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Advice on choosing fireplace insert

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by detta, Jan 31, 2007.

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  1. detta

    detta New Member

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    I live in California in the San Francisco Bay Area so rarely freezing temperatures. I have about 3 cords of firewood and love a wood fire. We have a great room that is 1000 square feet and is always colder then the bedrooms (by about 5-10 degrees) I would like to get an insert for my existing fireplace to better heat the greatroom. Keep smoke out of the house (the current fireplace creates a lot of smoke since the damper doesn't seem to work very well) I want to be able to see the fire so a big glass front is important. My husband will do the installation so ease of installation is important. We are cost conscious (but not cheap) and want something that looks like a regular fireplace so no fancy or elaborate fronts that look more like a contraptions than fireplaces. The existing fireplace is brick and the opening is 35 inches wide, 24.5 inches tall and 24 inches deep the back of the firepalce is narrower then the front and is 28 inches wide the fireplace in the back slopes down so the height is not 24.5 for the entire 24 inch depth.

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  2. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    Others can comment on most of the points, but one thing to look out for is your current fireplace smokes. Thats not the dampers fault, thats a chimney problem. A insert will magify the problem, even if its properly lined. It likley that you will need to extend your chimney hight, or you might have a very negative pressure living room, and that the room needs to be neutralized.
  3. detta

    detta New Member

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    Thanks for the info. The Chimney height was raised 2 years ago when we remodeled the house but it could be negative pressure. How does one neutralize a room?
  4. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    you probably should look at inserts that have an outside air kit and you should fully line and insulate the liner proper block off plate and go from there
  5. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    how tall is your current chimmey and is 2 foot higher then anything within ten feet of the cap?
  6. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Big fireview? Osburn 2200 or Quadrafire bay or a Hearthstone Clydesdale.

    I think for your climate the Osburn or Quad are the way to go.

    I don't think the Osburn has an outside air kit, but I could be wrong.
  7. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    Great suggestions Warren, it's hard to beat any of those for fire viewing.

    The Osburn insert does not have an OAK available, not sure about the others. I think the Quad may.
  8. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    How about a PE Summit insert? That has a large window too. And EBT!!!!!!

    P.S. I agree with MSG and ELK. That chimney needs to be check out. A fireplace normally drafts too much (thus sucking the heat out of the house). If it smokes that much, there is definitely something wrong.

    Negative pressure can come from a 2 story house with a stove in a one story addition. The chimney is lower than the ceiling in the 2nd story and hot air leaking there will cuse a vacuum in the house. Or a kitchen/bathroomfan running.

    Carpniels
  9. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Well, actually the windows of the Pacific Energy are pretty small compared to other brands, it's their weakness. I originally decided on the PE Summit, and went to the store with my wife so she could check out what all my researched had chosen. She took one look at it, the window at 153 sq inches, and it was not coming home with us no matter how much I argued, the window was just too small to be in her living room and yup, it is her living room I have my own living room I'm working on (our house has two). The guy showed us the Hearthstone Morgan which is about half the size of a PE Summit but its window is 193 sq vs. 153. She liked it, then he showed us the Hearthstone Clydesdale and its view is 264 sq inches vs 153 and what we ended up coming home with. In the end, I'd like to think I'm happier with what we got, I'll never know for sure but I spend countless hours in front of it watching the fire, and it sucks me in as I think about life and things. I like Pacific Energy, it was what I planned on getting but its small window killed a potential purchase.

    My feeling is that it's because PE's load front/back and it is not easy keeping the glass clean in front/back configurations they had to sacrifice on glass area to focus the air wash system in a tighter stream in order to make it work. It's the water in the logs that steam out the ends of the wood during a fire that dirty the glass. Loading Front/Back it sprays out towards the glass, and you need a high power focused air wash to overpower it from reaching the glass and making it dirty. Side/side units, the steam coming out the logs spray into the sides, the air wash doesn't need to be as powerful it only needs to create an air barrier preventing escaping moisture rich exhaust from coming into contact with the glass. So, instead of focusing it they can spread it over a wider area and allow wider glass while keeping it clear. Anyway, that's what I think not to say I'm right. I came across that when I loaded my unit up front/back to see what happens (when it's designed to be loaded side/side) and my air wash was woefully inadequate in overpowering the moisture spraying out the ends of the logs in that configuration and my glass got absolutely covered in crap. I won't do that again, loading side/side as my unit was designed my air wash keeps my glass nearly spotless.

    For a reference, you can see windows sizes http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/viewwoodi.htm
  10. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Look at the needs and climate where he's heating. a Summit just might be too big, plus it doesn't even have the glass area of my Osburn that's 1/2 the size.
  11. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    [quote author="Warren" date="1170391798 a Summit just might be too big, plus it doesn't even have the glass area of my Osburn that's 1/2 the size.[/quote]

    The moral of the story: If you want to achieve inner peace, cure unspeakable diseases, live in a sauna at -20* on one split per season and have a stove that will fetch a beer, go with the Summit.....If you want to look at the pretty flames in comfort, go with the Osburn, Quad Bay or Hearthstone Clydsdale ;-)
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