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Newbie New install: Stove or Fireplace? Forced air dist????

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Machria, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2012
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    Loc:
    Brookhaven, Long Island
    EDIT/UPDATE: DISREGARD the forced air kit and I have decided on a free standing unit. Now the question is what size unit, what material (Soap, Steel or Cast Iron) and what breand/unit???

    Hey guys,
    I'm on LOng Island NY, just got hammered with Sandy, got power back today after a week. I've always wanted a wood stove, but just never got around to doing it. Well, no power and cold for a week has motivated me.

    I have a regular old (~25 years old) fireplace insert, very inefficient, cheap builder type unit... So I want to replace it with a new efficient wood stove or fireplace stove. My dream was always to have a free standing wood stove, and one that I could cook on/in. I always thought freestanding stove were more efficient (aka throw off more heat). But in reading specs online, and comparing them in stores, everyone now tells me the efficiency is about the same between now.

    So here is he problem and my question of which one should I install, a Fireplace stove insert or a free standing stove. The house is 2100 sq feet, is on stilt and is two stories. It is an "upside down" house, that is, the bedrooms are on the first floor, and the 2nd floor is one big great room containing the kitchen, living room and family room (TV) area, but all in an open cathedral ceiling great room(about 1400 sq feet). This is where my existing fireplace is, and this is where I will install the new unit. My goal for the unit is to continue to enjoy the fire, but also heat the house, or at least the great room most of the time. The master bedroom (the only bedroom used) is directly below the fireplace.

    So do I install a Fireplace insert, and use a forced air blower off the back to blow heat down into the bedroom below to help heat the 1st floor (or bedroom anyway), OR do I go with my "dream" of having a free standing unit, but no blower to heat the bedroom???

    How much heat do you actually get from these distribution blowers? Do they work or am I wasting my time even thinking about it?

    The fireplace insert would be somewhat easier to install, just replace the chimney pipes, insert it, and do a bit of mantle work... The free standing stove requires removing the bottom part of my fireplace area and installing a hearth...

    Some of the units I'm looking at, but NOT set on yet are, just units my two local dealers are selling/pushing:
    Freestanding:
    - Enerzone Destination 2.3
    - Hearthstone soapstone units

    Insert:
    - Enerzone Destination 2.3-1
    - Hearthstone units

    So many questions,...... HELP!!!!! What would you do, and why??? Picture of the space attached.

    Attached Files:

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Whenever reasonable, I choose the freestander over the insert. In a good many cases, a pre-fab fireplace is not allowed to accept an install of an actual insert. So if that has to come out anyway, then you might as well have a freestander, with a blower (best of both worlds).

    If the power goes out, you'll still get good heat from the freestander, and as you mentioned, still be able to cook on it. If the power goes out with the insert, you can cook inside if (if you have cast iron pans) but you won't get nearly as much heat off the unit.

    Welcome to the site!

    pen
  3. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Brookhaven, Long Island
    Thanks.... 1 vote for Freestander!

    Any insight on the Enerzone Destination 2.3?
  4. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Brookhaven, Long Island
    Oh, I should say I do not mean "insert", I mean a fireplace, but a new modern EPA one to replace the old fireplace I have now....
  5. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    1,377
    Loc:
    Central Kentucky
    Well, 1st thing is get a bulldozer and get the house turned back upright..

    LOL

    Free standing is always the best if you think it will/maybe used for emergency heat. Inserts and ZC EPA fireplaces need electricity to get the heat out of them. They are probably a wash efficiency wise.. again, as long as you have power.

    Cooking IN a wood stove doesn't happen much (unless it's a cookstove), but many do cook on top. With only 1000sqft or so to heat, you will need a smallish firebox to keep from either cooking yourself out, or, burning the stove to low on a daily basis. Under 2cuft I would say. The downside of a stove that small is they have to be fed more often.

    Either way, I am guessing you will need to do a complete tearout of your existing chimney, and replace with class A. If that fireplace you have now is like mine was(and that is how it looks...)
  6. Machria

    Machria Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Brookhaven, Long Island
    Thanks for reply! I just realized, I should mention a MAJOR peice of info. My house is on the water, on the south shore of Long Island (aka sticking out like a soar thumb over the Atlantic Ocean). And the entire top floor, 3/4 away around is mostly windows from 2' up the wall, to 8' high (6' x 6' windows). So when the wind blows 15 knots in winter, it is hitting my house at 40 knots! And when it is 20 degrees outside, iti s 10 degrees at my house!! ;)

    So I want to oversize the thing, as I'm pretty sure it needs to be. But I do sit (couch/TV) about 10' away from the where the Stove will be. So I don't want to overbake my wife and I! Yet do want to heat the entire great room. I would love to get a solid overnight burn out of the thing as well, to keep my oil bill down so it pays for itself over time.
  7. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Central Kentucky
    I was able to get an overnight burn out of my Homestead, as long as it wasn't in the teens or lower, with a wind. If it was, a 2-3am feeding was required. ( 2cuft firebox)

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