DS 160 review

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tiswood

New Member
Sep 9, 2015
87
Delaware
I just wanted to give my review of likes and dislikes of the DS 160 . Also known as the energy max. My old stove was an all nighter so that's what I have to compare it to. The DS 160 has had a little over 1\2 cord burned in it this fall so far. It's in my basement with a hood over it and that's tied into my return on my duct work with a thermostat that kicks the heater on if it gets to whatever temp I set it at over stove. ( usually around 90-95) . I have 2 50 gallon hot water tanks tied to a coil inside of stove firebox to heat our water. I like quite a bit about this stove so far, really like the ash pan, and bimetal damper control of air. The stove starts extremely fast with just a couple pieces of paper and can rekindle a fire from very little coals in a short order . The temp is far better regulated than my old stove due to the bimetal damper. It took me some time to get used to it with how much to load . Old stove I loaded and shut air on low 3x a day. This stove I don't think I can "load" full. It would be to much , maybe when temps get lower. This stove burns coal ( I have 2 ton waiting) and am anxious to try it when it's really cold. I can get away with 2x a day to load 1/2 full now but I would have to rekindle from coals. I have 1 main dislike do far. It is with the dhw set up. I'm not sure why but it seems to over heat 1 tank in less than a day and blows off my temp valve. I recently added the 2nd tank in so I now have 100 gallons of storage but it looks like in 1 day of burning on fairly low and both tanks were at 150 degree. So I'm not sure this is going to work. I think it may make to much hot water. This stove weighs just under 1000lb . No light duty stove, it's built to last . It has secondary burn tubes that return the exhaust when the main damper is closed . I doubt this is the most efficient beast on the market. It's also not the worst. I would say it's a solid choice for a stove but not in living area. Needs to be in basement or a shop . It's not extremely pretty although it does have a glass in door for viewing. I am just a 43 yr old that's been burning since I moved out on my own and my dad burned since before I was born. I hope this helps anyone that had a doubt about this stove . I had a real hard time finding unbiased reviews when I decided to purchase this stove, that's why I am posting this thread. If anyone has a question about it let me know and I will try to answer it for you.
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,546
Nova Scotia
Not sure what exactly you have for the 2 DHW tanks, but if they're insulated (assuming they would be), you could strip off some insulation & make a big radiator out of one. Which in the course of radiating it wouldn't get so hot it would blow off. Or add some fin-tube to the pipes going to them to scrub some of the heat off.
 

tiswood

New Member
Sep 9, 2015
87
Delaware
Yes it's 2 -50 gal regular hot water tanks. It definitely better than the way it was hooked up(1 tank only for storage) it was blowing off on about my 3rd load of starting the fire. It hasn't blown off with the 2 tanks after 2 days of fire so time will tell. If I have a problem I will have to do something like you said. Thanks
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
22,086
central pa
I have worked on a few of these units and i have some problem areas to warn you about. First the side wall of firebrick with no support behind them are very prone to breaking which them bypasses the tubes. Behind that wall is a metal panel that the smoke comes down in front of and up behind. It is not supported well and is prone to warping. One one of the 5 I have worked on it developed serious cracks coming from the corners of the door opening. I don't know if this was due to over firing or a flaw or what but it only took 2 years. All in all they seem like well built stoves but with some pretty serious design flaws when it comes to durability
 

tiswood

New Member
Sep 9, 2015
87
Delaware
I have worked on a few of these units and i have some problem areas to warn you about. First the side wall of firebrick with no support behind them are very prone to breaking which them bypasses the tubes. Behind that wall is a metal panel that the smoke comes down in front of and up behind. It is not supported well and is prone to warping. One one of the 5 I have worked on it developed serious cracks coming from the corners of the door opening. I don't know if this was due to over firing or a flaw or what but it only took 2 years. All in all they seem like well built stoves but with some pretty serious design flaws when it comes to durability
Thanks for the info. I'm aware of the wall your talking about . I will keep an eye on it. I told my wife when she loads it not to throw in the wood. She complains ( of course) that she has a hard time holding the wood and sitting it in easy. I understand what's she saying , my main concern was tossing in wood and busting firebricks. I haven't had to run it hard yet. I keep the damper on low as poss . But as the temps drop it will be turned up. I have a question for you since you work on them . My old stove an all nighter , there was hot areas in the house and this stove seems to burn cooler and the house has a more balanced temp. Is there a reason for this you can explain?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
22,086
central pa
I keep the damper on low as poss .
Are you opening up the air when you Start and reload to get up to operating temp? If you rely just on the auto damper these can be real creosote factories. But as long as you get it up to temp to start they do work well and give fairly even heat.
 

tiswood

New Member
Sep 9, 2015
87
Delaware
Yes I open up the air when starting and reloading . It just seems like a more even heat than I'm used to. Also they have a 5 yr warranty , did they cover the 5 you seen with trouble?
 
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tiswood

New Member
Sep 9, 2015
87
Delaware
Hopefully it was caused by over firing . I will keep a watch on it. They have been very good so far when I contacted them about my dhw hookup.
 

ctnative

Member
Oct 8, 2012
9
I'll second all the good things mentioned above about the DS 160 stove. I installed mine in the fall of 2014. When I'm home I leave the bimetal damper set around 4 and throw in wood a few times throughout the day. This seems to let it burn hot and clean. The stove pipe temp about 24" above the stove will register between 200-400 degrees. At night or when I leave for the day I load it full, let it get burning good, then turn the bimetal damper all the way to low and slide the glass wash air lever off. A full load of wood set like this will last anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. The stove pipe temp will register the same 200-400 degrees while the full load is burning and then tail off to 150 degrees. I've set my temp alarm to sound at 150 degrees on the low end. This seems to be the temp at which the load of wood has burned down and there's still an ample bed of coals to ignite a new load of wood. I'm only into my second burning season with the stove but I haven't noticed any problems with breaking firebricks, warping, or cracks mentioned above. I'll watch those areas and post if I notice any of them.
I'm getting ready to hook up and utilize the water loop this season. Can you share a few pictures of your setup? I too have read that this stove will easily heat an 80 gallon storage tank to temperatures that will sometimes cause the blow off valve to open. I'm leaning more towards an open non pressurized storage tank. I just posted a thread over in the boiler room seeking information if anyone wants to give advice.
https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/wood-stove-water-coil-thermosiphoning-pressurized-vs-non-pressurized.149979/
A thought on your question about the hot areas of your house with the All Nighter vs not with the DS160. My brother burns an All Nighter without the optional air blower attached. Although the All Nighter radiates heat it does not cause it to convect. It just radiates out from it and rises to wherever it accumulates. All the heat tends to stay in the one room that his stove is in and he has a tough time getting it to move out to the rest of his house. The DS160 with the outer skin and the vertical air tubes running through it is supposedly designed to promote natural air convection. So it may be that with the new DS160 the air in your house is circulating more resulting in a more even temperature. I can see the convection working with my DS160. The cobwebs above and around the stove blow quite a bit. So there's definitely a lot of air moving.
 

tiswood

New Member
Sep 9, 2015
87
Delaware
I'm glad you like your 160. I have 2- 50gal hot water tanks hooked up to my stove with gravity circulation. I originally had 1-50 gal tank for storage and had trouble with it blowing off the valve with high temp.(several times a day) I re plumbed it so it now uses both tanks and I tied the cold on both tanks to the stove so it circulates all of the water. I have only had it blow off 1x since I made this change. We have a family of 5 and I turn the elect off to the tanks when the stove is running. I think it actually makes to much for us since my temp gauges usually read 170-210 when stove has been running for over a day. If you have a small family i prob would not install the coil due to worrying about the over temp. I was given this site to help with the hook up http://www.hilkoil.com/Technical.htm. It helped but I still made changes to it. 1 thing I did was install valves so I could drain the water in stove coil if it was overheating to much. It's a lot easier to sent pics as a text / email instead of posting them on the forum for me.if you need pics let me know I will do what I can. As for the heat circulation I believe your right about the shield and tubes creating circulation. Although I built a hood over my stove in basement and tied into my cold air return. Then I installed a thermostat so when the temp above stove gets to whatever temp I set it at ( usually around 95) it kicks the fan on my heater and circulates the air very well. ( stoves in basement) . The allnighter actually had basement very hot and messed up the tiles in my kitchen from all the heat rising. It don't look like I will have that problem with the new setup.
 
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