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Fireplace Choice

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Mykayel, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. Mykayel

    Mykayel New Member

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    We are going to be building a house soon and we wanted a wood burning fireplace... my brother ended up putting in a buck stove insert into his fireplace and I really like how it has worked for him. But with building a new house I figured I would do it right from the start instead of retrofitting down the road. It is not my intent to use my fireplace for the majority of my heat but when I do use it, I actually want to get something out of it.

    I stopped by a local fireplace dealer and he suggested the Kozy Heat Z42. Any opinions on the unit? Or any other suggestions. I don't have a specific budget but I don't want to spend to much either.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Welcome. Kozy makes good fireplaces. It's a good place to start. You might also want to check out BIS and RSF fireplaces.
  3. andybaker

    andybaker Feeling the Heat

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    I've got the Z42. Put it in several years ago. I can say they make a great product. If you can, try to put this more in the center of the home and use the two ducts from the top to take heat off to other parts of the house. Often I get too much heat out of this so I'm trying to push the heat elsewhere. I couldn't use the ducts in my home. It burns very clean, I only clean my chimney once a year and that's with burning 4 cords of wood. One warning though, you must have fully seasoned wood for these newer fireplaces.
  4. Mykayel

    Mykayel New Member

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    Do you have the single door or the double cast doors? I've heard conflicting information from a couple of dealers that I have visited regarding the single door not sealing very well. I'd rather have the single door but if its going to be problematic then I'm not going to bother and I'll do the double doors.

    Unfortunately the layout of the house has the fireplace on the exterior wall. I still plan on doing the ducting kit to push heat the bedrooms (the master is on one side of the house and the two others are on the other side of the house.
  5. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Are you set on fireplace vs. insert vs. free-standing stove? That's the place to start, then choose your technology (non-EPA, non-cat EPA, or catalytic). If you want to use it for heating, the house size and layout play a large role, but it sounds like you want this more for occasional use (which sort of favors non-cat or even non-EPA technology).
  6. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    If you want to get anything from the fire, make sure it IS EPA certified. It will give a great looking fireview, clean glass and long burns.
    The Kozy is a great looking unit, it burns nice too. It doesn't get real long burn times though.
    Another option is the Fireplace Extraordinaire. It's a more expensive option, but it get much better burn times and has a very quite blower. It has more of a fireplace feel to it, much more attractive to look at! http://www.fireplacex.com/ProductGuide/FuelTypeOverview.aspx?fueltype=wood&fueltab=0
  7. Mykayel

    Mykayel New Member

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    We are really set on a fireplace (we don't want the stove taking up floor space) and with it being new construction, an insert doesn't make sense. I don't really see this being a primary sources for heat, but at the same time I can see myself using it quite a bit. Either way, I want to get real heat out of it, not just a pretty fire (but having a nice looking fire is nice too). So yes, whatever I do will be an EPA certified, but I will probably stay with non-cat.

    I've wondered, what gives "long" burn times. Is it just the amount of wood that you can pack in? Or is it how it burns?
  8. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    It's how it burns. It's all in the design of the fireplace. Cat units will get the longest burn times, like the Fireplace X. But if I just wanted an occasional fire, that would not be my first choice, unless I had an endless budget. The Z-42 seems to be the best choice here. It takes a 6" flue and it can fit into a much smaller area than alot of other units.
  9. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    When you load a stove, you are packing with a relatively fixed number of BTU's. I say "relatively", because depending on how you burn, you can raise or lower the efficiency of the appliance, but that is all secondary. The primary factor is how much wood of a given species you put into the stove, and how quickly or slowly you allow it to burn. Cat stoves allow for a slower burn rate, while still maintaining a clean burn, which can provide longer burn times. This can be useful for those wanting long burn times in not-so-cold weather, but the advantage (mostly) goes away when things get cold, and you're running the stove above it's minimum setting.

    For the most part, a stove of a given technology, material, and size will perform equally to another of the same. Manufacturers try to have us believe that one stove gives significantly longer burn time or more BTU's than another stove, of the same technology. Mostly, what you'll find is that they're finding half-truths in their measurements, by measuring under very unique circumstances where their particular design may excel.

    This is all excepting Blaze King's magic alien technology. The laws of physics do not apply in their universe.
  10. RRMM

    RRMM New Member

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    Hello, What did you decide on and how is it working? I am in the same situation you were last year and I'm very confused on what to do. My primary concern is too much heat, but I don't want to have a non-efficient fireplace that loses heat, either. Thanks.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There are nice EPA, efficient fireplaces in several sizes. The best thing to do is have a heat loss calculation done for the house. This should be done anyway for the primary heating system. With that number you can size the fireplace correctly.
  12. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    That thread is more than a year old and the poster is not really a regular (last seen in January this year). I doubt you will get an answer this way. You can try sending him a private message. That will generate an email which he/she may answer.
  13. RRMM

    RRMM New Member

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    Did you decide on the Kozy Heat, and how did it turn out?
  14. RRMM

    RRMM New Member

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    Thanks.
  15. Mykayel

    Mykayel New Member

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    I actually did not get the Kozy Heat as my builder refused to go outside of who he normally buys from... so I ended up with a Quadrafire 7100. Overall I like the Quadrafire, it puts out a decent amount of heat, but I think my expectations were a little high as far as the heat output. But at least I am getting a positive amount of heat output. The main reason I wanted a high efficiency fireplace was that with a traditional fireplace, you actually loose more heat from the draft up the flue than you get back into your house. With the closed doors, the heat exchanger, and the blower, you are actually getting a real amount of heat in your house. But with that being said, I wouldn't want to try and use it as my sole heat source though. And it was expected, but since I have a main living area with the master bedroom on one side of the house and the other bedrooms on the other side of the house, the bedrooms get a little cold when the fireplace is on; this is fine for me, but my wife has a little big of an issue with it.
  16. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Only a decent amount of heat? The Quadra has a 3.4 cu ft firebox and should be able to heat a relatively large home, especially when it is a new construction. How many sqft do you try to heat? What is your primary heat and how much fuel does it use?

    You mention a problem with heat distribution: Is the room with the fireplace too warm while the rest of the house gets the short stick or does even the fireplace room just get comfortable? Do you have way to measure the temps of the fireplace? How long has your wood been seasoned?
    Last edited: May 11, 2014
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Was an auxiliary convection air system put in? It sounds like this would have evened out the heat if the intake was in the bedroom area. That would pull return air from the bedroom which would be replaced with warmer heated air from the fireplace.

    Another thing that will directly affect heat output is the quality of the wood. Partially seasoned wood is a common issue. If burned it will not put out the heat that fully seasoned wood will. If buying wood, it is rarely seasoned the year it is bought.
  18. RRMM

    RRMM New Member

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    Thank you, Mykayel. If I read correctly, you had similar concerns as we are having now: a woodburning fireplace that you did not want to use for regular heating purposes, but one that would not lose heat when you did burn it. It seems like the Quadrafire is meeting that desire you had, but in the meantime, you've come to expect it to do more :). Anyway, the main thing I wanted to ask you is, since you are apparently having less heat output than you expect, are you having a problem with the glass door getting sooty?
    Since this thread addresses burn time, too, and begreen and Grisu are both reading (thanks!), what exactly IS burn time? Is it how long there are actual flames coming from the wood you put it, or is it just how long the unit gives off heat once you've added your last logs? How long does the wood generally generate flames vs. when they turn to hot, glowing embers? From what I'm reading, burning a not hot enough fire will cause the soot. Not having a hot enough fire is caused by wood still moist, and... anything else? Too small a fire in the firebox? Thanks for all your help. We are having the Kozy Heat salesperson come to the home on Tuesday to evaluate the feasibility of the unit, see how it can be ducted, etc. You all have been a tremendous help.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, you are getting it now. Dry wood allowed to burn hot enough so that it doesn't smolder will provide the cleanest burn and most heat. There is an art to burning with wood. It takes a bit of practice. Dry wood makes the learning process go easier. The length of time for flames and the burn time varies with the amount of fuel in the fire. A fire with say 4-5 splits may burn with flame for a few hours but have hot coals burning for another 4 hrs.. If the goal is primarily flame and not heat, then just burn 3-4 splits and add another after a couple hours to refresh the fire. If it is cold outside and the goal is heat, after the starter fire is going, add a lot more splits (6-10 depending on the split size), wait for them to start burning well, then gradually turn down the air supply in steps, ~50% each time and watch secondary combustion create an amazing flame show at the top of the fire.

    Burn time is a marketing term that is used to describe the time from starting the fire to the point where there are still coals left over to start a new fire. More important to most folks here is the period of meaningful heat. That is from when the stove is at a heating temp (say 250F) until it cools back down to that temperature. This time is often shorter than burn time by a couple hours or more.
  20. RRMM

    RRMM New Member

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    Thank you so much, begreen! Between the rest of the threads I've read and (probably not enough of) the educational stuff on the home page of this, we are finally at a point where we feel like the Kozy Heat is the right option for us. 1) Meet with salesperson on Tuesday at the construction site. 2)If it's a go, order the unit and have the framing built to specifications and in fast order 3) order several cords of wood! 4) start collecting dry wood anywhere I find it... in the woods, pallets (too bad people have started valuing pallets for craft and furniture purposes, lol, although environmentally that's nice, too). We burned enough fires in our masonry fireplace as a kid that I'm skilled in starting and stoking the fire, know how dry wood acts vs wet, etc, but am still expecting a big learning curve with this thing. I'm going to start pumping my dad for advice on how he ran the woodstove that was next to our furnace, as well. Hubby and I are already talking about the benefits of the unit heating the house even if we only use it for nightly cold-weather fires. I feel confident that we'll be able to have both at this point... a nice fire with all the kozy-ness of it (ha ha ha) or actually heat the house. Sounds like we'll have less fun adding logs and pushing things around, but then again, that's one of the things we wanted... THank you all again so much!
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Word of advice, the way dad burned in a stove and the way you burn in a modern stove may be two very different animals.
    Valhalla likes this.
  22. RRMM

    RRMM New Member

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    Good point.
  23. Mykayel

    Mykayel New Member

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    I have 2200 sq ft ranch. I have natural gas as my primary and to be honest, it did not cost much ($175 may have been the worst bill) even with this cold long past winter (but I am only in St. Louis also). I have not measured how hot the fireplace has actually gotten, but to be honest, I've been afraid a couple of times that I may have gotten close to over firing it... talk about getting nothing but flames filling the fire box. I think my wood source is well seasoned, my neighbor gave me a truck load of mostly oak as a house warming gift and he said that it was 3 years old and had been stored in his barn.

    As far as heat distribution in my house, in my main living area (probably 1200 sq ft) it would get around 72 degrees and the bedrooms would drop into the low 60's. We would run air handler to try and help even out the house, but I'm not sure if it really helped.

    One of my bigger problems I have had (as a newbie to burning wood), is the times that I would actually re-load the fire (instead of just a one time load and burn), I'd have issues with the reload being very smoky and taking a bit to light... but once its going, then its almost burning to hot. When I build a new fire with the fireplace cold, I've discovered the top down method of lighting a fire which works very well and doesn't smoke hardly at all. Does anyone have a little advice about how to re-load 'properly'?
  24. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    1. Open doors.
    2. Throw wood onto coals.
    3. Close doors.

    ;lol

    Never owned an EPA fireplace, but spent a lifetime burning open fireplaces, and the last 3 years putting about 16 cords thru EPA stoves. If your first load burns well but you have trouble with the reload taking off too fast, then you need to simulate your start-up conditions a little bit better on the reload. Rake the live coals to the front or back of the firebox, and load next to the coals, rather directly on top of them. Maintain a good insulating ash bed under the new load. Burning bottom up with the wood on top of the coals, it can indeed take off very fast and hot, as you mention. With the coals next to the wood, you can get a more controlled front-to-back burn.
  25. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    I would expect a 3.4 cu ft fireplace to heat 2200 sqft of a new construction for most of the time. Your low gas bill suggests that either the fireplace gave you more heat than you think or your house is well insulated. When you see the "all flames" are they coming from the top of the firebox or the wood itself? What is your air setting at that point? Do you have a cathedral ceiling?

    Wow, a truckload of split oak as housewarming gift. You really have some nice neighbors there. However, I would be a bit cautious with the assumption it is seasoned. To dry wood you need airflow even more so than sun, IMHO. Plus, oak is notoriously slow to dry. Do you have a moisture meter that you could test some pieces? Having a lot of smoke when reloading the stove would also suggest the wood is not quite dry. Is some of the wood hissing when you put it on the hot coals? How is your wood supply for the next winter coming along?

    I use the following burn practice:
    From a cold stove I start with a small start up fire. Just a few medium sized splits, lots of paper and kindling. Firebox maybe half full but loosely stacked. (Top down fires are fine and make less smoke, but in my experience they take a bit longer to get the wood fully engulfed and the stove warm than bottom-up fires. No problem, if you don't need the heat fast.) I keep the start up fire going for about 10 min with the air fully open and then slowly close it over another 15 min until the air is still about 1/4 open. That way the fire will stay strong and warm up the stove and the flue fast. After about 1.5 to 2 hours, that small fire has been burned down to mostly coals. Then I do a full reload:
    Rake the coals forward. Place as many splits as you can fit in, maybe leaving only an 1 inch gap to the burn tubes in the top. Let the wood catch fire (having the door only slightly ajar can help fan the fire with a good draft) and start a good burn, then close door. Leave the air all the way open until the wood is mostly engulfed then start to stepwise close the air, maybe a quarter every 5 min. I usually look at the fire: Close air until the flames become slow moving ("lazy"), wait a few minutes until fire is vigorous again, then close again to get slow flames and so on. When the air is completely closed you should have nice secondaries in the top of the firebox and the stove top should read 500 F to 600 F for most stoves. Maybe get an IR thermometer to get an idea about your temps and also some peace of mind. If you have lots of coals left after a burn it could mean that your wood is not fully seasoned. I manage to do a quick, hot fire in the morning (~2 h), two fill-ups during the day (~6 h each) and one overnight burn (~10 h) with nice dry hardwood. Be aware that the specific air settings for your fireplace can be different depending on your draft; you may not be able to close it all the way without the fire smoldering. Do you have an outside air connection?

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