New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: Hilltown On: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:02 am

Hi,

Kind of new here...I bought a Chubby w/fan from Larry last year. I thought this would be a good thread to weigh in on a number of things & see what people think..

First, I've always pretty much followed Larry's advice. We've talked on the phone & emailed as he walked me though the process last fall. I’ve perused a lot of threads and I'm seeing people run their stoves at 500-600 degrees, getting short burns, etc, etc. We did struggle at first, but it always came back to a simple solution offered up by Larry.

Our house (in Western Mass) is a bit more than 2200 SF. It was built about 1850. The walls are stacked wood. We’ve done a lot of restoration & buttoning to reduce heat loss – R39 attic, Pella windows, new roof & so on. I used to be in the building trade so I was able to design & contract the work to my specs.

We have been heating the entire house with the Chubby. Parts of the upstairs sometimes get into the mid sixties, but downstairs is low to mid 70’s. We have a propane fired HWB system (Viessmann) That used to use 900-100 gallons a year for heat & HW. Thjs season we have yet to use it.

My HVAC guy (& friend) have been pleasantly surprised at the performance. I think convection patterns have a lot to do with how much of a house you can heat with a parlor stove. In our case we have two stairs in the house. This creates a “racetrack pattern for the heat from the centrally located Chubby. With one stair, I don’t think it would work as well.

We get 12-13 hours with Blashak, one full ash pan at each fill. We set the stove to run at 400 during the day. The only time it gets hotter is when we open it up at the end of a “shift” prior to shaking and filling. We do a vigorous cleaning of the grates each time – until we see coals fall and a glow under the grate. I’ll admit that in the fall we started off with shorter burns and a lot of restarts, but as we learned to have more faith in the system ala Larry (coal is lazy & slow – don’t be impatient) we have been rewarded with a reliable heat source that is pretty easy to adjust.

As we got more confident, we went out and bought 10 bags of Reading to see what the difference was. It did burn somewhat different. It often left not as hot a firebox (often only 400 after opening it up for a while) at the end of 12 hours, but was not too hard to get going on this lower fire. In contrast, the Blaschak most often gave us 600-700 after opening it up at the end of a 12 hour shift, making filling and setting for the day a breeze (of course, after we knew what we were doing). We did test the Reading during the recent 2 week cold snap & think it did well in terms of providing enough heat – Once running, it essentially performed the same as on Blaschak. On a daily basis, about both used about between 30 lbs a day.

I think we’ll stay with Blaschak & continue to sing high praises for the Chubby. I will say that regardless of our success, I can’t seem to convert any wood burners. I grew up in a wood burning household and have had my fill….

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Hilltown
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Coal Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: Standard Chubby

Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: buck24 On: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:15 am

Hilltown.... looks like you got it all covered and doing a fine job. You can't ask more of a handfired stove. The Chubby is performing well and keeping you warm. You have a nice set up there. Nothing like coal. Stay warm.
buck24
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: New Buck Corp. / MODEL 24 COAL
Coal Size/Type: Pea, Nut / Anthracite

Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: michaelanthony On: Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:46 am

Hilltown wrote:
We have been heating the entire house with the Chubby. Parts of the upstairs sometimes get into the mid sixties, but downstairs is low to mid 70’s. We have a propane fired HWB system (Viessmann) That used to use 900-100 gallons a year for heat & HW. Thjs season we have yet to use it.
What are you using for hot water? Until I get a coal boiler, I must use a oil fired hwheater.




I think we’ll stay with Blaschak & continue to sing high praises for the Chubby. I will say that regardless of our success, I can’t seem to convert any wood burners. I grew up in a wood burning household and have had my fill….

....keep in mind, it sounds like you burned wood for a long time as well, hard too break the chain. People get use to a routine! I'm sure if a wood burner friend or relative spent a couple days AND nights at your place and you showed them the ease and warmth, they woould do some head scratchin'. A neighbor of mine was burning coal and invited me in a couple times in the middle of winter in 2010 and I was blown away with the type of warmth, it just went through me unlike my warm air oil furnace pig! Welcome too the forum!
michaelanthony
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant 2310, gold marc box, vogelzang pot belly coat rack
Coal Size/Type: Pea, and a little nut
Other Heating: Very cold FHA oil furnace

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Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: buffalo bob On: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:21 am

nice looking set up there...u can be proud of it...
buffalo bob
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: hitzer 354
Coal Size/Type: anthracite nut

Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: Hilltown On: Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:47 am

What are you using for hot water? Until I get a coal boiler, I must use a oil fired hwheater.


I have an indirect HW system that runs off the Viessmann propane boiler. BTW - that's a great system & was part of a major refit in the house. The controls, which are on a panel upstairs, allow me to individually manage (& turn on or off) the heating & HW systems. I leave the furnace off from mid April to Nov. 1. I leave the furnace on idle now so I can run the towel warmer/radiator in one bathroom and a radiant floor system in the other bath. These are separate zones, too. Having the furnace at idle has used about 30-40 G of fuel this winter and about the same for HW.


...keep in mind, it sounds like you burned wood for a long time as well, hard too break the chain. People get use to a routine! I'm sure if a wood burner friend or relative spent a couple days AND nights at your place and you showed them the ease and warmth, they woould do some head scratchin'. A neighbor of mine was burning coal and invited me in a couple times in the middle of winter in 2010 and I was blown away with the type of warmth, it just went through me unlike my warm air oil furnace pig! Welcome too the forum!



..you are so right. Recently I visited a Harman dealer & I listened to a salesperson tell a potential customer that coal is dirty, inefficient and costs more to operate than pellets. My wife could help it and spoke up right away. When I buttonholed the guy later, I told him that as a salesman he should not only get his facts straight, but he shouldn't talk a customer out of something he wants to buy. He did lose the customer...


nice looking set up there...u can be proud of it...


...thanks. It was part of our "retirement" remodel project so we wanted to do it right and show our friends/local contractors something new. What you can't see is that since we had some walls down, we broke down the old flue/stack and put in a new one, too. Took a couple days & when done we put the wall back with metal studs and fireproof board. We went though a lot to do it right via the building inspector & feel we learned a lot & taught them some new things, too.
Hilltown
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Coal Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: Standard Chubby

Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: blizzard87 On: Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:43 pm

Congrats and nice set up with the chubby. I am in my second season with mine and love it. I am still learning the in's and outs of stove because of different weather conditions and my chimney. Any problem i encountered was user error and not the stove. We had some pretty high winds 50-60 mph early this morning and high temps the past 2 days 50-62 and the chub did not even hiccup ran like a champ. A little warm in the house but that's ok because now temps are dropping. Had it closed down as much as possible did not lose fire had heat, could not ask for anything more! Larry is a great guy and will help you out with any questions you might have. I have natural gas furnace but i will still burn coal for as long as i can still carry bags into my home!
blizzard87
 
Stove/Furnace Make: coal chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: large chubby

Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: Lightning On: Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:26 pm

Looks great partner 8-)
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut/Stove Size Mix

Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: joeq On: Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:13 pm

Another Welcome. Do you credit your success partially to the baro-damper? Was it there from the get-go?
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: Hilltown On: Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:01 pm

Barometric damper was in there from the beginning. I've always heard it was needed for a coal stove. I fussed with setting it right, so I'm sure that helped. I feel that the Field Controls RC model is worth getting as opposed to the cheaper model. The biggest help getting things to work right was being able to bend Larry's ear. At one point he wrote a process out for me that I've pretty much followed. It's a bit different than his manual or video, but basically the same with a couple more pointers. I was going to post it here, but lost the email - I could probably write a similar one with a few additions.
Hilltown
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Coal Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: Standard Chubby

Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: jjs777_fzr On: Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:16 pm

Nice clean install & setup.
jjs777_fzr
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Penn Coal Stove & Chubby
Other Heating: CFM Wood Stove & Englander 25-PDVC Pellet Stove

Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: SteveZee On: Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:21 am

Hilltown wrote:Hi,

I think we’ll stay with Blaschak & continue to sing high praises for the Chubby. I will say that regardless of our success, I can’t seem to convert any wood burners. I grew up in a wood burning household and have had my fill….

Image

Congrates and sounds (and looks) like you are doing great! It will be a hard sell in the area where you live. I grew up in the Berks myself and that is prime hardwood country. Even up here in Maine now where there's as much softwood or more then good hard I have given up preaching the coal. It actually took me converting my cookstove because I wanted a longer burn to see the light myself. In the end it's better because if everyone started converting, don't you know the price of coal would take a serious hike! 8-)
SteveZee
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Glenwood Modern Oak 116 & Glenwood 208 C Range

Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: joeq On: Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:02 pm

SteveZee wrote:
Hilltown wrote:Hi,

In the end it's better because if everyone started converting, don't you know the price of coal would take a serious hike! 8-)


Good point Steve. Let's keep it our little secret. :shh:
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: Hilltown On: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:37 pm

...you're right, we should keep it a secret.

My only coal burning friend grew up in the town next to mine & had a similar experience - decades of wood stove tending and moving the wood six times. But age was a contributing factor to change and in my particular case I have no storage facility for wood. My bag stock coal is on the cement floor of my screen porch. I keep about 600 lbs in my old wood box and about 30 bags next to it. Having the bags initially delivered on pallets and placed in my garage without having to lift a finger has been a treat.

All that being said, I really did enjoy heating with wood, too. If we had the space & need, I would probably have a wood stove in another part of the house. When I go into a stove shop (my opinion) I think that the best lookers are the wood burners. As noted by SteveZee, we live In a hardwood rich area, & cordwood can be had a less then $160. For one of my (younger) friends his purchase of a twenty acre woodlot with another buddy has become a main part of his exercise regimen. If I were younger....

For us there were many other practical reasons for the Chubby. Adding a stove as part of a remodel put us under close scrutiny by the building inspector. We have an old 1920's Glenwood gas cookstove in our kitchen and initially wanted to compliment it with some kind of vintage parlor stove in the adjacent family room. At that time, I'll confess that we were more oriented towards the "look" than what we were burning. We also didn't expect that our eventual solution would be such a significant part of our heating system. Our family room is not that large & we liked the Chubby for the look and size, as most vintage parlor stoves were either too large or (regardless of size) required extreme setbacks/clearances per code. I also didn't want to hack into our 20" wide pine floor boards or build a tall hearth (to trip over). That's when the Chubby became both a practical and good looking alternative. We also discovered that having a UL tag on a stove is very helpful when under the close scrutiny of our county inspection program. I designed the hearth & shield & had them custom made to minimize the size of the setup as much as possible.

So, I learned a heck of a lot more then I had anticipated I would & in the process discovered this gem from SE Mass.
Hilltown
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Coal Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: Standard Chubby

Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: SteveZee On: Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:05 am

That's a nice looking install Hilltown and I'm glad it's serving you well. The woodlot is the only way to go and that used to be my excersize regime too! Now, after this many moons, I'm just too old for it to be any fun (if it ever was) 8-) . The long burn times and even heat are what initially sold me and now I can't imagine any other way. I do still love a wood fire though. The sounds and smell of applewood crackling never gets old and in the fall when the frost starts to come round that sniff of woodsmoke in the air is like the smell of good tobbaco to an ex-smoker. :P
SteveZee
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Glenwood Modern Oak 116 & Glenwood 208 C Range

Re: New Chubby Owner - Great first season so far

PostBy: Hilltown On: Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:56 am

I do still love a wood fire though. The sounds and smell of applewood crackling never gets old and in the fall when the frost starts to come round that sniff of woodsmoke in the air is like the smell of good tobbaco to an ex-smoker. :P


...exactly - but we did have the experience, & that's what counts.
Hilltown
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Coal Chubby
Stove/Furnace Model: Standard Chubby

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