It's been quite a change living here on the homestead compared to the decades we spent in Phoenix, AZ. One of the biggest is the difference in the seasons. Regardless of what our friends in Arizona believe, we do experience more than just than two seasons, winter and the 4th of July. Here in northern Minnesota, we really do get all four.
As I write this, we are entering into the 4th heating season since our move back home. I say back home because we live on part of the farm I grew up on as a kid. We have 80 acres comprised of woods, pasture, and a couple of hay fields. Since we have an abundance of good wood, we opted to include a wood stove when we had our new house built. Our general contractor subcontracted the wood stove project to a local business that does nothing but hearths, fireplaces, and wood stoves. We left it up to them to decide on the brand and size of the stove after providing our input on style. As such, we are heating with an Enerzone brand stove, specifically the Solution 2.3 model.
Our house is 2300 sq. ft. split evenly between the basement and the main floor. We had the Solution 2.3 installed in the living room and it heats the main floor but does nothing for the basement. We could of had it installed in the basement with some registers to allow heat to reach the main floor but we didn't wish to carry wood down to the basement all winter long. Since this is the last house we'll reside in, we tried to be forward looking and design it for when we get up in years. We use a 7.5 killowat Steffes electric thermal storage room heater in the basement with the thermostat set for about 66 degrees which works great. The cold room, where we store our graden produce and Donna's canned goods, receives no heat from the other part of the basement. I just checked its thermometer and it reading 52F.
The Solution 2.3, known hereafter as the "stove", is designed to heat from 500 to 2100 sq. ft. of living space. Our stove has no problem heating the main floor. Being new and built for cold MN winters, the heating needs of our house is very reasonable. We burned 1.5 cords of wood during our first full heating season....more on that later.
This is our stove, situated in the corner of our living room. This photo was taken on the day we moved into the house. During installation, we had tile applied to the floor and surrounding lower wall area which easily meets code for clearance for combustible materials....and it accents the stove too, in my opinion. About a month or two after we moved in, our insurance agent came out to do a walk through of the house. With a tape measure and the stove's installation manual in hand, he checked the installation and clearances. He was pleased with the results.
The layout of the main floor includes two bedrooms and a bathroom. The kitchen, dining area, and living room comprise the remainder of the floor in an open concept design. During the heating season, we typically fire up the stove twice a day and during the really cold months, three times. The efficiency of the stove and house is such that we can't leave a fire burning all day long. I imagine that an older house with less insulation, old windows, and drafty doors might require one to run the stove continuously or at least for longer periods of time.
Upon getting up in the morning, I'll fire up the stove. Depending on the outside temperature, I may add several more pieces of wood later in the morning. The fire is gone by lunch time and the stove slowly cools during the first part of the afternoon. If the sun is shining, we'll gain a couple of degrees on the thermometer from the solar gain of the generous amount of glass on our south facing wall. An hour or two after dinner, I'll fire up the stove for the second time. If its zero degrees or colder outside, I'll do one more fire around 11:00 PM. The house will be about 65 degrees when we wake up the following morning.
Donna and I realized we wouldn't always be cutting wood so we had other heating options installed. We have an air source heat pump, a 15 killowat modulated plenum heater, and a propane furnace all as backup heat managed by a controller. In the electric mode, the heat pump, being the most efficient, will always run first and once its output decreases, the plenum heater gradually takes over. A switch on the controller will override the electric mode and select the propane furnace as the primary heat source. Since we have a propane range in the kitchen, it made sense that the furnace use propane too.
Here is our stove at the beginning of its 4th season. Aside from a slight case of degraded paint finish in a couple of small areas on the top surface, it is none the worse for wear. None of the fire bricks have cracked. The glass seal and the door seal are both in good condition. The door has not required adjustment nor have there been any issues regarding the air controller. Regarding the paint finish, there are a couple of areas where the paint finish as become rough and shows minor cracking. I was going to paint it this past summer but things being the way they are, it never made it to the top of my summer to-do list. I expect it will be more noticeable after the conclusion of this current heating season.
The chimney was installed using double walled 6" diameter pipe. The only problem we have had with it was on the first firing when we discovered smoke leaking from a joint at the ceiling support box. Our smoke detectors quickly discovered it right after we did! A call to our general contractor had the installer at our house the following day. He claims he had never heard of that before. (gee, aren't we special) Anyway, he pulled the pipe apart and reassembled it, ensuring everything was correct, etc. We lit a fire before he left to ensure the problem was resolved. He casually commented that the smoke wasn't likely from the chimney pipe but more likely from the new stove owners not getting proper draft up the chimney . He changed his mind when I showed him the cell phone video of the smoke coming out of the joint on the pipe. Customer 1, Installer 0. Game over!
Here is the other end of the stove's chimney. It is tall enough to
properly clear the peak of the roof in order to avoid turbulent air caused by
the house and pitch of the roof. I like this photo because there is no
melting snow even though the wood stove was burning at the time it was taken.
More Wood Stove
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