Large unique home at 8200ft in the Colorado foothills

  • Active since 1995, is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.
I live in a ponderosa forest, and burn lots of ponderosa.

The occasional hyper-resin-rich chunks produce tons of soot. Soot doesn't burn off at low temps and can overwhelm, snuff out, and plug up cats (in my experience). Soot burns off pretty good and passes through a cat without issue if it is first burned in the intense heat of rolling secondary flames under a baffle.

I would not burn ponderosa in a stove without "traditional" secondary combustion tubes to lay waste to the heavy soot laden chunks before passing through a catalytic combustor. I would not use a blaze king to burn this type of fuel. It's "garbage" fuel that I would expect needs a more "trash incinerator" approach to being burned off cleanly.

Given your application, I would take a look at the Regency F5200
Great point. I've never used a cat wood stove, so I have no reference, but I definitely like the Regency's triple burn.
Honestly, I'm probably going to hold of on the stove as I keep sorting out insulating and measuring gains/losses and best way to maintain the heat I keep in the house. I've been starting to use curtains in the lower level, that stick on shrink wrap on the skylight wells, etc. and it definitely makes a difference. The issue now is scale. To get curtains/ blinds/ whatever for the first floor will be a hundred feet or so? Plus the skylight bank (another 60+ feet. Without a cost efficient way to do that (spending 20k on the project doesn't make sense) it's either going to be creative engineering or slam the biggest baddest stove on the first floor and heat the whole 25 acres all the time! Ha.
So - this year it's insulating where I can, measuring losses and air movement to maximize efficiency while keeping costs low, then deciding what long term esthetic options there are to insulate. The house is far too architectural/ etc to put anything ugly up and so far the costs I'm seeing with motorized blinds, shutters, etc. makes no sense.
My PE Super Insert has about 14' of 6" SS flex liner inside the old 10" steel firepipe from heatilator. Draw is amazing, zero smoke comes out even on single digit day startups.
Yes, that is an easy-breathing stove.
Do you have a way to keep the heat down in the lower level?
Not really. The floorplan is pretty open with a large staircase opening (about 20' x 10' connecting the lower level to upper). The staircase has open treads, etc so it's basically a 20' x 10' opening that goes from 1st floor to roof. I've thought about trying to decoratively run some curtains on a discrete track in the winter so I could essentially close off most of that area - if that happened I'm sure the PE insert I have in the lower level would heat the one large room which is maybe 30' x 35' or so
  • Like
Reactions: EbS-P
Your best bet, besides shutters/blinds is to attempt to make natural convection happen rather than fighting nature by trying to move heat down.

a "normal" thermal wall would have operable venting at the top and bottom to allow convection - warm air moving into progressively cooler areas through the top vents in a horizontal or, preferably, slightly downward direction into the cooler areas of the house while the lower wall vents allow cool air to be drawn into the warm side of the wall to create a natural convection flow.

It's refreshing to see that you are (slowly) figuring this out. It's almost like the original builders ran out of money or purpose or something and didn't complete their vision...

you have a magnificent home that wasn't finished properly wrt its passive goals.
Why would hot air move downwards without an energy input?
Bottom line - the next 2-3 months are about cost-effectively insulating and testing zones of the home. From there, I'll decide on permanent way to properly and esthetically insulate as much as reasonable, and from there I'll decide what additional wood BTU's (type/output/etc) I need. I sincerely appreciate everyone's input.
  • Like
Reactions: mcdougy and EbS-P