Seeking advice for a stove in the Blue Ridge of Western North Carolina

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blueapple

New Member
Sep 4, 2022
3
28753
H’yall, another newbie looking for help to choose the right stove.

I’m building a 900 square foot, single-story house in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about 45 minutes northwest of Asheville. Altitude 2300 ft.

We do have a real winter, tho it’s a winter that might seem like a shoulder-month to someone from Vermont or Upstate New York. I want to make sure we stay comfortable through all three seasons the stove will be used. In other words, I don't want a stove that will fry us in April, so that we can be toasty warm in January.

The stove will be in the center of the house, right at edge of the living room. It would seem that a stove that provides lower, more consistent heat would be better suited to our situation than one that blasts out and then attenuates. Is that right?

So, right now I’m thinking about the Blazeking Ashford 20.2 (is the 30 too big?), the PE Alderlea T4 (is the T5 too big?), the Jotul F45V2, the VC Dauntless or Encore, or the Hearthstone Shelburne or Craftsbury.

Since the house is not yet built, I can make whatever adjustments I need to the plan to accommodate the specific requirements of the stove I choose.

From my research, it would seem that a catalytic stove like the Blazeking will provide the energy profile I’m looking for. But don’t catalytic stoves need a longer pipe? That might be hard to accomplish (or look odd) since this is a one-story house.

Also, how much should having a high ceiling in the great room affect our choice of stove (the bedroom and will be at 8')?

Many thanks

Screen Shot 2022-09-04 at 1.46.39 PM.png
 

EatenByLimestone

Super Moderator
Staff member
Excellent stove location! How well insulated will the cabin be? Will this house be lived in full time?
 

Larch

Member
Nov 13, 2021
43
BC
I can't help you with the sizing there's way more knowledge from others here. I ran a alderlea T5 for approximately 10 years and it's a great stove but I upgraded to the blazeking sirocco 30.2 for last winter because I needed longer burn times. I ended up trading the sirocco for the KE40 for more heat during the coldest days of winter(I wish I asked the knowledgeable people on here not just my dealer).So if you chose blazeking from my experience go bigger than do it twice, BK stoves turn way down compared to the T5.
There both great stoves but I think I would pick the BK again and again just for the even heating, the T5 had constant high and lows if you are planning on running 24/7 wood only heating.
 

blueapple

New Member
Sep 4, 2022
3
28753
Excellent stove location! How well insulated will the cabin be? Will this house be lived in full time?
It’s new construction, so it will be very well insulated. I can’t give you an exact R value. But it’s not a tar-paper shack. And yes, it will be our full time residence
 

reaperman1

New Member
Aug 7, 2022
60
Minnesota
I'd be more worried about keeping a 30'x30' (900 sq ft) new home with a open floor plan in your climate from getting too hot. Unless your ceilings are really high and you dont have access to good firewood. Also, solar gain can play a huge roll in how much daytime heat is really needed. I have a triple sliding door, 9'x7' in my living room, plus a couple other windows. I gain so much solar heat from the sun shining in that it raises the homes temp. People have a hard time believing me when its a daytime high of -5F or -10 below zero (Minnesota) that I dont need to heat my home until the sun sets. Whatever the inside morning temp is after my wood burner goes out, usually between 78-80 degrees, it will stay there or rise throughout the day.

Being its new construction, I'd install the biggest windows facing the winter sun you could afford. I know their costly, but once their in you wont regret it. As for which wood stove, I'm no expert. I just bought a BK boxer (not installed yet) to put upstairs in my home. I didnt need it, my wood furnace cooks me out of the house the way it is. My biggest worry was getting my open main level (1300 sq ft) too hot. I was going for a smaller 20.2 stove until a demo model Boxer came along at a cheaper price. BTW, I like your home plan, nice and simple,
 

EatenByLimestone

Super Moderator
Staff member
I think a cat stove would treat you well. It'll allow you to turn down pretty far.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
Sounds like this may be near Boone, NC. In this case one can either size the stove for the coldest scenario or size it for heating most of the time with supplemental heat from the primary system in the coldest weather. The Alderlea T5 will work well here if non-cat is the goal.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,087
Downeast Maine
A Morso 2b would be right at home there. Load it more often when its really cold, light it once or twice a day when it's not so cold.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,267
Long Island NY
If you can do a manual j calculation to determine BTU needs you can better size the stove.

I would be hesitant to go with a small stove; loading often (when cold) or relighting twice a day (when warm) gets old quickly.


Look for a stove that, in BTU output, covers the range you need. The calculation is the best way to avoid frustration from mis-sizing a stove. And you'll have good data for the calculation because you know precisely what your home is like.

In the meantime design for a 6" flue. Most stoves want 15', but some can do 15. If you have a 15' 6" dia flue, your choices are largest.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,087
Downeast Maine
If you can do a manual j calculation to determine BTU needs you can better size the stove.

I would be hesitant to go with a small stove; loading often (when cold) or relighting twice a day (when warm) gets old quickly.


Look for a stove that, in BTU output, covers the range you need. The calculation is the best way to avoid frustration from mis-sizing a stove. And you'll have good data for the calculation because you know precisely what your home is like.

In the meantime design for a 6" flue. Most stoves want 15', but some can do 15. If you have a 15' 6" dia flue, your choices are largest.
The stove I suggested heats our slightly larger house in Maine very easily with three or four loads a day. In WNC it will be plenty unless the home is on a north facing slope or at the top of a mountain.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,267
Long Island NY
The stove I suggested heats our slightly larger house in Maine very easily with three or four loads a day. In WNC it will be plenty unless the home is on a north facing slope or at the top of a mountain.
I was not suggesting the BTU output could not be obtained with that stove. I was saying the frequent reloading and relighting at the lower range of BTU needs gets old. There are other solutions to that problem that do not involve frequent reloading or relighting.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,087
Downeast Maine
I was not suggesting the BTU output could not be obtained with that stove. I was saying the frequent reloading and relighting at the lower range of BTU needs gets old. There are other solutions to that problem that do not involve frequent reloading or relighting.
I didn't realize two lights a day was a big deal. It's a small stove, so it gets up to operating temperature in less than 45 minutes. Most people load a stove twice a day.
 

Larch

Member
Nov 13, 2021
43
BC
Lighting a stove 2 time's a day isn't that big of a deal but when I switched stoves to one that could burn low and slow I'd never go back now
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,087
Downeast Maine
Lighting a stove 2 time's a day isn't that big of a deal but when I switched stoves to one that could burn low and slow I'd never go back now
A cat stove is the only way I would put a larger (more than 1.5 cuft) stove in a 900 sqft house. WNC has a lot of temperature fluctuations, where it may be quite warm during the day, or for a few days, with random dips down below freezing. I wouldn't want a big cat stove loaded to the gills burning slowly for more than a day, since you can't exactly turn it off when it gets too hot in the house. With a little box stove you just load it not quite full if it's warmer, or stoke it back up if it gets cold. I like the flexibility in heat output of our Morso, but if we had to be away from the home for extended periods of time we would probably have a smaller BK or the VC Dauntless.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
Our climate is similar, though the Blue Ridge area can get colder than us at times. A 2 cu ft stove is well suited for this configuration, especially if the house does not have a wood cookstove as a secondary heat source for really cold days. One can always build a smaller fire during milder weather, but there is a definite limit in how much fuel can be stuffed into a small firebox. During cold winter weather it sure is nice to wake up to a warm house and hot coals for an easy start in the morning.

Mrs. Krabappel lives in the hills outside of Asheville. At Hearth.com's recommendation years ago, she went large with an Englander 30-NC to heat her old cabin. I have never heard of any regrets after many years of service. With an average January nighttime temp around 20º in Boone, NC, I would opt for a decent-sized stove with an overnight burn. The Alderlea T5 or a BK 30.2 series stove will do the job well.

PS: Be sure to plan on a ceiling fan in the great room area. That area may double the heated space requirement.
 
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Todd

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
9,791
NW Wisconsin
I heat about 1000 sq ft cabin with a F45 V2 and it heats it very well. the stove is very controllable and easy to operate. I can get 4-8hr burns from half loads or 9-12+ hr burns with full loads depending on the air setting, weather conditions and type of wood.

I thought about the Dauntless pretty hard, it was one of the nicest looking stoves out there but I’m still A little leery of their down draft system.

Blaze Kings are great stoves and have the best heat output control out there but you also have to replace the cat every 2-3 years and who knows what the future cost of that will be?
 

rijim

Feeling the Heat
Jan 19, 2009
274
RI
The 30.2 BK will burn 24hrs when turned down; there will be days when a small fire is all you can run it cat or non-cat. The ability to turn the BK down will allow for less of those than a non-cat; PE makes great stoves but I would go BK for ability turn down.
 

oilstinks

Minister of Fire
Jan 25, 2008
544
western NC
I'm not far from you. My home is heated with a Englander nc30. Counting basement (where the stove is at) I'm in the 2300sqft range.
 

blueapple

New Member
Sep 4, 2022
3
28753
The stove I suggested heats our slightly larger house in Maine very easily with three or four loads a day. In WNC it will be plenty unless the home is on a north facing slope or at the top of a mountain.
I lived for a couple of years in Vermont with a smallish, not particularly efficient wood stove. Couldn't begin to tell you the make. It definitely got old having to constantly load the box.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
I heat about 1000 sq ft cabin with a F45 V2 and it heats it very well. the stove is very controllable and easy to operate. I can get 4-8hr burns from half loads or 9-12+ hr burns with full loads depending on the air setting, weather conditions and type of wood.

I thought about the Dauntless pretty hard, it was one of the nicest looking stoves out there but I’m still A little leery of their down draft system.

Blaze Kings are great stoves and have the best heat output control out there but you also have to replace the cat every 2-3 years and who knows what the future cost of that will be?
Combustors in our stoves, for 90% of the owners, last much, much longer. I will agree that cannot be said about earlier cat stoves, but designs are all different. I also agree that no one can know future pricing for anything, including steel components, groceries or anything else.

In 2010, we participated in a study of combustor longevity. One other manufacturer also participated. Cat stoves were still not very popular with manufacturers in 2010. (compare that to the current list of 2020 EPA stoves).

Combustors were removed by 3rd parties, selected by the contractor (OMNI) for the purposes of this study. EPA was involved in this process to assure sufficient data was compiled. The full study and EPA's interpretation of the data are all part of the 2015 NSPS record.

Posted here is the white paper, authored by Dr. Jim Houck. Dr. Houck is considered by regulating agencies world-wide as the foremost authority on solid fuel combustion. He has since retired from OMNI Dr. Houck's observations have greatly influenced policy, rules and test methods.

There are folks on this site and elsewhere that are one with their stoves. They are sort of Obi wans of wood burning and their observations for their particular installations and applications are not to be discounted.
 

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Todd

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
9,791
NW Wisconsin
Combustors in our stoves, for 90% of the owners, last much, much longer. I will agree that cannot be said about earlier cat stoves, but designs are all different. I also agree that no one can know future pricing for anything, including steel components, groceries or anything else.

In 2010, we participated in a study of combustor longevity. One other manufacturer also participated. Cat stoves were still not very popular with manufacturers in 2010. (compare that to the current list of 2020 EPA stoves).

Combustors were removed by 3rd parties, selected by the contractor (OMNI) for the purposes of this study. EPA was involved in this process to assure sufficient data was compiled. The full study and EPA's interpretation of the data are all part of the 2015 NSPS record.

Posted here is the white paper, authored by Dr. Jim Houck. Dr. Houck is considered by regulating agencies world-wide as the foremost authority on solid fuel combustion. He has since retired from OMNI Dr. Houck's observations have greatly influenced policy, rules and test methods.

There are folks on this site and elsewhere that are one with their stoves. They are sort of Obi wans of wood burning and their observations for their particular installations and applications are not to be discounted.

Good info thanks. I could never get more than 2-3 years burning 24/7 out of my Woodstock’s or my BK Princess but according to the cat manufacture that works out to their 10,000-12,000 hour expected life so I was fine with that.

What worries me about future cat pricing is the Ukraine war. I heard we received most Palladian from Russia for catalyst production and now we don’t so how is that going to effect price?
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
Good info thanks. I could never get more than 2-3 years burning 24/7 out of my Woodstock’s or my BK Princess but according to the cat manufacture that works out to their 10,000-12,000 hour expected life so I was fine with that.

What worries me about future cat pricing is the Ukraine war. I heard we received most Palladian from Russia for catalyst production and now we don’t so how is that going to effect price?
Two very good questions.

1) "according to the cat manufacture", no. The company that promotes that narrative is NOT the manufacturer. They are a reseller of combustors and their job is to sell them. There are two US based manufacturers for combustors in our industry. Clariant (German owned) and Applied Ceramics. A third provider of substrates out of Texas provides the metal monoliths to the above two for precious coating applications.

2) The war is horrible in every way. Wood stove sales in Germany are absolutely insane. We get calls and inquires daily. Fortunately, while palladium is mostly available from Russia, it is also mined in Canada and other countries. It should also be noted that in my communications with EPA prior to the 2015 NSPS, I was able to get an Applicable Determination for suitable replacement of combustors, This means that a manufacturer can test using one combustor and then conduct two additional test runs using another brand/supplier, precious metal mix etc. So long as the secondary combustor achieves a +/- of the original test, the second combustor is deemed as a suitable replacement. This essentially provides manufacturers a "backup" in the event of supply disruption. It also allows the opportunity to look at the precious metal mix, such as using more platinum and less palladium. The two above combustor manufacturers are well-positioned in inventory of precious metals and suppliers. Getting a trucking company to deliver them...now that is an entirely different matter!
 

GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
561
Champion, PA
H’yall, another newbie looking for help to choose the right stove.

I’m building a 900 square foot, single-story house in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about 45 minutes northwest of Asheville. Altitude 2300 ft.

We do have a real winter, tho it’s a winter that might seem like a shoulder-month to someone from Vermont or Upstate New York. I want to make sure we stay comfortable through all three seasons the stove will be used. In other words, I don't want a stove that will fry us in April, so that we can be toasty warm in January.

The stove will be in the center of the house, right at edge of the living room. It would seem that a stove that provides lower, more consistent heat would be better suited to our situation than one that blasts out and then attenuates. Is that right?

So, right now I’m thinking about the Blazeking Ashford 20.2 (is the 30 too big?), the PE Alderlea T4 (is the T5 too big?), the Jotul F45V2, the VC Dauntless or Encore, or the Hearthstone Shelburne or Craftsbury.

Since the house is not yet built, I can make whatever adjustments I need to the plan to accommodate the specific requirements of the stove I choose.

From my research, it would seem that a catalytic stove like the Blazeking will provide the energy profile I’m looking for. But don’t catalytic stoves need a longer pipe? That might be hard to accomplish (or look odd) since this is a one-story house.

Also, how much should having a high ceiling in the great room affect our choice of stove (the bedroom and will be at 8')?

Many thanks

View attachment 298648
Nice place you have planned there. Im attempting to heat a 650 cathedral ceiling addition that also has a bathroom and small 9x9 office/rest area in it. When I did my research, I started with a Drolet escape w/ single wall pipe. Months later I landed with the VC Dauntless (3.1k) plus Duravent DVL double wall pipe (1.8k). I dont recall how I upsold myself, however I do know that it was probably something to do with 1. clearances that I could utilize in a tighter space where I planned my install and 2. having cast iron vs pieces of steel welded together. 3. Having a local dealer to choke. The stove states it heats 800-2000 sq ft. When I read that, I assumed 800 would be for the coldest regions and 2000 for areas more towards the south. So I figured it would take care of our space nicely and maybe leak some heat into the other parts of our cabin. I've done a few break in fires, and then a handful of 3-5 hour attended fires (then allowed to burn out throughout the night). All of these fires were a night, one during a rain storm. The outside temps were in the mid 60's/low 70s on all the fires. For each test, the cabin was at 69-71 degrees inside. After the stove ran at moderate temps of 500 degrees stove top for multiple hours, it only rose the expansion temperature to 74-75, and really didnt do much to the rest of the cabin. Maybe 71 in the room adjacent. I expected it to be a sweat box and was surprised we didnt really get it up there much. Now I do realize that it did get cooler as night went on, but honestly this expansion holds temps very well as I insulated it insanely. Aside from that, I dont have alot more to go on or real winter long testing just yet. I didnt use a ton of wood, or burn really hot or long, but I was in the mid 'optimal' range at 500 degrees stove top fwiw.
I dont see any area designated for HVAC or Water heater (also where are you putting your electric box). It gets plenty hot there. A split mini system with the main outside and two heads , one on the living space wall and one in the bedroom could work nicely for you if you dont mind the main unit being on the left side of that drawing. If you went that way, you would have supplemental heat during the winter to help a stove and to keep the place at a minimum temp to avoid freezing if you went away for a week or so, and it would also provide AC and dehumidification during the summer months.

Im assuming you are going to build this to be fairly air tight. To that point, you will want to consider that you will likely need an air intake line to the outside. On the VC, that would require you to go behind the stove, down to your crawlspace or basement, then out to draw in outside air so consider that into your construction. You could possibly elbow into the wall and down, and will be ALOT easier to do when the wall is just at studs. Or you could elbow down from before the wall but then you would need to go through your hearth pad system whatever that will be. Also for your hearthpad it appears near a traffic point. I would either build something high enough that it's so damn obvious to avoid 8" or so, or build it as low as possible to avoid people stubbing their toes and tripping over your hearth pad. The VC Dauntless has no requirement under the stove other than a non combustible material. So a thin piece of steel or 1" of cement board + tile works. You could create a sloped 'ramp' from floor material (if using wood flooring) and even LVT up to the edge of the hearth so toes wont be stubbed and people are less likely to trip on a ramp rather than a sudden edge.

Also it appears your stove pipe exit will miss any main beams, however do yourself a favor and plan to be able to push the stove closer to the wall or further away in order to miss roof rafters with your pipe and support box(assuming your beam will run in the middle from top to bottom of that picture and rafters will go left to center and right to center). If you do as I did, and plan to have a stove in an EXACT spot, you will find yourself using elbows :). When I designed my place, I said 'ok stove goes here" and didnt think about the fact that venting out through the roof vs the outside wall would have been much better (and cooler looking). So I have to go over to miss the beam, and enough so that I could get flashing under shingles without hitting the roof vent, and because I was going over and up - I didnt want to mess around with an exact length then find out that I put the support box too far over and now I have to move the stove so I went with telescopic pipe which has a minimum run.
 
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