The Esse Ironheart Experience: Have Your Say

Esse Ironheart woodstove with hob lids

The Ironheart attracts people passionate about having great control over heating their home, the pleasures of cooking on and baking in a woodstove, and appreciative of good design. I’ve heard from many Ironheart owners since I began blogging about it and our experience of living with this amazing woodstove, and have enjoyed many conversations here and offline.

I’ve been able to get a little bit of a glimpse into how some of you are living with the Ironheart in your own homes, and would like to devote a blog posting to a profile of your experience with the Ironheart and how it is situated in your home.

I’ve shared how our Ironheart is positioned in our home, and would love to see snapshots of how you have situated this delightful woodstove in yours.

Great room of an ICF bungalow with Ironheart woodstove

Over the past year I’ve talked about what we’ve learned and things we needed to remedy so that we could make best use of the Ironheart in our ICF (insulated concrete form) bungalow, including obtaining the wood burning insert (a shining success, which I’ll post about this winter), getting our missing hob lids, and installing a metal woodstove heat shield on the wall directly behind the Ironheart (we just weren’t comfortable with how hot the wall was getting, perhaps without cause). We’re also experimenting with having a woodstove fan on one of the hobs to assist with pushing warm air around the house: it’s still too early to share results, as that’s my husband’s little experiment, but I can share that we are using the EcoFan Airplus Heat-Powered Wood Stove Fan.

So, what I want to ask you, dear fellow Ironheart owners, is the following, and if you can email me directly at df AT with your responses and (if you are happy to share) any pictures of your Ironheart in your home, I will compile the answers and share a special post on your experiences in December.

Ironheart questions
1. In what year did you get your Ironheart?

2. Where in your home did you situate the Ironheart, and how does that space relate to the rest of your home?

3. What else can you tell about your home (ie size/layout/type of construction/etc)?

4. Do you heat your home exclusively with the Ironheart or in combination with other energy sources?

5. If you cook/bake on the Ironheart, please share a little of your routines and what you like to prepare.

There is more that I’d like to ask and share, but I figure we can start here and have fun with more later on this season.

If you can get in touch with me by early December, I will post about your responses shortly after that – my Christmas present to you. Happy heating!

11 thoughts on “The Esse Ironheart Experience: Have Your Say

  1. This sounds so interesting! I just read back through some of your older posts and I`m looking forward to your upcoming post on others` experiences with this stove. I`d also love to hear more about your ICF home – did you blog about the construction process?

  2. Thanks for the email, df: I should think Esse owe you a nice thank you for all this research.

    Our own Ironheart is still sitting in the warehouse, as we’re not ready for it yet. Ours has the warming shelf up above, on legs (vs the bottom drawer), with the hob lids and the wood-burning kit for the firebox. It’ll go in next spring, and we’re very much looking forward to using it. Happy to report back once it’s installed and earning its keep!

    We plan to stand a big slab of slate (ex pool table) behind the Ironheart, which should act as a bit of heat-sink, we hope, and it’ll also sit on another one or two slabs of slate, depending on Code requirements.

    How much space do you have for your Ironheart between the window and the door flanking it? I’m planning on allowing 6′ (so 18″ either side), which gives me room for a wood box and a rolling work table type of thing, I think, but we’re still flexible at this stage of renos.

    Are you finding that the Ecofan makes much difference? I’ve heard + and – about them; mostly that they’re disproportionately expensive relative to the circulated warmth they generate.

    1. Hey Catriona, it’s great to hear from you, and so exciting that your Ironheart is sitting waiting for you. The set-up that you’ve gone for sounds great; can you say a little something about how the Ironheart will be situated within your living space (ie in relation to other things overall)? I love the sound of the slate – what an attractive and natural solution.

      We have 8 inches to the left of the Ironheart to the living room window, and almost 42 inches to the right. On the left side, we went for a wood basket that holds wood and kindling next to a trunk that sits in front of our triple window. It’s not directly tied to the Ironheart in terms of placement, but it works with our furniture placement and it’s basically right next to the Ironheart. To the right, although there is a ‘door’ that also starts about 8 inches away from the woodstove, it’s actually a fixed window that never opens. The actual door in that double set is to the right, closer to the kitchen. This means we have a nice sized area to put a butcher block or other small work surface for cooking pots to land on, etc – the only thing is that I haven’t found what I want yet! So, empty space sitting available for a work area, and definitely a great idea to have that. Sounds like you thought it all through very well.

      How are your renos going overall? If you had a shot of the area where the Ironheart will go, even in its very unfinished state, I’d be happy to share it if you’d like to! I think something in the planning stages would be fun for others to have a look at. (And, a big yes please for a report after you are using the Ironheart and have experience to share!)

    1. Your woodstove looks super! I know what you mean about seeing the fire, but at the end of the day it’s the warmth that really counts, isn’t it. Have you got favourite dishes to cook/bake on your woodstove?

      1. Thanks for sharing what your wife cooks on the woodstove, and I can’t wait to try that African Sweet Potato Soup! Thanks for the kind comments on our home.

  3. We’re considering the Ironheart for our home. I am trying to decide if we should get the water boiler for domestic hot water. Have you heard from anyone who has used it?

    1. Hi Beverly and thanks for stopping by. I’m afraid that I still have to come across anyone actively using the water boiler. We’re still planning on implementing the system ourselves, but are not there yet. What kind of home do you have, by the way?

  4. Regarding the wetback, I have one and it is superb. Here in Australia there was some kind of approval issue that meant the boiler had to be made locally from stainless steel, and it sits at the back of the firebox rather than at the side as per the pics I have seen on the net. This has actually turned out to work exceptionally well.

    I had planned to sit the stove hard against the wall, but because of the rear pipework I changed my mind and I ended up sitting the stove about 8 inches out (I could have cut the wall to accommodate the plumbing, but I decided that I’d rather make a grill to sit along the back which will give me a deeper ‘stovetop’ and space to keep pans warm). I have yet to build a bench to the right side of the stove, and I’ll just make this deeper to match the stove. I can happily sacrifice a few inches of floor space for deeper benches!

    The boiler just works, silently and reliably. The water gets extremely hot, of course, so I do need to install a tempering valve on the tank outlet. The scalding water has already damaged my cheap pressure booster pump and a couple of tap washers. My HWS is all gravity, the tank is right above the kitchen, and heated by solar in the summer, so adding the wet back was a real no-brainer for me and part of the plan from the start. It is far more complicated to incorporate in pressure systems, and I can’t offer any advice on that, but if you have a gravity system with the tank somewhere near and higher than the stove it just seems such a logical addition.

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