Will I be disappointed replacing an old Vermont Castings with a new stove?

Graycenphil Posted By Graycenphil, Jul 11, 2018 at 10:30 PM

  1. Graycenphil

    Graycenphil
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    First of all, thanks for a great forum. I’ve been through a lot of it, but still have a lingering doubt.

    Specifically, I read through a 25 page thread from last year by a member who replaced his old stove with a big Blaze King. The final conclusion seemed to be that his new stove just didn’t put out the btu’s that his old one did, and couldn’t heat his whole basement plus the upstairs.

    The Bkaze King is certainly high on my list of new stoves. I’m looking for higher efficiency (less wood burned) and cleaner air and chimney.

    But I’m a litttle concerned I might have the same problem. We live in NE Connecticut, 2000 square foot house, fairly well insulated but a lot of windows and doors. Not terrible winters, but always a few weeks of temps in the teens (F) or lower, and a few below zero nights. During those periods, I run my Vermont Castings Vigilant wide open, and it keeps the house comfortable, but certanly not overheated. Maybe 70 max in the daytime; on a cold night the oil burner will kick on as the stove is closeed down to last all night.

    We burn all hardwood. Mostly maple, oak, ash, hickory, and some birch.

    Will I also find that a modern clean stove won’t make the high output that I need on the really cold days? Currently my wood is seasoned for 6 months to a year. In the future, I’ll dry it longer, but will I have a problem this winter?

    Thanks.
     
  2. petersh

    petersh
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    I think you will be disappointed. I will replace my Vermont Castings if it is broken
     
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  3. bholler

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    The only advantage you vc has over any modern stove is in peak output. But your peak is very short while even tube stoves will give you a much longer peak. Bk will give you lower heatoutput but at a nice even rate. And you will get much more heat out of each peice of wood
     
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  4. Graycenphil

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    Thanks, Petersh and Bholler. When you say very short peak, how long are you talking about? On a cold, cold day, I’ll run the stove at what seems maximum to me (pretty full of wood, air set wide open, diverter lever closed so exhaust is not going directly up the pipe) for a few hours, then refill it and continue. Would the new stove not be able to produce this amount of heat?

    I certainly like the idea of getting more heat from each piece of wood. But I want to be sure I can keep the house warm too.
     
  5. Ashful

    Ashful
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    You must be speaking of Marshy, as he is the only person on this forum of which I can think, who hasn’t been completely thrilled in switching from an old stove to a BK. His situation is unique, in that to keep his abode warm, he had to rip thru a cubic foot of wood per hour. His old stove allowed for that mode of burning, but the BK did not.

    If you are in a similar extremely high load situation, you may have the same issue, but at that point you should really be shopping furnaces. In fact, if I recall, Marshy ended up ditching stoves altogether, switching to a wood furnace, himself.

    If you’re like most folks, needing 4 to 10 cubic feet of wood per day to keep your house warm, then you’ll do just fine with an EPA stove. BK is among the best, my personal favorite for many reasons, but there are many choices that could suit you.
     
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  6. blades

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    Just a note the BK King uses a 8" flue, if the VC has same great if not something to think about.
     
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  7. peakbagger

    peakbagger
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    It would help if you told us what model VC. Makes a big difference.

    Unless you have solar kiln or some other method of accelerated wood drying, your wood is not dry. The VC will handle it, newer EPA stove may not at all or may require a lot of playing with. Dry your wood an extra year and your VC will suddenly start to put out more useful heat and you will burn less wood. The big benefit to EPA stoves is better combustion at lower loads, if you are running the VC flat out, its pretty darn efficient but the second the draft control is operating and its turned down or the bypass damper is open then its smoke dragon and an EPA stove is the way to go.
     
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  8. moresnow

    moresnow
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    Welcome to Hearth by the way;)

    Let this soak and keep a eye on it. Maybe add your square footage and home layout/stove location etc. for more feedback.
     
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  9. Graycenphil

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    Thanks everybody.

    Moresnow: I edited my original post to include a few details I accidently left out. It is a 30 year old Cape, 2000 sq ft, stove in the dining room, exhausting into a central brick chimney (6 “). Fairly open floorplan downstairs, so the kitchen, living room and dining room all heat up fine. Plenty of heat drifts upstairs too. The downstairs bedroom and den are slightly less warm, but I have added supplemental electric baseboards, though we rarely turn them on. Electrically heated tile floor in the downstairs bathroom, because it does stay cool and the warm floor is so nice.

    Peakbagger: It is a Vigilant. I left that out, but have now added it to my original post too. My wood dries in a fairly tightly packed shed, so I’m sure you are right that it is not particularly dry. I usually start with dead wood or trees that have been down for a few months, but not always. Perhaps the first thing I should do is just build a second shed and get a year or two ahead... Except on those really cold days, my stove is turned down at least partly. But I do want to be able to warm the house when it is really, really cold too.

    Blades: My stove is 6”, as is the thimble on my chimney. But there are other BKs with 6” flues, aren’t there?

    Ashful: I burn maybe 4 - 6 cords per winter, so I’m not going through an enormous amount of wood. But I do want to make a lot of heat on those cold, cold days.

    Someone recently suggested a Woodstock hybrid soapstone, a radiant stove. Maybe the best of both worlds?

    Thanks again; this forum is great. High tech meets low tech. Though I guess the new stoves aren’t really so low tech anymore.
     
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  10. Ashful

    Ashful
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    So, your wood usage is more moderate, esp. considering that’s pre-EPA usage. You can expect your usage to be substantially less, in a more efficient stove, which is nice all around (less loading, less weekends processing and stacking).

    Woodstock is a top-notch company, with nicely engineered and supported product. It’s hard to not like them. In the case of my house, they wouldn’t work for several reasons, but they were one I considered early on.

    Yes, most BK’s use a 6” flue, only the King requires 8”. I have two BK Ashford 30’s on 6” flues, and they do a great job in my house.

    Look over the BK and Woodstock product lines, and we can surely answer any questions you’ll have. At your usage and sq.ft., I’d be looking at the Princess or the 30 from BK, both of which use 6 inch flues. The three “30” stoves (Chinook, Ashford, Sirocco) are all the same stove, with different outer jackets, and are the most convective designs from BK.

    One of the Woodstock guys can tell you the best models to consider from that line, but I’m betting the Progress Hybrid will be high on the list.

    The convective vs. radiant thing has been discussed quite a bit here, and opinions vary, but the consensus has been that in “normal” framed houses the difference really doesn’t matter much. And if you think about it, the companies making either type aren’t going to choose a clearly inferior technology for the average home. In my particular house (18th century masonry), radiant stoves just flat out will not work, the masonry soaks up all of that radiant energy. There many be another type of construction in which a convective stove won’t work (although I can’t imagine what that would be). Also remember that even the most convective stove still puts off a very large fraction of its total heat in radiation, thru the front window if nowhere else. Don’t get hung up on this, unless the construction of your house is very unusual.
     
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  11. moresnow

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    Definitely look at the Woodstock Ideal Steel and Absolut Steel as they are a newer generation/evolution in the Woodstock line. I believe they are all considered hybrid models that include both 2ndary tubes and Catalysts. I just wish Woodstock offered fans. They have been a necessity in my home. With my tube stove and my Cat stove.
     
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  12. begreen

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    The old Vigilant was a nice stove, but there are lots of stoves on the market that will match the Vigilant for output and exceed its burntime. You may miss some of the Vigilant features, but you will gain other features like a beautiful fire view that will make up for it. Look at stoves in the 3 cu ft range for longer burntimes than the Vigilant.

    If you want a classic looking stove the check out the Quadrafire Explorer III, Pacific Energy Alderlea T6, Blaze King Ashford 30.1, Hearthstone Manchester.
     
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  13. weatherguy

    weatherguy
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    There's a ton of new stoves that will be an improvement on your current stove. I live close to you and I have a progress hybrid that heats my 2800 sf by itself unless it gets frigid. The princess would work for you. The progress hybrid and the ideal steel in addition to what Begreen listed. The PH isn't fully about moisture content in wood, 24% burns just fine although I shoot for under 20.
     
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  14. Graycenphil

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    Thanks Weatherguy. Do you use a moisture meter? What proccess for splitting and drying - covered, in a shed, in a kiln? I don’t really even know what 20% or 24% looks like. I Know dry wood when I see it, but is it that dry; I have no idea.

    Also, did you get your stove at the store ion West Lebanon, or is there someone in our area you like?
     
  15. bholler

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    Get yourself a moisture meter. They dont cost to much and being that you are an experinced wood burner you will probably only use it a season or two till you learn what truely dry wood feels and sounds like but it is a good tool. To dry fast i split small and stack single rows with good wind and sun exposure top covered as soon as its stacked.
     
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  16. Graycenphil

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  17. bholler

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  18. moresnow

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  19. Graycenphil

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    Just ordered one. Incredible, $8 and free shipping.
     
  20. weatherguy

    weatherguy
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    Yeah, I drove up there and picked up my stove. When starting late for firewood (still happens to me) I'll get a few cords of ash since it dries quick. There's a guy in town that sells kiln dried, it's a little more money but one year in a pinch I bought a couple cords, was still cheaper than oil.
     
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  21. Blazingembers7749

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    Im not sure the cape cod was mentioned thats a thats a heck of a stove too. If convection is what ur after its got one of the higher cfm blowers i beleive and you could always get the green start ignition if thats your thing.
     
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  22. Graycenphil

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    Thanks Blazingembers. I’d never heard of the company; it does look very, very nice. But $5,000....
    I am curious about the automatic fire starting system. How does that work?

    I’m leaning toward the Woodstock Ideal Steel. Sounds like it will do what I want, the company is nearby, they have lots of great reviews for both performance and customer service and the price is very fair. But if anybody has a different opinion, please feel free to voice it.

    Thanks.
     
  23. Blazingembers7749

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    Its basically a air pump with a hot surface ignitor. The pump when activated blows hot air past the igniter and and the hot air will ignite the wood. The air pump can also be used as a bellows to restart easier when there are only small embers.
     
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  24. Blazingembers7749

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  25. barnaclebob

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    Starting a fire is easy enough, especially with a small propane or MAPP torch. I wouldn't worry about an auto start feature. It seems like they made it for people who have wives that want to be able to push a button.
     
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