To-Do List: Wood Stove

Originally I'd settled on a Malm Fire Drum, which I photoshopped into an early view of the living room. However, given my greatly reduced budget, the $4,000 Malm was out of the question.

My second pick was half the cost: the Osburn 2200. This EPA-approved unit was rated with more than enough heating capacity to heat my entire house. Best of all, its styling perfectly suited the visual design sense of my home. However, after doing further research, I came to learn that Osburn units weren't as highly-rated as I'd expected—indeed, the reviews for this model were most disappointing. So, it was back to the drawing board.

My final pick was based on reviews and ratings before appearance, and the name that kept bubbling to the top was Drolet. Their EPA-approved Escape 1500 seemed like the perfect fit for my needs: smaller than most whole-house units, it could still heat up to 1,800 square feet—more than double my home's heated area. Best of all, it was only $980, or less than half the cost of the Osburn. This put it within financial reach by Thanksgiving 2019—significantly sooner than expected. (I was prepared to supplement the heat pump with a kerosene heater that winter.)

I also came up with a plan that would allow me to install it before tiling the floor: I built a pedestal that had the added benefit of raising it up a little higher, making it easier for me to operate. Plus, the pedestal has angled corners in keeping with my home's visual aesthetic, making up for the loss of same with the Osburn.

The stove was delivered on 22 November 2019 at around 10 AM, and installed a couple of hours later.

I've got to say, the Drolet Escape is a very fine machine—just look at the EPA specs. It works exactly as advertised, and even better than I'd expected. I also got very lucky in that the flue connector location allowed the stove pipe to be perfectly straight, resulting in the very cleanest-looking installation possible. I could not possibly be any happier. The only downside (if you want to call it that): I can easily become transfixed by the fire, and sit for long periods of time just staring at it. This is especially effective with Anugama playing in the background.

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