Avoid my insert choice
I'm writing to give a heads up to others of my very disappointing experience with my wood stove insert and to ask advice for a replacement.
In early 2005 I purchased a Vermont Casting's Winter Warm small insert. My research showed it was one of the more efficiently rated units. This unit can't even heat up an area of 22x24 feet with low celling. Add a small hallway and you have 600 sqft. Yesterday the outside temp was 30 degrees. After burning high, all day, even with a boost from the furnace in the morning, I couldn't get that stove to heat above 58 degrees at my room thermostat.
Within two years the catalyst block had deteriorated as well as the refectory assembly, which is the styrofoam looking inner housing. With great persistence through telephone calls and emails supplied with photographs I was able to get the manufacture to replace the items.
Within two winter seasons since the replacements the same items are beginning to deteriorate once again. I have followed the manufacturers guide for proper use and care. I have burned many types of well seasoned wood. Today it is 49 degrees outside and I have had the stove running for three hours and my home thermostat is at 59 degrees. The built in fans which are running at full speed are a joke. The heat basically drifts out. I have hung a 10in. house fan just above the stove to help project the heat. Very decorative.
I recommend that you avoid this unit. Based on my experience I suggest you avoid all catalytic type stoves for they are too finicky and replacement for this catalyst will cost over $150. They instruct that you do not use any colored newspaper or any treated wood for that can harm the catalyst. Following this did not keep mine from deteriorating twice.
I may just bite the bullet, having paid over two thousand and yank this unit out for a better stove. I may see if I can fit a free standing unit instead of an insert. I have since seen inserts that have amazing fans that blast the heat out. Your recommendation of a brand I should consider will be appreciated.
Thanks for your time and advice,