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Yet another Englander 30 vs. 13 thread - Also some general questions

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by SufficientSelf.com, Oct 31, 2010.

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  1. SufficientSelf.com

    SufficientSelf.com Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Northern California
    Hey Guys!

    I wasn't expecting to join the forum since there is already a TON of fantastic information on here that I can find by searching. With that said, I got lured into joining by reading some of the amazing posts and great atmosphere!

    Here's my situation: I've got the following old stove that my dad installed in the house about 30 years ago:
    [​IMG]

    It is warped inside and all the controls are frozen up, and I'd just love to get into the more efficient secondary burning systems (save wood, save environment).

    I called a local dealer and he really sold me on the Lopi stoves. The Lopi website is FANTASTIC and the videos are amazing: http://www.lopistoves.com/videos/ (the 5th video "Proper operational aspects when burning wood.." is my favorite).

    I was almost going to get the Lopi Endeavor, but after a lot of reading on here, I've realized that I can get the most bang for my buck by purchasing one of the Englander models (Englander, Summers Heat, Timber Ridge all being the same) http://www.englanderstoves.com .

    I'll probably end up purchasing from http://www.overstockstoves.com since based on what I've read it is the outlet right from the manufacturer.

    We live in Northern California and have pretty temperate climate. With that said, my wife HATES any cold, so while we're not having to heat from freezing up to 70 degrees, we'll be doing a lot of 50 up to 70.

    We're in an addition to my parent's house. The family room with the stove is 442 square feet (the box to the left) and the rest of the addition is 535 sq. ft. (connected by a hallway) which is a total of 976 +/-. My parent's house is another 1,700 sq. ft. Here is the floorplan of the addition (parent's part would be to the left):
    [​IMG]

    I was originally going to go with the Timber Ridge TNC30 (Englander NC30) because "bigger is better" and a lot of peeps on here say that you can build a small fire in a big box but not a big fire in a small box. I also like the thought of having more room for the more shapely pieces of wood I'd like to put in the box. (The 13 is only 1.6 cubic feed where the 30 is 3.5)!

    Okay, now that you have all the details, here are my questions for the masters:


    1. I’d like to go with the 30, but I’m worried it be too big / hot for my space? When we’ve been “heated out” of our family room we usually just open the door to my parent’s house and let the heat flood into their part of the house.
    2. The 30 is very deep compared to most stoves that are more wide than deep. I’d have to enlarge my floor / hearth to accommodate the new stove. I’m wondering if it is worth the work.
    3. How do you keep a stove (the 13 or the 30) from “overfiring”? How do you turn the stove down? Our old stove would sometimes hit a point where it would escalate hotter and hotter and I was worried I’d have a pool of molten metal and there were not controls to do anything about it.
    4. I’m use to a HUGE firebox and throwing in monster large / long logs!! How frustrated would I be with a tiny little 1.6 cu. Ft. box? Would I always feel like I’m playing with a little toy fireplace and putting twigs inside? Would I be frustrated with having to change my habits and make almost twice as many cuts to have short wood? (I guess within reason this is going to happen with either stove?)
    5. Our current chimney “stove pipe” is 8 inch. Can I simply use an “increaser” right at the base to go from 6” to 8” without any problems?
    6. The Lopi Endeavor has a “bypass damper” that allows you to start the fire super quickly when you bypass the secondary burner. I’ve read that some people have problems lighting fires and getting a good draw. How will I know if this is going to be an issue for me or not? I imagine the manufacturers wouldn’t make a fireplace that would generally have problems starting, right?

    I guess of all the questions, the most important right now are the ones regarding the 13 vs. the 30... if the 13 will be big enough and if the 30 will be too hot and more work than it is worth since I'd have to redo the floor.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions and help you can provide!

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    29,026
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    I think in your climate and living arrangement the 13-NC is probably the way to go. The 30 is happiest with 16-18" splits so no difference in how you will have to cut the wood. The 30 would be just too much stove for the place. Get the blower for times you need to get more heat around in the place when the cold wind is finding cracks. As to the pipe, I would try it with a increaser into the current pipe and then make a change if you needed to later.

    That smaller fire in a big stove stuff only goes so far. 450 pounds of hot steel and bricks is still gonna be 450 pounds of hot steel and bricks. Most of the time I could probably heat this barn with a 13 but I am a big stove nut and like the elbow room in the firebox.

    Edit: You control the burn rate with the primary air control that gives you a fairly broad control range.
  3. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    3,876
    Loc:
    Central Mass
    Welcome to the forum, I was in Northerm CA this past spring and I was surprised how cold it got at night and I was also surprised by how many signs I saw for cordwood for sale.
  4. SufficientSelf.com

    SufficientSelf.com Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Northern California
    weatherguy, we definitely do get chilly from time to time, but nothing like what some of those up North / out East have to deal with... thank goodness!! :) You won't see a lot of signs for cordwood in the "city" parts, but you seem them a bit more out and about. Craigslist is full of "$300 / cord" ads right now.

    BrotherBart, thanks for your wise thoughts! It will be a huge adjustment for me to move from my current box (at least about 4 cubic feet inside) to something that is a tiny 1.6 cubic feet... but if it is true that the little guy can heat up my space, then I'm willing to give it a go!

    Does anybody know the ACTUAL inside measurements for the NC13 (including the firebricks, etc.)? Meaning, how much "usable" space is there inside?

    I read about people getting heated out of a room, but I would think that the air control doohicky would allow you to meter this, no? I guess the question is: How much control does the primary air control actually give you? I mean, if I'm feeling too hot in a room or if I see my box temp going towards being "too hot", would I be able to really dial in a proper heat?

    Also, regarding installation: I'm by no stretch a contractor, but I am moderately handy. Since I'm just swapping out an old stove with a new one, it shouldn't be overly difficult, right? I read all over about "licensed installers", which I would definitely do if I was running a brand new pipe / chimney, but do I really need a "pro" in this situation? I mean, pull out the old one, get an "increaser" and put in the new one, no?

    Thanks again for the help!
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    29,026
    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    Installing it yourself shouldn't be a problem. Hopefully the pipe you have now is in good shape. The 13 is 1.8cf and I heat my 1,000 sq. ft. basement office and storage space with uninsulated block walls with a Jotul F3 that is around .8 or .9cf as best I can figure. I keep resisting the temptation to put a 13 down there. Overnight burns will challenge you but if you loaded up a 30 for an overnight you would be going and spending the night with mom and dad unless that place is totally devoid of insulation and leaks like a sieve. The trick is to time your burn so that you have a 300 or so degree stove with a bed of coals about an hour before bedtime. Then load the stove, get the initial load outgassing adventure over with and then dial it in and go to bed.

    The air control won't let you raise and lower stove temp at will. What it does is let you shut it down in stages to level out at a temp you want. It'll probably be five to six hundred degrees on the stove top. You will have a learning curve with an EPA stove and will waste a little wood the first year playing with it and learning. But being able to see the fire will make a huge difference in how your run your stove. You can see the burn and make adjustments without opening the door all the time. Makes for greater efficiency too that way.

    And the gang at hearth.com will be here all along the way to give all sorts of advice. ALL sorts of advice. Like the old hands in Congress tell the new guys. Listen to what everybody advises, look at all viewpoints and then do what I tell you. :lol:
  6. SufficientSelf.com

    SufficientSelf.com Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    13
    Loc:
    Northern California
    hahahaha... "up with mom and dad" I love it!

    Regarding overnight burns: I see a LOT of discussions about this, but honestly, I can't think of a reason why we would do this. We're usually plenty warm at night with blankets and if we had a fire going the day before, it rarely gets "super cold" in the house by morning. We'd be inclined to just start a new fire in the morning if needed.

    The good news regarding air control: Anything is better than what we have now (i.e., no control) :D

    So, while the "reasonable / frugal shopper" and "bigger is better" parts in me would be inclined to get a stove with twice a bigger box for only 35% more $$$, I think the NC-13 is a better fit.

    I think I'll give the install a go... reading the manuals it looks pretty straighforward.

    Question: Regarding "clearances to combustibles": I've been looking all over the forum and had a hard time understanding this. We have those thick "fire rocks" mortared into the wall. When the nc13 says "12" of clearances to combustibles" that means there are no "heat shields" between the stove and the sheetrock, just air, right? How do I factor in the 3.5 " of rock and mortar into the requirements?
  7. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    4,883
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    You might not factor it into the requirements, depending on what is behind the rock and mortar. If it is solid brick behind it, it would make a difference. If the wall is combustible such as wood framing and even drywall the brick and mortar doesn't factor in. What happens is repeated heating can dry out framing and floor joists to the point where they start to char and possibly ignite.

    Matt
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