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Your Preference? Stove or Insert?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by BikeMedic2709, Sep 12, 2006.

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  1. BikeMedic2709

    BikeMedic2709 New Member

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    I have always wanted an insert. I have always had stoves. I guess I am partial to stoves. Now that I am (nearly) in the market for a new stove, I may look closer at an insert. Any thoughts?

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  2. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    Well, unless you have an existing wood burning fireplace, you would be installing a EPA fireplace, not a insert, inserts are retrofits. I like stoves. There less money, come in bigger sizes, heat better without a blower, and have more choices then inserts on the market. If you realy need a fireplace, then those come in very large sizes, but are way more expensive then a stove.
  3. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    Everyone knows I hate stoves. Used them most my life. Haven't had soapstone stove, maybe that's my problem. I wanted to heat the area around it, and other parts of my house, and do it comfortably knowing it is a space heater. I had to keep it scolding around my stove to heat my house. I hated it. How often do I walk into a house with a wood stove and get knocked back by a heat wave, but walk around the corner and it's cold. Everyone knows my story with my stoves, I put insulation, vents, fans, ducts, registers, whole house ducting system, big kitchen hood thing right over the stove with venting to another area to get the heat away from the stove and into the other parts. Ripped the entire house apart, tons of work, and total failure I still couldn't move the heat. In-laws have a wood stove, same problem. Half of their house with the stove (it's open) they have to keep in the 80's, literally the heat saps the life out of me and I hate it. Walk 10 feet around a corner to the other half of their house and the temp is in the 60's, I hate that too. Can't be around the stove, can't be away from the stove.

    I got an insert with blowers. I hadn't realized how good inserts are at heating the entire house and how evenly. The blowers run all the air in my house heating it to 150F - 175F every hour and fifteen minutes then repeats. Stoves can't compete with that, even with blowers they don't have channels or have one, inserts have 4-5. I think stoves, are like a heating system in a car with NO blowers. You depend on the natural process. How will the people in the back feel in a car with no blowers compared to the ones in the front. They'll feel exactly what I've felt all my life with stoves. Too hot near it, too cold away from it. An insert, is like a car with blowers in the heating system. Turn on the heat, turn on the blowers, now you're talking. Not only are the people near the heating unit comfortable, but so are the ones away from it. My house, not only am I comfortable in the room with the insert, but also on the other side of my house. Every house & situation is different. I'm not a fan of freestanding stoves, I am of convection wood stoves and inserts. It is something to turn on an inserts blowers and see them heat. If you know anyone with a pellet stove, ask to visit them and see it in action. Or, if you know someone who's switched from a stove to a pellet stove ask them which they like better. An insert, heats similar to a pellet stove. Both have blowers, but you can't turn an insert on/off or have it hooked to a sensor. Their problems like MSG says is, having no power for the blowers takes the wind out of your sails. They still heat, but they start heating more like a stove but not as good. It's tough to chew once you've been spoiled with the blowers. Around here at least, we lose power about 10 hours a year. I'm probably the one who put the most effort trying to make stoves work when they were the wrong tool so, I have the most grudge against them. I practically redid my entire house trying to make a stove work like I wanted and it wouldn't, only to find an insert with just its blowers be the solution and heat my house like my stoves never could. *sigh*
  4. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    My blower that circulates my entire house is my centrally located celing fan...:)
  5. BikeMedic2709

    BikeMedic2709 New Member

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    I do have a woodburning fireplace. My wife loves it, and is dead set against an insert. She enjoys the ambiance of a fireplace. I, on the other hand, HATE to use it. I am sure most people here will understand, I hate to burn wood in the fireplace because it is such a waste! All that heat up the chimney!! Price is a consideration, as well.
    I probably will end up with a new stove in the near future, but am still considering the insert for upstairs.
  6. BikeMedic2709

    BikeMedic2709 New Member

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    MSG.. I hear ya! Ceiling fans a great!
  7. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Yep , As you stated every house is different , We dont have that issue at all with our free standing wood stove and actually i have only been in two houses that had free standing stoves that had that "heat blast" issue. 1 was in my old house where the wood stove was in an add on back room of the house and was hard to get heat out of and the other one was a cheap stove in the cornar fo a small front room. I also think the quality of the stove makes the difference too. The cheaper thiner steel stoves is going to put off more of a hot spot around the stove than a better quality thicker steel stove. The thicker steel stove ( even cast ) is going to work more like the soap stone stove does and lets off a more even heat and also hold the heat longer after the fire has gone down. With a free standing stove all you need is a ceiling fan to move heat around and even at that i have had the ceiling fan off and we dont have a hot spot like you talked about within 10' of the stove. Your going to get this issue with any stove if in a corner of a house on a back wall with no fans.
  8. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Personally I'm a free standing stove guy. I don't like the looks of most inserts and their surrounds, or the noisy blowers. Also think inserts waste alot of heat up the chimney or out though the masonry if its an outside walled chimney. You definitely need a blower with an insert and if the power goes out you will be huddled in the same room as the insert. Stoves also need fans to move the air, but not to the extent of an insert.

    Soapstone stoves are the best I've had, they don't give you that blast of heat like Ronemas talks about.

    Talked to Woodstock the other day and they have a new hearth stove on paper. A one room or small house heater. They are looking into incorporating noncat and cat technology together. Maybe 2 or 3 years out. I have a fireplace upstairs that has been waiting for something like this.
  9. martel

    martel Member

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    more important question Bikemedic- is that your ride in the avatar? is it a bianchi?
  10. the_guad

    the_guad New Member

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    BikeMedic, my wife was also worried about losing the fireplace ambiance by switching to an insert… but it turns out that the fire in our insert looks 10x better than our wood burning fireplace. Our fireplace drafted very poorly so the flames were weak and didn’t throw out any heat but our insert has a nice big window with which to see the blazing flames. Problem solved. We now have heat AND a beautiful view of the fire. Whatever you do, just make sure you get an insert with a large viewing window.
  11. BikeMedic2709

    BikeMedic2709 New Member

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    Martel, YES!!! It is a Bianchi! I am an avid/fanatical cyclist! That is a web pic of the bike that I race. Bianchi San Lorenzo. I bought it last year and absolutly love it. It rides like silk!! Do you ride?
  12. martel

    martel Member

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    Yes- MBX in my earlier life. I have been changed into a fixed gear junkie the last few years though and cruise on an 80's shogun road bike converted to a fixed gear. I, naturally, would love a Pista someday, but I love the recycled steel lugged fixer. You have a very nice ride. Enjoy.
  13. BikeMedic2709

    BikeMedic2709 New Member

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    Mar,
    Thank you. The picture is actually of a Veloce. But it is the only pic I could find in the right size file. Fixer ehh!? Hard core! I like my gears too much. (Sometimes the little ring even more! HaHa!) It is always nice to meet another cyclist. Pleasure to meet you!
  14. ourhouse

    ourhouse Minister of Fire

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    My house has a fire place and I wanted to put in an insert in it. but my wife likes the fire place so free standing wood stove it was. But I do like wood stoves over inserts.
  15. recppd

    recppd New Member

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    Show your wife a Jotul Kennebec insert and she'll come around. Lots of heat, lots of ambiance, lots of heating bills reduced! Good luck...
  16. martel

    martel Member

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    as for inserts- we love, love, love ours. it fits into the room beautifully in our masonry fireplace and doesn't take over. yet, it still is beautiful to watch the fire in the large window. there is one brand (i forget which but I am sure that someone will let you know right away) that has a HUGE bay-style window. That thing was gorgeous but the wrong size for our fireplace. No offense to the stove folks, but when I go to my friends places with stoves I feel overwhelmed by the monster sitting in the corner. A lot has to do with how you do the stove/build the hearth though. I believe it is MSG that has some pics of his custom job and it is gorgeous!!
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'm with the freestanders. Inserts are a nice solution for some installations, but I like the quiet of a stove. We've had every variety and insert blowers remind one of their presence with fan noise. And they don't do their job when the power is out. If that happens over multiple days, it really starts to hit home. That's why we have a silent caframo fan on a freestanding stove. Reliable, silent heat without an electrical cord. And they just look nice.
  18. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    My thought is: What ever you like best in your home is best for U .
  19. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    Are there any side load/top load inserts?

    I think it depends on the situation. If you have the space, I would prefer a stove. But if you're limited and have an unused fireplace, why not put it to work actually heating with an insert.
  20. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    For twenty years I wondered if the old steel box in the fireplace would handle the place in an extended power outage. Always leary of finding out because I figured the heat would wreck the fans if they weren't moving air through them. Last winter we had a big snow storm that knocked out the electric for seven days. Convection through that sucker kept the place nice and warm the whole time. And kept the fans motors from cooking.

    I posted the other day the results of a test fire after the liner install and packing the insert in mineral wool when I shoved it back in. The convection air blows out a butane stove lighter flame. Looks like a rocket exhaust for a second before it blows out. So it is possible for inserts to move some heat without the fans if they are designed right.

    Now to find the new one that will do it too. Of course if I decide on a basement installed wood furnace, which I have contemplated for years, the F3CB goes on the hearth and I will be in freestanding land.
  21. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

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    BeGreen makes a good point about the blowers on inserts. Warren gave the best comparison saying they sound like a window AC on medium. When we're in the room I turn them down, at 75% hardly noticeable. At night or while I'm away I turn them up. If you can't sleep with a fan on in the bedroom because the noise keeps you up, and you're living in a ranch an insert is probably not for you. I need noise to sleep, and either a fan on in the bedroom, or the blowers of the insert on high, make me sleep like a baby. I'm seeing many mentions of power with inserts. Stoves with or without power shouldn't be the deciding factor. With power, stoves made me miserable around them all winter long. The only time I was happy, was the once a decade we lost power for several days I didn't mind the 80-85 degrees of my stove. That's 0.1% of the time, the other 99.9% of the time I was miserable. In my new house, had I picked a wood stove on the power issue, I'd be basing my decision on the 0.1% I liked them vs. the 99.9% I didn't. Roospike is right, it's whatever makes you happy and wood stoves made me miserable even when the power was out.

    I don't feel stoves have changed, my in-laws have a 3-4 year old VC encore that's cast iron, firebrick, and a cat stove. All three items should make it high on the list for even and subtle heating. My wife last year while we're sitting in the same room says to them, "How come your stove doesn't heat like ours? What's the temperature?". Her father looks, "84". Even with a new stove that's known for subtle even heat, they too have to keep it in the 80's around the stove to heat their house. I'm all too familiar with that. I do have an extreme grudge against freestanding stoves from the decades of discomfort I had to endure with them so, take what I say with a grain of salt. Worse is, I haven't seen a soapstone stove in action, I do have a soapstone insert and I can't tell if the reason my insert heats like my stoves never could, is because of the soapstone in it or because it's an insert, or both. So, my anger towards freestanding stoves may even be misguided and simply the soapstone in my insert is the magic happening now. I think it both.
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