Drolet wood stove advice needed

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New Member
Dec 22, 2022
Hickory, NC
I'm looking at purchasing and installing my first wood stove. I'd like to heat my whole house with it next winter. House is 1100sqft main level and 980 in basement where the stove will be. I haven't fully decided between insert or freestanding but so far I'm leaning towards drolet 1800i insert. Does anyone run one of those stoves? Do you think it will heat my house (1974 built and in western NC.) Staircase is near the existing fireplace that is pictured and there is also a vent that leads upstairs right above the fireplace. The vent has a motor inside that is activated by a switch to suck the air upstairs. I am very conflicted on insert vs jamming a freestander somewhat in the fire box. Dimensions are 30 inch tall, 48 wide at front, 42 wide at rear, and 21 deep.
Is the basement insulated? Do you already have your wood for next winter? If your answer to either of those questions is no, then it will definitely not heat your house.
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I've already got 1 cord of seasoned wood and 2 pin oaks dropped 5 months ago but not split yet. Planned on splitting them next month. My basement has 2 bare block walls and the rest are insulated. A 110v electric heater can warm the room up nicely so i don't think the insulation is a major issue but a minor one.
Be aware that oak generally takes over 2 years to fully season. For wood to season in 1 year look for ash, maple, or any softwood.
I have an insert with a fan. I would like to have a stove without a fan. After a while the fan is annoying. Some must, have an insert with a fan.
I’m running the 1800i in a 1000 sq ft basement. I have 24’ of insulated liner and needed to install a damper.

The value of the 1800i can’t be beat. It’s not the best looker but runs really well. When it’s really cold I do two loads a day. But it really just heats the basement. Getting heat up at is not as easy as one thinks. I also have a stove in The upstairs fireplace. It needs a blower when it’s cold and I I would only recommend this for an interior chimney. Top vent under 30” stoves there just is not much choice.
The Drolet Escape 1800 is a very popular model and a good value. It should get the job done. The chimney will need a full cleaning and then a 6" stainless liner installed, probably insulated.
I've had both inserts and freestanding. I currently have an insert that I'm replacing with a freestander.
I don't like running a fan constantly, I'd like a nice cook surface and prefer the radiance and aesthetic of a freestander.
I notice that the 1800i protrudes a bit from the wall which would assist with radiant heat and provide a possible small cooking surface.

My preference now, after experiencing both, is that freestanders are the way to go if you can swing it.

Me too, had an insert and tore it out for a freestander, much better. Very few good reasons to tolerate an insert.
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