Wood Stove Information

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Honorthorn, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. Honorthorn

    Honorthorn Active Member

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    We have been researching wood burning stoves for our home. This would be
    used as our primary heat source, with a propane furnace as back-up.
    In all my research I have come across 2 types of stoves. Cast Iron & plate steel. I am unfamiliar with the pros or cons of each & haven't been able to locate any information that would help me form an opinion either way.
    I would appreciate any inisight on these 2 types of stove construction, as well
    as any suggestions for specific manufacturers.
    Thanks in advance.

    Steve
     
  2. Old Vet

    Old Vet In Remembrance

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    I have both. The plate steel is the best one. The cast iron stove is not fitted togeather as well and is not airetite but the plate steel is and it gets hotter. The cast iron is fine in a small place but not what I realy wanted to realy have. The plate steel is better for a large house and will run me out of the house if you don't regulate the fire inside. This is what the damper on the front of them are for. You can keep any house warm with either one but since the plate steel one has a lot of fire bricks in it is warmer long after the cast iron one is cold.
     

  3. Travis in Louisiana

    Travis in Louisiana Clinton, Louisiana

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    Air tight, Air tight!! That is what you need. I had a cast iron plate one and got rid of it when the pipe between the stove and the ceiling was so orange, you could see through it. I had already called the fire department, but I got it cooled down by the time they got there. You talk about roar!! You need the air tight to be able to shut the stove off pretty quick if you need too. The steel plate welded stove with the fire brick is the way to go. Later Jerry
     
  4. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    We have used cast iron potbelly stoves. It depends on many things, which stove is best for you.

    Right now we are using a two-barrel stove, and we really like it. It puts out more heat than most other stoves on the market. They are rated at 200,000 btu.

    But we also burn other stuff other than just wood [wood, peat, coal].

    You also need to think about either: a catalyst or a secondary combustion chamber. Either method will increase how much btu is put off. We like the two-barrel model as it has that secondary combustion chamber. But some folks like the catalytic grill.

    How many square foot are you trying to heat?
     
  5. Honorthorn

    Honorthorn Active Member

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    Thank you everyone for your responses.
    ET1 SS - we are looking to heat approx 1800-2000 Sq feet. This is a
    ranch house, where everything is on one floor.

    We have been looking at Vermont Castings, as well as US Stove Company
    models.

    The nice thing about this house we bought, there are 2 large return air ducts
    in the ceiling above where the stove will be installed. I plan on using the fan
    on the furnance to circulate the heat throughout the house, using the existing
    duct work.
     
  6. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    Both will be just fine if you purchase a new one. Make sure it's a epa certified stove. Not an exempt; this would mean it can't really be damped back.
    Also get one with a UL listing.... The insurance co will want to know the number.

    Stay out of the specialty stove stores. The mark up is 200 %. You can get a good one at home centers or hardware stores in the area.

    As for your question.
    They say a cast iron holds heat longer, But it takes longer to give the heat.
    Cast is also less likely to warp. But it can crack.
    A cast stove is usally fancier looking. A plate stove is cheaper.
     
  7. freeinalaska

    freeinalaska Well-Known Member

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    I was very happy with our Vermont Castings stove, and I don't think I've heard anyone with negative feedback on one. After we opened up our second floor we had to get a bigger woodstove and went with a Blaze King (got a deal on a used one) and have had great success with this as well.
     
  8. neolady

    neolady Well-Known Member

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    Steel Plate - and check the gauge of the steel. Thicker lasts longer. Cast iron is bad news if you are burning softwood - my Vermont Castings glowed so good you could see the logs inside through the cast walls - absolutely hate them and they are not the stove they used to be several decades ago. The stove lasted 2 years and had holes burned through it. A steel plate stove lasts us 8 years and that is not an expensive stove either.

    Cast is difficult to repair if it needs repairs. Plate is often repairable HOWEVER most repairs void the certification. That brings up the next item.

    BUY A CERTIFIED UNIT if you want to retain your homeowner's insurance.
     
  9. neolady

    neolady Well-Known Member

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    Whoops - just noticed this - any installations I ever ran across witih air ducts within about 4 feet, let alone above the stove, were not insurable. Get advice before you install a unit below or even near these air ducts.
     
  10. dok

    dok Well-Known Member

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    I know it probably wasn't as funny for you, but I think that was hilarious.. This literally had me laughing for a solid minute, so thanks for that, and the tip ;) -dok
     
  11. Tagalong

    Tagalong Go Hogs Go

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    My partner (Lionrose) found us one out of the paper it is an old cast iron parlor stove. (she likes old things) :shrug:
    It has had the sides replaced, it was old and very rusty but sound.
    When Lionrose got through with it, it looked like a new one. Its about 3 foot tall oval in shape has the swing top so you can put in bigger logs and in that it has the round that comes out for cooking over. Has some kind of fancy thing that sits on top kinda cool looking lol. Sits on legs has boot warmers on each side very nice old stove. The plate on the door says "Rugged Woods evertz Stove Co. Springfield Mo." It has a big # 27 near the top in front. She said every piece on it was numbered. She gave $100 for it then she over hauled it to look like it was new.
    She also found 8 foot of triple insulated stainless steel 6" stove pipe with all the accessories and 8 foot of very heavy black stove pipe all for $200. A week later we had wood heat.
    We heat 1500 sq feet with it and there is no part of the house that isn't warm, it will put us out if were not careful lol. So I see nothing wrong with cast iron we kinda like it. :)

    Tagalong
     
  12. vallyfarm

    vallyfarm Well-Known Member

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    I'd go with the plate stove..Actually I did. Cast can crack if heated up too quickly. A crack on something holding fire in your house is BAD. This will not happen but rarely, but it does...murphy's law says it would happen to me! Also...make SURE the stove has NO catalitic in it. They are made to last 5 years, and if you burn damp,green,or soft wood (I think we all do) they can go faster and can cost well over $100. Air tight is a must for effeciency to. All the other guys had real good points also, but plate stoves are cheaper,safer, and generally last longer. Just try to stay away from the cheap low end ones...TSC,etc. sell some of these. Good luck- nothing beats the heat of real wood! Mike
     
  13. Ed_Stanton

    Ed_Stanton Well-Known Member

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    Depends on your budget too? I opted for a heavy plate steel Blaze King, one of the thickest made. www.blazeking.com . I got the King model but the Princess might do you just fine if your winters aren't too cold.

    But my other goal with the new woodstove was to reduce air pollution as much as I possibly could and this stove does it very well. As I drove to town the other morning, the air got more and more blue and nearly every home was belching that blue smoke. Mine had no visible smoke coming out at all when I left, nor when I got back home. The only time any significant smoke can escape is briefly when the damper is open, but then, it's just coals anyway, ready for more wood, once or twice a day.

    The catalytics might add to the cost of the stove over it's lifetime, but they're better for the environment and our health. Pay now, or pay later? I'd rather keep my health if I can.

    Also thicker plate steel will hold heat longer and allow higher burning temperatures.

    Hopefully most folks don't have to burn green wood? Isn't that like having some dry wood and then pouring a bucket or two of water in the stove?

    Good luck with your decision, but don't discount the pollution factor.
     
  14. Fae

    Fae Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a cast iron by Consolidated Dutchwest and love it. It does have the catalytic combustor which I would not buy again . It does come without it but I thought it was better. In about 30 minutes of building a fire in it I am usually looking for cooler air as I am hot natured but my husband enjoys baking. Lots of times I cook a pot of soup on top. Only problem I have is that it usually warms up here by mid day and I have to open windows to cool the house down. Every now and then we will have a cold spell and then I really enjoy it.
     
  15. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    I may be incorrect, however, my understanding is that by having the secondary combustion chamber, it burns the volatile gasses that would have otherwise escaped. Giving you lower pollution.

    Again I may be wrong, but I have been told that in terms of lower pollution a model with a catalytic grid about equals any model with the secondary combustion chamber.

    :)
     
  16. Ed_Stanton

    Ed_Stanton Well-Known Member

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    ET, you may be right, but my double chamber RSF sure didn't do a very good job burning smoke gasses.

    I also would think that the secondary chamber would only help burn the gasses in an extremely hot or high burn operation mode. Catalytics operate at a much lower temperature to burn gasses. So I'm not sure how well a stove with a secondary chamber set on a low burn would do? Again, my RSF didn't seem to do well in such a scenario and it also had a faster creosote build up when set to low burn than my catalytic model. The difference out of the stack was extraordinary to me. My new stove with the catalyst, could be smoking like a banshee inside as the new load starts to ignite and the emissions from the chimney is "clear". That certainly was not the case with my double chamber RSF, on low burn or high burn. Besides, on normal days, high burn is just too hot, uncomfortable and burns through the wood like crazy. Burning more wood, even if fairly clean, would also equal more pollution, as none of these units are 100% pollution free.

    Here is some info on catalytics, although it is written by the manufacturer.
    http://www.sud-chemie.com/scmcms/web/content.jsp?nodeId=3577&lang=en
     
  17. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    Yes, I see.

    My understanding is that the stack must be over 600 degrees, for the secondary combustion process to work correctly.

    We have gotten our stove that hot, and then as the secondary kicks in it just gets hotter.

    Such would easily be too much heat in a smaller house.

    LOL
     
  18. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    Just posted this on Alternative Energy:

    We got the highest efficiency wood stove we could. You will burn less wood and it will last longer.

    We have 1060 ft2 total. Our outdoor temperatures can be forty-below for two or three weeks, and winter is 7 months.

    Our Blaze King is an 82.5% catalytic wood stove, with dual air distribution fans (which we rarely use – mainly for start up.) Our room temperature is thermostatically controlled [a bimetallic adjustable knob controls the inlet air for up to 47 hours (on warmer days/nights) of continuous burn time using one wood load.]

    I like the big diameter wood it can take -- less splitting -- it burns great (of course splitting helps drying and will burn even hotter.)

    Speaking of start up, literally start up is once a year. Depending on wood quality, clean the ash into the ash drawer only every two or three months.

    [​IMG]
    We protected our floor from sparks with 16 x 16 cermanic tile. We have clearance reduction panels sides and back, only 6" to corner.

    We bought it three years ago -- well worth the cost.

    Enjoy your wood stove,

    Alex
     
  19. jross

    jross swamper

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    I don't believe that is completely true. We keep our Avalon stove outlet fluegas temperature above 260 (260-460F)degrees F. With the damper half closed we can see gas combusting when it hits the fire shelf. The fire shelf has firebrick resting on it to keep it hot enough to burn the volatile gas as it contacts it.
    The Avalon also has over fire and under fire air to help with this process and requires no catalyctic converter. That being said I believe the more moisture in the wood, the higher temperature required to burn the volatiles. The real proof is how much creosote precipitates out on the chimney lining. We have not experienced any...so far.
     
  20. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    It seems like this same discussion comes up every month or less. Like many of the others suggested, I would stay away from cast iron woodstoves simply due the propensity for cast iron to crack when it is heated quickly from a cold to a very hot temperature.

    I’ve never owned a woodburner with a catalyst. I have heard from people who have owned them that the catalysts are fragile, they can break and sometimes clog. Catalysts are very expensive to replace.

    What this boils down to is my recommendation for a plate steel woodstove that uses secondary combustion to burn volatile gases. The Lopi Company, an American manufacturer, produces plate steel woodstoves that use secondary combustion. Some models of the company’s stoves have efficiencies as high as 80%.

    Here is a photo of our Lopi Endeavor installed in our guest cabin. It has a minimum clearance of 4.5” to combustibles from the rear of the stove. It is made form 1/4" and 5/16" plate steel and weighs almost 500 lbs. It will last forever.

    [​IMG]