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Discussion Starter #1
UPDATE!!! We have decided on a wood stove, now we need help deciding on a model, if you can chime in on that please see my new thread: http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?p=6196648#post6196648

Thanks!!


Hello everyone, I am hoping that some of you may have direct experience with what I am asking and can lend me some advice. Essentially my question is this, should I get a "fireplace" or a "wood stove / wood stove insert"?? Here is what I am trying to accomplish:

1. Ability to heat my home (small ranch with basement, about 900 sq feet main floor)

2. Ability to cook and boil water in a SHTF situation. (We have an on grid home with electrical appliances that we use for our daily living, but if the grid was no longer available I would like to be able to prepare simple meals and boil water and the such).

3. Smaller size footprint (small home and we have to fit this in the corner of our living room, that is the only option we have for placement, WE HAVE ALREADY RESEARCHED IT AND PLACEMENT IN OUR BASEMENT WILL NOT WORK FOR MULTIPLE REASONS, ALSO WE WANT IT FOR A CHRACTER ADDING FEATURE IN THE LIVING SPACE)

4. Must be able to "insert" at least mostly into some sort of a wall/mantle. Basically we don't want it exposed 360 degrees, we have a young child so safety around it is important. With the layout of the room we plan on building a wall in the corner that it will be tucked into, above it we will be hanging our TV etc.

I have looked at some "wood stove inserts" that go into a wall/mantle that have a top plate for cooking etc which only sticks out about 10" and is the width of the insert. This would meet pretty much all of my requirements, but I fear that it will not allow ample space for boiling pots of water and cooking on. Since we are going to have this installed and built from nothing, and it is not going to be cheap, I want to do it right and make sure that it will do what we need it to. In terms of code and safety, this will all be done by a contractor so don't worry about concerns with spacing, insulation, etc., I'm looking for what works and what doesn't from you folks with experience to meet the above goals.

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions that would meet the above needs? Between this addition to our home and a manual pump for our well we will be sitting really good in terms of being able to get by without the grid.

Thank you in advance for your time. :thumb:
 

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Gas! Gas! Gas!
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Hi Doc. My understanding of the inserts is that most (of what I've seen) have a blower fan as part of the system, which would require electricity. If you have found one without a blower, there is still the issue you described, of not enough space for cooking, etc. I would recommend a standard wood stove... the space you'll be heating is relatively small and, provided your home is well insulated, you won't need a huge stove. The stove can be backed in toward your fireplace, so it won't stick out too far and, with a bit of thought into heat shielding any necessary areas (although, because you are placing it close to your fireplace, there should already be firebrick in place), you should be fine. As far as youngsters and safety, I have a wood stove that is somewhat centrally located (you can walk around it on all sides) and have raised two children with no issues... one small burn on one hand and that's it... they learn quick. Anyway, you can't really go wrong with a stand-alone stove, as long as you can pipe it through your chimney without losing too much draft... I know several folks who have done this with no problems. Good luck!
 

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to start with a cooking fire or stove is a bit differant than a heating stove,,,a cooking stove uses smaller fire box to burn smaller wood hotter and faster,,,the heating stove has a larger fire box so it can carry the fire longer,,,dont need to fill it every hour or so

you can heat with a cook stove,,,but its lots of work

its pretty easy to use a heating stove to cook on,,,i use a airtight wood burning stove ,,close to a "valley comfort" type stove,,,cant realy fry things but it will let me bake [dutch oven on the top],,,boil with even larger pots
this type of stove has a metal shield around the fire box so bumping into it isnt as likely to result in a burn

you might want to put it in basement and run your chimney up from there ,,,take advantage of the heat rising against the floor of the living area
 

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If I had an existing chimney I would put a wood stove in the basement, cut vents in the floor sytem allowing the heat to rise naturally to heat the first floor. Done a lot here in Maine. We have our stoves on the first floor and vents in the second floor, works great.

If that could be done then I would get rid if the electric stove and get a propane stove, even if it was used, and install and oversized tank. We have a five hundred gallon tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Please keep it coming with suggestions everyone, it is appreciated!!

Hi Doc. My understanding of the inserts is that most (of what I've seen) have a blower fan as part of the system, which would require electricity. If you have found one without a blower, there is still the issue you described, of not enough space for cooking, etc. I would recommend a standard wood stove... the space you'll be heating is relatively small and, provided your home is well insulated, you won't need a huge stove. The stove can be backed in toward your fireplace, so it won't stick out too far and, with a bit of thought into heat shielding any necessary areas (although, because you are placing it close to your fireplace, there should already be firebrick in place), you should be fine. As far as youngsters and safety, I have a wood stove that is somewhat centrally located (you can walk around it on all sides) and have raised two children with no issues... one small burn on one hand and that's it... they learn quick. Anyway, you can't really go wrong with a stand-alone stove, as long as you can pipe it through your chimney without losing too much draft... I know several folks who have done this with no problems. Good luck!
Thank you for the advice. I am thinking maybe the same thing, I build a "Fireplace" without actually having a fireplace, and insert a wood stove in the opening, maybe design it with a taller opening to make cooking easier. This would create a usable Mantle and wall above it, would offer some protection on the sides to reduce chance of someone or something getting to close, and would meet all the requirements Hmmmmm.

Maybe something similar to this in concept!! http://www.galleryfireplaces.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/wood-burning-stoves.jpg

The first link below is the wood stove insert I used for 20 years. I could and did cook on the top and also made coffee.
http://www.regency-fire.com/Products/Wood/Wood-Inserts/H2100.aspx
http://www.regency-fire.com/Products/Wood/Wood-Stoves.aspx
Thank you very much I am going to look into these models!!

to start with a cooking fire or stove is a bit differant than a heating stove,,,a cooking stove uses smaller fire box to burn smaller wood hotter and faster,,,the heating stove has a larger fire box so it can carry the fire longer,,,dont need to fill it every hour or so

you can heat with a cook stove,,,but its lots of work

its pretty easy to use a heating stove to cook on,,,i use a airtight wood burning stove ,,close to a "valley comfort" type stove,,,cant realy fry things but it will let me bake [dutch oven on the top],,,boil with even larger pots
this type of stove has a metal shield around the fire box so bumping into it isnt as likely to result in a burn

you might want to put it in basement and run your chimney up from there ,,,take advantage of the heat rising against the floor of the living area
Thank you for the advice. I am surprised that you can boil water on top but it is not hot enough to fry something, I would think if you could do one you could do the other, interesting. I have actually looked into placing a wood burning stove in the basement, long story short it wont work for numerous reasons that I have already looked in due to venting, placement, lower ceilings in basement that are finished and insulated, etc. The corner of the living room is the only real option, and I think it will add a nice character to our living space.
 

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Even though my old home is naturally heated with hot water via natural gas, I have heated it solely with wood the last 6-7 years. Its economics! I couldn't afford the gas bill?
Having been raised on wood & coal heat, I recommend a wood cook stove for cooking and a heating stove for heating. Yep, there are those that will argue otherwise, but you will need to make concessions if settling for one or the other. So, which is more important or which is the mostly likely used the lesser?
An open fireplace is a waste of heat and good firewood without an insert. My brother-in-law swears on a "Buck" fireplace insert.
I have many Amish friends and they use a wood cook stove exclusively for cooking and this same stove heats the home. They don't try and heat rooms that are not used! Advanced, technical, sophisticated, modern man doesn't understand that. They heat the whole house when there is nobody home?
And we wonder why the cost of fuels and the demand is so high? Ask yourself, why are you doing this in the first place?
The best place for a wood cook stove is in the middle of the basement. All heat travels upward, heating the upstairs floor & rooms. Vents could be added for better circulation. Do you have access to abundant fire wood? Purchasing fire wood can save money if that is your goal, other wise its nasty, hard on the back, and you are gullible for the wood sellers who thinks a level pick-up load of wood is a cord! You have ashes to discard.
If the character is all your looking for in a wood stove, then by all means install what ever you can afford with all the bells & whistles.
 

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There is no perfect advice on this situation. Way to many variables... What you like, what your spouse likes, tons of options to begin with, everybody has a different perspective, and last but not least budget.

Here are some of my opinions.

An insert is designed to go into an existing open fireplace to make them more efficient. They do this very we'll but they are not perfect. I would not start a new design/installation around an insert unless someone gave me a good one for free.

If you want to cook on it a stove is far easier than a fireplace. You said living room so we are talking heat stoves not kitchen cook stoves. You can cook on these easily you just don't have an oven. If you want this simply for backup a cheaper stove will be fine. I would not go to the expense and not have an efficient stove I could regularly use to heat my house. There are lots of options with secondary burn or catalytic, its a matter of the type and appearance you like. Catalytic are extremely efficient but the ceramic disk will need to be replaced and that rules them out for a lot of folks. Woodstock Soapstone would at the top of my list.

For your sq footage be careful to not get to big of a stove. Bigger is not better. A large stove at full burn can run you out of the house. One of my grandfathers had this situation and he actually had a thermometer in the living room. When it hit 90 degrees we could open the front door.

I have a corner fireplace and when you get the clearances needed for any stove or fireplace they take up a lot of floor space. Can you build out, like adding an exterior chimney, that on the inside creates an alcove to place the stove in. It saves a lot of floor space.

After all that... I have a fireplace because my wife won't even talk about a stove in the living room. I agree with "two bits" when you have the room I prefer a cook stove in the kitchen and a fireplace/stove in the living room.
 

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Consider not just a heater stove, but fixing your chinmey so if you need to, you an put in a cookstove for the summer...if the SHTF......or at least buy a older cook stove in useable shape to use in the summer/warmer weather...or build something like a rocket stove. Your heater stove will run you out of the house in the summer, if you try to cook on it much.
 

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There is no perfect advice on this situation. Way to many variables... What you like, what your spouse likes, tons of options to begin with, everybody has a different perspective, and last but not least budget.

Here are some of my opinions.

An insert is designed to go into an existing open fireplace to make them more efficient. They do this very we'll but they are not perfect. I would not start a new design/installation around an insert unless someone gave me a good one for free.

If you want to cook on it a stove is far easier than a fireplace. You said living room so we are talking heat stoves not kitchen cook stoves. You can cook on these easily you just don't have an oven. If you want this simply for backup a cheaper stove will be fine. I would not go to the expense and not have an efficient stove I could regularly use to heat my house. There are lots of options with secondary burn or catalytic, its a matter of the type and appearance you like. Catalytic are extremely efficient but the ceramic disk will need to be replaced and that rules them out for a lot of folks. Woodstock Soapstone would at the top of my list.

For your sq footage be careful to not get to big of a stove. Bigger is not better. A large stove at full burn can run you out of the house. One of my grandfathers had this situation and he actually had a thermometer in the living room. When it hit 90 degrees we could open the front door.

I have a corner fireplace and when you get the clearances needed for any stove or fireplace they take up a lot of floor space. Can you build out, like adding an exterior chimney, that on the inside creates an alcove to place the stove in. It saves a lot of floor space.

After all that... I have a fireplace because my wife won't even talk about a stove in the living room. I agree with "two bits" when you have the room I prefer a cook stove in the kitchen and a fireplace/stove in the living room.
What he said. :thumb:

Houses today are not designed to have a single wood cook stove. In years past, many did have a wood-fired kitchen range, but that also served as a general heat source and hot water heater in addition to cooking. For example, unless you were very rich, there really was not a separate living room from the kitchen, the wood burning kitchen cook stove providing heat.

Such a system does not work well for most homes today because of separated rooms. down long hallways. If you want a fully capable wood-burning kitchen stove, having a wood stove in the living room is just not practical, and vice-versa.

Trying to heat a 900 sq ft space with a wood stove will be tricky as it is so small you risk overheating on more mild days or not having enough capacity for those very cold days,
 

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A lot of those woodstove were carried out and used on the porch during the summer time.
Oh!!! Never thought of that! Thank you!
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the input everyone. I think the next step is going to be looking into the local building codes to make sure the area required will even be feasible. From there I will look into some stove options and figure out a layout. I'm pretty certain that a fireplace is out and won't work, an insert with a cooking ledge MAY work but would be costly and not ideal. Sounds like we want a small Wood stove which can easily heat our home, with a top surface that could be used for cooking in case of an extended emergency where electricity is not an option.

I will update you all as progress is being made, thanks again for your help and ideas!!!
 

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DocHoliday, What's your climate? A northern climate and insert do not mix well, you won't be happy with the amount of heat.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
here is a ink to a wood cookstove that I have been wanting to try out. They seem reasonably priced but not real fancy either.

http://www.transoceanltd.com/appliances/stoves/sheepherd.html
Very nice. I think we are going more for a wood stove that we can do a little cooking on, not a full blown cooking stove. Very nice though.

DocHoliday, What's your climate? A northern climate and insert do not mix well, you won't be happy with the amount of heat.
We are in the lower peninsula of Michigan, so yea cold winters lol. Like previously stated, I think we are leaning more towards a wood stove than a insert. Thanks for the feedback!
 

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Nice little stove, RandyT. I like the hot water dispenser on the side of it. I wonder if it has a door on the end so you can push the pieces of wood straight into the stove ...
 

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Nice little stove, RandyT. I like the hot water dispenser on the side of it. I wonder if it has a door on the end so you can push the pieces of wood straight into the stove ...
I'm not real familiar with the stove but here in the tip of the mitt (northern Michigan) I know some folks that heat a fairly large home with the big bear model from the same company. I have a 16 by 20 foot cabin that the little model would probably heat well.

I wonder about the fire box size and access as well.
 

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We have one of the small federal stoves. These are part of the Vermont casting line up. We have cooked on this many times when the power has gone out just to see if we could do it.

We run this stove 24/7 during the winter and use about three cords of wood.

The stove itself has good convection action without a blower, but a blower can be added.\

Front and side load, there is a separate door for the ash pan so it can be cleaned without shutting it down.

http://majesticproducts.com/family/Stoves/Catalytic/DutchWest/
 
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