Small stove options? narrowed to VC Aspen or Morso 1440 Squirrel

KRN

New Member
Feb 21, 2021
5
Austin, Texas
I live in Central Texas so I don't see below freezing very often. I'm looking for a compact wood stove that can add some heat to the house as a supplement and provide backup heat during an outage. My house is 1600 square feet but I'm not looking to heat the whole thing. I'd be happy if my wood stove can warm the living area which is open concept living/kitchen/dining so about 600 square feet or so. I can close off doors that go to this main area. My house is overall pretty tight and i have to have a path around furniture for my son's wheelchair so space is really a challenge. My current hope is in a corner as tight as possible. The Aspen and the Squirrel (1440 convection) will tuck in tight. After thorough research, reading, etc., I've narrowed it down to two units that seem workable:

VC Aspen - I like the North South arrangement so bigger logs. I like the system controlling the burn rate so there's very little for me to do. I assume it will maintain a heat level that will reduce creosote and other buildup. I also like that it is long so there is a large burner space in the front. I don't like the smaller window as there's less fire to see.

The second stove I really like is the Morso Squirrel Side 1440. It is convection vs. radiant and has very tight spacing also. (much better than the 1410). I like that it has a larger window so you can see more fire. I also like that I could turn down the air flow a bit and maybe stretch out the fire but then too cold and creosote... It also would have a smaller cooking surface as it is square. Further, the square shape means 12" max logs so a lot of cutting.

From the reviews I've read of both, it seems like the Aspen lasts longer than the squirrel.

Are there any other stoves I should be looking at that allow for really tight spacing from the corners and will burn longer than either of these?

Thanks in advance!
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
520
SE North Carolina
I like 1440 best. I’d start laying out hearth pad and stove demsions on the floor with tape. I have 1,7 cu ft stove and about 1000 sq feet open living space and it never gets too hot. (2000 sq ft total up stair). For another one to look at might be the PE NEO 1.6.

if I were doing a new stove I’d make sure it’s on the tax credit list ( only if you have tax liabilities). Here is the Quadra fire that I know qualifies. https://www.quadrafire.com/products/discovery-i-wood-stove?page=Specifications

There is a big difference between 1.5 and .75 cu ft stoves. The bigger ones you might be able load at 10 pm and relight at 6 am. Not so much with the smaller stoves.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SpaceBus

KRN

New Member
Feb 21, 2021
5
Austin, Texas
Thanks! I'll check out the PE as well. I didn't have time this weekend but I'm going to do exactly what you mentioned... i.e. tape off the floor where the pad and stove would be. The east west like the Quadra are wider and with the side spacing have to be back farther into the room but they are shallower overall so it's a bit of a tradeoff. The squirrel will actually sit a little bit shallower overall than the VC, at least from my 3D cad drawing mockup.

I definitely am interested in the tax credit, lol. Thanks for the heads up on that as well.
 

theora55

Member
Mar 8, 2008
56
Southern Maine
I live in Central Texas so I don't see below freezing very often. I'm looking for a compact wood stove that can add some heat to the house as a supplement and provide backup heat during an outage. My house is 1600 square feet but I'm not looking to heat the whole thing.

VC Aspen - I like the North South arrangement so bigger logs. I like the system controlling the burn rate so there's very little for me to do. I assume it will maintain a heat level that will reduce creosote and other buildup. I also like that it is long so there is a large burner space in the front. I don't like the smaller window as there's less fire to see.

The second stove I really like is the Morso Squirrel Side 1440. It is convection vs. radiant and has very tight spacing also. (much better than the 1410). I like that it has a larger window so you can see more fire. I also like that I could turn down the air flow a bit and maybe stretch out the fire but then too cold and creosote... It also would have a smaller cooking surface as it is square. Further, the square shape means 12" max logs so a lot of cutting.
Is the Morso Squirrel eligible for the 26% tax credit? VC Aspen is eligible. The list is on the forums.
Are there local dealers? It's easier to get service from local vendors.
I have been running a Waterford Fionn, quite similar in specs to the Aspen, for 12 years, in Maine. Supplemental heat, allows me to keep the living room cozy and the rest of the house can be chilly, and I burn a lot less oil. It has kept my 1,000 sq ft house warm-ish, and pipes safe, during power outages. In Texas, to keep a living room warm in cold snaps, and as backup for a power outage, the size would work. Nice to be able to heat water, soup, etc. I'd kind of prefer a square shape, and am leaning towards East-West, because the stove uses a lot of real estate.
 

KRN

New Member
Feb 21, 2021
5
Austin, Texas
Is the Morso Squirrel eligible for the 26% tax credit? VC Aspen is eligible. The list is on the forums.
Are there local dealers? It's easier to get service from local vendors.
I have been running a Waterford Fionn, quite similar in specs to the Aspen, for 12 years, in Maine. Supplemental heat, allows me to keep the living room cozy and the rest of the house can be chilly, and I burn a lot less oil. It has kept my 1,000 sq ft house warm-ish, and pipes safe, during power outages. In Texas, to keep a living room warm in cold snaps, and as backup for a power outage, the size would work. Nice to be able to heat water, soup, etc. I'd kind of prefer a square shape, and am leaning towards East-West, because the stove uses a lot of real estate.
My local dealer carries the Aspen and, of course, much more expensive options. The Aspen box is a bit bigger -- 1.3cf I think -- thank the Morso. I've pretty much given up on the squirrel because of the tiny box. I'll keep looking at the squares, though, until it's time to pull the trigger. After our central texas superfreeze, everyone is scrambling so I'm just going to wait out the craziness and buy in the summer when it's 110 outside and they are much more receptive to a customer. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: EbS-P

KRN

New Member
Feb 21, 2021
5
Austin, Texas
I've gone through the database for tax-credit qualifying wood stoves that are smallish. I keep coming back to the Aspen C3 for tight clearances, larger logs (16"), OK-size firebox, decent looking, and relatively inexpensive. I do have one question that maybe another aspen owner can answer:

Let's say a chimney fire happens. I need to shut down. The manual says to close the air control lever and the damper. I'm familiar with the damper but the aspen is "automatic" and doesn't seem to have a manual air control. Their customer service email said the same, lol. Am I missing something? Is there a manual air control that's not in the parts diagram or manual?
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,371
Downeast Maine
As a squirrel stove owner, I vote squirrel stove. The Aspen does look like a fine stove and probably does a great job. The 1440 will take a very short piece of firewood, so something to keep in mind.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
86,454
South Puget Sound, WA
I've gone through the database for tax-credit qualifying wood stoves that are smallish. I keep coming back to the Aspen C3 for tight clearances, larger logs (16"), OK-size firebox, decent looking, and relatively inexpensive. I do have one question that maybe another aspen owner can answer:

Let's say a chimney fire happens. I need to shut down. The manual says to close the air control lever and the damper. I'm familiar with the damper but the aspen is "automatic" and doesn't seem to have a manual air control. Their customer service email said the same, lol. Am I missing something? Is there a manual air control that's not in the parts diagram or manual?
The 1440 firebox is tiny, like around .5 cu ft. It basically burns only kindling. If you want a Morso, get the 7110 which is closer to the Aspen size. I'd get the Aspen both for the size of the space being heated and the tax credit. The Aspen is self-regulating. Reports are it works quite well.

Note that even when you close down the air control on an EPA stove, air is still admitted. Avoid anxiety about chimney fires by burning only fully seasoned firewood. If you have a chimney fire, get out of the house and call the fire dept.
 

Texas123

Member
Apr 12, 2016
132
Stephenville, TX
I live in North Central Texas southwest of Ft. Worth and am familiar with the winters. Based on this past week of power outages and sub zero temperatures I have to disagree with either unit.
When death is outside at ten degrees and no power you want the maximum BTUs you can provide. This is because the structure is loosing heat faster then a smaller stove could provide. I would not choose anything that is small or compact but go for the largest stove you can fit in the house. As many here have typed, you can build a small fire in a large stove but cannot build the larger fire in a smaller stove.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
86,454
South Puget Sound, WA
They are only looking to heat 600 sq ft in an emergency.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SpaceBus

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,371
Downeast Maine
If looking at the Aspen perhaps the 2b Standard would be a good choice. I heat 1200 sqft with a 2b Classic.
 

KRN

New Member
Feb 21, 2021
5
Austin, Texas
TEXAS123 Said: I live in North Central Texas southwest of Ft. Worth and am familiar with the winters. Based on this past week of power outages and sub zero temperatures I have to disagree with either unit.
When death is outside at ten degrees and no power you want the maximum BTUs you can provide. This is because the structure is loosing heat faster then a smaller stove could provide. I would not choose anything that is small or compact but go for the largest stove you can fit in the house. As many here have typed, you can build a small fire in a large stove but cannot build the larger fire in a smaller stove.

I appreciate the sentiment but even when the temps were down to 1 degree F, my lowest house temp was in the low 40s. My heating system (heat pump) is capable of heating the entire house @ peak 42K btu. The aspen is listed as peak 35K BTU or so based on specs. I cannot imagine how that stove could not keep a 600 square foot section of my house over 50 degrees as long as I keep feeding it. Maybe I'm incorrect here and need to rethink...
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
86,454
South Puget Sound, WA
If looking at the Aspen perhaps the 2b Standard would be a good choice. I heat 1200 sqft with a 2b Classic.
The 2b is a great little stove, but a bit smaller than the 7110 (or Jotul F602) and half the fuel capacity of the Aspen C3.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,371
Downeast Maine
TEXAS123 Said: I live in North Central Texas southwest of Ft. Worth and am familiar with the winters. Based on this past week of power outages and sub zero temperatures I have to disagree with either unit.
When death is outside at ten degrees and no power you want the maximum BTUs you can provide. This is because the structure is loosing heat faster then a smaller stove could provide. I would not choose anything that is small or compact but go for the largest stove you can fit in the house. As many here have typed, you can build a small fire in a large stove but cannot build the larger fire in a smaller stove.

I appreciate the sentiment but even when the temps were down to 1 degree F, my lowest house temp was in the low 40s. My heating system (heat pump) is capable of heating the entire house @ peak 42K btu. The aspen is listed as peak 35K BTU or so based on specs. I cannot imagine how that stove could not keep a 600 square foot section of my house over 50 degrees as long as I keep feeding it. Maybe I'm incorrect here and need to rethink...
I heat a space twice that with a stove the size of the Aspen just fine in Maine winters.
The 2b is a great little stove, but a bit smaller than the 7110 (or Jotul F602) and half the fuel capacity of the Aspen C3.
Is it really that much smaller than the 602? My 2b Classic, which is the same size, holds an 18" split and is otherwise the same size as the 602. Peak BTU output is 35kBTU/hr, in the same ballpark as the Aspen C3, 602, and 7110.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
86,454
South Puget Sound, WA
.69 cu ft compared to .89 for the 7110 and 602. Aren't you also using the wood cookstove regularly in the winter?
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,371
Downeast Maine
.69 cu ft compared to .89 for the 7110 and 602. Aren't you also using the wood cookstove regularly in the winter?
We heated the house our first winter with just the 2b Classic, but on the below zero nights I am waking up to load and the house is not near 80df like it is when temps stay above single digits. Without the wood cookstove I am loading the Morso every 6-8 hours on cold days and the house stays above 70df all day.

Now with the cookstove installed I load both stoves about 2/3 full when I wake up and the Morso will go cold until I load before bed or my wife wants a sauna. Throughout the day the cookstove may be loaded again to cook lunch and I almost always load it to cook dinner. The cookstove does heat the house, but not as well as the Morso and it uses more fuel to bring it up to the same temp. When the outside temps drop below the double digits at night I will load both stoves absolutely full before I go to bed. Now I don't have to reload during the night and the house is above 60df when I get out of bed. If the Morso is burning consecutive loads I can barely be in the living room and have to sit in the kitchen area. If both stoves are going and the weather is mild I have to wear shorts and a tank top!

I guess the 2b Standard has a different firebox because our Classic is rated at .82 cuft. Still tiny, I know, but every bit counts on a smaller stove.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
520
SE North Carolina
I think that having splits that are sized to maximize the amount you can load, and good dry high btu wood probably would make a bigger bigger difference than .2-.3 cu ft. I waiste so much volume loading odd sized pieces from my scrounging. That said if you want your cake..... get a bigger cake and eat it too
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
86,454
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, it's easier to err on the little bigger side. One can always build a smaller fire. I also get pleasure from seeing the fire so that carries some weight with me.