Hope I don't bore you folks but more info on how I currently heat is better than less info....so here goes.....
I live in the Dayton, OH area and currently have a new wood-burning insert (Jotul C450) and I really like it. I use very dry wood that I scrounge for myself (free wood
) and it burns nice and hot and clean. When I installed my system myself last month, I put in a 1-piece stainless steel liner (inside the 11" x 11" terra cotta flue tiles of the chimney) running from the stove connector to the chimney cap. I also insulated the liner (most people don't) with a full 1/2" thick blanket/wire mesh system. This gives me the full UL 2100F rating against multiple chimney fires. No way any fire could get through the liner, then the insulation and finally through my flue tiles and into my house.
That said, I have a back room that, while my Jotul will send heat there, it's really (as with any point source heating device) a distribution problem. I use my furnace fan to circ heat and it works fairly well but my eventual goal is to have another stove in this back room (about 300 sq ft). My house is medium-sized (1700 sq ft) and fairly well insulated (my Nov through March heat bills are about $400 total and hot water another $120) but I'd like to be able to get away from nat gas as much as possible for heat. My Jotul helps but now I'm looking at the possibilities for another stove for this back room....a small wood or coal burning stove.
Wood is nice because I get it free but I do have to tend it a bit...not too much because I just burn it from about 5PM when I get home until about midnight. When I go to bed, the Jotul has boosted the front room temp to about 76F and the back room to 72F. I leave the Jotul with large chunks of glowing wood but I don't restoke and get a full fire going because I don't need the heat. With outside temps at say 30F, my 72F house falls about 1deg F per hour and I wake up to a 64F or so home...not too bad, then I set the furnace to hold at 64 and go to work. So I really don't need all that much more heat at night but the second stove would allow me to boost the back room to a higher temp more quickly and with both stoves burning and the circ fan on, more heat would reach the bedrooms than it does now. Also, this small second stove (if coal) could be used to somewhat maintain the house temp when I'm not there and when I'm not burning wood.
Finally, for wife considerations, whatever goes there CANNOT be ugly (it's gotta be good looking to go in the back room) and it can't be a monstrosity. Also, it must put out, say, at least 8 hrs of heat before reloading. Correct me if I'm wrong, but does this kind of negate the auto-feed hoppers and maybe the gravity feed ones too because of looks and size and if so, what kind of burn can I get out of the manual feed ones and what kind of coal consumptions do you go through in these manual feed ones?