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Wood stove

  1. #101
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove


    Quote Originally Posted by Pinned View Post
    Yeah I get there's a ton of variables and I don't need to be down to a quarter cord accuracy. Just looking to see if you guys had a specific way you tried to estimate and that's the best I could come up with. Since I'm buying for the next couple of years I don't want to go overboard. Also with oil prices quite low it's not going to kill burn the furnace if I underestimate.
    In all honesty, trial & error is how I did it. Once we decided to go full-on with the woodstove instead of just using it for supplemental heat, we got what we THOUGHT we'd need by starting with 4 cord. That went up to 5, then 6. Now we base our winters on 6, but I always have an extra 1/2 to full cord on reserve...

    Word to the wise about buying more than a year's worth: you could end up with wood that second (or third) year that is actually too dry for your stove. In that case, you'll end up going through your supply much faster. You'll end up with shorter burn times & less coal to work with when you need to restoke to get it roaring. This is somewhat the situation we're dealing with this year. This is the third winter we pulled from the stack of logs the logger left us at our woodlots. Quicker, shorter burns with very little coal. The only upsides to that (for us) is fires blaze up quickly and there's less cleaning of ashes. I'd rather have a bit more moisture in our wood for our application/stove than what we're currently working with. We normally fell trees in the previous winter & limb them, then buck 'em up & split 'em in the spring. It's usually ideal *for us*...

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  2. #102

    Re: Wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinned View Post
    Well, update: a VC Encore FlexBurn popped up on local Craigslist today. Guy used it a couple of times and it's too large for his house. It the dual catalytic/non-catalytic, with the cat it can hit 86% efficiency and a 12 hour burn. He has it listed at $1k less than retail and purchased it new this fall. It's really exactly the stove we want, but retail was more than we wanted to pay. I'm going to grab a small U-Haul with a ramp and pick it up after work tomorrow. Even if I can't get the price down, it's still a great buy.
    Sounds like you scored a nice stove. Don't worry too much about the catalytic converter, follow the directions with the stove and you should get well more then the 1-2 seasons mentioned elsewhere and replacing them, although a bit of a dirty job, is something most mechanically inclined folks can accomplish. When it comes down to steel vs. cast vs. soapstone there are positives and negatives to them all. As along as you get a good quality stove, which I consider most VC's to be, you should be happy as long as it's sized correctly for your home and you use good burning habits. My customers encounter more problems due to undersized or over sized stoves that need to be run too hot or too cold, poor firewood (read too much moisture content) and poor burning habits then they do because of the material their stove is made from. The size, location and type of chimney can often have a large impact on how well your stove functions as well.

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  3. #103
    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    I don't think too many people manage to feed an indoor stove only twice a day, no matter what the manufacturers say about burn times. Unless it's above 40 outside, I put wood in ours damn near every time I think of it, and it was the same with the Vermont castings. I'd bet between the three of us in the house, someone is putting wood in there 6 or 7 times a day, average. It's not efficient to let it burn down to a few barely burning coals and then try to get it roaring again. Much better to throw another piece of two or three of firewood on top of a nice 3-4" thick bed of red hot coals. Otherwise, the temperature swings inside your house are going to be in the double digits.

    I don't place too much trust in manufacturer's advertised burn times, anyway.

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  4. #104

    Re: Wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by Imbeek View Post
    I don't think too many people manage to feed an indoor stove only twice a day, no matter what the manufacturers say about burn times. Unless it's above 40 outside, I put wood in ours damn near every time I think of it, and it was the same with the Vermont castings. I'd bet between the three of us in the house, someone is putting wood in there 6 or 7 times a day, average. It's not efficient to let it burn down to a few barely burning coals and then try to get it roaring again. Much better to throw another piece of two or three of firewood on top of a nice 3-4" thick bed of red hot coals. Otherwise, the temperature swings inside your house are going to be in the double digits.

    I don't place too much trust in manufacturer's advertised burn times, anyway.
    Burn times and BTU numbers are generally generated/supplied by the manufacturer and are marketing tools and should be weighed accordingly. Most people would be surprised just how subjective the EPA numbers are too.

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  5. #105
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by Imbeek View Post
    I don't think too many people manage to feed an indoor stove only twice a day, no matter what the manufacturers say about burn times. Unless it's above 40 outside, I put wood in ours damn near every time I think of it, and it was the same with the Vermont castings. I'd bet between the three of us in the house, someone is putting wood in there 6 or 7 times a day, average. It's not efficient to let it burn down to a few barely burning coals and then try to get it roaring again. Much better to throw another piece of two or three of firewood on top of a nice 3-4" thick bed of red hot coals. Otherwise, the temperature swings inside your house are going to be in the double digits.

    I don't place too much trust in manufacturer's advertised burn times, anyway.
    I can fill my Woodchuck furnace and 3 days later still have glowing embers, it's really way to big for my house unless I was in a constant -30 climate, I heat primarily with oil now, the wood furnace is only a supplement, I start a fire when I'm working in my basement, it radiates a lot more into the basement than the oil furnace does, or sometimes on a cold day, every once in a while I clean it out with a hot fire of 1"x1" oak grade stakes I get as seconds and broken stakes, thin strips that were less than 1" in one dimension, a pickup truck full for $10,

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  6. #106
    Don't bother me! R7's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyO View Post
    I can fill my Woodchuck furnace and 3 days later still have glowing embers, it's really way to big for my house unless I was in a constant -30 climate, I heat primarily with oil now, the wood furnace is only a supplement, I start a fire when I'm working in my basement, it radiates a lot more into the basement than the oil furnace does, or sometimes on a cold day, every once in a while I clean it out with a hot fire of 1"x1" oak grade stakes I get as seconds and broken stakes, thin strips that were less than 1" in one dimension, a pickup truck full for $10,
    I just spent 5 days on the west coast, and filled my outside boiler full of wood, but shut off the fan that forces air in for the reburn. I was surprised to come home 5 days later to a nice bed of coals, and the boiler temp still at 135 degrees.

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  7. #107
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    She's on her maiden voyage today. It took about an hour and a half to get the stove hot enough to engage the catalyst but she's running steady now. With the cat engaged and the damper full open I get a griddle temp of about 600 degrees which I don't want to exceed. I'll be playing with damper settings throughout the day to see what yields what.

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  8. #108
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    Pretty

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  9. #109
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    Re: Wood stove

    Starting to get this thing figured out. Didn't help it's been so warm lately, but with the cold weather in this weekend I'm learning.

    First, the catalyst is awesome. It lets me really throttle the stove back once the catalytic element is warm enough. Once it's warm, the secondary combustion keeps it at operating temperature like some kind of perpetual motion machine. I can throttle the fire back to a stove temp of 250-300 but the catalytic chamber is still around 500 degrees and provides a super clean burn, just a very light whispy smoke.

    Second, I've found I can cut down my time to engage the catalyst by half if I start with a small fire and smaller pieces of wood. It helps me get a bed of coals established much quicker. Yeah, I know, no shit.

    Third, I ran my first overnight burn last night. Filled the stove around 11 when I went to bed, shut the damper down to almost closed, and let the catalyst do its job. When I came down at 7 this morning, I still had a really nice coal bed and a few small pieces of wood got it going strong again. In addition to the stove temp thermometer I added, the stove has a probe that lets you know the temperature inside the catalytic chamber. When I came down this morning it was still in its operating range. This is good because now I'm confident leaving the stove going while I'm at work.

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    Last edited by loudbeard; 03-04-17 at 10:01 AM.
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  10. #110
    Expert Agitator GearHd6's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    Is there an advantage to those catalyst stoves over just buying an older airtight non catalyst stove? I installed a stove about 8 years ago and deliberately searched for non catalyst, the thing has been great! I'll burn about 3 cord of wood and 1 tank of oil per year. I guess I don't see the draw to the catalyst aggravation.

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  11. #111
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    Two main advantages are higher efficiency and lower operating temps. Mine can operate with or without the catalyst, and supposedly I get about 10% greater efficiency with the cat. Also I can bring my stove temp down to as low as 250 degrees, which without the catalyst I would be well into the creosote range. Because the catalyst creates a secondary combustion, it still burns cleanly at that temperature. That said, a catalytic element is about $200 to replace and needs to have properly dried hardwood or you can foul it prematurely. Best case scenario for a catalyst is about 5 years, worst is one bad load of wood can ruin it.

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  12. #112
    Expert Agitator GearHd6's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    250 degree stove temp meaning what, pipe temp or stove top temp? I assume stove top? What's your pipe temp when stove top is 250?

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  13. #113
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    Yep, stove top temp. I don't know what the pipe temp is because my interior piping is double wall and I don't have an internal probe. By all accounts, it doesn't really matter what the pipe temp is as long as the catalyst is operating within the acceptable range...Or so says my wood stove guy. Basically it's a matter of having the cat in the correct range, and monitor the smoke coming out of the stack....Or so says my wood stove guy.

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  14. #114
    Changes come butcher bergs's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    Not trying to sound preachy but be extra careful piling wood into that thing and leaving for the day. A neighbor of mine had his in-law apartment leveled and nearly lost his house when his tenant left the stove intake open just a bit too much. Temps creeped up slowly over a few hours and....well.....the local FD responded.

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  15. #115
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by butcher bergs View Post
    Not trying to sound preachy but be extra careful piling wood into that thing and leaving for the day. A neighbor of mine had his in-law apartment leveled and nearly lost his house when his tenant left the stove intake open just a bit too much. Temps creeped up slowly over a few hours and....well.....the local FD responded.
    Heard that. That said, another advantage of the catalyst is it also prevents over firing. (In theory, allegedly.) When you close the damper and divert through the catalytic chamber, you limit the outflow. I've tested this several times now. Get a good fire going, toss in a full load of wood, engage the catalyst, leave the air supply wide open, and let it go. At its hottest the stove top temp only gets up to about 500 degrees. I'm not at the point where I'm ready to leave it alone for 8+ hours, but I'm getting there. I've kept it going all weekend primarily to see how it goes overnight.

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  16. #116
    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    How would be damper effect that?

    I don't run a damper and have never experienced this.

    Just have the air screws on the front.

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  17. #117
    Expert Agitator GearHd6's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    I also don't have a damper. I originally did when I put the stove in but the unit was so airtight I just control the air with the wheel on the door. I later took the damper out. Mine is non catalytic though, I know nothing about those new stoves.

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  18. #118
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by GearHd6 View Post
    Is there an advantage to those catalyst stoves over just buying an older airtight non catalyst stove? I installed a stove about 8 years ago and deliberately searched for non catalyst, the thing has been great! I'll burn about 3 cord of wood and 1 tank of oil per year. I guess I don't see the draw to the catalyst aggravation.
    if it ain't broke, don't fix it

    my fuel consumption is about the same, sometimes less wood, more oil, sometimes more wood, less oil

    but I don't have a wood stove, I have a FHA wood burning furnace, running parallel to my FHA oil furnace, weekends when it's cold, I am more likely to use wood, and in the evening, I get a fire going, but let it die out, in the AM is when the oil runs the most

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  19. #119
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    Quote Originally Posted by GearHd6 View Post
    I also don't have a damper. I originally did when I put the stove in but the unit was so airtight I just control the air with the wheel on the door. I later took the damper out. Mine is non catalytic though, I know nothing about those new stoves.
    I run a barometric damper on my wood furnace

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  20. #120
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    In closing the damper, I'm changing the path to the chimney from an area that's about 16x4" to a small air intake at the bottom of the stove that are basically seven 3/8" diameter holes. I'm not ashamed to admit this is not the first time I've drawn a diagram and posted it on a forum.


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  21. #121
    Expert Agitator GearHd6's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    Oh that's a different type of damper than I'm thinking. I'm thinking a damper that goes up in the pipe.

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  22. #122
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    Re: Wood stove

    Ok, shitdicks. I'm grumpy as fuck and need to look into a new fucking wood god damn stove.

    Current stove, Harman TL-300. Big, efficient, top loading, can drop the grill grate into the top and grill steaks in the dead of winter over wood while it sucks the smoke down and up the chimney. Burn times of all night. Heats our 2400 square foot house very easily. But, looks like it's time to move on.

    First off, FUCK YOU, HARMAN.

    Stupid dick asshole prick company. 10 year warranty on the firebox. Firebox cracks in the metal forming on year 8 at the corners of the top load opening. "Oh sorry it's not in warranty anymore and Harman doesn't make wood stoves anymore". Send them their own warranty policy from their website on their wood burning stoves saying 10 years for the firebox. Crickets. May have to send a 30 day demand notice to their legal department.


    Would of been coming due for a combustion element replacement anyways, and since parts are getting harder to find, the damn thing is $500 now before shipping. Between that and getting this 650lb behemoth welded in place in my house, only for it to likely crack again, I'm thinking it is time to start looking at other stoves.

    Wish list:

    Efficient
    12 hour burn times IN THE REAL WORLD
    Low maintenance
    Top loading sure would be nice
    Heat up to 2500 square feet
    Easy to run
    Outside air compatible



    I don't care about cat or not. I've come to understand the benefits. If cat is the way to go, so be it. I don't want to have to babysit a finicky stove like the TL-300 for 2 hours every night, AND wake up to a house filled with smoke smell from the back puffing stove. I already have a 4" outside air inlet running right to where the stove is. 6" steel chimney directly above the stove that goes straight up and out. Draft is good from what I can tell.


    Blaze King looks to be the best efficient, but no top load and it's an 8" flu. I have a 6" IIRC.

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    Last edited by TheIglu; 10-16-19 at 12:59 PM.
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  23. #123
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    I have a VC Encore, it's been a great stove for several years. Probably on the small side depending on what size room its in. My house is 1,700 sq ft and its just right sitting in an open floor plan downstairs. The big brother is the Defiant. Can get an outside air kit for it, but it might require an 8" pipe. I expect you can get the 12 hours you're looking for if the wood is good, I can get 12 in my Encore. Definitely on the pricier side, but they are really nice stoves. Really nice to look at as well.

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  24. #124
    Super Moderator TheIglu's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    My previous was a VC Resolute Acclaim.

    I'm looking for a low maintenance stove. I don't care about looks. Steel would be better than a cast iron/cement

    Vermont Castings is owned by HHT. They also own Harman. I won't be giving them any more of my money.

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    Last edited by TheIglu; 10-16-19 at 01:05 PM.
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  25. #125
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Wood stove

    Cool. I’m enough of a hipster I wanted the cast iron stove in spite of the maintenance.

    Anyway, before I found the VC deal on Craigslist, we were just about to buy a Regency Classic F2500. It was like 3 years ago when I was geeking out over wood stoves so I don’t remember the details. Of the brands our local shop carried this one fit the need and budget the best. It isn’t a top loader though so that may put it out for you.

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