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Considering another insert....

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jdp1152, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Messages:
    755
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Gents,

    I've been posting in a few threads about considering a contemporary flush insert. Inching closer to doing it sooner rather than later. The two under consideration are the FPX Avalon Hybrid and Osburn Matrix. Leaning toward the FPX, though not entirely sold on catalytic combustion being right for me. Regardless, I know you guys like a lot of information before offering advice, so I wanted to throw out my floor plan and some pictures to get before soliciting opinions/advice prior to getting into more detailed discussions with stove retailers/installers.

    Here is a picture of my floor plan. The left of the black dotted line is single story with insulated attic space above it. The right of the black dotted line is two story (the new house, added on in 1973). The red dotted line is where I can close off the house via doors or pocket doors. I use this as an indicator of what the Regency Alterra CI1250 can hold a very comfortable 70 degrees despite the awkward layout. I don't actually close the doors anymore and the heat remains pretty much the same. Energy assessment showed that the insulation is in pretty good shape...the areas that weren't have been addressed during remodeling. Current heat is baseboard oil but end of next week will be forced hot air, two zones...each floor is a zone. Calculated heat loss from several geothermal installation companies puts it at 54-57,000 btus/hr for the entire home not factoring basement.
    [​IMG]
    Here is a picture of the house from the end of the driveway to give some perspective on chimney locations:
    [​IMG]


    The Chimney on the left is obviously the interior one. Uninsulated 6in SS Flex liner in estimated 18ft chimney. No draft issues/smoke spillage. Here is a picture of that set up....getting ready to reface and put in a firewood nook:
    [​IMG]

    Closer outside shot of the chimney that I'm considering the new insert for:
    [​IMG]

    Inside shot:
    [​IMG]

    What is interesting about this flue is that it also vents this wood boiler in the basement. It just dumps into the main flue. Picture of the boiler (I've never used it and will get rid of it as soon as possible). We would consider a free standing stove when we get around to finishing the basement. The chimney would need to be partitioned at that time. Can also see the ash cleanout (other chimney has one as well)
    [​IMG]


    We've found that we spend all of our time in the room with the insert now which isn't our most comfortable room. My wife originally insisted on keeping an open fireplace for ambiance, but has since changed her mind since I pretty much won't have a fire in the main room due to heat loss. Less than ideal as we'd like to be able to enjoy either room with an ambient fire burning (probably one in each room during football season ;)) . It's not going to be primary heat for us as she's scared to have anything to do with tending a fire. Mainly to get that crisp warmth and keep electrical back up from kicking on the new heating system on the super cold days (like now). It will mostly be evenings and weekend burning, though I work from home a bit and will have ample seasoned wood next year that I didn't have to buy, so possibly more.

    Given the floor plan and pictures, what are my areas of concern? What things should I insist up for installation? Obviously there would now be two stoves (possibly a third in the future) competing for air, though I doubt that's too much of an issue right now, though I do plan on tightening the envelope as I work my way through remodeling projects.

    Non cat vs cat insert...no stove top readings on a flush insert. Risky for a non experienced cat user? The non cat Alterra has been very easy on the learning curve and operation.

    Thanks for reading all of this and if there is anything more I can provide to give better advise, just ask. Many thanks to this site for helping with these decisions. I pseudo used it last time but now read more and more threads....which both scare me and educate me.

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  2. PLAYS WITH FIRE

    PLAYS WITH FIRE Minister of Fire

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    Are you able to use the wood boiler if you had to?
  3. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
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    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    It's functional according to the previous owner, but I'm not planning on it. All of those copper pipes through the heating system will be removed and salvaged.
  4. PLAYS WITH FIRE

    PLAYS WITH FIRE Minister of Fire

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    Pittsburgh, Pa.
    Ahhhh read better, you are getting rid of the boiler system altogether, wood and oil. No advise rally....if I was set up for a wood boiler.....I would be updating it! I have a gas boiler and in the distant future I will have a gas and wood boiler. I am going to use what a lot of folks I know in Germany use and this is Atmos. Very nice and actually need, nothing much to see but very efficient!
  5. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Messages:
    755
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    I went 10 years without a fireplace while living in a city. If I'm burning a fire, I want to be around it!
  6. PLAYS WITH FIRE

    PLAYS WITH FIRE Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Pittsburgh, Pa.
    I gotcha, I love fire! For the insert you consider, maybe consider one that sticks out a bit further for more radiant and not just with the blower. I don't think a cat stove would be a problem except for the boring long burns they get,lol. Maybe post up the dimensions or the box and the pros will chime about the sharing of chimney and what will fit you needs.
  7. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Long Island NY
    I'd get something with a CAT and possibly a free stander. Burn time is high on my list if I get another stove. For me feeding and babysitting two stoves could be tough. If you can get 12 hr + burn cycle in one all the better IMO.
  8. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Messages:
    755
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Wife wants modern and flush. No ifs and or buts about it. Can't say that I disagree with her as we're in the process of modernizing the interior of the house. We do lose electrical a lot on my street, but two blowers will run on my generator without any problems.

    Some of my bigger concerns is do I need to partition the flue immediately? Not sure what that would cost, but I don't imagine it's cheap.

    All the installers I've talked to have all said insulating the flu is an unnecessary expense with modern stoves once warmed up. One installer said rigid pipe, other said flex. Both would insulate if I required it.

    Issues of operating 2-3 stoves in a home (though highly doubtful there would ever be more than 2 going)

    Operating a cat insert when you can't measure stove top temp, flue temp, etc. The FPX does have a Cat Combustor Temp guage that can be added on, but I'm not sure how that would work without having a cord hanging out the top of the face.

    Firebox on the FPX and Matrix are both large (3.0 and 2.4) which is appealing after dealing with the Alterra, but seems that most of that footage is vertical and would be prone to the wood constantly spilling into the glass.
  9. PLAYS WITH FIRE

    PLAYS WITH FIRE Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Pittsburgh, Pa.

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