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Open Fireplace..I want a Insert!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by acowherd, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. acowherd

    acowherd Member

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    A little background. I built a new home in 2007 and ran 2 pellet stoves for heat, I built a zero clearance fireplace for my Pellet insert on the main floor, and installed a xxv in the basement. It was a well insulated custom home, and the pellets heated its 2500 sq ft well. We would keep the family room around 74-75 and the basement around 75+. IT was toasty.

    We recently moved to my family farm house that was built 1860s. It is a nice 2 story 2500 sq ft no basement.
    It has propane forced air for heat. We have a central room open fireplace 12*12 tile chimney, and its in great shape. I had it cleaned and inspected. The second fireplace has a gas log in it with a 12 inch round pipe chimney. Also cleaned and inspected. So I am thinking a nice big wood burning insert in the main room, and either open fireplace for the second or a gas burner insert. I would like to use the main fireplace insert to heat the majority of the home, and supplement the back rooms with propane heat.

    I have never ran a wood stove. I successfully heated my other home for 5 season with pellet heat. l know my pellet insert wouldn't heat this old house.

    So I am here, asking for help. Where to start? Obviously I have no wood pile. So I know I need some wood, But what else? What else do I need? What are some good inserts? Thanks in advance, and look forward to learning.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013

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  2. USMC80

    USMC80 Minister of Fire

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    fireplace dimensions? Maybe a freestanding stove?

    And yes get started on your wood supply as you will need well seasoned wood
  3. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Since you already mentioned that you don't have any wood yet I would suggest to get several cords cut, split and stacked ASAP so you have fuel for next winter (and beyond). For this winter it may be hard to get seasoned wood still. I think you would either need to buy some processed firelogs (biobricks, Idaho logs etc.) or wait with the insert until next year.

    For the insert: If it fits you will want to put in a large insert with a firebox ~3 cu ft to heat that much space. Some options:
    Pacific Energy Summit
    Regency i3100
    Osburn 2400
    Lopi Freedom
    Quadrafire 5100i
    Kuma Sequoia
    If you want to consider a catalytic insert for long burn times and more even heat output look at the BlazeKing Princess.
    Once you have nailed it down to a few candidates you can ask here for further opinions/experiences.

    Is the chimney interior or exterior? If exterior, an insulated liner is almost a must, for an interior it is recommended but you can get away with an uninsulated one.
    During the install put in a block-off plate: http://www.hearth.com/talk/wiki/make-a-damper-sealing-block-off-plate/ and http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/poor-mans-block-off-plate-ii.73018/
    If the back of the fireplace goes to the outside and you have enough room putting Roxul around the insert will help: http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/...-i2400-wood-insert.102314/page-2#post-1349256
  4. Excavator

    Excavator Burning Hunk

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    A free standing wood stove would be easy and install a ss liner to be safe
    If you have a small damper and frame it can be cut or removed

    [​IMG]
  5. acowherd

    acowherd Member

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    The opening is 40 inches wide 32 inches tall and 24 inches deep. Really like the looks of an insert. The fireplace isn't raised and a free standing stove would take up some floor space. Would love to have it up and running this winter, but I know wood supply will dictate.

    The chimney is an interior chimney.
  6. Oregon aloha

    Oregon aloha Member

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    At 32" tall you can put a free standing stove inside your firebox and it won't stick out at all. Just use a block off plate.
  7. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Wow, that is a big one. Certainly suitable for a freestanding stove. Something to consider if budget is an issue. If you go the insert route I don't think you will have trouble fitting in whatever you like. But you will need to look for the surround size. Potentially, you may need to get a custom surround made by a welding shop.
    If it is an interior chimney and fireplace still put the block off plate in but don't put Roxul around the insert. You can use the masonry as thermal mass evening out the temp swings of the stove.
  8. Sons924

    Sons924 Member

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    What's the budget?
  9. acowherd

    acowherd Member

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    Around 2500 or so.

    After looking at Grisu list.. I like the PE summit or PE Alderlea T5...Kuma Sequoia...Harman 300i
  10. Sons924

    Sons924 Member

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    I really like the specs of the harman. 17 hours of burn time sounds really impressive. Also 4300 sq feet of heating capability. I don't have any experience with it though.
  11. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    I'm just going to emphasize this because it's likely going to be your biggest issue. Any stove you get will require the wood to be at a certain level of moisture content - about 20%. That's going to be really hard to find now if at all. Above 25%, you will need to take measures such as at least supplementing with a manufactured product like bio bricks or North Idaho Energy Logs if available. But you need to be aware of the importance of the moisture content of your wood.

    Looks like you have a lot of stove options available to you. Have fun.
  12. acowherd

    acowherd Member

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    Yes the harman 300i looks like a good stove. The better half likes the osburn 2400 and the Kuma Sequoia.. any advice on any of these stoves? Already looking for wood, and getting a moisture meter. If I have to burn bio-bricks or whatever until I can get right with a wood pile. The wife is really missing the pellet stove, and is pushing for another. I keep telling her its not enuff Btu to heat this place.
  13. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    The PE Summit is a proven performer with one of the most efficient and sturdiest baffle systems in the industry. I have its little brother the PE Super insert and cannot complain about it. I am sure it would serve you well.
    The T5, on the other hand, has only a 2.1 cu ft firebox and is probably too small for your needs. If you like the look of the base model you can check out the Enviro Boston 1700: http://www.enviro.com/fireplace-products/wood/fireplace-insert.html#bostonbig It only has a 2.5 cu ft firebox though and you may need to supplement some heat during the coldest days of winter.
    The Kuma Sequoia is a great insert but thinking about your location probably a bit too much for your house. I assume it does not get that cold in your place?
    I don't know much about the Harman 300i. The few reviews I have seen here were mostly positive. Maybe try the forum search.

    Add on: Are those $2500 for the insert? That will get tough with some models. Plus, you need to budget for the liner, installation etc. Probably around $4500 for everything, maybe $700 to 800 less if you do the install yourself.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  14. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    That's a good size house to heat, especially considering it's age. How well insulated is it? Has it been remodeled and insulated or anything?

    Depending on all that, it sounds like you need to consider the bigger of the options offered so far, around 3 cf.
  15. acowherd

    acowherd Member

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    It has been updated a few times. It not what I would call a drafty home. It has real storm windows and then the regular opening windows. It has been insulated in 70s I would say. The furnace keeps the house warm, but your gonna burn some propane. 71 on the thermostat just aint like my pellet stove.

    I was figuring 2500-3000 give or take for just the insert. Install and materials will be mostly the same for all stoves i would imagine.

    Can you go with to BIG of a stove? Cant you just run it a littler easier?
  16. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    The conventional wisdom here seems to be that bigger is better up to a point. Yes, you can just make smaller fires when they are called for. Small but hot. If the house is well insulated, it will hold the heat and the stove will continue to radiate for a while too.

    In my case, I could have gotten away with a smaller stove but i'm glad I got a slightly bigger one that I needed. Your situation is different than mine, but it sounds like you will need more than 2 cf unless you go with two stoves. That's a different story.

    You mentioned an open fireplace for the second location. If you want to use that for heat, fireplaces just suck cold air in from outside and flush it right up the chimney. Personal experience. Much better off with something that has some efficiency.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013
  17. acowherd

    acowherd Member

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    It definitely not as well insulated as my new home was, but i have been in homes and seen the curtains move with the wind. The second fireplace is most likely getting a propane insert for instant on/off.
    Bigger is usually better, but I am no stove expert. Need to continue to research these inserts....Just not leaning towards any particular one yet.
  18. Oregon aloha

    Oregon aloha Member

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    The Sequoia is a very versatile stove it can be installed as an insert, alcove, or freestanding stove. It also is hand made and carries the best warranty in the industry. It will heat a lot of space, but it can be run cooler, so this stove may work for you. I have the Kuma Ashwood and it is by far better the any of my neighbors stoves or inserts.
    The Enviro Boston 1700 as well as my Ashwood I believe might be too small for your application. Happy stove hunting, it will be an education.

    I think for the most part all the folks on this forum have stoves that may be too large for the shoulder seasons. This is good so you can have the horse power to get you though the colder months. I have 1450 sq. ft. home and my stove will cook us out right out now if I let it, but when it gets cold I will be glad I have the room in my stove to put out the extra Btu's and stay warm.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2013
  19. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    You just have to make sure if you get one that has an 8 inch flue that you can fit a liner that size in your chimney, I wanted the big Kuma but there was no way I would've got an 8 inch liner in. My fireplace is the same size as yours, make sure you double check the size of the stoves you're interested in and you need a little room to reach back and connect to the liner.
  20. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    I have the Osburn 2400i. I am very happy with this unit. It puts out a ton of heat. The large firebox lends itself to long burn times. It's a simple unit to operate. I got a great deal on www.dynamitebuys.com

    I easily heat a drafty 1700 sf. This year, however, it may prove to be too much stove as I have greatly improved my insulation in my house. Osburn customer service is notably very responsive. I hope that is helpful.
  21. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    Probably, for shoulder season anyway. Ours is oversized period, if you go by Lopi's specs and our house size (see sig).

    HOWEVER, this house is really an old summer cottage that wasn't built as a year round residence. It's not terrible, but it isn't like a typical 1950's ranch. In shoulder season we burn smaller fires and give more time between loads. We HAVE gotten it a bit too warm (above 80 is a bit warm to me) but it was operator error and learning how to run this stove in this house. A BK might have been better for us during that time of the year, but once it's in the 30's or below it's just fine-and any smaller and one of us would be up in the middle of the night reloading it since we don't have a furnace!
  22. acowherd

    acowherd Member

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    Ok ill look into the 8in flue pipe clearance

    Doesn't seem to be alot of reviews on the Harman. Anyone have any experience with that stove or the Kuma.

    Osburn and PE get good reviews..

    Its so hard to get narrowed down!

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