there.

    I sold my old motorcycle today so i guess i will add that to my budget and put the money towards the woodstock. Oh my goodness now i have to choose a color! Hmm charcoal or matte black? I wonder if matte black lets you see all the detail in the cast sections.
    fox9988 and raybonz like this.
  25. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    There are quite a few pictures of Woodstock installs on their site. Take a look at them when you have soment. They may give you a good idea of the color you prefer.

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