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Woodstove sizing question

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by KP Matt, May 1, 2006.

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  1. KP Matt

    KP Matt New Member

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    Hi all,

    I've been lurking for ages here... I posted a chimney question just before you went to the new look.

    I spend most weekends even through the winter in a little cabin here in the Ottawa valley in Ontario, so it can get pretty cold.

    300 sq feet (perhaps another 100 sq feet will be added in the future), poorly insulated, single pane windows.

    Put in a new 6" metalsbestos chimney last fall, 6' through ceiling and attic. The stovepipe is a straightshot up to the ceiling support.

    The current stove is an old Jotul 118. I'm looking to change it to something safer, more efficient and smaller. There's a lot of smoke out the chimney unless it's burning fairly hot, but when it's burning hot it quickly gets the cabin up to intolerable temperatures. So this means I end up burning small, smouldering fires.

    The obvious choice for this situation is the modern Jotul 602, which I really like based on its looks and stated specs. I had also looked at the Morso 1410 - which I also like - but it doesn't seem to be available around here, plus the 12" logs could be a problem. I think some of the other companies make small stoves, but I don't think they are EPA approved - i.e. Drolet Compak...

    What I'm worried about is whether the Jotul 602 will be big enough given the cold outdoor temperatures and the cabin's poor insulation? The 602 is supposed to be for 600-800 sq feet, but I think my situation (climate, insulation) could be more extreme than their assumptions take into account.

    Any thoughts, ideas?

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  2. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    That is the problem with any stove and a small firebox, you just cant pack enough wood in there for a long fire.

    I have the big Morso and couldnt be happier with it so I wold imagine the small one is a good stove too.
    Jotul 602 is a good stove. I have an old one for when I build a garage, should be just enough to warm it up when doing projects.
  3. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    one solution to babalu's answer is to store some of that heat to get you through to the next load cycle. Soapstone would be my choice in a small cabin that i didnt want to overheat. Check out the tribute by hearthstone.
  4. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    I like the idea of the Moreso 1410 (Squirrel)... but burn coal in it (in the evenings) rather than wood. Longer burn times, less work. You have any anthracite available up there?

    -- Mike
  5. KP Matt

    KP Matt New Member

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    Thanks for the responses.

    No coal readily available to individual consumers as far as I know, but I think much of our electricity comes from coal. Personally I think my driving habits gobble up enough of my personal share of previously-sequestered carbons. Besides, I have unlimited firewood - much of which is hop hornbeam. Plus I think the nearest Morso dealer is at least 100 miles from the cabin.

    The Tribute is interesting - I think it's a little too big and a little more expensive than I had hoped. I do like the idea of soapstone and the flattened heat cycle (?), but I wish the styling on those Hearthstones was a little bit less baroque.
  6. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Dont let that stop you, I drove about that far to save $300+ on our stove.
    Massachusetts's dealer was $300 more for the stove, $50 more for the warming racks! add to that the tax and it was a nice drive ;)

    You may have to buy coal by the ton to get it up there?
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The 602 is a powerful little stove and a great heater. I think it will easily heat the cabin. We heated a 2000 sq. ft house with one, albeit in a milder climate.
  8. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    the problem is the burn time, any stove on the market will heat your cabin, its a matter of how much you want to feed it. if you want to stick small, you need to go with a stove that moderates heat well. I would look at the many small thermal mass stoves out there, unless you want to wake up at 3am to load your firebox.
  9. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    The F602 is a nice little stove, I own one, and it should easily heat your 300sq ft area. But if you'll be burning it 24/7, I'd strongly consider getting something with an ashpan. EPA stoves without a grate and ashpan will have a "coals buildup" problem, as there's not enough underfire air to burn them off as quickly as they're produced. It makes living with the stove much more of a chore, and more messy to boot.

    I second Babalooie, a 100 mile drive to get a stove that better suits your needs is definitely worthwhile. And the Morsos are excellent. The Morso Squirrel is indeed a cute little stove, but the 12" max logs is a pain. How about the 3410?

    Any of these smaller stoves will need to be reloaded more frequently. No way around it. In my opinion, you're better off not bothering to try to burn them overnight. You'll have enough coals to start right up in the morning, and your first couple fires can be hotter and will make up the difference.
  10. berlin

    berlin New Member

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    "You may have to buy coal by the ton to get it up there?"

    he would have to buy anthricite by the truckload, usually 25 ton minimum and it would cost him 300/ton usd. not worth it for him especially due to his access to hop hornbeam, very high btu wood.
  11. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    How about a small Dutchwest or one of the smaller Vermont Castings stoves (not the Aspen though)? Or a smaller Lopi, Avalon, Osburn, or a mid size Morso. There are a lot of nice options out there.
  12. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    What about An Intrepid II? Mine Cat Intrepid,, does burn 6 decent heat producing hours. Depends how I load or the
    wood quality whether, I have enough coals the next morning, To get it going again, I say 50/50. It is possible to get
    a used one, decent priced on on Ebay. Two weeks ago Dylan asked me agout one, That had seen little use fantastic looking.
    opening bid $300 buy now price $650. A day later it was gone. Im willing to bet it could sell $800-1000 in Sept or Oct.
    Even if one needs to replace the cat combustor, an easy task, the after market ones sell for about $60
  13. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    Methinks that most of the stoves being recommended would be unbearably warm in a 300 sq ft. space...
  14. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    and thats the point, there isnt a stove out there that will comfortably heat 300 square feet max, it would only take about 12,000 btu's @70% efficiencey to heat that space. The only reason i recomended soapstone in this instance, 400 degree surface temps will be alot more bareable then 600+. But any will over heat a space that small. He is going to have to crack a window sometimes. Maybe if he got a old, small, innificent, woodstove that would work.
    When we were building this house we rented a cabin that was off the grid. The only heat was a small cookstove and a open fireplace. This place was small, 13'x10', and that little cookstove (jotul 404) roasted us.
  15. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    Good point MSG. But I do think the F602 would work well. One thing I do like about it is how controllable it is over a wide range of heat outputs. The only thing I'm uncomfortable about is Jotul quality control...

    I don't have any experience with soapstone, so I can't comment.
  16. KP Matt

    KP Matt New Member

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    Thanks again. Still leaning towards the 602, but I'm wondering, other than Hearthstone and Woodstock are there any other soapstone manufacturers?

    I was surprised how small the VC Intrepid actually is. The stated efficiency for the Intrepid non-cat is 63%, or the EPA minimum. Hasn't it been tested? There are some smaller Dutchwest and Century models as well, but am I right in noting that VC seems to understate their BTU ratings compared to other manufacturers?

    Maybe I'll just wait a few months for the $US to fall even further against the CAD, then hope for a deal?

    Not having an ashpan isn't the end of the world - I'm used to it with the old Jotul 118. I'm usually outdoors much of the day so I can let it burn down then scoop it out before starting the late afternoon/early evening fire.
  17. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    Im with you on the 602, thats a fantastic little stove that cranks, and one of the oldest stoves still in production. And if this guy was in my shop i would show him the jotul nordic, the jotul 602, the hearthstone tribute, and the quad 2100. I personaly havent had any issues with Jotul quality control, at least not out of my stock.
  18. KP Matt

    KP Matt New Member

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    Just occurred to me why a soapstone won't work. I'm mostly there on weekends and the place isn't heated in between, so when I arrive it's well below freezing (at least between December and March). Soapstones take a while to heat up, don't they?
  19. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    i would think that putting a fire in a soapstone stove at that temp would stress the stove a little to much and you would end up with fractured stones.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    We never found ash in the older 602 much of an issue. I usually cleaned it out once a week at the most. However, MSG is right, it does have a short burn time due to the small firebox and it does tend to cycle in temp more frequently. Expect about 3 hrs per cycle of 400 deg, 700 deg. 400 deg. from the stove. I forgot about the VC Intrepid, I have a friend that has one and loves it. It is a fine little stove and does have a longer burn cycle. I've seen them going for as low as $300 in the summmer in excellent condition. YMMV this year though. If you have an active Crasigslist, that may be a good place to watch.
  21. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    First point is correct, it will take longer to heat up. It takes energy to warm those stones, in the mean time you get nice radient from the glass, but not enought to get the blaring heat that you need to warm the place fast. The second point is not true, you can fire any stove at any ambient temp with out worrying about things breaking, this is expecially true with soapstone, which has a much slower warm up and expansion rate the any other material. I have lots of stoves out there in similar conditions, weekend hunting cabins, ski cabins, or just strait hillbilly cabins, with no reported problems. Also i have never seen in any manual warning you not to fire a stove in cold ambient temps.
    Stone is probably not for you if you want to heat that place fast, i think i made my point of why i would recommend it, and it doenst fit your needs.
  22. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    You're right, it wasn't an issue with the old one. But it is with the new one if you're burning 'round the clock... it just means you have to rake the coal bed to the front and let it burn down every 2nd or 3rd load.
  23. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    No experience here, but as I understand it, soapstone stoves do fair better when kept at a hotter temp for long periods of time. The best for hot/cold cycling like you describe is the steel box stoves like Avalons or Osburns. That said, several of the Morso stoves have soapstone on them BUT they are NOT a soapstone stoves. The soapstone is really more for decoration than it is functional like in a Hearthstone or Woodstock stoves. It seems to me that given the size and need for quick heat, one of the small Morso, Vermont castings Intrepid, or Jotul 602 would be the ticket.

    My Osburn while quite a bit larger than you need, seems pretty happy loafing along on a log or two every now and then on low air setting, and doesn't put out a lot of heat in those conditions, but, load it up with a lot of wood, and even at low settings, there is a pretty blistering fire in there. Hmmm...now that I think of it...your really back to the 602.
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