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Need help deciding on gas insert

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by Dbsmith, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Dbsmith

    Dbsmith New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Loc:
    Upstate NY, near Albany
    I currently have two Harman XXV pellet stoves. I love the look, but they are dirty - ash goes everywhere and we need to clean the boxes at least once a week and the windows every day. We are thinking of changing the one in front of the fireplace to a natural gas insert. My concerns are:
    1. The construction of the fireplace. There is very little space between the brick and the oak surround. We had doors at one time and they had to mount them inside the brick.
    2. The shape of the fireplace. I love the arch and I don't want to lose it.
    3. The size of the fireplace. The opening is very large compared to more modern fireplaces, and I would like to retain the size if possible.
    4. The warmth of the pellet stove. We are getting a new boiler (that's a whole 'nother issue. A 400,000 BTU Lochinvar NG boiler for a 3400 sf home with no insulation, lots of cast iron radiators, lots of windows...), so the house will be heated primarily by the boiler instead of the stoves. We used to go through about 8 to 9 tons of pellets a year. But it is nice to be able to sit in front of a toasty fire when you come in from shoveling. Will the insert be as warm as the XXV?
    5. The insert has to be vented up the chimney. The other side of the fireplace is a glass porch with the other Harman. There is no opportunity for a direct vent.
    6. Pretty. The fireplace is beautiful, the Harman is nice but it sticks out into the room. I want an insert that looks appropriate in a 1938 Tudor.

    Suggestions, comments, ideas? Thank you.

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  2. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    5,174
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    Where did you get your XXVs? Best Fire? Go to their showroom 1760 Central Ave in Albany.
    They sell Heat n Glo, Regency & Jotul gas inserts & can order custom made fronts that will
    fit your fireplace configuration. Your XXVs are rated at 50K BTU. You may be able to get a 40K
    BTU NG gas insert, but I don't think the 10K reduction will be that noticeable, especially sitting
    right in front of it. A LOT less maintenance. Service every other year or so & clean the glass
    maybe ONCE a year, once it's tuned correctly...
  3. Dbsmith

    Dbsmith New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Loc:
    Upstate NY, near Albany
    We bought the Harmans at the Johnstown Agway Home Heating Headquarters. I spoke with them this morning and the mantel is a problem. As I feared, the oak directly abutting the fireplace opening may violate code. In order to have the insert, we may need to remove it. The mantel was custom for the house, and I try to keep most of the original features.
    Do you have a source for pellets the might burn cleaner? We got ours at Lowe's last year when our son worked for the summer and they were awful.
  4. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    5,174
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    I burn Cleanfire Hardwoods from www.woodpellets.com. Try calling Best Fire's warehouse in Green Island at 687-2388. They stock & sell pellets, & they try to sell the best quality pellet available at a reasonable price. I think they're selling Curran's this year. They WILL deliver, but I'm not sure of that price...
  5. moburns

    moburns New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2012
    Messages:
    45
    Loc:
    Central Maryland
    How does the inside of the fireplace look? If you want to keep the mantle and the arch you could consider a direct vent free standing stove inside of the fireplace. It will be a much smaller fire but it would be a pretty and easy heat. I have a small Jotul gas stove and love it. Mine is not inside of a fireplace though.
  6. Dbsmith

    Dbsmith New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Loc:
    Upstate NY, near Albany
    The fireplace is lined with firebrick, in good condition. It measures 36" tall, 36" wide and 22" deep (I took all measurements at the shortest part). Could a stove be placed directly in the fireplace, with a top vent going directly up the chimney? We couldn't put the XXV in the fireplace because we needed to be able to load the pellets.

    Are there stoves that you would recommend over others? And is soapstone a viable option?
  7. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    5,174
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    Once again, I say go to Best Fire. They will install in this manner & yes, there are soapstone (Hearthstone) stoves that will work...
  8. Dbsmith

    Dbsmith New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Loc:
    Upstate NY, near Albany
    I'm going to try to get to Best Fire later this week. I like to know what questions I should ask before I walk in the door. And if any brands are real klunkers. Thank you.

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