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Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Marty, Jul 11, 2006.

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  1. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    This forum is great. Thanks to the folks who put it together and contribute, browsing your archives has been a real education.

    I have been looking into various possibilitys for transform my existing two sided 1940's (turned two sided by an addition in the 50's) fireplace into an efficient wood burner. The house is aprox 2400 sf with a smaller upstairs than down. I am in Pittsburgh PA so winters are moderatly harsh. The house is currently heated by a 7 year old Lennox forced air system. The insulation is below average.

    I am thinking a wood stove partly recessed into the existing fireplace will have the best appearance, be able to take advantage of the existing hearth and chimney structure (with a liner added of course) and be best able to flow heat through the fireplace opening.

    On one side of the fireplace is the dining room, the room 'most central' to the house, all other rooms but one on the first floor can be entered directly from it and the stair well to the second floor is located there as well. The doors to all the rooms on the second floor are within 40" of the top of the stairs-8' ceilings throughout. The fire place on this side is 32" high and 28" wide which has been reduced to 26" wide by the facing of the brick with decorative stone. This room is a little crowded with a dining room table and is one of the least used rooms in the house... ...It would be hard to convince me to put the stove on this side of the fireplace although I realise it is the natural location for one in many ways... she has a problem with the idea. Due to the narrow opening and the size stove needed to heat the house, a substantial addition would have to be made to the hearth and the stove would not be able to be recessed very much if at all

    On the other side of the fire place is the largest room in the house (15' x 35' ) with doors on either end (one back into the dining room and of course the fireplace passthrough back to the dining room as well. The opening on this side is 'deeper' and it is 28" high x 32" wide with a raised stone hearth or sunken floor (about 4") as the case may be... ...So due to the larger size hearth on this side and the heavy use this room gets by the whole family, it is currently the #1 candidate for the new stove's landing pad. This location would require replacing about a foot of wood floor in front of the hearth with suitable material.

    The stoves I am looking at for this site are the Quadra-fire Isle Royale (with hearth legs) and The Hearthstone Phoenix. (the Mansfield is too big to cram into the fireplace but might work if I could convince the misses to convert the diningroom to the stove room). Is the Phoenix too small to heat our house properly?

    Any and all sugestions questions or advive are highly welcome.

    And thanks again for all you have done here,

    Marty

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  2. the_guad

    the_guad New Member

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    Wow... that's a long post. Due to my ADD I'm going to have to ask you to break those out into discrete questions. :)

    One thing I will say is that the bigger your firebox the more wood you can cram into it and the less you'll have to tend it. Beyond raw size you'll need to consider the material that the stove is made of (Stone, Iron, Steel). Everyone has an opinion and you should do some thread searches on cast iron vs. soapstone.

    Lastly, make sure that the stove heats the most used space in the home. It sounds like you're leaning towards that direction and I think it's a wise one. Woodstoves are space heaters first and until they pump out some serious heat, if they're even able to heat the rest of the house, the rest of the house will be cold. SO, if you put it in the basement and you don't spend any time there, it's basically a waste of effort for the first few hours. :)
  3. martel

    martel Member

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    marty-
    first welcome to the forum. I wanted to let you know that I am in Western PA and I had a woodstove installed this March. After visiting several places I found Ferguson's Free Energy in Mars, PA. Gary (owner, sales and installation) is GREAT. Wonderful service and price and follow up. I also felt good supporting a mom and pop shop. Although a bit outside of da burgh an nat he certainly does business in and around the city. He handles primarily Quadrafire and Regency.

    I most of all appreciated his, "no question is a dumb question" philosophy and the beautiful custom panelling to my hearth. Drop me a PM for more info.

    krm
  4. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the insight.

    Do you think the forced air fan on the existing furnace would be an effective way to distribute the heat once it starts putting it out?

    The wife works at home so we are hoping to have fire burning a large percentage of the time.
  5. martel

    martel Member

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    I will wait for elk and others to chime in about this... I believe there are some safety considerations.
  6. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

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    The Phoenix seems to be rated to do the job for the house.... depends on the floor plan as to how the heat would be circulated around the house, if it is a failry open floorplan, I would guess it probably would take care of most of your heating needs. The top of the flue exit if rear-vented is 27 1/2", so if your fireplace opening is 28" high - it may be a tight fit, but I think it should go (I'll defer to the real pro's here).

    I'm not sure if you meant you had to extend the hearth or replace some of the flooring in front of the hearth with non combustable material. If you are extending the hearth - would you be covering the existing portion with something as well? That will make that 1/2" even less.
  7. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    In either case I would hope to replace floor material with flush non combustable.
    Maybe this floor plan will help:
    The center section is the size of the second floor (in yellow). The firplace passthrough is approx. where the # 24 appear on the left side of that section.

    Note image and text edited for clarity... twice...

    Attached Files:

  8. Harley

    Harley Minister of Fire

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    I'll again have to defer the sizing of the stove issue to the real pros on here, but my guess is, if the rooms in your layout all have standard door openings, then it may be tough to expect a stove of any size to be able to circulate enough heat throughout the whole house. That room by itself is 672 square feet, and if its somewhat closed off.... then maybe the Phoenix is too big???

    If the second floor is above that room.... maybe (2nd)floor registers to let the heat get upstairs???
  9. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    I found his number and will certainly give him a call. I would rather have the person I end up having do my yearly sweeping do the install in the end... around here there is a big price swing from installer to installer... more than 50% on the first two estimates I got from dealers of different stoves... and thanks for the welcome.
  10. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    Marty, is that G.I. Gurdjieff in your avatar?
  11. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    Yep.

    Good to find another fan?
  12. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    Welcome Marty.

    Saw you considering the Hearthstone stoves. We purchased a Mansfield in 02 and really like it. Looked hard at the Phoenix also. Mrs. Vintage also works out of the house and she would not go back to a iron stove. If you have any questions about the stove ask. Other members are far more qualified on the installs.
  13. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Welcome aboard I need a better description of the location with dementions of your existing fireplace with flue setups to make an informed oppinion
  14. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    If the stove is going to be burning pretty much 24/7 then I say go with the soapstone stove. Better even heat, and won't blast you out of the room like the Isle Royal will. I'm heating close to 2000sq ft from my basement and use floor vents and a couple small doorway fans to help circulate the heat. Have you looked into Woodstock Soapstone? Great stove company, they can answer alot of your questions.
  15. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    This will be my first stove, so I have no basis for comparison. I have read as much as I can get my eyes on though and I like the idea of soapstone's evenness and prolonged radiance. But I also like the larger firebox of the cast iron model (these are for the stoves that fit my space... 2.2ish c.f. soapstone vs. 3.0ish c.f. for the cast). If I had the space for a Mansfield I think I would go that way (soapstone) but I am leaning toward Isle Royale which I believe will give me more heat to try and move around the house.

    I will post exact dimensions of the fireplace, chimney... and some photos as soon as I can gather them.
  16. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Marty you have a center fireplace? the ideal medium to soak up all that radiant stove heat you will not need soapstone
  17. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    I have updated the floor plan in the attachment and above to show the masonary and hearth in red, the stove proposed location in black, and a rough layout of the rooms.

    The first floor is approx 1850 sf. the second floor (yellow outline) is approx. 575 sf. Yellow lines also indicate brick wall on the first floor.

    I am drawn to the Isle Royale because 1. it's hearth legs make it one of the largest stoves able to partly recess into my existing fireplace, and 2. because it's good warranty and relative simplicity make it partly imune to my 'rookie burner' status.

    I will post back the fireplace dimensions when I gather them. There is a functional majestic damper on the diningroom side and a broken one on the livingroom side which will be removed. Then a horizontal stove pipe to a cleanout and up to the liner should be 'straight forward', I would guess. I would also need to do 15" or less of non-combustable flooring in front of the hearth depending on the stoves final position. The chimney is approx 20' from the damper to the top course of brick.

    Attached Files:

  18. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    The hearthstone heritage doesnt need the same capacity to put out the same output of the isle royal. You get more constant btu's over a longer period of time vs alot of btu's at once. I sell both stoves and both are fantastic. Its realy hard to beat the properties that soapstone offers, in function and looks. Either stove you pick you will be thrilled with. The price of the isle royal is close to the hearthstone, having that said i think the hearthstone wins. If there was a huge difference in price it would maybe lean me one direction or the other, but since thats not the case, the hearthstone will serve your application well. Both stoves will impress you installed.
  19. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    Do you have any experience burning with the Phoenix to compare with the Heritage? Or is there a quantifiable difference in the mass of soapstone used in each stove?
    I would love to build a masonary heater or two but I don't have enough money to sink into a project that involved.
    I like the Phoenix because 1. it has no side door clearance to worry about in my partly recessed schematic. And 2. because I am not 100% sure about the way I will use the stove in the future, it's cast front seems to make it a better quick space heater if that should become a common application.
  20. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    The sideload is a feature i rarely use. The phoniex is still a heavy stove with alot of soapstone, we had a burning display in the showroom and it worked well, honestly i cant realy tell that much of a difference. I lot of heat pumps out of the front of the glass untill the stove warms up in both stoves. The only bonus on the heritage is the cookplate that takes the place of the top exit, and i like the full soapstone firebox of the heritage, the phoneix has a firebrick lined firebox. Not that there is any thing wrong with a firebrick lined box, but why mess with it if you have the choice of a full soapstone box. You can lock the collar in the heratige and not be required to use the side door clearances, at least in my county. Check with you local building department.
  21. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    The only real problem the Heritage presents me then is that it's height (29") and or width (29 1/2") cause me to move it completely outside of the existing fireplace and make more room altering additions to the hearth pad on either side of the fireplace. I will definatly look over the Phoenix... in person before commiting to either.
  22. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    Ahhh..yes if it wont fit then it wont fit. The hearth legs on the quad reduce it to 27" A few things to consider on the isle royal, 1) access to the damper bypass lever, 2) top load access, the double front doors can be a PITA to load and close. If you have to use the front load, single doors are typicaly easier to deal with. It bothers some and not others, just something to think about.
  23. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    As promised; here are a picture and the fireplace dimensions.

    Thanks again for all the great help so far.

    Attached Files:

  24. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    I saw one this morning, nice stove, and the dealer offered me use of his stove dolly at no charge and a $150.00 discount! ...(+10% off flue liner and stove pipe)

    I now have swung over to the Phoenix camp based on this visit and Mountain Stove Guy's comments about the better heating characteristics of the soapstone.

    I wonder how well it will provide heat for the whole house though being a bit smaller.

    Anyone disagree with this direction?
  25. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    For reference, my house is new construction at a elevation of 9000'. I burn pine, and it heats my 1200 sq ft main level, and my 600 sft upstairs. Of course the second floor gets heat for free. My stove is more then powerfull enough to do what i want it to do. The reason i think this stove is for you is that #1 you cant realy fit anything larger, and #2 the stove will put out 40-50k btus every hour, not jump all around, in your case when your trying to heat a large area with limited hearth space i personaly think this is the proper choice, and i still think its plenty of stove. It will impress you.
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