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In need of advice

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Holzstapel, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Seems you are 29 inches high and 34 inches deep. How wide is the fireplace opening?

    I can envision nothing but problems with a freestanding stove inside the fireplace opening.
    To me, your only options are a stove on a new hearth in front of the chimney, or an insert.

    Personally, I think a floor hearth would look much better if it were the width of the entire chimney. This would also give you an area to stack wood, keep tools. Heating 24/7 you need somewhere to keep a bit of wood inside, even if just enough for 24 hours when the weather is bad. You look really limited on space between the chimney and wall on one side. What is the distance there? Would a full length hearth make it impossible to reasonably negotiate that edge of the chimney?

    Personally, I'd get the best insert I could find that would fit in that fireplace. You just lose too great a percentage of your living space otherwise. Especially given that you need to store camping gear in the living space. I'd definitely be going insert.

    You re going to need to burn one at near max capacity when the weather is cold and especially cold and windy, as you will have terrific heat loss. But probably less than you have now with a fireplace. Lots of heat loss through the walls, more as the temperatures get colder. Get the biggest best insert you can find.

    Suggestions along this line from hearth members with experience with inserts? We need to get width from him, but height is 29 inches, depth 34 inches.

    Good luck, and welcome!

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Considering mod BrotherBart has been heating his place with a freestanding stove in a setup somewhat like this for many years now, I am not understanding the concern. I'd definitely add a block-off plate and the stove would have to have a blower. But other than height concerns which a short leg kit would help, this seems feasible. If you need more height you could lower the hearth by several inches, then pour or install a new top hearth surface. An expanded metal grill could be installed over the backside opening for a more finished look.
  3. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    He has indicated he doesn't want to change the chimney , because he wants to be able to leave it as is for any future owner, so I doubt he wants to get involved in lowering the hearth. He hasn't enough height to put a stove in with any legs, IMO. He certainly could not get at any side controls, or get a stove where he ever needed to access top or sides, or bottom for that matter. Any necessary servicing might be very difficult. Might be a bit difficult to install too. And not least, he has a very steep roof. May need to sweep from below, which is a consideration with
    a freestanding stove. Come to think of it, maybe with an insert too? I've never heated with an insert - can it be easily swept from below?
    Those were my concerns. And he just will lose so much of his space with a new hearth in front of the chimney and a freestander there.
  4. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Most inserts are very easy to clean from below with poly rods or a viper. I do most with a viper and then just check the cap. The easiest are stoves with a bypass, some have an easily removable baffle like pacific energy for example. In this situation, ease of cleaning is big concern. Nobody's gonna be getting up on that thing!
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There are no side controls on a lot of steel stoves. I was thinking of something like a Buck 74 which can be installed without legs. It would fit in their easily. Given there is back access, this seems pretty simple, even with a blower in the back. A True North TN19 would slide in there pretty easily, even with the legs on. It tops off at 28".
  6. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Sure a lot of stoves will fit back in there, but why? There are so many nice inserts out there!
  7. coldkiwi

    coldkiwi Member

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    This sounds great, I would extend the existing hearth by drilling the edges ,placing re-bar and pouring a 12 inch extender to the hearth,. The floating hearth would look very cool. Leave the rear doors on,add a block off plate,fans and you should be good to go
  8. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    There is no real reason to extend a hearth. It would only need some ember protection on the floor below the insert. A lot of higher end units sit nearly flush if not flush. All the weight is on the firebox floor.
  9. coldkiwi

    coldkiwi Member

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    Your'e right BUT it would look cool! No need for a fire here outside thermo is reading 114.9!!!!!!
    webby3650 likes this.
  10. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    It would look very cool!
    114? Holy crap! It's sunny and 70 here.
  11. coldkiwi

    coldkiwi Member

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    I WISH it was 70 and sunny here!
  12. Holzstapel

    Holzstapel Member

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    Correct! That is the best way to insulate our roof. There is nothing wrong with the roof and it looks like it will last awhile so I can't imagine what it would cost to replace this roof and add insulation to it.
  13. Holzstapel

    Holzstapel Member

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    The existing dimensions of the fireplace are 30"W x 28-1/4"H. The base of the fireplace is 28" above the floor. The idea of placing a freestanding stove inside the fireplace was discouraged by all of the dealers since we wouldn't get the full benefit of the radiant heat. I'm not sure what a block off plate is?
  14. Holzstapel

    Holzstapel Member

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    Thank you all for the replies! The ideas are rolling around our heads. The wife was not sold on an insert, but perhaps with a little persuasion... Last night I constructed a hearth and a Jotul F55 out of Cardboard. Check it out >HERE<. Today we are going to flip the house. The couch will go on the side with the boardstove and the dining room table will go on the other side of the tower (the fireplace).

    What are the electrical concerns for an insert?

    If we were to go the insert route, then the doors on the other side of the fireplace would remain. Would any heat be radiated off the back of the insert if we were to open the doors?
  15. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Because he wants to HEAT with it. :p

    Opening was given at 55" wide x 29" high x 32" deep. I'd be shopping free standers with short leg kits to set in that fireplace (not in front of), and use the existing flue. It's easily removed, if a future owner wants an open fireplace.
  16. Holzstapel

    Holzstapel Member

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    The distance from the side of the chimney to the wall is 35". A full length hearth there would, for lack of a better term, throw of the Feng Shui (sp?). Not that having a massive cement block tower in the middle of the living doesn't do this as well ;) . In one of the photos, there is a rolling bar next to the fireplace. That would be moved if there was a stove and hearth installed and some wood could be stacked there. I usually have a wood crate below the hearth you see now with a bunch of wood in it.

    Ahh the camping gear has it's own closets in the basement, we were in a little transition when I took these photos, but having the tent folded up and at the ready is nice!


    I think I answered all of your questions?
  17. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    An insert will heat just as well as a stove shoved into a fireplace. If not better! Not to mention look better in this instance. The new inserts are designed very well and really pump the heat.
    Now, if the fireplace was like yours, a stove is a better option. But not everybody has a fireplace the size of a bathroom.:)
    Joful likes this.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  19. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I don't think his opening is nearly that large. He gives them as 28 1/4 high by 30 inch wide. The 55 inch referred to the small hearth extension, I believe. My instinct is that a stove would be pretty jammed in and look a bit funny. If he has room on the floor for a freestander, fine. Otherwise, I'd go with the best insert available that will fit in his space.
  20. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I withdraw my comment. Was going on described 55" opening. Sorry, folks!
  21. Holzstapel

    Holzstapel Member

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    If the power goes out, so does the heat...

    This is a concern. When the power goes out we already lose our oil heat. When Sandy hit us we were without power for 14 days and were huddled around the fireplace trying to keep warm. A friend of ours got power back just as the temps really dropped and he lent us his Honda generator for the boiler, which worked flawlessly.

    If we had a wood stove we would have been warm the entire time. We enjoyed the power outage for the most part, save for the cold. We broke out our campstove and set up a camp kitchen outside.

    From my understanding, the inserts do not provide a lot of radiant heat and provide most of their heat via the fans. Is this correct?
  22. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Actually, you'll still get a lot of radiant heat thru the glass. Even with a freestanding wood stove, the most searing radiant heat is always off the glass, not the stove body. The trouble with an insert, is that it's stuffed back into the fireplace with a surround blocking natural convection. Some just settle for pulling off their surround during a power outage. Not pretty, but it gets the job done. When the power goes back on, so does the surround.

    Remember, radiant heat transfer is line of sight only, and proportional to the normal surface area. You, and objects in your room, only absorb radiant heat if one of the surfaces of the stove is "pointed" at you. So, for a stove jammed back in a fireplace, most of the radiant heat off the sides and back are going into your stone work. This kills the instantaneous heat felt off the stove, but does give you a nice heat storage device, similar to a masonry heater. I still feel heat radiating off my stone fireplaces a day or more after the stove has gone out.

    I have the advantage that my fireplace openings are 5 feet wide x 5 feet high, but others have done the same with much smaller openings.
  23. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Keeping the insert stoked during a power outage will definitely keep you a lot warmer then the fireplace ever could. I guess it would depend on where the stove is located in the house and how cold it is outside. Fans are not entirely necessary to get the heat out. There are also times when I open up the door, that lets out quite a bit of heat as well. Also a flush stove will put out less heat then a protruding one and I'm sure a freestanding wood stove gives greater heat. But that doesn't mean to not have an insert. It all depends on your greatest needs, not just when the power goes out. If the power went out now as opposed to when sandy hit, I'd be so much better off. And my top priorities are met with what I have, so I love it...
  24. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    One thing I did not grasp when I made the transition from open fireplaces to woodstoves, although it should have been obvious to me, is the effect it has on getting heat to other rooms in the house. As anyone with a fireplace can tell you, they really are great at heating the room in which they are located. Phenomenal radiant heat. Unfortunately, since you're moving so much air up the chimney, which must be pulled in through leaky windows and doors in other rooms of the house, you're actually COOLING those other rooms. A woodstove drastically cuts down on the amount of air pulled thru the house and up the chimney, and so the heat your generating actually has a chance to move through the rest of the house, driven by convective currents and people moving about the house. People switching from a fireplace to a woodstove always seem to be amazed at how well the stove actually does heat far-reaching rooms.
  25. Holzstapel

    Holzstapel Member

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    How well would a stove in my situation reach the other side of the fireplace? I know most of the heat is going straight up, but what about around back of the fireplace? The kitchen is about 10' from the stove, but it is behind it. If the stove was the center of the clock, the kitchen is at 8 and is somewhat blocked by the fireplace.

    Also, the amount of wood i would feed into the see-thru fireplace when burning was crazy. I had to have a roaring fire just to keep it going. On average I would burn through 4-5 bundles of wood a night. A bundle being a well overstuffed typical size log carrier.

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