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Your Stove's Biggest Flaw(s)... and Best Features

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by mnowaczyk, Jan 11, 2010.

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  1. mnowaczyk

    mnowaczyk Member

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    Post your Rants or Praises here... (No fear of a thread hijack. Post away!)

    I assume it could be useful to see what people think of their stoves. This is not really intended to be a review of each stove (for which I understand there is already a site section), but a general post of things to avoid when choosing a stove. Sure, all problems have a workaround, but some folks might not like 'em.

    Here are problems I see with my insert:
    1) Room air intakes are on both sides of the ash pan, so ash spillage will get blown right back in your face when your fan is on. If my stove at least had a deeper ridge below the doors it would hold more ash/coals in the stove. My review: bad feature. (Workaround... shovel out the ashes... makes it harder to keep fire hot for longer though... Maybe more experienced folks know if this is a good or bad feature.)
    2) Flat face exposes minimal firebox to the room... maybe a reason for a hearth stove instead of an insert, but my insert is as flat as they come and has minimal locations even for a magnetic thermometer.
    3) Loud fan

    Benfits, things I like:
    A) Thick cast holds heat well and seems like very solid construction
    B) thermostatic air control will basically assure I don't overfire and can run comfortably over 700 degrees (manual says 400-800 F is ideal). (I've got two of these 1981-82 stoves and neither show any signs of overfire.... maybe the thick cast (feature above) allows this.
    C) tempted to say good looks... hey... you do have to look at this thing every day it's in your house... which leads to another benefit...
    D) this thing is small enough to get in and out of the house on a hand truck by myself, so I can remove it for the summer, cleaning, etc.
    E) has face screen so it can be used like an open fireplace if desired, or for getting the fire started.

    Not impressed / Not disappointed:
    i) maybe does half the heating for my 2000 square foot 3 story house (boiler runs mostly just 2 AM to 11 AM)


    (I've heard great things about the heat from Quardafires, and I sure do like the looks of the hearthstone fireview.)

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    They fixed all of those things in 1984. :lol:
  3. mnowaczyk

    mnowaczyk Member

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    LOL. Thanks BB!

    I know my stove is junk, but it's like my first motorcycle... would your first be a Harley? Or a <$1000 rice burner? I think I've burnt for less than 3 weeks in total now... both last year an this year combined.

    Do they really not build stove like that anymore? Is it true that most stoves don't damper the air down at high temps anymore? (i.e. "Thermostatically controlled air intake" Somebody posted that on a thread here I think.)
  4. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    I don't think the Fireview is made by Hearthstone...
  5. mnowaczyk

    mnowaczyk Member

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    I should have checked... You apparently knew what I meant... woodstove (that's soapstone, right?) Cool looking stove too.
  6. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Woodstock.
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I don't think there is anybody that could engineer a thermostatically controlled air intake for a non-cat stove that could pass the EPA certification tests.
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Really? EPA I, II, or III? AFAIK my non-cat RSF is EPA certified and it uses a bimetal thermostatic control. I think current RSF stoves do too.

    I had an old parlour stove once with a thermostatic control. It wasn't well balanced and would start to hunt like krazy. I stuck a bent nail in it to settle it down.

    What I didn't like about the RSF was the uncontrolled zipper air but I took care of that. I didn't care for the blower design either. It sucked air into the surround along with dirt and ashes. I reversed it to suck cold air up from below and blow it across the stove.
  9. ikessky

    ikessky Minister of Fire

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    I know it's not a "stove", but I believe that the intake on the Caddy furnaces are thermostatically controlled (no forced air either) and they have a secondary burn.
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The Caddy uses a wall thermostat like other central heating units. And has a barometric damper too. Keeping that puppy from smoldering when the thermostat isn't calling for heat has to be a neat trick.

    I would love to see one in action.
  11. ikessky

    ikessky Minister of Fire

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    As would I. Properly sized, I don't think it would do bad. My NG furnace is a 60000BTU, so I think the Mini-Caddy at up to 75000BTU's would work out fairly well. At least it would be cleaner burning than a lot of other furnaces out there. Plus, I doubt it is air tight, so it should be pulling a small amount of air even when the intake damper is shut.
    I need to look at the Kuuma's also. They advertise 95% smokeless burn.
  12. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Worst feature, the small round hole in the top for loading. Long pieces don't go in when the stove starts getting full, plus sometimes the diameter is just too large.
    Best feature, the small round hole in the top for loading. No coals or ashes ever spill out, I can load the logs any which way with out worry of shifting or rolling out the door.
  13. summit

    summit Minister of Fire

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    PE summit has the EBT to regulate the fixed intake...
  14. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    I am new to the stove so my likes and dislikes of the features are more physical at this point. Lopi Republic 1750i

    PRO - it's an insert so it fits in small clearance wood mantel without revision, does not take up much floor space or require hearth modifications, BUT, it extends way out onto the hearth with little heat loss into the chimney, so presumably will perform more like a freestanding stove.

    PRO - Has a good size cook top that will fit my largest #9 Griswold dutch oven or a good sized cast iron griddle! (Who knows if I will use that much but I like to think I will)

    PRO - decent sized firebox 2.2 should accomplish overnight burns

    CON - sits so low (since I have a flush hearth) that I don't get the best view of the fire. (More a con of my hearth, not the stove.)

    CON - Bypass damper handle pulls out across cooktop with a tool that can easily scratch the paint.
  15. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    The door handle gets loose so we have to tighten it up every 5 days or so. Last year it was worse but I put on a lock washer that helped a lot. Not a showstopper since 95% of the time we burn WOT but next thaw I'll give it another look see.

    Otherwise a VG stove.
  16. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    1977 Vigilant:

    Pros:
    Puts out a lot of heat.
    Decent burn time considering the age of the stove.
    Simple to use.
    Accepts 22" splits.
    You can really stuff the firebox.
    Durable.
    Not picky about wood. Burns less than seasoned wood well.
    Surprisingly good looks.
    If you find one in great condition, this is an excellent first stove for someone looking to get a stove on the cheap.

    Negatives:
    Have to fiddle with it a lot. Temps fluctuate too much.
    Not as efficient as a newer stove.
    No option to attach a blower.
    Can be a bit smokey.



    Intrepid Model 1308 Catalytic:

    Pros:
    The catalyst is easy to get going once you figure out how it likes to run.
    Can lock the stove temp in better than the Vigilant.
    Rather efficient considering the small firebox size. A dew small splits go a long way considering what you are dealing with.

    Negative:
    VC cat parts are more expensive than any other stove manufacturer.
    Cat parts are back ordered by weeks, if not longer.
    Very small firebox.
    Needs to be burned hot. 600+ seems optimal.
    Hot burn times equals a lot of reloading due to small firebox size.
    Needs a damper to prevent initial heat loss before cat is engaged.
    Slow to get up to temperature. (painfully slow if you are still learning how the stove works)
    Does not give off nearly as much heat as I had hoped.
    If this would have been my first stove I would have given up wood burning.
  17. 76ER

    76ER New Member

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    Loc:
    Southern Ontario
    Drolet Legend,

    Pros: large fire box 3.1cuft (heating a 800 sqft uninsulated house)
    bypass damper
    nice big door for viewing
    comes with a blower and ash pan
    attractive looking stove (at least I think so)

    Con: I was surprised to see there is no "rail" or "lip" to hold the top of the fire bricks against the inside of the stove walls...when loading it could be very easy to dislodge a fire brick because a couple of them have a tendency to lean towards the middle.

    I replaced my PE Vista with the Drolet Legend and I am very happy with my decision. The stove does a masterful job in keeping my home warm.
  18. kah68

    kah68 Member

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    Lower Canadian Shield (Haliburton)
    Pros: Super heat output, glass stays clean for a long time. Cons: would be nice to have a quieter fan and longer burn times...overall, I'm very happy with my P.E. 'Pacific' insert.
  19. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Jotul Oslo

    Pro: Great woodstove for heating, simple controls, reliable

    Cons: That darned front door which drops ash on to the ash pan . . . the only change I would make

    Things I would have done different: Spent a few extra dollars for the blue-black enamel
  20. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    Fireview: I like crystal clear glass and although the glass does stay clean of anything black, it does get fly ash on it as I'm sure all stoves do and it is a pain in the butt to clean, getting past the andirons with my big hands and gloves. Also wish it had a 3 cf firebox. Otherwise, it is a joy to run.

    Morso 3450: Too small for serious 24/7 burning but amazingly well built and a ton of heat for a stove that small. Also, a nice combination of cast iron and soapstone for quick and long lasting heat.
  21. mnowaczyk

    mnowaczyk Member

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    Can you remove the andirons on the Fireview?
    (Since I got burning seriously, I gave up on my andirons. They sit right next to the stove with the screen for the for the day I run mine with the doors removed.)
  22. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    You probably could but they are a great help to stack against when you are burning.
  23. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

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    Hearthstone Homestead

    Pro's: Pretty, very flexible and soft heat output, big glass, great secondaries, long-lasting usable heat (took me two months to realize it would generate great heat for hours after the flame goes by-by)

    Con's: Angled top in the firebox makes loading to the max difficult, prefers really dry wood (more so than my NC-13, 'feel like' I need to be gentle

    S
  24. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    PE Spectrum Classic (black enamel with polished nickel door and trim)

    Flaws

    1) None

    2) It'd be nice if they made that ash dump optional


    Best features

    1) Super simple to use. 1 lever controls everything

    2) Firebox is almost square so she can be loaded front to back or side to side

    3) She's purdy. Boxy, but purdy.

    4) All of you are jealous because you got some complicated, over-priced also-ran
  25. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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