Question about Sizing an Efficient Wood Stove in an Old Adobe Home

  • Active since 1995, is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.


New Member
Feb 3, 2023
Moab, UT

I am trying to calculate the BTUs needed. I have a 100 year adobe home in the Zone 5 climate Zone. My house is about 1300 Square feet, plus a 200 square foot basement room. We have an old enormous Fisher- see photo- that we would like to replace. The stove is located in a small 225 s.f. room with 9 foot high ceilings and single pane glass. Most of the house is poorly insulated adobe, about a 1/3 square footage is insulated with double pane windows. My question is what size modern stove do I need? I would like to get either a hybrid or a non-catalytic stove that qualifies for the EPA credit. The old fisher can heat the entire house with ceiling fans to move the air around- but really, the stove heatst the adobe walls and they, in turn, radiate heat back into the rooms throughout the day/night. The little room the stove is in can get pretty warm- into the 90s if we don't use the fan. We can regulate temps quite well with the fans. We really only use half the fire box volume when building a stove.

Hoping for a stove under $3000....I was looking at the Kuuma Aspen LE; Drolet Escape 1800, or the Pleasant Hearth 2200

I started to panic that these stoves wouldn't be big enough, and I noticed some of them have convection heat as well as radiant heat. I am thinking I need a lot of radiant heat. Does the convection system take away heat from the stove body? And, any thoughts on sizing the stove based on your experience in older homes with modern stoves? I have used those BTU calculators, but they don't work well to calculate multiple room heating.

Thank you for all your help.

So I how much wood do you burn in the Fisher? Do you think it’s too b?

It’s a bug stove that can pump out lots of heat while consuming LOTS of wood. If you told me most of the time is too warm in the house downsizing to a Drolet 1800 might work well. But if you said most of the time it’s about right I’d have to think some more on the what your best option is.
  • Like
Reactions: rnelson
In non-cats, the Drolet escape 1800, Regency F2450, Lopi Endeavor, or Jotul F45 would work.
In cat stoves, the Kuma is a good choice if the price fits the budget.
  • Like
Reactions: rnelson
Thank you for all the good feedback. We have never filled the fisher. The measured the firebox volume as over 5 cubic feet! We have filled it halfway I’d say. Someone recommended against a Catalytic…. I wouldn’t mind the technical aspects of it, I just would want to make sure they produce as much radiant heat as a non Cat… thoughts? Would a cast iron give off better radiant heat? Are they worth the price if so?

Sounds like I should go with the largest firebox volume in these kind of medium/ large size stoves and I should be okay. Someone recommended up to 2500 s.f.
That would jump me up to a pretty big stove- about the dimensions we have now.
A less radiant and more convective stove will feel more comfortable in this area and it will have closer clearances. A radiant stove often works best in large spaces where the line of sight heat is felt throughout the room. I have had cast iron and steel stoves and the combination of them both in a castiron jacketed steel stove is my favorite. The cast iron softens and buffers the heat for a more even and long lasting heating experience even after the fire has died down.

A cat stove could work here too, but the budget constraint stopped me from suggesting them. Stove prices have gone up a lot this season. That said, a Kuma or BK stove could certainly heat the place well.
  • Like
Reactions: rnelson
never been to moab but looks like u could get some nasty winds blowing and temp drops.a big stove doesn't need to be filled all the time but when u do need it it's good to for cat stove i'm clueless never had for cast iron luv it.wife liked the roby soooo we got a roby lol