Recommendations on Furnace

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,996
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
The kuma has no window to see the fire. Just so you know. It’s a black box.

and the price of steel is not why the kuma is so much more expensive.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,530
NE Ohio

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,996
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Oh really? Have you priced stainless lately?! !!!
Nothing to do with it. The price hasn’t changed for this furnace in quite a while. They chose a price point that results in enough revenue for their operation to remain successful. Free market and all that. Which is why competition is so important.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sloeffle

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,996
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
you know what they say, once you go black box you never go back. ;lol
You could always paint it red! Even a nice flame paint job if you like to see fire. Maybe have a little tv next to it playing an endless Yule log loop. That should be an optional accessory.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,530
NE Ohio
The price hasn’t changed for this furnace in quite a while.
Uh...I beg to differ...several price increases in the last 5 years.
And they use USA steel, and as much USA sourced parts/materials as possible...and then employ actual Americans and pay a decent wage too.
In case that stuff matters to anybody.
 
Last edited:

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,996
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Uh...I beg to differ...several price increases in the last 5 years.
And they use USA steel, and as much USA sourced parts/materials as possible...and then employ actual Americans a decent wage.
In case that stuff matters to anybody.
I think it matters to most of us. The question is how much does it matter? I wouldn’t pay 100$ for a hamburger just because they wanted to pay their staff well. What’s your limit?

Regardless of trivial price increases over the last 5 years, they’ve always cost double or triple the average and I think you know that’s the point. I think the market has always gotten better performance and better made furnace with the kuma as well.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,530
NE Ohio
I think you know that’s the point.
Honestly I wasn't sure what the point is with you always bringing up the price....you obviously aren't buying one any time soon, and its no secret that they are at the top of the price range for FA wood furnaces, heck, the price is right on their website, so they aren't trying to hide anything either.
Its a great American made product with a great warranty, great customer service and long standing track record of excellent performance...I don't think too many people would hesitate to sign up for one as long as they can swing it budget wise...and spending an extra $2-3k for a product that should last 30 years (vs, what 10, maybe 15 for the Drolet furnace?) is not going to stop a good portion of the population (look at what many spend on OWB's!!) but yes, I agree, there still should be a decent "budget" option for those that can't swing a Kuuma...something to fill the slot of that POS HY-C FC1000E / SF1000E!
 
  • Like
Reactions: lampmfg and Spanky

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,996
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Honestly I wasn't sure what the point is with you always bringing up the price....you obviously aren't buying one any time soon, and its no secret that they are at the top of the price range for FA wood furnaces, heck, the price is right on their website, so they aren't trying to hide anything either.
Its a great American made product with a great warranty, great customer service and long standing track record of excellent performance...I don't think too many people would hesitate to sign up for one as long as they can swing it budget wise...and spending an extra $2-3k for a product that should last 30 years (vs, what 10, maybe 15 for the Drolet furnace?) is not going to stop a good portion of the population (look at what many spend on OWB's!!) but yes, I agree, there still should be a decent "budget" option for those that can't swing a Kuuma...something to fill the slot of that POS HY-C FC1000E / SF1000E!
It wasn’t me that brought up the price. Nice of you to get all finger pointy though!

It is what it is and they can charge whatever they want but when that price is so much higher than the others we need to help buyers realize what that gets them. Maybe it’s worth it to them. It’s not like you’re buying one either. In fact, you never did buy one from kuma you lucky dog.

You have no idea what I might buy. I bought one of the highest price stoves because it had features that made it worth the cost to me.

Boilers are all pretty much equally expensive. If one boiler was 3x as much as the competition, people will want to know why and decide whether that makes it worth the enormous upcharge.
 
Last edited:

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,996
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
We’re all friends here. It’s cool. I dream of a furnace in my shop as nice as a kuma and I’m happy for all the owners and the company that obviously has their heads on straight.
 

Case1030

Feeling the Heat
Dec 12, 2017
304
Manitoba
Honestly I wasn't sure what the point is with you always bringing up the price....you obviously aren't buying one any time soon, and its no secret that they are at the top of the price range for FA wood furnaces, heck, the price is right on their website, so they aren't trying to hide anything either.
Its a great American made product with a great warranty, great customer service and long standing track record of excellent performance...I don't think too many people would hesitate to sign up for one as long as they can swing it budget wise...and spending an extra $2-3k for a product that should last 30 years (vs, what 10, maybe 15 for the Drolet furnace?) is not going to stop a good portion of the population (look at what many spend on OWB's!!) but yes, I agree, there still should be a decent "budget" option for those that can't swing a Kuuma...something to fill the slot of that POS HY-C FC1000E / SF1000E!
The value of the VF is definitely there if you base it off 30 year period which it is obviously built for.

Although I don't think I would want to heat with a wood furnace for that long. :)
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,530
NE Ohio

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,530
NE Ohio
Already putting boiler lines in the ground. :)
Ah, gotcha...yeah, my dad and brother heat their places on the farm with a central Central boiler...I've ran it while they are gone, its not for me.
I would consider a nice indoor gasser with storage if money were no object though...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Case1030

Case1030

Feeling the Heat
Dec 12, 2017
304
Manitoba
First off I'm not sure if I can drive the same vehicle for 30 years :p. Also I like the idea of multiple buildings being heated off one unit, (greenhouse, garage, house) increased efficiency, keeping the mess in the garage and heat storage.

Also loading 2-3 times a day gets old lol. Going to do zone heating and domestic hot water.
 

Attachments

Case1030

Feeling the Heat
Dec 12, 2017
304
Manitoba
Ah, gotcha...yeah, my dad and brother heat their places on the farm with a central Central boiler...I've ran it while they are gone, its not for me.
I would consider a nice indoor gasser with storage if money were no object though...
Thats the plan a downdraft indoor boiler!
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,530
NE Ohio
First off I'm not sure if I can drive the same vehicle for 30 years :p. Also I like the idea of multiple buildings being heated off one unit, (greenhouse, garage, house) increased efficiency, keeping the mess in the garage and heat storage.

Also loading 2-3 times a day gets old lol. Going to do zone heating and domestic hot water.
What's the green in the ditch, ice?
I hope you bought the high dollar lines for underground...haven't met one person that didn't regret it if they cheaped out...
 

Case1030

Feeling the Heat
Dec 12, 2017
304
Manitoba
What's the green in the ditch, ice?
I hope you bought the high dollar lines for underground...haven't met one person that didn't regret it if they cheaped out...
Green is closed cell polyurethane spray foam. I made my own underground line. Filled it full of foam and coated the underneath and above about 4 inchs completely.

Technically I overdid it but I think in the long run it will pay off. That foam within 20 seconds it hardened up that stuff is crazy.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,530
NE Ohio
First off I'm not sure if I can drive the same vehicle for 30 years
As long as I'm relatively happy with it, I tend to stick with things for a long time...now, that said, I have owned more than my share of different stoves and furnaces the last 10 years or so... :rolleyes: ;lol
That foam within 20 seconds it hardened up that stuff is crazy.
Yeah that looks different than anything I've seen before. I'm sure that's closed cell...
 

Case1030

Feeling the Heat
Dec 12, 2017
304
Manitoba
As long as I'm relatively happy with it, I tend to stick with things for a long time...now, that said, I have owned more than my share of different stoves and furnaces the last 10 years or so... :rolleyes: ;lol

Yeah that looks different than anything I've seen before. I'm sure that's closed cell...
Very reputable spray foam company my brother works for... its called 2lb closed cell polyurethane. Also researched the fourms to see the best way to do it. My r-value should be double what the logstor and templex pipes are.
 
  • Like
Reactions: brenndatomu

woodey

Burning Hunk
Feb 8, 2018
156
ST. Lawrence Valley N.Y.
The value of the VF is definitely there if you base it off 30 year period which it is obviously built for.
For what its worth I was talking to Dale at Lamppa MfG. a few years ago and his opinion is that the VF is built to last at least 40 years, (Firebox/heat exchanger) and all other parts are replaceable. I believe they use all 1/4 stainless, fire box fully lined w/ fire brick and ceramic liner between the brick and steel outer. Watching some of their videos I have to believe they have the best welds in the industry. And it wasn't like they were trying to sell me on their product as I had purchased mine 2 years previous to this conversation.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: brenndatomu

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,530
NE Ohio
Just to be clear, most (not all) of the main body is steel, but all the metal that is inside the firebox (exposed to fire) is stainless...and yes, firebox fully ceramic lined, and then firebrick in addition, for the bottom 2/3rds of the sides.
 

RockyMtnGriz

Member
Apr 19, 2019
87
SW Montana
Happy owner of a Kuuma, but here's the issues I see: The firebox/stove is built like a tank. I don't see a problem with it lasting 30-40 years, or even many more. But, is the computer and especially the motorized draft control likely to last 30 years? I doubt it. When I bought the stove, I wanted to order a spare set of electronics with it, but the prices are extremely high. Kuuma says the stuff can be rebuilt affordably, but that assumes 2 things. The first is that Kuuma assumes they will still in the business when I need it. The second is I assume that it will be -45 at the time something breaks, and at best I'll be waiting for a loaner part coming from MN in a blizzard. Plus, having a known good part on the shelf can really aid in troubleshooting. This was almost a deal-breaker for me.

Which leads into the next point. I can see a real possibility of Kuuma getting leapfrogged in terms of controls. As nice as it is, there are a few real shortcomings, in my opinion. One is a lack of actual thermostatic (room temperature), or at least remote manual control of the burn rate. Yes, there's a thermostat that controls the blower speed, but in my case, at least, that seems to have little to no impact on the BTU delivery rate. Something else that would be a plus, particularly with a real thermostatic control, is some sort of feedback to determine when the stove will need to be reloaded. These are frequently installed below the main living area, so even with a pretty predictable steady burn rate, there's a lot of trips downstairs to check. Heck, a second remote panel/thermostat that could be in the living space would be a big step in the right direction.

Something that is glaringly absent, I think, is an automatic idle option when the stove burns to coals, particularly for those of us who are stuck using only softwood that doesn't coal much. That would make reload time a lot more flexible, help in milder weather by allowing the stove to hold a useful amount of coals on a smaller overnight load, and it would produce a longer useful burn on softwood. Currently, the stove is set to do the exact opposite , opening the draft fully to burn up the coals, which is probably great for hardwoods, when you're seeking maximum heat. There's the manual option to turn off the control at the stove, but that's another trip downstairs, and often needs to be done when one would wish to still be sleeping.

I don't know how far Kuuma can go in addressing these issues, without going outside of the lines of their approval test. I doubt they are going to be in a hurry to incur the huge cost of retesting for an improvement. And, to circle back to the beginning, hopefully control improvements, if they come, would be retrofittable to my existing stove, but that makes having spares of the current parts even less attractive to have on hand.

I see mention of internet connected competitors, not that I want my wood stove controls to be available on the net, but I don't think that it's too much of a stretch to think that something designed to communicate, would have a real head-start in overcoming some of these issues. Yet, they may well have other serious issues that the time-tested Kuuma does not. I guess we'll see what comes around the corner.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sloeffle and Spanky

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
5,530
NE Ohio
I wanted to order a spare set of electronics with it, but the prices are extremely high.
I don't think $400 for a new computer is unreasonable...for the damper box, yeah, maybe...but on the damper the only part that can really fail (unless the whole thing gets smashed) is the motor...and that can be sourced through the after market pretty cheap...I replaced on on an old Kuuma a few years back for $20...and this was the exact brand and model motor that it came with.
I deal with electronics and controls all the time at work, and a $400 replacement (OEM) controller is pretty rare...they are usually double/triple that...some more, much more!
there are a few real shortcomings, in my opinion. One is a lack of actual thermostatic
My experience with tstat controls on solid fuel furnaces is that they don't work out...the thing that really controls the temp in the house is when, how often, and how much you load...especially how much (and what kind of wood you load) in any wood furnace
This may change with the way the air is controlled on the new Drolet Heat Commander...they claim to be able to "idle" down the fire to some degree...we will see how well that works out pretty soon here I'd say.
Something else that would be a plus, particularly with a real thermostatic control, is some sort of feedback to determine when the stove will need to be reloaded. These are frequently installed below the main living area, so even with a pretty predictable steady burn rate, there's a lot of trips downstairs to check.
Something that several of us use is a remote wireless BBQ thermometer to tell what's going on with the furnace...mine is a Maverick ET732 dual probe...one in the stove pipe, one in the plenum...once you learn your system you can tell when its time to load right from your easy chair. Some of the newer systems are wifi and can be recorded so to make trend charts/etc...for those so inclined. ;)
I don't know how far Kuuma can go in addressing these issues, without going outside of the lines of their approval test.
None. They can make almost zero changes without a rete$t.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sloeffle and Spanky

RockyMtnGriz

Member
Apr 19, 2019
87
SW Montana
Brenndatomu,

I'll both agree and disagree with you, as the devil is often just a matter of degrees.

I don't think $400 for a new computer is unreasonable...for the damper box, yeah, maybe...but on the damper the only part that can really fail (unless the whole thing gets smashed) is the motor...and that can be sourced through the after market pretty cheap...I replaced on on an old Kuuma a few years back for $20...and this was the exact brand and model motor that it came with.
I deal with electronics and controls all the time at work, and a $400 replacement (OEM) controller is pretty rare...they are usually double/triple that...some more, much more!

When I was talking to Dale prior to ordering the Kuuma, i recall that the computer was north of $600, and my list of preferred spare parts went well north of $1,000. That, in addition to a furnace most would agree already has a premium attached. Plus, it needed to be "crated" at additional expense, which turned out to be a wood skid and a cardboard box. At some point, I swallowed hard and bought it, without the spares, but honestly, it was a close call.
When I take the time to post something, I try to do it with the perspective that it will be a resource for someone else. There's all different skill levels out there as consumers. I'm sure I can fix the damper box on the cheap, if I need to. For that matter, I'm sure I could fabricate a suitable replacement if I had to, But, if it comes to fixing the computer, probably not, even though the fix might require about 69 cents worth of parts. I don't have the skill, or access to the right tools. And then there's the separate issue of having a part on hand to simplify troubleshooting. Plus, if I'm not home, I can have my wife swap a part, but I can't have her troubleshoot a stepper motor.
If you still have the info on the stepper motor, it would be great if you would post that.

My experience with tstat controls on solid fuel furnaces is that they don't work out...the thing that really controls the temp in the house is when, how often, and how much you load...especially how much (and what kind of wood you load) in any wood furnace
This may change with the way the air is controlled on the new Drolet Heat Commander...they claim to be able to "idle" down the fire to some degree...we will see how well that works out pretty soon here I'd say.


I'm surprised at that, because I find that while you're right, the fuel charge is a big part, the rate knob on the Kuuma also makes a big difference. And the hidden range screw also makes a big difference.
The option to idle the fire once it's gone to pyrolysis, that I've been campaigning for, I think would help, I expect there would be some challenges here when the wood is gassing heavily, but it might be possible with coals. The way it is, there's a pretty rapid change from the draft being closed, or nearly so, to wide open, when the amount of coals drops to a certain point. Could the CO be kept low enough without the wide open draft? I don't know. Would it require retesting? I don't know. The suggestion to do this manually is in the instructions - an oversight vs. telling you to only let the computer do as it did during testing? I don't know.
One work-around, that I've been contemplating, is to separate the power supply for the computer from the thermostat/fan control with a device I can use to turn just the computer off remotely. It's not as good as a setup that would work automatically, but it's something.
I agree - I'm really interested to see what the Drolet can do.

Something that several of us use is a remote wireless BBQ thermometer to tell what's going on with the furnace...mine is a Maverick ET732 dual probe...one in the stove pipe, one in the plenum...once you learn your system you can tell when its time to load right from your easy chair. Some of the newer systems are wifi and can be recorded so to make trend charts/etc...for those so inclined. ;)

I agree again. I recently purchased a Fireboard. I've posted some on a thread about them that I think is in this sub forum, mostly about my challenges regarding it not working too well with my older IPhone. Though, I think a remote control panel that could be located in an occupied area of the house, would be a big convenience to a lot of users, and if it used a hardwire (gasp!) phone cable or something, it wouldn't be too technically difficult. I bet many of us even have the whole house wired with phone wire and cute little jacks that we don't use anymore.
Of course, I'm sure whoever does the leapfrog on this is going to have all the info on the phone, and you'll probably be able to tell Alexa or Siri to make simple adjustments. For me, I don't need to go this far.

They can make almost zero changes without a rete$t.

Were I them, that would worry me. It's usually the unintended consequence of any licensing scenario. While it can spur innovation, it usually ends up hampering it in the long run. I hope Kuuma can do something with whatever room they can find. They're good people, making a solid stove, and I want them to stay in the business.
 
  • Like
Reactions: usernametaken