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Is the Morso 5660 Right For Me?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Saul Good, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Saul Good

    Saul Good New Member

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    Hi everyone. This is my first post here. I've been researching inserts for a little while for my home and would like your opinions. My house was built in 1926 and the fireplace looks period for that era. My wife and I recently saw the Morso 5660 in person and in action and both really liked it (both the looks and the heat it was throwing - even without a fan). My question is whether or not you think it would both look good and function well in our house. The main floor (where the fireplace is located) is about 850 sq ft. The upper floor is another 650 sq ft. The room where the fireplace is measures ~ 17' x 13' and there are 8' ceilings throughout the main floor. I don't expect to heat our whole house with this unit, rather supplement the gas forced air while adding some nice ambience. I live in the Seattle area, so our temperatures hover in the 30's and 40's in the winter time. Any Morso owners out there who could comment on its effectiveness?

    On to a couple of pictures. The first is an "as is" and the second one is a rough photoshop doctoring of what it would look like set in our fireplace (pay no attention to the bar above the surround - it was holding an existing screen in place and has since been removed). Thanks for any and all comments/suggestions!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  3. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Looks are subjective so I'll pass on that but...

    I would not blow off the idea that you can heat the whole house. I also started with the idea that I simply wanted to be able to have a fire without sucking all the heat out of the house. I can tell you once you have the heater it's nice to get the maximum amount of heat you can from the wood you burn.

    I could not do it but if your layout will accomodate it how about a free standing stove? Cheaper, move design options, more heat and you won't cover up what looks like a very nice fireplace with the surround.
  4. Saul Good

    Saul Good New Member

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    Hey, thanks for the input and other stoves to look at. My biggest concern is just as you mentioned, jatoxico, covering up a portion of the fireplace with the surround. A free standing stove wouldn't really work in our house - it's a pretty small room as it is and I don't want it to encroach into the somewhat limited floor space. Any recommendations for a custom surround? It would be nice if it could fit the contours of the existing tile work (rounded at the top corners) and was recessed slightly.

    Is there any truth to the claim of increased functionality and efficiency due to the vermiculite in the Morso as opposed to bricks in other models?
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Vermiculite is a good insulator, though not as tough when logs are slamming against it. It will burn efficiently, but will it heat? In a small home, yes, so I can see why this could be a good fit for your home based on your goals for the insert. The Morso will provide some very nice fire view and a great lightshow from the secondary burn.
  6. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    I had the same situation sort of. Fairly large room but a bit narrow where the hearth is so not extending onto the hearth and no way for a free stander.What are the dimensions of the firebox? If you can post that it will help, some of the guys here know this stuff cold. Width,height, depth and width at back if it is not square.
  7. Saul Good

    Saul Good New Member

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    Hmmm... so are you saying there's a possible chance of breakage of the vermiculite? I have to admit, the secondary burn light show was really cool when we saw it in action.

    My firebox is 34" wide at the front, 24" wide at the back and roughly 23" front to back. The height is 30".
  8. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    Well the Jotul 550 will fit which is what I have. It's not a contemporary look like the Morso though. It's keeping my oil burner off right now at 16 deg F.

    Check out enviro stoves as well. The 1700 series could be an option.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It's tough, but not as tough as firebrick. Most EPA stoves will provide a good secondary burn. Call Aqua Quip Seattle (206) 624-4394 to see if they have a CI1250 Alterra on display. That will give you a visual comparison.
  10. Gazing in Wonder

    Gazing in Wonder Member

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    Hello Saul, I am a Morso 5660 owner near Olympia, and most of the time, I absolutely love it. Depending on how open your floor plan is, this insert will heat 850 sq. feet no problem. I got the standard (no blower), and it heats up the area it's in pretty quickly. It's in a large living room/dining room, with a kitchen, partially separated only by a counter. There's also a wide hallway leading to the entranceway and the small hallway back to the bedrooms. The large open area is about 20' x 40'. It's a 1960 house, remodeled to remove a bunch of walls, but poorly insulated (it's on the list...). The room has a slider and lots of large windows. When we put up thick curtains, it made a real difference in how fast and easy it was to heat. Anyhow, generally, I burn from afternoon through about midnight, and the gas heat does not come on when I'm burning, unless I've just started, the curtains are open, and it's very cold outside. The back bedrooms stay cool.

    Last year during the ice storm we had 4 days or so without power, so I burned 24/7, and found that it actually heated the bedrooms, too. We were quite cozy. I think the hearth heats up when the fire stays burning for that long, and so the whole house gets warm (except the downstairs of course).

    Other things to know about it: The bricks are fragile, and getting new ones is expensive and takes a long time. The damper is hard to adjust.

    We didn't like the look of the surround, so we installed it without. I like it the way it is now, but my wife wants some kind of surround, so I'm planning on something custom to go between the stove and the bricks, not over the bricks, but to them. It's hard to explain, but I made one out of cardboard as a test, I just need to find a shop to make it for me. I'll post a couple pictures for you.

    Attached Files:

    Billybonfire likes this.
  11. Saul Good

    Saul Good New Member

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    Thanks jatoxico, I'm going to try and see a jotul in person. They look nice.

    I'm going to try and head to Aquaquip this week to see what they've got.

    Thanks for the firsthand input GIW! Your setup looks nice! I really like the clean lines of the non-blower model. How do you have it elevated in your fireplace? Your idea about having a custom surround makes me think it might work in my application as well. I could recess it into my fireplace so that it's in line with the 1" tiles that line the inside perimeter of the fireplace and then have a custom surround built around it. Are you thinking a custom metal surround, or something like tile or stucco?
  12. Gazing in Wonder

    Gazing in Wonder Member

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    Thanks. It's elevated by 4 patio bricks I had lying around. Also, the insert has 4 built in levelers that you can use to get it just right. I think a custom surround would like nicer with your fireplace, too. The factory surround looks okay if you're building the hearth with it in mind, but for existing fireplaces, it seems too big to me. I was thinking of using metal, and trying to match the color of the insert. I will probably aim for something that allows air to pass through, something subtly decorative, and that I can reach a finger into, so it doesn't need handles, and I can take it out easily if I need to.
  13. Saul Good

    Saul Good New Member

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    Just wanted to give you all an update. We decided to go with the 5660 standard (no blower) and had it recessed a couple of inches so as not to conflict with the tile. I'm really happy with how it turned out and more importantly, how well it's heating the house! We don't have really cold nights, but it sure is nice to be able to fire this up when I get home from work and have it keep us nice and toasty. Here's a couple of pics. Thanks again for your input!

    Full shot...
    [​IMG]

    Lois approves...
    [​IMG]
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That is a perfect install. It looks great there. So glad to hear that you and Lois approve. Thanks for the update.
  15. Saul Good

    Saul Good New Member

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    Hey thanks! I really am happy with how it turned out. It's so nice for us to be able to finally enjoy our fireplace. Now I'm really looking forward to next winter :)
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Were the surround top edges radiused to make the rounded corners?
  17. Saul Good

    Saul Good New Member

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    No, and I thought it would definitely have to be. Upon further inspection, the rounded portion of the tile work was only "tile deep". There's no rounded structure where it overhangs from the main fireplace framing, so a square at the top worked perfectly and just slid in right behind the rounded corners. I'll try and snap a shot of it after work and post it.
  18. flyingpig

    flyingpig Member

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    Looks nice. Enjoy the fire.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Nice that it worked out so well.The final finish is great. That cat picture should go in the gallery.
  20. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    Great install. Glad it worked out so well. That really looks great.
  21. coldkiwi

    coldkiwi Member

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    Great install, looks like a free standing stove, I away's thought the surrounds on most inserts cover too much of the fireplace
  22. Gazing in Wonder

    Gazing in Wonder Member

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    Thanks for the update Saul. The install looks wonderful. I still haven't gotten my surround done. How are you getting along with the damper adjuster? I got angry at mine and pushed so hard it twisted the stove a bit. I'm still really, really happy with the stove otherwise. It's constantly beautiful. I hope it's going well for you.
  23. Saul Good

    Saul Good New Member

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    Thanks! So far, we are LOVING the Morso! Having gotten it at the end of winter last year, I looked forward to cold weather all summer long :)

    It has exceeded our expectations in terms of heating and I really don't have any complaints about it. During our recent cold snap, it kept the house at a cozy 71 degrees. I haven't had any problems with the damper adjuster. The only mod I did was to remove the little pin on the handle so it goes in all the way. Not sure why that was there in the first place.

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