PE, Quad, Regency, Hearthstone???

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New Member
Hearth Supporter
May 28, 2008
Great site - Hoping to get some expert advice as I am in full research mode for a new stove.

Quick description of existing situation:

I have a large extended cape approximately 64 x 32 with 3400 sqft. I wouldn't call the floor plan open, but it isn't completely segmented either. I currently have a hearth at the far end of the long dimension with a VC Intrepid. The hearth measures 48.5” wide by 43.5” deep, and the living room it is in is approx. 22' x 14' and opens to the kitchen. The VC is a nice little stove, but I think the previous owners only installed it for an occasional fire to temper the living room. The hearth goes all the way to the ceiling in the vertical, and houses an 8" x 8" flue. I would like to install a new unit that will put out some serious BTU’s to help fight our fairly rough winters. While the new rig won’t be running 24/7, I plan on using it at least 3-4 full days a week and depending on ease of use and time to heat up most other winter nights.

I realize that my layout is not completely desirable with the current stove location. My hope is to be able to distribute the heat as much as possible, knowing that it might be 78-80 in the room with the stove, but hopefully 70+ at the other end of the house and 65+ upstairs. A different stove location is not really an option at this point.

I started by looking at all options, including traditional wood and pellet stoves. I have decided against pellet at this time for several reasons (maintenance, cost, existing inventory of wood). I have also excluded CAT stoves from my search criteria, due to maintenance, ease of use, and fire viewing. I would say that price definitely out weighs aesthetics, but looks are always somewhat important. There seems to be a dealer for pretty much all major vendors in my area, and I am fairly confident that any of them would do a decent job with install/inquiries. I am very much concerned with buying a quality solid unit that will last 15+ years with minimal maintenance. I am also very concerned about getting too small of a unit. Some people I have talked to have tried to steer me more towards a medium sized unit (40,000 BTU). I want to make sure that on the windiest and coldest -15 degree night I have the ability to make my house nice and toasty.

I have been looking at the PE Alderlea T5/T6, Quad Isle Royale, Morso 3610, Jotul F500/600, Hearthstone Bennington and the Regency P3100.

Although I like the looks of the Bennington, I don't have the hearth area to accomodate the side door. The side door looks a little funky to me as well with the way it hinges top to bottom vs side to side. This said, if it was the overwhelming winner I wouldn't be opposed to a portable hearth extender. Reading the manual, they also throw out there several times not to damage the ceramic baffle when loading. Definitely strong chance that this could happen in my household.

The Regency looks like a pretty bare bones heater, but I have read some less than stellar reviews. On the looks scale it definitely doesn't compare to the cast or T5/T6. Again, if there were solid performance reasons to go with it or a similar straight steel unit, I can look past how pretty it is.

The Morso looks like a really nice unit, and seems to be extremely durable and rugged. I am a little hesitant for some reason though, as I have read several posts and comments about issues with draft. I also think that I want the benefit of some convective heating, and this unit seems to be primarily a radiant heater.

I really like the looks of the Jotul, but I'm not sure that the F500 is big enough, and I have gotten a mixed reaction on the F600. Also have the convection vs radiant questions.

I am tending to lean towards the PE and the Quad Isle Royale, as these both seem like pretty solid units. To be honest, I hadn't even heard of PE before stumbling on this site. This said, everything I read and hear sways me to this stove. I really like the idea of the steel box with a cast shell to get the best of both radiant/convective worlds. I also really like the output of the T6 as well, and the EBT if anything sounds like a really cool feature. I am somewhat concerned though as this appears to be a new model without a lot of data proving its long term results. I am also concerned that there might be a small possibility that I get too large of a unit, and I will need to put on the space suit to reload because the room will be so hot.

The Quad really looks like a nice stove as well. I like the thought of top-load but it also concerns me. I have heard that it is kind of a pain to open the lid, rotate the tubes, etc. The dual air controls also seem a little more complicated for novice users.

A few questions:

1. How big of a factor is convective vs radiant heating? Do you really get the best of both worlds with the Alderlea? If I put a blower on a cast stove or add additional circulation via fans am I doing roughly the same thing as with a convection design?

2. With my configuration, am I better with going with a steel box vs Cast to try and reduce the potential overheating of the area by the stove

3. Can someone help me with the floor protection calculations? For example PE's T6, the width of the stove is 28.75" + 16" clearance + 2" (I assume a little space is needed if non-combustible in the vertical) = 46.75". According to the manual, the min depth is 40.5". Is it really 6" from the edge of the ash lip to the door?

4. Am I in the right ballpark for stove choices

I apologize for the length of this post, but would appreciate any input.
You have done some good homework. I can speak for the Alderlea T6. It's very controllable. If the area is reasonably open to other parts of the first floor, the room won't be oveheated unless you want it to be. However, when asked to heat, it can belt out the btus. The flat floored firebox is generous which gives one a lot of options for loading and wood orientation. Of the stoves you've listed, the Isle Royale is the most complex, but it has a good reputation and history. There shouldn't be any surprises if you prefer it. The F600 is a simpler design and also has a good reputation.

If you can post a sketch of the floor plan we might be able to make suggestions for aiding circulation.
I won't comment on your current choices, but I will say with a house that large in Maine and your desire to heat with the unit, I would definitely be looking into large stoves - I'm talking 3 cu. ft. and larger. You might me a good candidate for a Hearthstone Equinox. The only potential negative for a large stove in your situation might be trying to move the hot air out of that room and circulating to the rest of the house, which you already recognize as an issue.

Good luck and keep us posted.

The Quad really looks like a nice stove as well. I like the thought of top-load but it also concerns me. I have heard that it is kind of a pain to open the lid, rotate the tubes, etc. The dual air controls also seem a little more complicated for novice users.

Actually there really aren't two air controls per se, one is startup air used for starting the stove cold or reloading and then you shut off the air after the fire has caught and charred the wood. For actually operating the stove there is only really 1 air control.
Good luck with your decision. Only problem I see is moving the heat around your house but it can be done with some determination.

I have two quads, a 3100 and a yosemite in two different houses. Both are very nice burning and easy to control. They do have two air controls but as stated before, one is the startup air and the other more or less controls the air once the startup air is shut. The stove shop here burns the top loading quad all winter and they keep it roaring. I have seen them load it from the top with no problems or smoke I could see coming out. Way to large for our house but it does put out plenty of heat.

Like you, I didn't know PE existed till I got to this site. If I had I may have went with one of their stoves and they are porcelained and plenty of good reviews here.

Always fun browsing and deciding on a new stove. Whatever you get should work well and if after a few years of burning you get more experienced you may want to move up or down. My guess is either one you are looking at, quad or PE would easily last more than 15 years of steady burning. The efficency of wood stoves may have reached their limit for now since no new inovations for quite a few years.
Gonna be tough no matter what stove to heat that 3400sf with one stove.
Remember, these are space heaters. Do some of us luck out with layout & location of stove and heat the whole home? yes
But 3400sf, highly unlikely. You may opt for 2 stoves. UNless your layout is fairly open, & the stove will be centrally located, I just don't see heating the whole 3400 with one.
Something big- or maybe a wood boiler (Tarm, EKO, etc)- can distribute the heat around via hot water, but the up-front cost is higher.

ohhh- I'd love to do a good modern gasifier boiler... with domestic HW too... and a swimming pool sized storage tank... drool
Thanks for the great comments.

That Equinox is a sweet looking stove...a little too massive and pricey for me though. I think I have convinced myself that I am going with the PE Alderlea, but now I am trying to finalize T5 or T6. I'm thinking that I might go with the T5 with the thought that maybe in the future I put a pellet on the other far end of the house as Hogwildz has suggested. I am still concerned that the T6 might just be too big, but I am having a hard time convincing myself of this.

I will keep you posted.
3,400 sq. ft. and Maine winters? The T-6 ain't too big.
I second that and reiterate, the T6 very controllable. You don't need to have a firebox packed with wood to get the stove working well. It does fine with a half load or less. If the room temp gets comfortable then stop feeding the stove. Its mass will keep the room warm for hours.

It sounds like your main issue will not be stove size, but heat distribution. Post a sketch of the floorplan and we can make suggestions for improving this.
If your get the T5, the first burning season, you will be kicking yourself in the azz when you realize its not enough.
Get the T6 and do it right the first time.
You can always burn smaller fires in a larger stove, but the smaller stove packed to the gills and still not putting out enough BTU's, can go no further.
I can't count the number of time I read a guy/gal posting they wish they bought the larger stove. Never heard many complain the stove is too big.
For that square footage, you best get the largest beast you can find. T6 is a great candidate.
I have a Summit for my main 2400sf, and the new additional will have the Summers Heat equivalent to the Englander 30N series.
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