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Jotul vs Avalon inserts

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Heatmiser, Jan 12, 2006.

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  1. Heatmiser

    Heatmiser Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Southeastern NH
    I ordered an Enviro Kodiak 1700 insert back in October but just found out that it won't be made until MAY! The distributor kept stringing us along. Ugh. So I'm looking at other options. The house is 1600 sq ft with 8 ft ceilings. Open plan on the first floor with the chimmey in the center of the house. I'm trying to decide between a Jotul Kennebec and either an Avalon Olympic or Rainier. I like the Olympic since it has a 3.0 cu ft firebox (I figure I just don't have to fill it the entire way if we start to get blown away). I'll have to remove a some brick to make it fit in the hearth. My installer has installed hundreds of each and says that the Jotul and Rainier are very comparable but I'd like to hear more opinions. I've read the reviews in that section of the site. I love the way the Jotul looks but concerned that it won't heat as well as either of the Avalons.

    I've noticed that a few people here have the Jotul and seem to be happy with it but I'm concerned about the small firebox and low BTU rating. I've never noticed a discussion of Avalons on this site and I've been hanging out daily for several months now. Why is that? Any Avalon users out there??? I looking forward to a good view of the fire as well which makes me lean towards one of the Avalons.

    Unfortunately, the stove shops that I have visited haven't had the any of these inserts fired up and I've only been able to see the Jotul in person. I've seen the stove versions of the Avalons. Any feed back would be greatly appreciated since I'll probably have to make a decision tomorrow at some point.

    Thanks in advance.

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  2. Heatmiser

    Heatmiser Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Southeastern NH
    Thanks for responding. I was thinking the same thing about going larger but concerned about too much. The house is about 25 yrs old and has decent insulation. However most of the windows need to be replaced.

    The Jotul is rated for up to 1600 sf/55,000 btus but they don't seem to list the cubic ft in the brochure. Install says that it is very close the the Rainier. 20" logs, 71%

    Rainier - 800 to 1800 sf, 71800btus, 1.8 cubic ft, 9hr burn, 71%, 20" logs

    Olympic - 1500 to 2500 sf, 74300 btus, 3.1 cubic ft, 12hr burn, 70%, 24" logs

    So the btus are very similiar for the Avalons but my understanding is that the Olympic will deliver the high amount over a much longer time than the Ranier.
  3. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,248
    Loc:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    I'm with Frank. I have an Osburn 1800, and it's got a 1.8 cu fire box. Heats the house nicely, but I'd say it's a touch undersized. I'm heathing a 20 year old house with about 2100 sqft. Look at the Lopi Revere or Osburn 2200. 2.2 cuft box on both.
  4. Heatmiser

    Heatmiser Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Southeastern NH
    After reading most of the stuff on this site I did check out the Pacific stoves and had priced out both of the Osburn inserts. But the dealer that I'm going to is giving me about a 15% discount on the above stoves since I had been waiting so long for the Enviro (which had a 2.5 cuft firebox). The Jotul and Avalons were previously out of our price range but now they are cheaper than the Osburn or Pacific. So I've got to pick one of them.

    Maybe the 3.1 cuft Avalon would be a mistake.

    I'm in southeast NH...but it sure doesn't feel like it this morning. I think its going up to 45 or 50F today.
  5. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I am puzzled about removing bricks statement?. Please explain? I would be real concerned about removing the fire clay fire brick in the fire box? Being a center chimney, combustiable materials suround it. I can not see how removing bricks makes it any safer of affords current protection. Sounds like a compromise of safety? I could be wrong. but I wanted to make you aware. There is a reason fire bricks are there.

    Besides fitting on the hearth one should consider the install. There are codes and relationships that govern flue sizes and the flue collar of the appliance. The reason I bring this forward is one model might be better or listed that can work in the fireplaces oversizes flue and another may need it to be lined the entire length to work correctly If the flue is 12/12 a liner will be required for every 6" flue collar appliance. If it is 8/12. down load the manual and read the requirements of all stoves before you make a decision. You made no mention concerning your draft plans. For a stove to opperate properly it has to draft effeciently. Having a nice looking stove that does not draft correctly will take out the arora real quick. Can"t see a fire very well threw smoked chared glass due to poor draft. The BTU cubic feet concerns are moot if it does not run effeciently. If you post back after researching the installation manuals reporting your current flue size and how you are planning to pass threw the damper area them many here can advise you to better accomplish obtaining your desired results.
  6. Hinterlander

    Hinterlander Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    46
    Loc:
    Mid-Michigan
    Take a look at Lopi Revere. I have one that heats my 2000 sq ft. home easily without a blower (which has been on back order since October). It has a 2.2 cubic foot firebox which is fairly deep, burns all night on a load of oak, and has an amazing draft control with a bypass for loading. I spent about $2800 for the stove installed with an insulated 6" ss liner in my 21' chimney, and it has been well worth the investment!

    The 9 hour burn time is a myth unless you want some major creosote problems. I have been able to get a 6 hour burn with the box packed to the secondary tubes and a nice rolling fire, but won't choke it down to the point where the temp falls off below 400 f measured below the top of the stove.

    We would have liked to look at the Pacific & Osborn stoves, but there are no dealers in Michigan. I looked at Avalon Ranier, but the firebox is only 1.8 cubic feet, and the price was not much lower. The Quadrafire stoves are nice too - take a look at their 3100i.
  7. Heatmiser

    Heatmiser Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Southeastern NH
    After I had posted, I realized that that statement about removing bricks may raise a few eyebrows. I really appreciate the concern expressed. It is a large, three flue, cinderblock chimney with stone facing. The fireplace is in the center flue. While I've done many home improvement projects around the house, I didn't want to take any chances (We want to burn this 24/7 for the most part) and decided to hire the most reputable installer in our area. All of the local stove shops that I've been in know who he is and all agree that he knows his stuff. He been to the house and checked everything out. A liner is definitely going in but I'm not sure what type. I'm sure that he is aware of the appropriate flue size for each of the stoves. I spoke with him the other night and he said that he has installed several hundred, each, of the Jotul and Avalons in question, and he services them as well. He said that removing/chipping away at some of the brick wouldn't be an issue since there should be another layer behind them.

    The hardest thing about making a decision is that I've haven't been able to get a good look at or see one of these inserts in action.
  8. CrazyAboutOrchids

    CrazyAboutOrchids New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    81
    I have a Lopi Freedom - made by the same company as the Avalon inserts - and run it without a blower. I would say the Rainier would probably be adequate in your set up considering the open floor plan, location and square footage - it is a little power house. Don't buy into the burn times, doubt you'll see them. The Freedom that I have is a bit smaller than the Olympic you are looking at. I have it in a 450 sq ft family room in our 2500 sq foot, 2 story colonial. The room is NOT centrally located, it does have cathedral ceilings, it is over our garage with 2 picture windows and a sliding glass door, and the floor plan is not open. I can however, heat the main floor of the house and keep the chill off the upstairs. I do not heat strictly with wood, we have oil forced hot air. I do have the thermostats in the house at 65 daytime and 60 nightime and the furnace will not run daytime at all even on the coldest of days.

    Which model does your dealer suggest for your home and where the insert will be located? On the one hand I would worry the the Olympic may be too large for your space, but on the other hand the Rainier may require lots of feeding. They are both very nice, well built stoves.
  9. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I try not to get into which brand is better than others but focus of getting the best and safest results owhat ever model or manufacture you chose. One other suggestion I would make and I'm sure your installer already factored it it but as a reminder Metal plate off the damper area. I don't buy there is no need because the top is sealed. This is the best way to prevent room air dillusion from colling your liner and lessening the draft capabilities plus preventing heat loss up the chimney chase And should you ever get a chimney fire it is one more level of containment of smoke entering your home. It is not required by code unslee it is listed in the manufactures specs All that is required is the chase be sealed and that can be done on the top But there is a lot of merit plating the damper area as well.

    According to code the firebox is required 10" of solid masonry support That can be reduced to 6" along with the use of fire bricks. totalling 8" 6 plus the width of the fire brick. Removing one fire brick reduces the approved protection amount 40%. As an inspector, I never could approve a 40 precent reduction of safety I can only approve 100 + percent. And if this guy tells you he has done this hundreds of times then he just addmitted of compromising safety that many times. Most intelligent people learn from mistakes and don't repeadidly committ the same ones hunderd of times. I have been faced with this arguement too many times in the past.

    If he is comtemplating removing fire bricks Everything I have said is supported by written code. If I have to I will type it in and post it here for all to read. If he is removing fire bricks, then he has no knowledge of the code. Still don't believe me, ask him to product code where it is allowed to remove firebricks for the installation. By law he is required to have a copy of the code present on the job.
    I been there before when x mason knows more than me. All I ask, is for him to prove it, other than he said, some actual written code. He can save looking into the code book for the first time in as many years, there is no code that allows removal of the fire brick unless something equal or greater it added to provide adequate protection. It amazes me that people put so much trust in others practices. When it possible they are wrong. I can back up all to which I said I am trying for you to realize safety maybe compromised at a precentage way too much for me to accept. I guess the inspectors in your area are quite relaxed when it comes to code enforcement as they too have missed this practice hunderds of times, Or hundredths of times it was done illegally without a permit. Eric Clapton Stevie Windwood had a a group that produced one ablam Blind Faith
  10. kzad

    kzad Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Messages:
    17
    Loc:
    Killingly, CT
    I have an Avalon Rainier insert. This is probably my 5th or 6th year with it, heating my 1700 sq/ft colonial. I'm fairly well insulated, and have no problem heating the house. (I'm in CT) Secondary burn makes for a real nice visual effect, single lever draft adjustment makes it easy to run, variable distribution blower works great. When I was shopping for it, my dealer advised against buying too big a stove for my house, better a hot fire in a smaller stove than a smoldering one in a larger stove.
    I bought a Harman Advance pellet stove this year, set it up at the opposite end of the house as the Avalon insert. My intention was to heat primarily with pellets, keep wood as a back-up. After a couple weeks with the pellet stove, I went back to the Rainier. Quieter, looks better, throws more heat....now the Harman is my back-up.
    I'm very happy with my Rainier.
  11. joshuaviktor

    joshuaviktor New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Northwest New Jersey
    Elk, Elk. Read it again. Apparently the guy has installed hundreds of this type of stove, not chipped away at brick hundreds of times. As for the brick removal, Heatmiser, are you talking about like the corner of a brick to fit the thing in the fireplace, or removing entire bricks/layers of bricks/or even one whole brick? If you need to chip a corner off a brick off the damper shelf, probably ok. If you are removing layers of bricks off the inside of the fireplace, probably bad.

    Perhaps some perspective would be good.

    I am ordering a Pacific Energy Summit insert, once I can find a local dealer, and get the money together.

    Joshua.
  12. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I said "If he is comtemplating removing fire bricks " I made no mention of removing other common brick I directed my statements to the fire box brick and fire clay bricks All others are fair game providing they do not comprosise the structual integerity of the fireplace
  13. joshuaviktor

    joshuaviktor New Member

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    Loc:
    Northwest New Jersey
    Mea culpa maxima, elk. You're right. Sorry.

    Joshua

    <bowing and scraping to the magnificence of the ELK!>

    <grin>
  14. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Loc:
    Orient Point, NY
    Writing this from sunny Key West, with a lousy internet connection... but nonetheless...

    I have the Kennebec, and love it. It heats one 1900 sq/ft section of my home, with cathedral ceilings, etc, without a problem, and down to 0 degrees or so. With a respectable coal bed, I get 8+ hour "burns," and have gone as long as 10+. The brochure claims 8. Throw a few splits on top, and viola, new fire. The fan, on low, is quiet, no rattling or other noises, hardly noticeable, and puts out a nice consistent heat load. Oh, and the thing is built like a tank. One of the best additions I've made to the home in years.

    YMMV, but that's mine.

    -- Mike
  15. Heatmiser

    Heatmiser Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Southeastern NH
    I haven't been able to get online for a day or so. Thanks for all of the great input. I decided to go with the Jotul. Since I was getting a reduced price from my local dealer, I couldn't afford to go with one of the other options mentioned AND they had them in the store ready to go. I liked several of the those inserts and think that they wouldn't worked very well for our situation as well. The Lopi, Osburn and Pacific models were very appealing. It was still a tough decision for me, but everyones feed back was really very useful.

    Elk, your points are well taken and again appreciated. As pointed out in another posting, my installer hasn't violated code in this way hundreds of times. If I had gone with the Olympic, I would've had to gain another 1" or 1.5" in the firebox (chipping, not removing firebrick). I still trust the installer and he has been very adament about meeting code in every other way (including extending the hearth).

    The install should happen in the next week or so, I'll post pictures afterwards.
  16. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Good luck with your install, and great choice
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