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Worth upgrading Kennebec 450 to 550?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Sledhead00, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. Sledhead00

    Sledhead00 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
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    Loc:
    WNY
    My local fireplace store is coming out on thursday to look at a couple things.
    Due to the style of the stone with the hearth it wasn't possible to get a flush/clean seal for the surround of my insert. It didn't bother me at first but after 2 yrs it does. Not to mention it's impossible to get the surround out to try and clean it because it is behind the edges of some the stone.
    Also, want to see about extending the pad out so the blower assembly is level and doesn't rattle on hi and up, again to try and seal the surround better.
    It never occured to me til a couple weeks ago, but I wonder how much heat I've lost with these gaps?

    Also have a couple paint issues on my 450 Kennebec. Small spot on my door changed colors and the blower assembly sides the paint has flaked off and almosts looks like it surface rust.

    I got to thinking what the upgrade cost to the Rockland 550 might be. I wouldn't mind the increased btu and burn times but wondering if it would really be cost effective? I suspect my lower burn times are 99% tide with less than pure seasoned wood however.
    To be fair, my house is 1950sqft 1.5story. The 450 on the far east side of the house with cathedral ceilings and does a pretty good job at heating it (68-72) all on it's own.
    This is using wood cut and split for only 6 months and being a greenhorn operator, despite reading countless threads for the last 2 yrs on how to better run it.
    Thoughts anyone?
    100_0928.jpg 100_0932.jpg

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  2. bboulier

    bboulier Feeling the Heat

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    I can't see that there would be much advantage to switching to the 550. I have the 550, and my sister has the 450. She has a house with cathedral ceiling, and about the same number of square feet as do you. She seems to get by very well with the 450.
  3. tobaccogrower

    tobaccogrower Member

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    Suffield Ct
    i cant comment on the switching part of it but looking at that cord would drive me nuts! is it always out in the open like that?
  4. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Do you have a block off plate installed at the bottom of the chimney/top of the fireplace? Usually where the damper was. Keeps the heat from going up the chimney. If so, you won't be losing heat thru the gaps. Some here don't even use a surround. They are generally cosmetic.
  5. Sledhead00

    Sledhead00 Member

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    WNY
    Yea, thats certainly not the most eye appealing.. I've been thinking I should drill a hole to route it underneath, but what would i seal the hole back over with?
    Yes there is a block off plate. Interesting, not sure how I'd like the no surround look, but to each their own!
  6. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    +1. If you have the block off you may be gaining heat as I have heard people sometimes feel more heat coming into room when running w/o the surround. See some of the threads around hurricane Sandy where w/o electric for the fan folks popped their surrounds off.

    I think I'd keep the 450 and get something made up to fill the gap, a little stove polish and call it a day.

    On the other hand...;lol based on your picture, if you were thinking to make a change I would get a unit that is not a flush mount like the Jotuls. I have the 550 because I needed to mount flush. I am happy with Jotul quality but a unit that extends into the room will give even more heat IMO. Again from your pic it looks you could even go with a free standing stove, cheaper and still more heat, can even do some cooking :cool: . I have another fireplace in my house and that may be the way I go if I decide to pull the trigger.
  7. bboulier

    bboulier Feeling the Heat

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    I will second jatoxico's suggestion. My wife liked the looks of the Jotul 550 and the fact that it takes up less space than a stove that extends into the room. My preference was for a stove that extended into the room, but she was right that we had limited space in the living room. That does not to be a problem with your "great room".
  8. Sledhead00

    Sledhead00 Member

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    Well the fireplace guy wasn't able to make it out, due to the snow storm but we did talk on the phone... He didn't seem to optimistic about being able to better seal around the edges of the fireplace. Mainly because he said the mortar wont look the same in all the dips and crevices, which makes sense I guess. I didn't think about it at the time but if they were to put new mortar and make it smooth then that would elimnate the issue I would think. Once the sides are smooth the surround could come fwd a touch to cover part of it.
    The only problem may be if it's possible to safely cut the stone straight, with out cracking or other problems??

    Jataxico- The flush thing was perhaps my biggest concern if I were to make the switch, I just wasn't sure how much I would care for the flush mount. I think I'm just going to keep it as is and just conitnue to get better at being efficent with what I have.
  9. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    If that gap bugs you enough maybe fill it with black steel. It does not look like it will take much. When your fireplace guy gets out there he may have the technology ;lol.
  10. Sledhead00

    Sledhead00 Member

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    Well just over time the more I looked at it, the more annoyed I got as it just looks a bit unfinished with the little gaps all up and down the sides. That and althought I know I would only be doing in seasonally (I suspect) I like to be able to get the surround out of the way so I could just clean the ash and crap that's back there at the end or start of each season. It took the 2 installers and myself to manuever it in there that day ad frankly I dont remember how we even did it... Oh the pain of wanting things to be perfect..:)
  11. TheBaron

    TheBaron New Member

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    Just a thought - you could get some steel bent up, painted matte black, to fill that gap (from the inside of the chimney), fill the remaining gaps with color matched mortar, and then adjust the Jotul trim kit so it is tight against it. The top would be a breeze, and the sides would take a bit of work but should turn out fine as well.
  12. RSNovi

    RSNovi Feeling the Heat

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    I am wondering if a 550 heats as well as a 450 since the 550 is flush.
  13. Sledhead00

    Sledhead00 Member

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    They were less than encouraging when they came out and I explained what I wanted. They said that im going after something that is likely to have an unfavorable outcome. Between matching mortar that is almost 40yrs old and being able to get it to adhere could be a nightmare. The man explained he had done it before and had never had great outcomes and mentioned cracking issues as well.
    The top line is a piece of either flat or angle iron, so I suggest the possiblity of cutting the stone back flush and then just using the iron on the sides to make it smooth, but he wasn't really sure about cutting it, again due to possible cracking issues and just the act of doing it and being able to get whatever tool lined up and manuevered...
    I was a bit disappointed with their enthusiam and ideas, but for the time being it seems i'm just going to have to deal with it..

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