Looking for a thermostatically controlled non-catalytic wood stove to heat new 2000 sq ft house

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RussT

New Member
Sep 23, 2021
11
Lemont IL
Hi, I'm going to be building a new house that's 2,000 sqft single story with a full basement. It's an open floor plan with roughly 800sq ft totally open and then hallways off to the bedrooms. I hear bad things about catalytics going bad so I figure I'd just rule that out right off the bat. I was looking into the tax credit thing, but it doesn't seem like there are any non-catalytic inserts that are >75% efficient. As far as my experience with wood stoves, growing up my house had an old "dove" wood stove that just cranked out heat. Probably like 5' across with a huge firebox and the blowers on it were like a pair of box fans. Toss a couple logs on before bed and still have embers in the morning.

Last year I installed a US stove company 2016eb king wood stove in my house. It radiated good heat, but the blower on it is like almost nothing at all. I had to mount a fan on the wall to spread the hot air out better. I am looking for something to actually heat the new house I'm building and am concerned about the blower size on a lot of these newer wood stoves. I see a lot listed at around 180 cfm which is not much.. I went to a fireplace store by me but they said they didn't even have a single wood insert there to show me in person. Nearest place is like over an hour away I guess. Are stoves like at my childhood house the ones of yesteryear, or what? Thanks for any suggestions for one for the new house!
-Russ
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,956
07462
I dont think your going to find a T-stat control reburn stove thats epa approved.
Typically for a re-burn tube stove to function you will need an established fire that is cranking internally of about 1100 deg f to get the engineered clean burn, this then radiates to a typical stove top of 500-700 deg f, in order to maintain that type of burn for 6 - 8 hours (flames) on end you will need a 2.5cu fire box or larger
A cat stove that is designed properly will allow a cat to be active at around 550 deg f and you have the ability to turn the stove higher, BK excels in this type of stove and offers many sizes, average cat life is about 3 years when burning 24/7 from November to the beginning of May, these stoves have t-stat air controls, I also believe woodstock stove company came out with a similar air control or something that regulates the incoming air to get extended burns will maintaining cleaner burns
I think your looking for something that is more convective rather then radiant, a convective stove is one that is usually a typical steel stove box then wrapped with an outer jacket of either steel or cast iron with the ability of air either by natural convection of aided by a blower to flow in-between the to metals and warm up, these stoves are great and provide a softer heat into the room.
FYI there is nothing wrong with your preference of wanting a non-cat stove, the larger ones are a little harder to find now since the new 2020 regulations were put in place, plus add the current state of material shortages, higher steel prices and time of year.
 
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RussT

New Member
Sep 23, 2021
11
Lemont IL
I dont think your going to find a T-stat control reburn stove thats epa approved.
Typically for a re-burn tube stove to function you will need an established fire that is cranking internally of about 1100 deg f to get the engineered clean burn, this then radiates to a typical stove top of 500-700 deg f, in order to maintain that type of burn for 6 - 8 hours (flames) on end you will need a 2.5cu fire box or larger
A cat stove that is designed properly will allow a cat to be active at around 550 deg f and you have the ability to turn the stove higher, BK excels in this type of stove and offers many sizes, average cat life is about 3 years when burning 24/7 from November to the beginning of May, these stoves have t-stat air controls, I also believe woodstock stove company came out with a similar air control or something that regulates the incoming air to get extended burns will maintaining cleaner burns
I think your looking for something that is more convective rather then radiant, a convective stove is one that is usually a typical steel stove box then wrapped with an outer jacket of either steel or cast iron with the ability of air either by natural convection of aided by a blower to flow in-between the to metals and warm up, these stoves are great and provide a softer heat into the room.
FYI there is nothing wrong with your preference of wanting a non-cat stove, the larger ones are a little harder to find now since the new 2020 regulations were put in place, plus add the current state of material shortages, higher steel prices and time of year.
Thanks for the reply! Yeah, if the prices are too crazy for non-cat I'm not totally opposed to catalytic types. Are catalytic stove inserts a pain in the butt to repair when they go? As long as it's not a crazy amount of maintenance and it has a good blower, I might consider it, everyone just makes it sound like they're such an annoyance to deal with though. I am a bricklayer and have the rare opportunity to build the chimney however I want to, so I could also make an access to the back of the unit without needing to pull it away from the wall to do any maintenance if that makes servicing things easier. To be extra fancy with the chimney I was also thinking of making a hatch with an insulated door on the back of the chimney that feeds into a firewood niche, that way I'm not tracking in mud, bark, etc. when I'm reloading the house on firewood. :cool:

What are some stove types, both non-cat and cat that have powerful blowers? I think my main concern is getting the air moving because my US stove company blower seems to be like nothing compared to the one I grew up with. It seems like the biggest ones I can find are right around 180cfm. I will try to look around for a sticker on the one at my folks place next time I am over there cause I swear it's gotta be like 1000cfm!
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,581
central pa
Thanks for the reply! Yeah, if the prices are too crazy for non-cat I'm not totally opposed to catalytic types. Are catalytic stove inserts a pain in the butt to repair when they go? As long as it's not a crazy amount of maintenance and it has a good blower, I might consider it, everyone just makes it sound like they're such an annoyance to deal with though. I am a bricklayer and have the rare opportunity to build the chimney however I want to, so I could also make an access to the back of the unit without needing to pull it away from the wall to do any maintenance if that makes servicing things easier. To be extra fancy with the chimney I was also thinking of making a hatch with an insulated door on the back of the chimney that feeds into a firewood niche, that way I'm not tracking in mud, bark, etc. when I'm reloading the house on firewood. :cool:

What are some stove types, both non-cat and cat that have powerful blowers? I think my main concern is getting the air moving because my US stove company blower seems to be like nothing compared to the one I grew up with. It seems like the biggest ones I can find are right around 180cfm. I will try to look around for a sticker on the one at my folks place next time I am over there cause I swear it's gotta be like 1000cfm!
There is absolutely no need to get to the back of an insert to service anything. It is all done from the front. Most cat stoves are pretty easy to work on but the cat will need replaced every 10000 to 15000 hours.
 
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,956
07462
In all honesty build your chimney for a free standing stove then, inside house wall make is brick w/ a crock, nice hearth pad for both the stove and wood storage, outside run the chimney straight up and leave room for an insulated liner to a T for the crock, build a cleanout on the outside of the house, makes for easier sweeping. The free standing stove is cheaper then an insert of the same size, plus you'll get more radiant heat off of it meaning you may only have to run the blower only at times of arctic air invasion.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,576
Eastern Long Island NY
I'm not convinced a bigger blower will actually give you more heat. It will give you more noise.
A blower is good, but beyond a certain flow rate it won't help the heating performance to add more flow. Why? Because you are extracting heat from a system that (if non-Tstat) does not produce (significantly) more heat when you blow on the outside (significantly, because there may be a slight, slight decrease in flue temps with a bigger blower). The result of a bigger blower is simply that you will have more noise, and more flow of lower T air.
Slower flow will be higher T air.

The (convective) heating performance is limited by the heat transfer rate from the steel to the air. That does not change significantly when air moves faster. Hence the total heat output does not change significantly.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,165
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Have you considered a wood furnace? Noncat, thermostatic control, huge blower than can send ducted heat upstairs and/or blow into the basement.
 

RussT

New Member
Sep 23, 2021
11
Lemont IL
I'm not convinced a bigger blower will actually give you more heat. It will give you more noise.
A blower is good, but beyond a certain flow rate it won't help the heating performance to add more flow. Why? Because you are extracting heat from a system that (if non-Tstat) does not produce (significantly) more heat when you blow on the outside (significantly, because there may be a slight, slight decrease in flue temps with a bigger blower). The result of a bigger blower is simply that you will have more noise, and more flow of lower T air.
Slower flow will be higher T air.

The (convective) heating performance is limited by the heat transfer rate from the steel to the air. That does not change significantly when air moves faster. Hence the total heat output does not change significantly.
My thought was that with more air flow, the warm air moves to the rest of the house better. I'm by no means an engineer on thermodynamics or anything though ;lol

Reply to kenny: I thought about doing that with the first one I bought. I have noticed that a stove like the Buck 91 can be either pedestal or insert, and I think the insert is more of the aesthetic the wife and I are leaning towards. Also there will be a TV over the fireplace and so the we were advised to have the hearth flush to the floor so the TV doesn't have to be like 6' off the ground

Also replying to Highbeam: That's an idea that I like, but the stove will be kind of a centerpiece to the family/great room and after a quick google search I didn't really find any that looked like they would fit in.

I appreciate all the great feedback, thanks guys :)
 

RussT

New Member
Sep 23, 2021
11
Lemont IL
After thoroughly going through the 26% tax credit list that there is a non-cat that I may be interested in. The Medium Flush wood next gen fyre by Lopi. The only missing thing would be a thermostat. Is there a thermostat kit out there that you can hook up to an insert to control the blower?
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,165
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Why do you think you need a thermostat? Only the BK cat stoves have any sort of functional thermostat for combustion rate.

Are you considering thermostatic on/off of the blower fan or are you looking for thermostatic control of the actual burn rate? The first one is pretty common but not on every blower setup.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,576
Eastern Long Island NY
To spread heat in a home, its geometry (where is the stove, doors, how high are the ceilings) is more important than a blower. A blower helps get heat out of a firebox, and helps spread it in a small radius (size of a small room). But it won't help spread it much farther; getting it through the rest of the home depends more on the layout.

Unless you can move the blower inlet to another room (and that is a feature that requires ducts etc, hence the furnace advice earlier).

One can move some heat through the home with fans blowing colder air from corridors towards the stove room.

This is important to make sure you won't cook yourself out of the stove room.

So, what is the layout of your home? (Sketch)

Also, a stove doing not so well may be due to other factors than the blower. For example how dry was your wood? Get wood now and stack it, split and covered, so it can dry. Buying seasoned wood rarely means getting sufficiently seasoned wood.)
 

RussT

New Member
Sep 23, 2021
11
Lemont IL
Why do you think you need a thermostat? Only the BK cat stoves have any sort of functional thermostat for combustion rate.

Are you considering thermostatic on/off of the blower fan or are you looking for thermostatic control of the actual burn rate? The first one is pretty common but not on every blower setup.
Originally I was thinking of a thermostat that controls the blower, but now you got me looking up how BK has one that controls the air intake and wow that is cool!
I think now the competition is now between the Lopi medium flush and the princess 29. I would consider the princess 32 if I could use it as an insert but it seems they don't advertise it that way. This is new construction so I could modify the chimney/face of the fireplace any which way to accommodate, but it might not be worth it in the end if the Lopi would be better than trying to make the 32 an insert?
 

RussT

New Member
Sep 23, 2021
11
Lemont IL
To spread heat in a home, its geometry (where is the stove, doors, how high are the ceilings) is more important than a blower. A blower helps get heat out of a firebox, and helps spread it in a small radius (size of a small room). But it won't help spread it much farther; getting it through the rest of the home depends more on the layout.

Unless you can move the blower inlet to another room (and that is a feature that requires ducts etc, hence the furnace advice earlier).

One can move some heat through the home with fans blowing colder air from corridors towards the stove room.

This is important to make sure you won't cook yourself out of the stove room.

So, what is the layout of your home? (Sketch)

Also, a stove doing not so well may be due to other factors than the blower. For example how dry was your wood? Get wood now and stack it, split and covered, so it can dry. Buying seasoned wood rarely means getting sufficiently seasoned wood.)
I actually just changed the floor plan a bit. Originally I was going to have attic space on the west side, but now that is an open loft area. The kitchen, dining and great room will have vaulted ceilings (peak height should be around like 20' or so. The loft area ceilings will be around 8' across with insulation in the ceiling. (The print shows "Gas" for the insert but that's just because their software didn't have a wood stove option)

house floor plan.png
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,576
Eastern Long Island NY
Two words: ceiling fans. Heat goes up. To get any in your bedrooms, you need to push it down. Bedroom two and three may have some trouble getting heat too. A medium boxfan on the floor in the doorway blowing cold bedroom air towards the great room may be needed.
 
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RussT

New Member
Sep 23, 2021
11
Lemont IL
before i had the idea to transform the attic into a loft, I had wanted to put a whole house fan above the landing of the stairs that go to the basement. Now, I am wondering where a whole house fan could go, so it could circulate the air more. Perhaps in the bedroom hallway above the staircase. I wonder if there are reversible whole house fans. In the winter it could pull hot air down and in the summer, circulate the air upwards
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,165
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
There is a difference between an insert and a zero clearance fireplace. I think inserts require a real masonry fireplace. It seems silly to build that just to hold an insert.

Check the manuals. Lots of people really like their princess inserts.
 
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RussT

New Member
Sep 23, 2021
11
Lemont IL
There is a difference between an insert and a zero clearance fireplace. I think inserts require a real masonry fireplace. It seems silly to build that just to hold an insert.

Check the manuals. Lots of people really like their princess inserts.
Can you list some examples of good zero clearance fireplaces? It seems like they would be the same thing as an insert, right? Please pardon my ignorance, if a zero clearance is like way cheaper I'm gonna feel dumb for having invested so much time researching a more expensive version of something that does the same thing!
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,165
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Can you list some examples of good zero clearance fireplaces? It seems like they would be the same thing as an insert, right? Please pardon my ignorance, if a zero clearance is like way cheaper I'm gonna feel dumb for having invested so much time researching a more expensive version of something that does the same thing!

I think our moderator @begreen has some experience with the fireplaces. It's a totally different animal than an insert.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,681
South Puget Sound, WA
A zero clearance fireplace will be more expensive than installing a freestanding stove. They need more chimney pipe, and need to be framed in. The advantage is a traditional fireplace look, bigger window, and many have the option to distribute heat into another area of the house. There are many good ZCs on the market. In medium size, units by SBI, Pacific Energy, RSF are good options.

For a freestanding stove figure on a $4000 to $6000 investment if starting from scratch. For a fireplace, figure on a $8-12K budget, depending on how the fireplace is finished.
 
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