Kuma insert, which size?

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Russn77

New Member
Jan 20, 2021
63
North Central Ohio
My wife and I have decided to get a Kuma Insert. We think that the ability to extend it onto the hearth and customizing a surround to fit inside our fireplace face are awesome features. Also, they appear to be the most efficient inserts available, as well as American made. I've had a fantastic experience conversing with Jason from Kuma.

So here's my issue. I can't decide which size to get. I've attached house layout sketches(rough sketches, sorry), as well as listed the information for comparison. We are in North Central Ohio. The winters can be mild, never dipping below 20 F, or we can have 2 weeks of single digits in a row (or more). Our central heating system is a heat pump. This year we were able to test it since our wood stove was out of commission. The heat pump did a great job maintaining 69 F. Though, on the sub 20 F days, the heating strips kicked on in the blower unit, affecting our electric bill significantly.

Most of my firewood hoard is cut between 14"-18". I get a good amount of free already-bucked wood, so the sizes vary. When I cut it, I aim for 16".

I've read so many things and I now have analysis paralysis. Jason recommends the Alpine for our space, which my wife agrees. Our goal is to heat 'most' of the house. I realize that on the first floor, the back bedroom and bathroom will not heat very well. They never did with out current stove. I'm going to try a fan next year down the hallway and see if that helps. Our house is 1600 sq ft. The area we intend to heat is ~1200 sq ft. However, as you can see from the layout and picture, we have a giant open living area. We do have a ceiling fan, and that helps keep the heat down stairs. With all that being said, the Alpine is probably the wiser choice as to not roast us out the majority of the heating season. However, our home is a log cabin, and for right now it is a little leaky on the first floor. I have some cracks that need addressing, as well as a rotted log. And I feel like the insulation between the logs is less than desirable. With that being said, would it be wiser to get the larger Cascade? I know we can always build smaller fires in it, and merely feed it more often, but with that information Jason still recommends the Alpine.

I guess I'm just grasping out there for more information to analyze and think over (likely a problem I have, I should probably get help for). We are 'probably' getting the Alpine. I just want to make sure that we don't make a mistake with our leaky house and should have gotten the larger insert. At some point I do plan on addressing the lack of air tightness of our house. Honestly, we don't even notice it unless its less than 20 F outside, and the wind is blowing.



Cascade LE
Alpine LE
  • Wood Length: 20"
  • Wood Length: 16"
  • Firebox Size: 2.5 ft3
  • Firebox Size: 1.8 ft3
  • Burn Time: 11 hours
  • Burn Time: 9 hours
  • Cordwood BTU's: 82,000
  • Cordwood BTU's: 63,000
  • Efficiency (HHV): 79.4%
  • Heating Capacity: 2800 ft2
  • Heating Capacity: 1800 ft2

InkedNeumann Fireplace_LI.jpg nceiling.JPG nlayout1.jpg nlayout2.jpg
 

buc74

Burning Hunk
Oct 16, 2012
149
Fort Atkinson, WI
You've already had my 2 cents, again go bigger! Its sounds like having more flexibility with your wood size may be important to you. Our Alpine will only take 14" splits N/S and 16" E/W. You'll be happy with either stove, The Kuma is an amazing stove!
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,197
SE North Carolina
After living a 1.7 cu ft firebox I vowed I would only get 2 cu ft or larger if I ever was given a choice in the future. There have been on several occasions that I was only able to reload a single split ( large and oddly shaped though). My fire box is sloped front to back and that may not be the case with the Kuma. That said I would not spend more than 600$ for the larger insert. 2.5 isn’t a huge stove either. More room for lower btu wood like pine/poplar that seasons faster.

Just my thoughts. If it has to stick out much further than the Alpine, more than 2”, I’d go alpine.

Evan
 

Russn77

New Member
Jan 20, 2021
63
North Central Ohio
After living a 1.7 cu ft firebox I vowed I would only get 2 cu ft or larger if I ever was given a choice in the future. There have been on several occasions that I was only able to reload a single split ( large and oddly shaped though). My fire box is sloped front to back and that may not be the case with the Kuma. That said I would not spend more than 600$ for the larger insert. 2.5 isn’t a huge stove either. More room for lower btu wood like pine/poplar that seasons faster.

Just my thoughts. If it has to stick out much further than the Alpine, more than 2”, I’d go alpine.

Evan


That's a good point. I don't mind it sticking out further though, more radiant heat :).
 

Russn77

New Member
Jan 20, 2021
63
North Central Ohio
You've already had my 2 cents, again go bigger! Its sounds like having more flexibility with your wood size may be important to you. Our Alpine will only take 14" splits N/S and 16" E/W. You'll be happy with either stove, The Kuma is an amazing stove!

I hear ya, I'm just having trouble convincing the wife that the larger stove doesn't have to burn on high all the time.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,197
SE North Carolina
I hear ya, I'm just having trouble convincing the wife that the larger stove doesn't have to burn on high all the time.
After the deep freeze Texas experienced I looked up the record lows for my location and was astonished that our record low is 0. We had a couple nights in The teens a few years ago before the wood stove and I just turned off the heatpump. I don’t think the strips were working as intended at that point. It was blowing air that was colder than the house temp. It warmed up enough each day to heat the house back up. But if we had an extended power interruption and record cold temps no way could we keep the house heated above 50 right now.

So do you size it for average temps? No. One standard deviation, two? Your record low? I was inclined to say that sizing to record low temps coupled with extended power interruptions was way overkill and not necessary..... I don’t know now.

I’m at a point right now deciding stove sizes adding a second 2.5 cu ft tube stove for 1000 sq ft basement (under 2000 sq ft with a 1.7 cu ft stove up stairs) isn’t bothering me at all.
 

Russn77

New Member
Jan 20, 2021
63
North Central Ohio
So do you size it for average temps? No. One standard deviation, two? Your record low? I was inclined to say that sizing to record low temps coupled with extended power interruptions was way overkill and not necessary..... I don’t know now.

Right?! We don't lose power often anymore, but we used to when I was a kid. I don't much faith in our current grid situation either. Here is a little weather data for January, our coldest month:

Daily high temperatures are around 34°F, rarely falling below 18°F or exceeding 51°F. The lowest daily average high temperature is 33°F on January 23.

Daily low temperatures decrease by 3°F, from 22°F to 19°F, rarely falling below 2°F or exceeding 37°F. The lowest daily average low temperature is 19°F on January 29.

I call BS on the daily high. Its usually in the mid 20's, not the mid 30's. And January happens to be our windiest month as well.
 

buc74

Burning Hunk
Oct 16, 2012
149
Fort Atkinson, WI
I hear ya, I'm just having trouble convincing the wife that the larger stove doesn't have to burn on high all the time.
Also, if you run without the blower on(or on low) it will put out much less heat. :)
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,548
South Puget Sound, WA
Go for the Cascade. You can always build a smaller fire for milder days.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,548
South Puget Sound, WA
I hear ya, I'm just having trouble convincing the wife that the larger stove doesn't have to burn on high all the time.
That's up to the person loading and running the stove. Did she have a poor experience prior with the CDW stove?
 

Russn77

New Member
Jan 20, 2021
63
North Central Ohio
That's up to the person loading and running the stove. Did she have a poor experience prior with the CDW stove?

I think we both have had a poor experience with that old stove. I talked to Jason for a good half hour yesterday. He's pretty adamant that the Alpine will do the job. He was explaining that the Low end of the Cascade isn't very low, and it will create fairly high BTU's, even if burning low or with a small load. I don't get the science of it all, so I'm taking his word. He said the Alpine actually has a lower low and a higher high than the Cascade. He was saying its very difficult to achieve perfection when burning with wood. LOL. Probably the truest statement related to wood burning.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,548
South Puget Sound, WA
There is no perfection when burning wood. Perfection is an absolute and wood burning has too many variables to get there. Sounds like you've finally settled on an insert.