Should I upgrade?

Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
315
WI
Im on the fence on whether to upgrade or stick with the ol' VC(mid 80's Vigilant). Was main heat until i got furnace, now not used as much(wood hog). Still use when temps get frigid. Was thinking maybe a cat stove? Would rather not replace chimney($) so would have to be rear exit. Thoughts? Opinions? Options? Pic of current setup posted.
 

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Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
2,703
Ottawa, ON
Im on the fence on whether to upgrade or stick with the ol' VC(mid 80's Vigilant). Was main heat until i got furnace, now not used as much(wood hog). Still use when temps get frigid. Was thinking maybe a cat stove? Would rather not replace chimney($) so would have to be rear exit. Thoughts? Opinions? Options? Pic of current setup posted.
Limited options with rear vent. Woodstock keystone comes to mind. Great heater apparently.
 

Ludlow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2018
1,415
PA
Maybe some new gaskets would make it burn more efficient. Probably leaks air terribly.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,178
Iowa
What is the distance from top of hearth surface to center of thimble? This will really focus your options if you are not interested in altering the current setup.
Are you venting into a insulated stainless steel lined chimney now? Or is it clay lined?
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,240
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I would look at the rear flue requirement as a happy excuse to limit your choices to Woodstock stoves. Their mid size PH would look great there.
 
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Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
315
WI
Limited options with rear vent. Woodstock keystone comes to mind. Great heater apparently.
Just saw a used Keystone for sale the other day, but missed out... that's what got me thinking about upgrading. Nice looking unit.
 
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moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,178
Iowa
There have been some real pleased WS Absolute Steel guys lately. Not sure about the fit. Worth a snoop!
 
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Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
315
WI
What is the distance from top of hearth surface to center of thimble? This will really focus your options if you are not interested in altering the current setup.
Are you venting into a insulated stainless steel lined chimney now? Or is it clay lined?
I believe its 25-28", will have to verify. If I have to build up the floor because a new one is lower, I am up for that. brick chimney with steel liner. In middle of house, not external, roughly 35 feet tall(old 2 story farm house).
 

Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
315
WI
There have been some real pleased WS Absolute Steel guys lately. Not sure about the fit. Worth a snoop!
Never heard of them before. Nice stoves. Affordable too. Sweet how its a tube type and cat stove all in one.
 

Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
315
WI
I believe its 25-28", will have to verify. If I have to build up the floor because a new one is lower, I am up for that. brick chimney with steel liner. In middle of house, not external, roughly 35 feet tall(old 2 story farm house).
forgot to add...8" flue. May have to update chimney if that limits options. ;sick
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,364
North Eastern MA
I upgraded from a mid 80's VC Resolute to WS Fireview and then the Progress Hybrid.

Advantages: Much less wood usage, much much longer burn times
Disadvantage: just the cost
 

Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
315
WI
Maybe some new gaskets would make it burn more efficient. Probably leaks air terribly.
I know it needs a new griddle gasket. Others look decent.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,240
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Never heard of them before. Nice stoves. Affordable too. Sweet how its a tube type and cat stove all in one.
The Woodstock line does not use tubes, they use a perforated stainless steel plate for the firebox roof. This is a good thing since the typical ceramic baffles are very damage prone. Also, the tubes aren't there hanging down into the firebox. You wouldn't think they would get in the way being only like 1/2" thick usually but I bonk them a lot while loading.

The keystone looks good but is a tiny stove that excels in heating a small home. Your chimney length and location make me think that you would benefit from more horsepower of the larger line.
 
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Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
315
WI
The Woodstock line does not use tubes, they use a perforated stainless steel plate for the firebox roof. This is a good thing since the typical ceramic baffles are very damage prone. Also, the tubes aren't there hanging down into the firebox. You wouldn't think they would get in the way being only like 1/2" thick usually but I bonk them a lot while loading.

The keystone looks good but is a tiny stove that excels in heating a small home. Your chimney length and location make me think that you would benefit from more horsepower of the larger line.
I didn't mean actual tubes, just the type with secondary air. The Ideal Steel Hybrid has peaked my interest.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,240
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I didn't mean actual tubes, just the type with secondary air. The Ideal Steel Hybrid has peaked my interest.
Got it. The IS is slightly bigger than my medium sized princess at 3.2 CF though Woodstock has been overly optimistic in the past with their firebox measurements so you're getting a pretty large medium stove with the IS. The biggest that woodstock makes. The IS is the stove I would choose from woodstock if I had to replace my princess cat stove since it is welded steel, very efficient, a straight in front loader, easy cat access, and user reports show a wide range of available outputs. It can burn at really low settings for a long burntime or high settings for a shorter burn time. The PH for comparison, though smaller, can not be turned down as low so burn times are much shorter.

The Woodstock stoves don't look normal. Neither does my BK. Must be something about these high performance stoves that they have to be weird looking! So be sure that the "look" will fit in with your house.
 
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moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,178
Iowa
has peaked my interest
You are standing at the top of a very slippery slope.....

Engage checkbook
;lol
Enjoy. A new efficient stove is a great investment in my opinion. Keep us informed as you go!
 

Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
315
WI
Got it. The IS is slightly bigger than my medium sized princess at 3.2 CF though Woodstock has been overly optimistic in the past with their firebox measurements so you're getting a pretty large medium stove with the IS. The biggest that woodstock makes. The IS is the stove I would choose from woodstock if I had to replace my princess cat stove since it is welded steel, very efficient, a straight in front loader, easy cat access, and user reports show a wide range of available outputs. It can burn at really low settings for a long burntime or high settings for a shorter burn time. The PH for comparison, though smaller, can not be turned down as low so burn times are much shorter.

The Woodstock stoves don't look normal. Neither does my BK. Must be something about these high performance stoves that they have to be weird looking! So be sure that the "look" will fit in with your house.
I kind of like the look. Not your cookie cutter wood stove look. Big old farm house...that look would fit right in.
 

Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
315
WI
You are standing at the top of a very slippery slope.....

Engage checkbook
;lol
Enjoy. A new efficient stove is a great investment in my opinion. Keep us informed as you go!
More than willing to open checkbook for a new stove, not so much for propane....
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,178
Iowa
not so much for propane....
Agree. Completely. LP cost per year is the main reason I started burning wood. Your in WI. Surely you lived through the ridicules LP prices a few years back. Doesn't take long to justify a wood stove!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,698
South Puget Sound, WA
Trying to find a rear exit stove that has a flue exit height that aligns with the current setup is going to severely limit options. Is there a reason why the current flue thimble couldn't be raised to afford many more choices?

Also, how close is the stove to the Christmas tree?
 

Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
315
WI
Agree. Completely. LP cost per year is the main reason I started burning wood. Your in WI. Surely you lived through the ridicules LP prices a few years back. Doesn't take long to justify a wood stove!
It was ridiculous. After this winter, I will have saved enough to pay for the wood furnace I just put in.
 
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Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
315
WI
Trying to find a rear exit stove that has a flue exit height that aligns with the current setup is going to severely limit options. Is there a reason why the current flue thimble couldn't be raised to afford many more choices?

Also, how close is the stove to the Christmas tree?
It could be raised a little bit, but I would rather not bust out any more bricks than I have to. Yeah, the tree is actually touching the stove. I let the kids put it up. Haven't been using the VC, so no worries. Will be moving it this weekend, cold weather heading our way so I will be firing it up.
 

Gearhead660

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
315
WI
There have been some real pleased WS Absolute Steel guys lately. Not sure about the fit. Worth a snoop!
WS are only available from them directly, right? No dealers?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,698
South Puget Sound, WA
WS are only available from them directly, right? No dealers?
Correct. They have a generous trial period and treat their customers well, but the shipping costs need to be taken into account.
 

mar13

Feeling the Heat
Nov 5, 2018
274
California redwood coast
If it's not urgent and money is an issue, you may want to bid your time and wait for a wood stove replacement program. For example, an old one in WI is mentioned at: https://www.gagnonclayproducts.com/introducing-the-wisconsin-wood-stove-exchange-program/ . If there's a change in political parties in D.C. come 2020 and a "Green Deal" implemented, I wouldn't be surprised if the Feds start doing some energy related rebates again, like was done 10 or so years ago.

I used a California program to replace my 1980s VC Vigilant, but I had to wait a few years for a worthwhile program to come around.

That said, the old Vigilant could certainly crank out the heat (and eat wood), if I needed to warm the house up quickly. Not so much with the more wood-efficient new stove.