Question from Diane-
First, thank you. Your reviews are tremendously helpful. We live in Southern California, where people are not so well informed on wood stoves, even though many use them in areas not connected to the gas grid. So the resource you provide is most appreciated. Second, we have access to tons of wood, so we are looking to buy a wood stove to heat our 1100 sq ft home. It has three main living areas separated by walls/doors, and a bathroom. We need it for about half the year, most of which it is only needed for parts of the day/night to raise the indoor temperature by 10-15 degrees. We’d ideally like it to be our main heating source, supplemented by an existing fireplace in the living room. If you have a recommendation for the best stove(s) for this application, I would be most grateful.
In your case I may suggest a catalytic stove. Simply because it can burn at a cooler temperature and not have problems. A non-catalytic stove requires a hotter fire to engage the secondary burn system and since you live in a very moderate climate I think that may tend to be an issue for you. The catalytic stove is a lot more forgiving in that if you want a smaller or even cooler fire it will still burn efficiently and blast you out of your home. There is the downside of having a catalyst that you have to replace every few years but that is still what I would recommend for you guys.
So with that being said maybe the Vermont Castings Intrepid II might be a good option. If you did not want to go with a catalytic stove I would make sure it was a fairly small stove. Rated to heat 600 or 700 sq feet. Again just because of the fairly moderate climate.
The Stove Guy