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New house construction - reccommendations wanted for wood-burning insert -- 44 Elite?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by psychmike, Mar 16, 2006.

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  1. psychmike

    psychmike New Member

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    I am looking for reccommendations for an efficient wood-burning insert.

    We are building a new house and have a chance right now to change the chimney if necessary. Without doing too much research I spec'd a Fireplace Extrordinaire 44 Elite. I like the look of it, and it's big, and you can see a lot of fire through the windows...and it has a good efficiency rating, I think...but I did see on some of the ratings that there were some problems with cold air infiltration...one person said they wondered if you couldn't draw air from inside the house, so as to reduce the problem with cold air drafting in from the chimney.

    Anyway, I'd appreciate any informed reccommendations for an insert that is big and nice-looking with good efficiency and big glass doors... while we still have time to change the chimney set up if necessary.

    And any reccommendations on modifying the 44 Elite's reccommended setup to avoid known problems.

    Thanks!

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    What size house, what geographic location? Are you hoping to heat the whole house or just a specific area? How will the insert be used? 24/7 heating or occasional fires?
  3. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

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    Are you building a masonry chimney? If so, is it centrally located in your new home, or is it attached as part of an outside wall?

    The outside wall type (external) masonry chimneys are about the least efficient of all possible choices. It's an American thing that has long outlived it usefulness. If I were building a house, I think I'd either skip the external masonry chimney or if I just HAD to have one, I'd locate it completely inside the insulation envelop and terminate it before it poked through the insulation or roof. It would really just be stone work that looked like a traditional North American chimney. Then I'd have a high efficiency, insulated, metal chimney exit the roof. I'd use the stone work as strictly a thermal mass. It could still look like a traditional fireplace (if I wanted that look), but it would be many times more efficient.

    I guess that doesn't answer the question, but I feel like you're asking the wrong question if you are concerned about efficiency, which you seem to be since you mention the efficiency rating of the FPX.

    I'd decide on some sort of big, beautiful soapstone stove (Tulikivi) or a soapstone or brick contraflow masonry type heater and build the house around it.
  4. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    Quadrafire 7100


    :)

    I know there were some quality control gremlins I heard about from a few people, but overall, i think the concept is neat and I really like the look of the unit. If i was building a house, it would definitely be a part of plan.
  5. psychmike

    psychmike New Member

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    Thanks MoHeat but we are already too late for most of your suggestions - the house is mostly bulit, the chimney has to be mostly outside the house. The chimney will be woodframed with cultured stone. When I said there is still time to make some changes I meant adjust the size or add venting, or choose a different insert, but I don't think I could start redesigning...e.g. there is already not enough room in front of the fireplace, to move it further into the livingroom would not be possible -- but thanks.

    BeGreen - thanks for your questions, it is about 1800 square feet, the livingroom has 18 foot cathedral ceiling, only one small room upstairs everything else is on the ground floor, we are near Port Jervis NY, the average low in January is 12 degrees, we do hope to heat the house with it but don't have to. We would like to try to heat with it for stretches of a few days or a week, but only a handful of weeks per winter -- it is a weekend place, we rent/live in an apartment in the city where we work.
  6. psychmike

    psychmike New Member

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    Here is a picture of the wall where the fireplace is going...

    Attached Files:

  7. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    The 7100 is a lot of fireplace for the money, and its a great overall heater. I havent seen a bad firplace extr. product on the market, great reputation and a great product. . But one thing i know for shure is the 7100 cranks the heat and has a huge firebox.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That's my concern. In a new construction, well insulated house, this stove may be serious overkill and only usable with a low fire unless the windows are wide open. Maybe consider dropping down to the Xtrodinair Elite 33 or the Jotul Kenebec?

    Also, if the outside chimney isn't boxed in yet, consider insulating it. The more you can make it act like an interior chimney the better it will behave. This will translate into easier starting and it will create less creosote meaning less cleaning.
  9. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    BeGreen, very valid concern, what i recommend is for my climate, which is not always going to be universal. He has a lot of cubic feet in that room, and it would depend on how open that floor plan is. But agreed, if i assume that 900 square feet is whats being heated and the rest is bed rooms, way overkill. But you can also use the furnace to circulate that house with a well designed hvac system and heat the entire house perfectly. You dont have to fill it to the max capicity either, its nice to have that capacity when you need it.
  10. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    Hey psychmike, you said you were near port jervis. Where at? I'm from Milford, PA just a hop across the delaware river. If you want me to recommend stove shops for you, if you haven't found one you like already, I'd be happy to!
  11. psychmike

    psychmike New Member

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    Yes, it is about 900 sq feet and the rest bedrooms, good guess mountianstovedude! And btw, there is no hvac system -- just old fashioned radiators (hot water) and no A/C. So there is no active venting.

    So the 44 is overkill, hmm, I picked the big one so you'd see a lot of fire, but....it's really going to overheat the house? I'd have to leave windows open to cool the place down, is the drift I'm getting here? Wow. Will small burns do the trick, or will even a few logs kick out too much heat?

    How does one insulate a chimney? I don't think my builder knows a thing about this, so any info i this area is needed -- is there a faq on this? What he has built so far is just the beginning of a wood frame. Do you just stuff insulation in there between the vent and the framing?

    I will look into the Elite 33 and Jotul Kennebec, BeG.

    Corie - we are near Barryville, and we'd love to know what store to go to. We get over to Milford regularly, mostly for the coffee shop that used to be in the lumberyard, and for the lunch place with the homemade soups!
  12. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    Ahh, gotcha. I was just up 97 the other day going to my brother's basketball game in Damascus, PA. Anyway, there are a few local dealerships I'd recommend.

    John's Mower Shop, which is on 97 heading into Port Jervis is great. I get everything from him and he services all my tools that I can't figure out. They also have a small hearth shop in there, and although they might not have what you're looking for, it might be worth it to stop in and see. I'm not sure what brands he's dealing with at this point, but we got a Jamestown pellet stove from him a few years back and they were great.


    That said, our best local Harman, Vermont Castings, Jotul and Hearthstone dealer is the Chimney Sweep Energy Corp. in Middletown. I don't have the exact address with me, but I'll get it to you from home tonight. Jack, the owner, is very knowledgeable and a nice guy. I would recommend them 10 fold when it comes time to purchase you're stove.

    The only local quad dealers are Luhr's on 209 in milford and there are a few in Hawley, which is up near lake wallenpaupack. I can't say anything about them as stove dealers though, as I've never dealt with them personally.

    If you do take a trip to the Chimney Sweep Energy Corp, do it on a cold day and you'll be able to see atleast a few wood stoves and pellets stoves running.
  13. scfa99

    scfa99 New Member

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    I was going to rec'd the 7100 as well but it will be too big for 900 sqft. The 7100 i'm running heats a 2800 sqft center hall colonial nicely.
  14. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    Your going to have to make your buying decision based on how you want to use the fireplace. You will need a 2.4 cubic foot firebox to get 6 plus hour burns. Most 2.4 cf fireboxes will heat 1500 square feet (8 foot celings). You have a lot of cubic feet, and 900 squares is a large room. I dont think you will over do it. ANd if you do, most people would rather over do it the under do it. If you put the same 5 lbs of wood in any stove, your going to get the same heat out of it. The larger fireboxes will hold more wood, burn longer, and put more btu's out over the burn time of the stove.

    As far as your chimney goes, i dont see a fireplace on that wall? why are you looking at inserts? according to that photo you should be looking at EPA zero clearance firepolaces. Im assuming thats what you need, and you dont need a insulated liner for a zc fireplace. You will install the pipe that the manufacture recomends for there unit. In the case of the quad, you would install heatilator sl300 or simpson duraplus 2100* chimney.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    My brother in law did this for his NY house with an exterior chimney. His chimney drafts great and doesn't creosote up badly at all. I've got to head to work, but do a google search on "insulating a chimney" for some ideas. Here's a start:

    http://www.aer-online.com/aer/ar-vent2.phtml
    http://www.protechinfo.com/pdf/2049.pdf
  16. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    I see now why im so confused, you guys are reffering to insulating a chase, not a chimney. Well now that i look at BeGreens link, he is pointing to a liner insulator. Im dense in the mornings. When you insulate your chase you can use regular bat insulation between the studs. Of cours that has to be well secured so it doesnt ever fall out and lay on the chimney.
  17. psychmike

    psychmike New Member

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    MSG - Oy, I thought an insert was just the generic word for a manufactured fireplace! So I am off to read about zero-clearance fireplaces - maybe they are cheaper than inserts! Thanks for the wake-up.

    Two things are referenced that I don't understand - you and Mr. Hunk mentioned a 7100, and then there is mention of "quads" - dunno what either of these things are (you guys sorry yet that you started answering questions for a complete newbie?)

    Thanks Corie and BeG for suggestions/links. Corie, I am going to call Chimney Sweep now, they were also recc. by someone else, so hopefully they can answer some of these q's for me, since I will be buying from them.

    SOOOooo, let me rephrase my question: I am looking for reccommendations for an EPA zero clearance fireplace!! It sounds like there is no need to insulate the chimney (chase) with such a unit... So MSG reccommends a heatilator sl300 or simpson duraplus 2100 (for a "quad"?). A Googling I will go.
  18. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    QuadraFire 7100 fireplace is the manufacture and model. They sl300 and simpson duraplaus is the chimney that goes with that fireplace. You do want to insualte your chase, but your chimney will already be insulated becasue your buying pre-fab chimney. THe liner is for a existing flue, and the use of insulation in that install is debabted on this forum somewhat regulary. I looked at the fireplace you first asked about, and that is a EPA zero clearance, so you are on the right track. But my gosh that thing has over a 4.0 cf firebox. Thats HUGE. The 7100 seams modest at a little over 3.0 cf. Sorry for my confusing post.
    To make it more clear,
    install for a zero clearance fireplace chinmney would be a insulated chase (possibly)
    install for a insert would be a liner with insulation wraped around it , two complete seperate types of insulation.
    Ryan
  19. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    And to answer your other question, There are severl good ZC fireplaces out there. The ones im most familiar with are the 7100, and the heatilator constitution.
    www.quadrafire.com
    www.heatilator.com

    I know that the one your looking at is a quality unit, and so is BIS. Probably more out there then im remembering right now.
  20. psychmike

    psychmike New Member

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    Thanks for the clarification MSG. So after a couple of calls and Googles I am narrowing it down to:

    quadrafire 7100
    fireplace extrordinaire 44 elite
    vermont castings seqouia non-catalytic

    I am passing on the Heatilator - a dealer said he didn't reccommend this, I think because of the price - and also another unit by RSF that I just didn't like the look of.

    Since there aren't that many choices and all these companies seem well-regarded, I guess I can go it alone from here.

    Maybe the one question I have left is whether there is a simple way to compare prices of these units -- none of the stores online or off, seem to carry all these brands...

    I am going to ask the builder to insulate the flue - MSG you said regular batting insulation, well-secured...thanks everybody!
  21. gawebster

    gawebster Member

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    The 44 is designed as a whole-house heater. One option on both the 36 Elite and 44 Elite is that you can burn the unit with the doors open with an optional firescreen. So in times where you do not need all the heat and just want to use it as an open fireplace you have this option.

    Another neat option is the optional Summer Switch. Since the combustion air is pulled in from the outside in a location like a crawl space under the home. You can use the Summer Switch to run the fan only to bring cool air into the home during the hot months. Ask you dealer these options.

    Gary Webster
  22. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    No! not bat insulation for the flue! bat insulation for the chase! Im glad we could help. Make shure you post photos of the finished product. Good luck!
  23. psychmike

    psychmike New Member

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    I'm sorry MSG, I meant to say the chase! Yikes.

    Yes about the summer switch and the screen, Gary -- though I wonder, we don't have a crawlspace, can we pull the air from the basement? I thought it had to come from outside the house...

    And MSG, you asked for a picture, I wanted to give you (and me) some instant gratification, so I photoshopped a Fireplace Extrordinaire into a picture of chimney and then into a pciture of our livingroom - here it is - and that is pretty close to the way it will look, because we are using a light stone with a staggered mantle like that --

    Attached Files:

  24. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi Psychmike,

    ihave looked at both FXPs too and I feel that your 44 is too large. I want to heat 2500+ft and the dealer said it might be too large of a capacity. I would really take another look at the 36. Cheaper and plenty of capacity for your sq footage.

    Also, it is better to have a smaller unit run hot and efficient than a larger unit you have to crack down on because it makes too much heat.

    Good Luck

    Carpniels
  25. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    Nice looking design! I wasnt yelling about the insulation to loud, i was shure you knew what i was talking about, you cant be to carefull when giving advice on these matters. LOL.
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