PE Alderlea T6 versus PE SUMMIT CLASSIC LE versus PE FP30

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HealthAdvocate

New Member
Apr 28, 2024
4
West Virginia
Hello BeGreen and everyone.
We're in the process of building a log home. The main floor is less than 2000 sq ft (about 1870 sq ft.) It's open concept (small living room, kitchen & dining area.) It has cathedral ceilings in the open concept area with a half second floor (under a very steep roof so it's not much more than a large attic); it has two small bedrooms and a bath.
We want to be able to heat the main floor without any electricity. (We WILL have an HVAC system with a furnace for heating, but our goal is to be able to heat without electricity.) Our other goals are to: have at least a 10" hearth, whether we have a fireplace or stove; have a non-combustible mantle, and have a 50'-55" TV mounted on the stone wall above the mantle and wood burning unit.
I've been researching & reading as much as I can for months on this forum, but I'm still trying to decide what would be best for our needs. I finally decided on the Pacific Energy brand, which seems to get awesome reviews on this forum. I've narrowed options down to Pacific Energy Alderlea T6, Summit Classic LE and/or the FP30 Arch zero clearance fireplace. We're working with CoalwayOhio for purchase and install. They have National Fireplace Institute (NFI) certified specialists, trained to assess wood burning systems for compliance with applicable codes and standards.
When you open the attached pdf to see the room and layout where the stove or fireplace will be, note that the drawing is different than what is now built in the room. The wall showing a portion of the fireplace INSIDE the room is not the way it now looks. Right now, it is a flat log wall which will be cut away as needed and the entire wall lined with a couple layers of Hardiebacker cement board plus a natural stone veneer, depending on our final decision. On the outside of that wall is a 24" x 60" chase that will house TWO 6" double walled flues.
There's a basement with a floor plan, already laid out, studded & framed for walls, prepared for plumbing with drains in the concrete floor for the future --- probably for the next owner --- as I doubt we'll ever have the financial resources to finish it (this is our retirement home; hubby is 76). The reason I mention this is that there will or may be some kind of wood burning unit in the basement if needed or desired.
As you can see from the attached pdf of the main floor living room, space for a stove sitting on top of a 10" hearth is limited. I put together a cardboard box in the Alderlea T6 dimensions to see what it would look like in that area. It is LARGE. I don't know how much different the look would be with the actual stove since it has legs for a more open look than just a large box sitting on the hearth. Legs might make it look a little more open and airy, but I cannot imagine what it would look like it in my head. Do you think I have enough room given my space or would it look too crowded? Would the Alderlea T6 look GOOD in that space, or would it totally overwhelm the room and simply look too large and overpowering? (The T6 was recommended for heating the entire main floor over the T5, so I have to trust these experts about that.) The Summit Classic LE is 3 inches less deep and 4 inches smaller in width at the front. I know a few inches doesn't sound like much, but it seems that it would make a difference in the way it looks in the room given the small space in which the stove will sit.
I've read about each wood stove and know that the Alderlea and Summit use the same firebox and both are rated for 99,000 BTU, but is the Alderlea better than the Summit Classic LE because of the steel firebox with cast iron surround vs the steel prorcelain enameled Summit LE? Would I be losing anything at all with the Summit Classic LE -- ease of use, cleaning, maintenance, efficiency, etc.
I am agonizing over this decision. There are 4 options under consideration.
1. The Alderlea T6 mounted on a 10" hearth. We don't like the look of the flue going up 24" and then returning into the wall to connect to the flue inside the chase. Plus, if we go with the standard 24" or higher, we will not be able to have a mantle or TV above it. We were told the shortest we could go would be a 12" flue pipe followed by the 90 degree connector to go into the wall, finished with the flue collar. Above that will be a non-combustible mantel and then a wall mount TV.
2. The slightly smaller PE Summit Classic LE in black enamel with the same installation as the Alderlea T6 above
3. If neither of the above work or they just are not esthetically pleasing in the room (due to size), then we would go with the PE FP30 Arch Zero Clearance Fireplace with the Craftsman Surround, which supposedly has the same 99,000 BTU capacity as the two stoves above. If we go this route, it was advised to also have a stove in the basement.
Actually, for any of the above options, we would also install a stove in the basement with strategically placed closable vents in the floor.
Another option just recently suggested was to use the PE FP30 zero clearance fireplace on the main floor (for esthetics; a much smaller footprint) and install a wood burning FURNACE rather than a wood stove in the basement. I searched online yesterday after the suggestion was made but couldn't find a comparions between the amount of heat produced by a wood stove versus a small wood furnace. I'm not keen on that idea as, because of its very large size and the plenum, it would mean that we or someone else couldn't finish the bedroom in the basement where it would be installed to be able to connect to the flue in the chase. In addition, a furnace requires a blower to disperse the heat and we want a plan that doesn't require electricity.
CAN a second wood stove in the basement supply enough heat in addition to whatever we install on the main floor, whether the zero clearance fireplace or wood stove to comfortably heat the entire first floor?
I am losing sleep over this decision. With all the expense, whatever I choose must be right! I thought the best place to find help is on this forum with all the experts who have real world personal experience. I pray that some of you are able to help me make the right decision. Thank you in advance, from the bottom of my heart!
 

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Either of the stoves would work. Our living room is not large. When we first put in the T6 it looked large as compared to the Jotul F400 it replaced. But we were used to the look in less than a month. Aesthetically, the T6 is the better looking stove to our eye. That's important because one is looking at it for the whole year, not just in winter. However, a close friend has a black enamel Summit Classic with the nickel door and it is a good looker too. We're just more fond of the classic cast iron look. Regardless of choice I strongly recommend going straight up with the stovepipe to a ceiling box and through the roof.

If the basement was insulated, then yes, a single stove can heat that area if it is an open space. If it is closed off with several rooms then the heating will be less inside of those rooms.
 
Thanks, begreen! Would the T6 ALONE comfortably heat the main floor of 1870 sq ft? Is having the open wood stove - either the Summit Classic LE or the T6 the best option for heating the main floor as opposed to the FP60 plus a stove in the basement with open vents in the floor? I agree with you about the Alderlea T6. It's a nice looking stove but I don't mind the Classic LE. Do they offer all the same benefits? If we like the Summit Classic LE, is it just as good a stove as the Alderlea, which has the steel firebox and the cast iron jacket? Aesthetically, do you think the smaller size of the Summit Classic LE would look better in the space?
What do you think is the best plan? At first we were thinking of the Alderlea T6 on the main floor with a smaller stove for the basement. After we saw the cardboard box made in the dimensions of the T6 and thought it might be too large, we thought we might use the FP30 zero clearance fireplace on the main floor with a stove in the basement. But would that set up offer the same heat as a free standing stove on the main floor?
As for the basement, we're not concerned about heating it as much as we want to heat the first floor. The basement area will be open until it's finished, but that's not likely to happen any time soon and maybe (probably) not in our lifetime. But since it is open, would any heat from a basement stove rise and help heat the first floor? If the room where it connects to the flue in the chase (a future bedroom) is fully framed, insulated and drywalled, and vents with closable grills are cut into the floor above the stove, would enough heat rise through the open vents to make a difference in the temperature on the main floor? Or would it be best to leave the area where the stove will be installed in the basement totally open? Apologies for all the questions... it's been a steep learning curve for me as someone who has never used a wood stove! They're expensive so I have to get all this right! Thank you so much! I know it takes time to respond to all the questions here and all the ones you get from everyone else! I do greatly appreciate all your knoweldge, expertise, time and effort!
 
I have two other concerns.
At your stage in life, are you going to be able to handle the wood, moving it, stacking it, bringing it in (even with snow on the ground) ? And for how long will that be possible?

Are you going to buy wood?
That won't be dry enough to burn. You'll need it to be stacked off the ground, top covered for two years.

With two stoves, that might be 5 cords.

It's a lot to manage.
 
Stoveliker, thank you for taking the time to offer advice. Well taken! We're rethinking this. We thought about that before but for some reason, your comments brought it home in a more realistic way. You're right. At our age, we need to consider what it really means if at any time we have to keep 2 stoves going, and one of them is in the basement, down a flight of stairs!
Does everyone agree that in order to run just one wood burning unit to keep the main floor warm, that our best bet is a free-standing STOVE (the T6 or the Summit Classic LE --- as opposed to the FP30 zero clearance fireplace) on the main floor, out in the open in front of the stone wall? If this is the consensus, I think we have a decision! Is this the best of all options? Thank you! So appreciate the help!
 
Pick a priority TV or stove. I’d choose the TV and then do the FP30. They heat well from all reports. Wire a generator outlet that the FP30 can be plugged into in case of power outages.
 
For sure keeping the main floor warm is best done with an appliance on the main floor.
The FP30 can also pipe some heat down into the basement if wanted or needed (frost protection).
And it'll be better for the TV too as EbS-P notes (draft of stoves is generally best if the flue goes straight up, or at least straight up for 2-3 ft before angling back to the chimney).

And finally the FP30 saves space as compared to the stoves (you seem concerned about the size of the stoves).

The (wood burning) efficiency of the FP30 is excellent - this is not necessarily better for a free standing stove.

The only drawback is the need for a fan, which does make some sound, and which does need electricity. A generator might work for that, but you'd have to get the cord in, and connected to the FP.

I'd say you need to weigh the importance of living room space versus heating ability during a power outage.
 
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Same firebox with all 3. The summit will be the least shielded, the FP the most. They all distribute that heat through radiant and convection in different percentages.
 
Thanks, begreen! Would the T6 ALONE comfortably heat the main floor of 1870 sq ft?
It should. We heat a 1924, 2000 sq ft old farmhouse with the stove. How well it will work depends more on the floorplan, ceiling height, amount of glazing sq ft, insulation level, etc..

The FP30 will be more dependent on the blower system to heat the house. The Summit or T6 will convect well depending on the house design. We only run the blower on the coldest days. Our friends heat their 1700 sq ft open T shaped layout (1 floor) with a Summit almost exclusively with no blower.
 
Thank you all for your input. We're going with the Alderlea t6. We made a prototype of the T6 in stiff cardboard and set it up on wood pieces to simulate legs. I think - like begreen said - that we'll get used to the size. I'll take pics and post when it's all finished in the fall! Thanks again. Your input was invaluable.
 
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