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Gas Insert or Stove

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by petiboy, Jun 12, 2008.

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  1. petiboy

    petiboy New Member

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    Mass North Shore
    Im trying to decide whether to put in a gas fireplace insert or freestanding stove about 1ft outside fireplace. What will give the "Most" heat and be the most economical to run. I do like the inserts but if they will cost me more to heat the same room than an equivalent free standing stove I would rather go with the stove. I know if I go with a cast iron stove it will radiate heat all the time even when the fire goes out for 10 minutes or so and the insert wont . Also looking for a insert or stove that has a built in blower that throws the air out in front so it will move air into another room.

    Any suggestions ?

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  2. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

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    In most any case a free standing stove will give off more heat than an insert. With a blower running on both, the insert is a closer second and personally I think the insert would look a lot better than a free standing unit in front of your fireplace.

    If you are looking for ultimate efficiency, then go with a free standing direct vent sheet metal stove with a high CFM blower and put as much direct vent pipe (NOT Coaxial) on it as you can. Great thing about a direct vent system is that the pipe is a big heat exchanger. The hot flue pipe runs inside the combustion air duct and preheats that air before it enters the stove. So typically the longer the venting the more heat exchange you get in the pipe and the cooler your exhaust temps are. That translates into more heat in your home.

    Also, look for a free standing unit that has a heat exchanger. Some just have a flue pipe that comes out of the top of the firebox, and other MFG's design a heat exchanger that mounts between the top of the firebox and the flue pipe.
  3. petiboy

    petiboy New Member

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    Loc:
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    Why would a sheet metal free standing stove generate more heat than a cast iron one ? I am more inclined to go cast iron because they just look better. If I were to go cast iron which stove company would be best ?
    Thanks,
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    If you really are looking for every ounce of efficiency, look at the Energuide ratings - I think they are more accurate than manufacturers numbers:
    http://tinyurl.com/6h4zlz
  5. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

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    Yup! The numbers in a product brochure are basically unregulated in the US & Canada. The CSA listings are certified and witnessed by an independent lab. Those numbers aren't perfect either and you won't find every fireplace listed there, only ones sold in Canada, but it is a good source if the ones you may be considering are.

    The only reason I say sheet metal verses cast iron is for the ideal "Most Efficient" tag in your original post. Cast iron looks far better than sheet metal because of the shapes and patterns not achievable with metal that's only 0.0375" thick, but cast iron is inherently thick which can reduce the amount of heat transferred from the firebox into the room.

    For example, something I'll do on my designs that generate the "It throws too much heat" comment is to go back and make the firebox out of a thicker material. And we're talking going from .038 to .061" thick. That dramatically reduces the amount of heat the unit transfers into the room which means it goes up the flue. So if I'm painting with a broad brush and making efficiency priority 1, then I'd look at the cast iron units last.

    I can appreciate your concern about the appliance looking good too. That is very important in my world. One options you will be tempted to buy is a fire brick liner. They look really good, but on almost every model they will reduce the amount of heat transfer because they line and insulate the firebox. Optional fire brick are also excluded from the CSA efficiency listings.

    My $0.02.
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Aha! All makes sense.....

    Back when people would ask me about cast-iron, steel and thickness....I would tell them - Heck, the best stove would be so thin as to be invisible, therefore letting all the heat transfer out. Yep, when it comes to gas, quick heat transfer is the key. It's not like wood where you have 50% of the heat in the embers and coals....in gas, ALL of the heat is in the "gases".

    That is interesting about the firebrick liners! I guess that is why some companies paint them on??

    One thing for sure, don't use "pounds per dollar" to buy a gas unit.
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