Your Thoughts on Woodstoves

I have a friend who’s in the process of trying to buy a woodstove, and like many of us in this down economy, money’s an issue. The new stoves that sit gleaming on the showroom floors are beautiful. But three grand for a woodstove is out of the question.

She’s asked me for advice on what used stove to buy, and like most men, I have plenty of opinions to offer on the subject.

For instance, I think that it’s perfectly acceptable to buy an old, dependable, dirty stove (dirty meaning it was made before states began mandating that new woodstoves include emissions control) if money’s an issue. But as nice as some of them are, if you have any environmental conscience, such a stove should probably just get you through a winter or two and shouldn’t be a permanent solution to your home heating needs any more than a gas-guzzling 1973 Chevy Caprice station wagon should be the car you commute to work in every day.

Of all the old pre-EPA stoves I’ve known in my life, the Fisher that we have up in deer camp is by far my favorite. It takes enormous wood, which is really nice. And it has these great front dampers that just bombard the fire with oxygen. It goes from 0-60 in no time at all, which I guess makes it more of a Corvette than a Caprice. And once the fire’s where you need it, you can damp it down to nothing in no time – it’s like a thermostat. Man, I love that stove.

As far as the new EPA-approved stoves go, I don’t like the catalytic ones. (For those of you who don’t know, catalytic stoves were the first generation of clean-burning stoves to hit the market; they feature a catalytic converter that has to be engaged when the stove gets up to a certain temperature. The converters have to be replaced on a somewhat regular basis, which is an expensive hassle).

The catalytic stove I have in my life – a Vermont Castings Defiant that sits in the Northern Woodlands office – just doesn’t burn that well with the converter engaged. And I never know whether the converter should be bypassed at night when you damp the fire down and drop the stove temperature, which if you do, sort of defeats the point of having it, and if you don’t, means you’re running it too cool, a supposed no-no.

Far better, I think, to go with the more modern stoves that send the smoke along an internal hot corridor where any unburned components are ignited and consumed. The one I have in my home is a Vermont Castings Aspen, which is a fine stove except that it’s hard to get started and it’s too small. My house is only 600 square feet, so when it’s going it throws sufficient heat. It’s just that it’s a real pain to cut 12- and 14-inch wood, and to empty an ash pan every morning, and to have to play Tetris to fit your wood into the firebox, and to use a lot of kindling in the fall and spring because you don’t have a sufficient coal bed. I think that wood size is one of the key things new stove owners overlook, especially those who plan to cut their own wood. Go big. Your back will thank you.

But all of this is one man’s opinion. I’m positive that our readers have their own experiences and can improve the quality of information here. So what’s your take? What do you think of your stove? What are your thoughts on wood stoves in general? What advice can you give someone looking to buy a used woodstove?

 
Discussion
  1. Liane
    Dec 30, 2011

    It almost doesn’t matter which kind of stove she gets, as long as she pays attention to how it’s burning. A hot fire is cleaner, no matter what kind of stove it’s in. Dry hardwood burns cleaner than damp wood or softwood.

    The best bet is to find a stove that puts out the right amount of heat for the space being heated, use good wood, and pay attention to the stove. Over time, your friend will learn the idiosyncrasies of whatever stove she buys, and will be able to run it efficiently.

    If she manages to find a used newer stove with the heat channel (you’d be amazed how many people replace nearly new stoves because they want a different color, or a pellet stove, or whatever), all the better, but as long as she ensures a clean burn when using it, any stove will be an OK choice.

  2. Karen → in Wendell, MA
    Dec 30, 2011

    We bought a Harman TL 300 last year and couldn’t be happier.  A wood stove installer told us that the welded steel stoves last a lot longer than cast iron (no shifting, fitted parts).  When it’s really cold - 20 degrees and below - we can load it in the morning and again in the late afternoon/early evening and just let it cruise.  It delivers even heat, burns efficiently, is easy to load from the top, and has an enormous ash bucket!  Our house is about 1200 square feet and I thought it would be too big - but not when it’s cold!  When the temperatures are more moderate (above 20) we simply put less wood in it, or burn one fire in the morning.  You can also grill on it (with a simple insert) and use it like a fireplace - nice on autumn/spring early evenings.  We bought the most simple, basic black - no stainless trim or gee gaws.  It behaves politely and discreetly!!  Unlike our old, temperamental, constantly hungry Vermont Castings Defiant Encore that left us cold in deepest winter.

  3. John Sullivan → in United States
    Dec 30, 2011

    Dave, I have one of the old, “original” oval Ashley wood stoves, now about 30 years old and if your friend finds one, I would recommend it. It loads from the front and top, will take huge sticks, fires up quickly and even features a thermostat (and if one is luck, this works).  This stove is one step up the ladder from a barrel conversion kit, but a big step. Sand-covered cast iron bed, cast top and door, with a sheet steel body that can be replaced by any competent welding shop. I lived with mine for years, but now it has been sent to the wood shop in favor of an all-iron Hearthstone.  This works well, but requires attention at startup, owing to the modern stoves’ oxygen-deprived design.

  4. Grace Knight → in Perkinsville, VT
    Dec 30, 2011

    I know that 3 grand sounds outrageous.  But I live in an drafty large house (4000 square feet).  My woodstove took the fuel oil bill from abut $6,500 per winter to under $4,000 per winter, so a savings of over $2,500 per year over fuel oil only.  It was installed by my husband and a neighbor.  It has a catalytic combuster that we have not had to replace since installing it in December 2006.  Every time I burn a full cord, I let the stove cool and take out the catalytic unit and vacuum it.  It lasts.  It is a beautiful stove from Woodstock Soapstone in West Lebanon, NH.  They have special sales most Februaries.  If you want heat and ease, buy the Classic model with no glass window.  Holds a lot more wood, throws a lot more heat, need to refill it much less often.

  5. Grace Knight → in Perkinsville, VT
    Dec 30, 2011

    I forgot to say that my husband, son and I cut and process all our own firewood.  So, our wood is always 2 years dry (summer 2011 we were splitting and stacking what we will burn winter of 2013/2014) and we have no cost for wood but chainsaw maintenance and the cost of the splitter, now 12 years old.  So price your wood cost, as well as your fuel oil savings, before deciding on a stove budget.

  6. Teddy Hopkins → in Readsboro vermont
    Dec 30, 2011

    I always have been an advocate of “I want to see the fire” type wood stove otherwise you can never be really sure of what is happening. If one wants a newer stove those units should have a glass door for viewing and more importantly for watching the combustion. Watching the fire can assist with the complexities of combustion air and circulation air should the unit be hot air. This is especially true in today’s ‘air tight’ homes.I actually have a friend of mine gas hot water heater pilot light get put out do to lack of combustion air near the wood stove. In the same house the combustion air would get steered into the circulation air thus choking out the wood fire.The newer steel stoves can warp due to excessive firing, its simply the nature of steel versa cast iron. However the steel can be welded in the future and it my be hard finding pre cast items should a cast iron stove part need replacing. Companies go out of business also.
    As for the older stoves I have fired up circa 1920 pot belly’s, Glenwood’s and Barstow’s. These stove belong at camps and not necessarily in garages where gas fumes could ignite an unwanted fire.Hope it helps.

  7. Robert Buhts → in Childwold, NY
    Dec 30, 2011

    I have a 1990 Vermont Castings Intrepid (red) that heats our approximately 900 sq ft camp. It has a catalytic honeycomb box that must be cleaned annually. This stove is happiest with small sticks of split wood (~ 14 inches) and loads from top & front. It is cast iron and has glass doors and can be run with doors open and screen in place. It is beautiful to look at and keeps the place toasty even when temp drops to minus 20 or so. It cost about $1200 new.

  8. Garry Plunkett → in Tiverton, RI
    Dec 30, 2011

    I went through two Vermont Casting stoves, the second being one with the catalytic converter. I did not like the converter option - it seemed to do fine when the catalyst was new, but that only last about 3 cords, and replacement elements are VERY expensive. Stove efficiency was lousy without a new element in, so I concluded that a good conventional stove made more sense if operated properly (right temperature). I got a Hearthstone, the ultimate in simplicity, and I love it. I’ve had it nine years and it’s still “running” perfectly. A soapstone model adds to the cost but they sure hold heat well.

  9. Jim DeLellis → in Clarence, NY
    Dec 30, 2011

    I would agree with Dave and stay away from catalytic stoves. That was my first stove and the combusters need to be cleaned and replaced on a regular basis.  Combusters are also expensive to replace. My advice is to go with a large air tight firebox that is easy to load and has a good size ash bin. You can always build a small fire in a large stove, but impossible to build a large fire in a small stove. If you are a serious burner, you will want to get a stove with at least an eight hour burn time. My current stove is a Jotul (cast iron) witch burns around the clock from October through April. I load it three times a day and drop ashes every third day. One additional bit of advise - always burn seasoned wood and clean your chimney!

  10. Douglas Graham → in Goshen, Vermont
    Dec 30, 2011

    We have two “Vigilant stoves” that came from Vermont Castings in Randolph,Vt. They are vintage 1978 and they work great. We cut 16 inch wood two years ahead of time. They get cleaned each spring. Both stoves have solid front doors(no windows).What you friend should pay attention to is the amount of insulation she has in her walls. The best stove in the world will not make up for poor insulation. We also have flexible(accordian) style pipes going up the inside of the chimney. They are 8 inches in diameter and keep the stoves gasses hot. This keeps the creosote from froming on the walls of the chimney liner. These puipes expand and contract with temperature and keeps the creosote from froming. In the spring the liner traps gets cleaned out.(we get about a cupful of soot when the liner is cleaned. The liner is made out of stainless steel and we have had it place since 1984.

  11. Martha
    Dec 30, 2011

    My husband and I bought a used Woodstock Soapstone stove about seven years ago for $350.00.  It has a catalytic converter (or is it a combustor?).  We burn our stove pretty hot, so the converter is engaged much of the time.  The downside includes cleaning out the ashes (there is no ash pan), a rather dusty task.  The upside is the huge cost savings since we use the stove to heat the house with very little back-up from our furnace.  We have a center chimney that keeps the creosote down.  My husband cuts and splits wood off our property. Right now we’re using some red oak that is well-seasoned and burns beautifully. My husband says burning wood is a lifestyle!

  12. Rock Termini → in East Otto, New York
    Dec 30, 2011

    Dave, Old is good.  Even if it’s just an old design.  I left the city 11 years ago. # years ago I bought an Amish dual fuel (wood and coal) cook stove which we use to heat the back half of the house.  We only use wood. It’s a little more work to keep it fed during the day - doesn’t hold a lot of wood, but at night it works fine and has a decent bed of coals that jump to life when I add a few sticks of wood and open the air controls a bit. The side benefit is roasting potatoes, baking squash, etc. in the oven, and simmering soup, perking coffee, etc. on the top plate.  The warming shelf keeps food warm and heats up cold platters.We cut our oil bill about 75 -90%, and now the delivery company has us on will call rather than automatic since our last delivery was 14 gallons.  I’m in the process now of installing an insert in the fireplace that I used 30 years ago in Buffalo.  My house there was 3500 sq ft, and I heated it with that stove.  It was so good the gas company came out and changed my meter - they thought something must be wrong with there’s.  Next they moved the meter outside since they were convinced I was messing with it. That has a thermostatically controlled fan and damper, and holds twice the amount of wood my cook stove holds.  The cast doors (with small glass windows) swing open and there is a screen insert for those times when you want the ambiance of a crackling wood fire.  Recently I was looking at the Northern Tool online catalog and they have several EPA approved free standing and insert stoves that are in the $700 to $1200 range.  I checked the installation/operation manual ( a pdf download) and they are manufactured in Quebec - not the US but at least North America.  They have some interesting advice on level of wood moisture.  The basic point, as others have mentioned, is only burn dry wood.  Otherwise you’re shooting yourself in the foot and increasing your risk of a chimney fire. To put a plug in for local economies, wood is in abundance in the northeast, yet many want us to engaged in fracking for gas.  Sequestered carbonaceous fuels are a train wreck waiting to happen - wood and other biomass fuels are part of the ongoing surface carbon cycle.  We have wood in abundance - the information I’ve seen says the standing timber increases every year (i.e., we are not using all we grow), and it’s transportation cost is low.  Sometimes it involves sweat equity, but hey . . . what can I say about that.  I’ve talked too long already.

  13. Chuck → in White River Jct., VT
    Dec 31, 2011

    Here’s a plug for a Vermont Castings Madison, such as the basic black one that’s been heating half our house for the past six years. It’s post-catalytic, takes normal (16-18”) wood, has a side load, and has a self-adjusting spring thermostat. They run about $2K new and half of that used, and since they’ve been around awhile, there are used ones to be had. Nothing can beat an old Fisher in deer camp or an Atlantic for cooking bacon and eggs, but for all-around, clean-burning indoor use, I love the Madison.

  14. Ben Falk → in Moretown VT
    Dec 31, 2011

    Burning DRY wood is crucial and most people, safe to say, burn wood that’s wetter than optimal.  Dry wood only comes from the better part of a year covered under a solid non-leaking covering, split and stacked.  In the round give it another year unless air flow and sun is very high.  It can’t be emphasized enough how key dry wood is and how all too common it is for even old woodchucks to burn too-wet wood decade after decade.  I heat 1500 square feet of well insulated space on 1.5 cords and make all my hot water while doing most of my cooking and baking with that wood (on a Waterford cook stove.).  Wood is very dry though.

  15. Chris Stone → in Sandgate, VT
    Dec 31, 2011

    I think wood stoves are one of those decisions that are as hard as you want to make it.  If you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative (i.e. used) you should save yourself the time and agony of trying to find the “perfect” stove and just hit up craigslist for an appropriately sized stove that’s cheap and for sale right around the corner.  And though some of the greatest stoves I’ve been around were no-name mysteries, so were some of the worst so I’d stick to well known models just to be safe.  I bought an old VTC Vigilant for $300 when I moved and it’s fine.  Not great, not terrible.  Whatever you get, you won’t have to worry about the environment as long as you install and maintain it correctly, and burn dry wood in hot fires.  Regardless of what you buy, every individual stove and installation has its own personality and there’s always a chance you won’t be happy with it.  So if you only paid $300, you can easily trade for something different.  If you paid $3000 for new, then you’re either stuck or you’ll lose a boatload of money getting rid of it.

    If you cut and split your own wood, I would suggest a stove that burns longer wood (20”+) as long as it’s still appropriately sized for your house.  You’ll get more heat from fewer pieces which means less work for you, plus will stack easier.

  16. StephenB → in ME and MA
    Dec 31, 2011

    I know a couple of thousand dollars sounds like a lot for a stove, but is it really?  Most folks in the US have at least one car, and most have spent north of $10,000 or more on one of those, and cars don’t even last as long as a wood stove.

    Speaking to my situation, our house is heated with a masonry heater, a Tulikivi in our case.  Yes, they’re expensive, $15K to 30K, but again, that’s the price of a car and unlike a car, a masonry heater, cared for, lasts the life of a house.  It burns cleanly and efficiently and only needs tending once or twice a day.  Ours is 6 years old now and saves us about $1500 a year in natural gas.  If we heated with propane or oil, as more rural folks do, our savings would probably be double or tripled.

    I bought a house in Aroostook County, Maine not too long ago that I hope to move to.  I don’t care if I have to drive a $1500 “beater” car in order to save up the money - I’m putting in a quality wood stove or masonry heater as I remodel the house (1000 sq ft.)  I am NOT heating even a small home through a County winter with $4.00/gallon heating oil that most likely will be come $5, $7, or even higher-priced heating oil in not too many more years.

    In short, I’d recommend folks do whatever they can, to re-prioritize their economic lives to re-allocate more money for a quality alternative heating device.

  17. Gary Gulka → in Cabot, VT
    Dec 31, 2011

    A good woodstove is a long-term investment, so it is worth choosing wisely depending on your personal preferences. I also prefer to buy a locally manufactured product, and we’re lucky in Vermont to have such choices. My local choice would be a Hearthstone product.  My personal preferences are traditional cast iron with good viewing of the fire.  Hearthstone has really perfected the design to keep the glass clean!  I’ve owned two catalytic stoves and probably would never buy another.  Very dry wood is a must and the catalytic combustors lose efficiency over time, not to mention they’re expensive to replace.  My best catalytic stove was a Consolidated Dutchwest before it was bought out by Vermont Castings and unsuccessfully redesigned - the most efficient stove I’ve owned in 30 years. The newer version sits in my basement unused, but I wouldn’t sell it to your friend! I love soapstone for appearances and own one, but I would have to say soapstone takes away from energy efficiency - it doesn’t conduct heat like a metal-bodied stove, hence more heat up the flue.  I’ve also used a Jotul (now on its 11th heating season) and have never spent a penny on repairs - it’s a real workhorse but the glass gets sooty after a few days, my only complaint.

  18. Karen Dean
    Dec 31, 2011

    We also have a Woodstock Soapstone that has a catalytic combuster. We love it!
    We had a Vermont Castings prior, with out the catalytic combuster and it was terrible.
    We didn’t dare leave it going when we were gone. It would puff smoke back into the house when the wind blew. So, I vote Woodstock Soap stone.

  19. Walter Boomsma → in Maine
    Jan 01, 2012

    When it comes to advise… my bias is the best advise is in finding the options and figuring the balance. In a sense, instead of over-worrying about making the right decision we may a decision and then make the decision right.

    I think Lian is right… the stove only one factor in the formula. For most people, the economics are going to be near the top of the list.

    Wood size is is an important factor. Two years ago I replaced a “pretty” stove with one that is much more practical, partly because it takes a pretty decent size chunk of wood. It’s simple to operate, low maintenance. It’s old and not EPA approved, but we do our best to burn it properly. At $150 it didn’t break the bank.

    I might think differently if I were heating full time with it.

    My suggestion is to perhaps think less about the stove and more about how it’s going to be used and how it’s going to work.

  20. George Ritz → in United States
    Jan 01, 2012

    We have had a Shenandoah stove for 39 years. This is your classic heavy sheet metal stove, firebrick lined , with a bimetal “thermostatic” damper and a flat cooktop. Ashpan is under the grates which makes it esy to simply take out the ashes without letting the fire go out like many of the old Ashleys. We burn 4.5 cords per year, heating a 1843 farmhouse that kinda slows the wind down. We tried a Vermont castings cat stove for one winter and it warped, cracked and was generally useless. The Shenandoah is butt ugly but dependable. Being a forester cutting his firewood on his own woodlot, we burn just about anything.No chimney fires either.

  21. Emily Rowe
    Jan 02, 2012

    This came in as a letter to the editor.

    Dave,

    In response to your question I would recommend any Vermont Castings stove built before the requirement for a catalytic converter. If they are used in the “open” mode at low temps, and in the “closed” at high temps, they are very efficient and almost indestructible. Parts are also generally available. I’ve been heating with both used and new VC’s for over 30 years,

    Alan M. Robertson
    Sheffield, VT

  22. steve → in maine
    Jan 04, 2012

    I was surprised to not to find mention of the classic shenandoah until the last entry. I wore out a couple used ones before buying a new one a few years ago. A bit of a wood hog but it heats great and takes big wood. Comes in a box or barrel and when it gets old it works great outside boilin sap.

  23. Thomas Russo → in Athol, MA
    Jan 15, 2012

    We have been using a Vermont Castings Vigilant (vintage 1977) since we moved into our 1700 sq. ft. home in 1987.  It cranks out the heat and still seems to be sturdy—inside and out.  A couple of years ago, we considered replacing it with a newer version in hopes that it would burn more cleanly and efficiently than our Vigilant.  Our chimney man talked us out of doing that because he stated that our 1977 Vigilant was just as efficient (and more durable) than anything on the market today.  The few statistics I could find pertaining to the matter seemed to back him up, but they weren’t that solid.  I wrote twice to Vermont Castings for some information, but they never responded to me.  Does anyone have some thoughts about this out there?
    Tom in Athol, ME—Jan 15, 2012

  24. Roy Grisewood → in Dansville, NY 14437
    Jan 18, 2012

    I did spend about $2000 for a Woodstock Soapstone stove w/combuster.  I also had to build a new chimney (another 2-grand) and I buy wood as well as cut my own.  I planned the cost to amortize from the cost of heating fuel in five years.  However, the cost of fuel went up and the whole thing amortized in the third winter of use.  The final amount to be amortized included the chimney, the chimney sweep visits, $65/face cord of seasoned firewood split and delivered.  It was a steep initial investment but I love the soapstone over metal and its use has been well worth the beginning and continued expenses.

  25. J. Grant → in Virginia
    Jul 12, 2012

    Does anyone know anything about the new outdoor wood furnace being sold with the name Fisher Stoves USA?
    Thanks

  26. joe 2 bucks → in Virginia
    Jan 18, 2013

    Wood cannot be too dry in a catalytic. The smoke is eaten by the cat. I am getting my 2nd buck 91. Moved and had to leave the last one. Some stovemakers never got catalytic stoves right, but Buck did on this stove.

  27. Brian → in KY
    Jan 31, 2013

    I just bought a used Appalachain 36 BW that is catalytic. My question is, can I leave the catylitic burner engaged when I go to bed and let the fire burn out. Or is it better to open the bypass (to lighting mode) and let it burn out?  Experiences good? Bad?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Stove Rookie

  28. dave → in corinth
    Feb 06, 2013

    Both stoves in my home life are non-cat, Brian, but the one at work is, and i wonder the same thing every night when i put it to bed. I think probably what you should do is leave it engaged and don’t damp the fire down too much. Of course no one likes having to load wood every few hours during the night, or rekindle a fire every morning, so i’m not sure how practical this advice is.

  29. Jeremy D'Herville → in New Zealand
    Jul 05, 2013

    I’ve been lucky to have had two New Zealand- made air tight, double combustion Fisher Stoves in my family for many years. My clever father built a unique design of cowl to fix the draw issues. It fixed the smoke problem, too. One of them has a wet back. Myself and others are helping get his cowl all over the world as it isn’t only pre-EPA stoves its helping.

    Its success is how it maintains flue conditions by engineering a natural pressure differential chamber. Negative pressure is something that I think has been ignored as a significant influence on incomplete combustion/ emissions, as adverse winter inversion conditions or general negative pressure conditions are dealt with separately from appliance testing, which manufacturers can get away with filters and air tubes not assessed in realistic consumer conditions.

    A cowl doesn’t force the sale of new appliances though does it.

    Appliance assessments here use the Condar method. They assess with rubbish pine fuel. People who have replaced have only been replacing fairly recent appliances. In a lot of cases all that has changed is the dampers are being stuck wide open, and the more complicated the appliance is down below, the more likely there will be back flow problems. Bob Fisher should have realised that a double combustion chamber requires more draw. Wet backs need more draw. The appliance tests don’t adequately assess draw!

    Frankly, I think the OMNI/ EPA regime is a disaster, and the problems need to be fixed back in Underwriter Laboratories - as a safety standard! Forget about particulate matter. Focus on creosote. Maintain flue conditions throughout the burn cycle, in all winter conditions, and give our damper control back!

  30. The Stewarts → in Ohio
    Oct 16, 2013

    We just purchased a used vc vigilant 1977 stove with glass doors, someone informed us its not epa approved! We were so excited to install it, is it going to be unsafe? Thanks.

  31. dave → in corinth
    Oct 18, 2013

    To the Stewarts: the Vigilant 1977 is a fine stove, and yes, assuming it’s in good operating condition, it’s perfectly safe to install and use. The EPA approval relates to emissions—that stove won’t burn as cleanly as a newer stove. But as long as you burn good, dry hardwood, you’ll be fine on that front, too. My girlfriend has a Vigilant for her primary heat and she loves it.

  32. Cave-In → in Colorado
    Nov 16, 2013

    Just a tip I figured out for assembling snap-together chimney sections that get bent out of round (ovaled). I united a couple of hose clamps (long ones) and ratcheted the oval end until it was squeezed round enough to fit into the next section. Amazing what one can think of when they’re a one man band.

  33. Dave → in Lake Peekskill, NY
    Jan 06, 2014

    We have a 1973 Vermont Casting Defiant which I bought used about ten years ago. Had to replace one of the backing plates and reseal the stove. It heats up my 1500 square foot home with no problem and since the house has electric heat we save a bundle of money. This old Defiant can take up to a 22 inch log which is great. So I would never hesitate to buy a used one if is in good shape. I also heat my camp in Vermont with a 1985 Dutchwest Federal Style Small stove. Finally had to retire it because the shaker grate fell apart. I decided to replace it with a small Dutchwest steel plate stove. This was mainly do to the fact that people want unreasonable amounts for used stoves today. So I hope that my experiment with new stove technology works out for us in the future.

  34. AlaskaLive → in Alaska
    Sep 25, 2014

    I just found a really well taken care of Vermont Castings Defiant Encore #0028
    I got it for $500.00 and this thing is in great condition.
    It needs a little tlc but we are so excited at getting this into our home.We are going to try to heat 1000 sq. ft with it. Our home is well insulated. I can get cut, split and delivered wood for $250.00 a full cord….next year will cut our own. We get to 40 below zero at times here.. hoping we can use this stove to keep us warm.. if not, we have a Toyo 56.. new.. but at nearly 4.00 a gallon for fuel.. would rather use wood.

  35. P. M. Elliott → in Carrabassett Valley, Maine
    Nov 18, 2014

    Recently purchased a 3500 usd stove from vermont castings, Defiant combination. It’s hooked up correctly, @150 usd for this service. It has the right chimney and it’s clean. The stove is a terrible performer. It smokes in the open mode, puffs in the damped down mode and it spills ashes on the deck when cleaning out the poorly designed ash bin. Not sure if the cat converter is an asset or a liability. Given the 4000 dollar investment thus stove is a rip off. I owned 3 vermont stoves prior, and the all performed as advertised, this new defiant is a total rip off.

  36. Ohio → in Warren County, Ohio
    Dec 02, 2014

    Last winter, 2013, we purchased a new VC Encore 2 in 1. We can’t get the cat working properly for anything.  We have a 2012 2,700 square ft home and it will heat our entire home, but that comes with waking twice a night to reload.  If the cat is working we cannot completely fill for it will over heat 900 degrees + sometimes, and the back puffing is enormous excretion from all corners of the stove. Should the air intake lever on the side be able to cut the air completely?  There is barely a difference in flame when the lever is open vs closed.

  37. The Maestro → in Brookville, Indiana
    Feb 13, 2016

    We have heated with a Timberline since the middle 1970’s.  Timberline is like a Fisher, but with a baffle plate.  Our Timberline is the largest model (560 pounds).  We heat a Lindal chalet (high ceilings).  We did a major roof insulation project 5 years ago, and we have a heat pump for back up.

    Advantages of the old Timberline:
    Any size wood will fit into the double doors.
    It will heat the house no matter what the temperature or wind.

    Creates very little creosote because we burn it with the vents wide open as much as possible.
    The 5 gallon water pot on top of the stove acts as a humidifier.

    I looked at the new high efficient stoves:  they are not built very heavy duty compared to the old Timberline.

  38. james → in White Bear Lake MN
    Oct 14, 2018

    I now own a VC Encore. I agree with the person from Ohio when they say if they fill up the stove it is too hot for the combustion. This means I have to get up in the middle of the night to reload.

  39. walter leopold → in GULFPORT
    Jan 30, 2019

    VC 2040 ...when the cast damper is closed should there be any flame going up?  As I understand the operation all the exhaust should exit through the cat.  My stove continues to have flames going up. How does your stove operate?

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