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New construction recommendations?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Angela Neese, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. Angela Neese

    Angela Neese New Member

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    Loc:
    Rutledge, MO
    I know this may be too open-ended a question, inviting a gazillion opinions, but here goes - We are building a new house (fairly open floor plan, 2400 sq. ft. on main floor with full walkout basement and an upper half storey of one big room 24x35; 9' ceilings throughout, very tight and well-insulated) We are used to burning wood and understand seasoning issues, etc. We have a wood furnace in our 1984 home that does a fantastic job. We are putting in geothermal in the new house, but really would prefer wood heat to carry the brunt. (Old ways die hard! Everyone brags up geothermal, but we are great believers in burning what is free out there) We are in NE Missouri, so it isn't like Minnesota, but still gets pretty doggoned cold. We want a ZC fireplace on the main level - something not unattractive that will add that ambience of a wood fire but something efficient as well. The more we've researched, the more confusing it gets! We think we've got it narrowed down to three options - the FPX, the PE FP30 or the HnG Northstar. Each has strengths, of course... any opinions on the different chimneys these units use? We understand that both the Northstar and the FPX use the cold-air cooled (and less expensive) style and the PE uses the Simpson insulated ($$) kind. We are clueless about this issue - any feedback? The looks aren't really the most vital issue to me - though the Northstar and FPX are certainly more attractive. Are we ignoring some brand out there that we should be looking at? thanks, guys, I really appreciate your feedback... one added note - we are getting a heck of a deal on our PE (basically dealer cost) thanks to a great friend, but we're trying not to let a $1K difference make the decision for us as we plan to use this unit daily. We don't want to be sorry daily!

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  2. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    I am not an expert in ZC fireplaces but maybe this website can shed some light on proper draft and what kind of chimney would be better:
    http://chimneysweeponline.com/hodraft.htm
    In general, an insulated liner will give you better draft and less creosote and is therefore the preferred choice. If your house will be really airtight I would recommend an outside air kit (OAK) or you may get problems with the draft. The other point to consider would be backup electricity. Fireplaces rely mostly on a blower to get the hot air out to the room. That is a real advantage of a woodstove which makes you independent from any power loss. Several would also allow you to cook on them if you are out of power for an extended period of time.
  3. Tenn Dave

    Tenn Dave Feeling the Heat

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    SE Tennessee and New Jersey Shore
    Hi Angela, Congratulations on the new house. I too just finished building a new home in NE Tennessee on the side of a mountain. I would have loved to have gone Geothermal, but because on I am sitting on bedrock, the upfront drilling costs were very high. Instead I decided to go with a high efficiency heatpump. Because Geothermal is so low cost to operate, I would concentrate more on looks for the wood burning application. In my case, originally I was going to build a large stacked stone fireplace in my great room. However, after reading a lot of threads on Hearth.com, I changed my mind and went with a Woodstock Soapstone Progess Hybrid Stove. I love the way it looks and hopefully I won't be spending a lot of time reloading it because of the longer burn times. Anyway, whatever you decide on, I'm sure it will be great.

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  4. jzinckgra

    jzinckgra Member

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    We just built a "super tight" home with spray foam, cellulose and rigid board insulation. We had an HRV unit installed which changes the inside stale air with fresh outdoor air so many times an hour. Even without a stove you may want to consider this especially during the winter when all the windows are closed. We just installed a woodstove and I am hoping the HRV unit is sufficient to account for the combustion air the stove will use. If not, we'd have to get an OAK for the woodstove.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The PE is based on a solid heater, the Summit. I can't comment on how well this will work out for you as this configuration is new, but it would be on my short list. It is a nice looking contemporary with a reliable core construction. Please keep us posted on your progress.
  6. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    Aside from the units you are considering, I would have to agree with JZ and Tenn Dave. An insulated flue would help keep the flue hotter and keep the creosote at a minimum and since you have new construction I would strongly consider an oak. The new homes are so tight that the cold air draw would be difficult to retrieve.
  7. madison

    madison Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm, EBTver2 in the PE FP30? I see another 10 page thread on EBT2 coming.

    Agree with BG's observation of solid "contempory" design (summit given a upscale modern look inside a box)

    If you go with the summit, er I mean PE FP30, please report back with pictures

    IMHO, for servicing, replacement (in the future) etc. I would second the suggestion of freestanding vs a wood burning fireplace.

    Also agree with spending the extra for the liner.
  8. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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  9. Angela Neese

    Angela Neese New Member

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    Hi guys! thanks so much for the info. We spent today at Tri States Stoveworks in Iowa, as it happens they deal in all three models we are considering. The rep was there from FPX and had a LOT to say about new construction. He gave us articles on the air exchange issues - lots of great input that we had never considered. Who knew a tight house could be a bad thing? Of course, he thinks the FPX is the best thing since sliced bread - and we can't argue that. But they sure are proud of 'em! Roughly $1K more than the other two. I'm leaning toward the PE unit, and yes, I like the clean look. Now, here's a new issue I'd like some feedback on if you would be so kind. My husband really wants a wood mantel - old and weathered if possible. But he doesn't see the need for the 24" clearance thing - he's sort of pooh-poohing it... thinks they are overcompensating due to lawsuits, etc. Anything to say on this issue? He thinks if we keep the mantel no deeper than the stone façade we don't need to worry about it. Guess I'm not so sure...thank you again!
  10. Angela Neese

    Angela Neese New Member

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    Loc:
    Rutledge, MO
    PS: yes, I like a woodstove, but we really don't have the floor space for one. The floor plan and traffic pattern in the living room just doesn't allow for anything but a ZC. As I read your thoughts on our choices - if I read you all correctly, the insulated pipe is better for draft and creosote build-up - but is this reason enough to stick with the PE over the others? The Northstar and the FPX both demand use of the air-cooled chimney style. the FPX seems like the Cadillac of the bunch, but uses the air-cooled double wall chimney. It's sure what the Tri-State guy sells the most of by far & what he likes to install. It uses the OAK with fan on the outside wall of the house (NOT under the firebox! yay!) and also pulls cool air into two additional 8" openings on the top of the unit from inside the house. It's also the only catalytic ZC we've looked at - a cleaner, more complete burn according to the owner of the store.
  11. aansorge

    aansorge Minister of Fire

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    I am not an expert on the FPX, but I did look over the brochure a few years ago, thought about buying one, got the push from the dealer, and read what I could find out about them on here. They sound like a whole house heater than pushes air into your whole home using outside air to do so. They are big, pricey, and produce a lot of heat. It seems as though they eat a little more wood than average though.

    In terms of space used up, a fireplace and a stove have essentially the same footprint, it's just that a fireplace has a wall going up frome it's face to the ceiling and a stove doesn't. My Blaze king king can sit 6 inches from a combustible surface. I ripped out an old zc fireplace with a zc gas insert and replaced it with the king. I lost only two to three inches of floor space and I don't have the stove pushed all the way back to the limit. And this is one of the biggest stoves on the market!

    Some Lopi's only have a 2.5 inch requirement (If I'm remembering correctly). A stove like that would take up less room than a FPX.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The minimum mantel clearances are not to be fooled with. They are lab tested and not by lawyers. Most of the heat is going to want to go upward. It needs space to mix with the room air and cool a bit. You want to meet or exceed all minimum clearance requirements. This is a safety issue and should be required to pass inspection and for home owners insurance.

    That said, the clearance doesn't appear to be very high. It is 34" from the hearth to the mantel. If the hearth was raised say a foot, that puts the mantel at just under 4 ft which visually would be about right or even a bit low. If the mantel is flush with the stone veneer, what is the goal, a visual break? If the mantel must be lower, perhaps make it out of stone.

    PE FP30 mantel clear.JPG
  13. teutonicking

    teutonicking Feeling the Heat

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    Agree--don't mess with clearances. They are done by engineers, not lawyers.
  14. Angela Neese

    Angela Neese New Member

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    Loc:
    Rutledge, MO
    OK! Husband bob says, "I give!" The Alderlea has a more forgiving clearance - the FPX 36 requires 57-1/2" from base of unit, add a hearth of about 12" and that puts a wood mantel up in the air pretty high - about 6'. I told him I was OK with stone mantel, but he doesn't like them. So - he just has to choose! (btw, I REALLY appreciate the back-up, guys.... I'm a chicken about bending safety rules & always wear my seatbelt! ;) and just think, I thought I'd be spending all my time picking out towel bars and light fixtures.... one thing that's been kind of fun - the FPX rep asked me, "Am I giving you too much information too fast?" I told him I'd read through the installation guide three times so far, so, nope, I understood what he was saying. (LOL) Again, can't thank y'all enough for weighing in on this stuff. I'll be sure to post some pix when it's in - here are some pix of the house in progress anyway. Roof truss system is arriving Wednesday. We're meeting with the geothermal guy this week to have a little face to face about air exchange and negative pressure...

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