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New Wood Burning Guy - Insert Suggestions and Ideas

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by JeffStinson, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. JeffStinson

    JeffStinson New Member

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    Good Morning Everyone,

    I’m new to the forums, looking to get my first wood burning insert. I’ve been around wood stoves and fireplaces most of my life, but really looking to get something to help offset my oil bill at my house.

    I have a masonry fireplace, ready to go for a insert. I have included images below for the specs of my fireplace, along with a diagram of my floor plan!

    Hope you guys can help me out! I’m on a small budget, hence why I’m looking for a wood insert since I have a great hookup on seasoned wood!

    Home Specs:
    • 1250 sqft above ground (main/bedroom levels), 400 sqft family room(s) below ground.
      (The green in picture)
    • 13-15 ft Chimney
    Ps, forgive me for all the mess my fiancé has in the front of our fireplace. (“Fall Decorations”)

    Thanks,
    Jeff


    fireplace-specs.jpg floorplan-fireplace.jpg

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  2. JeffStinson

    JeffStinson New Member

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  3. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    First off - be ready to move that TV. Even if you have clearance the heat coming off an insert or stove will eventually cook it.


    Im not an insert expert, but to give you more specific recommendations there are other things the members will want to know:

    - Whats you rough budget for the project
    - Are you only considering inserts, or open to a freestanding stove as well?
    - Have you had the chimney inspected by a sweep to determine if it needs a liner, etc
    - Do you want to completely replace oil, or only supplement?
    - Do you want to be able to heat as effectively in power outages as when the power is on (some inserts dont heat well without the blower)
    - How old is the house, how well insulated, etc.
    - Whats your wood supply situation look like? Do you have any already, can you scrounge or have to buy?

    Also, the floor plan is a big help, but to make sure I'm following - is this a side by side split level with one main floor only to the right and a upper floor over basement on left? Do you hope to heat the entire house? You probably will have trouble getting heat to the far end of the house with an end chimney, word of warning.....

    Oh, and a big Welcome to the hearth!
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  4. macattack_ga

    macattack_ga New Member

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    Don't forget a stainless steel liner and cap.
    stoveguy2esw likes this.
  5. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Hi Jeff, welcome to the forum!

    I am also not quite following your floorplan but I assume you want to heat about 1200 sqft with the fireplace on the main level. (The family room in the basement will not get any heat as the warm air will rise up not down.) You probably want to look for a medium size insert with a firebox size of 2 to 2.5 cu ft to heat that space in your climate. Plus, smaller stoves will give you heat for about 5 to 6 hours max; too short for overnight burns. The inserts you linked to were all falling short of that. Some inserts to take a look at (check the dimensions but your fireplace has a good size; I assume they will all fit):

    http://www.regency-fire.com/Products/Wood/Wood-Inserts/I2400.aspx
    http://www.pacificenergy.net/pacificenergy/super_insert.php
    http://www.drolet.ca/en/products/wood/escape-1800-i-wood-insert
    http://www.napoleonfireplaces.com/products/1402-wood-burning-insert/
    Osburn 2000 or Matrix: http://www.osburn-mfg.com/en/heaters/wood-inserts
    Enviro 1700 series: http://www.enviro.com/fireplace-products/wood/fireplace-insert.html
    http://www.lopistoves.com/product-detail.aspx?model=303#specs-tab

    I have the PE Super insert and can highly recommend it. It gets some of the longest burn times for a medium-sized, non-catalytic insert, has a good convective loop even without the blowers running and one of the best baffle systems in the industry. Nevertheless, you will probably have to spend more than you anticipated regardless of the insert your chose unless you find a used one. Just to give you an idea: If you have the stove shop install it, you are looking at somewhere in the $4000 neighborhood. Probably around $800 less if you do the install yourself.

    Your hearth is pretty deep already; if you get a flush or almost flush insert you may not have to extend the hearth; required clearance is 16". However, the less an insert protrudes into the room the more it will rely on the blower to get the heat distributed, which may not be so good during a power outage. There will certainly be a trade-off for you.

    I would also recommend putting an insulated liner in your exterior chimney. You will have better draft and less creosote formation. In addition, a block-off plate ( http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/making_a_block_off_plate/ ) and putting Roxul around the insert will help with heat retention ( http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/finally-got-around-to-insulating-my-fireplace.75755/ ).

    Do you also have seasoned wood available already? All modern EPA-stoves require seasoned wood with moisture content of less than 20 % to run efficiently and safely. Most people here had very disappointing experiences when trying to buy truly seasoned wood and therefore dry it themselves by stacking it with lots of wind and sun exposure for 2 to 3 years before burning it. If you are committed to buy a stove I would take care of the wood ASAP.
    chazcarr, PapaDave and stoveguy2esw like this.
  6. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I looked at his floor plan again and realized what he has is a traditional split level - two floors on one side, and a single floor on the other. Probably looks something like this:

    Traditional_Side_Split_Level_Home.jpg
  7. bryan

    bryan New Member

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    I have the CB2500 stove (CW2500) and use it as supplemental to my NG furnance. I have about a 2000 sq ft two story colonial and am heating from an insulated basement I've only used it for one season of burning pallets and a little bit of seasoned cord wood but with that I can say that

    1) The fire box is small and you won't give you "overnight burns" with it. Using cord wood you'll have enough coals to restart a fire at 6 am, but don't expect any real heat coming off at that point even if you reloaded at 11 pm. If I am really pushing the stove I can get heat all the way to the top floor, but be prepared to reload multiple times a day.

    2) I don't use a surround (why spend more $) and get good heat off the insert without the blower, but the blower gets the heat upstairs a bit faster it seems perhaps because the instert is pointed at the exit of the room so the blower gets it there better. If you can install so the top is protruding from the fireplace (as close to the front edge as possible) I would definitely recommend it.

    3) Can't complain about the quality, it all works like it should. Blower is noisy, but that seems to be the standard knock on inserts. It is variable speed so if you are watching TV you can turn it down or off. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but we bought online from Ace for like $600 or $650 and nothing else could touch that price.

    In summary: As a stove for supplemental heat for a small area (<1500 sq ft area) I'd say go for it. It does the job of heating our basement living room and the main floor when its going, but come early morning the furnace will be running during the dead of winter. If you are looking to heat an entire house full time you might want to spend a bit more for a bigger firebox. Try to find a floor model at a stove shop.
  8. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    I can't comment on the stoves you're looking at, but the sizes (medium - around 2 cf) seems about right.

    Don't underestimate installation costs. I'd get an installer out there and get an idea of that. You'll want an insulated liner.

    Can you elaborate on the seasoned wood you have lined up?
  9. Dave A.

    Dave A. Minister of Fire

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    I have that Century insert, same insert as Bryan (Century CW2500 with 1.5 cf firebox). I used it for about 1.5 seasons and have since replaced it with a much larger Summit insert. I probably paid for the Century the first year in fuel savings with propane heat. I suppose if like Bryan I had NG heat I would have been more satisfied. But after one season with the Century I realized it wasn't enough just to supplement the propane, I really wanted to be able to do more like 90% of my heat with wood, and not be slave to loading the stove every few hours.

    I think with your size house you'd be happier with something larger than 2 cf firebox. Unfortunately there aren't many new inserts available at the prices you're looking at with larger fireboxes. There are more freestanding stoves with larger fireboxes available in the sub $1000. price range. And by putting a freestanding stove in your family room you could heat the whole house better than with an insert in the LR.

    As Grisu pointed out, with an insert in the living room fireplace, you won't get much/any heat in the lower level family room. If you install a stove in the lower level family room, you would have the chimney cost to consider without a fireplace but that would be offset some by the cost of a liner which you would need for an insert in the fireplace.

    If you're wedded to an insert in the LR fireplace and want something lower priced, keep an eye out for used EPA inserts with firebox over 2 cf.

    Or this larger Century insert might work better for you: http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200577754_200577754

    The CW2900, for about $1000 at Northern says it has a 16+" deep firebox so you'd be able to do NS loading. The CW2500 is only about 12" deep. The Drolet Escape at NT also made by SBI is similar.
  10. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    ok, im over pouting about Grisu not mentioning MY insert :mad: lol

    of the ones he did mention all are great units , if i were to be "picking from the litter" i like the regency model (his first link) little bigger firebox, 2.3 CF is more adapted to give an overnight burn.

    that said all are great stoves, liked the LOPI as well but i think it sticks out too far looking at the picture so the hearth would definitely have to be extended for that one.

    BTW as mentioned above , don't forget to add the cost of a liner into the project its just as important as the stove
  11. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Sorry, did not want to offend you. You spec the 13 with a 1.8 cu ft firebox; I always put that in the "small" category. Do you think that would be sufficient? Ever thought of building something larger, maybe with 2.5? I would be happy to recommend you more often when people are looking for stoves but there is a large gap between the 13 and the 30.
  12. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    im kidding bro, no worries, actually of the ones you listed the regency was a 2.3 CF i think and was the one i liked out of your selections. the other i liked was the lopi ,but discounted due to the extension out of the FP and im thinking mine would be pretty tight to the existing hearth as well.hard to say looking at pics though they all may be out enough that extending the hearth may be needed
  13. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    If I would be me I would take a hard look at the Osburn Matrix. It also has a 2.3 cu ft firebox and is a flush insert. Of course, it will probably cost more than the OP wants to spend. Getting something cheaper and a hearth extender or stoveboard should also work. The Regency would probably be a good option there.
  14. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    yeah, kinda my thinking as well, the osburn is nice , but its a bit more pricy lol, theres a regency fireplace sale banner right under this box as i type.
  15. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Hi Jeff welcome to the forum! I have never had an insert but I can speak about free standing stoves. I find a 2 cu. ft. firebox more than adequate heating a 1600 sq. ft. home in SE Mass. and I routinely get 10-12 hr. burns as well. The PE stoves are very efficient secondary burn stoves and would be a good fit for your size home..

    Good luck!

    Ray
  16. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Hope we didn't scare off the OP ;lol
  17. JeffStinson

    JeffStinson New Member

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    Hey Guys,

    You haven’t scared me off! I’m sorry about not respond right away!
    I was out of town in Upstate NY for a wedding and just returned late last night.

    As for my insert options, I’m trying to locate either a used regency unit, or a new unit somewhere between $800-$1000.. I also will be getting a flexpipe 15’ liner since my chimney is only 13ft.

    As for heating, I’m only hoping to heat my living area downstairs and have some warm are I can push to my upstairs bedroom, while keeping our spare bedrooms closed. ( I can use a small ceramic space heater to help offset oil prices.)

    As for my wood, I have a hook up for $100 a cord, seasoned oak & hard maple (friends business). I have a covered back patio which I plan to stack close to the house on a rack.

    Does anyone know of any used units possibly for sale here?

    Thanks,
    Jeff
  18. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    also don't forget about style of insert. i can't see the rest of your house, but make sure you get a stove that compliments the house and your own decorating style. our house is a modern mid-century, that's why the flush mount morso 5660 with its clean lines worked out so well.
  19. JeffStinson

    JeffStinson New Member

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    That’s one of the main reasons I, well, my fiancé would like a an insert with windows, so when we have company, the fireplace will create a nice relaxing mood.



    If looks weren’t a concern, I could have picked up a nice Baker Insert. (Great quality – only $500)



    Just want something with a ceramic glass window, 1.8-2.3 box, and a decent blower. Used/New, just something that I can fit into my budget.

    Would anyone recommend a Appalachian 4N1-Xl Trailmaster? I found one in my budget, now I just need to get a liner, and insulate the fireplace.
  20. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  21. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    >>my fiancé would like a an insert with windows, so when we have company, the fireplace will create a nice relaxing mood.

    i would agree with your fiance, especially if your stove is in the main room. the morso 5660 has a huge viewing window, its also nice to see what's going on in there, if your not an expert burner like me. the morso is also a convexion stove, it has a fan, but I hardly ever use it. i used it with and without the fan, and it did't make a difference. so that's a decision too. i would caution against skimping. do the math, oil price, how long you plan to stay in the house, resale, etc. also, make sure you address your air sealing and insulation issues. makes no sense to put heat into a house and then lose it to air leaks and poor insulation. with my wood stoves running, my goal is to use only 175-200 gallons of oil per year.
    raybonz likes this.
  22. Sons924

    Sons924 Member

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    that appalachian looks to require a 8" flue or an adapter to convert to 6". I personally wouldn't consider a used insert. It could need new gaskets, the blower could quit. Then you could be close to the same amount as a new one. Plus you don't know if it's been overfired. I understand the budget concerns completely. The windsor from ebay is made by monessen, which is now the parent company to Vermont Castings. I don't know much about the windsor but i love my VC. If you are looking at Northern tool check out the Volzengang "The Colonial". It's 899.00 but it includes the surround, blower and hardware kit. It's a steel stove that is rated to put out almost 70,000 btu and says will heat 1800 sq feet.
  23. JeffStinson

    JeffStinson New Member

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  24. JeffStinson

    JeffStinson New Member

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  25. madison

    madison Minister of Fire

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    You possibly may not have enough clearance in front of a freestanding wood stove.

    --Download a couple insert and freestanding stove installation manuals and research the clearance requirements sections.

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