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FloridaMan

New Member
Jul 11, 2021
2
Florida
We are designing a ~1200 sq ft single story all-electric grid tied PV home to be built in midcoast Maine using IECC 2018 as the basis. The stove will be in the "great" room (~500 sq ft with vaulted ceiling) with R30 floor, R25 wall, R49 ceiling, U<0.3 windows. The stove will be placed in a corner and the flue length will be ~17-18 ft. The goal for the stove in order is: 1) entertainment value of watching a nice fire - think Yule Log loop on TV during the holiday season; 2) back up heat/cooking in case of extended power outage; 3) supplemental heat as needed. Additional considerations: 1) 26% tax credit qualifier; 2) ease of use and maintenance; and probably most important "wife approved."

We have narrowed down the search to the following stoves: Lopi Evergreen, Quad Fire Discovery 1, Lopi Rockport, Blaze King Sirocco 20/30, Blaze King Ashford 20/30. The first 2 being non-catalytic.

I have been reading threads on Hearth.Com for the last week, visited many company web sites, viewed lots of on-line videos, and have seen the BK stoves in person. After all that I'm leaning toward the Lopi Evergreen for the following reasons, but some of it might be marketing hype, so I'm hoping y'all will straighten me out. First, I like the idea of the "real" fire bricks in the Lopi stoves and am particularly Leary of the fire blanket in the Quad Fire (or is the difference just marketing). Second, my impression is that it will be simpler to get an entertaining fire in a non-cat stove (this is where I'm least confident that I have good information to base this idea). Third, the simpler maintenance in a non-cat stove (marketing or reality?).

I want to thank you in advance for any insights that you can provide.
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,398
Colorado
If the main focus is for entertainment and back up heat and cooking in a great room I would think a non catalytic stove would be best because of not needing electricity to run....unless you plan to have a string of batteries for the back up..Just a opinion mrs clancey
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,563
Southeast CT
If the main focus is for entertainment and back up heat and cooking in a great room I would think a non catalytic stove would be best because of not needing electricity to run....unless you plan to have a string of batteries for the back up..Just a opinion mrs clancey
I could be wrong but I don’t think catalytic stoves need electricity unless to power blowers.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,569
Eastern Long Island NY
correct, my cat stove does not need electricity.
However, a fireview (which also implies wife-approved?) requires the cat stove to run at fairly high heat output because at lower output it looks more like a black box.
Cat stoves are good in getting output comparable to secondary burn stoves when run in the higher ranges, but are adding output range on the bottom end, being able to run low and slow (and thus very long on one load, in particular when combined with a thermostat). It seems to me that that is not your main goal here.

To me this suggests a smaller (because "fireview" means you don't want to burn to slow in any stove, and burning higher should not cook you out of the room) non-cat stove may be best.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,486
Northern NH
My standard caveat.

New stoves need truly dry wood, they will not run or will run poorly with damp wood. There rarely are reliable firewood suppliers who advertise The ones that do inevitably sell wet or partially dried wood. On rare occasions there will be suppliers who offer kiln dried wood but you will pay a big premium. (a local premium wood supplier in NH charges $85 for 1/4 cord of "seconds" from their kiln dried campfire wood business) It takes a minimum of one year since the wood has been cut split stacked and covered. Some common hardwoods like Oak takes two years . Sitting in log length does not count. So cut your own or buy your wood, its highly likely that you will be stacking it and letting it sit for a year before burning. If you are desperate for a fire that first year buy some biobricks. Visually they are no attractive but they will burn and not plug up your chimney with creosote. If you have dry wood the stove you listed are all quality units.

The other caveat is that stoves are designed for range or heating outputs, they do not idle well and in many cases they are designed to have hidden air inlets to prevent them from being turned down. If you want a small fire then put in less wood and be prepared to feed it small amounts of wood more often.
 
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Rob_Red

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2021
290
Southern New England
I second the dry wood comments, personally I have found a 25$ moisture meter (used properly) to be invaluable. My stove hates any wood that's more than 22-23%. and burns FAR better with 20% or less.

Also one thing I wish I knew going into this is the chimney means a lot for both performance and safety. Either a properly installed insulated liner or a full metal class A I think is mandatory for heating with wood with peace of mind. I spent more for my chimney setup than the stove it's self but i will have no hesitancy this winter stuffing the stove and going to bed, or going out to dinner with the fire going.

Lastly around me a chimny sweep is around 200-275 bucks for something basic and during the busy season you'll wait a couple of months untill they can do the work, for the amount of burning I do, I need to clean twice a season at least. For me it was crucial to be able to self clean my chimney.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,134
Downeast Maine
I have a 1200 sqft house north of you in coastal Washington county burning a Morso 2b Classic for primary heat. It's a little smaller than I would suggest to other people, but you don't really need anything more than 2 cubic feet in firebox capacity for your location with all that insulation and solar heating. With your selections I would only go with the BK 20 stoves, pick which one you like the look of more.
 

xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,332
Lackawaxen PA
Your plan is very sound. Build the most efficient house you can afford. Make the stove the focal point in the room. We never get tired of the fire ball show. Ours is the only heat most of the time. When we get lazy the thermostat kicks in and heats the house. Most full size wood stoves don't need blowers, so there a great when the powers out. I'am a no cat guy, just don't like the fact they are costly and need replacement. I haven't done anything but door gaskets in 22 years. But many here will say cat is the way to go. They can make the case for a cat.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,638
South Puget Sound, WA
The need for a blower is often determined by the house layout and stove location. Other factors like heat loss rate and the desired speed of heating up the area and house heat loss rate can factor in. We have a big stove, but an old house. When it gets in the 20s I typically run the blower, at least in the morning. But in the 30s and 40s natural convection is adequate.
 

FloridaMan

New Member
Jul 11, 2021
2
Florida
I want to thank everyone for their comments. We will make sure to get a quality chimney installed and keep it maintained. If there is one thing that comes across clearly in the forums is that wood needs to be well seasoned. When the property is cleared this year, we'll have the trees split & stacked - it will be about a year until we have the stove installed.