Back from Japan and time to start back the FIREPLACE redo, FINALLY!!!!!

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New Member
Dec 29, 2020
Pensacola FL
So sorry for not being able to delve into the forum for more "wood burning stove advise.” The Air Force, during COVID, had us chasing our tails and our home project was derailed by crooks. My husband had to have two surgeries and life has been kicking the crap out of us. But, we started rolling back in place and we are ready to do the chimney and fireplace redo. NEED MORE INPUT PLEASE!

I hired a contractor to tear down the old fireplace walls (2x4 frame and sheetrock) and fireplace insert that was installed back when the home was built in 1974. We bought a fixer upper and my husband and I are trying to get it “fixer upped” before I retire from the Air Force here in 20 months….YAY!
The old chimney box frame thats up into the attic remains, with the flue hanging down into the house. Contractor says he can build on this.

I am fast approaching the time to make a stove purchase! and I have absolutely no direction to go in. I am hearing certain top brand names, but I have no clue if these are really the best to check out. Being in Florida, there are NO specialists in my area, none. Actually, we’re not sitting in FL. I’ve been assigned to Travis AFB in CA, and my poor dear husband has to go back and forth to Pensacola to work on the house. I’m reading that I need a certified National Fireplace Institute specialist to insure that the install is done correctly,? and that the stove needs to be EPA approved? Is this true?

The top brand names that pop up are as follows: Drolet, Napoleon, Buckstove, True North, England, Superior, and Osbor, mainly. There are so many more brands and WE do not know where to turn. We had wood burning stoves in AK, one being a Buck stove brand, and it was a good one, albeit old and well used, in our rented cabin. We had a masonry fireplace in Ohio, and a coal burner when we were staioned in Austria. My husband said he used a $199 Roses department store cast iron stove when he was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC back many years ago. It was the only heat he had. That’s about all the experinece we have had with wood stoves.

Catalyst or Non-catalyst? I do NOT know! On the one hand, slow is good, burns longer, I’ve read. On the other hand, faster is more efficient, and can be more comfortable, again, as I’ve read. All I know is my husband and I got use to having a stove in Alaska and we want one here. We’d like an effcient, and clean burning, and warmly appealing (I want this!) wood burning stove, about medium in size. The house is 2100 SQ ft, but we're not thinking to try to heat the entire area. Winter is about 2-3 months long in the panhandle of FL, in Pensacola, FL. The stove will likely only be used in the early am and evenings, from around mid December through mid March, maybe on cold evenings during other times, here and there. Besides, my husband will likely be burning fires outside in out firepit a lot too. I’m certain he’s doing this right now. :)

Some insight from you folks on brands would be great. I know this might be like asking what flavor ice cream is best, or brand. Sorry. There is way too much internet “steering” out there, which is a bit inundating, and confusing.

For short burn times an quick heat, I think a CAT would be a waste. You also may want to avoid a clad stove to allow faster heat times. What size room will it be in and what is the layout of the house? If you want it this year you may be limited by availability.
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Welcome back and thank you for your service.
How large of an area will the stove actually be heating? Are there special features or aesthetics that are more important than others?

If the actual area to be heated is say around 1500 sq ft and the floorplan around the stove is open, then a 2 cu ft wood stove will suffice. There are several good models available from Osburn (SBI), Pacific Energy, Lopi, Quadrafire, and Regency. Drolet and True North are value lines for SBI and PE.
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For short burn times an quick heat, I think a CAT would be a waste. You also may want to avoid a clad stove to allow faster heat times. What size room will it be in and what is the layout of the house? If you want it this year you may be limited by availability.
Thanks for your response! If the heat time is quick, then the wood burns faster and gets used up faster, correct? I wonder how fast is fast, like the fire pit? My husband feeds the pit till it has nice coals and those coals will last through the night. He’ll get up in the morning and stir the coals and have the fire restarted for breakfast, which is so nice! We are mainly interested in heating the living area, mostly while we are up and about. Once we go to bed, we’d just let the stove be, not keep it going through the night.
We’ve been in the military since we were born. Both of our fathers, and our G-fathers were military. It’s our life, and we are proud of it.
Thank you!
I like your avatar!
The house is 21xx sq ft, I think, and the living area, LR, DR, Kit, foyer, these type areas are about I’d say are 7-800? Four bedrooms and 2.5 baths, w hallways and hall closets make up the rest. This does not include a large over sized two car garage and 1/2 bath w laundry area, mud room. Bedrooms make up close to 1200 sq ft. This why I thought a medium size stove would ikely be best, but not certain.

I’ll look at the brands you’ve listed. Thanks again!