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Small Cabin Forum / General Forum / Drolet Spark II
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# Posted: 6 May 2022 08:07 - Edited by: Anthony

Hi all! I was browsing the internet and found this forum and am enjoying reading what so many are doing.
I like to think of our dwelling as a cabin at a footprint of 20x28. I bought land in the Green Mountains of Vermont in the 80's and built the cabin with a couple of friends in the early 90's. We're not off grid and we have a walk out basement that is heated with an Empire propane heater. The main floor and loft, an area of approximately 700 square feet, is heated with a wood stove. I've used two stoves over the years. I have in place now a Fisher Baby Bear stove, built in the 70's. I also have a Garrison II wood stove, also a vintage stove that is not currently in use. I like the size of the Fisher but I like the internal baffle in the Garrison. They both do a great job of heating the cabin. I consistently get 8 to 10 hour burns out of both of them.
I am considering purchasing a modern, clean burning stove. I like the Drolet Spark II. I am not a big fan of the rear exit flue on my stoves and like that the Drolet is a top exit. Also, the Fisher does not have a baffle and if I am not careful with it I can get a flame exiting the back of the stove and igniting the creosote that has fallen into the elbo in the back of the stove. I could fabricate a simple baffle but the amount of wood I can load into the stove will be reduced. I do like the north/south orientation of the
Fisher stove. It is the stove I designed my hearth for. The Garrison is an east/west stove and takes up a bit more space. but does have a baffle. My main concern is with burn time however. The Drolet states a 5 hour burn and I am wondering if others who have this stove have done better with burn time. Five hours means waking to a cold stove and perhaps restarting the stove each morning. The Fisher and Garrison stoves easily burn all night and there is no morning restart.
I am hoping that someone on this site uses a Drolet Spark II, Fox, or Deco Nano stove, which are all the same size, and what your perspective is on these modern stoves. Thanks much! Anthony

# Posted: 6 May 2022 08:55

If you are looking for a small'ish modern, clean burning stove with great burn time, you can't beat the Blaze King Sirocco 20. We are on our second year with this stove after replacing a VC Aspen that was undersized for our cabin (we live 10 months of the year, usually heading south in February when we grow tired of the snow). I would guess it would be slightly larger than the Drolet but not much, burn time of up to 20 hours.... and that is accurate. We load in the morning after burning it hot to reduce any creosote build up, then load again about 8:30pm before bed. Keeps the cabin comfortable all day and night.

Here is a link: HERE

# Posted: 6 May 2022 11:01

No, I dont have that stove, but have had one with that burn time. Yes, it is a pain to have to reload the stove in the middle of the night. Catch it right and you still have a bed of hot coals, not dead cold. I used to sleep with one bare arm out from under the covers, when my arm got cool enough to want to pull it under it was time to reload the stove.
Imo, you will not be satisfied with any stove that has 1/2 the burn time of what you are used to.
I spent more than a little time on a couple of wood stove forums a couple years ago 'researching'. I was not impressed by the EPA approved stoves! Yet, that is all that can be sold now, earlier non-EPA stoves are not insurance accepted and supposed to be junked.
I went LP.

# Posted: 6 May 2022 13:29

I would never buy a stove with a rated burn of 5hrs. Get up in the middle of the night to feed the stove means the stove is to small or the firebox is to small. 5hr burn time would put that stove in the "I want a fire for the ambiance" category to me.

I have a VC defiant (the newer version with the cat) in a 1400sqft house and can run the stove when its 60* outside or -10*f overnight with no middle of the night refill and still wake up to a 70* house.

Something the size of a VC vigilant would be a good size for 700sqft. Just getting a more air tight stove with a thermostatic damper to replace an old Fisher will be an upgrade. Upgrade in heat output and wood used.

# Posted: 6 May 2022 14:21

We have a Drolet EPA classic in our cabin. It produces a TON of heat. Actually its too big for our 16X28 plus loft cabin. If you are not careful with the loading its easy to get the temperature up to +30C on the main floor and like +40 in the loft. However it has great features like self cleaning glass, easy ash cleaning, easy loading. ect.

Ours is rated at an 8hr burn time, but pretty sure that is ideal conditions with ideal wood. Burning Spruce, Poplar or Pine we only get about 5.5 hours. We can get 6.5-7 if we use manufactured hardwood logs.

Now remember these stoves do not allow a damper on the exhaust. They control the burn with input air only. I'm guessing the burn could be increased with an exhaust damper, but that would break code. However, I know there are people that do run dampers on these modern stoves.

# Posted: 7 May 2022 10:42

Thanks all! The issue with a larger stove that will burn 8+ hours is heat output. My Baby Bear Fisher and my Garrison II are simmering most of the time, with the window in the loft open most of the winter, unless the temperature drops below zero degrees. The average temp in the cabin is about 74 degrees. If I burn them hotter to prevent creosote buildup, the temp soars to 85+ degrees. That's why I am considering a smaller stove. Getting up at 3:00 am to reload the stove however is not at all appealing.
My son has a Blaze King in his house in Alaska. He likes that stove.
Drolet does make a larger model with an 8 hour burn time but I am concerned about heat output.
If I don't decide on a new stove this year I may
replace the Fisher with the Garrison stove this burn season as it has a baffle which I prefer to the open air box.
I will have to check the codes in Vermont. I was under the assumption that an old stove could be used indefinitely up here.

# Posted: 7 May 2022 11:32

Are you insured?
If so, that would be my priority as if it is not in compliance with the insurer they WILL deny a claim.
Be careful on how you ask This could open up a can of snakes, not worms.
And most likely they will require you meet your area's code.
Now, to be safe is why the code exists. It just may come as a shock after some years of it all working for you that it isnt acceptable. Pls err on the side of keeping you and your family/guests safe.
That high temp burn thing is what put me off on the EPA stoves, I couldnt see how I could throttle back to an idle like I could with my truly antique stove I had rebuilt. Not even close.

# Posted: 7 May 2022 12:48

Gcrank1! Yes, I agree! It seems the newer stoves burn hotter as a partial means of meeting tighter EPA standards. The older stoves work well from a simmer to a boil. Thanks.

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