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Upstairs fireplace... should I install an insert?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by area_man, Mar 1, 2013.

  1. area_man

    area_man New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2013
    Messages:
    74
    Loc:
    Oregon City, OR
    The upstairs of my new house has a fireplace. It's got glass doors in a brass (?) face plate and the previous owners used it to heat the upstairs with a combination of wood, junk mail, and paper plates (classy). From reading this form for the last few weeks, it seems as though a fireplace sucks the heat out of a house whether it's in operation or not. I don't know whether that's true. My wife is concerned that our kids' upstairs bedrooms will be cold.

    I was thinking about installing a Century 45 in that fireplace to block heat loss and to provide heat to the upstairs. My family resides upstairs for the most part, and my wife and I sleep downstairs where the main wood stove is located.

    My understanding is that if I install an insert upstairs that I'll have to run a new stove pipe from the upstairs stove up the chimney.

    I'm not opposed to replacing the Orley in the basement with a more modern and efficient stove insert if it makes financial sense, but for right now I need to live with what I have there.

    Should I install an insert upstairs with a new pipe, install an insert upstairs and upgrade the existing pipe from the basement with new insulated pipe? I'm new to all this and don't know.

    Thank you.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    46,003
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Depends on how much area the upstairs stove would be heating and how many sq ft down below. You might be more comfortable with a medium sized insert on each floor.
  3. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
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    1,292
    Loc:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    How will you feel about hauling firewood up the stairs all the time, and carrying ash back down?
  4. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    706
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    I am a fan of having two stoves burning gently rather than one stove working hard to heat the whole house. I have the insert upstairs and a pre-EPA stove downstairs. With both going the house is warm, comfortable, and evenly heated. It also gives me the extra capacity for those bitter cold spells we get a couple of time each winter.

    KaptJaq
  5. Michael11

    Michael11 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2013
    Messages:
    1


    I guess you should insert it with an existing pipe from the basement, that will look good.
  6. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    706
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    Most new stoves are designed to work with a specific size flue. Open fireplaces usually have a fairly large flue and it is most likely too big for a modern stove/insert. So yes, you will probably have to reline the upstairs flue. As mentioned above, I like two stoves rather than one large one. Moving heat from downstairs is always difficult at best, two stoves will solve that problem. If you have basic DIY skills relining a flue is not a difficult job. Is it a full masonry fireplace upstairs? Clay lined flue? What size? Is the chimney internal (center of the house) or external (outside wall)?

    Does the downstairs stove have a fully lined flue (Steel pipe that goes from the stove to the top of the chimney)? Does it have a block-off plate at the bottom and a sealing cap at the top? If not you might consider upgrading the liner on the downstairs stove also.

    KaptJaq

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