Top load vs. front load

kelpDecember 9, 2009

I'm trying to decide between either a Vermont Castings Stove -- which allow you to load the wood from the top -- and a Jotul, that you have to load from the front. I'm concerned that the Jotul's front-loading system will allow hot ashes/burning coals to fall on the floor. Is this a concern?

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A top load stove is easier on the back. Front and/or side loading stoves are much more common. All of them have a lip designed to catch ashes. Burning coals will not spill out unless you allow their depth to get too great. Fine ash is another issue; no matter how careful you are some will come out onto the lip when you open the loading door. Most codes require a minimum of 18" of non-flammable hearth surface from any door.

Before you decide on a stove, check reviews and comments from owners at The original Vermont Castings company made great stoves. Bankruptcies, ownership changes,and warranty issues in recent years have caused many to avoid this brand.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 5:25AM
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Thanks. I'll have to do some research to see if any companies besides Vermont Castings has a top-loading stove.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 8:06AM
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Kelp the Harmon TL300 and Quadra-Fire Isle Royale are other top loaders that you might want to look at. The Isle Royale is a cast iron stove and looks a bit like the VC stoves. You should also look at and consider that many stoves are side loaders like some of the Hearthstone soapstone and cast iron stoves.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 8:51AM
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Thanks, nhyankee. I ended up with a Hearthstone Tribute. We'll see how it goes.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2009 at 12:09PM
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