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Insert Advice

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by DenD, Jun 8, 2006.

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  1. PAJerry

    PAJerry Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Messages:
    222
    Loc:
    Waterford, PA
    I think Rhonemas is right about the insert being the better way to heat the whole house. Our Vista is the smallest PE makes and this past spring, with 30 degree temps, it brought all 1050 sq. ft. of our first floor to a toasty 73 degrees with no problem. We actually had to limit the amount of wood we put in the firebox to keep the heat down. I did not notice the masonry getting very hot at all, but it is located in the center of the house.

    The kaowool blanket was something I considered when we had the install done, but I was afraid it might overheat. If we notice any problem keeping the house warm next winter, I might try it since I can get it from work for free. I don't think overheating will be a problem as long as the blower is running.

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  2. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    237
    Loc:
    Framingham, MA
    FWIW our Lopi Answer is centrally located in a central chimney of our 1100 sf. ranch. When it is going full blast, the house is easily kept around 70 degrees, even on the coldest days. This winter we burned almost 24/7 after getting the stove in February, and the boiler didn't come on much except for hot water. We went through the season with about 1.5 cords of wood. Before the insert, the avarage fuel oil consuption of our house was 100 gal/mo, with the insert and a new fuel efficient boiler the average was abot 40 gal/mo so far, and that is only counting the winter months (Nov - April). I expect as the summer goes on that average figure will drop even further. I am happy with the insert, I think it almost paid for itself this season.
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,289
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Almost no difference!

    This stuff was tested 20 years ago by Jay Shelton, a wood heat researcher. Radiant energy from stoves strikes objects and air and turns into convection heat....simple as that.

    Yes, you could make an exception for a radiant stove with a single wall back that is close to an exterior wall, but most all stoves today have heat shields on rear.

    Yes, there are variables in every installation, and that is why I said that an insert with an interior chimney may be just as good - but most inserts are placed into exterior chimneys.

    Let me state it this way - all things being equal, the freestanding works out better. Your mileage may vary....

    Getting even more technical, consider these proven situations:

    1. A blower lowers the combustion efficiency by cooling the outer walls of the insert
    2. Look at a stove with a double wall top and you will see that it STILL requires quite a large clearance to combustibles (16" - 36" depending on model) - Now consider that, in a fireplace, all that heat is getting past the convection and blower chamber.
    3. Related to #2, certain wavelengths of radiant energy pass right through a 1 or 2 inch convection chamber - and, again, end up heating nothing but the great outdoors.

    I think we have covered most aspects. People buy inserts because they want a "fit" and a flush look. I've had some customers who wanted top efficiency, so we installed the insert without panels and piped it right up through a tight pan. Then they get the added advantage of a second convection chamber....which we created since there is a lot of space between the insert and the masonry walls. Even in this case, I would guess it's 5-10% less efficient than the same stove freestanding (assumes exterior fireplace as before)....
  4. DenD

    DenD New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    36
    Loc:
    CT
    Thanks to everyone for all of the great information! This thread has certainly provided a newcomer with a lot of information and options to ponder.

    I believe I have narrowed my choices to either the Osburn 2200i or the Regency I2400. Does anyone have any final thoughts on which would be better? Or does it really come down to personal preference and comfort with the dealer? As these two models are carried by different dealers, should there be much of a price difference between them?

    Both dealers mentioned they would install with a full SS liner and cap. Are there specific questions that I should ask regarding installation techniques, materials, permitting, etc. Also, the insert will be installed in a fireplace with an exterior chimney. Are there specific questions I should be asking the dealer about insulating the chimney? Being new to wood burning, I want to make sure I go into the process informed and get a quality insert and install that will meet my needs and save some money.

    Thanks for the guidance.

    Dennis
  5. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Ok this arguement has persisted the 5 year I have been participating on the forum. Craig's point about the effectiveness of 3 walls masonry chimneys is a valid point, wether convection chamber exist or not. Heat is drawn out of the house threw the masonry. Don't believe me what is the R value of a 4" brick. That said, are inserts a heat gain over that same chimney a resounding yes? Unfortunately most homes have Fire places built on exterior walls.
    My home 16" of granite rock and masonry behind my radiant stove it absorbs radiant heat from that stove and emits heat hours after the stove has gone out. I have the critical vollume of mass that stores heat, the last thing I would want is to have convection stove not radiate heat to my storage mass. What I saying is situations, location, and conviences lend itself for one stove to work in the scheme better than another. We are all winners using a renewable energy source
  6. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,248
    Loc:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    I think Elk may have just said "pick the one you like and go for it" And that would be my advise. Those are both stoves you'll be happy with and both will heat your home very well.
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    9,226
    Loc:
    Lake Wissota
    What kind of free standing stove did you have before your insert? Was it pre EPA? Was it vented in the same room and chimney?

    My opinion, fans and blowers on freestanding stoves, move just as much air as an insert, and you have more radiant heat to boot.

    Isn't your insert soapstone? I think the differences you are seeing on room temps are due to the soapstone. Less searing, more even heat.

    Elk, I agree, "we are all winners using a renewable energy source" but it sure is fun arguing and learning.
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