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Seeking advice on larger wood inserts

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Lulumermaid Gesko, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. Lulumermaid Gesko

    Lulumermaid Gesko New Member

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    Fireplaces are fun...until you've been thinking about them for fourteen hours straight.

    We are having a tough time choosing a wood fireplace insert and would be so grateful for your advice. We currently have a traditional brick fireplace with an unusual opening size, 48" wide by 30" high. Our wood mantle only has 36.5" clearance from the hearth, which makes it really tough to find a large unit that won't cause a fire (though we're open to using a heat shield if need be). We also need to be able to put up a protective shield around it because we have a little one who I'm sure will be mesmerized by the fire.

    We'd like to get a unit that has as much maximum viewing area as possible, and budget is a big concern. We need a minimum BTU output of 25,000 (just heating the lower level our home, roughly 1,600 square feet, with 6'8" ceilings and some existing heating in place). Despite our relatively low BTU requirements, we don't want to put a smaller unit in our large fireplace, so having a much higher output than needed won't be an issue as long as we can adjust output. What would be ideal is something that has a long burn time and the ability to notch it down a lot on days that are just a little bit cold.

    We are considering the VC Merrimack, Napoleon EPI3C, and, the current front runner, the FireplaceX units (either 33 or their largest unit, which, oddly, has smaller surrounding cladding than the 33, requiring us to build a custom one).

    The Clydesdale seems to be the best reviewed among the larger units we looked at (great viewing space, good performance), though it is also among the more expensive (starts around $3400 just for the unit, it seems), so wasn't in our budget range.

    Are we missing any possible units that will fill our fireplace nicely? Are we misguided in any way? Many HUGE thanks in advance for your guidance!

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  2. HotCoals

    HotCoals Minister of Fire

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    Well if you want a larger stove that you could control the heat output to a lower temp then you might want to consider a cat stove like a BK Princes.
  3. andybaker

    andybaker Feeling the Heat

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    Check to see if Kozy Heat has something that would work. I have a ZC insert and I got it because of the clearance issue to the mantle. Nice large viewing area. If your going from a regular fireplace to an EPA rated insert you will have to learn about seasoned wood.
  4. Lulumermaid Gesko

    Lulumermaid Gesko New Member

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    Thank you so much for the ideas. Kozy Heat unfortunately only does gas inserts and standard fireplaces. But I will call the dealer who sells BK Princess tomorrow to see if anything might work. And any other ideas would be very much welcome!
  5. andybaker

    andybaker Feeling the Heat

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    Oh, your right Lulumer. They use to have a couple that fit into masonry fireplaces. I wonder why they quit making them? I have a zero clearance with a brick face built around it and this thing has been heating the house for a good 10 years now with no sign of wearing out. I'm sure there are other manufacturers as you can read on here about how many people love theirs. I'm leaning myself next time to look into a stove like one that Woodstock has. I've heard many a good things about them.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    So far it sounds like you are looking at flush inserts. Is this the preference? If not, take a look at the Enviro Kodiak 1700 or the Enviro (Boston or Venice) 1700.
  7. cowtown

    cowtown Member

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    Alderlea T5 insert is what I have and really like it.
  8. Lulumermaid Gesko

    Lulumermaid Gesko New Member

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    Thanks! These are all great ideas. I did a lot more research and found a dealer who will put in an Osbourne Matrix, all in, for $3600. So I think that's our best bet right now given the price, however, I'm soooooo tempted by the BT Princess though given its potentially long burn times! What a nice thought to have to change the wood only once daily. Are there any similar models that have such a great burn time? We'd probably leave it on low 90% of the time and just bump it up on nights that fall below 20.
  9. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    I personally like the modern look of the Matrix a lot but its firebox may be a tad too small for your home unless it is well insulated. Be also aware that a flush insert will have problems heating your house when the power is out since it will rely more on its blower than models that protrude more into the room. On the other hand, $3600 installed sounds indeed like a good deal. Does that include a liner? Do you have an interior or exterior chimney? Look also into adding a block-off plate to the install: http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/making_a_block_off_plate/

    The BK Princess gets its long burn times due to its catalytic combustor. I would not always plan on 24 burn times but they will be longer than a secondary combustion insert like the Matrix. The disadvantages of catalytic models is that the catalyst needs replacement about every 5 to 8 years and you have to be very careful not to burn any treated wood or colorful paper in it as that will harm the catalyst. Nevertheless, they are certainly worth considering if you cannot tend the stove so often due to work etc.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  10. Lulumermaid Gesko

    Lulumermaid Gesko New Member

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    Yep that price includes the liner. But you're right, it is probably too small, right? Wasting the capacity we have and also risking it being inefficient.

    Just checked prices on the Princess and it seems to be really at the top of the price range, therefore outside of our budget ($3800 for just the unit, ouch). Does anyone know of wood inserts with long burn times, larger viewing areas and perhaps a lower price point?
  11. _CY_

    _CY_ Burning Hunk

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    nothing wrong with getting a used insert on Craigslist .. but you've got to know which models are clean burning. costs will be a fraction of prices you have been throwing around. used wood stoves typically sell for $500 to $1,500 range. some are like new used for a few seasons, others 25+ years old with lots of in between.

    for instance found my buck model 91 catalytic wood stove on Craigslist for $550. had to drive 100 miles to pickup but it was worth the trip. buck model 91 is still a current model and highly rated. heating a single level 2,500sf house, well insulated.

    with craigslist .. you cannot be in a hurry... legit deals will be gone quick .. hesitate and someone else will beat you to the deal. biggest problem with craigslist is timing .. the really monster deals like my buck 91 are usually gone within minutes.

    but that's not always the case .. found my buck 91 by calling person selling. he didn't put much of any identification in the ad. which only said .. Buck stove $550, which usually means a buck stove that's 30 years old.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2013
  12. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    Some other options for a cheaper Catalytic insert would be: Appalachian, High Valley, Buck was previously mentioned. They will not have the bi-metallic thermostat that the BK does but they will give long burn times.
  13. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    unless the insert was designed as a convection stove. my Morso doesn't need the fan at all. most times i have it switched off.
  14. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    Take a look at some larger inserts which all should give you longer burn times:
    Pacific Energy Summit
    Lopi Freedom
    Enviro 1700 series (more an above-average medium insert)
    Osburn 2400
    Regency I3100
  15. Grisu

    Grisu Minister of Fire

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    That is interesting. Most people here with flush inserts feel that the heat is not getting out as well without the blower. I also run mine only during the start-up but the PE Super is not a flush insert either.
  16. Fiziksgeek

    Fiziksgeek Member

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    I've been very happy with my Jotul Rockland 550, though it will be a similar price to the Clydesdale.
    Ansky likes this.
  17. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    The original Morso 5660 didn't even come with a fan. I was told by the installer that Morso came out with fan model just to satisfy customers before the sale who felt they NEEDED a fan. The fan on my Morso is temp controlled with no override.The fan is installed on the bottom rear, but you can move it around, since it is held on by a strong magnet. It does push out some air, from time to time I fuss with it to see if I can get it to work better (its kind of noisy), but for the most part I've given up and just have it shut off.

    As one who has used the model in a power outage in 28 d snow storm, it really doesn't need it.
  18. yukiginger

    yukiginger Member

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    I live near you and I heat my 2600 sq ft house 90% of the time with an insert, but if I had to do it again I would have reworked my fireplace/hearth area to accomodate a free standing stove. I hate having to rely on the blower on an insert to get adequate heat. People love the idea of flush inserts but when you do that you really need the blower to get the maximum heat from the stove. And they will break. Most blowers go for $250-$350, I'm guessing. If you have an extended hearth you might have a good setup for a freestanding stove. I also like stoves with high required clearances, meaning they don't wear sheet metal jackets. Since you have a masonry fireplace this shouldn't be a big issue - although I know you mentioned a wood mantle.
  19. _CY_

    _CY_ Burning Hunk

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    inserts that sit flush inside fireplace cannot radiate heat into room. hence need for a blower to transfer heat.
    vs free standing stove radiates directly into room without need for a blower
  20. lml999

    lml999 Member

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    Not sure what I would do next time. I went with an Enviro 1200 insert, which sticks out enough for a half kettle to sit on top. I will sometimes run the blower to move the heat after the stove warms up, then shut it off... If I don't we'll get too warm in the bedrooms upstairs (multilevel house). I like the look of a free standing stove, and really like the soapstone stove my inlaws have at their place in western Mass. But our living room isn't that big and the extra couple of feet would dominate that part of the room...
  21. Sons924

    Sons924 Member

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  22. lostDuck

    lostDuck New Member

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    Why are there so few zero clearance inserts vs freestanding wood stoves with catalytic combustors? The ones listed above all seem to stick out from the fireplace some.

    I appreciate the two cents....
  23. mass_burner

    mass_burner Minister of Fire

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    The top and back of the stove is curved up towards the top, so hot air from the top /rear flows up and has nowhere to go except through the outlet to the room. The entire top/back is also ribbed for extra area. Also keep in mind the the glass front of the Morso is huge, and alot of heat radiates from it. I re-positioned the fan this weekend and tied all the wiring down. Got it much quieter and the air flow is also better coming from between the botton door and main door. I chose a natural convention stove due to our many power outages.
  24. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    How hard is it to change the catalytic converter on an insert?
  25. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    Depending on the Make/Model it varies. I can have mine dropped and out in about 5 minutes.

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