Need some advice on vigi or insert

AdamK Posted By AdamK, Dec 21, 2012 at 3:13 PM

  1. AdamK

    New Member

    Dec 21, 2012
    Hello, New to the forum, and a lot of great info here. Before dropping a bunch of cash, I'd really like some input on my situation.

    I own a 1900sq ft home. It's basically a cape with an addition over a walk-out garage. I currently have a zero-clearance fireplace (late 80s heatilator) in the addition part of the house. I REALLY want to get a wood stove in my house. I have two basic options...

    1. Get a FREE VC Vigilant from my parents - excellent shape, has only been lightly used since they bought it new in the 80s. Unfortunately my wife would prefer to not have a wood stove sticking out of the fireplace now; so if I went this route, I would put in my finished basement. The finished part of the basement is about 500sq feet. If I did this, I would pipe it out a basement window, and hopefully heat the house; although I'm concerned I'd be blown out of the basement room with the heat? I would also have to pay for the chimney to run of two stories.

    2. Get a new insert woods stove put inside the zero clearance heatilator. This is my wife's fav option. I'm not completely against, but I also don't know if putting one in a zero clearance is safe/advisable. I would of course need to pay for the stove, and I'm assuming a new chimney liner as well.

    I'm curious which seems more practical, and would heat the home better. I'd like to get it right the first time; since either option will cost me.

    I'd appreciate any feedback. Let me know if I need to clarify any of it. Thanks!!
  2. hwdemers


    Mar 24, 2011
    northern nh
    heating from the basement up never works as good as people think, that being said its hard to find an insert that will fit in most 0 clearance units. no matter what the installer says do not let them cut the floor out of the zero clearance to accommodate the insert. also going threw the window , if this is done you have to remove the whole window and re-frame the opening to allow for a wall thimble at the proper clearance, the troubles you usually run in to with this set up is the clearance from the top of the smoke pipe to the floor above, event with double wall it can be hard to get this to work.
  3. Kenster

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 10, 2010
    Texas- West of Houston
    I think the Vig would meet your heating needs quite nicely in that size house. It does a great job in ours and it's almost 4000 sq feet. I'm not sure how well it would heat the house from your basement but I guarantee if it's hot enough to do do any good at all in the house, it will feel like hades in that basement room.
    If it was me, I'd try to figure a way to use it in conjunction with your fireplace. I've seen pictures of stand-alone stoves in front of brick fireplaces. Doesn't look bad at all. Maybe someone has pictures of their installations.
  4. AdamK

    New Member

    Dec 21, 2012
    Thank you both for the insight. I would actually like to put the stove in the updstairs room, and wall off the fireplace with brick or stone so it looks like the stove was meant to be there.. prob is; not everyone in the house is on the same page..dang it. I may be stuck w/ getting an insert; again though I've heard mixed reviews on putting them in a zero clearance (hwdemers as you said above). I really wish the builders didn't cheap out and just built a masonry chimney.. oh well. I gota think this over again... thanks for the help guys.
  5. defiant3

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 23, 2010
    No. NH
    Vigilant is an awesome stove potetially, but yopu need someone to give you sound advice on that install. I don't know if you can put anything safely in a 0 clearance unit! Also, what part of the country? 4000 sq ft in Texas is not the same as 4000sq. ft. in Fairbanks. May be that the Vig. would be too much stove upstairs? Is it 1900 sq. ft including basement?
  6. AdamK

    New Member

    Dec 21, 2012
    defiant3, thanks for the reply. I live in Northwestern CT, so the winters can get pretty cold. The 1900 doesn't include the basement; it's just the first and second floor. So closer to 23-2400 all together. My concern with doing the basement would it getting too hot to want to be down there, plus the potential issue with a basement window insall as mentioned above. I'm not thrilled of putting an insert in a zero clearance either, but I also think, if I can have a hot, open fire in there, I should be able to put a fire box in it, which wouldn't even be as hot.

    If I'm gona go through the trouble of putting the vigilant in, is it worth my money/time down the road? I know it's not as efficient as newer stoves, but by really how much? Geez, I also gota think if they'd be able to stuff an 8in liner down the chimney pipe. I measured the flue size where the damper is on the fireplace, and it's 9in max daimeter.
  7. chimneylinerjames

    Feeling the Heat

    Nov 26, 2012
    An 8" flex liner would be about 8 1/4". So you should be fine with room for the liner.
  8. Lowellmotel

    New Member

    Nov 23, 2012
    SE Ohio
    I am fairly new to this, and there are some really knowledgeable people here...
    The Vigilant is a gorgeous stove, and well proven. There are some Guru's here and tons of info. I suggest reading the Forum posts, I think they will sway you toward the Vig.
    I recently put a Vigilant in the basement of my 2400 sq ft house in SE Ohio. I couldn't be happier. Getting heat to remote parts of the house is my challenge now. I am about to cut a hole for a passive vent through the floor, one that has closeable louvers. I'm hoping that this will give me more control of heat between floors. This may be a problem if you need to isolate sound transmission... I'm hoping the vent will help equalize the temp.
    I currently am running the stove quite hot and it is just at freezing outside. 86*F in basement and 69*F at the far end of upstairs. This works for me... Guess where the cats are?...

  9. remkel

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 21, 2010
    Southwest NH
    That Vigilant should heat your house no problem. I was heating 2400 sq ft with one from the basement here. If part of your basement is finished and insulated there should not be tremendous heat loss. As a warning, it will be hot in your basement, but nothing some shorts and a t-shirt will not cure.

    Good luck!

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