Hi there. The surdiac is our only source of heat. I have a tri level, which is the front half a house with a living room, dining room, and kitchen on the main floor, and then 6 steps up to 4 bedrooms, or 6 steps down to a playroom and laundry room at the back of the house below the bedrooms. This keeps the bedrooms and main floor warm, like 70-72 degrees, and the downstairs playroom and basement in the 60's. The main floor has 12 foot ceilings, and there is a cut-out high on the living room wall (that used to hold a fish tank) so the heat goes right up to the bedrooms. The hot water heater is on a timer, so that it's only on in the morning and evening. The last few days, with the temp in the single digits, things got cooler. I had to turn the heat on downstairs at night to make sure the laundry room didn't freeze up. It only gets this cold a few times a year.
It burns more coal than I would like - a bag (50 #) a day at $9.50. This house is huge, and the furnace used to run constantly to heat the whole place. I just replaced the glass and all the gaskets. I got Pyrex glass from the local glass company, and the gaskets from the hardware store. We have not vacuumed out the back vents for years, and I suspect it would help a lot. The coal dust is like talcum powder, and the whole stove needs to be vacuumed clean. The part we like the best is that there is always somewhere warm. You should see the cats camped out around this stove! We only need one blanket at night, because the bedrooms we use are right at the head of the stairs. It is a problem in in-between weather, and sometimes we either let it go out during the day, or open the door or windows. We had 16 for Thanksgiving, and it was very warm. It doesn't require any electricity, either, which is nice, because we lose our power at least once a winter.
So, do we like it? Yes! Would we get another? Yes. We used to have a wood stove, and the wood came with all kinds of mice and bugs. The coal is easier to store and carry in, but I have to dust and vacuum a lot more. I split a 50# bag into 3 big cat-food buckets, which I get from Sam's Club, so I can carry it and dump it in more easily.