I need to get another woodstove... please help me decide

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From Away

New Member
Jul 2, 2021
37
Central Maine
I have posted on here before when I was trying to narrow my choices between a Woodstock and Blaze King. Well, I found a used Woodstock Keystone at a good price. After tearing into it, I realized that the combustor pan was cracked, and it needed more work than I initially thought. Yeah well. So I called Woodstock for parts. They do not have parts that I need for the rebuild and do not know when they will have any in stock. So, it seems like I am back to square one and out the cost of the Keystone. Live and learn. Woodstock said the Absolute would be too big for me, so another Woodstock is out. Anyway, I am shopping my local dealers (within 1.5 hours) and these are some options that I have that are available...

#1- Quadra-Fire Discovery II
#2- Jotul Greenville
#3- Pacific Energy Alderlea T5
#4- Lopi Rockport
#5- Blaze King Chinook 20.2

I understand they are different burn technologies, and of different construction, but what are your thoughts and experiences?
I live in Central Maine, almost 1200 sq.ft., two stories. I'll attach the house floor plan in PDF for you to check out too.

Thanks for helping! I learn a ton on here!
 

Attachments

  • House Floor Plan (2).pdf
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,457
SE North Carolina
Is the 26% tax credit important?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,473
South Puget Sound, WA
That's a good starting list. Sorry the Keystone parts are hard to get. I like the soft, even heat from cast iron clad stoves like the F45 and T5, but all will get the job done. The house looks like it will be easy to heat with a stove at that location as long as the wood is fully seasoned.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,457
SE North Carolina
1200 sq ft…. It would be hard to beat the blaze king for shoulder season. T5 would be my choice. I read the cleaning procedure for the F45 and would not choose it over the T5. I don’t know now, I’d like to experience the knob on a Blaze king. I might consider it if I could get the 30 series BK. Tax credit in the whole BK install shouldn’t be discounted. Would pay for a new liner if needed.

Evan
 

From Away

New Member
Jul 2, 2021
37
Central Maine
That's a good starting list. Sorry the Keystone parts are hard to get. I like the soft, eveb heat from cast iron clad stoves like the F45 and T5, but all will get the job done. The house looks like it will be easy to heat with a stove at that location as long as the wood is fully seasoned.
I wanted the best experience possible and found kiln dried at a price slightly above a seasoned cord. So, I am mostly below 20% MC on the wood.
I should have also mentioned, there are 2 12" floor vents directly above the stove, so alot of heat moves upstairs. The upstairs has no heating system.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,906
Long Island NY
IF you choose BK, AND you have space, go with the 30.2 (I have one) rather than the 20. Their minimum output setting is similar, and the burn time is longer - simply because of the larger fuel tank of the 30 box.

I have no experience with the other stoves. They seem to be good ones too.
I like my BK a lot. Even heat output (due to the Tstat). Easy to also manage shoulder seasons lower heat load. Long burn times (I easily reached 24 hrs on my first try - of course not in the middle of a winter cold snap when one has to run higher, but even then I had 12 hr reloads that I had to push a bit because the stove was not done chewing through the load, i.e. I could have ran for 14 hrs but that would have entailed a shifting reloading schedule).

I have an 1800 sqft home, though at a milder climate (though I note a lot of BKs in use in Alaska).
If you have specific questions, please ask.
 

From Away

New Member
Jul 2, 2021
37
Central Maine
IF you choose BK, AND you have space, go with the 30.2 (I have one) rather than the 20. Their minimum output setting is similar, and the burn time is longer - simply because of the larger fuel tank of the 30 box.

I have no experience with the other stoves. They seem to be good ones too.
I like my BK a lot. Even heat output (due to the Tstat). Easy to also manage shoulder seasons lower heat load. Long burn times (I easily reached 24 hrs on my first try - of course not in the middle of a winter cold snap when one has to run higher, but even then I had 12 hr reloads that I had to push a bit because the stove was not done chewing through the load, i.e. I could have ran for 14 hrs but that would have entailed a shifting reloading schedule).

I have an 1800 sqft home, though at a milder climate (though I note a lot of BKs in use in Alaska).
If you have specific questions, please ask.
I have heard that it would be better to go with the 30, but the 20 is sitting on their floor ready to go. I must admit, I am a little nervous that if I order something, with lead times, it would put me out pretty far. One dealer told me today that the orders they are putting in now will be delivered Jan/Feb.. All of the stoves I listed are available at the dealer as of today.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,906
Long Island NY
I have heard that it would be better to go with the 30, but the 20 is sitting on their floor ready to go. I must admit, I am a little nervous that if I order something, with lead times, it would put me out pretty far. One dealer told me today that the orders they are putting in now will be delivered Jan/Feb.. All of the stoves I listed are available at the dealer as of today.

Fair enough
 

Rickb

Minister of Fire
Oct 24, 2012
1,163
St.Louis
I love my BK sirocco 20. And honestly with our situation I wouldnt upgrade to the 30 even if it was free. But on mine other then the coldest days in winter to warm the area up for an hour or 2 max, it is on the lowest it will go. I ussually load at 4-5pm 3-4 pieces of wood to start it then 2-4 hours later add 3-4 pieces and the stove is still warm in the morning. I have only actually filled the stove up once or twice. But I am only heating around 700sqft in my finished basement area and the heat also helps warm the main floor. I have a ducted fan blowing cold air down to the basement room. I also have gas heat on the main floor but it really does not run very often other then in the morning when the setting goes up.

Just my 2 cents.
 

From Away

New Member
Jul 2, 2021
37
Central Maine
I love my BK sirocco 20. And honestly with our situation I wouldnt upgrade to the 30 even if it was free. But on mine other then the coldest days in winter to warm the area up for an hour or 2 max, it is on the lowest it will go. I ussually load at 4-5pm 3-4 pieces of wood to start it then 2-4 hours later add 3-4 pieces and the stove is still warm in the morning. I have only actually filled the stove up once or twice. But I am only heating around 700sqft in my finished basement area and the heat also helps warm the main floor. I have a ducted fan blowing cold air down to the basement room. I also have gas heat on the main floor but it really does not run very often other then in the morning when the setting goes up.

Just my 2 cents.
Is the 20 size box north/south loading or east/west? I was not able to lay my eyes on the Chinook today and the dealer is closed till Monday.
 

From Away

New Member
Jul 2, 2021
37
Central Maine
I was told before that if I would get a Blaze King that I might have to do a chimney liner. Is that common for folks to do if they go with a Blaze King?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,906
Long Island NY

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,906
Long Island NY
I was told before that if I would get a Blaze King that I might have to do a chimney liner. Is that common for folks to do if they go with a Blaze King?

Yes. Because so little heat goes up the flue, an insulated liner is recommended to keep the flue gases warm enough to avoid creosote condensing.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
999
Texas
I was told before that if I would get a Blaze King that I might have to do a chimney liner. Is that common for folks to do if they go with a Blaze King?

It’s common not only for Blaze King but for any stove on your list above. With the Blaze King, the 26 % tax credit would apply to the price and installation cost of an insulated liner.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,840
Iowa
Is the 20 size box north/south loading or east/west? I was not able to lay my eyes on the Chinook today and the dealer is closed till Monday.
My Sirocco 20 gets loaded n/s every time. Compare this BK model to any other 2 cu ft make/model. Unparalleled to my knowledge.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
I have heard that it would be better to go with the 30, but the 20 is sitting on their floor ready to go. I must admit, I am a little nervous that if I order something, with lead times, it would put me out pretty far. One dealer told me today that the orders they are putting in now will be delivered Jan/Feb.. All of the stoves I listed are available at the dealer as of today.
We are running at 10-12 weeks.
 

From Away

New Member
Jul 2, 2021
37
Central Maine
Can somebody please explain btu output and stove sizing to me?

#1- Why, if a stove puts out less btu, but is larger in physical size is it considered too much for my area?
For example, on my list above, the Jotul F45 v2 was recommended for my application. According to the EPA database, it puts out 16748-58657 btu. I just found an Oslo F 500 V3 (looks to be listed cheap) and it's btu rating is 14001-38804 btu. That is lower than the F45, but I am told it will be way too much for my application.
#2- So does btu not really mean anything?
#3- Is it the size of the stove that absorbs and releases the heat that determines if it will cook you out of the house?

I ran into this before when I was told the Woodstock Absolute was too big for me. one time they told me that is what I needed, then when I couldn't get parts for my Keystone, another guy tells me the Absolute is too big.

Can somebody break it down for me. Stove dealers are recommending anything from a Regency F1150 to a Pacific Energy Alderlea T5! They seem to be on way different ends of the spectrum to me. How do I know what to do?

Thanks again! I appreciate any help you can give me. My head is spinning....
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,906
Long Island NY
In my view, the range of BTU output in which the stove is still controllable is what matters (and not its physical size). I think you are running into the widely varying thoughts on how many BTUs you need.
One of the reasons for that widely varying range is that it depends on your home (lay-out, insulation), what you actually want to heat, your "comfort zone" , and how you run your stove (always at full blast, versus small fires), how much space you actually want to heat (room vs whole house) etc. And even when given the same data set, not everyone will reach the same conclusion.

All I can say is that if you have previous winters heating bill, you could estimate the total BTUs you used during that winter.

Then still, you can size to heat to 70 F during the coldest three nights in a winter, or you can size the stove to be able to comfortably heat for all but the coldest week when you use a little add-on oil or other central heating. Or you can size such that you can use the stove as long a period of the year as possible (meaning you can turn it down enough so you won't use other heating in the shoulder season because the stove heats too much, even with a smaller fire).

There is no black and white or mathematical answer I think. Therefore, a good (for me) strategy is to pick a stove with a wide range of BTU/hr outputs - it allows you to use it in more of the days of the year...

I don't personally know the stoves you mention, so I'll let others comment on that.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,473
South Puget Sound, WA
Different testing methods can end up with different results. Remember, the testing is done with a fixed amount of wood, usually softwood. This is for consistency. It does not represent the peak output of the stove. 20 lbs of wood will have around 160,000 btus of heat. If the fire burns for 4 hrs then it will put out around 40,000 btus/hr. if it was 100% efficient, or 30k btus/hr if 75% efficient. However, if the firebox can hold 40# of wood, then a full load may put out 70,000 btus/hr if the air control is say at 50% open. These are just simplified hypothetical numbers to illustrate the point. There's also house heat loss, room size, etc. Also, this is comparing a cat stove to a non-cat. They have different burn characteristics. Personally, I would get the F45 because it is a simpler burning solution that is pretty tough. The F500 v3 has had some issues that have raised some concerns. It is possible that this stove may have had a combustor failure and will need replacement parts. Caveat emptor.

The amount of fuel and air the fire is fed over a given period of time will determine whether you are taking off a sweater or running around naked. In other words, you control the heat output by the way the stove is run. If less heat is desired then load less fuel. In shoulder season weather one, short, small fire a day may suffice.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
We can't forget the MC % that is in that fuel load weight. With a range of 18-24%, results can be heavily influenced. Burn dryer wood and you can use fuel load method calculator to max out fuel load. There is also a piece size generated by the calculator. So if you have a specific size firebox, you might wind up with more small pieces to reach required load weight. 20lbs of smalls burn a heck of a lot faster than 2 pieces at 10lbs. Given duration of burn being part of the formula,, you can influence BTU's.

Also, EPA's ATM of the ASTM 3053 (Cordwood method) uses specific gravity as a determination of what fuels can be used. Red Maple, Oak, Hickory etc are very often used. The "softest" species is Douglas Fir. As begreen points out, the original method OM7 (Oregon 1984) became M28 in 1988 (EPA Method) Then in 2015, M28 became M28R (r=revised) used Douglas Fir, a softwood by most standards.

But....in their haste to encourage manufacturers to test and request certification, EPA used MULTIPLE ATM's using Cordwood! So you have the added confusion of which ATM did a mfg use.

I've posted this before.... you cannot compare test report results! Go with your gut based upon what consumers say their experiences are with a given stove.

All the 2020 models are VERY clean burning, VERY heat producing and VERY efficient.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
Sorry ATM = Alternative Test Method
 

From Away

New Member
Jul 2, 2021
37
Central Maine
That all makes more sense, but at the same time befuddles my finite mind. Thanks guys for trying to help me here. I just cannot wrap my mind around this at all. And then to really mess me up, a stove that has a higher btu output range is said to heat up 1300 sq.ft., but a stove with a lower btu output heats up to 1800-2300 sq.ft.. So, it looks to me like none of it really matters. Like BKVP said, I can only base it off of real world experience from folks that own them and know what they can do. I am getting ready to pull the trigger on a 3500-3800 dollar stove and don't know if I will be able to run it low enough so that I don't get cooked out of the house, or if it will get the job done when it is 20 below. I am racking this little pea brain of mine something fierce! I also just moved into this home, so I have no past experience with what may be needed.
Thanks again for trying to help me!
 
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BKVP

Minister of Fire
Yes. Because so little heat goes up the flue, an insulated liner is recommended to keep the flue gases warm enough to avoid creosote condensing.
It also can help provide piece of mind...lest a level 3 inspection not be conducted to verify clearances to combustibles from a masonry chimney...
 
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firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,450
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I'm just a simple man with a simple mind, but I can tell you what worked for me.

I looked at the stoves of similar sizes and what the manufacturer claimed they would heat for square footage . . . and then went one size larger as I have always been of the belief it is easier to light a small fire in a larger firebox than to try to light a larger fire in a firebox which is already stuffed to the gills.

I do believe one can buy too big a stove, but I suspect far too often the opposite is more likely . . . especially for folks who may not be in the know and may shop for a stove based on how well it looks or some other number value like distance to combustibles, how clean it burns, etc.

I can also tell you that while there is a bit of a learning curve it is very possible to run your stove according to your needs . . . as mentioned earlier . . . a lot of how the stove runs depends on the fuel -- how much you load the firebox, what you put in the firebox for wood species and how well packed the firebox is . . . what I mean to say is in the Fall and Spring when I am looking for just a bit of heat to take the chill out of the air I might burn some pine, poplar, etc. or run some of my punks (punky wood), chunks (smaller splits and rounds) and uglies (twisted, gnarly looking splits and rounds) in the stove . . . not fill it to the top . . . and only burn the one fire, maybe one reload depending on the temps, before letting the fire die out and letting the heated cast iron radiate its heat and warm the house. In the dead of winter I'm burning the primo stuff, loading the firebox and maximizing the space.

Personally . . . I kinda like the Jotul in the choices offered. Normally I would recommend the Oslo, but to tell the truth I am still a bit hesitant to recommend that model right now due to the change.
 
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