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Looking for Contemporary Insert (I think)

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jeffesonm, May 29, 2012.

  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Some companies report their firebox size as the entire thing including over the baffle area. Have you looked at the Hearthstone Clydesdale insert? It comes in at about 2.4 cu ft. Or the Enviro Kodiak 1700 insert at 2.5 cu ft.?

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  2. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Feeling the Heat

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    Hmmm that could be the case... the manual from the Elite 33 insert shows the same exact diagram, with only one row of 9" firebricks, but the volume of that one is stated at 2.2 cu ft which seems to make more sense. I emailed Travis so let's see if they can help clarify.

    I did look at both of those stoves but they are a bit too rustic for my taste. I also prefer more of a flush look, which I think may ultimately limit my ability to load N/S.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    2.2 sounds more on the mark. There's the Wittus H530 but it is about the same size as the FPX and I suspect twice the price.
  4. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Feeling the Heat

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    Well I did not hear back from FPX about clarifying the size of firebox. I did talk to a local dealer and I can get the Obsurn Matrix for several hundred cheaper than the FPX, so I think I'm going with that one.

    Now a few install questions. The fireplace is a masonry fireplace with a Heatilator form built in. It's definitely a Heatilator in a masonry fireplace, and not a zero-clearance fireplace... amazingly I have the original install manual from the Heatilator (see below, Fig 8, No. 38). There's another open fireplace in the basement too along with the oil furnace, and three tile lined flues coming out the chimney. The Matrix fits into the firebox area with not much room to spare. Opening at the front is 36x28 and the surround of the Matrix is 36x25, so at best a few inches at the top to maneuver.

    As it's setup now I'd have to route the liner out of the top of the insert, up and forward towards the front of the fireplace to go around the smoke shelf and then back and up into the chimney. Would be tough to get it all hooked up with such little clearance.

    What are your collective thoughts on removing the smoke shelf/back plate of the Heatilator? I was thinking of cutting the shelf and back plate out with a torch, then block off the vents from the inside with steel or masonry. This would allow a straight shot up the chimney and more room to maneuver during the install.

    I spoke with the local building inspector who has to approve all this and he basically said they just look at the manufacturer's install manual for the insert and make sure you followed their recommendations. The Matrix manual says this, which seems to suggest it's okay:
    [​IMG]
  5. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Feeling the Heat

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    Well I heard back from the FPX folks who provided some more detail on the hybrid insert firebox:
    That makes much more sense and adds up to 3 cu ft. Looks like N/S loading would still be tough unless I start chopping my wood very small. The Osburn Matrix gives you another 2" of N/S room, at the expense of overall firebox volume (2.1 cu ft vs 3 cu ft). FPX also has a cat while the Matrix does not. Decisions, decisions...

    Now in terms of install...

    I think I've figured out that I have an old school Heatilator brand heatform (see damper handle below, and install manual above). I took some pics of the shelf area and up the chimney so you can see how it looks... the damper is pretty rusted out as is the front of the shelf where it connects. I also got a cardboard box the size of the insert and a pot that is 6 ½" in diameter (and 4" tall) and placed them in the firebox where they would actually go.

    Now it looks like it would all fit but it would be really tight to attach the liner to the insert and run it up and around the shelf. I spent all last night searching for other people installing inserts into heatforms and it sounds like many have successfully cut a hole through the shelf/dampener to allow the liner to run straight up out of the insert. I'm thinking that's the plan of attack, regardless of which insert I pick. I'm also thinking I would run rigid all the way except for a 3' flex section at the insert end so I can hook it up with the insert half way out and then push it all the way in.

    Heatilator brand rust box

    [​IMG]

    Rusty damper/smoke shelf

    [​IMG]

    Looking up the chimney

    [​IMG]

    Another view up the chimney

    [​IMG]

    My insert/liner models... just barely fits!

    [​IMG]

    A closer view... I would cut out the part just above the pot and run it straight up

    [​IMG]
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I still don't get the math. The firebox is 14" to the glass, but that is not usable space. So let's say it has 12" front to back and you can load it up 2" above the firebrick to 11", times the 26" width. 12x11x26 = 3432 cu in/1728 = 1.986 cu ft. And that is before the back taper is taken into account which may lose 25% of the loadable volume.
  7. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah I guess it really depends on how you count it and how high you can pile it up in there.... if you say average 22" wide and give them 14" deep, the box would need to be 17" high, or 2" above/below the door opening.... seems possible. Those would be generous measurements but not sure how companies generally do this.
  8. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Feeling the Heat

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    Looks like there's a FPX dealer about 40 minutes away that has the Large Hybrid Flush on the showroom floor... will go check it out tonight and bring a tape measure to see what the story is here.
  9. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Feeling the Heat

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    Well I just got back from looking at the stove. I measured from the firebox floor to the bottom of secondary tubes and it's right around 14". It's also about 14" deep from the back of the firebox to the steel part just before the glass. If you assume an average width of 22" that gives you a volume of around 2.4 cu ft. Maybe they count the few inch gap between the firebricks and door frame, or maybe they count the area around the secondaries, but I just don't see how you could calculate 3.0 cu ft of usable firebox space from that stove.

    On another note, the Osburn Matrix has listed firebox dimensions of 16.5" x 12" x 21".... I add that up to 2.4 cu ft, but the specs only list it as 2.1 cu ft. Based on the picture that all seems to be pretty usable so maybe they subtract .3 for the secondary tubes?

    [​IMG]

    Matrix is ~$2000 vs $3000 for the FPX. While I tend to like the idea of the cat and the hybrid technology, it doesn't seem worth spending an extra $1000 for a slightly bigger firebox and the uncertainty (however minor) of a brand new stove.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Normally you don't load the stove up to the secondary tubes. We usually load to just above the firebrick.
  11. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    jeffesonm.....new poster here, about a year long lurker. Went through the same process last year. Moved from a small condo in the city to 3200 sq ft home (oil heat) on an acre and half. Needless to say, a huge difference in heating costs going from small and natural gas to big and oil/baseboards.

    Two fireplaces on the main floor. Wife didn't want the main fireplace to have an insert and hates the non flush or ornate ones, but agreed to one for the secondary fireplace. Due to fireplace size, we went with the Regency Alterra 1250 and had to have a hole cut in the heatilator box (which renders it useless, so I'm in the process of refacing the fireplace and will cover the louvers). Firebox is small....very small. Sometimes a third load is difficult without letting coals burn down. Even with a poor layout, it will keep about 1000sq ft at 70 degrees, but not overnight. Just have to use smaller splits and load a bit more frequently. The wife is scared of tending to a fire and I travel a decent amount so using a wood stove/insert for primary heat source isn't an option. Now I'm trying to figure out what to do with the power cord. Installer said to insulate it and drop down the ash catcher to the basement, but for now I'm just leaving it out in the open.

    Hindsight being what it is, I would have put a much bigger insert in the main living space. Underestimated how much ambiance is created with the clear ceramic glass. Then again, I didn't anticipate having as much wood from clearing out more yard space.
  12. jeffesonm

    jeffesonm Feeling the Heat

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    Well I was pleased to see a nice stack of boxes on my door when I got home today... some DuraLiner by way of Sean at DynamiteBuys.com. Ordered Thursday, arrived today, and at a great price. Plus it came on a bonus pallet which is perfect as I needed another to stack wood on. Hope to pick up the stove and install it over the weekend.

    [​IMG]

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