Pacific Energy Summit vs. Summit LE

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Minister of Fire
Dec 6, 2005
Rome, NY, USA
Hi guys,

Sorry for being gone for so long. Raising 4 sons, college visits, cutting and splitting firewood, work, etc. Since the beginning of time, I've started with a Vermont Castings Intrepid II, then a Woodstock for a bit, then a Jotul Castine, then a Quadrafire Isle Royale for 10 years and now a red Pacific Energy Super Classic LE. Same house, same location.

My wife is not happy with the heat output of the PE Super LE. I read a bit about it and because it's EPA approved, it needs wood with less than 20% water. I never measured or cared much about moisture content in my wood and it wasn't important with my Quad Isle Royale. I did get a moisture meter and some wood I have is OK, some not, so there's room for improvement there. I'm building a wood shed this spring to replace the tarps and green snow fence posts.

In the meantime, I'd like to upgrade to a PE Summit to keep my wife happy. However, a new one is crazy money, and I've always bought all my stoves used. I'm seeing Summits and Summit PEs for sale. Is there a big, if any, difference between the efficiency of these models (the older Summit (2015-2020) and the newer Summit LE (2020-present)? Which model would you recommend and why? Or do you think I should forget a Summit for now and make sure my wood is always dry and test that first for the 2024/25 winter?

Carpniels (upstate NY)
Welcome back! What happened to the IR?

The Isle Royale is a 3 cu ft stove and very radiant. Quite different from the Super with a 1/3d smaller firebox. The Summit will put out more heat but it could be that what your wife really misses is the strongly radiant heat from the IR. The Super and Summit have side shields the reduce the side radiated heat and make it more convective. If that is the issue, then a big radiant box may be all that satisfies.

A pre-LE Summit is fine as long as it has been well-cared for and not overfired. Though not as simple as the Summit, have you considered an Ideal Steel? Or for a simple, radiant steel stove there is the Drolet Austral with no side shielding.
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I like our Summit, but if I were making the choice again today I would look hard at the Austal. I miss the radiant heat we had with the old All Nighter and we have a corner set up for a radiant stove.

I feel like I need to run the blower on the Summit to get anywhere near the output I want.

This winter, the Summit has been heating our house without the furnace to help aside from one week of negative and single digits. We are heating about 2200 sq ft with 12' ceilings on the 1st floor and 10' on the 2nd. During a normal winter, the stove and furnace are a team. We have 2 fires per day, one morning and one evening.

I have no idea what an Austral goes for but you are right about the cost of a new Summit.
I'll answer that question: the IR has a sheet of insulation board at the top of the burn chamber, above the air tubes but below the 'door' that you can flip up and down. That board disintegrated overtime and at one point, it fell apart. That was in the middle of the burning season so over the next few month, the 'door' got so hot that it slightly melted and sagged. Therefore, when I bought a new insulation board, it wouldn't fit. Therefore, we decided it was time to move on and get something else. After research here and reading a lot of positive PE reviews. We settled on getting one of those. However, when I found a used one, I got confused between the super and summit and accidentally bought the super (the smaller one). And here we are...

We realize the PE Super is a convection stove and not radiant (the red heat shields stay cold, which my wife complains about). It won't produce any heat if you don't run the fan 24/7, just like Mongomongoson said.

I'll do some research into the Austral. I also still believe that better, bigger wood storage will get me more <20% moisture wood and that will produce more heat. And I'll keep my eyes open for a local used Summit.
I don't know if you remember, but a long while back we had a grumpy fellow, oldspark, that upgraded to a Summit and complained constantly that it didn't produce enough heat like his old Nashua stove did. After many threads and pages of tests and suggestions it was determined that his stove was running fine. What he missed was the radiant heat from the old smoke dragon. The house was a leaky, 2800 sq ft barn, so one had to be close to the stove to feel warm.

I suggested he try the Summit with the side panels removed, which he did, and that made him happy, briefly. He sold the Summit and got an Austral which had been my suggestion a couple pages earlier once it became apparent what his actual complaint was about.
What made you get rid of the jotul f400? too small a firebox?

The difference in heat output for my f400 is quite large when burning questionably seasoned wood (20-25% i'd guess vs nice and dry well seasoned wood under 20%.)

It pours heat when it's ripping and you stand anywhere within 8 ft. of the glass door with the well seasoned dry wood.

Rome NY is a lot colder than the Jersey coast. The small firebox is an issue though no doubt.
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Firebox size matters. We had a beautiful F400 before the T6. It heated well, but burn times were short when pushed for heat. I was averaging 4 hrs. during cold snaps where I could up to get 8 hrs in milder weather. The shorter winter burns led to waking up to a cold stove many mornings. This has not happened with the T6, which is a Summit with cast iron cladding.
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Yes if it was any colder here the short burns would be problematic. Also helps that my wife gets up at 3A for work so i wake up too and since i can't fall back asleep i just go down and reload and try to fall back asleep on the couch next to the stove.
What made you get rid of the jotul f400? too small a firebox?
I got rid of it bcz of too little heat. We added a second story to the house and that's where most of the heat went. So my wife was cold and then we had to get a bigger stove. I like that all of you said that well seasoned wood is the trick. My colleagues call me cheap (I prefer frugal), so I'm still the wood stacked on pallets in the back yard woods with green metal snow fence posts and a tarp. The tarp gets holes and prevents air movement so my wood was likely semi-dry to dry at best. So I'm working on improving that will a real wood shed.
Carp, the signature line says Summit LE installed. Did you go ahead with this?