Need Recommendation if I Replace My Blaze King

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Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
873
Bellingham, WA
It's been a long time since I was active here. Back in 2014, I purchased a Blaze King Ashford 30. It's a beautiful stove but for the first year it leaked smoke. Blaze King kept sending the dealer out to my home to try to figure out the problem and fix it but no luck. The dealer didn't really know what he was doing and eventually they both essentially washed their hands of the problem and left me on my own. At that point, I brought in a chimney sweep who immediately identified the problem (a leak at a corner of the door) and fixed it by augmenting the gasket. Whereas the original dealer had banged his head against the wall for months, this experienced fellow fixed it in maybe half an hour.

Problem solved for a time. This past year it was leaking again. Whatever he did to the gasket must have worn out. He was no longer in business so I looked online and discovered Blaze King has since figured out that there really is a problem and come up with a fix. I was a bit miffed that they never bothered to contact me and let me know but I nevertheless called them. They sent me a new gasket, a tube of cement and some shims. With the help of a handyman, I got it all installed and the leak problem is gone. But along the way we discovered another issue. The top of the stove (beneath the cast iron panel) was rusted. We discovered this when we couldn't get the top off. The cat thermometer welded itself to the top of the stove. We had to take apart the thermometer to get the top off.

Blaze King advised that there's apparently a water leak coming down the chimney pipe. I'm sure they're right. Unfortunately, their installer no longer carries their stove (or any other as far as I know). They've washed their hands of the whole wood stove business. I'm negotiating with Blaze King now to figure out what to do next.

Obviously the water leak needs to get fixed. Beyond that, if I need to replace this stove, I'm considering going with a reburn type. We don't really need 12+ hour burns and might prefer something that operates most efficiently at higher temperatures. But we would want something just as beautiful as the Ashford 30. Ours has a gorgeous enamel finish.

First one that comes to mind is Vermont Castings. Are their stoves worthwhile? If not, what are some other good choices among reburn type stoves (or hybrids that combine both technologies). I need a stove that's not only beautiful but also well build and reliable. I'm wondering what the super experienced guys on this site might recommend. Thanks.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
5,164
Long Island NY
I think @begreen can point to a good number of stoves that are good quality and with similar looks.
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
873
Bellingham, WA
I think @begreen can point to a good number of stoves that are good quality and with similar looks.
Thanks SL. I see he's from my neck of the woods so he'll know the sorts of weather I deal with. A bit more detail. We used to heat entirely with the Ashford 30. Our home is 2650 to 2800 square feet (depending on whose measuring -- we have a lot of odd angles). The Ashford did alright, though there were cold spots upstairs. The air flow of our home works well, with the stove downstairs at one end and the staircase at the opposite end of the ground floor. Thus, air currents moved the heat well.

Nevertheless, a few years ago we decided to add minisplits. Now those do the bulk of the heating and we only light the wood stove when temperatures drop low. Now, for instance, during our current cold spell. At low temperatures the heat exchange system becomes less efficient. It still works but struggles a bit when we're down in the 20s or lower. Lighting the wood stove gives it a helpful boost and dries out the air nicely.

So we don't want to abandon having a wood stove. We no longer need something that burns low and slow though. In some respects, having something that burns efficiently at higher temperatures would be better. We would need it to be reliable and attractive. We're willing to spend what it takes but if there's a particularly well priced option, all the better.

PS: I see you're from Long Island. I grew up in Syosset. Left when I was 18, some 40 years ago. But Long Island will always be a part of me.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,852
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I think @begreen can point to a good number of stoves that are good quality and with similar looks.

I can already hear him typing to go get a t5 or t6. Which I would agree is a great place to start.

With over 2500 Sf and after using a 3 cf ashford, I would recommend the t6.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
5,164
Long Island NY
And indeed a tube stove is a good combination for a heat pump.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
5,164
Long Island NY
Yes, PE is a good brand.
While you can easily find decent brands here (PE, Drolet etc), in my view begreen has quite some encyclopedic knowledge about many stoves (or he keeps a really good database...), including their looks. Since you mentioned liking the enamel Ashford, I hope that points him to a good tube stove with a similar aesthetic "feel".
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
873
Bellingham, WA
Yes, PE is a good brand.
While you can easily find decent brands here (PE, Drolet etc), in my view begreen has quite some encyclopedic knowledge about many stoves (or he keeps a really good database...), including their looks. Since you mentioned liking the enamel Ashford, I hope that points him to a good tube stove with a similar aesthetic "feel".
Thanks. I look forward to his feedback. One of the things we appreciate about the Ashford is the beautiful enamel finish. It was a bit small for our house but we didn't consider the King because we thought it ugly. I think my wife is going to insist on another brown enamel cast iron look (ideally with a similar mix of traditional and contemporary styling) so that would seem to limit us to the T5. How does it compare to the capacity of the Ashford 30? (Showed her the photo and her first impression was that it looks more old fashioned than the Ashford.)
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
94,485
South Puget Sound, WA
irst one that comes to mind is Vermont Castings. Are their stoves worthwhile? If not, what are some other good choices among reburn type stoves (or hybrids that combine both technologies). I need a stove that's not only beautiful but also well build and reliable. I'm wondering what the super experienced guys on this site might recommend. Thanks.
VC makes some beautiful stoves but they are not low maintenance. Take a look at the Jotul F55 and the Pacific Energy Alderlea T6 for lower maintenance, good looking stoves. They will provide a 12 hr burn during most Pac NW weather, though it will be more like 8 hrs. when the temp outside drops below 20º.
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
873
Bellingham, WA
VC makes some beautiful stoves but they are not low maintenance. Take a look at the Jotul F55 and the Pacific Energy Alderlea T6 for lower maintenance, good looking stoves. They will provide a 12 hr burn during most Pac NW weather, though it will be more like 8 hrs. when the temp outside drops below 20º.
Thank you, Begreen. I don't want high maintenance and it looks like Vermont Castings is very expensive too.

Doesn't look like either the T6 or the F55 have an enamel option. The T5 does. Do you think the T5 would work for my home, paired with the minisplits? Is the footprint of the T5 similar to the Ashford 30?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
5,164
Long Island NY
Doesn't Hearthstone have enameled models? Hybrids?
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
873
Bellingham, WA
Doesn't Hearthstone have enameled models? Hybrids?
Was just looking at their models. Some beautiful stuff. How do hybrids work? Are they the best of both worlds?

I notice they have cast iron models with soap stone interiors and fully soap stone models. The largest one, the Manchester, appears at first glance to have a similar capacity to the Ashford 30. Looks like a really nice stove.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
5,164
Long Island NY
They have secondary combustion and a catalyst that's farther away from the fire. It is claimed to burn cleanly even before the catalyst bypass is closed.

You can burn without the bypass closed (more flames) or with it closed for longer, lower burns. In this respect it is the best of both worlds.

I don't think they have a Tstat.

The cat is seeing less flame and they claim it'll last longer this way.

Note though that the Manchester seems to put out more heat than the Ashford. You have to look into how you ran the Ashford to compare and make sure you don't heat yourself out of the room.
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
873
Bellingham, WA
They have secondary combustion and a catalyst that's farther away from the fire. It is claimed to burn cleanly even before the catalyst bypass is closed.

You can burn without the bypass closed (more flames) or with it closed for longer, lower burns. In this respect it is the best of both worlds.

I don't think they have a Tstat.

The cat is seeing less flame and they claim it'll last longer this way.

Note though that the Manchester seems to put out more heat than the Ashford. You have to look into how you ran the Ashford to compare and make sure you don't heat yourself out of the room.
That would be a nice problem to have. Can always turn a stove down, run a smaller fire, etc.
 
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Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
873
Bellingham, WA
I see someone selling a 7 year old Manchester on craigslist. The brown enamel finish I would want. He's asking $3k but tells me he'd take 2. But it's a couple of hundred miles away and, though he claims the condition is great, that seems like a lot to spend on an old stove. I'd prefer to buy one new and take the tax credit.

Ironically, when I asked why he's letting it go, he tells me he bought a Blaze King. Told him I have the Ashford 30. He didn't know what model he purchased.

I'm going to call dealers tomorrow and find out what it would cost to get one of these installed. Unless the Hearth.com brain trust thinks there's a better choice for me. begreen, what do you think of the Manchester?
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,852
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
That old hearthstone is just a noncat. Hearthstone suddenly added cats for the 2020 regs. They also used cats several decades ago but then stopped.
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
873
Bellingham, WA
That old hearthstone is just a noncat. Hearthstone suddenly added cats for the 2020 regs. They also used cats several decades ago but then stopped.
Thanks. What do you think of the Hearthstone? Particularly the hybrid version? Perhaps too new to have experience with them but what's your sense of Hearthstone overall?
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,852
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Thanks. What do you think of the Hearthstone? Particularly the hybrid version? Perhaps too new to have experience with them but what's your sense of Hearthstone overall?
My personal experience with a hearthstone was pushing 30 cords through a heritage I bought new in about 2007. The stove delivered on marketing specs for burn time, low emissions, and output. Very cozy and a really attractive stove like most hearthstones. I dealt with tech support and was very happy with the direct communication. On that stove, the hinges and latches wore out very fast and required a full stove rebuild to repair. Warranty does not cover labor. So I sold the stove. It just wasn’t made for long term full time heating. I’m a stove nerd and was convinced to switch to a BK for the superior performance.

That hearthstone was from like 16 years ago! Maybe they upgraded those hinges and latches. Nobody has much experience with hearthstone’s new for 2020 line. They look great but looks are only part of the equation. I believe the catalysts were added as an emissions bandaid and not as a way to offer superb catalyst performance. Maybe they give both.
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
873
Bellingham, WA
My personal experience with a hearthstone was pushing 30 cords through a heritage I bought new in about 2007. The stove delivered on marketing specs for burn time, low emissions, and output. Very cozy and a really attractive stove like most hearthstones. I dealt with tech support and was very happy with the direct communication. On that stove, the hinges and latches wore out very fast and required a full stove rebuild to repair. Warranty does not cover labor. So I sold the stove. It just wasn’t made for long term full time heating. I’m a stove nerd and was convinced to switch to a BK for the superior performance.

That hearthstone was from like 16 years ago! Maybe they upgraded those hinges and latches. Nobody has much experience with hearthstone’s new for 2020 line. They look great but looks are only part of the equation. I believe the catalysts were added as an emissions bandaid and not as a way to offer superb catalyst performance. Maybe they give both.
Thanks. If we wanted to go with a non-cat stove while maintaining the beauty (and output) of our enamel Ashford 30, what would you suggest?
 

Parallax

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2013
873
Bellingham, WA
I assume you want to purchase new? There are very few enamel options.
It seems that way. The top of my Ashford 30 is rusted but perhaps it could be fixed. Ideally, I'd kind of like to go with a non-cat stove if there are good options.
 
Oct 13, 2020
167
Quebec, Canada
It seems that way. The top of my Ashford 30 is rusted but perhaps it could be fixed. Ideally, I'd kind of like to go with a non-cat stove if there are good options.
PE Alderlea T6, great trouble free long lasting stove.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
29,088
central pa
It seems that way. The top of my Ashford 30 is rusted but perhaps it could be fixed. Ideally, I'd kind of like to go with a non-cat stove if there are good options.
Post a picture of the rust. I honestly doubt it even needs fixed. Chances are it's nothing but aesthetic
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,573
Ottawa, ON
Do not show your wife pics of the VC line. As mentioned above , high maintenance stove but beautiful.

I would like to see pics of the rust too. I am having a hard time visualizing how water got there…