I need a recommendation for a very low output stove

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williaty

Member
Jan 12, 2015
103
Licking County, Ohio
A few years ago, we installed a Woodstock Ideal Steel stove for our main heating. It's fantastic when the weather is under 20F. However, above that, it's way too much heat. Initially, this meant that we did the shoulder seasons on the house's geothermal unit and then used the wood stove for the dead of winter. Unfortunately, global warming is turning our winters into ALL shoulder season and it's costing a fortune to run the main furnace all winter and we're never really comfortable anyway. From some experience heating with kerosene before we got the Ideal Steel and from comparing Woodstock's ratings of this stove, I'd like to find a pellet stove that can run very slow, something around the 5,000BTH/hr range, and throttle up to 15,000-20,000BTU/hr if necessary. The lower range is more important than the upper range. Next priorities are that it has to work with a straight out the back and through the wall horizontal exhaust and that it needs to be very quiet.

I've looked at the Enviro P3 but since we'd basically be running it at minimum all the time, I'm wary due to reports of the P3 and the Mini that came before it not liking being run at minimum without ever being turned up.

In all honesty, I'd love something like a Cubic Mini or other solid wood stove but it seems like low output is linked to short runtimes in solid wood stoves. I'm looking at pellet stoves solely because of the possibility of a very low out put coupled with only needing to tend to it once a day.
 

railfanron

Minister of Fire
Nov 2, 2013
561
Perry MI
A Harmon stove can run on it's own thermostat or an aftermarket one. With that it only comes on when you need heat and then shuts down when it reaches the set point. My stove cycles 3 to maybe 30 times a day depending on how cold it is. It's been doing this for years and has never had a failed startup. It's reasonably quiet and extremely easy to maintain. It's on a programmable thermostat now and dials the temp back 4 degrees at night. I'm getting ready now to put it on an Ecobee Smart Thermostat which will add several more features including geofencing. I have a P43 model that's 8,000 to 43,000 Btus I believe. It's as close to having a regular furnace as you can get. It is capable of heating my whole house but I run it tag team with my furnace to get humidification and air cleaning.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Maybe one of those Wiseway non electric units might work. I hear they will idle all day with no issue and don't need 110 to run either. Kind of surprised your geothermal isn't up to the task. My buddy just built a new home with a water furnace and it works tits.
 

williaty

Member
Jan 12, 2015
103
Licking County, Ohio
Maybe one of those Wiseway non electric units might work. I hear they will idle all day with no issue and don't need 110 to run either. Kind of surprised your geothermal isn't up to the task. My buddy just built a new home with a water furnace and it works tits.
I have seen the Wiseway stoves but have been scared off by all the reports of people having problems with them.

The geothermal just never feels warm because the air it injects into the house is only a few degrees warmer (to maximize efficiency) and it really makes the electric bill go up in the winter. I've come to realize it doesn't make our bills go up as much as most people's do due to the fact our house is pretty efficient but it's still an unwelcome increase. The Ideal Steel is wonderful when it's cold enough and, in the two real winters we've had with it, actually reduced our electric bill compared to summer because we were able to keep the furnace off for weeks at a time. The house feels warm 24 hours a day and I only have to load it once a day. I'd like to get that feeling of actually being warm without overheating the house when it's between 20F and 40F.
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
4,206
Lorraine NY

rickwai

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2011
1,189
ohio
pellets contain approx. 8,700 btu/lb. It would be tough for a stove to be small enough to burn less than 1 lb/hr I would think?
 

gfreek

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2010
1,421
Attica,,New York
Remember a pellet stove throws off heat different than the wood stove. There is some radiant heat ,but most comes from the room convection fan...They are more of a room heater, however many use them as a main house heater...As for noise and quiet, there are 3 motors running...
After digging around, maybe this, 16k to 33k BTU, quiet, no electricity needed, newer stove. Found one post..
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Interesting and certainly more pleasing to the eye than a Wiseway, which I find ugly. However, the Wiseway can vent through pellet vent, the Breckwell requires a class A flue and a draft damper as well and like stoves of old, it's a positive draft unit so hopper burn back is an ever present issue. I see the owners manual recommends at least a 12 foot high flue / chimmney (to achieve proper draft) and various cautions in the manual concerning smoke roll out and very specific firing instruction.

I wonder what the unit costs? Would be ideal for our hunting cabin which is off grid and we now use a chunk wood stove in.
 
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gfreek

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2010
1,421
Attica,,New York
I read the manual also, seems a bit involved in running this stove. and connects to regular chimney.. List $3300...
Thelin Gnome maybe ?? That's even more $$ 3700 list.
The Woodstock Ideal Steel Stove using now seems like it's a beast of a heating unit
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,177
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Lots of us run our catalytic woodstoves on low nearly all the time. Low output is only about 15k btu in my blaze king and I only need to load it once per day.

Sometimes that’s too much heat so I build a smaller fire and the fire goes out. Stays out for 12 hours which makes it a 7500 btu stove on average.

The IS runs very low too. Could it be that you just need to run it differently? You seem stuck on the need for constant output to match your home’s heat loss instead of allowing the home temperature to swing a bit when heat loss is low.
 
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williaty

Member
Jan 12, 2015
103
Licking County, Ohio
Lots of us run our catalytic woodstoves on low nearly all the time. Low output is only about 15k btu in my blaze king and I only need to load it once per day.

Sometimes that’s too much heat so I build a smaller fire and the fire goes out. Stays out for 12 hours which makes it a 7500 btu stove on average.

The IS runs very low too. Could it be that you just need to run it differently? You seem stuck on the need for constant output to match your home’s heat loss instead of allowing the home temperature to swing a bit when heat loss is low.
Minimum setting on the IS will push the house over 100F when the outside temps are 40F. It's really not a workable solution.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,177
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Minimum setting on the IS will push the house over 100F when the outside temps are 40F. It's really not a workable solution.

It’s okay to just want something else but I guarantee the IS won’t push your house temperature when it’s not burning. Learn to let the stove go cold.

Honestly, you sound like a good candidate for a gas stove. Silent, no power required, no maintenance or operational effort.

They sell oil stoves too. Kuma makes a couple.
 

williaty

Member
Jan 12, 2015
103
Licking County, Ohio
It’s okay to just want something else but I guarantee the IS won’t push your house temperature when it’s not burning. Learn to let the stove go cold.

Honestly, you sound like a good candidate for a gas stove. Silent, no power required, no maintenance or operational effort.

They sell oil stoves too. Kuma makes a couple.
The problem with the IS is that there's a minimum cycle for it and that's too much for the house when it's warmer out. Below a certain amount of fuel in it, it doesn't burn worth a damn. Temps fluctuate all over the place, cat stalls, tons of creosote, etc. We've learned how to give it just barely enough fuel and keep it burning just barely enough to avoid problems and it's still too warm for the house.

We don't have gas (neither utility no tank) on the property.

We did kerosene for a while but the house is sufficiently tight that I don't want any appliance that vents the exhaust gasses into the house.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,177
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
The problem with the IS is that there's a minimum cycle for it and that's too much for the house when it's warmer out. Below a certain amount of fuel in it, it doesn't burn worth a damn. Temps fluctuate all over the place, cat stalls, tons of creosote, etc. We've learned how to give it just barely enough fuel and keep it burning just barely enough to avoid problems and it's still too warm for the house.

We don't have gas (neither utility no tank) on the property.

We did kerosene for a while but the house is sufficiently tight that I don't want any appliance that vents the exhaust gasses into the house.

A propane stove can vent through the same chimney you already have. I would never consider something that vents into the room! Honestly it’s my plan for when wood burning is no longer an option. I don’t have gas or a tank either but a propane tank big enough for your needs is cheap and easy to set.

Zero maintenance. No electricity required. Zero noise.
 
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