Conflicting Information! Pacific Energy Super 27

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
Hi all, I'm hoping I can get clarification/advice on some questions I have about buying my first wood heater.

Based on reviews, online research and speaking to sales reps, I'm considering installing a Pacific Energy Super 27. The area I want to heat is 70m2 with a mezzanine level/high ceiling on the end where the heater will be installed. The space has large, uncovered floor to ceiling windows on 3 sides (there's more window than wall).

I chose this size heater as I'm assuming I'll lose heat through my windows and to the high ceiling. Also because it's marketed as a convection AND radiant heater. My questions are:

  • Am I better off with a pure radiant heater than the Super?
  • Will I feel a strong radiant heat from the Super when sitting within a few metres of it?
  • Will I be able to evenly heat my size space without a fan?

I appreciate any assistance :)
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
What is the weather like in Albany, Western Australia? Do you have ceiling fans in the high ceiling area? Will this be the primary source of heat? Mainly for aesthetics? How do you plan to use it?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,319
South Puget Sound, WA
The Super will be radiant from the front and top. The radiant heat can be felt 2-3 meters in front. At one meter it will be strong. This is not a large area and the Super is a good choice. The sides are shielded but I suppose they could be removed to turn it into a fully radiant stove. However, this would increase each side's clearance requirement to almost a meter and I don't think that will be necessary. If the room has ceiling fans they may be sufficient for heat circulation. Try it. If not, a blower can be added later. The blower will notably increase convection off the stove.

Does this answer the questions? What is the conflicting information?
 

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
What is the weather like in Albany, Western Australia? Do you have ceiling fans in the high ceiling area? Will this be the primary source of heat? Mainly for aesthetics? How do you plan to use it?
Winter temperatures in Albany are normally between 9-15 degrees Celsius (48-60F). I do have ceiling fans but was hoping to not have to use them. I have reverse cycle air conditioning in the same area but would rather use the wood heater by itself as it's quieter, so yeah I'd like it to be the primary source of heat. I'm buying more for functionality that aesthetics. I plan to use it for a few hours in the evenings during the week and all day on weekends. I don't think I really need to run it 24/7.
 

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
The Super will be radiant from the front and top. The radiant heat can be felt 2-3 meters in front. At one meter it will be strong. This is not a large area and the Super is a good choice. The sides are shielded but I suppose they could be removed to turn it into a fully radiant stove. However, this would increase each side's clearance requirement to almost a meter and I don't think that will be necessary. If the room has ceiling fans they may be sufficient for heat circulation. Try it. If not, a blower can be added later. The blower will notably increase convection off the stove.

Does this answer the questions? What is the conflicting information?
The conflicting information was when I spoke to sales reps! Some said a pure radiant heater would radiate strongly to all areas, whereas others advised that a convection heater would be the only way to heat the full area. I guess I'm opting for the best of both worlds in choosing the Super. Though I was also told that ALL wood heaters radiate and that labelling a heater as both convection and radiant is just a marketing tactic.

I guess what I'm looking for is even heat throughout the lower areas of my combined kitchen/dining/living plus that nice radiant heat feel when sitting within 2-3m of the heater.

My only option is to place it in a corner, so I'm probably better off leaving the sides on for less clearance.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,319
South Puget Sound, WA
It's true, all heaters are radiant to a degree! Some, are just more radiant than others. A steel stove without side shields or a totally cast iron stove will be more radiant in the sides, but that comes at a cost for clearances. Based on what you have told us, I think the PE will be a Super fit.
 
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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
I'm thinking that you may want to go with the T5 for the cladding to dampen out the heat swings. You may even want to downsize to the T4.

Even with the large amount of glass, you may be looking at too much stove. Thermal mass will allow you to run a bit larger stove without opening all those windows! 70 sq meters equals 753 sq feet. I run a T5 in a cabin thats around 500 sq ft, but the stove makes the place too hot if the air temp is above freezing. It is effectively choked down in a variety of ways until it reaches 10F or -12C. The only way it works is the harsh climate that the cabin is in.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
860
Texas
You’ll get plenty of heat radiating from the glass of the stove door, but “a few metres” may be pushing it to feel it strongly. At one meter, it would be blazing; two, toasty. Beyond that it’s warmer than closer to the stove, but I like the strong radiant heat, so I move a floor chair or cushion to the front and bask there.

We heat about 800 sq. ft of 10 ft. ceiling height with lots of 7 foot windows in South Central Texas, USA, with a 2.5 cubic foot insert. Our winter averages sound similar to yours, but we do have much colder snaps. We also have an insulated slab floor that takes a lot of the heat. An insert needs a fan to move the heat, so that’s what we do, but I find that our space is so big, it’s pretty hard to overheat it unless the weather changes to sunnier/warmer unexpectedly after I’ve stoked the fire. We don’t always load it full during the day, though, but we appreciate the capacity overnight.

All of that is to say that it sounds to me that the Super would probably be a good fit for you. You might need to learn to build good clean-burning smaller fires in it, though, when the weather is milder but you still need the heat.

A ceiling fan would be helpful in moving hot air down to increase comfort. We run ours quite a lot on reverse in winter.
 

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
I'm thinking that you may want to go with the T5 for the cladding to dampen out the heat swings. You may even want to downsize to the T4.

Even with the large amount of glass, you may be looking at too much stove. Thermal mass will allow you to run a bit larger stove without opening all those windows! 70 sq meters equals 753 sq feet. I run a T5 in a cabin thats around 500 sq ft, but the stove makes the place too hot if the air temp is above freezing. It is effectively choked down in a variety of ways until it reaches 10F or -12C. The only way it works is the harsh climate that the cabin is in.
That's a very good point about becoming too hot. I was considering the T5 (my local store doesn't sell the T4) - I guess the decision is based on whether I want the presumably faster warm up of the Super with potential overheating vs a slower warm up and less heat variation of the T5.

Thanks for the comparison, it does sound like my space and location might not require too large a unit. We certainly don't get anything close to freezing temperatures here! I wonder if not running the Super at full capacity would serve our purpose?

Does your T5 create a cold draft low to the ground as air is pulled into the unit?
 

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
You’ll get plenty of heat radiating from the glass of the stove door, but “a few metres” may be pushing it to feel it strongly. At one meter, it would be blazing; two, toasty. Beyond that it’s warmer than closer to the stove, but I like the strong radiant heat, so I move a floor chair or cushion to the front and bask there.

We heat about 800 sq. ft of 10 ft. ceiling height with lots of 7 foot windows in South Central Texas, USA, with a 2.5 cubic foot insert. Our winter averages sound similar to yours, but we do have much colder snaps. We also have an insulated slab floor that takes a lot of the heat. An insert needs a fan to move the heat, so that’s what we do, but I find that our space is so big, it’s pretty hard to overheat it unless the weather changes to sunnier/warmer unexpectedly after I’ve stoked the fire. We don’t always load it full during the day, though, but we appreciate the capacity overnight.

All of that is to say that it sounds to me that the Super would probably be a good fit for you. You might need to learn to build good clean-burning smaller fires in it, though, when the weather is milder but you still need the heat.

A ceiling fan would be helpful in moving hot air down to increase comfort. We run ours quite a lot on reverse in winter.
It sounds like your space and temps are similar to mine, minus the mezzanine. The Super's box is 2.1 cubic feet, not a great deal different to your 2.5. It might be a case of experimenting with fans and fire sizes.

Basking close by is definitely what I'm after! I just wouldn't want for the rest of the space to be cold though. But from what I'm reading that shouldn't be a problem.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
860
Texas
That's a very good point about becoming too hot. I was considering the T5 (my local store doesn't sell the T4) - I guess the decision is based on whether I want the presumably faster warm up of the Super with potential overheating vs a slower warm up and less heat variation of the T5.

Thanks for the comparison, it does sound like my space and location might not require too large a unit. We certainly don't get anything close to freezing temperatures here! I wonder if not running the Super at full capacity would serve our purpose?

Does your T5 create a cold draft low to the ground as air is pulled into the unit?

I’ll let others answer the questions about the T5 since I don’t have experience with that particular stove. I’ll just add a few comments about the temperature and space.


So you never freeze at all? That is different from our winter. We don’t have long winters, but it definitely freezes here. This winter we had more than forty nights below freezing, so I’m sure that makes our overall heat needs higher than yours if you never drop down that low at all. That kind of cold is when our stove really shines, but it’s not at all unusual for us to keep a fire burning when the temperatures are in the 60’s if it’s cloudy. It can feel uncomfortably cool in our house otherwise.

I should note as well that there is a typo in my post above. It should say that our house sits on an UNinsulated slab, and that takes a lot of heat in the winter. Also, our house is larger than the 800 sq. ft. where the stove sits. There is a second story above that area, and heat does flow up there, but we still need to use our gas furnace for that area sometimes. (There is also more space downstairs, but very little heat from the stove makes it to that area.). All of that does help absorb some of our BTU’s though.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
You can run it at lower volumes, bit it does not run as efficiently.

My floor isnt insulated, so any air moving across it would be cold. I dont notice a draft, but there has to be one.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,319
South Puget Sound, WA
That's a very good point about becoming too hot. I was considering the T5 (my local store doesn't sell the T4) - I guess the decision is based on whether I want the presumably faster warm up of the Super with potential overheating vs a slower warm up and less heat variation of the T5.
The T5 is essentially the Super with cast iron cladding on spacers and the trivet top. It heats up quickly, but the heat radiated from the stove sides is soaked up by the cast iron jacket. The main difference is that besides the convenience of the trivet top, the heating is more uniform and affords less room temperature swing.
 
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mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
421
California redwood coast
Here's a weather comparison for near where I live compared to Albany , W.A.:
Comparison of the Average Weather in Albany and Eureka - Weather Spark
So, I have a T5 in a cooler climate, more cloudy days (less wind), and terrible winter time passive solar heat. I also have high ceilings , no ceiling fans, and almost twice as much space to heat as you do. The T5 is not quite big enough to comfortably be the sole source of heat in the winter in my situation, unless I were to keep the stove going 24/7 with at least some hot coals during the colder spells. I suppose, assuming you have north(!) facing windows, you'll get a lot of heat from the sun through those windows on a sunny winter day.

I think a T5/Super would be erroring on the warm side for you to do all day heating, but on the other hand, the bigger fire box is nice for those colder days where you could keep it burning at a lower rate and not constantly reload. If it were to get too warm, just open a window and get some fresh air. The advantage of the bigger stove (a Super/T5) would be for quickly heating up the house on those cold morning where the house has cooled down over night with the help of those windows.

If your heater is off during the night in the winters, how cold does your house get come morning in the winter? And how warm was it before your heater shut off for the night? This would give readers an idea of how fast you lose heat. (I lived a year in damper Auckland, NZ, and I remember the poorly insulated house with no central heat had a Canadian housemate complaining about the cold - I wish I had a stove in that house at times.)
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,319
South Puget Sound, WA
That weather spark comparison is interesting. If correct, the temps in Albany look darn nice, but more appropriate for mini-split heat pump heating than wood heat.
 

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
I’ll let others answer the questions about the T5 since I don’t have experience with that particular stove. I’ll just add a few comments about the temperature and space.


So you never freeze at all? That is different from our winter. We don’t have long winters, but it definitely freezes here. This winter we had more than forty nights below freezing, so I’m sure that makes our overall heat needs higher than yours if you never drop down that low at all. That kind of cold is when our stove really shines, but it’s not at all unusual for us to keep a fire burning when the temperatures are in the 60’s if it’s cloudy. It can feel uncomfortably cool in our house otherwise.

I should note as well that there is a typo in my post above. It should say that our house sits on an UNinsulated slab, and that takes a lot of heat in the winter. Also, our house is larger than the 800 sq. ft. where the stove sits. There is a second story above that area, and heat does flow up there, but we still need to use our gas furnace for that area sometimes. (There is also more space downstairs, but very little heat from the stove makes it to that area.). All of that does help absorb some of our BTU’s though.
Nope, it rarely gets below 50F here! Our temperatures are in the 60s for most of the year though; there's not much variation between seasons.

That's interesting about your additional space. Along the length of our 800 sq ft is a long hallway with three bedrooms coming off it. I've never tried heating the entire area with our reverse cycle from the living room. There's 2 doors in the living space where the wood heater will go, I wonder if the heat would travel to the other rooms if we left the doors open? I don't imagine it would - but it might, as you say, help absorb the BTUs.
 

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
Here's a weather comparison for near where I live compared to Albany , W.A.:
Comparison of the Average Weather in Albany and Eureka - Weather Spark
So, I have a T5 in a cooler climate, more cloudy days (less wind), and terrible winter time passive solar heat. I also have high ceilings , no ceiling fans, and almost twice as much space to heat as you do. The T5 is not quite big enough to comfortably be the sole source of heat in the winter in my situation, unless I were to keep the stove going 24/7 with at least some hot coals during the colder spells. I suppose, assuming you have north(!) facing windows, you'll get a lot of heat from the sun through those windows on a sunny winter day.

I think a T5/Super would be erroring on the warm side for you to do all day heating, but on the other hand, the bigger fire box is nice for those colder days where you could keep it burning at a lower rate and not constantly reload. If it were to get too warm, just open a window and get some fresh air. The advantage of the bigger stove (a Super/T5) would be for quickly heating up the house on those cold morning where the house has cooled down over night with the help of those windows.

If your heater is off during the night in the winters, how cold does your house get come morning in the winter? And how warm was it before your heater shut off for the night? This would give readers an idea of how fast you lose heat. (I lived a year in damper Auckland, NZ, and I remember the poorly insulated house with no central heat had a Canadian housemate complaining about the cold - I wish I had a stove in that house at times.)
Thanks for the temperature comparison, it offers a good perspective. Albany is considered a cool climate region when compared to the rest of Australia - clearly it's all relative!

The more research I do the more I'm thinking the Super/T5 might be too powerful. But cranking it on very cold mornings to warm the house up fast is definitely appealing. I'm not sure why my local dealer doesn't sell the Vista/T4 given that temperatures are mild here. Our house is north facing, which helps, but consistently cloudy/wet/windy days are common throughout winter here.

Our coldest winter morning temps are generally 50-54 at 6am, and sadly our house is tiled throughout so it's quite uncomfortable. I'd say after turning off our reverse cycle heater all heat has dissipated within an hour, even with windows closed.

The house in Auckland doesn't sound pleasant at all!
 

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
That weather spark comparison is interesting. If correct, the temps in Albany look darn nice, but more appropriate for mini-split heat pump heating than wood heat.
Yes the climate is quite nice here. Thanks for the suggestion, not quite as romantic as a wood heater but certainly worth investigating!
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
A fan in the bedrooms blowing the cold air into the room with the stove will move the heat into the rooms.

Can they order the T4?
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
860
Texas
Nope, it rarely gets below 50F here! Our temperatures are in the 60s for most of the year though; there's not much variation between seasons.

That's interesting about your additional space. Along the length of our 800 sq ft is a long hallway with three bedrooms coming off it. I've never tried heating the entire area with our reverse cycle from the living room. There's 2 doors in the living space where the wood heater will go, I wonder if the heat would travel to the other rooms if we left the doors open? I don't imagine it would - but it might, as you say, help absorb the BTUs.
I finally looked at a map and saw that you are right on the ocean. I’m sure that buffers your temperatures remarkably. Our weather is quite variable; it almost appears that our weather can change as much in one day or week as yours changes over the year.

Am I understanding correctly that the 70 sq. meters is not your whole space, rather just the space you intend to heat with a woodstove? The bedrooms are additional square footage? Heat doesn’t travel easily horizontally, and transoms over doorways are great at blocking the heat. Heat transfer can be assisted by using small fans at floor level cold air out of the space to be heated as EatenbyLimestone suggested.

The area where we have our wood insert is tile on top of concrete, and I understand how chilly it makes you feel. I wear wool socks in the winter inside of slippers in the house, and still my feet get cold. Heating with wood has made our house much more comfortable. We like having a place to bask; it makes it easier to stand a little chill in the farthest reaches of the house.

Have you asked the dealer about potential overheating issues? What does he have to say?

What is the insulation like in your house?
 

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
A fan in the bedrooms blowing the cold air into the room with the stove will move the heat into the rooms.

Can they order the T4?
I'll check with them but in their brochure the T4 has been crossed out.

You mentioned that having a small fire in the heater is not as efficient - would it be feasible to load it up on a cold morning and just let it burn down to coals over the day with the air supply reduced as outdoor temps increase?
 

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
I finally looked at a map and saw that you are right on the ocean. I’m sure that buffers your temperatures remarkably. Our weather is quite variable; it almost appears that our weather can change as much in one day or week as yours changes over the year.

Am I understanding correctly that the 70 sq. meters is not your whole space, rather just the space you intend to heat with a woodstove? The bedrooms are additional square footage? Heat doesn’t travel easily horizontally, and transoms over doorways are great at blocking the heat. Heat transfer can be assisted by using small fans at floor level cold air out of the space to be heated as EatenbyLimestone suggested.

The area where we have our wood insert is tile on top of concrete, and I understand how chilly it makes you feel. I wear wool socks in the winter inside of slippers in the house, and still my feet get cold. Heating with wood has made our house much more comfortable. We like having a place to bask; it makes it easier to stand a little chill in the farthest reaches of the house.

Have you asked the dealer about potential overheating issues? What does he have to say?

What is the insulation like in your house?
Yeah we're on a hill (only 120m above sea level) about 500m from the ocean. I work 70km inland and it does seem to be colder there in the morning and warmer there during the day.

Yep, that's correct. The 70 sq is the main living area of the house. The rest of the house - bedrooms, bathrooms etc - is separated by a long, cold hallway along one length of the 70 sq area. Those rooms are freezing even with my living area reverse cycle on high, so I've always assumed heating the entire house with a single unit would be impossible and that I'd be buying a wood heater to heat the 70 sq only.

When I was in the dealer's store about 2 weeks ago I was looking at either the Neo 1.6 or a locally made steel pure radiant box. I did ask about possible overheating with the Neo and I was told that I can just open windows. I called a few other dealers recently about the Super and to be honest it was hard to get a straight answer about overheating, which makes sense given all the variables involved. All dealers seemed to be pushing hard for PE - I imagine those units give them the greatest margins!

My house is 10 years old and the insulation seems quite good. But with all the windows it doesn't seem to retain heat for long.

So I guess my options are the Super, Vista, T5 or T4. I'd prefer a unit that allows N/S loading so if I could fully load the Super/T5 once in the morning and then let it burn down throughout the day or run it below capacity on less cold days then maybe I will be fine? I think another visit to my local dealer would be a good idea!
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
421
California redwood coast
I like the S/N loading of the T5. The stove looks pretty even when not being used.

I find smaller loads with more air burn cleaner than big loads with the air cut down, at least with respect to visible smoke coming out of the chimney. So small loads with air nearly wide open do fine, especially if you use a lot of kindling and small diameter wood for the start to get coals going.

People on the coast here burn year around. Our summer days, during all-day foggy stretches, can have a low near 50F (10C) and a high near 57-59F(5C). Those days can feel cold, so I know how your relatively mild winter weather can feel bone chilling cold, especially if you are getting wind.

I think with a floor fan in the hallway pulling air out of the cooler rooms, you'll be able to get some heat down there.

So if wood is free or cheap, I'd go for a T5.
 
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