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Wood stoves

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Wood stoves

Postby reddrick » Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:36 am

As the cost of heating with fuel oil continues to rise (ridiculously might I add) here just outside the D.C. metro area, I have been contemplating buying a wood burning stove. Since the house was previously set up for a stove, (why the previous owner did not utilize it I will never know) I thought that this would be a viable method to heat and cook on if the need should arise. Does anyone have a suggestion on which type, catalytic or non catalytic, pellet vs. traditional? Also could "modern" type wood stoves be used for cooking?
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Re: Wood stoves

Postby Jluck » Tue Dec 25, 2012 11:44 am

Keep in mind...If you do not have a good cheap suppily of fire wood It will get much more costly than you may think to heat with wood. I know even here in the pacific northwest good quality fire wood is costly if you have to buy it.
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Re: Wood stoves

Postby reddrick » Tue Dec 25, 2012 3:43 pm

True enough. I do have places to get free wood, mostly through town maintenance and so on. Also there's always someone that's had a tree fall and need it removed. A little work for free stuff I don't mind. At this point I don't intend to rely on it completely or replace the fuel oil furnace, mostly supplement it to help offset the cost. Also with a stove in place and a need for it were to arise I'd be better off.
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Re: Wood stoves

Postby rebnavy1862 » Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:00 pm

We live in Gloucester county, VA. Firewood is free for the taking. We never use the heat pump except for AC in the summer. I have a Timberline stove that keeps the house in the 70's 24/7. If I had to buy firewood it would cost about $300 for the winter(4 cords). Using the heat pump it would cost us that much each month and not be as warm. A wood stove is wonderful to these old bones after working outside in the cold. Wood is much cheaper here than it would be up your way. There are many good wood stoves on the market. I also have a Gatlin in my workshop and a century old stove in my greenhouse. Just got an e mail add from Tractor Supply. Their stoves are on sale. Words of advice: only use hardwoods, no pine except for kindling. Clean the chimney before each season. You can buy chimney brushes fpr $50. A chimney sweep will charge you $100 each time and may not do as good a job as you. If you look around you can sometimes find used wood pallets for free. They are almost always hardwood.
I hope this has helped you. If you bought a wood stove you will realize the savings almost immediately.
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Re: Wood stoves

Postby jacks » Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:34 pm

I have heated with wood for about 30 years. I prefer a cast iron stove, as it won't warp like a steel stove does when it overheats. I have a stove with a converter. The converter lasts about 2-3 years and then costs about 100 to replace. The converter has a plate cooking surface which can be used to cook just about anything. The converters operate at about 1000 to 2000 degrees f. Jotul makes a very good cast iron stove which uses a secondary air combustion (instead of a catalyst) for a very efficient and clean burn. From my experience, the non catalyst stoves are easier to start a fire in, but not as good for cooking. Try to find a cast iron stove with an ash pan. I am in VA also. Wood heat is a great way to save hundreds of dollars or more each year.
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Re: Wood stoves

Postby helmetmike » Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:19 pm

Whatever type of stove you choose, be sure that it does not rely on an electric blower/fan. I believe that certain pellet stoves need to be powered. If you loose power you can be left out in the cold.
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Re: Wood stoves

Postby reddrick » Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:06 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone. I've been looking at Tractor Supply and they do have some decent stove on the cheap. Also been looking a brushes as well. Cast iron was what I am leaning towards, but would like to hear from others that have plate steel stoves. Most certainly do not want any electric anything on the stove, if there's a power outage that would be totally useless.
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Re: Wood stoves

Postby retired prepper » Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:48 pm

IMO,a wood stove versus pellet stove, I would take the wood stove. Pellets depend on someone else to manufacture and distribute. With a wood stove you can gather and cut your own wood in a SHTF situation.
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Re: Wood stoves

Postby reddrick » Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:59 pm

That was my thinking as well. A friend of mine has a pellet stove, I asked him what he could/would do if he should run out and there was none to be had or could not get them anymore. Needless to say he couldn't give me an answer.
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Re: Wood stoves

Postby DuckNCover » Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:32 pm

I recently purchased a Vogelzang cast iron potbelly stove. It has a BTU rating of 200,000 and burns both wood and pellet. It doesn't require any electric to run. It has a small footprint and has a cooking surface. I also purchased a thermometer for it so it doesn't go over 500 degrees. It has a 10 x 20 inch firebox and a large ash pan. Northern Tool has them onsale for 369.99.

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/ ... _2053_2053

I haven't set mine up yet, still getting the necessary stove pipe and have to get a contractor to cut the hole in the wall and set it up....

If anyone has one of these, please comment....
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Re: Wood stoves

Postby pelenaka » Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:44 pm

We have a small Jotul F 602 CB box stove which for the past 3 years has been our primary source of heat in our small home. We're very urban so no wood lot. As the OP posted we glean the majority of our firewood off of city streets, yard waste dump, & craig's list/freecycle postings.
It's not completely free; chainsaw plus maintenance, gas for transporting, & eventually a utility trailer. Axes, mauls, wedges, bought second hand. Chimney brushes bought on sale in Spring when everything in wood heating is discounted including firewood.

Our biggest issue is lack of storage space.
We do buy a cord of really good hardwood such as oak for deep Winter heating since we rarely get wood that isn't Maple.

When the stove is on I use it to iron (yes I have sad irons) dry laundry, cook, and even bake using a stove top camping oven. I use a retro metal phone stand placed up against the stove to increase my cooking/prep area & an antique chimney shelf to create warming shelves.
As long as you have a flat area to place a pot or skillet on the stove you can cook. Oh & a few trivets of various heights.

As jack wrote cast iron is best, soapstone is awesome. Always airtight.
My Jotul is non-catalytic so no need for a spare. After breaking the glass last year & having to drive over an hour away to purchase a spare we now have both a spare glass & extra gasket.
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Re: Wood stoves

Postby reddrick » Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:45 pm

@ DuckNCover and pelenaka,
Thanks for dropping product names, this is a help when looking at the plethora of stoves out on the market. Really appreciate that!
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Re: Wood stovesrs

Postby jacks » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:04 pm

A followup comment on buying a stove. New cast iron stoves can run 2000 or more. Steel plate stoves are about half the cost. If you search craigslist or your local classified paper, you may be able to find a cast iron stove priced the same as a steel stove (often 200-400 used). Names that I would look for are Jotul, Vermont Castings, Efel, and Dutchwest. I have a Dutchwest stove with shaker grates and an ashpan. The ability to clean out ashes while the fire is burning is a big plus in a cold climate. If you have access to coal, you need a stove with shaker grates and the ability to feed air from the bottom of the grates. A good cast iron stove can last for 100 years- there are great bargains available!
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Re: Wood stoves

Postby reddrick » Sat Dec 29, 2012 8:35 am

Thanks jacks, this is great information to have!! I have been doing more and more research on cast iron stoves, and those that I have been looking into aren't all that expensive really. Don't get me wrong there are expensive ones out on the market but I'm not looking for something in the ornate department. Just needs to be functional. lol Never been one for shinny things so to speak, prefer a truck over a fast sports car any day.
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Re: Wood stoves

Postby WyoDutch » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:06 am

We installed a Blaze King Princess (Catalytic) a number of years ago. It is steel plate construction, thermostat (non electric) controlled.

During the winter, the stove runs 24/7, burning seasoned oak as the first fire-up in the morning and lodgepole pine the rest of the time.

We maintain the stack (double walled) temperature in the 800 degree range, once a week, allowing it to hit 1,200 for a few minutes.

Comments:
Ash is minimal. We clean it out once every two or three weeks.
Catalytic unit is great. When hot and active, there is no visible smoke coming from the chimney.
NEVER put wet wood in the stove without flipping the catalytic unit open. A rush of steam will crack the very expensive catalytic unit.
We get a lot of wind here. Always crack a window facing into the wind. this helps over-pressure the house and help the stove draft.
Best chimney cap we dound (and we tried a BUNCH!) is the "Vacu-Stack". Works great in all conditions. caution though.. It is NOT birdproof. You need to put a wire mesh around it.
http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/vacustack.htm
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