Friday, March 7, 2014

A Blog Reader's Cookstove - IV

Late last year, reader Rebecca contacted me with information about her family's cookstove.  I have been too busy to blog (as you can tell from the single, solitary posts in January and February), so I feel very guilty about taking so long to post this information--especially because Rebecca's cookstove is a Flameview, and this blog has fielded lots of questions about Flameviews.

Rebecca's Flameview cookstove.
The story of Rebecca's cookstove is one that is not only a testament to how great a woodburning cookstove is, but it is also a testament to what a difference proper insulation can make.  Rebecca and her family live in southern Manitoba, Canada, where temperatures during the winter days can run about -4 F and the nights are generally -31F.  Before purchasing the Flameview, they had been considering installing a masonry stove when they renovated their house.  However, a 48 hour power outage, which ended up causing them to have to temporarily vacate their home, prompted them to decide that a stove which could not only heat their house but also heat their water and cook their food would be a better choice.

The Flameview fit that bill.  They installed their stove in a four-seasons sunroom which is two feet lower than the rest of their house, thus facilitating the transfer of the heat of the stove (and the sun) up into their living quarters without the use of fans.

What's truly impressive is how much of their home heating the Flamview provides, and part of this amazing ability is due to how smartly Rebecca and her husband completed the renovation of their home.  I'll let you read her words:

"When the sun is shining (even if the weather is bitterly cold) I can do a good burn in the morning, something small for lunch and then nothing more until 4:30 pm. When the sun is not shining, then I need to burn more in the morning.  We go through about two large Rubbermaid 68 liter [18 gallon] totes of split wood a day total for heating and cooking. When it is sunny maybe only one tote.

During the renovation we built out the existing walls of the house and added 10" of Ruxol insulation so that our walls in the main house are about R60. We also added new triple-pane windows throughout and more blown-in cellulose insulation in the attic. Unfortunately we only put double-pane in the sun-room. We have 6" walls in the sun-room with pink insulation that is R22 plus thin foil insulation that is R5. If we did the sun-room again we would make the walls thicker and do triple pane windows!

Because our house is well insulated, once we heat it up, the heat stays for quite a while. Even now that it is so cold at night, if we get the house up to 22 degrees celcius [72 F] before going to bed then bank the fire, the furnace only comes on at 5 or 6 am (we have the furnace set at 18 degrees celcius [64 F])."

With this system, the Flamview is able to provide nearly 100% of their home heating unless they are away from home for over twelve hours.


A vew of the firebox side of the Flameview.
In response to my question about what they like best about the Flameview, Rebecca's husband responded that he liked being able to see the fire.  Rebecca, on the other hand, mentioned that she is most impressed by how "crispy and golden" everything looks and tastes from the oven.  She specifically mentioned the oven fries had a superior quality to them that she had not been able to produce in the oven of her modern range--which she still has but rarely uses now that she has figured out how to control the heat of the wood cookstove.
The only drawback that they mentioned is that, in their experience, quite a bit of smoke escapes into the house when the firebox door is opened.
Below, you will see two photographs of the back of the range.  The top one shows how the rear-mounted water reservoir is connected to the coil inside the range.  The bottom one shows the thermostatic control option which is available on Margin stoves as well as the optional electric blower which helps circulate the heat from the range.
Rebecca added some very valuable information about the Flameview in general and the use of the blower on my post entitled "Purchasing a New Woodburning Cookstove," and I'm looking forward to having her chime in quite frequently to help out with a Flameview owner's point of view.


  1. Beautiful! I love reading about other people's cookstoves.

  2. The difference between the chemistry of the food cooked in a woodcookstove, versus the same food cooked in a modern range, has always interested me. I remember back in the 60s and 70s, it was common knowledge among farm folks that the food tasted better on a woodcookstove.

    It would be interesting to know exactly why, but I don't see research $$ going towards that goal anytime soon. Do you have any theories?

    1. I'm not sure that things cooked on the top of the stove taste any different, but I do have some theories about the difference in baked goods based on what I've read and witnessed firsthand.

      1) Heat radiates from four to five sides of the wood cookstove oven rather than just from a bottom or bottom and top element or burner, so food cooks differently.

      2) Ovens on most wood cookstoves are not vented like modern ovens are. Thus, when you shut the oven door, air is not constantly circulating through the wood cookstove oven like it would in a modern oven. This would change humidity levels in the oven and is also said to keep flavors in the foods.

      These are just theories, as I said, but they seem plausible to me.

  3. We have a flame view as well and it heats our whole home. Over 2000 sq. ft. We have the same problem with smoke when we open the door. I know it's a "pipe dream", pardon my pun, but I have wished for a fan to turn on that sucks the smoke up the chimney pipe. We always assumed it was from our need to have SO MUCH stove pipe due to the roof pitch on our house. Anyway, I love seeing the fire. The glass is easy to keep clean, just a damp newspaper and a little ash on the cold glass. For now we'll just have to paint the walls for a fresh look. It's long over-due. That smoke gets on everything!
    We don't have hard wood to burn here in Montana, just the softer woods. We use a lot of pine or fir. I've had trouble getting the oven hot enough to bake in. I also found it confusing trying to figure the dampers out since the stove comes with no manual or diagrams.

    1. I have found that if I open the top and bottom dampers when opening the firebox door that this greatly reduces the smoke coming out.

      Our Flameview did come with somewhat of a manual. When I get home in a few days I could scan it and email it to you?

      We burn cedar and pine and can get the oven up to 450 in about 20-30 minutes. Maybe if you tell me what you are doing I can help you get the oven hot?

      Nice to connect with someone who owns a Flameview!

    2. Thanks Jim for the wonderful write up! I'm so glad to share what we have learned about our stove! Thanks for all the work you have done with wood cookstoves on your blog.

  4. Love your blog going to be cleaning old stove to use for heat and cooking. You may be interested in Obadiah's review of the Flame view and what he says about the smoke