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November 18, 2005: Wood stove backup heat source

Wood stove and flueVogelzang Defender wood stoveMy wood stove arrived today by Yellow Freight.  At 260 lbs it took my neighbor and I some muscle and a good dolly to get in in my workshop.  It is a Vogelzang "Defender" model that I bought on-line from Northern Tool for around $500.00 on sale.

I lit a first hot fire using the wood from the packing crate and opened all the doors to clear out the smell of the machine oil burning off the stove and pipe.  The stove is designed to stand as close as 12" to the nearest flammable wall behind it which definitely conserves space.

I plan to add a "Magic Heat" reclaimer (from Northern Tool for about $150) in the stove pipe to more fully optimize the fire, but the stove sure gets hot quickly and seems to work very well.  This will be a good back up heater in the event of an extended power outage or during long periods of poor solar gain and cold weather.  Propane is over $1.50/gallon here this year and rising fast.  I think wood will be cheaper - especially if I cut my own from our acre or so of woods in back.

December 6, 2005
Here is the Magic Heat unit installed.  It took about half an hour to remove 12" of pipe and install it.  Pretty simple.  I put a screw hook in the wall behind the unit to hold the power cord away from the hot parts.

When I lit a fire the fan kicked in as the flue temperature reached 150F just as it said it would, and turned off as the fire died down.  The blast of warm air was a clear indication that it works!  This thing is a bargain at around $150.00 - another good deal from Northern Tool.

Even without the Magic Heat the stove can raise the temperature of my workshop from the default (solar heated) temperature of 62F to over 68F in 2 hours with only 2 or 3 logs.  Now I will be able to further increase the efficiency of those logs.

April 2010
After using the stove for a few years I am not too pleased with the draw, this may be partly due to the heat reclaimer that cools the flue, but the damper control does not see to allow in enough air.  I have to leave it wide open and the door cracked open on the latch to get a good draw.  Starting with a really hot fire helps to initiate a good flow, but as the fire dies down it often goes out leaving unburned wood in the box.  I would hope that Vogelzang would improve the damper to open it up more in future models.

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