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Newbie question: Insert vs. Stove?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by ml73, Nov 13, 2006.

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  1. ml73

    ml73 New Member

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    Nov 7, 2006
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    Hi,

    I am getting conflicting advice whether a fireplace insert or stove would be the better solution for our fireplace. Our house is an old farm house built in the late 18th century but the fireplace has been rebuilt and maintained by the previous owners, however I have no information about whether the fireplace conforms to any codes. We prefer the looks of a wood burning stove but are concerned about the safety with two young kids running arond if the stove protudes to far into the room. On the other hand, the size of the fireplace is rather nonstantandar (width of 44in and height of 31in with a depth of 18.5in), so inserts might not fit very well. We are looking for at least 50,000btu heating capacity.

    So I got a couple of basic questions: What are the relative advantages/disadvantages of stoves vs. inserts? Given our situation, what is a better choice? Are there any specific safety issues that I have to pay attention to (reading some of the messages on this board, I am reluctant to trust dealers)?

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    Cheers,
    Martin

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  2. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Free standing stove throws more heat.

    A simple screen guard will keep the kids away (we have a four and 21 month old)
  3. philaphire

    philaphire Member

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    Have you considered the Lopi Revere or Avalon Rainer? Both extend about 10 inches onto the hearth and only go 12 or 10 inches into the fireplace respectively. I'm leaning toward one of them because like you I don't want a stove taking up a lot of room and have a quirkly fireplace that limits what I can put in it.

    As for stove vs insert - at the end the advice will probably come down to your personal preference. Both appliances will do what you need them to do - except an insert will probably need a blower which means electricity and a constant hum. I've wrestled with this as well and have decided on the insert for reasons above. Remember you are the ones that will have to live with it and look at it!
  4. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    IMHO - a stove will throw more heat...into that single room. An insert with associated blower will help heat the whole house. The insert will be cooler on the sides because of the surround, but will still be burning hot on the front and top. It will really come down to your personal preference...either one can be made to produce the amount of heat you seek and either one will still burn small hands and fingers without the appropriate precautions.

    Corey
  5. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    If you like the old fashioned "Fireplace" look, go for the insert. If you like the look of a good wood stove, then there are TONS of options.

    As the others said, it's all preference.

    As for safety, there are ways of keeping the kiddies away from the fire. Rails, screen and such will work. Or, you can just let them touch it. Guarantee they'll only do it once ;)
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I will be able to tell ya later this week. I am replacing my insert with a free stander half in and half out of the fireplace. The belief being that it will heat better. Film at eleven.

    The blower reason is a good one. Except that my old insert extended way out onto the hearth and when we lost power for a week last year we never noticed the difference without the blowers. I had always wondered but never tested it because I was concerned about the fans getting too hot when they weren't drawing air through them. But a blower is an option with a lot of free standing stoves. Well, if it isn't a Jotul it is.

    We will try the stove on the hearth and see if we have been trapping any hot air back behind that surround panel. I bet we have.
  7. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    When my insert is first getting going it throws some heat, but once the blowers kick on, the difference is amazing. but as said, the true value is the way heat is moved into the house.
  8. Baroness

    Baroness New Member

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    Hello! I just thought I'd chime in b/c I also have an 18th century farmhouse. (1778 to be exact) Anyway, we have a free standing stove, the Quadrafire Isle Royale. The kids stay away from it, they know it's HOT. About the chimneys, we have 4 chimneys (6 fireplaces) and we had an expert come and check them all out. He said they were A-OK for putting whatever stove/insert that would fit. As long as we had it done properly to code. We hired the same company to order & install the stove and it's worked out perfectly for us. I have heard that free standing stoves kicked off more heat. I don't personally know since our other fireplaces are gas logs or not in use. Whatever you get, you're sure to love it. Especially since it heats our old farmhouse better than the furnace ever did. Good luck!
  9. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    I think you'll find that a freestanding stove and an insert with a blower are going to put out similar heat, however I can't wait for an analysis by BrotherBart, as he'll be the only person I know who has the opportunity to actually experiment. I think inserts warm a greater area based on circulation from the blowers, like Warren mentioned, but that's just a theory. FWIW, my decision was made on aesthetics. I originally just wanted glass doors on my fireplace to cut down wind generated heat loss up the chimney... of course, the wife picked out lovely solid brass doors that needed to be custom made, to the tune of 2600 bucks (nonstandard size fireplace, too large). I almost fell over, and jokingly said to the salesman, gee, I wish I could have a wood stove instead... he said that I could, and here we are... stuck in this whacky cult known as HearthNet. For me, putting in an insert solved 2 issues, 1- no more heat loss up the chimney when the fireplace wasn't in use (which was like, 99% of the time), and 2- a much more comfortable home without burning dinosaur juice. I could have had a stove installed, and actually wanted a Heartstone Mansfield, but it would have required too much construction in the house to make proper room for it. The insert went right into the fireplace, perfectly, no construction, no nothing. Looks great, warms the house very well, fan runs on low only, all day, and you don't even hear it.

    So, BB, let us know what you learn, and ML73, either one will work, (and there are inserts that fit your dimensions)... pick what works best for your home, the kids will learn to stay away (hell, even the dog learns!)

    -- Mike

    BB - Which model insert are you replacing with which stove?
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Mike:

    "BB - Whihch model insert are you replacing with which stove?"

    It is replacing my 1985 Sierra T-4600. Gonna be some big shoes for it to fill. Installing the Englander 30-NCL in my avitar.

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