Noob question: Is an Explorer 3 just too darn big?

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gaf

New Member
Dec 4, 2018
23
South Eastern PA
I'm going a little mental trying to pick a wood stove! There are a lot of good ones out there, as I have learned from this forum, but I haven't found the one that quite fits the bill.

Quadrafire Explorer 3 - This is my top choice because of the simple but durable inner workings, top loading and cook-top. Plus it looks cool. What stops me is...it might be too big. My house is tolerably well-insulated cape cod circa 1985 with 6 inch walls in SE Pennsylvania. Downstairs is about 1,300 sq ft. Eight foot ceilings and open floor plan mostly. Upstairs maybe 700. This is just supplemental heat for us when we feel like it or when the power goes out. When it does, we like to cook.

Question, I know I've read people here that said "if it is too hot just build smaller fires or tamp it down" etc. But won't that make it burn dirtier, blacken the window, creosote up the chimney and just not look as cool as a smaller, roaring stove? I tend to like the "go big" advice, but I'm thinking that may be wrong now. I want that pretty secondary combustion, man! And I'd like the glass to be clean most of the time.

Others in the running:
Lopi Endeavor (haven't adjusted to those boxy steel stoves but it seems very impressive)
Quad Explorer 2 (but no top load, no cook top , not as good looking)
Jotul F50 TL Rangeley - might be too big of a depth dimension for the spot, but really cool! And BBQ!

For interest, I'm replacing a 1985 Consolidated Dutchwest Federal Airtight in very good condition (offers welcome!). Picture of the setup attached. Oh, and do modern stoves need for a better draft require a stove liner inside my older terra-cotta liner in my brick chimney? I've been told that by a salesman.

Thanks, I've beeen out here lurking for weeks and find your comments very helpful.

45289587434_c0242f78b0_k (2).jpg
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,301
South Puget Sound, WA
Looks like a medium sized stove in the 2 cu ft range would fit for your needs. There are a lot to choose from in this size. In addition to the Explorer II take a look at the Hearthstone Shelburne and Hampton H300 (full cast stoves), Pacific Energy Alderlea T5 (cast iron jacketed). The Lopi Endeavor is a warhorse and very reliable.
 
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gaf

New Member
Dec 4, 2018
23
South Eastern PA
Looks like a medium sized stove in the 2 cu ft range would fit for your needs. There are a lot to choose from in this size. In addition to the Explorer II take a look at the Hearthstone Shelburne and Hampton H300 (full cast stoves), Pacific Energy Alderlea T5 (cast iron jacketed). The Lopi Endeavor is a warhorse and very reliable.

I know I definitely do not NEED the Explorer 3 but would I regret it? Would it be a problem to be too big?
 

Jan Pijpelink

Minister of Fire
Jan 2, 2015
1,951
South Jersey
I agree with Begreen about the Endeavor. I have the Avalon cousin of that stove and am very impressed. Heats most of our 2400 sft home. With doors of unused rooms closed.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,301
South Puget Sound, WA
I know I definitely do not NEED the Explorer 3 but would I regret it? Would it be a problem to be too big?
In the dead of winter it may be fine if the floorplan is open and heat convects upstairs well. But in fall and spring it may be loafing a lot. Still, if only for occasional use that may be ok unless you regret overspending and wish you had the money for something else.
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,277
Southern IN
"if it is too hot just build smaller fires or tamp it down" etc. But won't that make it burn dirtier, blacken the window, creosote up the chimney and just not look as cool as a smaller, roaring stove?
If you have it "roaring," you will probably overfire your stove. Watch this video from about the 10-second mark, and look how pretty it is when he cuts the air..
 

Ludlow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2018
1,437
PA
My stove is 2 cu ft in a 800 sq ft cabin with loft additional. 2x4 with batt insulation. Uninsulated floor on piers.. In 30 degree weather I either have to run it low with one split at a time or open the windows.
 

gaf

New Member
Dec 4, 2018
23
South Eastern PA
If you have it "roaring," you will probably overfire your stove. Watch this video from about the 10-second mark, and look how pretty it is when he cuts the air..

That's true. I guess by "roaring" I meant "not putting out too much heat" either by clamping it down and/or just not putting much wood in. I'm concerned that if I have to keep it at a level that won't cook me, then that cool secondary burn won't happen either since it actually releases lots of heat.
 

gaf

New Member
Dec 4, 2018
23
South Eastern PA
In the dead of winter it may be fine if the floorplan is open and heat convects upstairs well. But in fall and spring it may be loafing a lot. Still, if only for occasional use that may be ok unless you regret overspending and wish you had the money for something else.

Maybe I'm asking.. "is loafing bad? how bad?". I listed sooty windows and flu, lack of secondary combustion, less pretty and so on as possible downsides to loafing but am I exaggerating? Maybe I worry too much? We'll leave cost out of the equation for now.
 

edyit

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2014
838
Wilmington NY
loafing is bad in that it will create a lot of creosote, how bad? well a chimney fire is never a good thing
 

Zack R

Feeling the Heat
Sep 27, 2017
423
Sisters, OR
flic.kr
I'm able to control the heat output of my Jotul F45 with the amount of wood I load. If I don't need a ton of heat but want it to run clean I just load up less wood, let it get up to temp, turn the air control down and let it go from there. When its down to coals the stovetop temp is maybe only 200-300F but it will stay that way for a long time without burning poorly.

The worst thing is when I try to add one log at a time to keep a low fire. It burns poorly and not nearly as clean.

Now that the cold temps have arrived I like to run it harder, keeping a 400-500F temp cruising along.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,301
South Puget Sound, WA
Maybe I'm asking.. "is loafing bad? how bad?". I listed sooty windows and flu, lack of secondary combustion, less pretty and so on as possible downsides to loafing but am I exaggerating? Maybe I worry too much? We'll leave cost out of the equation for now.
Loafing can be dirtier for the chimney and the air if the flue temps are low and/or the fire is smoldering. But you can run a smaller 1/3 to 1/2 full fire and it will be ok. The cast iron jacket buffers the heat so that temp swings are not as dramatic.

Which Dutchwest model is this and how has is done for heating in the spring and fall?
 

Big Fire

New Member
Nov 19, 2018
20
Mn
Loafing can be dirtier for the chimney and the air if the flue temps are low and/or the fire is smoldering. But you can run a smaller 1/3 to 1/2 full fire and it will be ok. The cast iron jacket buffers the heat so that temp swings are not as dramatic.

Which Dutchwest model is this and how has is done for heating in the spring and fall?
I just got the explorer 3 two months ago. I am new to this but so far it seems to burn clean with small amount of wood it is a very clean running stove but can get to hot easy you can't fill it full whith out the risk of over fireing I don't think it puts out as much heat as other stoves but I never had one before I think if I get some oak it will be easier to control the risk of over firing right now I only have elm

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,301
South Puget Sound, WA
It puts out the heat, but it's convective heat, not radiant heat like a solid cast iron stove.

The risk of overfiring is mostly in the stove operation, not the wood. Oak needs a full 2 years after splitting and stacking (top covered) to dry fully.
 

Big Fire

New Member
Nov 19, 2018
20
Mn
It puts out the heat, but it's convective heat, not radiant heat like a solid cast iron stove.

The risk of overfiring is mostly in the stove operation, not the wood. Oak needs a full 2 years after splitting and stacking (top covered) to dry fully.
How hot is over firing maybe I worry to much but when I load it up she takes off and before u know it all the wood is gone and I keep it shut down all the way

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gaf

New Member
Dec 4, 2018
23
South Eastern PA
Loafing can be dirtier for the chimney and the air if the flue temps are low and/or the fire is smoldering. But you can run a smaller 1/3 to 1/2 full fire and it will be ok. The cast iron jacket buffers the heat so that temp swings are not as dramatic.

Which Dutchwest model is this and how has is done for heating in the spring and fall?

I think it is a FA264CCL like this one.
It gets the house well into t-shirt and shorts temps even when cold outside if I crank it up. Even cruising at a moderate 300 degree stovepipe (800 degree above the CAT) it keeps things quite warm. We don't use it much in spring and fall... mostly for power outages and when we want the ambience and warm comfort in the winter. Saying that makes me think I should go smaller! Jotul 45? Jotul 400/500? Alderlea T5? So many options.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,301
South Puget Sound, WA
If the current stove is low mileage, in place and infrequently used, why replace it? Besides cooking and outage heat, what else are you looking for in a new stove? Less heat, better fire view, enamel, different style?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,301
South Puget Sound, WA
How hot is over firing maybe I worry to much but when I load it up she takes off and before u know it all the wood is gone and I keep it shut down all the way

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
Start a new thread on the operation of your stove so that your questions are not lost here. A new thread with the stove make and model attracts other Explorer owners both present and future.
 
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gaf

New Member
Dec 4, 2018
23
South Eastern PA
If the current stove is low mileage, in place and infrequently used, why replace it? Besides cooking and outage heat, what else are you looking for in a new stove? Less heat, better fire view, enamel, different style?

Whoa there, BeGreen! We wouldn't want to give the wife any ideas with questions like that and spoil my fun!
Just kidding. I guess I'd like the big glass, the air wash, the rolling flames, some different aesthetics. Also, this 32 year old stove feels a little long in the tooth to me. I'm sure it needs new gaskets, new catalytic converter, maybe new cement around the seams, I don't quite like the door latch mechanism. Maybe with a new stove I'll use it more, this one makes me a little nervous. Would you say stoves have gotten safer in 30 years?
 

gaf

New Member
Dec 4, 2018
23
South Eastern PA
I just got a good look at all the Jotul stoves. The Rangely top loader still intrigues me. It would be fun to cook steak and potatoes in that little basket inside the stove! ;-) I was surprised that they were all smaller than I expected...even the F500 Oslo. Nice stoves but I didn't fall in love. Ditto for the Alderlea T5. Technically excellent I'm sure but it didn't quite hit me right I think I must be fixated on the Explorer 3 look for some reason.
 

gaf

New Member
Dec 4, 2018
23
South Eastern PA
Loafing can be dirtier for the chimney and the air if the flue temps are low and/or the fire is smoldering. But you can run a smaller 1/3 to 1/2 full fire and it will be ok.

Wait! I almost missed this. Did BeGreen just give me permission to go ahead and put the big old Explorer 3 in my medium size house as long as I build small fires most of the time? Where is my credit card! ;-D
 

FPX Dude

Feeling the Heat
Oct 4, 2007
402
Sacramento, CA
In the dead of winter it may be fine if the floorplan is open and heat convects upstairs well. But in fall and spring it may be loafing a lot. Still, if only for occasional use that may be ok unless you regret overspending and wish you had the money for something else.
Like grandma used to say..."if you got a coat and you're too warm you can always take it off, but if you don't got it then you're gonna b cold" Basically go bigger and if you need to open some windows, or like me turn on the whole house fan hahahahaha, but don't undersize the heat output.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,301
South Puget Sound, WA
Wait! I almost missed this. Did BeGreen just give me permission to go ahead and put the big old Explorer 3 in my medium size house as long as I build small fires most of the time? Where is my credit card! ;-D
You're a big boy. It's your house, your credit card.
Maybe with a new stove I'll use it more, this one makes me a little nervous. Would you say stoves have gotten safer in 30 years?
Often the most unsafe part of wood heating is the operator. Or as dad used to say, the most important nut in a car is the one behind the wheel.
 
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Big Fire

New Member
Nov 19, 2018
20
Mn
You're a big boy. It's your house, your credit card.

Often the most unsafe part of wood heating is the operator. Or as dad used to say, the most important nut in a car is the one behind the wheel.
I was worry the explorer 3 would be to big but I'm glad I went with it heats the whole house like you said you will probably use it alot more I was planning on just useing mine to give the room a little heat but I use it all the time

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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,277
Southern IN
I just got the explorer 3 two months ago. I am new to this but so far it seems to burn clean with small amount of wood it is a very clean running stove but can get to hot easy you can't fill it full whith out the risk of over fireing I don't think it puts out as much heat as other stoves but I never had one before I think if I get some oak it will be easier to control the risk of over firing right now I only have elm
It puts out the heat, but it's convective heat, not radiant heat like a solid cast iron stove.
The risk of overfiring is mostly in the stove operation, not the wood
How hot is over firing maybe I worry to much but when I load it up she takes off and before u know it all the wood is gone and I keep it shut down all the way
Begreen is right; If you read a lot on the site, or search "stove getting too hot" or similar terms by clicking the magnifying glass above, and you'll find that there are ways to control the burn, such as cutting the air back earlier when starting a new load..that way, wood gets involved more gradually instead of all lighting at once at the beginning, resulting in too hot a stove.
Wait! I almost missed this. Did BeGreen just give me permission to go ahead and put the big old Explorer 3 in my medium size house as long as I build small fires most of the time? Where is my credit card! ;-D
You can do that, but I would try to size the stove closer to the heat required. The test numbers seem to indicate that the Explorer III puts out pretty big heat. I guess you could always crack a window upstairs, if you are trying to sleep up there. ;)
https://www.epa.gov/compliance/list-epa-certified-wood-stoves

Expl III.PNG
Expl III.PNG
 
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