Rhode Island, South/Southern RI, Charlestown, Coventry, 02912, 02826, 02830, 02839, 02858

Formerly Wakefield Stove

Fireside Online Located at
52 Main St, Wakefield, RI.
Phone: 401- 783-6054 Email: johndebar@gmail.com
  • Fireside Stove Shoppe


-- VISIT --

The flash combustion of smoke!

Why Brochures are Counterproductive in Choosing the Optimal Stove

by John Debar, owner of Fireside Stove Shop. Demonstrations by appt: 401-783-6054 52 Main St, Wakefield, RI

Brochures of all wood stove brands provide data, and wording describing that data. This data and wording comes from the UL listing testing agency. The data itself is true, but very misleading, due to ignorant wording chosen to define this data. This is a major hindrance to choosing the correct 'flash combustion' stove or insert. Here's a list of brochure flaws that insures even 'Einstein' would choose the least optimal size and type...

Six Brochure Flaws... applies to all brands of stoves and inserts:

Brochure Flaw 1: (Heating Capacity)

Poor brochure wording accidently feeds the outdated concern a large stove will overheat. Here's how: A typical large capacity stove, the 'Legacy' model for example, has a brochure stated 'Heating Capacity' of '1600-2500' square ft. Now, anyone with a tiny 900 sq ft home would reject '1600-2500' for a smaller stove. However, the 'Legacy' stove or insert is ideally sized for 900 sq ft! How can this be?

The fault lies in a careless word choice to define: '1600-2500', as the 'Heating Capacity'. I see a gov't 'lay person', defining the specs without a clue as to just how artfully specs could be misinterpreted. '1600-2500' is the 'Max Heating Range', something totally different than the false label: 'Heating Capacity'. The 'Max Heating Range' means that the highest heat setting could yield just 1600 sq ft, or as much as 2500'(or 3500) sq ft, depending on 4 wildly swinging external variables: 1.Outdoor temps, 2.Home insulation, 3.Wood moisture content, and 4.Chimneys that can vary 8 fold in the power to blow air on the fire.

The maximum, any brand of UL Listed stove can heat is also the lower ie: the low end of the max range it will heat, not to be interpreted as area the stove heats on low!

The most important spec, if given just one spec to pick the optimal stove, is: "The Minimum Heating Range". Sadly, the min. heat range spec is never provided on any brochure of any brand of stove or insert!

If only the brochure stated the range of square footage on the low setting, then and only then could a shopper select a larger capacity firebox, thus gaining long burn durations that provide stable temps in remote rooms, increased efficiencies by avoiding operating on the high setting, and ease of use finding it still lit mornings. However, nowhere on any brochure does it state what a stove or inserts minimum heating range is!

A '1600-2500' square ft. large rated stove happens to heat only 500-900 sq feet when on low! Therefore, it is an ideal stove for 1000 sq/ft, but sadly is rejected every time because 1600 is the low number in the max range. Understanding this brochure flaw is the only way you can come closer to max burn time of 11 hours. Firesides demo burn model stove is extra large. It is close to the largest in the industry, touting a 'Heating Capacity' of 2000-3000 sq ft. On colder days, this stove on low leaves our 650 sq foot demonstration area a bit chilly. Because it needs to be turned up a bit, the burn duration is still an impressive 12 hours.

In summary, the brochure accidently directs shoppers to small stoves that do not provide convenient overnight burns as well as the other losses listed above.

Brochure Fix: If heating over 1000 square feet, then choose a larger capacity stove, given it's engineered to take a beating and stay airtight. The payback more than offsets the slightly added cost.

Brochure Flaw 2: (Max Burn Times)

Because flaw #2 made you wrongly fear overheating of the XL stove, eyes drift to the smaller model, such as the 'Striker', with a 'heating capacity' of 700-1300 sq /ft. 1300 sq ft matches half the homes out there. Nearly everyone falls victim to this trap. It indeed heats 1300 sq ft, but the corresponding burn time is a very short 2-3 hours. This is far from the brochure stated 6-8 hour burn time! Therefore, the smaller stove is a terrible choice, in that it is off most of the time! Who would want it off, when a flash combustion stove is half the wood and work of yesterday's air-tights, with a free fuel option! (pine that is often free)

Brochure Fix: The MAX burn time of a stove on the highest heat setting is 1/3 the time range stated, not the low number in the max burn time range given.

Brochure Flaw 3:

(Fireplace insert photos don't represent the look folks choose 99% of the time)

Fireplace insert brochure pictures show a totally different appearance than what most folks opt for. Most choose to omit the optional metal surrounds, unique to models Fireside carries. In doing so, they saved $150, increased heat output, and omit the hearth extension, preserving much of the look and feel of the fireplace.

Brochure Fix: Check out the photos on the pricing page, or request I email pictures.

Brochure Flaw 4:

Why are efficiency ratings not trustworthy in stove selection? Fireside carries the highest efficiency stoves on the market, at up to 94% efficiency. As an engineer of 30 years, I often wondered why the testing entity that determines brochure data, doesn't supply a graph showing efficiency differences of each stove model as a function of the selected heat setting, ...for low, medium, or high. The brochure is a poor guide when it neglects to warn you that the max efficiencies are not realized when on or near the highest heat setting. Brochure Fix: Highest efficiencies are obtained on lower settings, so beware of selecting a small stove that would need to be operated on high most of the time. Also, it doesn't matter what the tested efficiencies are.

Brochure Flaw 5: (Bait and Switch)

Firesides demo doesn't end by concluding flash combustion wood stoves are 3-4 times improved. This is the starting point of why it is so important to come in for the demo. You're now able to understand the magnitude of the loss, as most FC stoves soon fail, and revert to 1/3 of promised. Showing why most models fail with no repair or warranty recourse, is the second part of the in-store demo. Ironically, it is the more expensive brands, not just extreme low-end brands, that are soon reduced to scrap metal. The third part of the demonstration is seeing a uniquely engineered stove design that will never fail.

What evidence is there that air tight stoves leaked as a rule? Look at the reason why stove pipe dampers were always installed with new airtight stoves. It was to bank down a 'soon to be' leaky stove. However, with flash combustion stoves, a second problem occurs worse than overheating. The unintended air breaching the stove drops fire box vacuum, and as a result, cuts efficiency in half, along with losing many other niceties such as long burn times, half the wood handling, free pine fuel, and stay clean chimneys. Because most stoves are carelessly engineered, they soon revert to half the brochure stated efficiency when over fired. Does it then matter what efficiency the brochure promised?

The independent testing agency is negligent, in that they do not test the stove in red hot mode, to confirm it survives. What good is a stove that permanently reverts to 1/3 of what it should be? Let Fireside show you a leak proof stove that costs considerably less than a comparably sized leak prone cast iron stove.

Brochure Fix: Ignore brochure specs. Focus on stoves you can confirm by inspection are engineered with thick steel unibody, with laser cut door openings, all stainless baffle supports and tubes, high density bricks, with door and glass gasket adjusters that make gasket replacement rare.

Brochure Flaw:

Why are emissions ratings not trustworthy in stove selection?

Fireside carries one of the cleanest burning wood stoves, at 1.6 grams /hour. However, impressive emissions numbers shouldn't carry much weight in deciding on a stove. Here's why. The independent testing authority states emissions at the rate of 7.5 grams per hour produces non-visible emissions. Therefore, since 7.5 grams/hour is virtually zero emissions, then would you rule out a stove because of variations under 7.5 grams? Of course not. If 7.5 grams is zero, all numbers under 7.5 are the same... zero. Therefore, don't choose a stove on the basis of being cleaner burning than another. They're all EPA certified to be virtually zero emissions.

Brochure Fix: Don't let an emissions rating influence your choice of a stove.

Brochure Flaw 6:

BTU ratings are wildly arbitrary. It is common to read the BTUs of a small stove nearly the same as a extra large stove with twice the rated heating capacity. To date, no one has provided a good reason for this discrepancy. Any stove's max heat output is more dependent on wood dryness level, and air intake rate, than the stove size. A stove air intake is dependent on the chimneys air pulling power. It could vary 4 fold by being tall with a metal liner, verses short with no liner. Add in wood moisture content variations. External factors have much more to do with BTU output than the size or model of the stove.

Brochure Fix: Don't let a BTU rating influence your choice of a stove.

Please don't skip the demo, provided at 52 Main Street, Wakefield. On weekdays, please call 401-783-6054 with an hour's notice to prepare for your visit, anytime between 10-7 PM. Saturdays 10-5pm without any call prior. Rest assured, there's never any pressure to buy. After the demo, no purchase or deposit is necessary. I'll email a written quote for the whole package, installed with permit. You can mull it over, and if interested, email back stating you'd like to proceed. Expect installation within 1-5 days, and pay from home on completion, saving a trip back to the store.