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new install, your 2 cents please

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by older/colder, Oct 8, 2006.

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  1. older/colder

    older/colder New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2006
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    Loc:
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Hello to everyone,
    Would greatly appreciate some opinions from people with wood burning experience.
    After years of wishing I had an alternative heat source, I am installing a wood fireplace insert into my 50 yr old 2 story 1300 sq.ft (1st and 2nd floor total) house with moderate insulation, R10 walls, R32 attic. Lots of (double glaze) windows. Lower floor plan is relatively open. Stairs is at oposite end of house from fireplace, layout doesn't support anything other than insert in living rm. Chimney is 25’ high clay lined with 6.5x 10 id. on an exterior wall. New England climate.
    Am looking at a Pacific Energy Vista or Pacific insert, best deal available locally. The Pacific seems a better stove for $200 more, with front to back loading, and more stainless parts inside, only question is size i.e. oversizing with the Pacific (72000 btu). Vs. undersizing with the Vista (50000 btu) Have forced hot air heating, plan to set that at 60 deg. and use the stove (mostly at night), to bring the living area up to a comfy temperature. Can the Pacific burn clean low enough not to fry us in this 650 sq. ft. area?
    Your comments, please.

    Now, the part that has almost convinced me to give up and turn up the oil heat. I am concerned about draft problems with this tall cold chimney. Should I be? All 4 stove retailers I visited were not, quite ready to sell me a stove/ fixed price chimney and installation, only question asked about the chimney was its height. All would use flex as default, when asked one offered rigid as well if I preferred.

    What is the best liner install (full length of chimney) in this situation? These are the options I’ve been presented;
    6" S/S flex in the clay liner, un-insulated of course. (Probably not the best, I'm guessing)
    tear out the clay liner and install rigid 6” SS 24ga, but no insulation, just a bigger air space
    install 5.5” rigid and pour thermix or vermiculite around the pipe
    install 6" rigid S/S un-insulated in the clay liner
    use rigid double wall S/S pipe if it exists in a size that will fit.

    After spending 8 hrs on this forum and reading everything I could find about liners, my preference is an insulated rigid liner if possible, but am not crazy about the idea of tearing out the clay liner to make more room, in good shape and offers some protection in case of a fire. Is the 5.5” liner an acceptable compromise? Is 5.5” acceptable on a stove with a 6” collar?
    Is there another solution, short of moving the chimney? I want to do this right the first time, I'm not moving any time soon.
    Thanks in advance,

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  2. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I think you will be fine withe the mid size insert. Those BTU numbers are just manufactures claims running their stove full bore. In the real world you won't be doing that. Most people burn on low to medium. Cut the BTU's down 1/3 to 1/2. You will like the bigger sized firebox for longer burns and less frequent loading.

    I have the same size outside chimney you do and I couldn't fit a 6" liner down without busting the old clay tiles out. Too many offsets and mortar in the way. So I went with the 5.5" and wrapped insulation around the top 1-2 ft. My system has 3 ea 90 degree elbows and still drafts super. But if you go by code you may have to go with the 6". You may get 6" down without the insulation, but I doubt it will go with it. I personally think it will draft fine without insulation, just cap the top and wrap the top if you can.
  3. older/colder

    older/colder New Member

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    Loc:
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Thanks for the input, and for telling me what I was hoping to hear about the Pacific insert. I figure that the increased draft of rigid pipe should offset the smaller cross section of the 5.5", will look into local code as well; leaves open the possibility to get some insulation, even 1/4", wrapped around the chimney end of the pipe, still better than nothing. Come to think of it, replaced the firebox liner in my furnace a few years back, also 1/4" ceramic blanket, so it's more effective than the thickness suggests.
    Any Pacific insert owners have any comments about their stove? The Summit seems to be more popular on this forum, if only my house was that big....
  4. suematteva

    suematteva New Member

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    Loc:
    Rutland, VT//Southern Quebec
    Where is the resident objective expert from the midwest on pacific energy...maybe he is limbering up his voice...ohhhhhhh Caaaaanaaaaaddddddaaaaa...maybe still celebrating Chris Columbus day...
  5. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    Loc:
    Richmond VA
    You say you replaced the fire box liner....is this a prefab fireplace? is the pacific approved for instal in a prefab? That is a safety concern. Other more experienced folk will chime in on that one I am sure. As for the liner. I wouold pull the 6 inch flex, pour the vermiculite where it fits on each side and call it a day. As for stove size. I have a fairly large firebox on my insert and run that pupply full bore in the winter. the family gathers together in the stove room and it does an adequat job with most of the house heating....not spectacular but adequate. I am in virginia and you are WAYYY up north. I have a feeling with the insulation you mentioned that the larger stove would not hurt you at all. Provided it actually fits into your firebox and again.....make sure whatever you get is approved for prefab install

    David
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    You can get rectangle or oval pipe if you want to make certain of cross-sectional size, BUT

    Given that stove - small to medium firebox and door size, most of the options will work fine including 5.5 flex or rigid.

    I would not tear out the liner! That is, unless it was totally cracked and glazed with 3rd degree tar/creosote, etc. etc.

    Do not use vermiculite without some sore of additive - Thermix would be much better. This is because vermiculite is like fine sand and can end up running out through the tiniest hole!
  7. older/colder

    older/colder New Member

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    Loc:
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Looks like I clouded the issue a bit by mentioning the firebox liner replacement, that was the firebox liner in my oil furnace, nothing to do with the fireplace insert. It is a 50's code built masonry fireplace, 1" gap between clay liner and brick surround, in good structural shape. The same installer who wants to tear out the clay liner (but not insulate the S/S "the air space is sufficient insulation" so I'm ripping all the fibreglass out of the attic to make room for more air!) also doesn't install a baffle plate at the damper, when asked said he just leaves it open. Have read the post here that describes what happens in a chimney fire if you don't have a baffle plate, not to mention the heat loss out the side of the house when the fire is out.
    Concern about draft is driven mainly because the fireplace has always smoked into the house unless at full blaze, but this may be because damper was mounted right above the opening top, no smoke chamber, (I think it's called). Chimney blows air in my face when I'm up there measuring the flue, so there's draft happening.
    Thanks for all the advice so far, I'm SO glad I found this site before handing over any money. Hope to be a regular visitor when things get burning.
  8. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    ;-P %-P ;-)
    "older/colder" Howz-it. My home is around 1800 sf , 2 story older home (100+) remodeled ..........Tho i dont own an insert i do own a pacific Energy "Summit" model free standing stove. My front room is around 450 sf with the stairs next to the stove. The Summit it rated for 2000-3000 sf . I haven't had one problem with too hot , not burning a quality burn or just letting a few logs heat at low. Stove might be rated at 50,000 BTU - 72,ooo BTU or with mine at 97,000 BTU's You'll never hit and run the max BTU of a stove . I use the bottom half of BTU from my stove most of the time except whe it gets 0° - 20° below than I'll crank her up and even then I have never filled over 80% full. Why the need for a bigger stove for me ? More room for wood , coal and ash . Some of the smaller fire boxes are just too small and you get a build up every day that would need cleaned out.

    Your question should be "should i get the Pacific (72000 btu 69.3% efficiency) or the Summit (97000 btu 72.3% efficiency Also with EBT -Extended Burn Technology) " Wood stove are not like your average gas furnace that is XX BTU and that's what your run ........Its up to the wood burner (you) how hot you run it. Wood has XX amounts of BTU per log , the more logs the more inlet air the more heat , less air longer burn time. Less wood less BTU . Just because the wood stove is rated at 50K BTU's doesn't mean you need to run at that # .

    You have done you research on stoves , Good for you , excellence.

    I'll let the more experienced with liners for your chimney give there best advise . Form what i have found out and also read and research is that Pacific Energy stoves are not problematic with draft. "Some" brands / model of stoves are kinda finicky with draft so i dont think the brand you are looking at (P.E.) would be an issue.

    BTW .........Welcome to the pack.
  9. older/colder

    older/colder New Member

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    Hi Roospike, when I searched PE on this forum your name came up frequently if not every time, hoped you might add your thoughts. Have pretty much decided on the Pacific, the Summit is just too big to fit in the fireplace, the Pacific will be a tight fit on the sides as it is. Probably just as well since that's one decision made for me. The Summit's features are a big a step up again from the Pacific.
    With a stove being a pricey and weighty purchase, and kinda hard to return if you don't like it, it's good to know I'm not going down the wrong road. My only experience with wood burning goes back 20 years when damping down the stove usually meant smoldering fires, hence the (over?)caution about too much heat. Looking forward to the new technology, Cheers
  10. hilly

    hilly Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    PE are manufactured a few miles away from where I live and most people here, if they burn wood, have a PE stove. Because my fireplace opening was a bit too small, I couldn't get the Pacific and I felt the Vista was too small so I had to go with a different manufacturer. I really like my stove, but I still wanted a PE!
  11. PAJerry

    PAJerry Member

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    Loc:
    Waterford, PA
    My house is about the same size, but a Cape Cod style, and my 1st floor is about 950 sq. ft. The Vista heats the whole house very easily. Some believe that over-sizing yeilds a more inefficient burn and if you try to damper it down to keep from overheating the house, you are prone to more creosote.
  12. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Again with the home work ....... You have done it well. Sounds like the Pacific is your model. New modern wood stove are a lot different than the ole ' Smokie joes of the past . You will burn less wood with the new EPA model design. Your in for a treat.
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