New Wood Stove Decision, Advice Requested

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burningskulls

New Member
Jun 26, 2021
4
Fitchburg, WI
Long time lurker here. Appreciate the help for someone who doesn't have a ton of posts here.

We are at the point where we are going to select a stove to be installed. We had a Napoleon in our previous home and are installing from scratch in the new house, including the stove pipe. Here are some details on the house:

- Southern Wisconsin
- Ranch, 2000 square feet, 1500 of which is in an open living/dining/kitchen where the stove will be located. This room has a peaked ceiling (8' at the sides, 11' at the peak) with a ceiling fan.
- We run the stove for most of the winter, but don't need it to heat 100% or last all night. We work from home, so don't need to be able to feed it in the AM and burn all day when we are gone. We are natural gas up here, so it isn't a huge deal to supplement with the furnace.
- Corner install, so side door is not needed
- We are happy with the black look, don't need ceramic finish

Here is what we are looking at that are available from dealers that we trust in our area.

Jotul F55 Carrabassett
Hearthstone Shelburne or Green Mountain 60

If we want to spend approximately $1000 more we can go to the

Blaze King Ashford 30
Lopi Rockport

Another dealer has Regency and PE, but we didn't like the dealer as much when we talked to them. Could have just been the salesman, as they have a fine online reputation. So if we're somehow missing out on an amazing stove, we could make another trip to that store and talk to someone else.

Leaning toward the Jotul right now, as I don't see the benefit to paying the extra money for the BK or Lopi, but happy to be persuaded either way. We are going to be in this house for a long time, so build quality and lifespan is important to us. I'm not a tinkerer, so something that isn't very temperamental would be ideal as well. Easy to find good/bad about all of these stoves on here, but so much of it is related to conditions specific to the house/install, so I tried to list the relevant info above. Happy to provide any additional information. Thanks for your help!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,319
South Puget Sound, WA
You're looking at good stoves. Go with the one that fits your budget and aesthetics. How tall do you estimate the flue system will be off the stove? If it is less than 15-16' consider the Regency or PE stoves. Otherwise, any of them would get the job done. Maybe try a revisit to the other store and ask the owner for suggestions.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,713
SE North Carolina
If we want to spend approximately $1000 more we can go to the

Blaze King Ashford 30
Just want to make sure you are aware of the 26% tax credit. If not read up on it as it would make up the 1000$ difference. If you are, I love my Jotul.

Evan
 
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BCC_Burner

Feeling the Heat
Sep 10, 2013
452
Uptown Marble, CO
My parents just had a Hearthstone Green Mountain 80 installed in their house last week. They haven't fired it up yet, but I will say that I think the GM line of stoves are some of the best, if not the best looking stoves on the market right now. If it performs even 75% as well as it looks, it's going to be one heck of a heater. They got a great deal on it too.

The 80 requires an 8" flue, so I wasn't recommending you go in that direction specifically, but the 60 may work well, and the stoves are gorgeous.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
2,863
Long Island NY
You note not to be a tinkerer. The BK line truly are set it and forget it stoves because of the thermostat. A reload goes: bypass open, wait a minute or so, load, close, and if the cat is still hot (which it always is if you don't reload very late in the cycle), immediately close the bypass.
Set thermostat and come back for a reload x hours from now.

The disadvantage is that often there is no or little flame to see. So if that is important to you, the other stoves may be a better fit.
 

burningskulls

New Member
Jun 26, 2021
4
Fitchburg, WI
Thanks to everyone for the input.

We just had a measurement done on Friday, but I was not here for it so they are sending over the full install quote on Monday, and we'll know the exact height.

RE: BK stoves. Being able to see the fire is actually really important to us, so that is really helpful information. Thank you!
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,319
South Puget Sound, WA
The Ashford is a good heater and the best looking BK stove. The castings and finish are well executed and the thermostatic operation is nice for steady low heat. One caveat is that one has to lift off the heavy top in order to cook, preheat or boil water on the stovetop. It's too heavy for my wife to lift and then you have to find a place to put it down. The thermostatic design is great but there is more tinkering with remembering the bypass, regular cleaning of the catalyst, being judicious about starting only with starters that don't poison the catalyst, more frequent flue cleaning, & changing out the catalyst every few years if burning 24/7 in a cold climate. None of this is daunting to an experienced wood burner, but it can be for a new stove owner or occasional burner.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,868
central pa
I have burnt a bunch of different stoves and am currently using a bk princess. The thermostat does give nice even heat without question. But most of the other stoves were just as easy to operate and once you figure them out they are set it and forget it as well assuming it is installed properly with the proper draft. So basically what I have found is if you need relatively low btu output most of the time a bk would be a fantastic choice. If you need higher but output I don't really feel that they give you much benefit.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
The Ashford is a good heater and the best looking BK stove. The castings and finish are well executed and the thermostatic operation is nice for steady low heat. One caveat is that one has to lift off the heavy top in order to cook, preheat or boil water on the stovetop. It's too heavy for my wife to lift and then you have to find a place to put it down. The thermostatic design is great but there is more tinkering with remembering the bypass, regular cleaning of the catalyst, being judicious about starting only with starters that don't poison the catalyst, more frequent flue cleaning, & changing out the catalyst every few years if burning 24/7 in a cold climate. None of this is daunting to an experienced wood burner, but it can be for a new stove owner or occasional burner.
The thermostat can also provide steady medium heat and steady high heat as well. Yes the top is 35lbs and can be very heavy...thank you.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,319
South Puget Sound, WA
The thermostat can also provide steady medium heat and steady high heat as well. Yes the top is 35lbs and can be very heavy...thank you.
Yes, good point. The thermostatic operation is definitely a plus across all temperature ranges. I like the Ashford a lot but yes, we are spoiled by the Alderlea swing away trivets. My wife can easily change from boiling some water to raising bread dough without the heavy lifting.
 
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WoodBurnerInWI

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2020
278
Madison, WI
Long time lurker here. Appreciate the help for someone who doesn't have a ton of posts here.

We are at the point where we are going to select a stove to be installed. We had a Napoleon in our previous home and are installing from scratch in the new house, including the stove pipe. Here are some details on the house:

- Southern Wisconsin
- Ranch, 2000 square feet, 1500 of which is in an open living/dining/kitchen where the stove will be located. This room has a peaked ceiling (8' at the sides, 11' at the peak) with a ceiling fan.
- We run the stove for most of the winter, but don't need it to heat 100% or last all night. We work from home, so don't need to be able to feed it in the AM and burn all day when we are gone. We are natural gas up here, so it isn't a huge deal to supplement with the furnace.
- Corner install, so side door is not needed
- We are happy with the black look, don't need ceramic finish

Here is what we are looking at that are available from dealers that we trust in our area.

Jotul F55 Carrabassett
Hearthstone Shelburne or Green Mountain 60

If we want to spend approximately $1000 more we can go to the

Blaze King Ashford 30
Lopi Rockport

Another dealer has Regency and PE, but we didn't like the dealer as much when we talked to them. Could have just been the salesman, as they have a fine online reputation. So if we're somehow missing out on an amazing stove, we could make another trip to that store and talk to someone else.

Leaning toward the Jotul right now, as I don't see the benefit to paying the extra money for the BK or Lopi, but happy to be persuaded either way. We are going to be in this house for a long time, so build quality and lifespan is important to us. I'm not a tinkerer, so something that isn't very temperamental would be ideal as well. Easy to find good/bad about all of these stoves on here, but so much of it is related to conditions specific to the house/install, so I tried to list the relevant info above. Happy to provide any additional information. Thanks for your help!

Welcome!

I'm right down the road from you in Madison!

Your house specs are very similar to mine, except for my home being two stories. Our stove is also a corner install and was put in our family room as underneath it (in the basement) is the substructure for a fireplace that was never built. So that area has beefed up beams and cross beams because they were expecting a fireplace to be put in but it never was.

We bought a Woodstock Soapstone Ideal Steel stove. It's a hybrid burn design that utilizes both a catalyst and a secondary burn chamber. It's got a 3.2 cf firebox and takes a 22" log. 18" N/S which is also nice. I get 20 hr burn times with it in shoulder season and 12 hrs easily in the dead of winter. It's great waking up in the morning and having inches of coals to restart on and a nice hot stove top and sides (due to the soapstone panels). My old stove was a Vermont Castings Resolute Acclaim, I don't know what year it was but I guarantee it wasn't made before VC began switching all those owners and their quality dropped. The Woodstock stove is 1000% better and nicer than the VC unit.


All the stoves you're thinking of are solid choices too! I'm guessing you've talked with Top Hat if you're mentioning Jotul stoves? They did my install on both the VC stove I had in my old house and they did the install for my Woodstock for this current house. Both jobs were excellent so I would recommend them for sales, installing the stove or both :) For Blaze Kings, I don't know of anyone in the Madison area who carries them or would order one. There's a fireplace store (sort of) outside of Madison off the interstate near Stoughton, WI that claims to sell or carry the Blaze King line. He's Jim's Country Fireplace and he's where I bought my VC stove from. But I will say this: he's sketchy as hell as far as dealers go. He "accidently" charged more on my credit card after our agreed upon price for the VC unit (it was the last one he had, floor model unit and he knocked $500 off the price. Then magically the charge on my card was $1200 over what my invoice was). And his pipe install guy was a total joke. Came out to my old house and said he couldn't do the job even though it was simply replacing the class A pipe that was already there with a newer run of pipe! Anyways if you want to look a Blaze Kings there's a good seller over in Highland, WI that carries the Blaze King line. Chimney Specialists Inc is their name, check them out if you haven't already. They'll deliver to our area and they do installs. I only didn't go with the Blaze King unit because of stove price plus install costs.

If you want to know any more about my Woodstock stove feel free to ask :)
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
2,863
Long Island NY
Stoughton.... Is the SRC still out there? Operation stopped, but did they rear it down.
 

WoodBurnerInWI

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2020
278
Madison, WI
Stoughton.... Is the SRC still out there? Operation stopped, but did they rear it down.

As far as I can tell from reading about it online, after they shut down in 2014 the equipment was dismantled and clean up of the site began. Nothing I found online indicated if the site was being used as anything today or if its just an empty field (although with demand for housing though the roof here in the Madison area I doubt it would remain an empty field!).
 
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tabner

Burning Hunk
Jan 17, 2019
230
Eastern CT
Just want to make sure you are aware of the 26% tax credit. If not read up on it as it would make up the 1000$ difference. If you are, I love my Jotul.

Evan

just wanted to mention, I'm pretty sure both of the Hearthstones qualify for the 26% credit as well. So the 1000$ difference (approximately) may still exist.
 
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burningskulls

New Member
Jun 26, 2021
4
Fitchburg, WI
Sweet, we are working with Top Hat, and they have been easy to work with so far. We talked to United as well about the Regency and PE, but they seemed distracted when we were in there. I think they were just getting the showroom opened back up, though, but we just started working with Top Hat since you can only evaluate so many options, installers, etc.

The BK did come from talking to Jim's, and that is helpful advice about your experience. I generally like working with independent local people, and he was helpful in putting together a quote and all, but it's also pretty clear the long-term support isn't going to be there if there happened to be any issues down the line, especially since it looks like he just subs out all the installs.

I will check out the Woodstocks for sure.

Welcome!

I'm right down the road from you in Madison!

Your house specs are very similar to mine, except for my home being two stories. Our stove is also a corner install and was put in our family room as underneath it (in the basement) is the substructure for a fireplace that was never built. So that area has beefed up beams and cross beams because they were expecting a fireplace to be put in but it never was.
 

burningskulls

New Member
Jun 26, 2021
4
Fitchburg, WI
Mind if I ask what Top Hat charged for install? They just quoted us $3300 for new pipe and the installation, plus another $500 or so for the hearth pad. We do have a peaked ceiling, but the stove is going in the corner, so I'm guessing there is only an additional foot or two at most. They didn't list the exact number of feet of pipe in the quote, so I'll have to get that.

I think when I talked in the store, they estimated in the $2-2.5K range, but prices for everything are out of control right now, so who knows what changes day to day. It's higher than I expected, but if I'm only going to save a couple hundred bucks by getting a bunch more quotes, it's not worth it to me.

Thanks!

All the stoves you're thinking of are solid choices too! I'm guessing you've talked with Top Hat if you're mentioning Jotul stoves? They did my install on both the VC stove I had in my old house and they did the install for my Woodstock for this current house. Both jobs were excellent so I would recommend them for sales, installing the stove or both :) For Blaze Kings, I don't know of anyone in the Madison area who carries them or would order one. There's a fireplace store (sort of) outside of Madison off the interstate near Stoughton, WI that claims to sell or carry the Blaze King line. He's Jim's Country Fireplace and he's where I bought my VC stove from. But I will say this: he's sketchy as hell as far as dealers go. He "accidently" charged more on my credit card after our agreed upon price for the VC unit (it was the last one he had, floor model unit and he knocked $500 off the price. Then magically the charge on my card was $1200 over what my invoice was). And his pipe install guy was a total joke. Came out to my old house and said he couldn't do the job even though it was simply replacing the class A pipe that was already there with a newer run of pipe! Anyways if you want to look a Blaze Kings there's a good seller over in Highland, WI that carries the Blaze King line. Chimney Specialists Inc is their name, check them out if you haven't already. They'll deliver to our area and they do installs. I only didn't go with the Blaze King unit because of stove price plus install costs.
 

WoodBurnerInWI

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2020
278
Madison, WI
Mind if I ask what Top Hat charged for install? They just quoted us $3300 for new pipe and the installation, plus another $500 or so for the hearth pad. We do have a peaked ceiling, but the stove is going in the corner, so I'm guessing there is only an additional foot or two at most. They didn't list the exact number of feet of pipe in the quote, so I'll have to get that.

I think when I talked in the store, they estimated in the $2-2.5K range, but prices for everything are out of control right now, so who knows what changes day to day. It's higher than I expected, but if I'm only going to save a couple hundred bucks by getting a bunch more quotes, it's not worth it to me.

Thanks!

Our install through Top Hat cost us around $2500 and we were able to get that financed through that 3rd party loan place they offer ( I think it was through Synchrony). Very easy companies to work with, both Top Hat and that finance company. $500 for the hearth pad is pretty good. Ironic that you mention United. We actually purchased our hearth pad through them. They really didn't have many in stock but the manager said they had one that was being sold as is due to some minor bends in the outer border material on the pad and they were willing to take $300 off for us if we wanted it. Color ended up being really nice, kind of a black slate with grey undertones. The damage doesn't even both us at all, it got so messy after the first winter with the stove it didn't even matter what it looked like new lol!! This was the company that made our hearth pad that United carries: https://americanpanelhearth.com/traditional-hearth-pads/color-options/ Other than United having the hearth pad, I wasn't really thrilled with their stove brands.

Yeah Jim's Country Fireplace that guy was very friendly and helpful and did have what we were looking for at the time but his subcontractor's are garbage and others have had bad experiences with the people that Jim's hire's out. If you can get a stove from him, Top Hat will do the pipe install and whatever other work is needed. They did the install at my first house and the wood stove didn't come from them and it didn't seem to matter.

Check out Woodstock's website, and if you have any questions or want more info about the Ideal Steel let me know!