New wood stove advice 2021

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BrownT10

Member
Jun 1, 2021
92
MA
Hello All,

I am currently in the market for a new wood stove for the upcoming season. I have done hours of research online and in particular this site in addition to visiting several stove shops with some very knowledgeable folks. A little background for context.. I built my house in 2010 and it is very well insultaed and heats fairly easy. My primary heat source since 2010 has been a VC Defiant circa 1980 or so. It was originally purchased by my grandfather and I have done a rebuilt about the 5 year mark of when I started burning with it. As everyone is aware, this thing throws massive heat and it pretty inefficient and has become a smoke dragon in the last couple of years. I have noticed the billowing smoke more and more and the chimney has been pretty dirty the last couple of years...time to move on. The stove is located in an unfinished basement, with a 8"x12" masonry liner that is in good shape and has been swept annually. I know the unfinished basement isn't ideal, but I have had no issue heating my first floor. I put a return air vent in the vicinity of the stove and can flip the fan on to circulate air. Works very well. The VC is a 8" flue and have been told that going down to a 6" could potentially be a problem with an "oversize" flue.

Obviously new 8" flue wood stoves are few and far between, but there are some good options out there. I have looked at Blaze King King, but a bit concerned about long slow burns on a masonry chimney. I have also looked at and leaning towards a Hearthstone Green Mountain 80, 8" flue and good burn times, along with quite a bit less money that the BK. Anybody have experience with the GM80? I also spoke to a couple of folks that had good things to say about non-cat stoves, specifically the Osburn 3500 and the PE Summit, however both 6" flue. I am thinking I could maybe get away with a non-cat stove in 6" flue due to higher flue temps, but would sacrifice longer burn times. Any advice on how the new 2020 EPA stoves burn and recommendations on newer stoves? Again I am used to running an inefficient non-cat stove and am not ruling either scenario out. Any suggestions and advice would be appreciated.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,628
South Puget Sound, WA
It may work with a large stove, but about a third of the heat generated is heating outdoors through the uninsulated walls. That is one cord for every three burned. Consider getting a Drolet Austral or HT3000 and put the money saved into a 6" stainless liner. It will need to be oval. DuraLiner oval is preinsulated and will do the job.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,489
SE North Carolina
but a bit concerned about long slow burns on a masonry chimney.
Valid concern.

I advise doing it right the first time. Yes you could just hook an 8” stove up but it really limits your stove choices. And a If it’s an uninsulated basement I see no real advantage of the low and slow burn. You would just keep the basement not cold on low.

How tall is the chimney? How much wood do you burn? Any plans to finish the basement? What other heat source do you have? Have you considered a wood furnace? Have you read up on the 25 d tax credit and could you take advantage of it?

Just some thoughts.
Evan
 

BrownT10

Member
Jun 1, 2021
92
MA
The chimney is between 25 and 30 feet tall, and haven't had draft issues. I burn 3-4 cords of wood each year and have a propane boiler with forced hot air that we supplement on the third floor,, which is just bedroom space.. I currently have no plans to finish the basement and my Defiant has kept the house at a comfortable temp, couldn't image a stove on my first floor. I understand that there is heat loss due to the unfinished basement, however I have had zero issues heating the house. Yes, I am limiting my stove choices by staying with an 8" flue, but figured in would be sized more accordingly with my existing chimney. The reality is I may need a liner at some point, but I have a ballpark price of $4500 for a 8" SS oval liner. My thought was to get a 8" flue stove and run it with the masonry chimney and then evaluate it after the season to possibly do a liner. There shouldn't be any issue with either a 6" or 8" stove vent into a 8" liner? Thoughts?
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,489
SE North Carolina
I guess I don’t see the advantage of 8” stoves if you are burning 3-4 cords a year. That heating demand can easily be carried by a 6” stove. 30’ of insulated 6” liner for a diy install is 1-2k$. What you would save over an 8” liner would pay for a new stove. If you are trying not to by a new stove and liner at once I understand that. and I would probably just burn the VC until I could do it all at once IF it was still safe to do so.

If I had to choose an 8” stove BK king all the way, I’m not sure it’s really cost effective once you figure in the cost of a liner.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,288
Downeast Maine
Why the dislike for a main floor stove?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,628
South Puget Sound, WA
but I have a ballpark price of $4500 for a 8" SS oval liner
An 8" liner is ~ 50sq in area, which is ok for a 6" flue stove in most cases. The 7" x 11" ID chimney is 77 sq in. which is almost 3X the 6" stove requirement. That's too large. FWIW, it should be more like $2-2,500 for a 6" insulated liner.
 
Last edited:

BrownT10

Member
Jun 1, 2021
92
MA
My setup doesn't accommodate a first floor stove locations. I set the stove up in my walkout basement, which keeps the mess away, my kids safe around a very hot stove and a comfortable temp. I would need to be in my birthday suit if the stove was on my first floor. As it is, I typically wear shorts and a t-shirt in the house during the winter. I like the basement location personally.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,288
Downeast Maine
My setup doesn't accommodate a first floor stove locations. I set the stove up in my walkout basement, which keeps the mess away, my kids safe around a very hot stove and a comfortable temp. I would need to be in my birthday suit if the stove was on my first floor. As it is, I typically wear shorts and a t-shirt in the house during the winter. I like the basement location personally.
You would be too hot if the Defiant were on the first floor, but what about a small stove? We have a 1200 sqft salbox on a slab with two small wood burning stoves. One is for heat and the other is a cookstove. Our house actually came with a 1976 Defiant I, but it was badly damaged and cooked us out of the house running it low. I can see why you would be hesitant to put a stove on the main floor when your previous experience is with a Defiant. Kids are pretty good with stoves, just like animals they know to keep distance when it is hot. My dogs wont' touch the stove, but when the defiant was still in the house my pitbull would try to get under it when it was cooling down.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,170
central pa
My setup doesn't accommodate a first floor stove locations. I set the stove up in my walkout basement, which keeps the mess away, my kids safe around a very hot stove and a comfortable temp. I would need to be in my birthday suit if the stove was on my first floor. As it is, I typically wear shorts and a t-shirt in the house during the winter. I like the basement location personally.
I prefer a basement install as well but without the walls being insulated you are wasting tons of heat. With you current stove which isn't very controllable that may not be an issue. With a new stove you will be running it hard to keep up
 

Shrewboy

New Member
Oct 15, 2020
82
Eastern Pennsylvania
One thing that you mentioned; putting a return air vent near the stove,
Make sure that the opening of the vent is at least 10 feet from the stove.
bholler told me that (he is an admin on this forum)
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,628
South Puget Sound, WA
That is mechanical code for a powered system. A hole in the floor would supply heat to the area above it, ideally with a hole on the opposite side (or a stairwell) to act as the return. All holes in the floor should have a fusible link fire damper.
 
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BrownT10

Member
Jun 1, 2021
92
MA
I intend to cut a fake vent into the floor if necessary, good info about the vent damper, will need to address that.
 

tabner

Burning Hunk
Jan 17, 2019
207
Eastern CT
for what it's worth, i just self installed a 6" heavy wall flex liner from Rockford, uninsulated, 30 foot, and I think it was under $700 all in, including chimney cap and T and snout and masonry cap thing up top. I think insulation might add a hundred or two to that? I think it's not a lot of money to have a really quality draft and safe system. plus if you install a stove that is qualified for the current tax credit, it's my understanding that you can get the 26% credit on the stove AND the full cost of install - I certainly intend to include the liner cost in that. If you wait and do a liner in some future year, the credit may not be there.
I know everyone is saying the unfinished basement wastes heat, but if you're still only burning 3 to 4 cord per year, that means even with 33% waste, you're not burning that much wood. Seems to me any of the larger 6" stoves should keep up fine, despite the unfinished basement. pick an affordable 6" stove that qualifies for the credit, throw in a 6" liner, get 26% back on the whole thing. seems like the best option to me.
but just my 2 cents, i'm no expert.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,170
central pa
for what it's worth, i just self installed a 6" heavy wall flex liner from Rockford, uninsulated, 30 foot, and I think it was under $700 all in, including chimney cap and T and snout and masonry cap thing up top. I think insulation might add a hundred or two to that? I think it's not a lot of money to have a really quality draft and safe system. plus if you install a stove that is qualified for the current tax credit, it's my understanding that you can get the 26% credit on the stove AND the full cost of install - I certainly intend to include the liner cost in that. If you wait and do a liner in some future year, the credit may not be there.
I know everyone is saying the unfinished basement wastes heat, but if you're still only burning 3 to 4 cord per year, that means even with 33% waste, you're not burning that much wood. Seems to me any of the larger 6" stoves should keep up fine, despite the unfinished basement. pick an affordable 6" stove that qualifies for the credit, throw in a 6" liner, get 26% back on the whole thing. seems like the best option to me.
but just my 2 cents, i'm no expert.
Are you sure it was heavy wall flex? That way cheaper than my wholesale price for heavy wall liner. And Rockford doesn't list a heavy wall option on their site
 

tabner

Burning Hunk
Jan 17, 2019
207
Eastern CT
Are you sure it was heavy wall flex? That way cheaper than my wholesale price for heavy wall liner. And Rockford doesn't list a heavy wall option on their site
sorry, I apologize, I must have used the wrong wording. It was their 316ti rock flex. I guess I just meant - I don't think it was one of the crappy thin/smooth walls or 2ply.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,170
central pa
sorry, I apologize, I must have used the wrong wording. It was their 316ti rock flex. I guess I just meant - I don't think it was one of the crappy thin/smooth walls or 2ply.
Yes that is regular light wall liner.
 
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BrownT10

Member
Jun 1, 2021
92
MA
Hey guys. After speaking with many stove dealer and information on this site, I am still undecided. Given the setup of my chimney in previous posts, do you guys think an insulated liner is required or could I do an uninsulated liner in my existing chimney?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,628
South Puget Sound, WA
Has the replacement stove been chosen yet? Is the goal to have a properly safe and functioning flue or sort of safe?
 

BrownT10

Member
Jun 1, 2021
92
MA
The replacement stove has not been chosen and the clay liner is "safe" now as far as I and my chimney guy who does annual cleanings is concerned. I spoke to a dealer about the Hearthstone GM80 and dumping into a clay flue and he didn't believe it would be a huge issue, my chimney guy agrees. Or do I dump a 6" non cat stove into an oversize liner and keep flue temps higher that a cat stove and see how she runs. I intend to clean and monitor the flue every week or two in either case. I can zip a soot eater up in no time. Still in limbo..
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,970
Long Island NY
I would not use a 6" cat stove with an 8" clay flue. It'll get too cold in there.
 

BrownT10

Member
Jun 1, 2021
92
MA
Agreed. I would only consider a non cat 6" into my existing liner or a 8" cat perhaps. If I burn and it runs poorly or has excessive creosote buildup then obviously a liner would need to be dropped. Again, could I get away with a non insulated liner as opposed to insulating it?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,970
Long Island NY
It all depends...
The more parts of the list of recommendations you don't follow, the larger the likelihood that it would not work to your satisfaction.

I am doing what you ask. And it works. (But it's a 6" non insulated liner, i.e. the right diameter.)