I had researched efficient small stoves. This house is only 850 square feet, so a large model is not necessary and would likely have made the place unbearably hot. One of the top choices was the Intrepid 11 by Vermont Castings. It is a pretty little stove that comes in porcelain colours on the cast iron. The catch though, is that Vermont Castings does not make this stove any more, drat. It was very expensive too, at around $3000 or more in Canada. Vermont Castings is as you would guess, an American company.
I was on the watch for a small used wood stove then, since my budget was not rich enough to spend thousands. I had almost resigned myself to bearing with the old wood stove yet another winter. Wood heat, even at $175 a cord was still way less expensive than gas when in the dead of winter can run $300 plus in a month. Besides, there is something so appealing about a wood fire, especially coming in from doing chores in 40 below.
Then one day, there it was. The Intreped 11 for sale second hand and local. I called immediately and went to take a look. It was in excellent condition but had a few chips out of the pretty biscuit coloured enamel. If I could find that colour, I could fix that. Everything else seemed to be in the best of states, so I bought it. The stove owner had purchased it for her home, but it was never installed and she just wanted to sell it. My gain! She offered to deliver it too, since I am alone and old (I am laughing. She did not say that, but she was much younger and had a strong young husband too).
The Intreped came home in September. The local installation companies were booked until the end of October though, so I would have to wait to see how it works in the little farmhouse. Well, a cancellation today freed some hours for the stove company, and I was available ,so now the wood stove is installed and heating the house beautifully.
It took a while to get the fire started. Part of the problem is that the wood is wet and there was no kindling. I never use kindling though, just paper that I save. Courogated cardboard is best, but today I did not have any. The firebox is small yet I still manaaged to stuff 4 logs in it. Big mistake! It took forever to get that wet wood to ignite, but it did finally and now, the two Eco fans that run on hot air only are moving the warmth throughout the house. Ah!
The stove is catalytic, which means it burns the wood gas as well. There is little ash left and the amount of wood should be reduced to half of what the inefficient wood stove required to do the same job. I guess that now, time will tell if this was an improvement and will be more economical. It is small and rated for 750 square feet. I do have the furnace for back up on extremely cold days, though I am trusting the Intrepeid to do a stellar job. Come and sit by the wood fire and share a cup of tea, won't you?