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analysis paralysis

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by zephyr, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. zephyr

    zephyr New Member

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    Trying to pick an insert and, like so many others, I'm also a little overwhelmed by the number of choices. Wondered if it would help to talk through it here and see if i get some opinions.

    We live in central Ohio. At the center of our house is a massive brick chimney that contains the flues for two fireplaces and the kitchen exhaust. The house is nearly 2000 sq ft upstairs/main floor with another near 900 sq ft downstairs. The house is built into a hillside so the downstairs also is finished and has bedrooms. The master bedroom though is on the main floor and it's on the main floor where we'd like to put this stove insert. The fireplace on that floor is 49"W (yes, wide!) x 30"H x 28"D and 41" along the rear wall. The main floor has all vaulted ceilings. Some rooms can be shut up but it's still going to be about 2000 sq ft w/high ceilings that I'll be hoping to heat.

    In the future we could possibly put a small stove in the downstairs fireplace but the fireplace is an enclosed room so we'd definitely have some circulation issues there.

    I realize one problem that I have is that my fireplace is wider than even some over-sized shrouds. That's the case for the BK Princess which is the one that I have a quote on so far. The installer made it sound like they could do something to cover that gap.

    Since then I've started wondering about the Buck 91 and the PE Summit. Maybe the Buck would cover my sq ft better. I thought I was good with the idea of a cat stove but maybe I'm not 100% sold on that, though the long burn time on the BK sounds really appealing, so that's how the Summit got into the picture. I guess I started to reconsider too, in part, because the stove, shroud, installation, etc estimate for the BK was $5k. Looking around online though it sounds like that's just on the high side of normal but is perhaps still in the ballpark and so maybe another stove/store won't make a big difference. I did email another farther away store for estimates on the Buck and Summit but they haven't responded yet.

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  2. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I would put the big Buck in that fireplace without a surround. It was born to live in there and heat that place. Gonna need room in that flue for the eight inch liner though.

    And the distance from dealers is going to be a problem if you aren't going to do the liner and stove install yourself.

    Keep working through it with us. We love this stuff, as you already know if you have been looking this place over.
  3. zephyr

    zephyr New Member

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    Yeah, this place has been very helpful already and given me a new perspective on the subject. A our last house we had a sort of stove from the 70s. It was round with glass all around. We loved that thing. I realize now, happily, that there are better options than a stove that needs another log every 30 mins!

    The far dealer hasn't responded to my email for estimate/recommendations but did respond affirmatively to my initial mail asking if they would come the 55+ miles to install it.

    The reason though that I contacted them was because they are the closest dealer for PE. I see Buck does have another dealer much closer, so I'll try getting some info from them too.
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The PE lovers here will hate me. But that big Buck will kick anything PE sells ass and burn low and slow when ya need it. Of course it won't burn for two years on three splits like a BK but you shut down for summer anyway. >>
  5. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    If money is tight sometimes servicesales.com gets some used Buck 91's in for a good price, those stoves are pretty much indestructible and it is one stove I wouldn't mind recommending to buy used. You can also do the same thing with the Appalachian Bay 52, it has a smaller firebox however but can be found for a good deal New, it also takes a 6" pipe.
  6. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    If money is tight and with that huge fireplace I would suggest putting a stove in there instead of an insert. An insert will require a custom surround that easily will add several hundreds to the bill. Plus, you will need a blower and the selection will be somewhat smaller. That can look pretty good:

    [​IMG]

    In any case I would look for something with at least a 2.5 cu ft firebox, better around 3 cu ft. The PE Summit would certainly be a good choice as well as the Buck 91. The big difference between the two is that the Buck is a catalytic stove while the Summit is not. Catalytic stoves have the advantage of longer burn times, slightly better efficiency, and more even heat output. However, they will need occasionally a new cat (~5 to 8 years) and you need to make sure not to burn any treated wood or colored paper as that will kill the catalyst. If you have trouble finding dealers in your area it may be worthwhile looking for other options, too. Some other stoves to consider:

    Lopi Cape Cod http://www.lopistoves.com/product-detail.aspx?model=364#specs-tab
    Osburn 2300 http://www.osburn-mfg.com/en/heaters/model-OB02301-description
    Regency F3100 http://www.regency-fire.com/Products/Wood/Wood-Stoves/F3100.aspx
    Hearthstone Manchester or Mansfield http://www.hearthstonestoves.com/store/wood-products/wood-stoves?p=2
    Quadrafire Isle Royale http://www.quadrafire.com/en/Products/Isle-Royale-Wood-Stove.aspx?page=Specifications (if size is the only problem that you have with your stove.)
    Enviro 1700 or 2100 http://www.enviro.com/fireplace-products/wood/freestanding-fireplace.html#2100
    Drolet Baltic http://www.drolet.ca/en/products/wood/baltic

    Or if you would like to go for a catalytic stove for cleaner burns, more even heat and longer burn times:
    Woodstock Progress http://www.woodstove.com/progress-hybrid
    Blazeking (e. g. Princess, Chinook 30, Sirocco 30) http://www.blazeking.com/EN/wood-stoves.html

    Some of those have corresponding inserts if you want to go that route.
    GS7 and ColdNH like this.
  7. Ed Williams

    Ed Williams New Member

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    +1 for Lopi. Also, consider their Leyden model- cast iron, heirloom quality, nice cooktop, choice of finish and colors... Also, Travis Industries other brand, Avalon, offers some other nice ones. They are all efficient, easily serviced, and very nice looking.
  8. GS7

    GS7 New Member

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    Nice picture! That is one huge fireplace
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The Leyden is smaller and not so trouble free.
  10. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    I was going to suggest a free stander too with such a big fireplace, you need to tell us the size of your flue to see if you have to rule out 8" venting stoves. Either way you'll need to make a block off plate.
  11. Buckeye 2012

    Buckeye 2012 New Member

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    Zephyr- I too am in Central Ohio I had the guys at New Buck in the Galena/ Westerville area install. They did a great job on the install. Like you I was leaning toward the 91 but decided on the 94NC which was a much better decision based on my burning habits. I have really enjoyed the 94. It is a monster of a firebox as is the 91 so be prepared to feed it lots of wood at a time. I get about 12-15 hour burn times with plenty of residual heat coming off stove and blower for at least 24 hours. I heat about 3000 sq ft open floor plan with it. They also have pacific energy that they can get in.
  12. zephyr

    zephyr New Member

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    Thanks for the input! It nearly three weeks to get those guys from Galena here to give me an estimate on the Buck. They said they're busy a little earlier than usual this year. I like that the buck 91+install was $500 less than the BK Princess. Though, yeah, the guy seemed to be sort of trying to talk me into a Buck 94NC instead, telling me how fragile, difficult to maintain, and expensive a catalyst is, so that's got me looking at the 94 now. With a similarly sized house and being in the same area that's great to know you're having a good experience with the 94, Buckeye 2012. I think I need to go dig up previous threads on this forum on the 94.

    So today I at least know that I can get a stove with the 8" flue. We do already have a problem with the mantel being too low and both installers said we'd have to have a shield. I can't imagine a freestanding stove fitting in or in front of the fireplace.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  13. zephyr

    zephyr New Member

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    I *think* I'm leaning toward the Buck 91. I'm afraid the Princess won't be enough stove for our sq ft. Too bad there's not a BK King insert. The promise of longer, more even burn times and slightly more BTU has me still favoring the cat. I better make up my mind pretty soon or I'll be lucky to have it before the end of the year.
  14. Buckeye 2012

    Buckeye 2012 New Member

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    I think if you are burning good dry wood and take good care of the catalyst the 91 is a good choice. I think when I was looking the catalyst was about 250 to replace. Bucks are nice stoves not the fanciest but made to kick out some heat. Good luck.
  15. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    Quite a few people on here run the 91, it is a bullet proof stove. It is one of the few stoves that I would buy used and trashed because I know the steel is still good.
  16. zephyr

    zephyr New Member

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    The Buck 91 was installed today (see avatar pic)! Enjoying it already!
  17. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    Is that the surround that came with it or did you have something made? How's it doing on heating your house? You needed something big and I think you made a good choice.
  18. KindredSpiritzz

    KindredSpiritzz Feeling the Heat

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    Grisu is that one of those Rumford fireplaces??
  19. zephyr

    zephyr New Member

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    We had it ordered and installed through a local shop. They asked if we'd like the surround to be in front of the brick border or inset into the fireplace, behind the trim bricks. We asked for inset and this is what we got. Our house in built into a hillside and the stove is on the upper/main floor. We've been running the furnace fan and the lower level is in the 60s even though it's 18 outside. On the floor with the stove it's pretty comfortable throughout. We'd like to get the air circulating downstairs better but we'll see.

    When we started it and before it was hot enough to close the catalyst by-pass, there was some smoke coming out of the fan openings. Not a ton but some. We're wondering if that's normal.
  20. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    How much liner did they install?
  21. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    You are in the break-in phase - off gassing is pretty normal (actually expected).
    That Buck was made for your install. Nice.

    As a side note: Trying to push warm air down stairs is gonna be a tough nut to crack. Warm air just doesn't like to go down.
  22. zephyr

    zephyr New Member

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    How much liner? Don't they line or not line the whole chimney? It's lined. Maybe I don't understand the question. Haven't really noticed any smoke today so I think we're ok on that.

    The office downstairs also has a small fireplace (the two fireplaces are part of the same massive multi-flue brick chimney in the center of the house) so maybe someday it'll get a little stove insert too, though it's not freezing down here, just a little cool at 65 presently.

    Appreciating how much easier it is to use than our old 1970s sort of cylinder shaped, glass all-around free-standing stove...thing...can't even find a picture of one of those online. We did enjoy it, though it really was such a hazard.

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