Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Searching for a wood stove

The house we live in now, as mentioned in the last post, has had two previous owners. The original owners had a wood stove. In the years that the second owners were living here, they put in a gas stove. We would much rather have a wood stove, so my husband asked the second owners about the wood stove that they had replaced, and tried to locate it. Long story short, we find ourselves looking for a new wood stove. After a few years of saving up for it, of course.

Last week a gentleman from a local firm came to our house and took measurements. He could not leave a bid or estimate at the time, so my husband told him to drop a final cost off in the mailbox. The economy must be really going well for that particular firm--we haven't received a written estimate nor a phone call from him. I guess our business isn't that important to him...

So last week, an appointment was made for another gentleman from a competing firm to come and do the necessary measurements, etc., to see if he had a product that would meet our needs. (It did not hurt that my husband saw a sale sign outside the gentleman's place of business. :) He was able to sit down and give us a cost estimate for three different products.

There were a couple of things I found interesting about what he said when he was preparing to make his calculations. I asked him if we could still use the wood stove if the electricity went out and the fan wasn't working. He said yes, but indicated that the gas stove we have now would still work even if the electricity went out--that it required electricity, but would still work during a power outage. I was aware that the gas stove required electricity, (one of the main reasons I want a woodstove) and that it would work in a power outage, but I had no idea how long it would work during a power outage. So I asked him. He said that after about eight days there would probably be a problem, and something like where he is, there had only been power outages for about 16-20 hours. I was like, "Oh, that's good," because that's not anywhere near eight days. Inside, however, I was thinking that we weren't even on the same page. I want a stove that will work for me indefinitely, as long as I can supply the fuel, of course. There's no way to tell an emergency situation that it can only last as long as eight days.

Another issue that's important to us is that the stove have some kind of cooking surface. The gentleman who was here yesterday told us that the model we are considering has a 5-inch "lip" that juts out--we need a wood stove insert. That is not very large...maybe enough to set a soup can on or something. That is better than what we have now, but it would be nice to have a larger surface for emergency situations--we would need it for food preparation as well as heat, after all.
So, (did you see this coming?) I called my best source (Mom). For some reason, I was under the impression that my parents bought a pellet stove, but not so. They purchased a wood stove. So one of the first questions she asked me was about the "efficiency rating." Since it had not come up in the conversation with the stove company gentleman, I did not know. She suggested that I check the Internet, since she was unfamiliar with brand that we were discussing. I found next to nothing, except for the claim that they tested their products themselves--so not that informative in terms of the rating. My husband, however, found the efficiency rating--not stellar, but worth considering. Problem is, when he called the gentleman today to ask more questions, turns out the efficiency rating is 6% less than what was stated on the Internet, so it changes how we look at it somewhat.

My mom also called up someone at a number listed on a website about wood stoves and asked about the model we are looking at, and according to that person, there is no "lip" on the stove that would stick out from the insert and provide a cooking surface. We'll have to figure out who is right on that issue. No cooking surface = a deal-breaker for me.

So, still looking for an emergency (and economical anytime--hopefully, it could help with utility bills this winter) heat source for both heating and cooking. Have to have something to cook my rice and beans on. Or at least a can of soup....


Ron said...

You probably are already aware of this, but woodheat.org has a fantastic amount of information on heating with wood, efficiency of stoves, ideal chimney placement, etc.

The woodstove we have was purchased at the end of a long Minnesota winter... $100 off the usual price, so total was $299. The chimney cost more than that, I think. :) We don't have any fan on ours, but do have ceiling fans to help circulate the heat. If the power was out, it would still warm the house, although a little less evenly. We roasted hot dogs and made smores in ours last winter. :)

I know exactly what you mean... who knows how long an emergency may last? Better not to be dependent at all, if possible, in my opinion! I hope you do get a wood stove, and the contractors treat you well.


Marie said...

Ron--I actually didn't know about the website, so thanks for the information--it looks like it could be helpful. I keep finding out there is more to research, like grams per hour emissions, or efficiency ratings. Like I said when I was asking more questions, I don't want to spend the money and then be told I can't use the stove for whatever reason. We'll figure it out.
It sounds like you got a great deal on your stove. Thanks for your comment!


hsjacobus said...

Marie I'm visiting your site again. I actually have all your blogs saved in my feedreader for when school starts again and I can have a few minutes to myself to read them. I always appreciate your comments and wanted to tell you so. It's nice to know someone is getting something out of it as I'm sure you can relate. I have perushed even if I haven't been able to read all in detail and I can see how hard your working at being self-sufficient and your efforts here are wonderful. Thank you again and I look forward to reading your blog in full very soon:)

The Scavenger said...

Marie, I am just now getting to read your post on woodstoves, been pretty busy around here the last week or so. I may have mentioned to you before that the stove we have was given to us by a friend in WV. His brother gave it to him and he was gonna but it in his garage but never did. When he found out we were looking for one he called to say that we could have it if we just come and get it. The thing about WV boys is that they will do anything for you if they like you, we have been friends since highschool, but they will also do anything to you if they don't like you. haha!! Our stove is a Buck Stove insert with a 10 inch lip and it is 32 inches wide. Glass door with a blower, this is the best stove we could have ever found at any price. To save a little money be sure to check craigslist and local flea markets too. I'd love to see a post were you found just what you wanted and needed dirt cheap. They are out there. Good luck !!

Marie said...

Your blog is one of the best places I know for food storage recipes--you have such a variety, and they really are for every day use. I imagine in an emergency that you wouldn't skip a beat in the cooking department. I am striving to reach that level myself. Thanks for sharing your expertise and thanks for your kind words.

Chris--I'm glad you got such a good deal on your wood stove--it sounds fantastic! If I could find some friends like that, I'd be set... :)
I haven't tried Craigslist, but that's something to look into. I would probably worry about who would install it, but that could probably be worked out. I really do want a bigger lip on the stove than what we have been looking at, so maybe we'll have to look at different brands as well. Appreciate your insight and ideas!