~1200 Sq. Ft. Stove Recommendations

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,758
South Puget Sound, WA
Take a look at the Vermont Castings Aspen C3. It is right-sized and qualifies for the 26% tax credit (which applies to the entire installation cost). There is a VC dealer in Manhattan, KS if that helps.
 

wjohn

New Member
Jul 27, 2021
59
KS
Take a look at the Vermont Castings Aspen C3. It is right-sized and qualifies for the 26% tax credit (which applies to the entire installation cost). There is a VC dealer in Manhattan, KS if that helps.

Thanks! Earlier today I actually discovered there's a retailer in Wichita. I'm hoping to stop by this weekend because it does seem like a nicely sized efficient stove. I'm doing a little research now and I'm not sure how excited I am about the automatic air control. I will have to do more research and think on it.
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,252
SE North Carolina
I'm not sure how excited I am about the automatic air control
I want to like it…… would like to hear a few more reports as I was considering the Aspen for a bit. Decided to go bigger.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,145
Downeast Maine
At first the auto air sounded like a bad idea to me, but my only experience with thermostatic control is with a broken VC Defiant I. Seems that most people like the thermostatic control on the BK stoves, which is the same principle. The main difference being the thermostat is adjustable and there is a bypass. Could be nice to just light a stove and walk away.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,252
SE North Carolina
At first the auto air sounded like a bad idea to me, but my only experience with thermostatic control is with a broken VC Defiant I. Seems that most people like the thermostatic control on the BK stoves, which is the same principle. The main difference being the thermostat is adjustable and there is a bypass. Could be nice to just light a stove and walk away.
My air setting stays in the same place after the fire is lit 90% of the time.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,758
South Puget Sound, WA
At first the auto air sounded like a bad idea to me, but my only experience with thermostatic control is with a broken VC Defiant I. Seems that most people like the thermostatic control on the BK stoves, which is the same principle. The main difference being the thermostat is adjustable and there is a bypass. Could be nice to just light a stove and walk away.
FWIW, we bought our VC Resolute new and the thermostat worked great. VC continues to use this solution, including in the Aspen C3. I mention this stove because it is right-sized, qualifies for the tax credit, and is not a budget breaker. The guys at MF Fire are young and smart engineers. I'd love to try a Nova2 for a year to learn how it burns under varying conditions.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,145
Downeast Maine
My air setting stays in the same place after the fire is lit 90% of the time.
I do the same, but I have to be around for the first 30-60 minutes after lighting to slowly close the intake. The Aspen C3 is light it and forget it. Definitely a stove I would recommend for someone new to woodstoves.
 

wjohn

New Member
Jul 27, 2021
59
KS
I got a quote on a VC Aspen C3 and am mulling it over. As mentioned it qualifies for the credit. The other stove manufacturer lines carried around here (Buck, Lopi, etc.) are out of my price range . I basically have the ~$1000 cost of the Vogelzang/US Stove VG1120-L and flue (no credit) vs. the ~$1600 cost of the VC Aspen C3 and flue (after factoring in the 26% credit for the Aspen C3). The only other stove I think is remotely on the table at this point is the Jotul F602 V2 and it does not qualify for the credit and is not in stock locally/8 weeks out. I'm disappointed I can't locally get a Century FW2800 or something a little more in between the prices of the Vogelzang and the VC.

The firebox is 1.35 cubic feet on the Vogelzang and 1.25 on the VC. Manual air control on the Vogelzang is a pro for me, although I am happy to hear good words from you folks on the automatic control on the VC. I have been looking at the parts diagrams and some cutaway shots in a VC video to see how bad it would be to convert the Aspen to manual control someday should all the parts required to provide the automatic control cause me issues down the road. This may seem like an odd thing to consider but it's how I think, I guess. I'd hope to not buy another stove for decades. It looks like I may be able to remove the existing damper(s) and add a damper over the intake, or just rig up something to actuate the existing damper(s) by hand after disconnecting the ball chain from what I believe is the thermostatic piece towards the top rear of the stove. I would probably not meet the EPA efficiency rating if I did that, but if I lost a couple % and had a manual damper to fix some breakage of parts in the automatic system, I'd be happy.

As one of my friends pointed out, at least in her opinion, the Aspen looks much better and has a cooktop surface, although practically I'm not sure how great it would actually be, or if it would be any different than sticking a pot on top of the Vogelzang.

Possibly most important pro for the Aspen is I may be able to stay in the first truss bay from the gable end wall and potentially reuse the existing chimney opening in the roof. My trusses are on 24" centers. I was expecting 22" of clearance from the Class A flue pipe to the wall for a corner installation per the Vogelzang requirements, but the Aspen only has a 12 3/4" clearance requirement. I could go to double wall and drop that to 9". If I can get either one to work that would be a huge win for the Aspen and would save me quite a bit of work on the roof and the ceiling - we'll see as my current chimney is larger OD 8" air cooled so I could still have some patching to do. I will try to get up early before it's 100 tomorrow or Sunday and do some measuring up in the attic.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,145
Downeast Maine
If you just want to buy one stove and have it last, don't get the Vogelzang. Honestly I would only ever buy a Vogelzang stove if it were the last option.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,758
South Puget Sound, WA
$1600 cost of the VC Aspen C3 and flue (after factoring in the 26% credit for the Aspen C3).
Sorry, I thought the Aspen C3 was retailing for about $1200. Are you saying the dealer wanted $1600? Or is $1600 for the entire installation after the tax credit?
I would not buy a stove with the intent to modify it. If the stove is intended to last decades, then it would be good to save up for one built to last for that time with minimal costs over the lifetime of the stove. Let's say it costs $1000 more. Over a decade of service that is only around $8 a month more, which at least to me is better than having to buy 2 cheap stoves during that same time period.
 

wjohn

New Member
Jul 27, 2021
59
KS
Sorry, I thought the Aspen C3 was retailing for about $1200. Are you saying the dealer wanted $1600? Or is $1600 for the entire installation after the tax credit?
I would not buy a stove with the intent to modify it. If the stove is intended to last decades, then it would be good to save up for one built to last for that time with minimal costs over the lifetime of the stove. Let's say it costs $1000 more. Over a decade of service that is only around $8 a month more, which at least to me is better than having to buy 2 cheap stoves during that same time period.

Sorry, I mean the entire setup (with my labor) would be $1600 after the tax credit. The dealer quoted me around $1300 for the stove itself, and a little over $700 for the flue system. Taxes are about $150. The credit back should be a bit over $500.

Don't get me wrong - my intent is not to modify the Aspen C3. It's more that if that air control system does fail someday down the road and parts are unavailable or prohibitively expensive, it would be good to have a way to get around it with a more conventional setup. Hopefully it would never give me any problems and I love it, though.

Another minor thing on the Aspen - it has a 3" OAK inlet and I currently have a 4" duct. I figure I can find something to adapt down from 4" to 3".

Just got out of the attic and unfortunately there is not enough space for the Aspen's required 12 3/4" wall-pipe clearance in a corner installation in the first truss bay (17" between the bottom chord of the 2nd truss to the sheetrock on the wall, minus ~6" for pipe, minus 12 3/4" = not enough space), which would be ideal. It looks like I could do double wall and that clearance drops to 9" which would fit. So I may have that priced out. This is adding up quickly though.
 

wjohn

New Member
Jul 27, 2021
59
KS
If you just want to buy one stove and have it last, don't get the Vogelzang. Honestly I would only ever buy a Vogelzang stove if it were the last option.

Understood. I have seen info either way on them. I wish I had a better idea of how long it would hold up. I can buy more than 2 of them for the price of the Aspen C3 and I'm sure the quality reflects that. My folks' welded steel stoves are 30+ years old with no issues but I suspect the Vogelzang may not be as good.
 

wjohn

New Member
Jul 27, 2021
59
KS
Looking at the EPA's numbers for these two stoves brings up another question. The Vogelzang VG1120 was EPA tested from 15000-45000 BTUs: EPA Page VG1120

The VC Aspen C3 is only showing 17000-20000: EPA Page Aspen C3

I see one was tested with crib and one with cord wood. That is a significantly lower output from the Aspen C3, though. Am I missing something there due to settings for the EPA tests, or can you really get almost double the heat output from the Vogelzang?
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,252
SE North Carolina
This is adding up quickly though.
It always does. I’m a fan spending the extra money up front and doing right the first time. Don’t rush tax credit is still available in 2022. I’ve looked at the parts diagram for the c3. It looks simple enough. Bi metallic spring up high with a chain running down the back the the air control flap. Yes there are more moving parts, but it hit the efficiency numbers and most stoves are using catalytic converters to hit those numbers. Spring failure, corrosion or it getting packed with ash ( not sure how) or the chain coming unhooked somehow seem to be the most likely failure modes that could see for the c3 system.
really get almost double the heat output from the Vogelzang
it has a bigger firebox correct? No automatic air control. I run my stove on low 90% of the time so if that’s how you run the Vogelzang seems like the would have similar heating abilities on the low end. High end is where the difference would be. I don’t trust the epa numbers to reflect how it works in my house. Well accept for the C3. It’s automatic air control gives me more confidence in its number.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,758
South Puget Sound, WA
Another minor thing on the Aspen - it has a 3" OAK inlet and I currently have a 4" duct. I figure I can find something to adapt down from 4" to 3".
That's no problem. It just needs a 4"x3" transition adapter.
 

wjohn

New Member
Jul 27, 2021
59
KS
Don’t rush tax credit is still available in 2022. I’ve looked at the parts diagram for the c3.

I would like to get this installed before winter, tax credit or no. I started tearing out the tile around the fireplace today to see how much I'm going to need to replace underneath... So I'm at least committing to no more usage of the current setup, ha.

Do the bimetallic springs generally hold up in stoves fairly well (the ones that have them)? If I understand correctly, at room temperature with no fire, the air control flap is fully open, and it damps down as it heats up. You would think from a liability/safety standpoint they would've designed it to cut off air if the spring weren't connected, but I'm not going to assume anything. It appears to be that way though since the bimetallic spring can only pull on the chain to the air flap, so there is probably a spring on the air flap that pulls it towards the closed position, overcome by the bimetallic spring pulling on the chain at cooler temps.

Maybe I'm getting into the weeds here but you had mentioned an air control on the OAK side - maybe that wouldn't be a bad idea for safety, if nothing else, and leave it fully open otherwise. I wonder what would happen if I dialed that down slightly for an overnight burn... I'm sure that's not sanctioned by the manufacturer, however.

it has a bigger firebox correct? No automatic air control. I run my stove on low 90% of the time so if that’s how you run the Vogelzang seems like the would have similar heating abilities on the low end. High end is where the difference would be. I don’t trust the epa numbers to reflect how it works in my house. Well accept for the C3. It’s automatic air control gives me more confidence in its number.

The Vogelzang does have a slightly larger firebox, but not double. Fair point on the EPA tests. I was wondering if it was along the lines of the fuel economy testing and who knows what you'd actually see in the real world.

I got to thinking about it and the BTU output may be moot, if I ignore the slight advantage of having a slightly larger firebox. I maintained an 80 degree temperature rise this past winter when it was -17 here with three 1500W (5115 BTU) baseboard heaters, so that was a total of 15345 BTU on what I consider to be a worst case (record lows) situation. That's probably the best testament to the condition of the house now after I remodeled. If we put stock in the EPA numbers on the Aspen, if I have decent wood and have it cranking, I'd still be able to exceed that by several thousand BTU. Now, that's all coming from one corner of the house instead of 3, but -17 doesn't normally happen here. Usually we get below zero for a couple of nights and that's the worst of it.
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,252
SE North Carolina
[/QUOTE]
That's probably the best testament to the condition of the house now after I remodeled. If we put stock in the EPA numbers on the Aspen,
You have experience that says the Aspen is sized correctly. That takes so much guess work out. Nice work on sealing and insulating I’d say.

Maybe I'm getting into the weeds here
Probably. Springs in this application probably outlast any/most other components in the stove.
OAK side - maybe that wouldn't be a bad idea for safety, if nothing else, and leave it fully open otherwise. I wonder what would happen if I dialed that down slightly for an overnight burn... I'm sure that's not sanctioned by the manufacturer, however.
You have the right idea. I think a clean efficient burn is more important to me than a long one to me. I let my heatpump kick in instead of getting up to reload. On a average cold night that probably keeps the house 2-3 degrees warmer. In three years I have had one load that overfired and I wished I had an air control on the OAK. stove is fine. I would hope that the C3 would have been able to shut down the air to prevent that over fire. (I think I read a post on here maybe by someone who was with VC. Found it.) gave some confidence in the design and testing

Evan
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,758
South Puget Sound, WA
Do the bimetallic springs generally hold up in stoves fairly well (the ones that have them
Yes, they typically stand up for a long time. Also, this is user-replaceable if there was a failure. You can still get replacement bi-metallic springs (and the rest of the thermostat assembly if need be) for a 40+ yr old VC Vigilant.
 
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wjohn

New Member
Jul 27, 2021
59
KS
All good things to hear - thanks guys. I am leaning towards the Aspen C3 still, even after taking all of my measurements. I could just barely sneak it into the first truss bay with double wall pipe and meet the required clearances, but I think I will probably put my new chimney in the second truss bay and then I'll have adequate clearance for pretty much any stove I might ever consider swapping into the house in the future, in the off chance the Aspen doesn't work out or if I really add a lot of square footage someday. I would gain some space by using double wall in that first truss bay. Still mulling it over. I might dig around and see how many other stoves would meet my clearances if I were to use double wall.

Theoretically the Aspen C3 should use less wood to produce an equal amount of heat vs. the VG1120, since it is about 6% more efficient on the HHV testing.
 

wjohn

New Member
Jul 27, 2021
59
KS
I picked up the Aspen C3 and what I hope is everything I need for a chimney system. Turns out Metal-Fab pipe is even made here in Kansas. The Supervent stuff from Menards would've been cheaper, but supporting local jobs, Metal-Fab having some more customized flashing angle etc. options, and the dealer giving me enough of a discount on the pipe since I was purchasing a stove made me go for it. I went with single wall since I was still an inch short of the required clearances if I were trying to tuck it into that first truss bay.

I managed to get the stove out of my truck and into the house by myself. I am not sure I would recommend this (get a buddy) but I made it work. It will probably sit there for a couple of months while I tear out the existing fireplace insert and chimney, extend the tile into the corner, repair the roof/ceiling, and then put the new chimney setup into a new hole in the roof/ceiling one truss bay over (towards the left in the photo).

I would not have sprung for this over the Vogelzang if it weren't for the current tax credit. The Vogelzang VG1120-L seems to be pretty readily available from Menard's warehouses, but everything else in this size range around Wichita was 8+ weeks out (Jotul, etc.) and/or did not qualify for the tax credit. I don't think I would've ordered something hoping for 8 weeks given the current supply chain situation - that could have easily turned into 16 weeks the way things are going. The only stove in this size I did not really look into was the Morso 2B Standard. I maybe should've called the dealer in Tulsa but that is a drive. So, availability was a huge factor in addition to the price and efficiency.

There is no ash pan in the Aspen C3 whereas there was in the prior Aspen model (1920?). I may not know what I'm missing as none of our stoves growing up had them and it is not an issue for me. Comparing the C3 and the 1920, it appears that VC basically removed the ash pan to increase firebox size, which I am all for and is probably the right thing to do with a stove this size. It's possible they needed to do that for airflow as well.

I am looking forward to seeing if I can get close to the advertised 10 hour burn times this winter. I have a bunch of well-seasoned honey locust, mulberry, and some hedge that I will use sparingly. I will probably start a separate thread after I have this installed in a couple of months, but in the meantime questions and comments are always welcome in this one.

20210812_204418.jpg
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,758
South Puget Sound, WA
Burn times have a lot of variables. Unless there is a winter heatwave, the burn time in November or March will be notably longer than that during a cold January.