First Stove BTU Question

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

Pedersjo

New Member
Nov 4, 2020
19
Cougar WA
Good Afternoon,

My wife and I live in the country and I am currently rebuilding the home we bought, having retired this year. Our house has a cathedral ceiling and is about 1500 square feet with a loft two bedrooms downstairs as well as two small bathrooms. Currently, we are looking to buy a wood stove that will properly heat our home. One we have gone to see, and like, is a Lopi Rockport Hybrid-Fyre. It is rated up to 2000 square feet and has a BTU of 13,760 to 55,466 with a firebox of 2.15 cubic feet. The dealer says the size is fine, my question to you all is, is this overkill? I mean we sort of like the idea of going big in case we expand the house someday but on the other hand, we don't wish to be overheated with no way to cool things down except to open the windows. I can't seem to find a definitive answer to how much is really too much, and what is a good fit, so any input you have would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
John
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,527
South Puget Sound, WA
Square footage ratings are just an estimation and often not that valuable due to the wide variations in home design, insulation and the local climate. This medium-sized stove is not too large. It's not overkill. You control the heat by the amount of wood burned, air supplied to the fire and frequency of reloading. If the place has warmed up, let the fire die out.
With a cathedral ceiling a ceiling fan or two will be necessary in order to circulate hot air that will want to pocket at the ceiling peak. The loft will be warmer regardless.
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,471
Northern NH
Wood stoves are space heaters, they have tough time heating remote rooms like bathrooms and bedrooms. With a cathedral ceiling, there can be a big issue with heat stratification from floor to ceiling. Ceiling fans may be needed and heating any spaces lower then the stove can be difficult. There is also the issue of how energy efficient house you will end up with. A tight modern home will require a much smaller stove than an older home built when heating oil/propane/natural gas was cheap.

Ideally every serious home should have two stoves, a small one for shoulder season and a large one for the peak heating season. Not many folks do so the alternative is get one with good turn down capability and make sure you really have dry wood that has either been dried in kiln or seasoned properly on your property for two full years. Marginal wood may squeak by at full load but trying to turn down a modern stove to low output is difficult. Of course the alternative is just burn smaller loads during shoulder season but most folks want a stove they can load once and not worry about it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: St. Coemgen

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,147
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I live in your climate, burn the same woods, and have a similar size home. I would not want anything smaller than a 2 cf stove. Mine is 2.9.
 

Pedersjo

New Member
Nov 4, 2020
19
Cougar WA
Wood stoves are space heaters, they have tough time heating remote rooms like bathrooms and bedrooms. With a cathedral ceiling, there can be a big issue with heat stratification from floor to ceiling. Ceiling fans may be needed and heating any spaces lower then the stove can be difficult. There is also the issue of how energy efficient house you will end up with. A tight modern home will require a much smaller stove than an older home built when heating oil/propane/natural gas was cheap.

Ideally every serious home should have two stoves, a small one for shoulder season and a large one for the peak heating season. Not many folks do so the alternative is get one with good turn down capability and make sure you really have dry wood that has either been dried in kiln or seasoned properly on your property for two full years. Marginal wood may squeak by at full load but trying to turn down a modern stove to low output is difficult. Of course the alternative is just burn smaller loads during shoulder season but most folks want a stove they can load once and not worry about it.

Definitely will be getting a ceiling fan, the house has been neglected and it is old. However, I am going to be weatherizing it, it's on my list. What does a person look for as far as good turn down capability? Think I'd like that option. I do plan on cutting my own, but for now, I'll buy seasoned wood. Thank you for the information.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,147
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Can I ask what brand yours is? Thanks for your input.

Before this BK I burned a 2.3 cubic foot hearthstone heritage for about 30 cords and it was just barely big enough to burn overnight which is an important feature!
 

Pedersjo

New Member
Nov 4, 2020
19
Cougar WA
Before this BK I burned a 2.3 cubic foot hearthstone heritage for about 30 cords and it was just barely big enough to burn overnight which is an important feature!
Thanks, maybe I should step up a bit. I'd prefer not to spend all that money and then have it be too small.
 

Pedersjo

New Member
Nov 4, 2020
19
Cougar WA
Before this BK I burned a 2.3 cubic foot hearthstone heritage for about 30 cords and it was just barely big enough to burn overnight which is an important feature!

Was also considering a kuma ashwood. 2.5 box and 82000 BTU. I called the manufacture and was told that it's too large for my house :) They suggested buying a smaller model. Like many have said I think it just depends on a lot of things.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Highbeam

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Are you considering upgrading the insulation or windows in your home? Buying too large a stove now, then fixing the house, is this a sure way to be cooked out of your house. Maybe consider fixing the house first, or even buying a smaller stove and running supplemental heat on the coldest nights is a good temporary fix?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Woody Stover

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,406
Unity/Bangor, Maine
It's easier to build a small fire in a large fire box vs. trying to build a larger fire in a small firebox.

I heat my home fine through the shoulder season when temps are a bit milder and in the dead of the winter . . . it's a bit of a learning curve, but one can learn to control the heat output by the amount of type of fuel one loads in the stove as well as whether or not one reloads the stove. This time of year I tend to use lower BTU wood, chunks and uglies and not reload whereas in the winter I am using the "good stuff", straight stuff to fill the firebox and will reload when needed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grizzerbear

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,527
South Puget Sound, WA
Was also considering a kuma ashwood. 2.5 box and 82000 BTU. I called the manufacture and was told that it's too large for my house :) They suggested buying a smaller model. Like many have said I think it just depends on a lot of things.
I was told the 3 cu ft T6 was too large too by the local shop. He refused to sell it to me and lost the sale. It's been fine and remarkably flexible in the range of heating conditions it works in. As is often the case, it's not the tool, but how it's used.
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,561
Southeast CT
Even if the stove was too big, which yours is not, heat output is best controlled by amount of wood you put into whatever stove you have. You’re good.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Woody Stover

Pedersjo

New Member
Nov 4, 2020
19
Cougar WA
Lots of logging and mills around Cougar. You'll probably end up with fir butts and tops (logging waste)like I do unless you have land or have a connection.
I don't have land, just a large yard. Is the wood around here good to burn? I'd read that pine as okay, plan on buying this year which will give me time to let anything I cut season.
 

Pedersjo

New Member
Nov 4, 2020
19
Cougar WA
I don't have land, just a large yard. Is the wood around here good to burn? I'd read that pine as okay, plan on buying this year which will give me time to let anything I cut season.
Have a looked into a vermont castings stove, they can be used with or without the cat. I have read they are not that dependable though.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,147
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I don't have land, just a large yard. Is the wood around here good to burn? I'd read that pine as okay, plan on buying this year which will give me time to let anything I cut season.

The typical firewood species in western Washington will be Douglas fir mostly, then red alder, then big leaf maple. All make great firewood when dry but none of them are as dense as the eastern hardwoods where lots of forum members come from. Those guys get better fuels but they’re also colder.

With a large yard you can have logs delivered and process them yourself. Or just buy processed wood and get it stacked and covered for drying.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
A 2.5 CF stove isn't a 2.5 CF stove, either.

You can get a terrible stove like a U.S. Stove fixed burn rate unit, and opening the window will be how you control the temperature of your living room... or you can get a better stove that can control its burn rate and go 8-24 hours on that same wood that went through the bad stove in 4 hours.

I wouldn't hesitate to put a 4.3cf King into a small house if it was for my own use. Firebox size is just the size of the gas tank if the stove is very controllable and the operator knows how to work it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Highbeam