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Should I even bother with an insert?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by DeerHunter, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    If you can fit it Id consider the big Kuma, its huge and a catalyctic stove, only problem it requires an 8" liner.

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  2. kingquad

    kingquad Minister of Fire

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    If your looking for big cat stoves, definitely consider these as well. Both are 8in. flue though.

    Kuma Sequoia
    Country Flame BBF
  3. tomc585

    tomc585 Member

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    I also have a colonial too but its less than 1800sqft. It's well insulated and I use a napolian 1400 series insert in my den. I can tell you from my experience that the far end bedrooms upstairs do have a 10-15 deg difference from the den. The den cooks around 80 to get the upstairs 65+. for cold days, below 20, I have installed a register in the den ceiling and ducted it to the upstairs hall floor. While natural convection does carry the heat up I put in a booster fan ($40 home depot) but I'm not happy with the low cfm or the noise. There are better high quality blowers but they were a little pricey for me (over $200). If I decide to redo it I would go to a larger 10" duct with the proper high performance blower.

    I guess an outdoor wood boiler is not an option for you?
  4. par0thead151

    par0thead151 Feeling the Heat

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    i have a insert. it heats my 3K SQ ft home with ease on days it is not too cold(anything under 15-20F and my furnace may kick on very infrequently)
    my heat bills are down 90% since i got the insert. i do keep it running 24/7 though and my wife helps keep it going at max when it is cold out. my great danes LOVE the thing
  5. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    What size chimney liner can you fit in your chimney? That may limit your options.
  6. DeerHunter

    DeerHunter Member

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    Adirondacks, NY
    Not at this property; I'm on 1.2 acres in the 'burbs

    I've got an 11"x11" (inside dimensions) clay tile flue. I went ahead and pulled the trigger on the Country Canyon 310. It is a solid stove, I like the door handle design, it has a relatively big firebox, and the price was right. As others have stated here, it will be the air movement that will be the differentiator in heating the house (assuming all other variables are optimized - wood type/curing, etc).

    Now I need to buy the liner. The Canyon has an 8" exhaust, but the manual says I can run on a 6" liner. I'm looking at fixed pipe for the majority of the chimney run, with a bit of flex to make the connection.
  7. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    I have a high valley stove. Its a 2500 model. Its like a 3.5 cuft insert. I pretty much heat my whole first floor in all but the coldest parts of our winter. House only has minimal insulation but modern windows. Its on one side of my home and the first level is about 2500sqft, but the upstiars room is not used and its about 400sqft. Its got dual cats and on mild days can burn 24+ hours, on cold days i run it 12 hours between loads.
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum DeerHunter.

    Only will touch on a couple things as others are giving great advice. Firstly, just think back not that many years when almost everyone, at least in the countryside, heated with wood or coal or a combination of the two. I grew up as the youngest of 4 children and all we ever knew was wood heat. I do not recall anyone ever getting burned from the stove; that is with family and with visitors. Fear of falling and fear of heat seem to be built into the human body and that is good. But if one is that nervous, a fence should do the trick.

    On the above, 1). The fan is a good idea but you have it backwards the same as I used to do. You will find that it is better to move the cool air rather than the warm air and that is because cool air is more dense than warm air. So a simple desktop fan (not a pedestal) sitting on the floor blowing at low speed blowing into the stove room will do wonders for moving that warm air into the cooler rooms. Same thing with ceiling fans. I used to do it backwards thinking of blowing the hot air down. Better to suck it up (bet you've heard that phase a few times!).

    2) Not too many have had good success running the central heat fan to move the warm air around.

    3) Check the codes in your area as registers are frowned on. Check with the fire department too.


    Good luck.
  9. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I've got a 2200 sqft colonial with a 400sqft family room on the first floor. The insert is installed in the masonry chimney located on the outside wall about 60 linear feet east and 10' beneath my bedroom. Downstairs is pretty open for a colonial, upstairs bedrooms. Long story short, it's about the worst setup for radiant heat I could come up with. I've got a Lopi Freedom insert. Strong stove

    If I point the fan towards the stove I can heat the house down to about 10 degrees or lower without any of the zones for our house coming on. I have to keep stuffing it (every 6-8 hours) depending on the wind but I can do it. Stuffed to the gills I can get 10-12 hrs of heat (usable coals). The big cost savings comes from dropping the heat to 60-62F and using the stove to bump it when the women get cold. 75F in the family room will hold the bedrooms at about 66 depending on the severity of the weather. It works.
    Armoured likes this.
  10. DeerHunter

    DeerHunter Member

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    Thanks for the great advice, all! They say that wisdom is learning from other people's mistakes, and this forum is great for accumulating wisdom. I'm sure there's still a steep learning curve ahead, but I appreciate the willingness for others to share their experience. I wasn't wanting to cut a hole in the ceiling/floor anyway :)
  11. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I use it to take the edge off. It would take more than my capacity to harvest in order to completely go to wood. 2+ cord/year and I can drop the temp enough, so by the end of the heating season I've saved about 400 gallons of oil (@ 3.00/gaAllon it paid for capital expense after the 3rd year).

    Number one thing is wood supply. It makes or breaks you.
  12. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    If I was going to do it again I would probably go with the BK princess. As much as I like the Lopi for a non-cat insert I still get the cycles of too-cold/just right/too-hot/just righ/too cold which change from wood to wood and from draft to draft. I would hope a cat stove is easier to even out the heat, and would have a larger sweet spot for secondary burning. I like being able to heat a pan on top of the stove, and I love the bypass damper for loading but I'd be willing to give it up for longer, slower burns. It would really be great in the shoulder seasons.

    Plus, I know it says 2.9 CF but you have to get pretty lucky to be able to fill it so much because the firebox is shaped like a trapezoid. I'm guessing I never have more than 2CF in the firebox during a typical load because I cut all my wood the same length. Not sure if the Princess is like this or if it's more square.
  13. golfandwoodnut

    golfandwoodnut Minister of Fire

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    You might want to look at a jotul, they have some large inserts and look great. You will not be able to heat the whole house but you will definetly put a big dent in your oil bill and burning is adictive. It is like a friend and you miss it when it is out. The one issue with inserts is you have to keep the fan on to get the heat out, also put in a block off plate my installer missed the boat on that one.
  14. mecreature

    mecreature Minister of Fire

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    Getting that heat where you want it will take some doin.
    I use a ceiling fan on the other end of the house and blowing down
    you can feel the cool draft in the room with the stove. It helps.

    I have a thru wall fan I am going to install at the top of my stairs and take it
    2 rooms over to help another situation upstairs.

    the fan running on the furnace does not seem to help much.
  15. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    With all due respect with all the great advice given so far... No matter which brand/stove purchased will only be supplementary heat. Some parts of your house will be very warm/hot while others will be fairly cool/cold. Especially if your wood stove is close to the furnace thermostat.

    Have you considered a wood or pellet add-on furnace to your existing oil furnace? At $3,500 year in oil the pay back will be quite fast and this should take care of your entire BTU load on the house. Not only will it heat up the entire house but the new high-efficiency wood furnace have very long burn time (up to 12 hours depending on your BTU load). These furnace will be hooked up to your thermostat so they will self-regulate. Just a suggestion...

    To muddy the waters further... barring choosing a solid fuel furnace I would suggest a pellet stove. Some that are rated at about 70,000 BTU can also have an optional ductwork to move warm air to 2 separate rooms up to 35 ft away. You can also hook them up to a thermostat.

    Finally and you can call me crazy here. I didnt get a chance to study your floor plan in details here but a high efficiency EPA ZC fireplace throw a lot of heat (think small furnace here). Some of them have the option of a 'heat dump' blower on a thermostat. Basically you can push warm air to another part of the house (up to 50ft). You can put the thermostat in the room the ZC is in or in the remote area.

    I apologize if i'm confusing you further. But at $3,500 worth of oil it sounds like you have a reasonable BTU load and any wood stove will only be a partial solution. Might as well deal with the problem at the root since the payback is there anyway.
  16. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    If I had to buy wood I'd be looking really hard at trying to make pellets fit my lifestyle. Scrounging for wood it fun, and if you've got a hook-up then great but when the thermostat dives and the heating oil spikes scroungeables disappear around me. Also trying to pack 8+ cords (don't laugh, many of us have a problem) onto a city lot may be unsightly. It's an extra grand (average guess) for the pellet stove and more things can go wrong but the liner is smaller (cheaper?) and may be more flexible with where you put it.

    And you can keep the fireplace open for ambiance during important "date nights" when you get rid of the rug rats.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Having had both, my preference is for a woodstove. Our pellet stove was great, but silent warmth, a great fire view, lower maintenance and heat without power are much better IMO.
  18. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Where is your ductwork located? Inside the insulated space or in the attic? If the ducts are 'inside', the central blower might be useful (and allow you to go to higher BTU), otherwise most likely not.
  19. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    It's takes a while to get your money back buring wood, or even pellets. I remember when oil spiked to $4/gallon and dried cords went to $400/cord and pellets were $400/ton if you could get them. I value my "do nothing" time more and more so even though wood is cheap it's nowhere near free.

    Besides, I always try to discourage people from getting a wood stove. But I'm always right there to help get rid of their trees for them.
  20. DeerHunter

    DeerHunter Member

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    The good thing is that the intake for my central air is in the same room as the stove (although on the floor). That goes down to the furnace/blower in the basement, then up to the 1st and 2nd floor. Might end up losing some BTUs going down to the (cold) basement, but overall air circulation, I think, will be much improved. If we had a loft (or more open floorplan), this wouldn't be an issue.
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    This has been tried before, the heat loss from the cold ductwork will be significant. We're only talking say 75F air here. Running it through 40-50F ducts often results in more loss than gain. Try the fan trick that I posted earlier. It has a better chance of success.
  22. pgmr

    pgmr Feeling the Heat

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    I concur. In fact, our bedrooms (around two corners and fairly long hallway) are significantly warmer w/o running the furnace blower. The blower on the insert is enough to setup fairly strong convection loops throughout the house. This can be seen by holding a tissue at the top of a doorway opening. It should be moved off plumb away from the stove. If held down by the floor, it should be moved toward the stove.

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