Conflicting Information! Pacific Energy Super 27

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
860
Texas
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?
We were unpleasantly cool this morning in our house. Our temperatures are such that most people on this forum (who are far north of me in North America) would scoff at the idea of burning. We were in the forties for the second night, though, and temperatures aren’t supposed to get out of the sixties, and it will be cloudy. It had dropped to the sixties in our house, and that feels chilly. We lit just a small fire with junk wood. If wood is nice and dry, it will light up easily and burn cleanly. Filling our firebox would have been way too much under the circumstances, but a nice hot fire provides a place for the kids to hang out and not complain about being chilly.

We definitely prefer N-S loading. We harvest all our own wood from our land from necessary trimming and clearing (the property was in pretty bad shape when we bought it). A lot of the wood people on this forum would consider junk, but it works great for us. A lot of it is knotty and twisty, and it’s a lot easier to put in the firebox when there is extra space.

I think that there is a concern that you would overheat with a Super/T5-sized firebox, but that’s if you were trying to maintain a fire 24/7. If you just recognize that you can’t follow all the same burn patterns as folks on this forum who live in very different climates, you can learn not to overheat.

The fact that you have chilly rooms in addition to your main space also means that you could try to move heat there using the fan technique discussed earlier. (I chuckled when you referred to those rooms as “freezing” in your post above.)

I think my biggest concern about a woodstove setup in your climate would be establishing draft if your outdoor and indoor air temperatures are not vastly different. We tend to start fires in the morning when the air temperatures are lowest. Once the fire is established, the draft continues strong even as the outdoor air temperature rises. We also have a very tall chimney.

How tall would your chimney be in your proposed location?
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
860
Texas
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.
It looks like you and I were writing about the same time. Your climate is more similar to JV6’s than mine is, I think. We both are definitely not the average wood burners on this forum.

I will say that even with our small fires we have to cut our air control back pretty far. We often burn small wood, and a lot is cedar, so that might have something to do with it. As outdoor air temperatures rise, we will often open up the control.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
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?

It depends how you run the stove.

So, when you run the stove, the firebox temperature has to stay high enough to reburn the smoke. If it doesn't, creosote can form in the chimney, or with your warm temperatures, you could have drafting problems and stall out the chimney. If that happens, carbon monoxide might not be pulled up and out of the house. A smaller stove can be run hotter and minimize chimney issues. And it is harder to cook yourself out of the house.
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
421
California redwood coast
This thread is bringing up an interesting subset of burner needs. Those of us in the more moderate climates usually don't need (nor necessarily want to) heat through the night - either too warm for preferred sleep temps or it just doesn't get super cold outside at night. Yet our houses aren't necessarily the best insulated, so our houses then get chilly at night. If I am only running the furnace to keep our house at 67 into the evening or I let the fire die in the afternoon so that it's in 65-67 at bed time, it's common for it to be 58 come morning time. Then I want heat fast, and I miss my old Vermont Castings stove that could throw out a lot of heat, especially needed with high ceilings. (I don't miss its wood consumption) With my modern stove, I'll run the furnace and the stove simultaneously to get the house warm and then let the stove cruise to fight off heat loss through the day and add extra bonus heat to 70+. ( After all day wood heat, the walls, etc get nice and warm and our house may only drop to 62 at night.)

Shoulder burning season in colder climates might not be comparable because the greater solar heat provided during spring/fall may be strong enough to provide mid day heat.

Oh, my earlier comment about running the stove with medium/smaller hot fires and air mostly wide open was for times of lesser draft- high 40s, low 50s and damp outside. (20+' chimney)
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
421
California redwood coast
Using that weather spark website, I just compared Albany, W.A. to where I grew up along the southern California coast. Albany is about the same latitude equivalent and gets similar temps, just that Albany is windier, gets more rain, and less sun. I do know that when there were rainy spells in S.Cal, a fire would have been nice. It's the sun at those latitudes that makes a pleasant difference during the winter wrt warming things up during the day. The nights, after a nice day, however, can feel relatively cold.

Just don't expect many months of burning and be prepared for a wood stove to be decorative most of the year. I think part of the decision will be if you like wood collecting and watching/playing with fire, otherwise it's a chore.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,319
South Puget Sound, WA
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?
Yes, a 50% load will work fine that way. If it remains cold then a few more logs can be put on to maintain warmth.

But at what early morning temp would this be? If it becomes sunny a couple hours afterward and that sun is streaming through tall windows, there is a good chance of overheating the space if it is 9ºC in the morning and 20º in the afternoon. A hot T5 is going to continue to release heat for hours after the fire has died down. There is a point where heating with electric would be much more efficient and cleaner. When it shuts off, it is off. That's why I mentioned a mini-split heatpump for this area.

I'm starting to suspect that a small stove will do as a chill chaser. Tell us what are the normal June, July, August nightime and daytime temperatures you experience at this location.
 
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EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
A full T5 or super on low will pump heat for 8 hours if you want it to or not. You can vary load size, but as said earlier, too little and it doesnt run well either. Have you considered gas? Is propane or natural gas available?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,319
South Puget Sound, WA
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.
A small stove like a Jotul F602, Morso 2B, would work fine for a chill chaser. I think that would be a more appropriate size stove based on those temperatures. If the day is rainy and wet, put another couple of splits in a few hours later. In the PE line, can you get a Vista?
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
421
California redwood coast
Are these the two stores you get to choose from? It he ecohouse seems to have a good selection.including Morso. Seeing two storea in your town sell stoves , do quite a few people use wood heat? Was coal heat ever popular there?


 

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
We were unpleasantly cool this morning in our house. Our temperatures are such that most people on this forum (who are far north of me in North America) would scoff at the idea of burning. We were in the forties for the second night, though, and temperatures aren’t supposed to get out of the sixties, and it will be cloudy. It had dropped to the sixties in our house, and that feels chilly. We lit just a small fire with junk wood. If wood is nice and dry, it will light up easily and burn cleanly. Filling our firebox would have been way too much under the circumstances, but a nice hot fire provides a place for the kids to hang out and not complain about being chilly.

We definitely prefer N-S loading. We harvest all our own wood from our land from necessary trimming and clearing (the property was in pretty bad shape when we bought it). A lot of the wood people on this forum would consider junk, but it works great for us. A lot of it is knotty and twisty, and it’s a lot easier to put in the firebox when there is extra space.

I think that there is a concern that you would overheat with a Super/T5-sized firebox, but that’s if you were trying to maintain a fire 24/7. If you just recognize that you can’t follow all the same burn patterns as folks on this forum who live in very different climates, you can learn not to overheat.

The fact that you have chilly rooms in addition to your main space also means that you could try to move heat there using the fan technique discussed earlier. (I chuckled when you referred to those rooms as “freezing” in your post above.)

I think my biggest concern about a woodstove setup in your climate would be establishing draft if your outdoor and indoor air temperatures are not vastly different. We tend to start fires in the morning when the air temperatures are lowest. Once the fire is established, the draft continues strong even as the outdoor air temperature rises. We also have a very tall chimney.

How tall would your chimney be in your proposed location?
To be honest, draft and chimney height weren't things I was considering, which is why this forum is helpful. Is the aim to have different internal and external temperatures?

I feel like the chimneys in my area don't protrude too far above the roof, generally less than 3 ft.

Haha 'freezing' might be an exaggeration given the nice climate here. But with the tiled floors and the fact the bedrooms receive no sun it does feel pretty cold!
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Chimneys work off a difference in temperature between inside and outside. Warm air is less dense, and rises. Too warm outside and there is no motivation to rise.
 
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JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
It depends how you run the stove.

So, when you run the stove, the firebox temperature has to stay high enough to reburn the smoke. If it doesn't, creosote can form in the chimney, or with your warm temperatures, you could have drafting problems and stall out the chimney. If that happens, carbon monoxide might not be pulled up and out of the house. A smaller stove can be run hotter and minimize chimney issues. And it is harder to cook yourself out of the house.
That's very useful information, thanks. Though I'm not sure I understand he last part about a smaller stove being able to run hotter. Do you mean that it's better to run a smaller stove hotter than to run a larger stove at 50% capacity?

Do you think there'd be much difference in heat output over the first hour or two when fully loading a Vista/T4 compared to fully loading a Super/T5? It seems like a smaller heater would be appropriate for my needs but I was justifying the larger one by having the extra capacity on especially cold days. But if people here are running a Super/T5 with temperatures at or below freezing for long periods then maybe it's just not the ideal unit for my place.
 

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
Tell us what are the normal June, July, August nightime and daytime temperatures you experience at this location.
Average temperatures for those months are basically the same at 17C max /9C min. If we get a 9C morning it generally doesn't rise above 15C that day, so it would be safe to heat with wood all or most of the day.

The Vista should be available, it would be nice to actually feel these units running but none of the ones I'm interested are on display as a working model.
 

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
Are these the two stores you get to choose from? It he ecohouse seems to have a good selection.including Morso. Seeing two storea in your town sell stoves , do quite a few people use wood heat? Was coal heat ever popular there?
Yep, these are the stores. I've been dealing with the second one. Heating with wood is pretty common in this area, coal heat not so much - unless you count electricity!
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
860
Texas
To be honest, draft and chimney height weren't things I was considering, which is why this forum is helpful. Is the aim to have different internal and external temperatures?

I feel like the chimneys in my area don't protrude too far above the roof, generally less than 3 ft.

Haha 'freezing' might be an exaggeration given the nice climate here. But with the tiled floors and the fact the bedrooms receive no sun it does feel pretty cold!
Yes, the greater the differential between the outdoor temperature and indoor temperature, the stronger the draft. Sometimes, my kids want me to light a fire because they feel chilly, but it has already warmed up outside enough that I don’t want to try to start a cold stove. That’s usually when it’s in the 60’s outside (16-21 celsius), but it sounds like your cold days are below those temperatures. We have no problem lighting the stove when it’s in the 50’s, and it’s really only cold starts where I worry about the draft from mild temperatures. If the house needs more heat (damp, windy, or gray outside), I do add logs onto hot coals when outside temperatures are in the 60’s. I don’t think we’ve ever actually had a problem with draft. We just take care not to do a cold start under circumstances where we might.

There are guidelines for how high a chimney should be above the roof. It needs to be three feet above where it exits the roof and two feet above the highest point within ten feet, I believe. Our chimney exits right beside the peak, so the chimney doesn’t stick up much above the roof. However, we have two tall stories and a steep roof, so the chimney is long. It’s the height from the stove to the top that matters (and how many angles affects things, too). There are chimney experts on here who can give you much more specific information than I can.

After I wrote you the note about “freezing” yesterday, I went downstairs and talked to my eleven-year-old son who was warming himself by the fire. He reported to me that it was “freezing” when he woke up. I laughed.

I’m chilly now, and my husband is building a small fire. It was a question as to whether we were going to do so, as there will be sun today, and temperatures will go above 70. Even though we have lots of windows, the sun doesn’t reach them till mid afternoon, so it will be a small fire that will burn out before then. Part of the issue for us is that our house was built to be cooled, not heated. We have natural gas heat, and it works, but the registers are at the top of the ten-foot ceilings. Even with ceiling fans, a lot of the heat pours up our staircase, and it has to run excessively to change the comfort level downstairs where we spend a lot of time. A small hot fire lets folks warm up in the area and bear the (very slight, I admit) chill in the other locations better.

The fire my husband built yesterday was not a full firebox (2.5 cubic feet), but it was pretty good sized. It burned great and threw a lot of heat. We have to run the blower on our insert to move that heat, so it is different from a freestanding stove. Nevertheless, because of the size of our space, it only raised the internal temperatures a couple of degrees (maybe from 69 to 71 across the room). With a lot of space and tile there’s a lot of room for BTU’s. (We also might prefer warmer temperatures than others on this forum because we’ve had to become more acclimated to brutal summer heat. I’m fine if my stove room is 75, and during the winter we kept the stove going overnight so that it wouldn’t be too cold when we woke up in the morning. I don’t want it to be in the mid-sixties in my house.)

I’m not telling you to get the larger stove, by the way. I’m just trying to share my experiences. My climate definitely gets colder (and hotter) than yours.
 
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
860
Texas
What kind of wood do you have available? Will you have to buy it or process it yourself?

One thing that made wood heating more attractive to us was that we have some land that is overgrown, and we have lots of trees that need trimming and even clearing. We’d have to haul lots of wood to the dump if we didn’t burn it. We also moved from a colder climate where we also heated with wood. We already owned a small log splitter, chainsaws, chaps, axes, a sledge and wedge, racks. We also just simply enjoy processing wood.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
860
Texas
627667A0-1C1A-45CF-ABB3-060224DE654B.jpeg

Here’s that eleven-year-old boy who said that it was “freezing” yesterday. The fire was already built when he got up this morning, and just about the first thing that he did was to pull the recliner in front of the stove and settle himself down to simplifying fractions.
 
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mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
421
California redwood coast
Yep, these are the stores. I've been dealing with the second one. Heating with wood is pretty common in this area, coal heat not so much - unless you count electricity!
Can the store get you in contact with any other locals who burn? They'd likely have a house different than yours , but they share the same weather. Their input could be invaluable.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
That's very useful information, thanks. Though I'm not sure I understand he last part about a smaller stove being able to run hotter. Do you mean that it's better to run a smaller stove hotter than to run a larger stove at 50% capacity?

Yes! Running a small stove at it's capacity will keep the stove and chimney running as designed.


Do you think there'd be much difference in heat output over the first hour or two when fully loading a Vista/T4 compared to fully loading a Super/T5? It seems like a smaller heater would be appropriate for my needs but I was justifying the larger one by having the extra capacity on especially cold days. But if people here are running a Super/T5 with temperatures at or below freezing for long periods then maybe it's just not the ideal unit for my place.

Possibly more. But let me explain why, as it seems counter intuitive. When you stuff each **cold** stove full, and then light it off, the fire will throw the same amount of heat in both stoves. Until the metal of the stove heats up, you will not be feeling any heat. The smaller stove will heat up faster as there is physically less metal to heat up. This will allow you to start feeling the heat faster. This is more observable in the clad stoves as they have more physical mass. The T4 and T5 have swing away trivets that allow you to swing some of the cast iron out of the way and get heat out faster. Think of it as removing 50lbs of thermal mass.

It's kind of like cast iron pans vs stamped steel pans. The light weight steel will heat up really fast. The cast iron, being more substantial, will heat up slower but give a more even heat and stay warm longer after you turn the stove off.

the big advantage with the larger stove will be on the reloads, when the stove is already hot. The larger fuel load will throw more heat, and the larger fuel load will allow you to burn longer.

I hope that makes sense.
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
421
California redwood coast

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
What kind of wood do you have available? Will you have to buy it or process it yourself?
I can definitely empathise with your son!

So what I'm gathering from everyone's advice is that there's a lot more to consider about wood heating than I originally thought. I'll do some more study and chat to my local dealer again and see where that leads me.

I'll have to buy local hardwood, which seems to be readily available, if costly. I do have a few acres worth of WA Peppermint Tree (Agonis Flexuosa) on my property but I haven't been able to find out whether it's suitable to burn - I have a feeling it's not. It's a shame because I'd be quite happy processing my own wood. I'll investigate options for planting future trees for wood, but my property is almost all covered with regenerated native tree species.
 

JV6

New Member
Apr 14, 2021
19
Albany, Western Australia
Possibly more. But let me explain why, as it seems counter intuitive. When you stuff each **cold** stove full, and then light it off, the fire will throw the same amount of heat in both stoves. Until the metal of the stove heats up, you will not be feeling any heat. The smaller stove will heat up faster as there is physically less metal to heat up. This will allow you to start feeling the heat faster. This is more observable in the clad stoves as they have more physical mass. The T4 and T5 have swing away trivets that allow you to swing some of the cast iron out of the way and get heat out faster. Think of it as removing 50lbs of thermal mass.
That definitely makes sense. Thank you for that, I appreciate the advice. I find that I have to continuously turn my reverse cycle on and off during the day because of the temperature swings, so I really need to consider a T4/T5 or similar to help maintain consistent temps.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Unless your peppermint trees are poisonous, they should be fine to burn. But, of course, check with the stove shop, they'll know. To us over here, everything in Australia appears to be out to kill people.
 
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DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
860
Texas
Unless your peppermint trees are poisonous, they should be fine to burn. But, of course, check with the stove shop, they'll know. To us over here, everything in Australia appears to be out to kill people.
Very true about our perceptions over here. I will admit that I feel somewhat the same way about the flora and fauna of Texas.

I did find a quick reference to burning peppermint trees, but I have no idea if the Brown Peppermint of Tasmania compares to the Western Australia Peppermint.


One thing to note is that people often say that the most desirable firewoods are the ones that are highest in BTU’s (or kilojoules or calorific value, I think, in your terms). That might not be the case in your situation where you aren’t looking for maximum heat for maximum duration.

The two woods that predominate on our land are Escarpment Live Oak and Ashe Juniper. The Live Oak is the top of the BTU charts, and the Juniper (from what I can tell) is more middling. We select Juniper to burn during most days in our heating season because we want quicker shorter heat, and we have a super abundance of it. The oak we use for holding overnight fires on cold nights. (That’s an oversimplification, of course, but I hope it helps.)

I was thinking the other day that it’s telling that you do have two stove shops in your area. We have none, but there are swimming pool supply stores all around. The closest stove speciality shop is about two hours away, so wood burning must be somewhat popular in your area, though I realize that some of that is for barbecue and outdoor living.