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Noob Wood-Burning Insert Question

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Trooper, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. Trooper

    Trooper Guest

    Hi Folks,

    I have decided that I'm tired of paying $$$ to heat my cabin with propane, and have also decided that I would like to fill up the fireplace with a new wood-burning insert.

    After looking around a little, one of the first decision points is whether to go with a flush insert, or one that protrudes a bit from the opening of the fireplace: for example Jotul 450 vs 550 (although I have not narrowed it down to those two).

    What are some of the pros and cons to either style? Obviously the Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF) will go a long way into making the decision :)

    Thanks!

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  2. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    703
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    First there are the aesthetics, which do you like?

    An insert that protrudes into the room will give off more heat without the fan than a flush insert. Usually one that protrudes can have a larger firebox for longer burn times.

    A flush insert in nice in a small room, it takes up less floor space.

    If you will frequently be without power I would go with one that protrudes a little for the better radiant heat.

    A lot of answers depend on your plans... 24/7 primary heat? Heating a large area? Well insulated?

    KaptJaq
  3. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    Sound Beach, LINY
    Kapt makes good points. What is the square footage of the cabin, and how well insulated? Are there high ceilings? The heat demand will tell you what size firebox to go with. I'm going to guess in Arizona the winters aren't very cold for very long.
  4. Trooper

    Trooper Guest

    Good questions and thanks kapt and dafattkid. You are correct in that the Northern AZ cold season isn't very long, but my blood isn't very thick either :). That's probably why we are blessed with so many softwoods!

    The cabin is 700 sq ft, and is an A-frame, so high ceilings and a loft. The loft gets very warm, even when it's not very warm downstairs. I would say the insulation is a 4 on a scale of 10; the cabin could also use newer windows for energy efficiency.

    Power outages DO occur, so a protruding stove could be beneficial. I also hear that this type of stove allows for placing a pot of water on top for added room humidity, or for warming up leftovers.

    Thoughts would be appreciated. Oh and I would like to use 24/7 if possible, when I am there.

    Cheers,
    Dan
  5. danham

    danham Member

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    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Cape Cod, MA
    A factor which hasn't been mentioned is what kind of hearth you have.

    Extending our hearth to meet code and accommodate an insert that stuck out farther would have been very costly.

    -dan
  6. Fod01

    Fod01 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    Messages:
    354
    Loc:
    Long Island
    "lots of softwoods" is another reason to opt for a larger firebox. They burn hot/ fast. Catalytic stove might be good here.

    We have a flush insert.... totally spousally directed<> ... I got to have a woodstove, she decided which one based on aesthetics (cast facade, lots of glass as opposed to the Jotul ), and footprint into the hearth.

    Kapt has the same stove.. I forget if he opted for the extension kit which bumps the unit 3" into the room.

    Gabe
  7. Trooper

    Trooper Guest

    Thanks...I thought about this also. My hearth extends 18" from the front of the fireplace. I was told by an employee of the wood stove dealer that this was the minimum requirement to support the Jotul 450.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    49,787
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    South Puget Sound, WA
    Sounds like the Jotul C450 would be a good choice. You could also show the lady a Pacific Energy Alderlea T5 insert for comparison. It will work pretty well during an outage.

    Do you have a picture of the fireplace? That would help with hearth extension ideas if they are necessary. It might be that a simple hearth extension board will work. Also, is there a ceiling fan installed? That will be necessary to break up heat stratification at the roof peak.
  9. danham

    danham Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Cape Cod, MA
    Our hearth is 13" deep and barely accommodates the Regency 1200, which is a fairly small insert. We also had to purchase (and of course use) an 18" free-standing board.

    Also, the depth of the fireplace (which I don't recall) limited what insert we could fit, so bigger firebox and more protrusion just weren't gonna happen anyway.

    -dan
  10. Trooper

    Trooper Guest

    Hey Dan...My fireplace depth is 24" so I think I'm OK fromthat perspective.

    Thanks begreen. I'll have a look at the PE Alderlea T5. I can't upload a picture of the fireplace right now, but I will have a ceiling fan to push the warm air down. Right now I am using a box fan in the loft, pointed at the downstairs, to circulate the air.
  11. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Alittle late to the party, but I opted for the PE because it extended out. It's served well in power outages, Sandy, and snow storms with no power.
  12. Trooper

    Trooper Guest

    begreen, here is a picture of the fireplace. The hearth extends 18" out. Thanks, Dan
    fireplace.jpg
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Nice hearth. Is this raised above the floor by several inches?
  14. Trooper

    Trooper Guest

    Yes. I'm not there right now to measure, but I have somewhere between 6 and 12 inches from floor to hearth.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Sounds good. I don't think you would need anymore than an ember shield on the floor.
  16. Trooper

    Trooper Guest

    Thanksbegreen. So, let me summarize thus far:
    - Will a non-flush insert require exoensive hearth mods? No
    - Power outages occur, but I have a propane heater as backup
    - Insulation is so-so but I will be improving this over time
    - Ceiling is high, but air will be moved around with ceiling fans
    - 700 sq ft of heat requirement, 24/7
    - Fireplace that will support a pretty good size insert (fireplace is 39"W x22"D x 30"H

    Given I will size the insert as large as possible without melting the walls, is aesthetics the only decision factor? Not to minimize aesthetics, mind you, because aesthetics go a long way to the wife's (and thus my) happiness ;).

    Cheers,
    Dan

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