I just bought a 2,600+ square foot house in Central PA this December and--Wow--the costs of heating this drafty place with an oil boiler are through the roof. I'm pretty determined to get a coal stove/stoker for the first floor and make it do most of the heating. Trouble is, despite all of my research at stove models I don't know where to begin. My only chimney is tied up by the boiler in the basement (which also gives me my hot water). And I'm not sure if I have the clearances I need for venting the thing properly. So my friend says, "Go see the codes officer and find out what the clearances are allowed before you buy a stove and/or put up a chimney. (Everyone says this codes officer is a major stickler and can really give people a hard time). So I spoke to Mr. Codes Officer and he says, "buy the stove, apply for a permit, and get a contractor to help you put up a chimney/direct vent. Then the inspector will look it over and see if it's OK." Great.
Why should I spend a ton of money buying a stove only to find out that I can't put up the kind of chimney/power vent it needs in the location I need for it to work for me? The model I pick will depend on the Code (we follow the 2006 International Construction Code here, I am told). But I can't find out the code until I buy the stove.
I've tried to get some advice from the local stove dealer, but they haven't returned my calls (I guess they don't want to sell stoves too badly). I also went online for over an hour to get the 2006 International Construction Code on this subject but all I could find was websites telling me that I could order the book that has this code for $65. Wow, Big Brother says you have to play by the rules, but then you have to pay $65 to find out what the rules are. Any suggestions on where to begin?