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Can anyone recommend a good, high-efficiency woodburning stove?

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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 08:32 AM
Original message
Can anyone recommend a good, high-efficiency woodburning stove?
Our home is heated with propane, with supplemental heating from an ancient cast-iron woodstove in our living room. We would like to replace it with something new and much more efficient to serve as more of a primary heat source and save propane use for supplemental heat and hot water. Since I have a cheap source of firewood from my family's farms, I'd like to stick with wood logs over wood pellets. Our hose is approximately 1500 sq. ft and we're located south of the Twin Cities, MN, so winters here can get -20F.

Locally, we've found dealers carrying:

Jotul (the F400 Castine line): http://www.jotul.com/en-US/wwwjotulus/Main-menu/Product... /

Vermont Castings (the Resolute line): http://www.vermontcastings.com/products.asp?model=resol...

Quadra-Fire(the Yosemite line): http://www.quadrafire.com/en/Products/Yosemite-Wood-Sto...

All of these would run us between $1500-$2000. I know I can find something much cheaper if we wanted to, but we really do love the enamel option and the artistic beauty it would supply to the living room.

Can anyone comment on these brands, or some other brand you've used that's similar?
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
1. I had Earth Stoves
I really like mine. I heated the house entirely by wood and Earth Stoves are truly air tight, have catalytic converters to break down the particulate matter. Vermont Casting was another choice, but they were much more expensive than Earth Stoves. I loved the soap stone option that I saw on one, it was a beautiful stove, but my Earth Stove was really lovely as well.
Good luck with your choice.
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TheCowsCameHome Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 08:54 AM
Response to Original message
2. We bought a Jotul Oslo F 500 three weeks ago,
in part based on recommendations from friends that own them.

We liked the additional side door loading option, which the Castine didn't offer, and the extra for the blue/black enameled finish was worth the cost, since it's in a living room area. We added the optional cooktop plate, and the wife has been using it for cooking meals every day.

So far it's been great, heats our home like a champ, although our temperatures arent as harsh as what you folks experience.

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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Did you get the blower as well, or do you just let the heat radiate through the house?
We're debating whether we want the optional blower, because that would entail hiring an electrician to install an outlet next to the stove where there is none now.

Also, how long of a burn do you get with your F500 when fully loaded? Will it do the 8-10 hr they claim?
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 09:21 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Check out the ecofan - works great for us, but we live in a very small space
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. The local Menards hardware store carries those
Edited on Mon Feb-07-11 09:24 AM by NickB79
I was thinking about buying one after reading positive reviews about them. Being non-electric is another huge plus.

Do you have the 100 or 150 CF model?
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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. The 100, but, as I mentioned, I am in a very small space.
It works amazingly well and is well worth the very small investment, IMO.
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TheCowsCameHome Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. We were advised against the blower -
both he dealer and the installer didn't feel it would be necessary.

The stove shop recommends 20-22" logs to maximize filling the wide firebox end-to-end, and we've done 6-7 hour burns with a less-than-packed-full firebox. (my wood was cut before we got the stove, to about 16" length)

Again, we're just getting into this, but so far we love the stove. It heats up in no time with a good load of wood.

Jotul has been around forever, and since they're based in Norway we figured they must know something about cold winters.

My neighbor has the Castine 400 and loves it, but we opted for the Oslo F500 because of it's larger capacity and available enameled finish.
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Thank you for the info, very helpful!
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ejpoeta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 09:05 AM
Response to Original message
3. one thing we have learned is that cheaper isn't always cheaper.
you may be paying more upfront but have better energy savings overall. we personally have an outdoor wood burner which is not what you are looking for. but we were considering upgrading to a more high efficiency model but don't see how the savings makes it worth the cost right now. I hope you can find a great stove. We were running $400/mo for propane before we got the wood burner and that was six years ago.
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eShirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 09:15 AM
Response to Original message
4. highest efficiency I know of would be a Russian-type stove (a.k.a. Masonry or Finnish Stove)
Edited on Mon Feb-07-11 09:22 AM by eShirl
What is a Russian Stove?

Russian Stoves are perhaps the most efficient wood burning space heaters known to man. The intense heat given off by the fire is obsorbed by the brick walls that make up the stoves dense structure. Because of this, there is a slow cooling down period, which means that the Stove requires fueling only twice a day, and at most maybe three. At the time it is being fired, one can put his face into the chimney of a Russian fireplace and feel only a warm moist air escaping, thus assuring that a minimul amount of pollutants are being sent into the air. pollutants, or rather unburnt particles, are being burnt off by the extreme high temperatures in the burning process as they travel through the Stoves makeup as seen in the above drawing. This is being accomplished in a natural way without the aid of expensive catalytic converters, which require constant replacement

http://www.russianstove.com/brickyard/staticpages/index...

http://www.russianstove.com/brickyard /



http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/1997-10-0...



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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
11. Vermont/Resolute refers to " Outside air kit" which means sealed combustion
You want sealed combustion so that you don't draft warm room air into the firebox and up the chimney.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
12. Wood Pellet stoves is the way to go
http://www.harmanstoves.com/products/index.asp

We have the Harman Advance pellet stove but they make several others and they all use the same basic mechanism. We heat for the whole winter for less than $500 here in northeast oklahoma. Harman stoves are made in America using all American made parts too. No foreign parts in my stove. I like the Harman because of the way it works in that it has a sensor that you place somewhere in the room where the stove is and it will keep the room at what ever temperature you set it at or you can use a setting that lets you decide how hot you want the stove to be. This is our third pellet stove having bought our first one during the winter of '91. We're somewhere close to $5000 bucks to the good over the price of propane or electric even after figuring in the price of the stoves we've bought. We've passed our old ones down to our kids so they don't have to pay that outrageous propane or electric heating cost. When we bought our first pellet stove they were relatively new and they were pretty basic but as they've advanced we've upgraded to newer more modern easier to use ones. Most of the pellets stoves you buy today are self lighters and most use a thermostat of some sort. Our Harman Advance uses a sensor like I was saying earlier. I highly recommend a pellet stove and there are many to choose from. I presonally like the harman as it keeps the house at a constant temperature without having to shut down and relight like some that use a thermostat does. I promise you if you'll go check them out you won't be dis-satisfied with what you'll see and learn.
Irregardless of the brand you buy they all are in the 80% plus efficiency.
The pellets come in 40 pound bags with 50 bags to the ton and here we're paying $224.00 a ton and that includes the sales tax. We'll use two tons of pellets a winter, this winter has been exceptionally cold and windy so we may have to buy a few more dollars worth but over all we've heated since the winter of '91 on less that 500 dollars worth of pellets. I can't say enough good about them. We don't use any supplemental heat to help with the pellet stoves either and we keep the house warm 24/7 as I'm home all day every day and too old to be dealing with living in a cold house.
Peace and please check out the stoves. We paid $3000 for the one we have now but we got almost 1200 of that back come tax time. Almost all of them qualify for the 30% tax credit too as our did.
You just can't go wrong with a good quality pellet stove. They also make them that are corn burner and they can be even cheaper to heat with but we don't have a good place to store the corn so we use wood. Our stove will burn corn too at a 50/50 mix with pellets.
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. I've thought about pellet stoves, but have such a ready supply of split wood now
That it really wouldn't make much sense. I can get a full cord of split hardwood delivered to my house from one of my uncles or from my brother for under $200, and since I can stack it outside I don't have to devote half my garage to a few pallets of pellets. Not to be down on pellet stoves, though; my uncle installed one for my grandmother to heat her home since it's easier for her to fill, and boy does that thing heat!
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TheCowsCameHome Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Don't forget to check into the IRS Tax Credit for Biomass Appliances
I'm not sure if they've extended it to this year, (I heard they did, but don't know for sure) but we will be getting 30% back at tax time off the total price of the stove and installation, up to a $1500 maximum refund.

That's makes a nice discount, if the stove brand and model you choose qualifies as 75% or more thermally efficient. Most Jotul models do.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-11 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. If you're in cold country where it stays cold for days on end
then a soapstone stove would be a wise choice as the soapstone holds the heat like no other stove made. That was my first choice but here in Oklahoma we normally have a lot of warm days mixed in with our cold ones so a soapstone stove wouldn't be a good fit for us here. A pellet stove can be putting out warm air within minutes and like wise be stone cold in a few minutes as the temperature outside would dictate.
Google soapstone stove and read about them if you're where they would be a good fit and see what I'm referring too.
At any rate good luck with your ultimate stove of choice.
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