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New small insert install... a plan and some questions

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by lostandconfused, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. lostandconfused

    lostandconfused New Member

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    Hi folks, great forum you have here. I've been lurking around doing as much reading as I can... very useful!

    We are planning to put a Regency i1200 insert in our old open fireplace. Our house is a 1924 arts + crafts 2 storey house in Nova Scotia, with an exterior chimney (see photo).

    The chimney is in bad shape, so is getting repaired/repointed and lined before we install the insert.

    The WETT-certified mason/sweep said we could use a 5" liner, because our chimney is high enough to compensate for the smaller diameter flue. This would also save us the cost of breaking out the existing clay liner (~$450). The Regency documentation says 6" is the min.

    Does that raise any alarm bells with you folks? Has anyone else got a similar setup (undersized flue, small insert, tall chimney)?

    Attached Files:

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum lostandconfused. We hope to clear up any confusion!

    Depends upon height of chimney. Normally one does not go smaller but some have and have done okay.

    Perhaps you are forgetting the most important thing though!! First thing you should be doing is getting the wood on hand. Even if you plan on buying the wood. If you buy, that wood will not be ready to burn. If you do not have your wood supply already, please do yourself a big favor and get it as quickly as you can. Make sure it is split (wood won't dry much until split) and stack it in the windiest spot you have so it will dry as quickly as possible.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2013
    PapaDave likes this.
  3. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    5.5" is usually the smallest you should go, your chimney looks to be about 20-25 feet tall which 5.5" would work, not sure about 5". Whichever way you go make sure that liner is insulated since that is an exterior chimney and the flue probably has cracks, not sure about canada codes on cracks and liners needed to be insulated.

    Also be aware that with a small firebox you will be feeding that insert often. If it was me I would extend the hearth and install a freestanding stove with a rear exhaust. A brown woodstock stove would look very nice sitting in front of that fireplace. Here are some pics you can see what it would look like: http://www.woodstove.com/owner-photos/stove/4
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  4. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I couldn't agree more with setting a nice size stove on the hearth. The size of that insert will likely frustrate you. But don't stop at Woodstock stoves, there are lots of really nice stoves out there that will look great there. The Hearthstone Homestead is one nice stove that has a compact design.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    If the chimney liner height is >30ft, 5" should be ok, especially if insulated. I'm more concerned about the insert size. Is this the largest that will fit? If you can provide full dimensions front and back (and depth) we can see if there are alternatives.
  6. lostandconfused

    lostandconfused New Member

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    Thanks folks, good points.

    Wood - haven't purchased it yet, but aiming to do so once I have found a good supplier. Recommendations welcome (if any other Nova Scotian/HRM folks read this).

    Sizing/stoves - multiple constraints here...

    1. Fireplace dimensions are on the small side - 27 3/4" w x 25" h x 17" d. Tapers to 25" w at the back. Looked at the Jotul C350, but it's too wide.
    2. We have two young (<2y.o.) kids, so being able to fence off the fireplace is necessary, and that's easier with an insert than with a stove
    3. Aesthetics - it's a narrow room, and we don't want to lose the floor space to a stove
    4. Budget - we don't want to get into hearth extensions/pads etc - spending enough on the chimney as it is!

    Liner - thanks also for the comments on the liner, feeling slightly better about the 5" now, but will have to confirm the exact height first.
  7. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    Hi lostandconfused, that looks like a really nice craftsman home. We have one as well with original unpainted chestnut trim throughout. Are those divided light doors sliding or swinging? We have sliding ones in our dining room - truly beautiful craftsmanship.

    You may also want to just consider that Regency as a free-standing stove in the fireplace opening. I did that with my Lopi Answer 1250 and I like that look a lot. You could likely still fit it all the way inside, but it wouldn't have the trim around it. You might also want to look at the Lopi Answer - it has a slightly bigger (perhaps deeper) firebox and a jacketed surround for heat transfer. It comes in an insert as well. There are other choices in this size range as well.

    Regarding liner size - 5" diameter is only 2/3 the inside area of a 6" liner. I would personally stay with what the stove manufacturer recommends as much as possible, especially if you have a tall chimney (>15 feet high). An extra $450 now is cheaper than a new $1500 liner later. True - everything may work fine with the 5" liner, but it also may not. Think of the $450 as good insurance on a successful install.

    You will get a lot of advice to get a bigger stove with all that means (larger hearth, etc.). You should know what you want to accomplish with your stove and understand what that means. The proponents of the larger stoves are usually the 24/7 burners who want to completely eliminate their oil usage. I applaud what they want and what they achieve, but that is not realistic for me in my current house with its layout and my current job situation. Therefore, I use my stove to increase the general comfort level when I am there and to reduce my heating oil usage by about 1/3 every year.

    If you want to be a 24/7 burner and/or eliminate your fossil fuel usage completely, then the Regency stove you've described is probably too small for that size house in a Nova Scotia winter. But if you are like me, I am sure that it will be a good choice for you.

    Also, get your wood now. I struggled my first year with less than optimal wood. My experience was much better the second year. The dry wood makes all the difference - ignore what the firewood seller tells you in this regard. Also, I would suggest that you get wood cut to 16" length if you get it delivered prior to making your final decision. Not all smaller stoves accept 18" pieces.

    One last comment - I hope that you have insulated your house well already. If not, I would do that first.
  8. lostandconfused

    lostandconfused New Member

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    Thanks - that's a great suggestion actually. I might have to start a new thread to get some more stove recommendations!

    What are your thoughts on the efficiency of the stove-in-fireplace option vs an insert with blower?

    We'll only be using wood to supplement our central heating (like you), so maybe I shouldn't sweat the efficiency too much...
  9. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    The insert with the blower will do better than a stove tucked back into the fireplace without the blower. Either go with an insert, or a stove that sits out in front of the opening. It sounds like the insert is the way to go in your current situation.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Have to disagree. 5 or 5.5" will be fine with a 30ft flue. We see several folks a year here that have inserts with long 6" liners asking how they can install a draft damper in the liner and find out they can't.
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  11. DBoon

    DBoon Minister of Fire

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    begreen would know on the liner.

    My Lopi Answer has a blower and is jacketed. It moves the heat out pretty well. I specifically chose that stove for that reason. You'll definitely need a blower, for sure, whether you go with an insert or a stove in the fireplace.

    The efficiency seems pretty good. I wish I had known to get a block-off plate installed when the stove was installed - I haven't got around to putting that in after-the-fact. I would recommend that you do that. Even without that, I can heat my house down to 20 degrees F with no other source of heat using sugar maple, and a little lower with hickory. But it cools off during the overnight and needs supplemental heat from the oil boiler.
  12. lostandconfused

    lostandconfused New Member

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    I did some looking around at stoves that could squeeze into the fireplace, and the options are pretty limited... Only have a 27"x25" opening to work with.

    That combined with negative WAF and lower heating output are swinging me back towards the insert!

    Back to liners for a sec... is an insulated 5" flue worth paying the $ to chip out the clay chimney liner?
  13. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    If you go with a stove recessed in the fireplace, make sure it has a front mounted blower. The heat will kill the blower and you can't get to it without pulling the stove out.
    This makes field even narrower.
  14. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    You may have an issue here. If it says 6" then you should use 6 ". I have a 6" ss pipe going through mine, it just barely fit in with a lot of work. But I don't think you should try the 5 when the stove calls for the 6... Am I wrong?
  15. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    I think you should, re read this post it makes the most sense, good luck...also, I recommend the biggest insert you can get to fit in
  16. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Most likely. ;)
    With a flue that tall and an insert that small he'll be fine. It'll suck your hat in the door!
  17. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    I have the montpelier, if you want to keep warm in a room while seeing an awesome fire, this insert is for you. If you want a house heater, it is not the way to go
  18. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    I don't think I'm wrong if the manufacturer is saying it takes a 6" flue....JACK!.....just kidding...
  19. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Their just covering their bases. It can't be tested in every scenario.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Check out Duraliner 5". No chip out needed.
  21. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    Your doing it all wrong if you look at a freestanding that you can squeeze into the fireplace, you want one with a rear vent that will back up to the fireplace opening, like the woodstocks that I posted, there are others out there that do rear vent and are made just for this application.

    As for the liner, you never did say how high that chimney is, that will be your foundation for if you can install a 5" or 5.5" insulated liner.
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  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I think the height is the deciding factor: Fireplace dimensions are on the small side - 27 3/4" w x 25" h x 17" d. I don't think Woodstock makes one with a vent that low unless the legs are cut down.

    Take a look at the Jotul C450 insert. It has adjustable depth and is 25.5" wide.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    While confirming the height, find out what the chimney tile's interior dimensions are too.
  24. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    Progress: Rear Flue Height (center) Short Leg Kit: 22.75”
    (no ash pan option)


    Would be a tight fit but I think it would work.
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Ah thanks. I was thinking the PH would be too large for the area, but maybe not.

    lost, how large an area will the stove be heating? Are you ok with extending the hearth a bit?

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