Wood stove purchase help

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eastcoastcanada

New Member
Dec 31, 2016
74
Torbay, NL Canada
Hi, I'm new here and I hope to gain some insite on wood burning stoves before my purchase. I read many threads but I'm not sure if I'm completely understanding the information and some threads are old and dead.

I have a 10 year old 2200 sf split entrance bungalow with all electric heat. I'm planning on installing a wood burning stove in the basement family room. That location will put the stove below the 3 main for bedrooms and adjacent to a fourth bedroom. I have never burned wood in my home before but spent some of my youth cutting, hauling, splitting and stacking cord wood with my dad. I said that I would never put a wood stove in my own home when I grow up and yet here we are. My wife and I are in our early 40s, the kids are pretty self sufficient and we spend more time home now. We both want the glow of a wood fire and we want to cut down on the heating costs. I've already checked with my insurance company and its about $100/year extra and I've just finished cutting, junking and stacking about 4 cords of firewood for next season.

So now that you have read a short story, I'm having trouble with stove selection and cost. I'm leaning towards a Quadrafire Millennium 3100. It's of thick steel construction and has ACC (auto combustion control). It's on discount for about $2600 tax in with blower but do I need to spend that much on a wood burning stove? You generally get what you pay for but it's $1200 more than a Century FW3000 with blower. I've looked at everything from $900 Defender all the way up to a $3600 Blaze King and it's mind boggling.

I want it to regulate the burn cycle kind of like a Newmac stove with the bimetal spring, I want it to have at least a 10hr burn, I want to see the fire and I want it to be a cost effective affair. I'm having trouble figuring out the relationship between efficiency, btu output and emissions.
Any suggestions, information or recommendations? Can I save a bunch by buying south of the border?
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,866
South Puget Sound, WA
The Century is a good deal. There are many good Canadian stoves, like Regency, Pacific Energy, and Enviro. If you are trying to save money Drolet and Century stoves offer good value and are made by SBI in Quebec. Their Osburn line is the fancier version of the Drolet. Also take a look at Englander stoves which are sold by Canadian Tire and Home Depot.
 

JA600L

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2013
1,274
Lancaster Pennsylvania
I have the Quadra fire 4300ACT Millennium. For your house I would say bump it up to the 4300. You will want the extra firebox size.

What you need to understand about emissions and efficiency is that it all comes down to how much heat you keep in your house.

The more smoke or heat you send up the chimney the less efficient the stove is.
You want to see flame, but the more flame you see that means more heat goes up the chimney.

So ideally you get the stove up to temperature and damper it down to where there is just a small trickle of flame at the top where it burns the smoke. The more air you send into the stove the more heat goes out the chimney and more cold air enters your house. It will always be this way.

The real factor will always be the wood you put in the stove. If you use good dry 2-3 year seasoned hardwoods you will get lots of heat with a very low air setting and you will still have some visible flames in the box. Using wet wood means smouldering fires with more air and smoke and less heat in the house.

In short, pick whichever stove you like and focus on developing a system for seasoning all of your wood to 20% moisture content or less.
 

wayne.nestor

Member
Nov 3, 2016
127
Baltimore MD
This is the big brother of the model I have ( the Madison ). I'm heating a smaller place than you have but I have zero insulation ( brick on cinder on plaster ) and so far its keeping up in below freezing temps. When I run her full blast, I can heat the main floor to 85 and the upper floors to 75 -80.

Not sure if you have a Lowe's nearby but it's sold under different names. Google the model number ( 50-SHSSW02 ) http://low.es/1iDDASV


Here's the one I have which is slightly smaller : http://low.es/1FqfIHf

It's rated at 50k BTU and for up to 1800 feet vs the model above

Main advantages are since it sits in a high pedestal, there is no floor hearth requirement. Just ember / spark protection. Also, minimum clearances are awesome. I'm having no issues with there it sits in my townhome. The couch / walls get warm but not uncomfortable. The heat seems to bellow from the front and top.

Also....you can't beat the large beautiful window!!!! That's really what sold me. The View :)


8841f29f1eeea062cc9c5ee41840e090.jpg

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
 
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eastcoastcanada

New Member
Dec 31, 2016
74
Torbay, NL Canada
I have the Quadra fire 4300ACT Millennium. For your house I would say bump it up to the 4300. You will want the extra firebox size.

What you need to understand about emissions and efficiency is that it all comes down to how much heat you keep in your house.

The more smoke or heat you send up the chimney the less efficient the stove is.
You want to see flame, but the more flame you see that means more heat goes up the chimney.

So ideally you get the stove up to temperature and damper it down to where there is just a small trickle of flame at the top where it burns the smoke. The more air you send into the stove the more heat goes out the chimney and more cold air enters your house. It will always be this way.

The real factor will always be the wood you put in the stove. If you use good dry 2-3 year seasoned hardwoods you will get lots of heat with a very low air setting and you will still have some visible flames in the box. Using wet wood means smouldering fires with more air and smoke and less heat in the house.

In short, pick whichever stove you like and focus on developing a system for seasoning all of your wood to 20% moisture content or less.

So in short...you don't really think I'm going to gain anything from spending 2 or 3 times as much on a Quadrafire, Regency or Pacific Energy as apposed to a 'home centre' wood stove (Century, Drolet, Englander, etc.) so long as it's big enough and my wood is dry enough. That correct?
No hardwood in my local area. My cutting area contains mostly spruce, fir and larch or juniper as we call it. I'm told and have read that 8-9 months in junked form is sufficient seasoning time however, I intend to stay 2 to 3 years ahead once I've started.

And...Would you buy the quadrafire over again? Are you so impressed with its performance?
 
Last edited:

eastcoastcanada

New Member
Dec 31, 2016
74
Torbay, NL Canada
This is the big brother of the model I have ( the Madison ). I'm heating a smaller place than you have but I have zero insulation ( brick on cinder on plaster ) and so far its keeping up in below freezing temps. When I run her full blast, I can heat the main floor to 85 and the upper floors to 75 -80.

Not sure if you have a Lowe's nearby but it's sold under different names. Google the model number ( 50-SHSSW02 ) http://low.es/1iDDASV


Here's the one I have which is slightly smaller : http://low.es/1FqfIHf

It's rated at 50k BTU and for up to 1800 feet vs the model above

Main advantages are since it sits in a high pedestal, there is no floor hearth requirement. Just ember / spark protection. Also, minimum clearances are awesome. I'm having no issues with there it sits in my townhome. The couch / walls get warm but not uncomfortable. The heat seems to bellow from the front and top.

Also....you can't beat the large beautiful window!!!! That's really what sold me. The View :)


View attachment 191658

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
That part number appears to be sold under the Englander name at my local home depot and the Timber Ridge name at my local Canadian Tire. It retails for $1500 Canadian.
 
Last edited:

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,866
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, it's about $900 stateside. In Drolet look at the Baltic II and the HT2000. There is also the Napoleon 1900 which is made in Quebec but a bit more expensive than the Drolet.
 

VirginiaIron

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2013
1,086
Central Virginia
If I recall correctly, Quadra fire pioneered that Noncatalytic efficient burning technique. In the early 1990s we justified the extra price for our Quadra fire for that very reason and technology because we didn't want a catalytic device after hearing of all the complaints about them. When we move to Virginia in the mid 90s we also purchased a Quadra fire for that very reason. IMHO- Today it seems like everybody has the same/similar clean burn Noncatalytic technology and it is hard to justify the extra price unless you want special appearances fit and finishes that the common man may not have or cannot afford. With that said, I think there are less expensive clean burning stoves that have acceptable fit and finishes that should perform similar to the higher-priced competitors. Things to consider are the service of the dealer and the manufacturer and warranty. Honestly, I think once you buy it and put the stove into service it's yours for the keeping, so consider that before paying high retail. This is why we went with Lowe's because of there if you're not happy bring it back guarantee. There is one other dealership online, I think Northline express, that offers a 30 day trial which I find is very impressive- check the terms. We gambled on putting a larger stove in our home and so far it's been the right choice. We can bring it up to a given temperature and just feed it intermittently with smaller pieces/loads or fill it full and let it cruise for most of the day. Our stove has a fairly hi transference of heat yet it seems to hold the heat for an acceptable length of time.
 
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bcrtops

Feeling the Heat
Nov 14, 2016
286
NW Oregon
Yes, it's about $900 stateside. In Drolet look at the Baltic II and the HT2000. There is also the Napoleon 1900 which is made in Quebec but a bit more expensive than the Drolet.

@begreen is the resident wood-stove encyclopedia. He always comes up with a large list of appropriate stoves. I'll bet if you asked him which of all these stoves only require a spark protection hearth, he could list 'em off. :)
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,866
South Puget Sound, WA
If I recall correctly, Quadra fire pioneered that Noncatalytic efficient burning technique. In the early 1990s we justified the extra price for our Quadra fire for that very reason and technology because we didn't want a catalytic device after hearing of all the complaints about them. When we move to Virginia in the mid 90s we also purchased a Quadra fire for that very reason. IMHO- Today it seems like everybody has the same/similar clean burn Noncatalytic technology and it is hard to justify the extra price unless you want special appearances fit and finishes that the common man may not have or cannot afford. With that said, I think there are less expensive clean burning stoves that have acceptable fit and finishes that should perform similar to the higher-priced competitors. Things to consider are the service of the dealer and the manufacturer and warranty. Honestly, I think once you buy it and put the stove into service it's yours for the keeping, so consider that before paying high retail. This is why we went with Lowe's because of there if you're not happy bring it back guarantee. There is one other dealership online, I think Northline express, that offers a 30 day trial which I find is very impressive- check the terms. We gambled on putting a larger stove in our home and so far it's been the right choice. We can bring it up to a given temperature and just feed it intermittently with smaller pieces/loads or fill it full and let it cruise for most of the day. Our stove has a fairly hi transference of heat yet it seems to hold the heat for an acceptable length of time.
I like Quads, they are WA state made and very good stoves but I think the Avalon stoves were the first EPA tube stove in the mid 80's from history that Craig posted in a much earlier thread. Both Quad and Avalon were made in response to tighter regs in WA and OR. Blaze King and others introduced some cat solutions then too. Before that Vermont Castings and Cawley Lemay introduced different methods for cleaner burning, but not up to modern specs.

https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/the-short-story-of-a-stove-genius.119156/
 
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VirginiaIron

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2013
1,086
Central Virginia
I stand corrected, it was the quad-burn technology that burns the gases four times. Anyhow, I think it had the lowest emissions of the noncatalytic stoves at that time.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,866
South Puget Sound, WA
"Quad burn" is mostly marketing methinks. Most all tube stoves burn that way based on the definition.
 

VirginiaIron

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2013
1,086
Central Virginia
"Quad burn" is mostly marketing methinks. Most all tube stoves burn that way based on the definition.

Methinks there's a lot of that going around too.
 

Niko

Minister of Fire
Nov 12, 2013
521
Dutchess county, NY
get a blaze king wood stove. Check for yourself the countless post and threads in this forum on the product. Also check to see if you can find a used one. You can't the reason why everyone keeps em. You might find 20-30 year old model. But you will find tons and tons of other stoves for sale used.

If you are using this as your primary heat source do you really wanna feed it 3 times a day? I'm 39 years old I work, married with a 4 year old, a dog and am fixing up my house. The last thing I want to do is add more stuff to my lists of what to do. Really think about your purchase, I myself was a little shocked at wood stove prices when looking 3 years ago. But I am glad I bought a king ultra amd i drove 3 hrs to get it! I took one season to learn as I was a rookie never burned in any type of cat stove before. But This forum and its members has helped me out a lot.

The stove is my primary heat for my 3,000 sqaure foot house and it does a great job of keeping it hot and warm. I have learned a lot of what to do and what not to do. I fill my stove once every 24hrs! And clean out the ash in it like ever 3 weeks+. Seasoned wood is the number one thing for this stove. You will notice a huge difference. The more i learn the longer my burn times are getting as i dont fill my stove with wood in every little crack of space and i dont individually pic what wood goes in at what times. I can get longer burn times but my schedule of burn times works for me perfect and its not like my stove is on low either. Downstairs its like 80+ and upstairs i range from 72-67 depending on part of the house, the colder parts i will be addressing with better insulation in the Future. I use no fans to move the heat around just natural convection from stove And my house has many different rooms with 9 foot ceilings.

Be very strategic on where you put your stove. Remember its not central air, whatever room you put it in that room will be the hottest. For me i put it downstairs near my stairs that go up and also near my patios doors for easy access to outside for realoads. Every piece of the puzzle will ensure that the stove makes your life easier and not harder.
 
Last edited:

eastcoastcanada

New Member
Dec 31, 2016
74
Torbay, NL Canada
Based on the comments and input from previous owners and others here, I no longer believe that the Quadrafire is worth the extra cash. I am a person who believes that you get what you pay for but I actually have to see a tangible difference and I just wasn't seeing that in the other expensive stove brands. I've noticed that Kent Building Supplies has their wood stoves on sale now. $200 - $250 off is pretty nice. There's a Nepoleon Timberwolf 2200 that includes pedistal, ash pan kit and blower on sale for $1050. It's efficiency is listed at 86% on their website and I have not seen any stove with those efficiency numbers other than the catylatic models. I guess I have to go look at what they have in store this week.
Thank you all for your input.
 

Niko

Minister of Fire
Nov 12, 2013
521
Dutchess county, NY
Based on the comments and input from previous owners and others here, I no longer believe that the Quadrafire is worth the extra cash. I am a person who believes that you get what you pay for but I actually have to see a tangible difference and I just wasn't seeing that in the other expensive stove brands. I've noticed that Kent Building Supplies has their wood stoves on sale now. $200 - $250 off is pretty nice. There's a Nepoleon Timberwolf 2200 that includes pedistal, ash pan kit and blower on sale for $1050. It's efficiency is listed at 86% on their website and I have not seen any stove with those efficiency numbers other than the catylatic models. I guess I have to go look at what they have in store this week.
Thank you all for your input.


the best bang for your buck now def will not be the best bang for your buck longterm. This i can gaurantee.
 

eastcoastcanada

New Member
Dec 31, 2016
74
Torbay, NL Canada
get a blaze king wood stove. Check for yourself the countless post and threads in this forum on the product. Also check to see if you can find a used one. You can't the reason why everyone keeps em. You might find 20-30 year old model. But you will find tons and tons of other stoves for sale used.

If you are using this as your primary heat source do you really wanna feed it 3 times a day? I'm 39 years old I work, married with a 4 year old, a dog and am fixing up my house. The last thing I want to do is add more stuff to my lists of what to do. Really think about your purchase, I myself was a little shocked at wood stove prices when looking 3 years ago. But I am glad I bought a king ultra amd i drove 3 hrs to get it! I took one season to learn as I was a rookie never burned in any type of cat stove before. But This forum and its members has helped me out a lot.

The stove is my primary heat for my 3,000 sqaure foot house and it does a great job of keeping it hot and warm. I have learned a lot of what to do and what not to do. I fill my stove once every 24hrs! And clean out the ash in it like ever 3 weeks+. Seasoned wood is the number one thing for this stove. You will notice a huge difference. The more i learn the longer my burn times are getting as i dont fill my stove with wood in every little crack of space and i dont individually pic what wood goes in at what times. I can get longer burn times but my schedule of burn times works for me perfect and its not like my stove is on low either. Downstairs its like 80+ and upstairs i range from 72-67 depending on part of the house, the colder parts i will be addressing with better insulation in the Future. I use no fans to move the heat around just natural convection from stove And my house has many different rooms with 9 foot ceilings.

Be very strategic on where you put your stove. Remember its not central air, whatever room you put it in that room will be the hottest. For me i put it downstairs near my stairs that go up and also near my patios doors for easy access to outside for realoads. Every piece of the puzzle will ensure that the stove makes your life easier and not harder.
You know, I've heard great things about the Blaze King stoves and if I had a house that was better suited to use a stove for primary heat, I would likely buy one. I did go look at them and to say the least, I was impressed. My local dealer had a Sirocco 30 lit and humming along. I was there in the morning and the guy said that it had been cleaned and lit the morning before and would not likely need any wood until just before closing time. I was not impressed with the $3600-$3700 price tag or the $800 replacement combuster. My house layout and the fact that I only have one location that I can install the wood stove pretty much eliminates the justification of spending that much, though I would have gone to $2500.
I have an 18,000 btu mini-split heat pump installed in the main living area that more then takes care of that end of the house but the bedrooms and the entire basement doesn't benifit from it at all. The lower level family room is the only location I can install the stove and that also places it below the bedrooms.
I totally agree with everything you just mentioned but for now, at least in this particular house, a Blaze King just wouldn't give me the 'warm and fuzzies'. In 7 to 10 years, my wife and I plan to scale down to a 1500 -1800 sf open concept, super insulated home that will have a centrally located wood burning stove, likely primary heat so a Blaze King would make perfect sense.
 
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,847
07462
I was not impressed with the $3600-$3700 price tag or the $800 replacement combuster.
Wow - that's a huge mark up, almost a gouge. Remember to all BK prospects, if you see a stove from a dealer and you like it, but don't like the dealer due to prices / distance / ect... You can always go to any non BK dealer and have them order your stove through BK. BK is a dealer only manufactor, but they do allow non BK dealers to order. Also a factor with these stoves is shipping (freight charges) As for the combustor a steel cat should go in the neighborhood of $280.00 - $380.00 ($319.00 @ Hechlers)
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,847
07462
Also, nothing wrong with your other choices, my main concern is lack of hard woods in your area. Some of these tube stoves are lite breathers so burn times and temp control might be an issue, especially if working off a chimney greater than 20ft , atleast if you have something (doesn't matter brand) with t-stat control it will help with that regulation of air to give you smooth burns. Whats the layout in the basement? were's the stairs to the main floor, is the basement insulated? 2,200 sqft, is that also counting the basement, or just main floor living area's, and are you planning installing an outside fresh air kit?
 
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eastcoastcanada

New Member
Dec 31, 2016
74
Torbay, NL Canada
Also, nothing wrong with your other choices, my main concern is lack of hard woods in your area. Some of these tube stoves are lite breathers so burn times and temp control might be an issue, especially if working off a chimney greater than 20ft , atleast if you have something (doesn't matter brand) with t-stat control it will help with that regulation of air to give you smooth burns. Whats the layout in the basement? were's the stairs to the main floor, is the basement insulated? 2,200 sqft, is that also counting the basement, or just main floor living area's, and are you planning installing an outside fresh air kit?
1100 sf. main floor and 1100 sf. basement. The family room where the stove is going is located in the basement and it's 16 x 20 and the stairwell is just outside the family room door. The chimney will be about 16 feet high and I was not planning on installing a fresh air kit because most people around here are not using them and are not experiencing any combustion issues. Some internet research has also deemed it not necessary.
 

JA600L

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2013
1,274
Lancaster Pennsylvania
Quadra fire uses pumice firebrick which is slightly unique.

If you are burning all softwoods I would agree that a non cat stove may rip through a load of wood faster than you like.

A stove with more low end control might be beneficial.
 

eastcoastcanada

New Member
Dec 31, 2016
74
Torbay, NL Canada
Wow - that's a huge mark up, almost a gouge. Remember to all BK prospects, if you see a stove from a dealer and you like it, but don't like the dealer due to prices / distance / ect... You can always go to any non BK dealer and have them order your stove through BK. BK is a dealer only manufactor, but they do allow non BK dealers to order. Also a factor with these stoves is shipping (freight charges) As for the combustor a steel cat should go in the neighborhood of $280.00 - $380.00 ($319.00 @ Hechlers)
Unless I can get it for $2500 canadian, it's out of the budget. This is a complete new install in preparation for next season and I need to have a chimney installed also. Is there an online source for BK?
 

eastcoastcanada

New Member
Dec 31, 2016
74
Torbay, NL Canada
Quadra fire uses pumice firebrick which is slightly unique.

If you are burning all softwoods I would agree that a non cat stove may rip through a load of wood faster than you like.

A stove with more low end control might be beneficial.
Our designated wood cutting area contains no hardwood and yet the prevalent wood stoves around here are the standard home centre available EPA certified models from Drolet, Century and Nepoleon as well as others. We still get 8 hr burn with 1.5 to 2 cu.ft. fire boxes from $1000 to $1400 stove, depending on brand. That's on par with factory specs so I had assumed they have to list minimum performance standards. If I did get hardwood, it would have to be birch and I would have to buy it from a supplier who ships it in from central Newfoundland. That would negate any savings with burning wood. I would however, love to get a Blaze King Sirocco 30 but they simply cost too much. Sirocco 20 firebox is $2124, black cast door is $387 and the pedistal base is $336. That's $3274 tax in. The sirocco 30 is obviously more.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,866
South Puget Sound, WA
the best bang for your buck now def will not be the best bang for your buck longterm. This i can gaurantee.
I remember when BrotherBart was the first to show up with a big Englander here. Concerns were expressed about reliability and quality, especially over the long term. Well, that was 10(?) years ago and that stove still heats the place 24/7. Modern Drolets, Englanders are solid products. They may not have all the features that other stoves have but given normal operation they do stand up.