Opinions of wood stoves neededgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
We have an antique wood stove (Andes Parlor Stove built around 1860) that came with the cabin. I've found out that it is quite valuable. My DH and I are wanting a more up to date, airtight stove and thought we'd start looking now and buy in the summer. We haven't really looked very hard but we really like the Vermont Castings Resolute Acclaim. I'd love it in red but I'm not sure it's worth the extra $460.00. The log cabin was built in 1985 and is very solidly built, it's around 1500 square feet and has a pretty open floor plan.
I guess my first question would be what is the major differnce between a non catalyic and a catalyic stove? I know that it's a catalyist but what does that do? Do you really need one? I'm leaning toward the simpler is better philosophy. The stove we have now is about as simple as it gets--not a lot of fancy stuff was even invented in the 1860's.
Thanks for your help.
Stacy Rohan in Windsor, NY
-- Stacy Rohan (KincoraFarm@aol.com), February 08, 2001
We have an 18 yr old Vermont Casting that has been our sole source of heat, first in the U.P. of Mich. and now in Kentucky. We absolutely love it and it's nice to look at!
-- jean (email@example.com), February 08, 2001.
We have a catalytic woodstove. It takes alittle getting used to but I feel it is worth the small amount of trouble. The catalyst( sp?) works by burning the wood slower and reburning the smoke to release more heat, and the result is less pollution & longer- hotter burn time. We have also noticed that the chimney pipe isn't nearly as sooted up when we clean it as with a non- catalytic. Our works like this, you fire up the stove get it nice and hot then you push in the catalyst, if it's not hot enough( or ignited) it will puff alittle smoke out the vents, just reopen the catalyst and let the stove temp increase and try again, once it's ignited then you close down your vents completely( ours turn) and reopen one full turn.We've got it down to a fine art and it didn't take long either. You will see less wood leaving your stack not only from the catalyst but it will be due to a more air tight stove. It's been said that someday all noncatalytic stove will be considered illegal due to the pollution they release. Hope this of help.
-- Kelle in MT. (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 08, 2001.
I live in Oregon, which reputedly has one of the strictest air pollution standards, when it comes to wood stoves.
For a while the only stoves which could make the grade were catalytic. This is no longer true. Many non catalytic stoves now pass with flying colors.
I at first resented the DEQ's regulations, since it made my new stove cost more; however, I'm glad I bought the stove I did (which is a Quadrafire), since I now burn about a third as much wood as before, even though my house is bigger.
-- jumpoffjoe (email@example.com), February 08, 2001.
I have a Jotul 602 airtight catalytic stove in my house. The others are correct that they burn the wood a lot cleaner than the old types. When we cleaned the flue last September there was less than a 1/8 cup of soot that came out of a flue about 20 ft high. That was from one winters use. This little tiny Jotul, the smallest stove I could find anywhere, keeps the entire house at 70 degrees even when it is zero outside. The fiance and I are planning to buy "our" house next year and I love my Jotul so much I'm taking it with me!
-- debra in ks (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 08, 2001.
I have worked as a heating service technician for about 6 years. working for shops that sold both catalytic and non cat stoves, I would definately choose one without. They are not necessary to obtain a clean burn. Many other stoves are engineered to meet or exceed those with converters. Als on the down side of cat equipped stoves, you have to a bit careful of what you burn in them. Some stoves tend to get clogged up in the cat and the converters do occasionally need replacement. I have found them cracked and crumbling in stoves as little as 3 years old. Replacement can cost upward of 100 dollars. You also mentioned the possibility of getting a cast iron stove. They definately have a look you can't get with a steel stove but again there are possible drawbacks. A porcelan stove is very apt to get chipped. Especially if you have kids or arent too careful. I used to do complete regasketing jobs on cast stoves which ran about $185. Failure of the castings was much more common on cast stoves than steel in my experience. I recommend getting stove with a name brand. The better companies have learned and stayed in business by building abetter stove. I was kind of a slow learner about 20 years ago. I tried two no name wood stoves which looked like the name brands but were nothing but a pain. I then bought a Lopi and have had one ever since. Couldn't believe the difference. Of course,that's just my opinion good luck Stacy
-- jz (email@example.com), February 09, 2001.
Stacy-We have a Vermont Castings Resolute Acclaim.You must have gotten the wrong information, because they are non-catalytic. We got ours used. (1 yr. old, hardly used, for $500!) We love it. It keeps our 1800 sq. ft. home nice and warm downstairs, and keeps the upstairs at a nice cool temperature to sleep at. Last year the chimney sweep only had to sweep out a fine coating of ash. We use about 3 cords of wood a year, but we are insulated in the walls and attic really well. If you have a Lehman's catalog you can compare the different makes of stoves, they have many fine ones.
-- vicki (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 09, 2001.
We've had a Vermont Castings Defiant for about 15 years and I would NEVER buy another one! It is very temperamental, if you do not keep it fed constantly it will die back so much in a short time you can SIT on it! The best wood sove we ever had was a Grandpa Bear Fischer. They no longer make thse as they are not Catalytic Converters. But if we had been able to get the Defiant and not have to "settle" for the Fischer we would have frozen to deat our first winter here. It was one of the coldest winters on record, we had ice and snow for 2 and1/2 months and many days it did not get above zero. That Grandpa Bear saved us. We were out of the tents but our house had plastic for windows[and there were 30 of them] and no insulation in the floor, we did have insulation in the walls and in the ceiling and the ceiling was 26 feet high. What can I say we were young[relatively speaking] and dumb! We also have Yotul that I think is wonderful. In fact our Defiant is for sale and we plan to but a little larger yotul. But you know, woodstoves are kinda like goats...everyone has their favorites.
-- Artie Ann Karns (email@example.com), February 09, 2001.
I have a VC Dutch West catalytic and had to replace the catalytic unit after a year, it was crumbling. Tho Corning glass, replaced it for free, + shipping, I would not ever have another catalytic stove. You really don't get the fast heat that you get from a NON- CATALYTIC,I have been heating with wood for 35 years and have had all kinds of stoves, including Andes.
-- Hendo (OR) (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 10, 2001.
The catalyst will burn gases that would otherwise just go up the chimney, so on a stove with a catalyst you'll typically get about 80% efficiency from the wood you burn, versus maybe 60 - 70% for non-catalytic stoves. Remember that the catalyst will periodically need to be replaced (about every 7 or 8 years) as the cost of several hundred dollars.
I swear by Jotul (Norway) or (less available but equally good) Morso stoves (Denmark.) I prefer the larger stoves (like the Jotul 118) as they are up to the job of heating a larger home even in the coldest weather. The Morso we're currently using heats our entire 4000 SF log home. I picked this one up used about 5 years ago for $350.
Don't buy a new stove!! If you have some time to look around you should be able to find lots of used Vermont Castings stoves, perhaps even in red enamel. My in-laws have the same one that you're looking at in red enamel, and it IS beautiful. However, it has a top and side-loading feature. When loaded from the top lots of smoke billows out, so they never use that option.
- Justin in the Rockies
-- Justin Shelton (email@example.com), February 15, 2001.
Stacy, I read all the answers you have recieved before mine. Most of the information is accurate (bearing in mind "from whence it came"). However, no one defined for you the difference between the 'Non catalytics' with secondary burn technology that conform to the new EPA standards and those older"non catalytics' like your 1860 model which don't! I won't elaborate the workings of your 1860 model because you have already seen the fire box and probably know how the fire burns in there - simple fire in abox I would guess, possibly with a baffle or two guiding the firepath before it exits the stove. But the new 'non catalytic' stoves incorporate a system whereby pre heated air introduced into the fire box (usually through hollow tubes) ignites the unburned gasses coming off the buring wood. The air is preheated by the fire itself (in the firebox there are metal channels which conduct heat to this "secondary" air as it is introduced to the fire. These tubes burn out every couple of years or so (depending on use) but can be replaced do-it-yourself with only a screwdriver for $10 - $20! Also there is always consistant operation of this technology over time versus the slow degrading over time of the catalytic combuster. I would also reccomend two more details to look out for:1) stay with cast iron without firebrick in the firebox (better heat conduction) 2) try and buy one where the seams between the castings have gasket material and not just stove cement (seams will not leak due to expansion and contraction). Hope I gave you points to bring up with others when you make your inquiries.
-- Bruce Davidson (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 30, 2001.