May need a new furnace, looking for suggestions

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Stearn786

New Member
Nov 19, 2021
20
CNY
Hey guys, I'm looking for some suggestions about a new wood furnace for my house. I currently heat with a Newmac WB100 that came with the house, but last night I started smelling wood smoke in the vents. I'm still digging into the unit to see what the issue is but I suspect that the firebox has a pinhole or a crack.

The house is an early 1800's farmhouse, 2900 sq ft. Insulation is pretty decent given the age, it's only a struggle when it's windy. I've seen some people say nice things about the PSG Max Caddy and the Vaporfire furnaces, but I'm just wondering about heat output. The Newmac eats a firebox load in 3-4 hours but it makes a lot of heat doing it. A normal winter I use about 20 face cords of wood, keep the house 70-75 most of the time. I also have a pellet stove on a corner of the house to supplement on overnights because the Newmac won't hold a fire long enough. Thanks in advance!
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,312
NE Ohio
but last night I started smelling wood smoke in the vents. I'm still digging into the unit to see what the issue is but I suspect that the firebox has a pinhole or a crack.
Hmm...what's your draft like? Chimney clean? You shouldn't have smoke coming out...a little air leaking in maybe, but not out....there should always be a negative pressure on the firebox from the chimney.
The Max Caddy isn't made anymore...they have some new Caddy models though.
The Vaporfire would likely heat the place easily...especially with the pellet pig as a backup...but the VF will NOT go through a load in 3-4 hours...8 hours on a full load in about as fast as you can burn it (on high) make a ton of heat doin it too!
 
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Stearn786

New Member
Nov 19, 2021
20
CNY
Hmm...what's your draft like? Chimney clean? You shouldn't have smoke coming out...a little air leaking in maybe, but not out....there should always be a negative pressure on the firebox from the chimney.
The Max Caddy isn't made anymore...they have some new Caddy models though.
The Vaporfire would likely heat the place easily...especially with the pellet pig as a backup...but the VF will NOT go through a load in 3-4 hours...8 hours on a full load in about as fast as you can burn it (on high) make a ton of heat doin it too!
The draft should be fine, clean 30 ft chimney with an insulated stainless liner. I have to dig into it more, I would have thought that the negative pressure would keep smoke in the firebox as well. I just know the previous owner warped the firebox at some point. I've been running it for 4 years without issues.

Thanks for the info on the Vaporfire, I think that's the route I'll go if I do end up replacing this thing.
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,877
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Please keep in mind the newer furnaces will not put out the raw BTU's of your old one though. You'll have longer, more consistent, heat output but not the btu/hr that your current one is capable of putting out when constantly being fed.
 
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laynes69

Minister of Fire
Oct 2, 2006
2,671
Ashland OH
I'll start by saying been there done that. We have a mid 19th century Victorian (2500 sq ft) with tall ceilings and many windows. I was told our home was decent until I replaced the woodfurnace and was grossly dissapointed. Having a wood eating furnace throwing BTU's really masks the real problems. The Kuuma may do fine but I would almost guarantee you wont be happy initially (unless the home is tight). Not saying don't get a new furnace but be prepared for a few hiccups or improvements needed on the home. Once that's done it's pretty smooth sailing with the newer furnaces.
 
I’m just gunna put my 2 cents in we recently upgraded to a more modern wood furnace we got the heat commander as it was a really good deal at the time. As others said it won’t put out the raw heat of the older ones do but let me tell you it’s been mild so far here hovering 0 degrees and I fill it maybe 1/2full in the morning before work and when I get home the house is about 68 and a ton of coals left. I was very sceptical that these new ones were that efficient but they really are. It will keep the house at a constant temp throughout the day with perfect even heat. I have yet to fill the firebox completely full to see if you get a full 10 hours but I have no doubt in my mind that you would.
 

Stearn786

New Member
Nov 19, 2021
20
CNY
I'll start by saying been there done that. We have a mid 19th century Victorian (2500 sq ft) with tall ceilings and many windows. I was told our home was decent until I replaced the woodfurnace and was grossly dissapointed. Having a wood eating furnace throwing BTU's really masks the real problems. The Kuuma may do fine but I would almost guarantee you wont be happy initially (unless the home is tight). Not saying don't get a new furnace but be prepared for a few hiccups or improvements needed on the home. Once that's done it's pretty smooth sailing with the newer furnaces.
I'm sure there would be teething problems with a different furnace. It's hard to tell how good this house is on heat loss, we've done a lot of improvements (insulation, some new windows and doors) in 4 years, but it definitely still has some air leaks just due to the way it was remodeled in the 80's. The original house was rough sawn red oak planks about 2 inches thick, then someone added 2x4 walls inside and insulated and sheetrocked it. They also had wood siding at some point, which was covered over with 1/2" fan fold and sided with vinyl. It holds heat well when the wind doesn't blow but there's definitely some gaps in between all the layers. My walls are like 8" thick from vinyl to sheetrock _g
I’m just gunna put my 2 cents in we recently upgraded to a more modern wood furnace we got the heat commander as it was a really good deal at the time. As others said it won’t put out the raw heat of the older ones do but let me tell you it’s been mild so far here hovering 0 degrees and I fill it maybe 1/2full in the morning before work and when I get home the house is about 68 and a ton of coals left. I was very sceptical that these new ones were that efficient but they really are. It will keep the house at a constant temp throughout the day with perfect even heat. I have yet to fill the firebox completely full to see if you get a full 10 hours but I have no doubt in my mind that you would.
Good to know, I like the look of those too, and the price point is a lot better than Kuuma's
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
7,312
NE Ohio
Have you ever just heated with oil or gas...or electric? If so, how much fuel you used would give a pretty good idea of your heat load...
 

Stearn786

New Member
Nov 19, 2021
20
CNY
Have you ever just heated with oil or gas...or electric? If so, how much fuel you used would give a pretty good idea of your heat load...
No, I've always been curious but I'm not curious enough to invest the cash to find out, especially with the price of fuel oil lately ;lol
 

Stearn786

New Member
Nov 19, 2021
20
CNY
The good news is I still haven't found anything wrong with my furnace. I checked the firebox as best I can without ripping the entire furnace apart and everything seems ok. I've had several fires in it since then and haven't smelled anything. I guess I'll have to chalk it up to a weird backdraft.
The bad news is after reading all the info about efficiency and even heat output from the newer furnaces I kind of want to buy one 😄
 
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usernametaken

Burning Hunk
Nov 25, 2017
171
Western, MA
The tech in the new furnaces does have an allure for sure... The 26% tax credit that is good til the end of next year might help add even more incentive to upgrade... :)
 
The good news is I still haven't found anything wrong with my furnace. I checked the firebox as best I can without ripping the entire furnace apart and everything seems ok. I've had several fires in it since then and haven't smelled anything. I guess I'll have to chalk it up to a weird backdraft.
The bad news is after reading all the info about efficiency and even heat output from the newer furnaces I kind of want to buy one 😄
If you’re on the fence definitely take the plunge you won’t regret it. I had a hard time convincing the wife to spend the extra 1000$ on the heat commander over the heatmax2 at our local box store but it was well worth it. You can hit a button start a small fire and walk away the thing does the rest for you. It’s such an even heat too.