Seeking input on first stove - small fireplace, small house

AMABGFNB

New Member
Sep 13, 2020
9
CT
Hello all,

I am looking for the first woodstove to put into my home. Both my wife and I want to reduce our fossil fuel and incomplete combustion use, and living in New England, wood stoves seem the way to go. I had a wood stove at my past two homes and I miss how cozy they are.

we are currently looking at a new US Stove 2000. Linked below. We will be installing whatever we purchase into an existing but unused fireplace with a lintel height of only 30 inches. The chimney will be lined with an insulated 6 inch flex pipe, which seems to be the standard for wood stoves and inserts of this size. The chimney is external to the home so I am running an insulated liner to minimize creosote. Chimney is easily accessible so cleaning isn’t too big of a chore if it isn’t constantly needed.

i have done a little research, I think I know what I want, but I am open to input. We are looking to keep the home warm using this stove. The house is a 800 sq ft split level cape cod. 8ft ceilings, well insulated attic (R30 I think),all double pane windows, no big drafts, bedrooms are above the level of the fireplace.

I was hoping for a catalytic insert (Princess 29 for example) for the long burn times, high efficiency, and low air pollution, but I’d rather not shell out>$4k right now, what with all the *excitement*in the country. I am hoping to pick up a decent stove that isn’t too expensive and gets the job done for a few years without being a pain in the ass.

I’m having trouble sorting through all the information online to find the best specific model, is my real issue. I know what features I want, but finding a good value stove that provides those features without buying a low quality piece of chit is the rub.

so, does anyone have anything to say about this model stove? Any other recommendations? I can provide specific dimensions for my fireplace. My budget is anywhere under $1500 is comfortable.


(listing for wood stove https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/us-stove-2-000-sq-ft-pedestal-wood-stove-with-blower-us2000e-bp)
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,052
07462
I started off with a US stove 2500 from tractor supply, as advertised the stove heated pretty good, there were times that I had to have the windows open during a snowstorm (nemo was one of them)
Unfortunately the stove did not last long, I got 3 seasons out of before I finally got tired of maintenance issues, my first issue was when cleaning the chimney you have to remove the re-burn tubes and drop the ceramic baffle (you dont want to crack this baffle) all the tubes had to be re-tapped using stainless steel screws, the sheet metal screws from the factory just snapped in-place, that was tough to do since its a small fire box and you need to get the angle right with the drill.
The second issue I had was the baffle started to get very fragile on the second season of use, not a big deal to replace, until I saw the price tag, made me grind my teeth.
The 3rd issue was the door gasket, I forget the size thats recommended but I bought the replacement at tractor supply, put the gasket in and it was worse then the old gasket as far a sealing, apparently there are few controls at the factory in China and the grove was to deep, so I to take the door with me to a stove shop and get a off-sized gasket to fit ($$$) During this time I gave the stove a brief inspection and saw cracks forming on the steel stove body near the door, this might have been fixed from the factory though, another member here brought the US 3000 and has half moon groves cut into the steel rather then just squared off, just open the door and see for yourself.
EPA changed the clean air rules for stoves back in the spring (2020) - I know a lot of manufacturers had to re-vamp there existing stoves to meet the new rules, some of the cheaper budget stove makers just simply got rid of there air-control robs and made the stove lines single use control, meaning there's no air adjustment, personally if the US 2000 is like this, I would avoid installing it, you want to have air control since some chimney systems due to environment draft better then others.
For the same price range look into Drolet stoves (home depot and lowes carries them) many here seem to really like the quality of that brand, another brand to avoid is the Englander stoves - particularly the NC -13, while its a smaller stove, the factory is making huge mistakes with door warpage issues.
Also keep in mind, if your installing a freestanding wood stove into a fireplace (which can be done, but inserts are better) the blowers on the free standing units are usually located in the back of the stove, you need to account for that extra space and then make sure your flue collar still lines up and that you have the minimum 16" of hearth in front of the loading door
 

AMABGFNB

New Member
Sep 13, 2020
9
CT
Hey that’s really good feedback, so thank you.
I was leaning towards an insert due to size considerations but wasn’t blown away with what I heard about their ability to heat a space. There are definitely more inserts that fit the tiny ass fireplace in my home.
 

Fat wood

New Member
Sep 12, 2020
9
Va.
In 2009 i paid $2000 for a Harmon stove. Long story short look at the cost of maintenance whats involved to work on it. If you burn 24/7 like me im on my 3 rd combustion box at $400 a pop. Plus the fire brick are custom for over $100 each. So i took it out for a mama bear. What are the laws in your area for a non epa stove? Is that a option? I will miss the look and long burn time of the Harman, but the cost of ownership killed me.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,700
South Puget Sound, WA
Hey that’s really good feedback, so thank you.
I was leaning towards an insert due to size considerations but wasn’t blown away with what I heard about their ability to heat a space. There are definitely more inserts that fit the tiny ass fireplace in my home.
A properly installed insert can be a nice heater. They are in many homes. The 30" lintel is good. What are the rest of the fireplace dimensions? Is there a mantel or other combustibles that need to be factored in?
If you are on a tight budget, look at some mid-sized ~2 cu ft Century and Drolet inserts. There is also the TrueNorth TN20.
 
Last edited:

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,052
07462
There's nothing wrong with sticking a larger free standing unit into the space, its just got to fit to make it work, I agree that inserts for smaller fireplaces tend to have more shallow firebox's, to be honest once you get below the 1.5cu fire box size, trying to heat tends to turn into a chore, especially towards the end of the season with having to re-lit the stove constantly, also sometimes people dont consider that ash build up takes up space, further reducing loading, and burn times. I tend to clean my stove out every other week, but its in the 3cu range, cleaning out a smaller stove more frequently is a pain and dusty, no matter how careful you are.
Remember when shopping to look at the clearances of what ever stove, keep in mind that existing trim / mantles and stuff might need to be relocated or moved, you will also need 16" in front of the loading door, thats easy to tile out if the stove requires ember protection only underneath it / in front of it, if the stove requires more protection then you need to figure out how to add a thicker front while keeping the stove level, possibly reducing even more height space into the fireplace.
Also you want to consider after installing the liner down the chimney, a block off plate that goes around the liner in the smoke shelf area of the fireplace, you can add fireproof insulation to the top of the sheet metal, this keeps the heat from being radiated out and going up the chimney or being absorbed into the chimney's masonry.
 

AMABGFNB

New Member
Sep 13, 2020
9
CT

Someone asked for measurements so here is a nice diagram. I’m planning to install a hearth extension of some type, I don’t want to folk up these original wood floors with a really tile or brick extension but I am sure I can find something to install semi-permanently that will be to code and fire safe.

I will look at the fireboxes of any inserts, I saw that most of them don’t seem to be too dramatically smaller than a freestanding stove would be for this fireplace given that it would have to stand within the fireplace to meet the floor requirements.

I always look at manuals and had planned to look at rhe maintenance schedules before buying. Wood stoves feel like shopping for a car in some ways. Thanks for the heads up though. I am trying to get something that isnt projected the constantly need expensive repairs. Doing that already with the oil burner, lol.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,700
South Puget Sound, WA
Thanks that helps. The fireplace is a bit shallow at 15" depth. What is the depth at 23" off the floor of the hearth? The Century CW2900 would work if it was a little deeper. One option would be to splice a simple extension onto the surround.

Given how shallow it is, the Drolet 1500i might fit better.
 

AMABGFNB

New Member
Sep 13, 2020
9
CT
So it looks like I measured the fireplace depth from the top of the fireplace rather than the bottom. 15 is the shallowest, i did a quick measure and it looks like its ~17 inches deep at 23 inches tall. I think the Century might fit.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,918
central pa
In 2009 i paid $2000 for a Harmon stove. Long story short look at the cost of maintenance whats involved to work on it. If you burn 24/7 like me im on my 3 rd combustion box at $400 a pop. Plus the fire brick are custom for over $100 each. So i took it out for a mama bear. What are the laws in your area for a non epa stove? Is that a option? I will miss the look and long burn time of the Harman, but the cost of ownership killed me.
Harman's are one of the most expensive and difficult stoves to maintain. And they aren't even on the market anymore. There are many other new stoves on the market that are low maintenance and easier to use than that harman.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,700
South Puget Sound, WA
So it looks like I measured the fireplace depth from the top of the fireplace rather than the bottom. 15 is the shallowest, i did a quick measure and it looks like its ~17 inches deep at 23 inches tall. I think the Century might fit.
Sounds like it.
 

AMABGFNB

New Member
Sep 13, 2020
9
CT
So the Century does not fit. The sides of the chimney taper in and the shoulders of the unit are 26 15/16 inches wide. The rear wall is only 24 inches wide, so the unit cannot recess all the way up to the rear wall. The units overall minimum recess is 15 7/8” and the fireplace is 15 13/16” deep, too shallow by 1/16”. Normally I’d wing it and assume I could fudge 1/16”, but because the unit is already too wide, it is going to be too shallow by whole inches.

Curse this tiny chimney! I will look at other suggestions made here.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,052
07462
Double check that by taking cardboard and cutting a templet of the inserts width and length, then with a tape measure check the height at the rear, adjust the unit outwards from there.
 

AMABGFNB

New Member
Sep 13, 2020
9
CT
I will double check that, I’m fairly confident in the measurements anyways, but that’s foolproof.

in the meantime I measured and the Drolet1500i will barely squeak in.

So assuming my measurements aren’t wrong, which I will double check after work, it looks like my choices are to extend the surround, (which if it is as simple as it sounds, I can do, my dad and I are reasonably handy) and go with the 2900, or get a Drolet. I get the sense that the Century option is the better choice, but what am I sacrificing with that trade in model, brand, and size? I think I can guess at the obvious (smaller, shorter fires, lower BTUs) but anything not immediately obvious?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,700
South Puget Sound, WA
I will double check that, I’m fairly confident in the measurements anyways, but that’s foolproof.

in the meantime I measured and the Drolet1500i will barely squeak in.

So assuming my measurements aren’t wrong, which I will double check after work, it looks like my choices are to extend the surround, (which if it is as simple as it sounds, I can do, my dad and I are reasonably handy) and go with the 2900, or get a Drolet. I get the sense that the Century option is the better choice, but what am I sacrificing with that trade in model, brand, and size? I think I can guess at the obvious (smaller, shorter fires, lower BTUs) but anything not immediately obvious?
Figure out how close the fit is for each stove. A cardboard mockup is a good idea. If it's just the upper corners you may be able to take an angle grinder and carve out the brick an inch or two to fit.
 

AMABGFNB

New Member
Sep 13, 2020
9
CT
Figure out how close the fit is for each stove. A cardboard mockup is a good idea. If it's just the upper corners you may be able to take an angle grinder and carve out the brick an inch or two to fit.
I’ll see how deep of a gouge it would have to be. I’d rather not punch holes in the brick just for moisture reasons. How thick are these bricks, typically?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,700
South Puget Sound, WA
I’ll see how deep of a gouge it would have to be. I’d rather not punch holes in the brick just for moisture reasons. How thick are these bricks, typically?
There should be at least 8" of brick there, 2 layers.
 

AMABGFNB

New Member
Sep 13, 2020
9
CT
There should be at least 8" of brick there, 2 layers.
Ok, so that’s definitely a reasonable option. I have literally never used the fireplace because they’re a disappointing waste of heat, so I don’t mind ruining it. I will make a dummy and see what I get.
 

AMABGFNB

New Member
Sep 13, 2020
9
CT
Aight so kind of a reversal from my previous comments, but after looking into a few different options, I wasn’t satisfied with any of the choices. My father suggested a Jotel 100 F, which he has, but it is a small unit and I want something that can provide a fair amount of heat for a fair amount of time. While looking at that unit I looked at the Jotel F 45 and found that it fits in the fireplace while only requiring a hearth extension or heating pad. It is a bit higher than my budget but I think it might be worth the extra expenditure to get a unit that I will be happy with. Does anyone have any input into this unit? I believe Jotel is generally well regarded.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,700
South Puget Sound, WA
The Jotul F45 has been out for a while now and a good stove. The new model is the F45v2 which uses a proven method to increase efficiency and clean burning. It looks like a simple and trouble-free design.