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Better and Bens 70 IFI fireplace woodburning insert.

Post in 'Classic Wood Stove Forums (prior to approx. 1993)' started by calvin shain, May 27, 2013.

  1. calvin shain

    calvin shain New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    maine
    I bought a home with a better and bens fireplace insert on the main floor of a cape. Last winter I closed of the upstairs and burned 8 cords of wood in Maine. The insert has two front doors with glass witch makes viewing the fire nice. But it seem to a pig on wood. I have searched the net on this stove and cant find it BTU output rating. Anyone have any idea? I even closed of my living and dining room on the first floor since I have a large country kitchen , bed and bathroom also on the first floor. I am wondering if the newer inserts put out more BTU'S with less wood and heat going up the chimney. I would like to know its BTU rating so I can compare apples with apples. Not hersure if some type of combuster is available to make it more efficient or not. I thinking another insert might be more efficient or possibly and Ashley or wonder wood burner in front of the mantel. My sister is heating her house with an Ashley wood stove and using a lot less wood and heating a bigger area. The bens seems to be a wood pig and need a lot of feeding. Any ideas on improving this set up? All replies will be appreciated. Not very familiar with the different set ups out there. But oil has gotten to expensive. I did read some of the posts when doing a better and bens search. Found no mention of the BTU output. I believe they where made in the 70's and are out of business. Made by hayes equipment. I do use small fan to help circulate the heat thru the chambers into the room so less goes up the chimney.

    Thanks newbie

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  2. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,534
    Loc:
    Salisbury, MD
    You would be much better to forget about trying to find the BTU of that insert and start fresh. What is the SQ footage you are trying to heat? What is the size of your fireplace to figure out what insert will fit?
  3. Scols

    Scols Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Messages:
    242
    Loc:
    Springs New York
    I have a better n ben as well, although mine is not a double door style and I converted it to a free standing stove set in front of a fireplace. Ive never been able to find out much about them but I can tell you mine heats our 1400 square foot ranch very well. But I use 6 cords per year so it is a wood hog. When finances allow we will switch to a modern epa stove. Is yours installed so that it exhausts directly into your chimney without the benefit of a stainless steel liner? If so you should consider installing a liner so your stove works more safely and efficiently and when you are able to upgrade to a modern stove your liner will already be in place.
  4. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,570
    Loc:
    Sound Beach, LINY
    I have no input for you concerning your current insert. But here's what I can tell you for certain. I heat a drafty 1700sf ranch with an Osburn 2400i. I burn about 4 cords/year, burning on Long Island. My chimney is fully lined. The unit I bought is a beast, and is not the only EPA insert that will do the job. From what I've read on here the difference is significant. I made my money back from oil savings in the first year of burning wood. We are warmer and save thousands of dollars each winter. I hope that is helpful. Good luck with your journey.
  5. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Messages:
    3,534
    Loc:
    Salisbury, MD
    I heat 1200 sq feet averaging about 2 cords a year, and my house has no insulation in the walls. Using my old craft non-epa insert (simular to yours) I was using 4-5 cords a year.

    Well worth your time and money to upgrade to a newer insert with a stainless steel liner.
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,272
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    You are asking all the right questions, but side step the Ashleys and the Wonderwoods and step into the world of EPA compliant burners. The reduction in wood consumption is pretty amazing. There are quite a few inserts that would probably fit the bill, but we need dimensions of the "hole to fill" to help you on that. BE AWARE - EPA stoves will not be happy on anything but dry wood. That old Better-n-Ben would chew up anything, the new stoves won't.

    But dry wood is your friend. More BTUs out of a dry stick of wood than a wet one (less waist). If you are serious about hunting down an epa insert, I would suggest that you start a new thread in the regular stove forum. Have your dimensions and house size, layout, etc. at hand.

    And welcome to the forum.
  7. calvin shain

    calvin shain New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    maine
    estimating a little because the insert is still in the fire place. Pretty sure its 29 inch wide and at least 25 in high.. The insert that's in there now has 14 inches depth. Im not sure if there is any room in back of that until I haul it out. Got to wait a few more weeks, still using it some on cold evenings. Hope summer comes to Maine soon. My home is around 2000 sq feet. I did have that blocked off so I was heating probably 1000 sq feet last winter. Granted some heat seeped into the other square footage but I had hard foam insulation covering those doorways..
  8. calvin shain

    calvin shain New Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    maine
    I have a brick and tiled lined chimney rectanglur chimney flue guessing about 6 X 10 . How does the stainless chimney liner improve its heating ability. Assume restricts amount of heat going up the chimney. Does it affect the draft?
  9. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    15,272
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    New stoves like liners. Yes, it will improve the draft noticeably.

    Edit: and be easier to clean.
  10. Locust Post

    Locust Post Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
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    1,063
    Loc:
    Northeast Ohio
    The other thing about a liner especially if you insulate the liner is it stays warmer in the flue which increases draft and diminishes creosote build up. Clay tile after you get up the chimney so far is very hard to keep warm unless you are burning hot and on the old stoves like you speak of you had to keep the damper open to keep enough heat up the flue to accomplish that., I am just guessing but your insert now probably has no pipe off the top just slid into the fireplace and surround panels. That also is where you have inefficiency because you have a large chamber and smoke shelf where the smoke fills before going up the chimney which again cools the flue. I had an old insert that I burnt for many years just like this. Two years ago I hooked up a liner and it made a world of difference but still nothing like an EPA burner. So this coming winter I shall reap the benefits of a new insert.
    Scols likes this.

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