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Ecofan (Stove top fan powered by heat)

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by babalu87, Nov 28, 2005.

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  1. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Anyone have one/used one?

    Seems like it would help move air (out of my HOT living room) into other rooms

    Are they as quiet as advertised?

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    That's a pretty sweet little rig, BG. Can you tell how hot the stove is by how fast the fan is turning?
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Only if I blink Real Fast! ;-).
    Actually I can tell when the stove is cooling down below about 300 deg. and needs more wood. With a glass front it's redundant, but with a solid front stove it's a handy visual cue. After about 350 degrees, it's just a blur. (or was that the wine?)
  5. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Hey BeGreen, which do you like the stove or insert?

    I've been using a stove for 25 years and purchased an insert. All I can say is, where were these things 25 years ago! Sounds like you use your stove, and only use the insert when needed, opposite of me. My 70,000 btu stove took more wood and twice the time to heat an insulated Colonial house and it was unbearable near the stove itself. It wasn't an EPA stove, it did force the smoke to have to go through the coals and flames to get to the flue though. I now have a very poor insulated and inefficient same size Ranch. The Colonial just blew it away with insulation and tightness. Even in this old drafty poor insulated house my insert is blowing my stove away. I'm forecasting 30% less wood ($204 wood savings - $51 for blower electricity) and the insert heats all the air in my house to 150-200 degrees every 1hr 15min and the heat is ideal. The living room with the insert, around 74 the dining room 73, the kitchen 72, the hallway 68, the bedrooms on the other side of my house 65. How perfect is that. The stove I used to have to keep it extremely hot for it to make enough convection heat for the rest of the house making it unbearable near the stove plus caused me to burn more wood.

    I'm now an insert fan (pun intended), you seem to like your stove better. What's your views on the two?
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Another new type using a Stirling Engine - dang cool!

    http://www.thermalengines.com/
  7. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    Rhone,

    How well does your insert work without the blower? I'm curious, as I want to try no bower first on mine.

    Sundeep
  8. CrazyAboutOrchids

    CrazyAboutOrchids New Member

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    We have the large EcoFan on our Lopi Freedom insert. I love it. Totally silent.

    When we bought the insert last October, dealer steered us away from the blower unit saying to run the insert without it for a year and see if we really wanted the blower. Cons on it were the noise and since it was in our family room where we spend most of our time, noise was an issue. Glad I never invested, mom and dad bought us the EcoFan and it doesn't make noise, doesn't use electricity.

    Another thing that is great for moving air, silently, is this doorway fan. http://www.northlineexpress.com/detail~PRODUCT_ID~5CO-71925.asp It's my 3rd doorway fan, have two others that I don't like due to the noise. This one is a keeper and runs everytime the insert is fired up. Shop around for the best price though.
  9. CrazyAboutOrchids

    CrazyAboutOrchids New Member

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    Hi Frank!

    Your insert is totally inserted into your fireplace. Mine sticks out 7 inches so it radiates heat into the room. Actually heats the main floor of our not open planned, 2500 sq foot colonial. We used it most of last season without the fan. Your Summit insert is almost totally inserted into your fireplace so you can't take advantage of radiant heat like I can/ Yours requires the blower to push heat out since your box is mostly contained inside your fireplace that it was inserted into, mine is already out of the fireplace to begin with.

    Blowers really depend on the unit. Yes yours would require one. With mine, it's totally optional and in fact the insert is designed to run without one.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I saw this unit advertised recently. It does look cool. Anyone have one yet? I've had a long time fascination with Stirling engines. The fan is more complex than the ecofan, and looks like it requires some maintenance, but I still am curious about it.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Our insert is a pellet stove and the freestander is wood. We use both equally and if it gets really cold, both at the same time. The pellet stove is our general household heater. It's on a digital thermostat and comes on in the morning to warm the house up, sets back to 62 at night. We use the woodstove when it's below about 45 outside. Mostly evenings and on weekends. Pellet stove is also ok to run during local burn bans when there is a temp inversion. It's a very clean running stove.
  12. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    Frank,

    The physicist in me just begs to ask this question: If we suppose that the blower is responsible for 80% of the heat output, where does this 80% go
    when the blower is off? Surely the fire puts out the same amount of heat per hour when using a specified burn rate.

    What must happen is that the temprature of the stove surface must be higher when the blower is off, since the heat not removed by the forced air must heat the stove body. Assuming that is the case, the blower's effect is measurable. The ratio of the power (BTU/hr) delivered by the insert with the blower on vs. that delivered by the insert with the blower off is simply the ratio of the stove tempratures in the two cases.

    Of course, this is only approximate, as it ignores other sources of heat loss, such as heat transfer to the sorrounding brick, which may be more when the blower is not running. It also assumes that the final stove temprature in both cases is much greater than the room temprature, which is also a reasonable assumption. But I find it hard to believe the steady state stove temprature is four times higher when the blower isn't running than when it is. It would be a worthwhile experiment to do and find out, though.
  13. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    On the Lopi inserts, it is convection which is the main mode of heat transfer, not radiation. I agree with your claim as far as radiant heat goes, it isn't a effective way to transfer the heat and cool the core. But the mode here is convective, much the same mode as a hydronic baseboard, for example. Convection currents get set up, and the cool air enters the bottom and exits the top. What you are claiming is that the convective airflow isn't enough, and without a blower the excess heat which can't be removed will simply go up the flue in the form of increased flue gas temprature(as opposed to heating the stove body), which may very well be the case. Of course, as you say, i'll just have to put the blower on and see for myself what difference it makes.
  14. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Aaaaaaaaaa , So ... What are you trying to say Frank ? LOL
  15. CrazyAboutOrchids

    CrazyAboutOrchids New Member

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    I'd have to defer to Craig on this one. He knows the Lopi/Avalon stoves very well. If I remember correctly, he sold them, used them himself and very recently toured thier plant as well. So he knows the ins and outs, maybe he'll be kind enough to reply on his thoughts.

    It is my understanding that these inserts are built to be effective without the blower, but it can be used as an add on. I look at it like this. I can buy a car with lots of add on's or not many at all. The car is built the same way. Add on's int he cae of the insert may get me there faster, but it doesn't change the overall built of the thing. My is built so it CAN heat without power. In the case of the Lopi Freedom that I have, the add on blower will push the air into the room faster than without it, but it's not going to burn less wood, only move a bit more air. I do something similar with the Eco-Fan, just a bit less air - absolutely no nosie and no extra electricity. If I had an open floor plan and was using this as the sole source of heat, yes the blower would push the air further and faster.

    My dealer has been in chimney and fireplaces for more than 55 years. He's about as blunt and honest a dealer that I ran across in a year. He's been to my house, his support is great, he goes out of the way to give old fashioned customer service. If his customer isn't happy, they won't recommend, he does most of his business by word of mouth and is quite successful against many other larger more heaily advertised businesses around him. With this particular model as well as a smaller and an Avalon model, he recommends using them before investing in a blower due to the high cost of the blower and he just feels they are effective without. He's obviously in it to make money, so he COULD sell me one, he CHOSE to save me money out the door and he told me I would be happy and I am. It's something that can be added on later, he just feels it's not a necessity. I don't think he steered me wrong at all.

    I do believe the 7 inch extension onto the hearth does make a huge difference and no it's not a pretty little show peice to stick a pot on. About 1/2 of my insert is sticking out into my room so I am heating more of my room, less of my fireplace box. Also, my insert is wider at the front than the rear, so more than 50% of my insert is out there, in the room, where the majority of yours is inside heating up the fireplace. Yes, you would need a blower to push heat out, mine's already mostly out there to begin with.

    I know that with mine, very little wood, a doorway fan since this is in a family room with cathedral ceilings over the garage with only a 3 foot door to the rest of the house, I can heat the main level of my home WITHOUT the blower.

    You can stick by your stance that it is a necessity. I've been burning for a year without one and I'm happy and warm and toasty. That's my experience and I'm sticking by it.
  16. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    How does a fan thread turn into a discussion on blowers on fireplace inserts?

    How do those blowers work in the event of a power outage?

    I think the heatwave fan is a better option but it is a little ugly when its stopped but I guess I can put it in the closet when the temps are warm

    Anyone have a heatwave fan?
    I dont want anything that will add ambient noise to the room
    Something about reading a book with a Bbbbbzzzzzzzzzz doesnt do it for me
  17. CrazyAboutOrchids

    CrazyAboutOrchids New Member

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    Sorry about that!

    Check out the link to the super quiet doorway fan, the black one. I have one to move air into the main part of my home. Moves a lot of air for such a tiny fan. Yeah, the color of it stinks, but it grows on you once you see how quietly it runs. I have 2 other doorway fans I purchased last year that were cream color and they made a racket. Should have just bought this one to begin with. Found it on Ebay for 25.00.

    The Eco-Fan is great, we were given it as a gift so we didn't have to expand anything. Works wonderfully, not bad looking, silent.

    But to move air into another room, check out that doorway fan. Cheaper alternative and works very well. Once you have it for a while, you forget it's there. If you don't like it, return it. If you love it, you aren't out much cash.
  18. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Here's my experience with the blower, I am not as intelligent as others so I'll just throw out my opinions. It was me seeing BeGreen had an insert & stove that eventually converted the topic to insert blowers. Wish we could break this off into a new thread and I apologize. My insert sticks out around 5-7" like Sandy's, but for me it's a design thing with my brand I didn't have a choice. I found the part resting on my hearth, produces very little heat, radiant, high temperature or otherwise. With a roaring fire I can touch it for a 1/2 sec before I can't stand it anymore. Whereas touching any other part (like the metal around the door frame) in a blink of an eye I pull away immediately and get a burn blister (I did that last week). I had dreams I'd have a kettle and maybe cook on it but settled on using it for defrosting/warming now. Why is this part resting on my hearth cool? I think it insulated so it intentionally doesn't get hot reducing my clearances to combustibles. It's a seperate piece of my insert, seems hollow, and a 60,000 btu insert to need 24" to combustibles above and 12" on the sides tells me that's the case. The smaller version of my insert, the Morgan at 40,000 btu's requires a much larger 34" to combustibles above and 13" on the sides. The Morgan doesn't have the 5" front section resting on the hearth insulated and it would benefit pulled out. Sandy, I didn't catch what insert you have but if yours isn't insulated you are correct yours contributes to heating, cooking, eco-fan, etc pulled out. Frank-Ivy is also correct for his situation as the part sticking out on his hearth would be even cooler than mine, I know he has a Summit Insert, a 97,000 btu and only needs 19" to combustibles above. The part sticking out on his must be triple insulated to stay extra cool to allow those really tight clearances so pulled out, or pushed in, no benefit for him. On to ecofans, I have to think they only work on stoves and inserts that don't have the front portion resting on the hearth insulated.

    My thoughts on blowers. I compare an insert with a blower to a window AC unit, and an insert without a blower to a big block of ice. Both can cool but one does it more evenly and quickly and spreads the cold around, the other does it naturally but doesn't do it as quickly or as evenly. With the blowers on I exchange all the air in my house every hour fifteen minutes and the air temp coming out is 150-200 degrees. My house gets right up to temp and I achieve my perfect balance. I haven't experimented much without the blowers, you have to recall my house is very inefficient and my first attempt I was disappointed compared to when my blowers were on and had the urge to put in more wood to get more heat out of it. I plan on seeing how it goes when we lose power. I did notice the blowers create a sort of air pattern in my house. I have a hallway around the corner seperating the two parts of my house. If I put a candle at the ceiling at the end of my hallway, the candle will blow out from the heat screaming towards the far end of my house. If I put it at the floor it will go out there as well but this time from the air flowing in the other direction, the cold air from the bedrooms screaming towards my insert to be heated. It's this air flow that spreads the heat around and gives me perfect balance. I do have inside combustion but it can't account for that much air flow. It's only in the hallway it's channelled enough, I don't feel the air movement in any of the bedrooms or other rooms in my house just the hallway.
  19. CrazyAboutOrchids

    CrazyAboutOrchids New Member

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    Well Sandy, I think you’re doing the prideful “defend it because I bought it” thing>>

    Well Frank I could say the same thing about you, but I won't, haha. I don't see why you're getting all hot headed and wall banging over this. A few days ago I was your kind of woman cuz I haul and burn wood.

    I have the same size house (2500 sq ft colonial) in the same state, we have different stoves that are built differently and inserted differently. You feel I need to have a blower since you have to. However, I have burned for a year successfully without one. If your stove is as Rhonemas states, insulated and cool on top, makes since that your requirements to get heat from your insert may be different than mine. I never said that a blower does not have it's place. As I stated, if I had an open floor plan and my goal was to get as much heat as possible to every corner as fast as possible, yes it would have it's use and I would deal with the noise.

    However, I can and do successfully heat the same size house as you do, without burning much wood and I do it in silence and with no ties to CL&P. So that's prideful, sure! I saved 200.00 and I didn't add to my monthly electric bill AND I stay warm and heat my home in the process. And I think the dealer was great! You think he's an idot? Well, he sells lots of stoves, but he loves the Lopi/Avalon line. As I said, there are a few models that he recommends burning FIRST and then deciding if the blower is a necessity. He's not the only dealer in CT who feels that a few Lopi models can be burned without blowers. We did check out inserts for a year, visited many delaers in the state, looked at a bunch of different manufacturers and we ended up with the Freedom without blower. He saved me 200.00 that he could have pocketed and he was right on the money! I don't think that the blower on this unit would change how it is used as drastically as yours would change without one installed if yours is well insulated as Rhonemas described, however I do agree that it would change it a bit. As drastically as you believe? I don't think so. Different stoves, different builds, different installations, different requirements. I do agree that it would affect the room it is in a bit as it would force (160 cfm) heat out into the room more quickly, and I also feel that in an open house plan it would help to circulate heat and fascilitate air movement but it's also at the expense of electricity and silence.

    Could I save a couple of pieces of wood per day? Maybe, who knows, probably. But I saved money out the door and burn the Lopi Freedom successfully, in the same "small space" as you do, all without electricity and noise. I can burn the same in a power outage as with power. To me, the quiet was worth it. I start it up, get it up to temp and burn a log at a time, same as you. My insert, btw, is as Rhomenas posted. You would not touch my stove when burning or you would fry. Been there, done that.

    Babalu87, rather than a blower, or even an Eco-Fan I would recommend that you start out with a 25.00 doorway fan that will help move air out of your HOT living room into other areas. It's only 50 cfm, it will also do it silently since you posted that noise was a concern. Not pretty but eventually you'll get used to it.

    If you wants to spend the extra cash, get the Eco-fan. You save over buying a blower and you don't have the noise to deal with. What a deal, 150 cfm and no electricity and even better - they work! Btw, they do make great conservation pieces. You may even get to like the look on your stove once you get one.

    And if you don't mind the noise, add a blower. But if silence is something you are after, go the other two routes first. If you are unhappy, you can always return the doorway fan and Eco-fan or the other model that you posted here. But seems like your issue was getting heat out of the room, not getting heat from your stove.

    If you get one of the accessories, post on what your impressions are. Oh, and I apologize again for replying, yet again, to the topic of blowers on your thread.
  20. CrazyAboutOrchids

    CrazyAboutOrchids New Member

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    My goodness, Frank, relax.

    I am not nah-nah-nah ing to you, you're just getting too emotional over the whole blower or not thing and throwing out insults over it all. I said our stoves are different, they are built different, look different, installed different. You run a blower to get heat, I don't. Big deal. I'm sure not gonna loose sleep or get my blood pressure raised over it and I'm not going to go out and buy a blower for something that works just fine without it. Yes, I know the specs on square footage and btu's, etc. for my stove. You run your stove and you are happy with it and that's great. I run my stove, it heats my house, nothing silly or erroneous about that. This all started cuz I answered a question on an Eco-Fan which works as a wonderful alternative to an electric blower in many situations.

    I can play nice at recess, but can you??? Oh, be careful of the blonde with pigtails chewing bubble gum, in a later life she will have one heck of a throwing arm from hauling wood and carrying babies!

    Go have a glass of wine and relax.
  21. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    Frank,

    Do you mean to say there really are no ghosts? ;)
  22. CrazyAboutOrchids

    CrazyAboutOrchids New Member

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    Frank, you have presented no facts other than your opinion and the specs on my unit. You said "If I had to estimate, I’d say the blower is responsible for 80% of the heat output of the unit". You quoted specs on my unit which I totally agree on as the advertised specs, has nothing to do with a blower. Not covering my eyes, ears, not being irrational, etc. I said my unit was built to run with or without a blower and I run it without the optional blower. The blower itself is per the manual an option to assist in the convection heat. It's not a requirement to use to heat. Is the blower worth 200.00, the noise and electricity? It is to you, it's not to me.

    Does everything require a blower? Here's Craig's thought on a Jotul - doesn't need a blower and I quote from the HearthNet Questions area:
    "The Jotul does not need a blower... A blower on a stove does not really add to the heat efficiency....it might blow the heat 3 feet from the stove....but then it's natural air circulation that takes it further. The Jotul is cast-iron, a material that produces a good steady heat. It also has the top loading feature which is great for easy tending. They are also the largest stove company in the world. Rest assured that the Jotul is capable of heating as much or more than the Buck, and doing it in high style ! The glass stays quite clean on the newer model..if you burn very low, you'll have to clean it a bit more but still MUCH better than earlier models."

    Here's another quote about blowers from the same place:
    "Mike, the newer stoves have better design that will radiate and convect the heat toward the front and top - which is where you need it most. This is usually done in a few way:
    1. Directing the flame - baffles direct the flame forward and reburn the gases in a chamber on top of the fire
    2. Heat Shields/Convection chamber - This is a second shell built around the stove which turns radiant heat into convection heat (heated air), which tends to spread better.

    As far as blowers, most do work well, but I do not like the sound of them. My personal stove at home does not have one, although if I had a very large area to heat I might consider it."

    Here's another in response to gas inserts and blowers:
    "The blower probably only increases the efficiency by 5-10 percentage points, so there will be plenty of heat to keep your home warm in the case of a power failure. Enjoy your new insert!".

    And here's a response to a question about fireplace inserts in general:
    "In most cases, running a wood burning fireplace insert without the fans is OK. You want to look for a unit that has fairly large convection air openings on the bottom, sides and top. This will allow air to freely circulate around the unit. Some units are even sold without blowers since they work well this way. The blower is then offerred as an option. Check out the products at http://hearth.com/prod.html"

    I am not in any way trying to goad you Frank. You have used words in your responses to me like idot when referring to my dealer, my irrational methods, I've gone off on irrational tangents. You've made quite a few personal digs, sacrcastic comments at and about me. I haven't made personal digs at you, I just disagree that a blower on my unit is a requirement. It's an option. When I purchased my insert, I did it after a year of shopping, checking out different models, talking to lots of different salesman, asking many questions on the old forum, reading. My decisions on my purchase were done after advice was given to me by the dealer which matched up with advice provided by other avenues, including the old forum.

    The option of the Eco-Fan asked about in this thread in a quiet alternative to an electric blower. And I do apologize for the manner that this thread has wandered so far off topic.
  23. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Ya'll Need to go throw a log on the fire. There is MORE HEAT here than in my Pacific Energy Summit. We need a poll ............... How many BTU's has this thread made so far ? I vote for 55k per hour. Anybody else have "radiant heat" comming off there monitor ? LOL
  24. ellie

    ellie New Member

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    Hi everyone, this is my first post. I wondered if anyone has used the ecofan on an insert. I have about 6 inches of stove sticking out of my fireplace, and Im wondering if the fan would be able to work.
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