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….