I'd like to hear from those of you who have gone from heating with a conventional woodstove to a RMH some real world feedback. I live in a 1.5 story cape built in the civil war era (somewhere between 1858-1871 unsure of exact date) The attic floor is insulated to probably R40+ and I have newer windows but the home is far from tight by any means. Its sitting on a dry stacked rubble foundation so downstairs floors are cold and drafty and the doors could use work...2x4 walls minimally insualted. House is about 1100 sq ft. It is basically split down the middle with an open kitchen/dining room on one side and a living room that takes up the other side of the downstairs. Central staircase with 3 bedrooms upstairs. Its your standard 1800s cape design. Currently I heat with a 1970s L. Lange Co. stove. 1302 is the model I believe. Its a Norwegian style "cigar burn" stove. The stove actually heats the house pretty well I burn roughly 6 cord to heat through a Vermont winter. The stove holds coals well overnight and is warm but not really hot in the mornings. A typical winters day might mean going to bed with the livingroom in the mid 80s and waking up with the living room around 52 degrees. If its really cold out (read minus 5F or below) I will also burn coal in my cookstove in the kitchen. This really throws awesome uniform slow heat. I love burning coal in that thing for that reason but its a pain and dirty and easily out heats the kitchen with both stoves going downstairs if its not too cold out. I might also burn a quick wood fire in the cook stove to take the chill off on a weekend morning. A full load of wood might burn 4 hours max before there is not a red coal to be found in the small firebox. A coal fire will however burn 14+ hours of steady heat out of that same tiny fire box.
Anyway I have been debating swapping the living room Lange to a rocket for years but just don't know if its the right move. I don't really have the room for a bench system Id be most likely looking at a batch style vertical system. My main concern I guess, is in this drafty minimally insulated house I am not sure if the slow low heat of the mass will be enough to keep my space warm or at least as warm as I currently do. I also thought a rocket stove would be hard to manage with the hours and schedule I previously worked. But I recently switched to a new job so there are no more 15 hour gaps between being home to tend the stove. I am now home in the morning/early afternoon and my wife is home in the evenings so two burns a day would be fairly easy to achieve.