Wood Stove Recommendations Needed

sprtphntcJanuary 6, 2014

Heelo All,

we are getting ready to buy a wood stove and are considering a few:

1. PE Alderlea T5
2. Hearthstone, Shelburne
3. Hearthstone, Homestead
4. Hearthstone, Heritage
5. Jotul, f3cb

Any and all feedback would be great...
we are leaning toward the PE and Homestead

would like to know how anyone feels about soapstone, good or bad

some background:
our home is a split level, about 1800 sq ft.
we are putting in FR which is on bottom level and hoping it heats the main floor also... the bedrooms will get it heat, since the steps are two short flights from FR, so heat will just go up...
house is semi well insulated..anything we did, we insulated....
our winters are for the most part moderate in PA suburb of Philly, with usuall temps in Jan, Feb and March - day mid 30's nights in the 20's....we can get cold spells...more damp and raw in fall and spring....right now getting cold artic air and nights in single digits...
we plan on burning from mid afternoon, when someone gets home and nights and of course all thru the weekend...other heat source NG

what type of wood do u burn and do u order it or cut it yourself....
thanks all, any questions, just ask....

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You can find a huge number of owner/user reviews of all the stoves you've listed and many more at www.hearth.com

Soapstone is a beautiful material, but if you'll be starting the fire anew on most days it may not be a good choice. Soapstone heats up more slowly than either cast iron or steel. Soapstone is at its best for round the clock burning; not so good for quick heat in the evening.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 6:12AM
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And try to calculate if the investment actually saves money. I checked wood pellet, and the heat cost more.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 6:24AM
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thanks for the feedback....
i have been on hearth.com and i guess its me, but i find the site hard to navigate...this one is much easier....
we do reallze the soapstone factor and it has its good and bad points, cost being one of them (bad)...although we do love the look...

pellets are more expensive to run and u have to store them inside which is a problem for us....

i was actually hoping to find some owners of these stoves to get some feedback.....

thanks again!!!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 7:52AM
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I do hope you are going to have a professional install it. Also notify your homeowner's insurance. Many insurance companies will require a professional installation. I used to live in the Poconos and house fires were commonly caused by self installed woodstoves. And since the insurance companies were not told of the woodstove, they denied the claim.

Brand? Get one that you can get serviced if necessary by calling the local stove shop where you bought it, not the manufacturer. My Regency came with a lifetime warranty and 5 years after I bought it I had a problem with the door handle. The shop where I bought it sent one out at no charge.

Wood? Pine does not go into my stove except for lighting it. Maple, oak, and beech with some birch is what's in my woodpile. Have you priced wood? Here in Vermont it runs about $150 to $180 per cord of seasoned wood. But naturally if you want wood delivered today it'll be about $225 a cord. Cutting and splitting firewood is a young mans game and I'm now too old for that.

I use my stove as the primary heat source so the cost paid for itself in less than two years in oil savings. Right now it 10 degrees below zero outside and the stove is keeping the house at a nice comfy 68+/- degrees.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 8:11AM
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thanks chris....

we do know about homeowners insurance....the store owner informed us and we pretty much knew that...my DH is in the construction business and the owner will come out and review our plans and then come back and sign off on it..so its all good....thanks for the input...

we did not look at Regency brand, but will give it a look

i did read about that on hearth.com about warranty and so on and that is great info...

we will be doing some cutting and some buying....

we hope to use it as primary for the most part...but will see how it goes...would love to save the $ and not give it to the Gas Co.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 4:54PM
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The Hearstone's are the better choices. The PE and the Jotul are a little undersized for your needs. Add to that the Jotul only takes an 18 inch log.

I have a friend that uses two Hearthstone's to heat his three level home - one on the bottom floor and the other on the main floor.

Me, I've used Buck inserts since 1984 and before that an old Franklin two top cast iron stove, now serving as a planter.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 3:52PM
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Lopi Leyden.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 9:57PM
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Pay no attention to anyone who says a stove is too small.

You need to have the proper size stove for your needs. Too big a stove will cause you to have the windows open. Also the clearances must be taken into consideration.

My stove is the small stove in the series. (F1100) It heats my house just fine. It's rated for 1200 sq ft. And since I don't want the bedrooms at 90 degrees I heat the primary living area, like the living room and dining area.

The Regency is right FOR ME because the clearance is only 6 inches to a combustible wall, and I have it in the living room. I will not advocate one brand over another. When I lived in PA I had an Avalon.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 7:25AM
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"Pay no attention to anyone who says a stove is too small. "

Yeah, what do those manufacturers know.

FYI, you don't have to always burn your fire full out. There's an art to burning wood and if you've not done this before it'll take a couple of seasons to figure out your stove/insert.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 10:40AM
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i love that u can top load it, but not really liking the two front doors...want a clean look across the front...

thanks though :)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 4:16PM
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My wood burning days are behind me, too much mess for our likes. There are pluses and minuses. A good tight stove will not interfere with air quality in your home. Outside is another matter. My wife has had lung issues since she was a child, when she was outside depending on the wind direction and barometric pressure she did complain that it did effect her breathing. It only took her once to mention that and I stopped hauling in wood. As well my insurance rates were going to go up 25% because of the stove.

Keeping mice out of the woodpile was an issue as well. Snakes in the summer loved the stacked wood. She hates bugs and I had to check each and every piece I brought into the home, every one.

Oak is your best bet, make sure anything you choose is hardwood and is seasoned at least one full year. You should have at least 2 piles, this years and next years. Not knowing what the heat loss on your home is you will need to learn what you will be using annually. We had more cold weather this week than any year I can remember. I would never use wood as a primary source unless I had a wood lot to harvest from. Wood can get expensive these days as the transportation costs never go down.

You will know after one winter if it's worth all the work associated with wood burning as a primary source of heat and If you did indeed save on fuel costs when all costs are taken into consideration. Your time must be worth something.

Good luck.

Edit, I apologize I didn't answer your question. The last stove we had was a Regency and never had an issue. One broken glass I replaced as it was my fault. Robax glass isn't cheap. A 12" square piece was around $125.00. Plus the packing.

This post was edited by SouthernCanuck on Fri, Jan 10, 14 at 2:12

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 2:08AM
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You said in a previous post that the stoves the OP was looking at were too small, so I replied to that statement.

Sizing the stove to the area you want heated is paramount. Why buy a stove that's rated to heat 2,000 sq ft if you're only going to heat 1,000 sq ft? That's a waste of money. You can have a 2,000 sq ft house, but unless it's all open, you won't be heating the entire 2,000 sq ft. So a smaller stove is logical.

Why buy a stove that you can blast but sweat while using it? Why buy a stove that you'll never fill and only have cold fires? Cold fires cause creosote.

We can discuss the advantages or disadvantages of soapstone, cast iron, and steel. Cat, or non cat with the secondary burn chamber. Personally I won't even consider a cat stove.

Hearthstone is a beautiful stove. But for most cases, they far too big unless you have an open area to heat. And soapstone takes forever to get warm.

My first stove was a Fisher. The "Rolls Royce" of stoves at that time (1980). But today they're worth the price of scrap metal. I have a modern, EPA rated stove. Those old ones are called "smoke dragons" for a reason.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 7:40AM
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christopherh - Clearly we are of differing opinions, and that's OK. The OP can consider both sides and make their own selection based on this input.

The OP home is 1800 sq. ft. The Jotul is rated "up to 1300". The stove will be placed in the lower level of a split level home. Heat rises and thus will travel throughout the house more so than a ranch style.

The Jotul will take "up to an 18 inch log" The wood I cut or buy is 24 inches. Given the way wood is sold, by the cord, with specific dimensions 4X4X8, I'm doubtful that anyone selling an 18 inch cut log will compensate in the other areas. Maybe I'm wrong but I've seen a lot of flexibility in how wood is measured and sold.

Those are the basis for the comments I made.

Me, I have a Buck 92 cat stove. See, we agree on little but, like I said, that's OK.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 10:44AM
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What really bugs me is a company says their stoves or heaters will heat up to x number of square feet. Where, what, when. Northern Ontario, a Sunroom with 90% glass, at what outside temperature?

Maybe there is a standard by which they are rated i.e. a house with R-12 insulation with 20% glazed area at a temperature of 32ðF. I don't know. I think it's misleading.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 4:05PM
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Yes, the square foot estimates are a squishy number. You can work the math backwards to see the amount of BTUs per square foot the manufacturer uses in deriving their figure. For example, in one of the stoves above, the max BTUs are 42,000 and the square foot estimate is 1,300 square feet for 32.3 BTUs per foot.

This is on the low end of the range for figures commonly used according to this source:

If your home is located very far north in the U.S., consider using a value of 55 to 60 BTUs per square foot of home. If you are more centrally located but north-leaning, consider using 45 to 55 BTUs per square foot of home. If you are more centrally located but south-leaning, consider using 35 to 45 BTUs per square foot of home. If you are located in the deep south, consider using 30 to 35 BTUs per square foot of home.

Read more: http://www.ehow.com/how_6217625_do-calculate-btus-square-footage_.html#ixzz2q2LbCEoi

So, using this information this stove would be sized correctly for a 1,300 square foot home in the deep south. Of course there are additional considerations as you point out.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 5:24PM
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I can understand some confusion about square feet. But homes have walls and ceilings too. If the unit is placed in the lower level, the idea of heating all the home is unrealistic. All that stove will do is blast the lower level unless you physically move the air. And just a blower on the stove won't cut it. You need to move the air up the stairs and around the corners into the bedrooms. Meanwhile you have the patio door open because it's so hot in the room.

As far as wood being sold, there is no flexibility. A cord of wood is 128 cubic feet tightly stacked. Two 20 inch logs, x 4 ft high and 9 3/4 ft long is just over a cord.

Up here wood is a serious business. Many dealers qualify for the LIHEAP program, so they had better be spot on. Some have steel bins that are sized for 16 inch, 18 inch or 20 inch logs, and they are exactly a cord. They have to be accurate as the State will show up at any time to inspect them. Especially the LIHEAP dealers.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2014 at 7:35AM
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I have a Heritage in an 1800 split level house. The stove is in my basement. I can say, without any hesitation, do not expect the heat to travel upstairs unless it had direct line of sight to the stair case. If it's around a corner or on the other side of a solid wall, you will have to cut a hole in the wall or rig up some other form or heat transfer.

On the average 30 degree night, I can get my house up to about 66 degrees on wood stove heat alone. My bedrooms are on the far side of the house from the stove, so those stay the coolest. On the really cold nights, anything under 20, that stove is really working to heat the house. I only have success with the most seasoned hardwood. Green or softer wood just doesn't cut it.

If I had it to do again, I would go with a larger stove and put it as close to the base of the stair case as possible. Soapstone heat is fabulous. I really wish I has a place for my stove on the main floor, but I'm stuck with a basement installation. I also recommend the guys on hearth.com for advice. They've all been there done that with every stove on the market. They can quickly separate realistic outcomes from lofty expectations.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 10:41PM
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