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Advice on a used insert - Lopi Freedom?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by tickbitty, Oct 15, 2009.

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  1. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    I am in the market for an insert, after deciding that the particular location of our fireplace probably won't work well for a stove outside the current hearth. Fireplace is interior and about 3/4 to one side of the house, all masonry chimney, all masonry house built by the mason for himself in 1953. Currently has glass doors on it.

    Our oil furnace croaked and although we are having the AC system in the attic upgraded to handle heat pump next week (to tune of $1000, yuck) we are not thrilled about living with heat pump heat. Had a fire in the fireplace last night and it renewed my interest in getting a good stove/insert so here I am at hearth.com again!

    I have shopped the regional dealers and find that the good stoves are out of my price capability. They mostly sell to rich people getting gas logs so they don't waste their time on me. ANYHOO, Somebody an hour away has a Lopi Freedom insert on craigslist for $1000 that is two years old and only used for one season. I know I would be looking at a fair amount of money for the installment (which I would probably have done professionally) so I just wonder if that is a good deal or not. Also I think that's a pretty powerful insert, and my house is under 1500 sq. feet. We are in eastern VA so it's not like the frozen tundra here or anything, but I do like it warm!

    The used stove market around here is mostly what you all call "smoke dragons" and I am looking for something pretty good and efficient.

    Any comments would be most appreciated.

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  2. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    Maybe a little oversized, but it's always possible to have smaller fires. I don't have experience with inserts, but I can vouch for Lopi. Well-built product that is easy to use. If the bricks and tubes inside are in good shape, then that seems like a fair price.
  3. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    No replies?

    Maybe I'm not very clear....

    I guess I have a couple questions I can break this into

    1) Would the Lopi Freedom insert be too hot for a 1500 sq foot house? If you use a stove that's "too" big, does that mean the glass is never clean?

    2) Is Lopi Freedom a good insert?

    3) Is $1000 a decent price for a stove/insert of this kind, bought two years ago and with nothing wrong with it?
  4. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    Oh, thank you! You were replying while I posted my second message. THanks for the info about Lopi and opinion on the price. With the newer stoves, will the glass stay clear even if the fires aren't as big? When I was growing up my dad had a stove he needed to keep shut down so we could even be in the room with it... the glass was always covered in creosote, (or whatever that is.) But that was like 30 yrs ago...

    I don't love the idea of an insert because you have to have electric blowers going to get the right efficiency and not lose all the heat up the chimney. My husband once weathered a week long ice storm and power outage comfortably with a little franklin stove so he's not thrilled with the idea of needing electricity. But our square footage is at a premium and there are doorways on every wall in that room, including one just to the side of the fireplace... so it just seems like anything that extends into that room is going to mess up the traffic pattern in there even worse!

    Thanks again!
  5. HardWoodW

    HardWoodW Member

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    Tick- just for some perspective we just put in a lopi freedom bay that's about 5 yrs old; it's in good condition and I paid about $900; so the price for that insert you're looking at sounds pretty good. Just got ours installed yesterday and I'm already amazed; works like a charm- yes it has a blower but it seems to do pretty good even if the blower is off. I was happy to wake up to hot coals this morning and just tossed in some new wood and it fired right up.
  6. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    Hopefully someone with this stove or a similar insert can offer more insert-specific info. EPA stoves will maintain clear glass as long as your wood is dry, and you run them hot enough. DRY wood. Split for a minimum of 6 months, longer depending on the type of wood. My glass gets a slight haze on the corners when I'm only burning small fires in the Fall and Spring. It washes off with damp newspaper. My stove is oversized for my house, so I tend to only load 1/2 or 3/4 full at a time, but I still get complete combustion with no smoke from the chimney as long as the wood is dry and the stove is hot. You'll probably need a chimney liner installed for the stove to run well.
  7. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    THanks very much Madrone for the advice.

    Also big thanks to "Hardwood W" for the insights. The Bay is quite nice, seems like it's a bit more of a hearth heater, too since it extends out a bit? May I ask how much you paid for the install and what that included? Did you get a chimney liner, surround plate too, or did you already have that stuff?

    I see there's another thread going strong regarding the inconvenience of depending upon blowers... oh well, though, it's still gotta be way better than the fireplace alone, or the heat pump!
  8. drdoct

    drdoct Feeling the Heat

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    It is a big insert so be sure to measure your opening. Pay close attention to the distance between your mantel and the hearth. All the clearances are on the lopi site if you download the manual. If you do purchase this stove please be sure to get a liner with it. You may be able to talk to the person selling this and get a liner thrown in if you'll pull it. Without the liner you may or may not get good results. This price is well over half off a great stove. I've got the smaller Revere and it was completely abused and left outside for a few years. After burning it hard last year I've checked everything and it still is sound. They're quality for sure. For the 1K it should include the surround AND the blowers.
  9. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    Great, thanks so much. Not sure if we can go for it quick enough but will see if I can get Hubs to go for it and you have equipped me with some good questions. I figured on probably needing a liner, just not sure how much all that will cost me. Will check with the fella and see if his is up for being part of the bargain. I think a revere might actually be more what I need sizewise. WOw, did you really get yours for $25? Compared to that 1000 doesn't sound as good, lol!
  10. HardWoodW

    HardWoodW Member

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    OK don't shoot me guys but I did not line my flu... yet. The fireplace we put it into hadn't ever been used and the clay tile flu was in good shape so for now it's just slammed in there. There are lots of good reasons to line your flu which are discussed on this forum and I won't argue with any of them, but I was actually surprised how well it works. For what it's worth my chimney runs right up the center of my house so it stays warm. My plan is hopefully to save enough on my heating bill this winter to invest in a liner next fall (did I tell you my gas furnace is from 1964 and my heating bills last winter were $500-600 per month?!) but I'll do it sooner if I have to. My sweep told me it will cost me an extra $10 to clean the chimney since he has to pull the insert out. I have the feeling this must be a pretty forgiving insert because it seems to work great and I'm not even doing everything right; no liner, my oak is only seasoned 1 year but when the stove is hot it fires right up, doesn't smoke and give a nice secondary burn (man I still love watching that!)

    Tick- in terms of install I paid a couple hundred bucks which included picking up the unit at the sellers house and hauling the #500 monster down a steep flight of basement stairs. Here's a pic- everything here came with the stove except the wood inside it. Since it's a slammer there really wasn't much to the install except the brute force required to move it.

    Attached Files:

  11. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    My husband tends to be a "safety first" kind of a guy and we have just a one story house so I figure we will get a liner. Not sure if I can do all my homework on the lopi quick enough to get this stove from craigslist (cause the weather has been nasty this week so I am probably not the only one looking) but I am working on it!

    Like your "bay" especially because it looks like it is a little more like a hearth heater, so it would probably do pretty well even without the blowers? Well, better than other inserts, anyway.
    Thanks all and I am sure I will be back if I get it, and if I don't, I'll be back the next time I find another one!
  12. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    Must be gone already, couldn't find it on CL.
  13. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    You scared me a sec, but it's still there - on the Norfolk Craigslist. You're not trying to scoop me, are you? Kidding...
  14. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    Ahh they just have it listed as wood stove so my searches didn't bring it up. More curious than anything to see if they hand a pic of it, I see they don't just a simple listing. I can't see them using it much in VA beach, just make sure and check it to see if it has been overfired one to many times if you do buy it.
  15. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    Thanks and I will check - he says "like new" and "only used one season" but would I be able to tell just looking at it if it had been overfired? Are there telltale signs that even I (not knowing) could see?
    (edited to add that I will utilize search for the "how do I tell it's overfired" issue - but feel free to tell me anyway!)
  16. drdoct

    drdoct Feeling the Heat

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    The biggest way is to look at the paint. If it's still black then it's ok. I realize that overfires are bad for a stove but these are really made good. Figure in that you've got to have really dry wood to get these to 'really' overfire and you've probably got a guy who buys his wood 'seasoned' a few days after it gets cold and the stove never lived up to it's potential. Unless you go there and the whole thing is flaking like crazy and has a warped top then I would take it. I'd even ask to see if he's got the liner because you may end up scoring that for free.
  17. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    Well, I guess the homework took me too long (particularly convincing husband that saving 70% up front with the possibility of tax credit savings on pipe and install beats saving 30% tax savings on a new one) but anyway - we missed out and it had just sold when I called. Sigh. Bummer. Doubt that another recent model that will work for us will come up on CL real soon, so I guess we need to find a good dealer.
  18. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    Hey Dr Doct,

    Ye of the $25 Lopi Revere ---
    Is THIS a Lopi Revere? http://norfolk.craigslist.org/for/1383357882.html
    I think it is! To your eye, knowing one of these things, would this be utterly trashed or is it just ugly for now? (I know it needs a real look, just asking for your eye and whether you think this could be a great deal. You said you pulled yours out of the mud or something, right? Thanks in advance!
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