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What would you do?

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

  1. Shelbylyn

    Shelbylyn New Member

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    Hi everyone, I have been lurking and searching these forums for about a month now. Hubby and I will be moving into an old farmhouse in the next month. An addition was put onto the house in the early 1970s. The addition is a living room with a fireplace and master bedroom above. Hubby grew up with a wood stove his parents still use. It's a basic black steel box with no name visible on it from 1980ish. We would like to heat the farmhouse exclusively with wood and use the existing chimney. Im going to try to upload two pictures I took when looking at the house. From my understanding, a freestanding wood stove is our best option for heating the entire house, cooktop, etc. however, I'm concerned how much we will have to build out the already raised hearth to sit the stove. From my understanding, we will also need a rear flue. The only stove we have found local so far that might work is the Jotel Oslo 500. I was hoping for something cheaper but I don't want to regret a cheap purchase. So, I'm going to the house Sat. What measurements do I need in helping make a decision? What things can you suggest based on the pictures of the opening and the outside chimney? Anything to help my research would be appreciated. this is a big investment for us but one i know will be worth it.Thank you so much!

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  2. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    The setup you're describing is commonly called a hearth-mounted stove. Yes, you will need a rear-vent stove, unless your fireplace has a very high lintel, which is the key measurement for a hearth mount. You could use a top-vent stove, but you'd have to punch a hole into the chimney above the mantel. Here are pics to give you some ideas:
    http://www.woodstove.com/owner-photos/stove/4

    A rear-vented install gives a cleaner look, IMO, but only a handful of stoves on the market are rear-vented, and none of them are inexpensive. The usual suspects are Jøtul, Morsø, Quadrafire(a few), Hearthstone, Woodstock. A Woodstock opens only on the side, so it would require less hearth in front (8" vs. 16" for a stove with the door in front.) The Oslo is a very popular stove. Dunno if its flue will fit below your lintel, or if you need a bigger stove to heat your farmhouse. . .more details required: size/layout of house, insulation, climate, etc. Welcome to the Hearth. :)
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  3. Shelbylyn

    Shelbylyn New Member

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    The fireplace is in the addition which is an open living room with two open doorways. One that goes into the kitchen and the other goes to the dining room. So basically, you come in the side door into the kitchen and can do one big circle around the bottom floor. E stairs to the bedrooms are in the kitchen. Our current home is around 1000 square foot and I'm guessing the original house is about the same. Add on the addition, which I'm gonna say is probably 12x20 for the living room and master bedroom above. The roof is good. Insulation probably hasn't been updated since the 70's. the windows are probably the same age too. Windows and insulation are all on the "to do" list as the budget permits. Considering we are moving from a farmhouse with zero insulation, it is definitely better. This is in south central PA climate. I think a rear vent looks better too but how much cheaper could I get the same results by dealing with the look difference? Or should we be considering an insert? One local stove shop said they would only do an insert. It could heat the entire house but I have a hard time believing it. The Jotel is much fancier than what we had in mind but so far seems like our best option. I just wasn't planning on upward of $5000 for the stove, liner, and install. :(
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  4. Rickb

    Rickb Feeling the Heat

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    You could also go with a wood stove insert. That might be help out with not having to extent the hearth as much.
  5. Shelbylyn

    Shelbylyn New Member

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    We are/will consider an insert. However, will one heat the entire house? We would have to have a blower wouldn't we? We were looking at the lopi inserts that have the stove extended out onto the hearth. The republic 1750i was hubby's first choice at first glance for an insert. The revere and freedom were the other two models. I'm open to anything really that will work with the chimney and heat the home. My father in law has plenty of dry aged wood for this year for us. So I'm considering the cost of the install in lieu of what we would be spending to heat the house with the existing fuel oil furnace. Thinking next year, we have free heat. :)
  6. teutonicking

    teutonicking Feeling the Heat

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    An large insert should be able to heat 1500 square feet (but of course this also depends on your climate and insulation), but you would need to run the blower. A freestanding stove can probably put out about 20% more BTUs. I don't have one but Jotul makes very good stoves (and inserts). I think their blowers are some of the quietest I tested when I was looking three years ago.
  7. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Before you get too far, you need to get some measurements of the fireplace opening, as well as the depth. That will be the deciding factor as to what you can do.

    From the vents above it, it looks like it is a prefab fireplace. That also could be an issue. Not all of them will accept an insert, and they usually aren't very big.

    Welcome, by the way. Lots of good folks here will help you figure something out.
  8. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I heat 2666sf here in Northeastern PA with an insert.
    I use a PE Summit insert. Due to my house set up, it also does heat well in event of power failure.
    All this depends on how open the floor plan is of your home etc.

    Many here will swear to go with a freestander, and that is each persons opinion and preference.
    Many inserts will heat the same area just fine. Whether it will without power and the fan blowing is dependent on the home layout.
    The insert nay be cheaper as you have more options of brand & model, top exhaust, and your not stuck paying a higher price due to the need for rear exit, which IMO most manufacturers hammer you on cost, cause they know you have less choices. Supply & demand, as in anything else.
    It all depends on what you buy. You can get an Englander freestander for about $900.00.
    But it is a top exhaust.

    Do your research and don't just throw cash out there rushing s decision & purchase.
    Depending on the house layout, a stove or insert may or may not circulate heat enough to do the entire house, or majority of. You can always entertain adding another stove.
    Huntindog1 likes this.
  9. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Would it be harder to clean the flue with a rear exit hearth heater than an insert? The inserts I've had I could clean from below.
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum Shelbylyn.

    An insert definitely a possibility but as you stated, you will have to have a blower or blowers on the insert. That could cause problems during power outages. On the other hand, a radiant stove does not require a blower (at least for most). If you are concerned with moving heat to other areas of the home, that is easily done but although it sounds backwards, you move the cool air into the warm air. This is done easily with a very small fan sitting in a hallway or doorway, on the floor blowing toward the stove room. It is amazing how well this works and how fast those rear rooms can warm up.

    For what you are describing, I would not try to go as cheaply as you can. Many times it pays good dividends to pay just a little extra. One example is our own experience. Years ago we got a really super deal on a big stove that had been used only a couple times. You might say we bought it for a song and a dance! We heated with that thing for 20 years or more but were never happy with it and were cold all winter. We mostly blamed the old drafty house. We burned at least 6 full cord of wood every winter and one winter I do recall burning over 7 cord.

    Fast forward to 2007 and we finally bought the stove we really wanted; a Woodstock Fireview. We at first were a bit reluctant because it is so much smaller of a stove. Long story short, since we've installed that stove we have averaged 3 cord of wood per year. Before we used to close off part of the house to try to stay warm. We have never closed off any of the house since installing this soapstone stove. In fact, we've added on to the house. This may also surprise you but we keep our home 80 degrees or more all winter long and still burn only 3 cord of wood.

    I'd recommend you look at the Woodstock line: www.woodstove.com

    One in particular you might like the sounds of is the Progress Hybrid. That stove really throws a lot of heat and has an excellent cook top too. btw, Woodstock sells only direct but do not let that sway your purchase. Even if you can not install the stove yourself, it is not difficult to find an installer. In addition, Woodstock will give you a 6 month money-back guarantee!!!! In addition, their customer service is second to none.

    Good luck.
    Huntindog1 and Tenn Dave like this.
  11. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    The thing about rear-vent stoves is that they are all made of cast iron or soapstone. Steel stoves are less expensive, but for some reason, they're all top-vent (there may be one or two exceptions that prove this rule, but I don't know what they are.) An inexpensive steel stove can do the job. . .it's sort of a Chevy vs. Cadillac thing.

    If y'all can DIY(move a 500-lb stove and drop a flexible liner pipe down the chimney) you could be done for < $2k.

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Englander-2-200-sq-ft-Wood-Burning-Stove-30-NCH/100291302#.UjIi4ZDD8iE

    http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200307391_200307391

    http://item.mobileweb.ebay.com/viewitem?itemId=170953475321

    I went from an insert to a hearth stove, and would not go back to an insert. IMO, an insert loses too much heat to the fireplace/chimney masonry(not an issue if the chimney is in the middle of the house rather than an exterior wall though.) I also like being able to access the back of the stove and the pipe without sliding the stove out of the fireplace.:)

    Sounds weak to me.:rolleyes: I wouldn't deal with that shop.

    Yeah, you could get it done with either an insert or a stove, just make sure it's big enough. Since you want to heat "with only wood," you'll be better off with too much stove rather than too little. :)
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  12. Shelbylyn

    Shelbylyn New Member

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    I am going to the house this Saturday and will get as many measurements as possible. How would you know if it is a prefab fireplace? I mentioned this to my husband and he doesn't think so. From looking at it, he thinks it currently just has the plan metal insert for appearance from what they told us. Please share how I can check into this further when I'm there.
  13. Shelbylyn

    Shelbylyn New Member

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    How difficult and complicated can it get to put the hole in the chimney to adjust to a top vent stove. My father in law will help with any mason work but he is only one man. I definitely don't want to rush the decision which is why I've been researching for over a month but it seems my options keep getting more instead of less. This is why I posted on here.
  14. Shelbylyn

    Shelbylyn New Member

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    We had looked at some Alaska stoves on Craigslist but I don't want to waste a grand for trying to save a grand. I definitely like the look of a hearth mounted stove over an insert. I also don't want to have to use a blower, so it seems our original thoughts of a freestanding is our better option probably. We have also already talked about fans in the floors of the upstairs and in doorways to move air. I will show the wood stocks to hubby again. We both tend to lean towards an all black stove though. Hmmm...thank you for all the input.
  15. Shelbylyn

    Shelbylyn New Member

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    Which hearth stove did you choose? The chimney is on the outside wall as pictured above so I'm afraid we would lose a lot of heat. I also wondered about cleaning. We prefer simple too.
  16. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Finding a stove that can be installed as a hearth stove in your situation, and meets all your expectations, I think is gonna be tough. Another option not discussed is to decommission the old fireplace and the old chimney, partially rip out the old appliance, brick up the fireplace opening, extend the hearth and install a freestanding stove with a straight up flue all its own. Just some more food for thought. Rick

    ridge.jpg
    teutonicking and ddddddden like this.
  17. Shelbylyn

    Shelbylyn New Member

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    Thanks for the picture Rick! I actually was just checking out the Englander mentioned above and it seems to be more of what we originally had in mind. However, how could we make it work? How complicated would it be to put the hole in the chimney? Hmm...this is definitely worth considering. I will show it to my hubby. However, we have a second floor the piping would have to go through. Another thought I just had is what about the original houses's chimney? I know the oil furnace exhausts through it. Could we maybe use it though?
  18. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    We didn't do it that way; we just had to put a "hole" in the damper frame to allow the pipe to pass down through the fireplace to the rear-vent stove. . .not that tough a job, just dirty. They make kits for passing pipe through wall. I don't think this type of install for a top-vent stove would be terribly difficult, but I'm not speaking from experience. This page has some good diagrams.
    http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/foreverflex.htm

    Woodstock Fireview. Could've used something a lil' bigger, but the Fireview fit perfectly on our hearth, with no masonry work required.:) (Only 8" required to the front, and that can be horizontal or vertical, so the stove can sit near the edge of our 20" raised hearth.)
  19. Shelbylyn

    Shelbylyn New Member

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    I'm still leaning towards the Jotel Oslo 500 after I look at each idea. Does anyone have anything bad or warnings about the Jotel? They seem to have good reviews and I'm pretty sure it will fit on the raised existing hearth. The Jotel will be pushing our budget but I'm willing to push it a little to have something work with our situation. Hubby doesn't like the look of soapstone. :( thank you for all the input nd things to think about. I really appreciate it.
  20. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Every once in a while a stove will come along and I'll mull things over . . . but in the end I always come back to the simple fact that my plain Jane matte black Oslo has done exactly what I wanted -- it has heated my home reliably for the past few years with zero parts or pieces to replace. It's simplicity, ruggedness and ability to heat the place is exactly what I need.

    As for bad . . . about the only few things I can think of are not really that big a deal . . . most folks don't load from the front since it tends to build up ash and it will spill out the front if you use the front door on a regular basis, but that's OK since the side door is quite nice . . . also the air control lever may need some graphite powder applied to it once in a while for easy gliding. Other than that . . . and the fact that I wish I had sprung for the blue black . . . it has been a fantastic stove.

    By the way . . . Jotul.
  21. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Last edited: Sep 12, 2013
  22. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    A lot is explained in this article
    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/upgrading_a_pre-fab

    It wouldn't be surprising to see one in a '70s addition.
  23. stovelark

    stovelark Minister of Fire

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    Shelbylyn- never can go wrong with a Jotul. The Oslo is probably the most popular cast stove in this country. It does everything well, long burn time, long pieces of wood, beautiful flame and secondary burn. A quality stove for sure. Good luck.
  24. teutonicking

    teutonicking Feeling the Heat

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    In search of the right solution to heat our home with only wood.

    Well you certainly came to the right place! Jotul is an excellent brand. Another stove that I really liked when I was looking at stoves was the Quadrafire Isle Royale. I thought it was really nice looking. This is what it looks like: http://www.quadrafire.com/Products/Isle-Royale-Wood-Stove.aspx
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Hearthstone Manchester and Cape Cod are also worth looking at. In steel there is the Buck 260.

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