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Need some help with Pellet Insert Decisions (Country Winslow PI-40)

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by 3nickles, Oct 18, 2006.

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  1. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    I live the NW Chicago Burbs and have been thinkin of installing a Pellet Insert into my existing prefab Fireplace to add comfort and to help lower the use of the Forced air furnace.

    I have an open design Family room that feed into the kitchen, foyer, living, dining room while the staircase is centered in the middle of the house (bridge design) with 2 bedrooms at either end of the stairway/bridge. House is around 2800 Square Feet.

    Now the limiting factor I see is the size of my Majestic firebox (BR42I). It's limiting factor is the height which is at 19 inches. I was leaning toward a Harman but even the custom order on the ACCENTRA still requires 20" of height. I am now leaning toward the Country Winslow PI-40 insert which is right around 19". It looks like it has a comparable warranty to the Harman while requiring very little maintenance and a large cast iron fireport with large sized ash drawer. I want something that is definitely dependable and requires as little as possible cleanup/maintenance. I don't want to be emptying and cleaning every 3 or 4 days!!

    Will the Country PI-40 (rated around 38K BTUs) suit my neeeds and does anyone have any advice or feedback on this unit Please?

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  2. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    Help out there Please?
  3. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    Nobody has experience or heard of the Country Winslow?
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There is another thread going on right now that has a problem with the free-standing version of this unit. Unfortunately this may not be a matter of the stove, but rather the dealer not being up to speed with service. Do be sure to check out your dealer's service ability closely. Get local references for installs of this stove.
  5. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    Thanks BeGreen. I just read that thread on a search and my jaw dropped. Scaring the heck out of me know. I was leaning toward this unit because it only requires a internal height of 19" which is exactly what my majestic firebox is. Trouble is I can't really find other stoves that are 19" height or less!
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    This may not be the stove's fault. But it does show important it is to have a good dealer with an established track record.
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Country has been aquired by Lennox recently, and this could cause some parts or support problems....at least this is some of the scuttlebutt. Pellet stoves are complicated and technical - as I used to say "If airplanes were like pellet stoves, they'd be falling out of the sky daily"....so, do yourself a favor - buy a stove from a dealer known for service...and from a company that is not in transition.
  8. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    Are you sure of this? Boy, this would really kill my hopes of getting a pellet insert. I've read about how Lennox has pretty much destroyed the other brands that it bought out.

    Any hope that the ramblings are just that...ramblings? It looked like the Country unit was pretty fair in comparison (dependability, construction, ease of maintenace and cleaning) to the Harman, which I can't fit because it's too high for my fireplace box
  9. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    This was posted to our dealer section by some people that should know....but, you are correct that there is no official verification. Why don't you call country stoves and ask them? Let us know what they say.
  10. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    Just got off the phone with Country. It's official. They were acquired by Lennox at the end of September. The rep assured me that one of the negotiating details was that the quality and parts remain high. I mentioned about the quality of the Whitfields after Lennox purchased them. She replied, "that's not going to happen with us". Only time will tell right. I'm guessing the quality will be good if I buy the unit now, but what about replacment parts and warranty down the road?
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    3nicks, can you post a picture of the current prefab? The Quad Castille has a clearance of 19" + 2 for the levelers. Could the hearth height be dropped to help it fit? I don't have the specs for the new Mt. Vernon. Maybe MSG has them?

    If that won't work, have you considered taking the prefab out? Or how about a hearth install instead of an insert?
  12. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    I don't think I could modify the opening very easily. It looks mortared in there with the brick. I really like the look of the insert because it's clean and doesn't take up any of the room in front of the fireplace.

    Here's a pic of the Majestic Insert (BR42I)

    Attached Files:

  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Gas insert yes?

    That mortared edge may just be filler. What model Majestic? Can it be replaced with a higher efficiency gas unit? Some of them really put out the heat.
  14. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    It's a normal wood burning insert with gas lighter. I just added a R.H. Petersen gas log unit which I don't use very often. Heat goes right up the chimney!

    The firebox is a Majestic BR42I
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It looks like this unit slides straight in, no side or top flanges. So the question is, can the Majestic be pulled and a pellet insert replace it. Or would you prefer the convenience of a high-efficiency gas insert? I don't know enough about this type of install to say yea or nay, but would have a good stove shop come out and assess your options.
  16. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    Thanks BeGreen.

    I'm not sure the Firebox can be slid out easily but that's a good question. Problem is neither of the 2 local dealers near me wants to come out and assess my fireplace. Isn't that crazy. You think they'd want to be sure. But nope. They refuse. I think they just want to sell it, and install when they come out no matter what they have to do. At least that seems like their attitude. I don't know why they wouldn't visit before just to make sure everything goes smooth
  17. skypager

    skypager New Member

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    A few things that may or may not help.... (see notes on picture...)

    You may be able to get a little more height out of the unit. See the part of the unit that the screen hangs on (1)? That is removable. Only a few 1/4" self taping screws holding that on.

    The part that helps the smoke stay in the fireplace and go up the flue (2) is commonly removeable also.

    Both these parts do not affect the insulation value of the firebox so there shouldn't be any problem removing them (from a safety stand point).

    The bigger problem I see is the fact the unit is recessed into the brick. The brick to brick opening is probably smaller than any surround panel and the unit must be fully into the fireplace. The way around this would be cutting down the surround panel allowing it to slide flush against the unit.

    As far as pulling the Wood Fireplace out and replacing it... Can be done but what you would have to take of the brick facing, remove the unit and all the chimeny in the chase. Definetly do-able and not that uncommon but quite a bit more costly. The advantage of doing so though is that you could then put almost anything you want in the spot and finish it however you please.

    Attached Files:

    • Maj.JPG
      Maj.JPG
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  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'd be reluctant to have an installer quote me a price without them showing up to measure. Otherwise it seems like there could be a lot of surprises in the final bill. Or worse yet, trying to install a unit that just won't fit. I would think in the Chicago burbs there are more choices than 2 dealers.

    Any of these Quadrafire dealers close?

    AMERICAN HERITAGE FIREPLACE & ACCESSORIES
    3054 N. WESTERN AVE.
    CHICAGO, IL 60618
    773-862-8200

    FIREPLACE & CHIMNEY AUTHORITY
    120 E. LAKE ST.
    ELMHURST, IL 60126
    630-279-8500

    FIRESIDE HEARTH & HOME - ALSIP
    4251 W 129TH ST
    ALSIP, IL 60803
    708-371-0696

    THE HEARTH & HOME SHOPPE
    11130 W 93RD AVE
    ST JOHN, IN 46373
    219-365-9975

    FIRESIDE
    2630 N. FARNSWORTH AVE
    AURORA, IL 60502
    630-820-8664
    www.fireside.com
  19. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    Hey BeGreen These dealers are South, Southeast of me. Really arent' that close as I'm in the NW burbs, almost Rockford.

    The closest dealer carries Harman, Lopi, Enviro and St. Croix but won't come out to assess my layout. I emailed pictures and a sketch with dimensions. He says that he can get a unit installed but wants me to come in again. I've already been there twice but I'm undecided as to which unit will fit and works best for me. I was leaning toward the harman based on reviews but I don't believe that will fit as it's almost 22" high.

    I looked at the St. Croix York and it says 19" high. Does anybody know about the quality, dependability and amount of cleaning for this stove? I also looked at Enviro but I haven't heard much about those stoves either. I've seen good and bad about Lopi/Avalalon. Too many choices and I don't want to choose the wrong one and have problems.

    I was leaning toward the country stove because it too can be adjusted to about 19" inches, has a cast iron pot and boasts a good warranty as well as long burn times versus cleanings.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    BENSON STONE CO.
    1100 11TH ST
    ROCKFORD, IL 61104
    815-227-2000
    www.bensonstone.com

    ADVANCED CHIMNEY SYSTEMS
    3392 LONERGAN DR
    ROCKFORD, IL 61109
    815-874-7377
  21. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    Josh. Thanks for the comments on the insert. Quick question. I thought the sourround panels should be bigger than the brick opening on the firplace as it would sit flush against the brick and cover the hole. Isn't that the way they install? It sounds like your saying that the stove and surround has to fit entirely inside the brick opening? Me confused!
  22. skypager

    skypager New Member

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    If it were a masonary fireplace then flush with the bricks would be correct.

    If I'm seeing the picture correctly the unit (which is called a zero clearance wood fireplace) is sitting back 4 -6 inches into the brick front. If the surround panel where to push up against the brick the insert would be hanging out of the fireplace the depth of the brick. You would then have a gap from the hearth to the bottom of the insert to the bottom of the insert with a depth of the brick. enough so that you could fit you hand into it. The insert must be fully into the fireplace.

    To give you an idea of what that picture actually tells me - it is probably a trapazoid metal box framed with wood and a brick wall was built in front of it.
  23. 3nickles

    3nickles New Member

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    You have that exactly right Josh. One retailer told me that they sell support kits to prop the insert up from the bottom of the hearth. Wouldn't this work? I'm guessing that the vent pipe is the only really part that must be entirely into the firebox right. Other wise how would the freestanding stoves work. They're all open to the air except for the exhaust pipe right?
  24. skypager

    skypager New Member

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    Well, I guess this area is a bit gray. Would it cause a problem to do so?... probably not. But that can't be guarenteed because an insert isn't tested or listed to stick out of the fireplace (at least non I know of). Maybe the dealer has a unit that is approved to do so, I don't know. But I would make sure the support kits are unit specific and that the manual says its ok to do so.

    Their are alot of things in the fireplace buisness that common sense would make things seem alright, but if it is not installed according to code and the manual then there are no guarentees on operation or safety.
  25. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't see much of a problem with double wall pellet inserts sticking out a bit. The top temps of these are usually very low, which eliminates the most obvious danger of radiant heat upwards. Our installers would use bricks or firebricks to hold the unit up, and then make a sheet metal skirt which matched the contours of the stove. This would hide the brick and be painted the same color as the stove....looked like part of the install once we were done.

    Yes, only the exhaust pipe goes up the chimney and should be well sealed. As has been mentioned here before, it is probably legal not to line the entire chimney, but a complete lining is the job that many dealers - and some manufacturers - suggest.
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