Placing a wood stove in new-to-me home - challenges

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bens_igloo

Member
Jan 9, 2014
178
Ontario, Canada
Ok, this is going to be a long post, but here goes. I appreciate any insights on the best stove placement and any other ideas to add to the topic!

I currently have a Princess (main floor) and Summit (basement) which I had installed in my home in the last few years. I am moving to a new home in Sept which currently has two propane fireplaces, but it's important for me to have a wood stove for emergency heat, cooking, boiling etc, and just in general for the atmosphere. I LOVE my princess and and would like one where I move, if possible. In my current home I use the Princess for 80-90% of my heating needs. Considering that a complete install will be approaching 10k CAD right now, I want to make sure I get this right!

My original plan was to install the Princess in the main living area with an internally routed chimney (23 feet floor to ceiling peak). But we are very concerned that the stove will get in the way of the living space, especially the dining area seating - See first picture. I would be removing the fireplace and inlay wall around it.

As an alternative, there is a 12'x17' family room which currently has a propane stove. I could remove it and install a stove there instead (see picture 2), but I see two issues:
1. I don't think I could install a Blaze King due to the fact that the chimney would have to be short (See picture 3 for roof line). Likely no more than 12-13 feet maximum.
2. I am worried the heat might not make it to the rest of the home. The opening from the family room to the main living area is approx. 6 feet. (see picture 4) and make me rely heavily on the other propane fireplace as well as the electric forced-air heat pump.

To help, I've attached a floor plan on the main floor. The second floor is mostly open to below above the main living area. - Picture 5.

Picture 1 - main living area where stove would replace fireplace and wall inlay
Screen Shot 2021-08-30 at 7.05.20 PM.png





Picture 2 - main floor family room where a stove (non-cat only i believe) could replace the propane stove
Screen Shot 2021-08-30 at 7.00.05 PM.png



Picture 3 - roofline of family room - approximate stove pipe exit in red
Screen Shot 2021-08-30 at 7.24.16 PM.png


Picture 4 - opening from family room to main living area

Screen Shot 2021-08-30 at 7.25.59 PM.png



Picture 5 - main floor plan
Screen Shot 2021-08-30 at 7.15.01 PM.png
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,515
central pa
What is the total square footage compared to your old home? I am a bit concerned a princess might come up short btu wise with that high ceiling and massive glass wall.
 

bens_igloo

Member
Jan 9, 2014
178
Ontario, Canada
The above grade footage is 1756 sq ft, so it's smaller than my current home (1850 sq ft)
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,515
central pa
The above grade footage is 1756 sq ft, so it's smaller than my current home (1850 sq ft)
Does your current home have high ceilings in the stove room and anywhere near that much glass?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,515
central pa
Not even close
It might be ok allot will depend on the quality of that glazing and the quality of the install. Rooms like that look fantastic but they eat up a large amount of BTUs.
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,020
MA
Neat house. What's second floor plan? MBR?
 

bens_igloo

Member
Jan 9, 2014
178
Ontario, Canada
Second floor is mostly open to below with bed / bath. I am hoping the upstairs will heat relatively easily with wood stove but impossible to know.
Screen Shot 2021-08-30 at 10.07.01 PM.png
 

bens_igloo

Member
Jan 9, 2014
178
Ontario, Canada
Do you feel that a High BTU non cat would be more appropriate for this type of install?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,515
central pa
Do you feel that a High BTU non cat would be more appropriate for this type of install?
Possibly. Like I said it all depends on that glass wall. As well as quality or insulation and construction in the rest of the house. A princess may do fine but I have some doubts. Do you have access to the previous owners heating bills?
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,372
Fairbanks, Alaska
I agree with @bholler the glass quality is a huge factor. If you got triple pane with no fogging and you are at or south of Montreal/ Toronto a princess will probably do fine in the main room, leave the propane stove in the family room. Double pane no leaks, southern ontario, I would want to see the old heating bills and know what temp was maintained.

How many seasoned cords do you have ready to burn next week? If you got jack doodle for seasoned wood, or you are north of Montreal, I would bite the bullet this year, track the BTU consumption of propane out to three decimal places and think about maybe a king. The trouble is a King will require an 8" pipe, the princess is as big as you can go on a 6" pipe without going to a non cat.

If you 'need' a king based on propane consumption I would price upgraded glass before I splurged on the 8" chimney for a king.

Alternatively you could put a 6" chimney in the main room now, put a cheap non cat under it to save on propane, start upgrading windows and upgrade the stove to a princess later.

Depending on your local fuel prices it -might- make sense to put a pellet burner in the family room in place of the propane stove, but those danged pellets are a mighty expensive way to buy BTUs up here.

Another option would be to put a pellet burner in the main room now to cut your propane bill this winter, and then look at the math again in March or April. Dunno about Ontario, but it seems like for most in the lower 48 pellets are cheaper than propane, BTU for BTU.
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,372
Fairbanks, Alaska
The upstairs will be hot for sure
Quoted for truth.

If your pellet prices aren't too bad this is another reason to try a pellet burner in the main room, hopefully routed through the exisiting propane exhaust, before splurging on a cord wood chimney.
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,372
Fairbanks, Alaska
Do you feel that a High BTU non cat would be more appropriate for this type of install?

I don't, but I got off the non-cat roller coaster in 2014 when I replaced a stove built ~Y2k. I will make a point this year to visit a home heated with more up to date non cat tech.

Within my home, my cat stove was worth the higher purchase price just for the even heat output alone. I am also burning more than enough less wood to cover the occasional combustor replacement. I save enough on the price of the wood I burn to cover combustor replacement with ease, never mind not having to carry all that extra wood in to be burned, and having a more even temp in the house the whole time.

Some folks run high BTU non cats in their shops. I can see the appeal, heat it up quick when you are out there and get to work. Depends on the shop. I have a bunch of wood working tools in my shop with sharp edges on them, it is very important, to me, to keep the ambient at least ten degrees (F) above dewpoint so I don't have to spend two weeks resharpening everything the one time the stove goes out.

I would like to have a non cat in my wife's garage, which is verboten. When she parks her car out doors at her office all day in winter I see it as her bringing a fairly large block of ice into the garage that I have to have melted by morning to maintain domestic tranquility. A good sized non cat would excel at that weeknight chore, but there is gasoline in the tank of her car, so illegal in the US.

You have enough square footage to look at a lot of pellet stoves for both even heat and less expensive install while you quantify your BTU needs. If you choose a well respected brand it should have pretty good resale value.

What is your primary heat source for the house? I highly doubt propane. One thing you might do this winter is total up comparable your price per unit of propane, electricity, cord wood, pellets, maybe fuel oil. Whatever your options are, what is the relative price of those items in the same units? I converted everyting to BTUs, but whatever unit is easiest for you. Local to me a "bushel basket" of green cordwood costs one dollar. Steam kilned dried cordwood, one dollar and 75 cents. I can buy the same number of BTUs as fuel oil for two dollars . Pellets, three dollars, electricity, ten dollars. The main thing for me is to not heat with electricity, but your local conditions will be different than mine.

Most likely your cheapest BTUs are going to be green cordwood that you have to season on your property before you can use it. BKs were made to run on spruce/ pine/ fir seasoned one summer.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,784
Iowa
Where at in Ontario? Rather expansive area!
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,215
SE North Carolina
Location I’d probably choose the living room wall opposite the family room. I can’t see it pictures so maybe it’s not a good spot.

there is a reason the propane stove is in the family room. I wouldn’t remove or replace it. The fact that you have a heatpump really gives you some flexibility I think. Don’t size your stove for the coldest 2 weeks. Of the year. With the heat pump and propane stove you can have everything working together during those coldest times. You like the BK I don’t see any reason to change. Run it extra low let the heat pump cycle to help circulation. That’s what I do to try and heat the basement.
I’d probably wait and make a decision after living their a winter.
Evan
 

bens_igloo

Member
Jan 9, 2014
178
Ontario, Canada
Thank you for the responses! I have a 20 acre wooded area so firewood availability is not an issue.

To answer the questions:
1. Primary heat source is forced air from a heat pump
2. Location: South of Lake Huron.
3. Availability of firewood: I have 3-4 bush cords of split/stacked/2 year seasoned hardwood
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,515
central pa
Thank you for the responses! I have a 20 acre wooded area so firewood availability is not an issue.

To answer the questions:
1. Primary heat source is forced air from a heat pump
2. Location: South of Lake Huron.
3. Availability of firewood: I have 3-4 bush cords of split/stacked/2 year seasoned hardwood
What is a bush cord?
 
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Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,372
Fairbanks, Alaska
That is just a cord
It might be that if you load one bush cord onto your truck out in the country you can drive it into town and sell it for two town cords worth of money.
 
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BCC_Burner

Feeling the Heat
Sep 10, 2013
450
Uptown Marble, CO
I’ve always heard a bush cord defined as the amount of wood that you can fit in an 8’ pickup bed, with a canopy/topper on it, stuffed to the roof of the canopy.

In BC that seemed to be the widely known/accepted definition.
 

bens_igloo

Member
Jan 9, 2014
178
Ontario, Canada
Indeed! Even the insurance companies quote the "number of bush cords" per year you can burn
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
First and foremost, nice crib! (slang) The home is impressive. Second, I think you'll be fine with your Princess or if need be, go for the larger fuel tank of the King, especially with the straight up and out chimney. A pellet stove (with battery or generator backup) might be an option. Given you have the acreage, I'd go for the cordwood option. You are aging like the rest of us, so keep that in mind as you move forward.

Again, beautiful home,

BKVP
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,515
central pa
Indeed! Even the insurance companies quote the "number of bush cords" per year you can burn
Really the only way to know is to look at previous heating bills and figure out your rough BTU load.

When was the home built?