Small (400 sq. ft.) Home Wood Stove Advice

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jamdem

New Member
Oct 27, 2021
6
MN
I’ve been mulling over the right wood stove for my small home, have probably spent hundreds of hours in research and am still somewhat undecided on what the best route to go is. Have looked at other similar threads but just would like some more advice .

Little background on the building and location:
This will be the sole and primary source of heat, no way to add a heat pump or anything for supplemental heat.

Located in Minnesota so can see temps below 0. Building is new construction, 16x25 (400 square ft) single “Room” two small lofts that are open to the main floor, so the ceiling from main floor to peak is roughly 16’. R42 in ceiling and floor, R21 in walls. Lots of windows so a lot of thermal lose there.

Tax credit is nice but not overly important, the right stove is more important to me, would like to stay under $3,000 for a new stove, Non-Cat as others will be using the building so don’t wanna deal with it.

I was originally looking at the Morsoe 7110 B, but my local dealer kind of talked me out of it as it would be just too small and awkward for a full time heater, which I tend to agree.

He advised me on the Lopi Answer, which I really do like the wide open loading door that can easily fit 18” splits. But at 1.5 cu. Ft. I’m worried it may even be too small, not overly concerned about long overnight burns I would guess after 8hrs I may still have coals for a restart and hopefully the building will hold heat from the prior night. Just looking for a simple smallish stove that’ll fit the space and provide adequate warmth even on cold days. Is the Answer just too small or will I be pleased with it, or should I look for a 2 cu. Ft. stove? 400 square ft isn’t large but I don’t wanna be fussing with the stove constantly and burning it at max heat for the space just to keep up with sub 0 outside temps, but also don't want a huge stove that takes up valuable space in a small home.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,441
central pa
For that small of a space I would absolutely be looking at cat stoves. Anything small enough to not overheat the space is going to be really short burn times without a cat
 
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jamdem

New Member
Oct 27, 2021
6
MN
For that small of a space I would absolutely be looking at cat stoves. Anything small enough to not overheat the space is going to be really short burn times without a cat
Yes I tend to agree, just trying to stay away from Cat stoves with the amount of people using the space that would be unfamiliar with it. Again not looking for 8+hr burn times, anything above 6 would be great.
 
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jamdem

New Member
Oct 27, 2021
6
MN
Any suggestions on the Lopi Answer for this situation? There is a relatively new thread about a member having issues with their Answer, making me somewhat nervous.
 

snobuilder

Feeling the Heat
Dec 16, 2021
431
WI
I have thought about others having to use the stove as well. I would suggest an older refurbished one or one still in good shape. There is way more involvement and learning with the newer epa compliant hi efficiency stoves. And for such a small highly insulated room a small pot belly type will do the trick.
Saving wood is a cute thought but usability is number one if it is a shared unit alla BnB.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
There is something seriously wrong with that other thread. It is not representative of the general situation.

And while this site may have quite a few folks with issues, EPA stoves are not harder to run than older stoves. In fact the poster above was complaining that EPA stoves don't offer enough control, i.e. there is not enough to do/adjust/control by the user. His anti EPA stance here is thus inconsistent.

And finally, this site contains tww kinds of people. Those with issues needing help and stove enthusiasts. The normal happy user just had no reason to be here. (I guess I called myself not normal...) So you'll see a relatively large number of complaints in view of the overwhelming majority of happy EPA stove users.

Buy an EPA stove that has been around a while. Install it according to specs and you'll be happy.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,441
central pa
I have thought about others having to use the stove as well. I would suggest an older refurbished one or one still in good shape. There is way more involvement and learning with the newer epa compliant hi efficiency stoves. And for such a small highly insulated room a small pot belly type will do the trick.
Saving wood is a cute thought but usability is number one if it is a shared unit alla BnB.
What is more involved about them?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,441
central pa
This site us full of nervous new epa stove owners
And an equal percentage of nervous new owners of non EPA stoves. New stove owners are nervous untill they figure things out regardless of the stove
 
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snobuilder

Feeling the Heat
Dec 16, 2021
431
WI
And an equal percentage of nervous new owners of non EPA stoves. New stove owners are nervous untill they figure things out regardless of the stove
The OP is refering to other ppl using the stove perhaps for the first time and he is concerned about the intricacies of these new epa stoves vs. A simple air in one way and smoke out the other type stove which is what I suggested.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,441
central pa
The OP is refering to other ppl using the stove perhaps for the first time and he is concerned about the intricacies of these new epa stoves vs. A simple air in one way and smoke out the other type stove which is what I suggested.
And many modern stoves do exactly that.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
The OP is refering to other ppl using the stove perhaps for the first time and he is concerned about the intricacies of these new epa stoves vs. A simple air in one way and smoke out the other type stove which is what I suggested.
No the OP was concerned about another user having issues. I.e. reading a bad review. The OP did not mention "the intricacies of these new epa stoves".

The concern of the OP is valid; if I am looking at getting a new stove, and see someone having major issues, I'd want some explanation.

My message to the OP is that the other thread with the trouble is not reflective of the stove as far as we can see here. The stove is not inherently problematic. While the cause of the issues there are not yet clear, I see no reason to distrust this Lopi - or EPA stoves in general.
 
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bigealta

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2010
706
Utah, NJ
My jotul f400 epa stove, burns similar to (but not the same) as the old jotul3 non epa stove it replaced. The epa f400 does not get out of control like the old 3 could easily do. To get the best performance out of the f400 some knowledge and experience is required. Specifically dialing in the secondary burn rate. But if you just run it without "dialing in secondary combustion" it still burns great with secondary combustion happening on its own to a large degree. The 3 would either smolder, burn great or over fire depending on how the draft was set. With the f400 with the draft open 1/2 or more it will burn fine. No worries for the most part. Stove pipe temps are much more stable and consistent with the f400 epa stove. I did love the 3 but the f400 epa is much much better.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,441
central pa
I'm not at all worried about the new EPA stoves, I'm worried about having the ideal stove for the space, EPA rated or not.
Any of the newer small stoves will work fine. Look around at what you like aesthetically and will fit the space well physically. They will pretty much all work well and be safe as long as they are set up. Properly
 
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bigealta

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2010
706
Utah, NJ
OP - Just make a short video on how to build a fire in your wood stove for Air BnN people or other guests. I see that's how many others do it. Sure you will get some knuckleheads but that's just part of the deal.
 
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jamdem

New Member
Oct 27, 2021
6
MN
No the OP was concerned about another user having issues. I.e. reading a bad review. The OP did not mention "the intricacies of these new epa stoves".

The concern of the OP is valid; if I am looking at getting a new stove, and see someone having major issues, I'd want some explanation.

My message to the OP is that the other thread with the trouble is not reflective of the stove as far as we can see here. The stove is not inherently problematic. While the cause of the issues there are not yet clear, I see no reason to distrust this Lopi - or EPA stoves in general.
I'm actually not as concerned about other users having difficulty using the stove, my concern with the other thread on this stove was its inability to heat the space (but as everyone mentioned something is off there), I will be using it 80% of the time so the handful of people that do use it I can instruct properly.
I am more inquiring about the choice in stove itself as being sufficient and appropriate for the space and usage. Or if I will be dissatisfied with how small it is. Know many people recommend nothing smaller than a 2 cu ft. stove for full time heating, but that just seems overly large for my space (although high ceilings).
 
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clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
2,330
Colorado
Because I believe the person who started this thread wants convenience as well as warm heat and be dependent on this heat for winter time in a small place (400sq) with two additional areas connected somehow I would think that a cat stove would be best for the person..especially in MN..for it does get really cold there...Just a opinion...Now if the person wants to go completely off the grid--that's another type of stove...so many stoves and it is so hard to choose for they have some very beautiful ones out there...I was nervous too...and still am.....lol old clancey
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
I'm actually not as concerned about other users having difficulty using the stove, my concern with the other thread on this stove was its inability to heat the space (but as everyone mentioned something is off there), I will be using it 80% of the time so the handful of people that do use it I can instruct properly.
I am more inquiring about the choice in stove itself as being sufficient and appropriate for the space and usage. Or if I will be dissatisfied with how small it is. Know many people recommend nothing smaller than a 2 cu ft. stove for full time heating, but that just seems overly large for my space (although high ceilings).
I know. I didn't say that the "issues" in the other thread were not difficulty operating.

In any case, it's easier to have a small fire in a bigger stove, than needing to push a stove because it's too small for the space. This may mean restarting the stove more often (intermittent fires).

OR you can go with a stove that has a large range of heat outputs, so one can run continuously. Some cat stoves can do that, but I understand the preference for no-cat given that there'll be inexperienced folks using it who might ruin a cat (at a cost).
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,441
central pa
I'm actually not as concerned about other users having difficulty using the stove, my concern with the other thread on this stove was its inability to heat the space (but as everyone mentioned something is off there), I will be using it 80% of the time so the handful of people that do use it I can instruct properly.
I am more inquiring about the choice in stove itself as being sufficient and appropriate for the space and usage. Or if I will be dissatisfied with how small it is. Know many people recommend nothing smaller than a 2 cu ft. stove for full time heating, but that just seems overly large for my space (although high ceilings).
Like others said that thread is not typical. There is something strange going on in that thread
 
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jamdem

New Member
Oct 27, 2021
6
MN
I know. I didn't say that the "issues" in the other thread were not difficulty operating.

In any case, it's easier to have a small fire in a bigger stove, than needing to push a stove because it's too small for the space. This may mean restarting the stove more often (intermittent fires).

OR you can go with a stove that has a large range of heat outputs, so one can run continuously. Some cat stoves can do that, but I understand the preference for no-cat given that there'll be inexperienced folks using it who might ruin a cat (at a cost).
Thank you, I'm starting to lean that way and move away from the Answer, others I've looked at would be the Lopi Evergreen at 2.2 cu ft. or the Pacific Energy Super Classic at 2.1 cu ft. although they seem quite large for the small space, may be less hassle for full time heating.