Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Wood Stove

The thermostats are turned down low. A cheery, hot fire burns in the wood stove. We've made the switch from oil heat to wood heat. It feels wonderful. The house is warm, much warmer than the hot water/radiator heat fueled by oil that we've used for the past 19 years. The furnace still comes on, but only to heat the hot water, and therefore much less frequently.

The wood stove installation last Tuesday went smoothly. We bought the stove from The Stove Shoppe (Windham and Epping, NH). John Carroll at the Epping store has been extremely helpful and their stove installer, Mario, was also good. Srini took the day off and together we worked with Mario to set the stove in the middle of the hearth just where we wanted it. We talked through where the chimney would pass through the first and second floor ceilings and the attic, and where it would emerge on the roof.

One unknown during such an installation is how the floor joists line up between floors. Just our luck that the attic floor joists were off by an inch so we needed one off-set (a 30 degree elbow) in the second floor. That one jog cost over $300, but we had planned for at least one angle in the chimney so we were still within budget. Here are a few photos of the installation. In the bottom left photo you can see the jog in the chimney.
Ours is a Jotul (500) Oslo in green majolica porcelain enamel, weighing 450 pounds. The enamel cost more than the matte black. We opted for something a little more stylish (the enamel) since the stove sits in the center of our first floor. It really is a center piece of the house now. The chimney is a Class A system with 6 inch double-wall pipe, which is one of the best and safest systems, which we wanted since it is a stand-alone chimney that runs through the interior of the house. 

Scott Kemp, our carpenter, returned today to close in the section of chimney that runs through our bedroom on the second floor. That section of chimney -- even with the double wall pipe -- gives off some heat. A little too much if left exposed, so we had Scott box it in with vents at the base and top to let some heat back into the room.
Back down on the first floor, Scott finished repairing the sheet rock in the ceiling and behind the stove. In this photo you can see the full length of the pipe.
Several friends have the same Jotul Oslo, while other friends have the one size smaller--the Castine. All suggested that we get the Oslo for several reasons. First, it would better heat our entire house. Second, and perhaps most importantly, it has two doors, including one on the left side. It turns out that building and feeding the fire is much easier from the side door. No smoke or ash escapes when we open the side door, whereas our friends with the Castine (with just a front door) complain about a puff of smoke when they open the front door. Here's a look at our stove with the front and side doors.
Our chimney is nearly straight from stove to roof top -- just the one, one-inch offset! With such a straight shot and with the chimney inside the house, the draft is great. Starting and tending the fires has been easy. 

So far, with less than a week with the wood stove, everything is working well. Our hearts and hearth are warm. 


  1. Love the way you documented this project with your photos and words! And although it's a bit of a pun, I'm sincere in saying that it is "heartwarming" to read that you are happy and satisfied with the outcome.


  2. Thanks John, for your heartfelt comments :) Ellen