Guidance on wood stove as primary heat source?

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New Member
Mar 14, 2024
Vancouver Island
Hi folks,

First time poster here. We're getting close to finishing our small home and need to make a decision about wood stoves. It will be our primary heat source as we have limited electrical and lots of wood (doug fir, and maple mostly). The house is a little over 900 square feet, with half being an open living/kitchen/loft space (24x16ft with a sloping ceiling from 13-16', south facing with many windows) and the other half being two bedrooms and a bathroom. One doorway and short hallway to connect them. The house is faily well insulated - 2x6 walls with continuous insulation on most walls, and double pane windows. We like an averagely heated living area (20'c) and cooler bedrooms.

We currently have an oversized stove that is a beast. I want to replace it with a stove that is better sized to our space. I think something that gives around 75,000 BTUs might be about right, but I'm stuck on whether a catalytic (hybrid) would be best, or if we should get a quality secondary burner. We're in the Pacific Northwest - so mild winters, but often below freezing at night time. An employee at a local stove shop was recommending against catalytic stoves (he seemed almost apalled I was interested?).

Thoughts? Cat or not? Sizing? So far I've looked at the PE Super LE, Supreme Novo, Osburn Matrix, Regency F2500. I'm drawn towards a modern look.
I am a little surprised by the estimate of BTUs needed; seems high for a 900 sq ft home that is well insulated.
Are you sure?
(I heat my 1700 sq ft + 825 sq ft basement home with a stove that has a max ouput of 50,000 BTUs per hour, and my walls are late '70s 2x4. I surmise my climate is similar to yours (in temperature, barring some polar vortex events).
For full time burning, stick with a N/S loader. PE is made on the island and the Super is right-sized. If you want a cat, go for a Blaze King or a Kuma.
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900 sq ft, new construction, in a mild climate. Blaze king would be at the top of my list. I can heat 2000 so ft of 1968 construction with a 1.7 cu ft jotul down to -4C. It’s about a five hour burn time. I do have to load it every 4-5 hours when it’s that cold. Not much fun.

My advice is get a a heat load calculation done or do one yourself. I am concerned that even a BK might not be low enough heat output for many weeks a year.
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