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insert or freestanding stove?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by ekeelan, Sep 23, 2006.

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  1. ekeelan

    ekeelan New Member

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    I'm a new homeowner and I could use some advice! We just moved into a quirky old Victorian. The fireplace, currently unlined and unusable, faces into a small parlor-type room that opens up to the stairs to the second floor. We have to choose whether to put a woodburning insert into the current mantle (and risk being blasted by heat in this 9 x 15 foot room) or put a freestanding woodstove out the back of the fireplace so that it would face into our much larger, more-often-used living area and open-plan kitchen. These two areas are separated by open arches, so there would be some airflow between them. We only have one flue to work with, because the furnace uses the other flue in the same chimney, so we can't do both. I hate the idea of having a pretty fireplace with nothing in it! But we also want to do what makes most sense in terms of heating the whole house. We're in Vermont and don't want to keep burning so much oil. Also wondering, if we go with freestanding, whether to get a Jotul (cheaper) or Hearthstone or Woodstock (love the idea of soapstone). Any thoughts welcome!

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  2. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Sounds like you have answered most of your own questions. for YOUR HOME i would go with your gut feeling and remember that a stove is part of your home ( and you life ) Your going to live with your stove , placement & hearth for many years so make your decisions with you heart and you wont regret it later. Dont let s few $$ make your mind up. We can help with the details. :cheese:
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The freestanding stove sounds like the way to go. There are some very nice looking stoves out there. Jotul, Hearthstone and Woodstock are all good ones. Also look at Quadrafire, Harman Oakwood, Hampton, and Vermont Castings. You'll have to decide which one is sized right for your needs, budget and clearances.

    If you go this route, be sure cold air isn't entering via the old fireplace and put something pretty like a nice plant or dried flower arrangement in it.
  4. ourhouse

    ourhouse Minister of Fire

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    I agree with roospike. Get what you realy want. You have to look at it all year round.
  5. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I find it odd that fellow Vermonter's did not Mention Vermont casting in the considerations.
    VC employs about 360 Vermonters In Bethel opperations
  6. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Once again Morso is twisting in the wind
  7. adrpga498

    adrpga498 Minister of Fire

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    I would go free standing on the other side and forget about the smaller room. I'm partial to jotul, but thats just me.
  8. joshuaviktor

    joshuaviktor New Member

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    we have candle racks in our unusable fireplaces. They look really nice, they provide the visual stimulus of flame, and they require no pipe, liner, chimney, clay tile, hearth, k-value, r-value, or anything.

    On the other hand, they are fire. For heaven's sake, be careful.
  9. ekeelan

    ekeelan New Member

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    Thanks for the great responses! We're leaning toward the freestanding stove, thinking we'll just spend more time with it if it's in the main living area. And I really like the idea of putting candle racks in the unused fireplace. Any specific recommendations for a stove in terms of size? The open area is about 25 x 25. The whole house is about 2200 sq ft., and with fans we might be able to encourage some air to move up the stairs, though I suspect this won't be super-efficient as there would be some twists and turns. And anyone want to convince me to spend the extra money for soapstone?
  10. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Soapstone is worth every penny as far as i'm concerned. No serious blast of heat, very even long lasting heat. The stove will end up paying for itself in the long run over your other heating options, so I would go with the stove you like the best and not worry about paying a little more unless money is really tight.
  11. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    Elk, I didn't see any "fellow Vermonter's" in this thread yet. Mass, Wash, NJ, etc. No Vermonters.

    The Vermont Castings stoves do look nice in a Victorian style home.

    Sean

  12. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Reread the first thread Sean, they live in Vermont.
  13. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I got that. What I didn't get was elk's referrence to "fellow Vermonters", that is - "fellow" to the original poster. So, far, no fellow Vermonters have spoke up in this thread.
  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Elk was referring to the people at the Bethel VC plant being the "fellow Vermonters".
  15. ekeelan

    ekeelan New Member

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    We didn't include Vermont Castings in the short list on our original post because we haven't heard as many positive comments (from installers, online reviews, local dealers) about them as about Hearthstone, Woodstock, and Jotul, though I'm open to persuasion! The negatives seem to do mostly with the cat combuster (though I know Woodstock has them and I did include them -- folks just seem to love their woodstock stoves). Are the cats really that much of a problem?
  16. seaken

    seaken Minister of Fire

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    I don't think that catalytics are a problem. But not everyone agrees. Some folks would go so far as to say catalytics are not as good as non-catalytics. I do not agree with such dogmatic statements but we face this every day in our business. People usually come up the road after talking to some other dealers and tell us that they were told by the the other guys that catalytics are trouble and that Vermont Catsings is not a good brand. Funny thing, we've got literally thousands of catalytic Vermont Castings stoves working in local homes with lots of satisfied customers. So, we have to say that such statements (as reported to us by our customers who are shopping the area dealers) are less than honest and designed to influence the unsuspecting customer to buy their brand instead of ours (and we sell other brands that use catalytics, not just VC). The smartest customers see what is going on and realize it is just a tactic and don't listen to such nonsense.

    Are there negative aspects to catalytics? Yes. Will they be a big deal for you? Maybe, maybe not. Possible negatives for you could be more maintenance and cleaning, higher parts replacement cost, and a more difficult learning curve. These are not issues for everyone. For others, VC and other brands also offer non-catalytic cast iron stoves, some of which you mentioned. I think you sould at least look at the new VC Everburn systems since they use an arguably better non-cat combustion system than many other designs. But that is a biased opinion. All I can say is that the VC Defiant NC has been tested as the cleanest burning non-cat stove ever tested. The Catalytic Defiant also has the highest tested overall efficiency rating. None of this makes VC the best brand. There is no "best" brand (And I know manufacturers hate it when I say stuff like that). But you should consider them along with the other stove brands you mentioned.
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