Kuma Aspen LE, Alderlea T4 or Jotul F45?

TomRC

New Member
Mar 3, 2021
16
KY
Another newbie needing help. Just finished construction of a 1080 sq ft metal pole barn house. Spray foam to R21 in the walls, R31 batt in the ceiling. Vaulted ceilings to 14’ throughout the house. Simple open concept design on slab. No attic with minimal space between vaulted ceiling and roof. Looking to put in wood stove as primary heat source and am down to 3 stoves, the Kuma Aspen LE, Jotul J45 Greenville and the Pacific Energy Alderlea T4. I’m looking for the best option for my small space taking into account the high ceilings and hoping to minimize the get up and add wood at 4am scenario as much as possible. I’m in Western KY so winters aren’t that bad but single digits aren’t out of the ordinary. It appears the PE and the Jotul are non-catalytic compared to the Kuma’s catalytic design.

Biggest concern is the high ceilings impact on keeping the house warm since this will be my primary heat source. I’m was all set on the Kuma up until about a week ago when a dealer issue arose (basically not having dealer and more importantly installer near me) and has now putting the other stoves back in the equation. Waiting to get some info back from from Kuma but very impressed with Kuma’s follow up at this point but would be nice to have a dealer / installer which I won't have if I now go the Kuma route. Thought it would be easy to find a qualified installer but after asking around apparently not so much!

Any input is most appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 
Last edited:

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,290
South Puget Sound, WA
All good choices, though I would recommend considering the Alderlea T5 too. Is the house on a slab and if so, is the slab well insulated underneath?
 

TomRC

New Member
Mar 3, 2021
16
KY
Thanks, nothing other than vapor barrier under slab. This is another point of confusion for me per your point. Initially my thought was to buy a stove "one size bigger" than the mfg recommends. But after some conversations I was advised that buying a larger stove and running it less than full capacity was inefficient and would be better to run the stove recommended for my square footage full capacity. You would think buying a wood stove would be simple but I'm finding that not to be the case.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,290
South Puget Sound, WA
The slab is going suck up a lot of heat from the space unless it has insulated flooring on top. I have not run the Kuma, but reports are good for that stove. The Super or T5 will run well with a half-load of wood for the milder days. With the high ceiling and cold slab, having some reserve capacity is a good idea.
Does the house have a primary heating system like a mini-split heat pump for supplementing and on days when you are away?
 

TomRC

New Member
Mar 3, 2021
16
KY
Yep, slab and ceiling height are issues. Have a heat pump, very limited in what I could do with HVAC due to design of house. Exposed ductwork at about 12'. Hoping that cooling will not be the issue that heating is. Fortunately have multiple ceiling fans in open living room/ kitchen area to push heat downward from stove. Terribly expensive to run electric for heat so just need to figure out the best wood stove. Longest burn times possible and being able to keep the place are WARM are primary concerns. Get bigger stove and run under capacity or get recommended stove and run full capacity. Hearing both sides of this story has me perplexed as to to which way is the best way to go???
 

bunfoolio

Member
Mar 13, 2015
107
merrimac, ma
Once you have a stove that meets your heating needs I would factor looks in as well. Remember for 6 months of the year it's furniture and you have to look at it.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,290
South Puget Sound, WA
Many of us run our stoves at under-capacity during milder weather. Once temps drop below freezing the stove should be able to run a full load at a time. You can also control the house temp by the wood that is being burned. Pine is good for lower heat and short morning and evening fire. Poplar, cottonwood, tulipwood are also low btu species good for shoulder season burning. Save the oak and hickory for the cold weather.
 

bcrtops

Feeling the Heat
Nov 14, 2016
286
NW Oregon
Yes....... The T5 is a great choice! Ours going on 13 years of hard use!
 

TomRC

New Member
Mar 3, 2021
16
KY
Does anyone know if there are any differences other than cosmetic between the Kuma Apsen and the Kuma Tamarack?
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,759
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
You shouldn’t be looking at 1000sf rated stoves. Your home is underinsulated, without slab insulation it wouldn’t pass code here and r31 is thin too in the ceiling. Then your ceiling is twice as high as a normal home so the effective square footage is easily 2000sf which definitely puts you into T5 territory and with single digit temperatures I would go t6 or 3 cubic feet plus.

You can always build a small fire in a large stove.

My 1800 sf pole barn shop is r50 ceiling, r19 walls, r10 foam under slab. I’m sad that you forgot to insulate the slab. I heat it with a 3.5 cf stove in a similar climate but not constantly 70 so I would not go too small if I were you.
 

TomRC

New Member
Mar 3, 2021
16
KY
I realize there is no insulation under my slab but I wouldn't say spray foam in the walls to R21 and R31 batt in the ceiling is under insulated. Talked to multiple builders in my area in addition to other people in my area with construction backgrounds who recommended this OR traditional R19 batt in the walls and while I do wish I had put some insulation under the slab I didn't run into one builder (spoke to many) who said it was common in my area to do so......and I asked.

Now to your second point you may want to talk to Kuma as they are apparently not up to speed but after several conversations with them, thoroughly explaining the specs and insulation of my house THEY recommended the Apen over the larger size Kuma. I asked specifically if I would be better off with the larger Kuma and they said NO. I simply asked the question about the difference between the Aspen and the Tamarack because I don't have a dealer near me and it would probably be sometime next week before I could get an answer to this question directly from Kuma, who by the way has been very helpful. And according to multiple conversations with the Kuma the Aspen is rated to 2000 sq ft, my house being approx 1100 sq ft with the the higher vaulted ceilings.
 
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Russn77

New Member
Jan 20, 2021
56
North Central Ohio
Now to your second point you may want to talk to Kuma as they are apparently not up to speed but after several conversations with them, thoroughly explaining the specs and insulation of my house THEY recommended the Apen over the larger size Kuma. I asked specifically if I would be better off with the larger Kuma and they said NO. I simply asked the question about the difference between the Aspen and the Tamarack because I don't have a dealer near me and it would probably be sometime next week before I could get an answer to this question directly from Kuma, who by the way has been very helpful. And according to multiple conversations with the Kuma the Aspen is rated to 2000 sq ft, my house being approx 1100 sq ft with the the higher vaulted ceilings.
I have talked to Jason at Kuma extensively. We have cathedral ceilings in a similar situation. We were comparing the 2 Kuma inserts. We ended up ordering the smaller Alpine per Jason's recommendation. Its on its way and we should have it installed by May. FWIW I went with the recommendation of the people who design the stoves, they know their product. Jason was EXCEEDINGLY detailed and helpful in his explanation for the smaller insert vs the larger one for our needs.
 

TomRC

New Member
Mar 3, 2021
16
KY
Yes.........Jason at Kuma has been very helpful to me as well. He has assured me the Aspen is the better choice for my house as well even though I had major concerns about it not being adequate he said it was the better choice. I don't have a Kuma dealer near me (had one but owner is retiring and going out of business) and the other issue I have is finding a qualified person to do the install. The closest Pacific Energy dealer is about 2 hours away and even after speaking with them on the phone they have not followed up with me UNLIKE Jason at Kuma who HAS! I want a GOOD stove but unfortunately don't have dealers near me so its going to be a challenge to get one (i.e a Kuma or PE) and even more of a struggle it appears is going to be to find a qualified person to the install since I don't have dealer support.
 

TomRC

New Member
Mar 3, 2021
16
KY
Kuma followed up and for those interested the is NO functional difference between the Aspen and the Tamarack. For those with a lot of experience with wood stoves the Tamarack has a stepped top compared to the flatter top on the Aspen. Any preference to the shape of the top?

Got feedback today from a PE dealer and I'm looking at about $1000 more and a 4 hour round trip to pick it up for an Alderlea T5. I really like the look of the Alderlea T5 but leaning towards the Kuma at this point. I don't have a truck but do have a good 10' landscape type trailer. Any issues transporting these via a trailer like this. Suspension on these types of trailers is not that great so it might be a tad "bumpy". Thanks for all the input. Got to make a decision.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
I drove mine 1.5 hours in a rented uhaul trailer. No worries as long as it isnt sliding around the trailer. It's crated up pretty well.
 

TomRC

New Member
Mar 3, 2021
16
KY
I assumed they were crated pretty well. Tough decision on which to get. Budget is a big factor and $1000 extra for the PE is significant and I do appreciate Kuma's follow up and their reputation appears stellar. An even bigger issue for me is finding a qualified installer as I have no dealer support. Local builders are booked out, asked my plumber, electrician and a number of others with no luck finding someone......yet!
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Installations aren't rocket science. The manuals pretty much lay out where the stove needs to go and how to make it safe.
 

TomRC

New Member
Mar 3, 2021
16
KY
Appears to be the case but its the "cutting holes through my metal roof" part that makes me want to find someone with experience.
I only have a couple dealers within several hours of me neither of which will do the installation due to the distance. Both of these dealers sell the Duratec line of pipe which I've read mixed reviews on and have read that Ventis is a better pipe. Where is the best place to buy Ventis pipe online and is there a resource on the web I can start researching to best figure out how much double wall, class A, caps, etc, etc and all the other goodies I'm going to need? I'll meet the 10' horizontal clearance issue but per my insurance company I need to be 3' clear of the ridgeline of my roof. Need to start working out these calculations and get stuff ordered. One person mentioned that because I have a metal roof I need to be certain I order the proper type of roof flashing......said that different roof surfaces require different types of flashing.

This is where I wish I had some dealer support to help me figure out exactly what and how much to order as I've got to figure out everything I need to have on site when and hopefully if I can find a good person to do the install. Thanks!!!
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,759
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Many experienced professionals screw up bad on roof flashing installs. Been doing it wrong for 30 years. You really need to educate yourself about how it’s supposed to be done even if you hire it out.

The kuma is a plate steel cat stove and the t5 a cast iron noncat. Either stove, properly sized, should be great. If you don’t care about cast iron looks then save the 1000$.
 

TomRC

New Member
Mar 3, 2021
16
KY
Yes......very concerned about installion through the roof. Particularly since I live in a post frame home (metal sides / roof).

The one option I have for professional install would be if I bought a Lopi which I haven't really researched to this point. The one wood stove close to me who also does installation sells Lopi. I've just started researching Lopi and they appear to be decent. Any thoughts on Lopi and it looks like the Lopi Endeavor would be an appropriate option in their line......I think?? Just not sure how a Lopi would compare quality wise to Pacific Energy or Kuma. Sorry to throw a kink in the equation but the installation component of going with a Lopi would be a HUGE benefit fit they are good stoves.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,759
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Lopi stoves are a “premium” line from Travis industries up here in the pnw. The pre2020 models were known for making a lot of heat with happy customers. I’ve owned a couple, even one in this house and it never failed me.

So many brands have done radical things to meet 2020 regs that you just won’t know for several years if these designs were good. Also, not sure if the Lopi stoves are efficient enough for the tax credit.
 

TomRC

New Member
Mar 3, 2021
16
KY
Thanks, I have to now consider the Lopi simply due to the fact that the Lopi dealer near me could install. If I go with any other brand I'll have to figure out pipe requirements, type, order pipe myself yada, yada, and find someone to do the install which is not an appealing thought.

Good to hear Lopi is a decent stove. Any further input on Lopi and particularly the Evergreen or Endeavor would be appreciated. Also is there any of the Duravent pipe to be avoided as this is the pipe that this dealer uses? Thanks again for helping me sort all of this out!
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
Regardless of which stove you get, put your wood up now! The biggest issue people have with stoves is wood quality. Even if the seller says it's seasoned, it isn't.
 
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