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Wondering what size woodstove would be appropriate for our old farmhouse

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by AmazingGraceDairy, Aug 16, 2011.

?

which woodstove would work best in our house?

  1. Lopi Leyden

    9.1%
  2. Harman Oakwood

    36.4%
  3. Quadra Fire Isle Royal

    27.3%
  4. Hearthstone Equinox

    27.3%
  5. Hearthstone Heritage

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Herthstone Bennington

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
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  1. AmazingGraceDairy

    AmazingGraceDairy New Member

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    I am new to the site. My husband and I are looking at purchasing a new woodstove, and aren't sure how to distinguish between some of the competators. From what I have read BTU's can very from brand to brand and mean very little, whereas firebox size and burn time tend to give a better picture? Currently, we have a VERY VERY old Ashley woodstove. I believe it is 20 to 30 years old with a 4.5 cu. ft. firebox. It is going to be retired to the scrap metal pile because it is quite literally falling appart. One of the grates broke in half, and the metal plates are starting to warp away from the walls of the firebox and last year one of them just broke off. Also, it got to the point where we would fill the woodstove at 9 at night and set the alarm for 1:30 AM to refill it so it would go until morning. Also, the flue liked to start glowing red some nights, at which point I would close the draft all the way and wait for it to stop glowing before I went to bed.
    The musts for a new woodstove are 1. it has to have a rear exit flue. 2. It has to have an ash drawer. 3. We have to be able to pay for it (cash is a little tight being as we started our own business a year and a half ago). 4. It is going to be almost our only source of heat and so we need it to keep the house warm while we sleep without having to get up in the middle of the night to refill it.
    Unfortunately, the only spot for our woodstove is located on an exterior wall in between two windows and a door. NOT IDEAL, but it is what we have to work with. We live in an old farmhouse that has had insulation blown in the walls and new windows put on about 11 years ago. The house is located in southwest PA where it isn't uncommon for temperatures to drop into the -10 to -15 range, and it is located on a hill with no trees or windblocks nearby. It is a two story house (bedrooms upstairs) and it is roughly 1,400 sq. ft.
    As far as stoves go, we prefer non-cat stoves, simply because we are realistic about our personalities and the catalytic converter won't be attended to like it should. So we are wondering what things we do need to consider in a stove and some suggestions of good stoves with rear flue exits and ash drawers that will be able to keep us warm in our somewhat drafty house.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If you are on a budget, eliminate the Equinox. That is a top tier stove. A Mansfield would be more appropriate. From what you have described I would consider a Jotul 500 or the new Jotul Rangeley before the Equinox. I would also strongly consider a Woodstock Fireview (and forget about the ash pan, they are over-rated), but that is a cat stove.
  3. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    What size is the flue?

    Matt
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Also, why rear exit? What is the current thimble height?

    And welcome to the forums!
  5. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the Forums!

    As BeGreen said, why the rear exit? That will limit the number of stoves you can look at.

    There is a great number of stoves that I think would suit your needs for under $1400-$1500. However, they are not rear exit......

    Andrew
  6. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    The Equinox is a great looking stove but goes for a little over 4k around here so it might be out of your cost range. How much are you looking to spend?

    I also think the Fireview would be a good fit and it's not like the cat is a big fuss maintenance wise. You can get easy 12 hour burns and load this stove 2-3 times per day.

    There's an old wood burner from Michigan that replaced his old Ashley for a Fireview and burned 50% less wood and was much warmer than before. Who is that guy? ;-)
  7. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Here's the million dollar quest; Were you happy with the old Ashley wood stove? Did it give off enough heat? Too much heat? Do you want something that gives off the same amount of heat as the Ashley?
  8. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

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    How much $$$'s to you have to spend and why won't a top vent flue work vs a rear?

    Bill
  9. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    The thing is, if they have been kept warm by a 4 cu ft smoke dragon in a 1400 sq ft home, a Fireview isn't going to cut it. The original poster readily admits the house is "somewhat drafty".

    Farmhouse + "somewhat drafty" + 4 cu ft smoke dragon = at least a 3 cu ft EPA stove.

    No idea why they need rear venting, but if they can get around it, the Englander 30NC, Blaze King, Quadra-fire 5700, Harmon TL300, or the Lopi Liberty is my recommendation. Otherwise, the Isle Royal or the Equinox.

    I have my doubts the Leyden, Oakwood, Heritage, or the Bennington would properly heat that place.

    Also, making the ash drawer part of your "must haves" is a poor choice in my opinion. Make sure the stove will heat your place properly first. Ash pans are completely over-rated. Of the five stoves I have used (Vigilant, Heritage, Intrepid, Encore, Fireview) 3 had ash pans, two did not. Of the three that have had ash pans, only the Encore seemed worth it. And even then I wouldn't make it a reason for purchasing.
  10. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I'd rule out the Equinox. Saw one at the stove shop today and holy woodstove batman! Gorgeous and gigantic but that $4000.00 price tag is a bit to swallow.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I thought of voting for the Isle Royale, but am concerned that with this strongly radiant stove, that it may be too intense compared to the jacketed Ashley. I would feel much better with a convective stove like the Rangeley or a PE Super 27 in there.
  12. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    As other folks have said . . . or asked . . . there may be some other alternatives . . . and some good questions have been asked (i.e. need for a rear vent, are you truly married to the idea of an ash drawer, are you sure you wouldn't consider a stove with a cat, etc.)

    I will say if budget is truly an issue you should look at Englander, Napoleon and Regency woodstoves to see if any of these would suit your needs as they are relatively no-frills, but hard working woodstoves.

    If you want something a little fancier that should check off every box you could go with the Jotul Oslo or F-600 . . . the Oslo can be run with either a rear or top vent and it has a functional ash drawer that I use all the time. It also burns quite well and is near bullet-proof (much like the old Ashley) and in my case I would guess I'm heating 95% of the winter here in Maine with my woodstove (the oil boiler is relegated to stand by duty if I am away from the home for an extended length of time or for those sub zero nights when the temps dip below 60 degrees in the morning before I wake up.) For comparison purposes, I'm heating 1,800 square feet in a 1970s vintage two-story Cape with moderate insulation (mostly 2 x 4 walls) . . . and for the record . . . after loading up the stove around 9:30 p.m. and heading to bed by 10 p.m. I don't get up until 4:30-5:30 a.m. and it's rare that the temps have hit the 60 degree mark . . . plus there's always enough coals to do a reload.
  13. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Sounds to me like that old Ashley wasn't heating the house, the stove pipe was. Their pipe was turning cherry red, sure sign of wasted heat going up the flue. I don't care if it is a 4 cu ft stove, it's half as efficient as a new Fireview would be and I still think the Fireview could handle 1400 sq ft even if it is a little drafty.
  14. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Right Todd. I was just looking over the posts and thinking about what to post when I came across this. You have a good memory.
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum dairymaid.

    SE PA sounds like a great area with a somewhat warmer climate than most of MI. Also sounds like perhaps you are farmers. All good points.

    First of all it sounds as if you are in somewhat the same situation we were in 4 years ago. We were heating a drafty old crate with a good old Ashley! Like you, we were not getting very long burn times and in the deepest part of winter we closed off what we could and while in the house spent almost all of our waking hours very close to the stove. I well recall one winter evening when we had company. They could not keep their house warm so came to ours. We did okay and played cards right next to the stove and I kept that thing hot too. But, it was drafty and I actually sat there with felt pack boots on my feet. Yes, we had some memories of that old Ashley.

    A couple more points where we compare is not wanting an ash drawer and not wanting a cat stove. We had heard some really bad things about both. I won't tell the whole story but we ended up buying a cat stove and it has no ash drawer.....and we couldn't be happier! We bought a Woodstock Fireview (the 6 month return guarantee also had something to do with this as we were not gambling; we were guaranteed or our money back). This stove really has amazed us. The cat issue turned out to be a non-issue as did the ash drawer and the biggest part is we use only half the amount of wood we used to burn in the Ashley and we stay warm now without closing off any part of the house.

    Therefore I would highly suggest you look closely at Woodstock stoves. If not the Fireview then go a step higher with their new stove which is larger and will be even more efficient. It is either top or rear exit to the flue. This new stove promises to be a dandy!


    Good luck to you.
  16. AmazingGraceDairy

    AmazingGraceDairy New Member

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    Matt, our flue size is 8" reduced down to a 6"
  17. AmazingGraceDairy

    AmazingGraceDairy New Member

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    Here's the million dollar quest; Were you happy with the old Ashley wood stove? Did it give off enough heat? Too much heat? Do you want something that gives off the same amount of heat as the Ashley?[/quote]

    We were mostly happy with the woodstove. I would have liked a better fan on it to move the heat around the house a little better. The time we did the best with that was a time where we hung a fan above the woodstove. The problem with that was that the fan was not ment to be spuspended in the air and began making a clicking noise, and my pride took a blow (not that that is a horrible thing) but I didn't like the looks of having a fan hanging by baling twine above the stove. I will say that the whole house warmed up about 10 degrees within the half hour of doing that. The Ashely did have a fan that finally went kaput, but the fan that it had did not move much air. The part we were the most unhappy with was how often we had to fill it. We definitly noticed a difference in how quickly it would burn wood if it was windy outside. We scrounge for our wood, so it is not always the best quality, but we never burn pine. I would say that all in all it did keep the house decently warm. It was 90 degrees in the woodstove room and about 70 degrees in the other rooms and maybe 68 in the upstairs bedrooms.
  18. AmazingGraceDairy

    AmazingGraceDairy New Member

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    Thank you! I will post a picture (or try to) to explain better why the rear exit. The current hight of the pipe going through the wall to the outside is 27.5 inches off of the floor. That is the reason for needing the rear exit. :)
  19. AmazingGraceDairy

    AmazingGraceDairy New Member

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    Thank you for your imput. My husband has said that the ash pan is a must, because we don't like to let the woodstove die down too much in order to stop and shovel out the ashes because the woodstove is almost our only source of heat.
  20. AmazingGraceDairy

    AmazingGraceDairy New Member

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    Yes, the Equinox is a beautiful stove that I can't seem to make myself stop looking at it, but I know we cant afford it. I think our absolute limit for price is $3000, but if we can keep it at $2000 that would make my husband a lot happier. We know that a good stove will pay for itself, but we have to respect our budget. Thank you for the imput :)
  21. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    We were mostly happy with the woodstove. I would have liked a better fan on it to move the heat around the house a little better. The time we did the best with that was a time where we hung a fan above the woodstove. The problem with that was that the fan was not ment to be spuspended in the air and began making a clicking noise, and my pride took a blow (not that that is a horrible thing) but I didn't like the looks of having a fan hanging by baling twine above the stove. I will say that the whole house warmed up about 10 degrees within the half hour of doing that. The Ashely did have a fan that finally went kaput, but the fan that it had did not move much air. The part we were the most unhappy with was how often we had to fill it. We definitly noticed a difference in how quickly it would burn wood if it was windy outside. We scrounge for our wood, so it is not always the best quality, but we never burn pine. I would say that all in all it did keep the house decently warm. It was 90 degrees in the woodstove room and about 70 degrees in the other rooms and maybe 68 in the upstairs bedrooms.[/quote]

    We too had a fan on the Ashley but it petered out rather quickly. We were better off using a Vornado pedestal fan blowing above the stovetop. We also did not like the noise that fan gave so the Vornado was very welcome.

    A little hint here for the future though. Something I learned here on hearth.com is that we were using the fans wrong! If you want to heat the rest of the house good, then set a small table top fan in the doorway on it's lowest setting and blow cool air into the stove room. Sounds backwards but works like a charm. What happens is the small fan, sitting on the floor blows cool air into the stove room forcing the warm air out. It sets up a natural convection. Same thing with a ceiling fan. Rather than trying to blow hot air down, blow the cool air up. Low or medium speed is best on this.

    I see that you never burn pine. If you've read or heard of some of those old wive's tales about pine, forget them. Pine is fine, it just doesn't burn as long as hardwood.

    Another hint is to make sure you get your wood put up ahead of time. A year is a good place to start but I have always advised to get 2-3 years ahead on the wood supply. This insures that any oak will have time to dry and also gives you a cushion so that should something happen and you can't get wood, you have a good cushion to fall back on. We've seen several instances of this happening recently to folks here on this forum.

    For sure, no matter what type of stove you buy now, the new EPA stoves demand good dry wood. And remember that wood does not dry until it has been cut to firewood length and then split. After being split, it needs to be stacked somewhere where it can get wind. Sun is good too but wind is more important than sun.
  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Perhaps you need to talk to your husband to explain. You do not have to let the stove die down at all! When the stove gets down to where it needs wood, you can clean the ashes then. Simply take the poker or a rake and slide the hot coals to the front or back, scoop out the ashes (but leave at least an inch of ash on the bottom) and then rake the coals the other way and take those ashes out.

    As BeGreen stated, ashpans hare highly overrated. As I stated earlier, what you are going through right now is exactly what we went through 4 years ago.
  23. certified106

    certified106 Minister of Fire

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    Lots of things going through my mind right now after looking at the pictures..... What is the clearance between the left side of the stove and the window/wall? Are you planning on upgrading /putting in a hearth underneath the stove?
  24. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    We were mostly happy with the woodstove. I would have liked a better fan on it to move the heat around the house a little better. The time we did the best with that was a time where we hung a fan above the woodstove. The problem with that was that the fan was not ment to be spuspended in the air and began making a clicking noise, and my pride took a blow (not that that is a horrible thing) but I didn't like the looks of having a fan hanging by baling twine above the stove. I will say that the whole house warmed up about 10 degrees within the half hour of doing that. The Ashely did have a fan that finally went kaput, but the fan that it had did not move much air. The part we were the most unhappy with was how often we had to fill it. We definitly noticed a difference in how quickly it would burn wood if it was windy outside. We scrounge for our wood, so it is not always the best quality, but we never burn pine. I would say that all in all it did keep the house decently warm. It was 90 degrees in the woodstove room and about 70 degrees in the other rooms and maybe 68 in the upstairs bedrooms.[/quote]

    A few things:
    - Nothing wrong with burning pine. Like any wood, as long as it is dry it will burn well.
    - If you get a new stove, you need to have drier wood or your wood burning life will be miserable.
    - Seems like your house is a little more than "somewhat drafty". I can relate. But acknowledging it allows you to plan better as oppose to blame the new stove.
    - I'm assuming putting in a ceiling fan in the stove room is out of the question due to a low ceiling height, correct?
    - Get a large stove. At least 3 cu ft.
    - Try to find away to allow for top venting.
    - If you can somehow topvent the stove, the Enlgander 30NC would be the most economical solution.
  25. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Just saw the pictures you posted. Yes, the same old Ashley stove. Thankfully ours was not in that bad of shape. In fact another party owns that stove now.
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