Author Topic: Heating a small space with wood (and losing as litte floor space as possible)  (Read 3171 times)

sieben

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Hey everyone,

I've got a problem that I'm hoping someone on here has a whole lot more experience with then I do! :)

I have a little cabin (300 sq/ft) up here in Saskatchewan Canada.
I absolutely love it up there, and spend more or less every weekend exploring the forest or working in my yard between April and November.
It is insulated reasonably well but I currently only have a rather decripit old heater to keep it warm.
This isn't a big deal during the summer but I'd love to spend more time up there during the winter.
There's great snowshoeing nearby and my neighbours build a rink out on the lake :)

I'd love to put a wood fireplace into the cabin. I've got easy access to wood and I love reading by a fire.
I'm wondering if anyone here has any experience dealing with any really small stoves? Most of the ones at local stores seem to be geared for much bigger places then  what I'm trying to heat.
There seem to be some really small stoves geared towards tiny houses as well. Anyone had any luck with those?

If I can find a reasonably sized stove I may even be able to take it out for the summer (when my place is full of kids and family) and just have it installed over the winter months.

Finally does anyone know if a zero-clearance fire place is an option? This may be a crazy idea, but I was wondering if it would be possible to put one in my exterior wall (building out the cabin around it) so that I don't lose any floor space at all. I had someone mention this as an option, but I'm not 100% I believe them.

Basically.... if you've heated a small space with wood I'd love to hear how you did it, what products you used, and if you have any advice for me.

Thanks so much! 

LovinPSDs

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https://www.unforgettablefirellc.com/kimberly-wood-stove/

These are suppose to be the cats meow, but no personal experience with them.  If anything it gives you something to research, but word on the street is they are the best.

LovinPSDs

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Follow up.. just found this page with some neat options

https://tinylifesupply.com/wood-stoves

PMG

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Not an expert, but Id dig into Scandinavian designs.  They seem to have a corner on small and warm.  Ive seen some that are built into the home and use minimal wood, relying on radiant heat, but also tall tubular units that look very modern and sleek.

Edit to add:  quick google search:  https://www.contura.eu/english/.

Also, just remembered old friends who had a water/radiator system in their house and when the boiler system broke they somehow replaced it with a wood stove in an outbuilding, piping the hot water underground and into the heat system.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 05:41:30 AM by PMG »

sieben

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Hey LovinPSDs,

Those Kimberly's look awesome. Unfortunately they look like they cost about 1/5 of what my cabin is worth! :p

The TinyLifeSupply ones look super neat. Their smallest stove looks like it only requires a clearance of 2.5" with a heat shield which pretty great.
I'll have to check with my insurer to find out if the fact they don't have any certifications would cause any issues.


PMG, those stoves are super classy, and I love how little space they take. They may also be a bit too fancy for my little, rustic cabin :)
I've looked at some of the outdoor heating options. They aren't always the most efficient, but they sure do save space.
I think I'd most likely just stick to a few electric heaters if I was going to go down that route for now.

Thanks for the ideas!

SimpleCycle

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Do you really want a wood stove or would you consider a fireplace?  My childhood home was wood heated and one of our heat sources was a Rumford fireplace, which might fit your space well.

sieben

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Do you really want a wood stove or would you consider a fireplace?  My childhood home was wood heated and one of our heat sources was a Rumford fireplace, which might fit your space well.

Hey thanks for the idea, those look neat. I'm not set on a stove, all I'm really looking for is something that would let me have a fire. I'll have to do some more reading to see how much space this may take. :)

bogart

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We have a Morso -- https://morsoe.com/us/ -- possibly a 3440?  It generates good heat and requires very little space, and is generally pleasant and nice to use (and clearly they have much smaller/cooler and probably more expensive options, as well).  The only thing I don't like about it is that to fit in it, the logs have to be pretty small/short; we buy firewood locally (no interest in prepping our own) and rarely find it short enough.  Also, I don't see prices on the website, but my recollection is it was not cheap.

Trifele

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Have you thought about a masonry stove?  I lived in a small apartment heated by one, and absolutely loved it.  They are expensive if you buy new, but it's possible to DIY them.  https://insteading.com/blog/masonry-heater/


WINNING23

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Tiny Life Supply mentioned above has shut down but there are many other companies that have started up.

For those in Canada, there is a local tiny wood stove manufacturer called Cubic Mini based in Quebec (they ship to the US as well).



Their smallest model is called the CUB Mini Wood Stove, while their slightly larger model is the GRIZZLY Mini Wood Stove.

The CUB is suitable for heating spaces under 200 square feet, while the GRIZZLY can heat up to 400 square foot homes.

They are both very popular for use in cabins, tiny houses, RVs, buses, and vans.

Fishindude

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The real small wood stoves are a pain in the rear because they won't hold a fire for long and you are constantly feeding them, plus you have to cut real small wood.
You'd be better off with a full size wood stove, however in only 300 SF of space any wood stove will pretty much run you out of the room, or you'll be sitting around with a window open.

Nate R

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I'm using a Jotul F100 in a 520 SF cabin space, now well insulated. So far, about right. Problem is that I'm not sure about availability of that model (or several other small ones) in Canada...especially after the 2020 US EPA regs kicked in. (The F100 is no longer/not currently offered in teh US...rumors a lower emissions version is coming.)

I'm cutting my own wood to 14" or so for that stove. It's a bit undersized for our building at times, but we have electric heating to supplement.

If I were you, I'd look at the similar options in the 0.5-1.0 CF firebox sizes...assuming you're OK with not having a constant fire overnight without getting up. Morso, and some others make decent ones.
I find with the F100, I get 4-6 hours.... So usually I'm jamming it up before bed, turn it down a bit, get up during the night to feed it, and then again in the morning when I get up. (The F100 firebox is 0.85 CF.)

Also, understand that the chimney system needs to be a minimum height, and they're often more expensive than the stove itself! Hearth.com forums are a great resource.
If you're thinking of doing this, you'll want covered wood storage, and your wood needs to be DRY. UNDER 20% MC....get a meter.  Especially imperative that you get your own wood stored/cut, etc, as you'll need oddball small sizes....not easy to buy that from others.

So far, totally worth it to me, I love heating with wood at our cabin. Larger up front expense than many realize, but it's part of what makes the cabin a cabin, to me.

parkerk

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We have a Cubic Mini Cub in our camper van and we love it, but DEFINITELY go for the Grizzly for the larger space. I can't recommend these stoves enough, they're awesome and take up very little space.  Pop a heat-powered fan on top to help distribute the heat and you're golden.

I disagree that "any" wood stove would be too much for 300 square foot space. Larger ones perhaps, but the cub is fine for our ~100 square foot van and we know a couple people in similar sized vans who use the Grizzly with no problems. And Saskatchewan winters will get COLD as OP knows, of course!

For the feeding it at night, consider getting some of the compressed wood blocks.  Not as cost-effective if you have access to free or inexpensive firewood, but they last much longer. In the cub if we put two blocks in and damp it down so it's not burning at full strength it will go for about 7 hours.  You could use regular wood during the day and use the blocks only for when you don't want to have to tend to it overnight. We've done this in -10 c temperatures with no problems.

We have our stove mounted to our wall with an aluminum frame and head shield protecting it from the wall. You need some clearance all around the stove, of course, but if you mount it up on the wall you could put a table or shelf or something underneath it to make use of the lost floor space. I don't know that I would recommend building it INTO the wall - the radiant heat coming off of all sides would get wasted to an extent.  But as long as you built something like a little cubby with the proper clearances around it using appropriately heat-resistant materials you could potentially do that. 

Finally, definitely go for a wood stove over a fireplace unless you really, really, desperately want the aesthetic of the fireplace.  The stoves are more efficient and it's easier to control the burn rate of the fuel.

caleb

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I'm using a Jotul F100 in a 520 SF cabin space, now well insulated. So far, ...

I agree with everything @Nate R says above. 

The Jotul F100/Viking is a nice stove, and the only real issue is that it requires short wood.

A classic that you might be able to find used is a Jotul 602, which takes a full length log.  The disadvantage is that there's no glass. Edit: I just realized that the 602 V2 has a little glass, and it's not much more than an Englander at 1300-1400 USD.  It would be my choice for the space you're describing.

The build quality of the Morsos is really high.  They're much nicer in person than the photos on the website might indicate.

If you want to save money, everyone I know with an Englander from Home Depot is happy with it. 

However, nickel and diming the stove itself is maybe a little misplaced.  There's a floor to how cheap you're going to do it given the cost of certified double wall pipe that can easily run a couple thousand.  It's possible to buy used pipe, but don't forget that you're depending on this setup to contain a fire in a box in your living room while you sleep.

I would definitely not try to disassemble the stove every spring.  Stoves are heavy (a few hundred pounds), and the pipe needs to be supported and secure.  None of the supports are designed for regular removal and reinstallation, so threads and pass-thrus/thimbles will wear over time.  It just really doesn't seem worth it to try and save four square feet for the four months a year you don't want to use the stove.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2022, 09:05:21 AM by caleb »

Fishindude

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I'm not a fan of the elaborate fancy wood stoves with the catalytic smoke baffles, etc. which they claim are designed to capture every bit of the heat.  Had a really pretty Vermont Castings stove like that and got rid of it.   
They don't vent / burn as freely and tend to smolder.  Also require perfectly dry, perfectly sized wood.

Replaced it with a simple welded steel Buck stove that has a flue damper and an air intake vent.  This stove operates much better, burns hotter and isn't fussy about what wood you put in it.

big_owl

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I have a Jotul F45 which I don't think is made anymore but appears to be about the same size as a F100.  I use it to heat our finished basement which is about 1000sqft of living space.  It works very well for that purpose and can heat the basement very toasty in 3-4hrs from a standstill.  The only problem with a real small stove is that it won't stay warm all night so you have to get up and refill it or else just accept that the morning is going to be cold.  The F45 is large enough that it still has glowing coals the following morning so is still warm and takes minimal effort to restart the fire. 

Nate R

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A classic that you might be able to find used is a Jotul 602, which takes a full length log.  The disadvantage is that there's no glass. Edit: I just realized that the 602 V2 has a little glass, and it's not much more than an Englander at 1300-1400 USD.  It would be my choice for the space you're describing.


My issue with the 602 was that the minimum/low burn rate isn't as low as the F100 (via EPA tests....) But smaller fuel loads would solve that! And I'm finding at least with my chimney, I can't get the F100 burn rate as low as the air control will go anyway.......so I'm not using the "low rate" ability I thoguth I'd get...so far.

I have a Jotul F45 which I don't think is made anymore but appears to be about the same size as a F100. 

Firebox on the F45 was 2.3 CF....  at least internally, a LOT larger than the F100. Just FWIW, that thing can hold more wood and put out more heat.

sonofsven

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There's a boat wood stove called the Little Cod that is pretty fancy, and tiny. Of course you're not going to get a long, overnight burn,but having a box of hardwood shorts and mill ends would get you a nice warm space, just keeping feeding it while you're in the cabin and build a new fire in the morning.
You can also build your own out of an old propane tank, I have friends that have built them for their off grid hippy shacks/trailers/ etc. Perfectly usable, but not fancy.
I heat my home only with wood, the warmth is addictive.

caleb

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A classic that you might be able to find used is a Jotul 602, which takes a full length log.  The disadvantage is that there's no glass. Edit: I just realized that the 602 V2 has a little glass, and it's not much more than an Englander at 1300-1400 USD.  It would be my choice for the space you're describing.


My issue with the 602 was that the minimum/low burn rate isn't as low as the F100 (via EPA tests....) But smaller fuel loads would solve that! And I'm finding at least with my chimney, I can't get the F100 burn rate as low as the air control will go anyway.......so I'm not using the "low rate" ability I thoguth I'd get...so far.

I have a Jotul F45 which I don't think is made anymore but appears to be about the same size as a F100. 

Firebox on the F45 was 2.3 CF....  at least internally, a LOT larger than the F100. Just FWIW, that thing can hold more wood and put out more heat.

I guess stove size depends a bit on whether the OP wants heat in October/April, or January. 

In January in Saskatoon, I suspect a midsize stove might be welcome, even in 300 sq ft.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!