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Zero Clearance insert (specific model) questions

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by kd460, Feb 5, 2006.

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  1. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    Hello, new to the forum. Have been reading for the past few days. Lots of really good info, lots of nice people. I have done a search and tried to find out as much info as I can regarding inserts for zero clearance fireplaces.

    I am sorry to say that there is not allot of info out there, and it seems there is not allot of models available for zero clearance fireplaces.

    My home is 6 years old, and this past winter I have burned nearly every day. I have glass doors on the fireplace, so I feel pretty good about going to bed with a dying fire unattended. I do secure the doors to prevent a gust of wind accidentally opening them while I am not in the room. I have mastered the use of a couple of fans (one ceiling and one free standing) to help move the heat and it did save me $$ on the gas bill this winter. Wood supply is not a problem and I enjoy gathering, cutting, splitting and stacking. It's good exercise.

    While doing my homework, I discovered that the fireplace is extremely inefficient, and that a free standing or an insert is the way to go. At first I was going to go with a free standing unit, but I do not like how it will take up floor space in the room I plan to install it in, and I would need to rework my current prefab chimney. (I understand I need to add another liner for the insert)

    I then learned that I could use an insert, and it seems that the model I have found will fit my fireplace and seemingly my needs. It is a Country Flame model O2 at

    http://www.countryflame.com/

    Unfortunately, I can not direct link to the unit so you need to click on "wood stove inserts" on the left, then the model "O2"

    I called a few of the dealers that the company listed for in my area. They were not the best help. Very little experience with this model, which does surprise me considering the amount of homes in my area that have builders basic zero clearance fireplace. None of the dealers were able to provide me with pricing or availability and they are checking into it.

    So anyone have any experience with this model or a similar model for existing zero clearance fireplaces? Any long term use info out there? I would love to put a free standing unit, but it is just not practical right now. I think I have the install information down, but always willing to learn more.

    If anyone can provide me with more info, different models, words of wisdom, I will certainly read, listen and learn. I just want to make sure I am getting into this with both eyes open. Sorry for the long winded post, and thanks for your time.

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  2. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Welcome on board. First piece to your puzzle is providing more details We have to know what type and specs on your current chimney including verticle length. plus any info on your current ZC fireplace like make and model. We need to know the fireplace opening size and dept. Then one has to narrow their search to inserts listed for zerro fire place installations. At this point many here can help you. As with many post a digital photo also helps understanding your current setup. Also helpfull is knowing your state and town location. Some here may be able help with locating the best dealer
  3. JAred

    JAred New Member

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    Not knowing your size limits as far as inserts go, but regency makes some models that are approved for zero clearance units. their "small" model insert fits in tight quarters.

    I'm not a pro..... so do your research.

    It seems to me when I was shopping for inserts most of all of them were rated for zero clearance fireplaces? again some more help from more knowledgeable people on this board can help.


    If you end up installing an insert, You will have made an excellent energy decision
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like eyes wide open....full lining, insert is best, and you have to use what fits.

    Sadly, you will find that you often know more about the stoves than a dealer, especially if CF is a sideline brand of theirs....no problem - just get ahold of the manual and study it if possible.

    If you don't fel confident with the store to install it, a local chimney sweep or other type of mechanic might be able to do the job for you.
  5. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    OK, thanks, I was under the assumption that not to many inserts were available for zero clearance fireplace inserts. I see very little info on them when I surf manufacturer's websites. Very little reference to the term "zero clearance insert compliant". Maybe I'm looking for the wrong terminology?

    The zero clearance insert in my home is a heatilator model E39. Dimensions are as follows: Initial opening size is 16 1/2 inches high (actually higher than that at 20 inches but a thin sheet metal trim plate in the front makes 16 1/2) and 32 1/2 inches wide. The box tapers towards the rear, the height remains the same, but the width tapers down to 23 inches. The box is 17 1/2 inches deep. These dimensions include the fake fire brick liner.

    The flu is 8 inch diameter, double wall stainless lined, and 16 foot tall give or take one foot (to much snow on the roof to get up there right now). The flu pipe sits outside the house, in a stick frame chimney, covered with vinyl siding. This fireplace is in a 15 x 20 family room, with a 12 foot wide opening to the rest of the house. The ceiling is a cathedral but only 10 1/2 foot tall.

    I live in south eastern michigan, halfway between Detroit and Lansing (capital). There are two dealers that fairly close to me (about 1 hour away for one, and 45 minutes for the other). Both of them mainly deal with the corn stoves by Country Flame but "can order it for you". So I am pretty much on my own in being able to figure this out.

    So based on my dimensions, the Country Flme seems to be the only one I have found so far. The fire box capacity is 2.1 Cu. ft Does this seem really small?

    I will post a pic of my current installation sometime today. Thank you all for the replies, and hopefully the two delers I contacted on saturday will get back with me today. Thanks for the tip about a chimney sweep installing the unit, I did not consider that untill now.
  6. Hinterlander

    Hinterlander Member

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    I also live in SE Michigan, and had an insert installed in my Heatilator E42 firebox. I ended up with a Lopi Revere due to it's large firebox (2.2 cuft) and low height compared to other ZC approved inserts. Dealer was Solley's in Ortonville, who did an excellent job. We are really happy with the results (and my $100 gas bill compared to neighbors $350). Best of luck!
  7. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    Hey, thanks for the info, Ortonville is a little to far for me (brighton). I have since found a few others that are available for my dimensions. I did get some pricing back, and it is sticker shock, well not really. It is about 30% more than I was thinking (usually is).

    But on a positive note, I found another unit by Quadrafire that is a little more in line with what I was thinking. It is the 2700i:

    http://www.quadrafire.com/products/inserts/woodInsertDetail.asp?f=2700i

    Seems the fire box is even smaller than the country flame. I have not totally discounted the country flame, but at this point I am starting to flip flop all over the place. Gotta keep doing my homework. It's kind of tough when you physically can't go and see these units in person as no one has them on display.

    I was gonna post pics of my current install, but I don't know how. Here is a link to the pics

    http://www.dieseltruckresource.com/pics/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=22640

    I'll keep reading and asking, gonna go to a shop on sunday to see what they have, but so far, nobody displays the inserts. Thanks, Kevin
  8. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    There is a large dealer in ma he owns 3 stores a qudrafire dealer, and refuses to sell the 2700i, He has gotten too many complaints, most due to the stove not comming close to manufacture claims. It's the small fire box can not produce the heat or burn times
  9. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    And i have sold many many 2700i,and the former 2100i, and havent had a call back, as matter of fact i have had compliments on the unit. People do say that they dont burn as long as a larger firebox (duh) but a small firebox is a small firebox no matter what unit you have. I have never found a instance where a manufacture ever represented heating capicity or burn times accuratly. The quad in my neck of the woods burns about 3 hours on a load of pine and comfortably heats 600 square feet of normal building quality, and can heat up to 1000 with well insulated walls, not very many windows, 8' celings, and a open floor plan. IT realy realy depends on your house, but more importanltly what will fit in your firebox? thats the biggest limiting factor.
  10. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    Excellent! This is the kind of information I m looking for. So how much of a factor is a 1.6 cf box vs 2.1 cf box (yes I know about .5 cf). It sure would be nice to have a load last from bedtime till morning or close to that. And then again is it worth $500-$700 to have that .5 cf? I am trying hard to not let the $$ influence me, but unfortunately, it is.

    My home is 1800 sq ft. with the potential of another 300 to 400 sq ft. being added in the next couple of years. It was built about 5 years ago, colonial style with 2x6 walls, about r-19 of walls and ceilings are about r-40. It is a 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath. Family room sits in the back (where fireplace is) and that is 15x20 and that has cathedral ceilings.

    I am looking for supplimental heat. Something to lower my heat bills, and simply put, I enjoy a fire. I don't expect it to heat my entire house, although it would be nice if it did. If I was expecting that, I would consider a wood burning furnace. I am looking for it to cut my heat bills by 50% (that is my expectation). Anything better than that is a bonus. My regular fireplace did lower my consumption this winter, but unfortunately due to the rise in cost of nat. gas the bill stayed about the same (and this winter has been mild so far).

    Sure would be nice to hear from someone about the Country Flame. I wonder if it is an unreasonable to ask the dealer if I or they could talk with a former customer who has this same unit? I don't expect the dealer to just give me a phone number of one of their cuustomers, but, it sure would be nice to get some comments from someone who actually has the unit.

    I really apreciate the information. I'm not going to rush into this, but I want one yesterday! Kevin
  11. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Part of what Iwas told is the dealer also carries other lines and maybe he has more sucess selling a different model
    than the 2700i. Note I did not mention any quality control issues just repeated what he told me.
    The only mistake is purchasing a stove that does not do the expected job. It is a lot easier holding medium range
    burn in a larger stove that to get a smaller one running at peak all the time.
    It sounds if if will take care of your needs for that room asking for it to do more and 50% of the house will not happen
    ,5 more you have a better chance of accomplishing the task We have had a lot of discussion here and it pays to get the
    largest fire box possible Then again you are budjeting. The worst mistake is finding out you paid x and it doen not get the
    job done. You will be wondering it would have been cheaper to have paid x more.

    Mountianstove guy is right subtract 1/4 to 1/3 the manufactures claims and that is what to expect
  12. Hinterlander

    Hinterlander Member

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    I looked at the Quad i2700 and didn't like the small firebox and also the door's fit and finish and it didn't have a smoke bypass which is extremely important. It would have fit the ZC firebox, but read elsewhere on the forum that I would not be happy with the heating capacity. I also looked at the small Regency insert, seemed a quality piece, but again, too small and no bypass.. My 2.2 cuft firebox in the Lopi Revere heats my whole house (about 2000 square feet, very open floor plan, high great room ceiling with ceiling fan and optimum arrangement for wood heating) regardless of outside temp with the blower running. Great investment!

    My advice is to buy a quality insert, have it installed by a reputable dealer or sweep, get the largest firebox with a smoke bypass for your fireplace. It may take some additional time to get your return on investment, but you will be much more satisfied with it's performance.

    I'm saving about $200/month this winter burning about 70% of the time. My furnace comes on in the morning just long enough to kick on the insert blower and get us through the showers. Once the insert warms up, it's off to the races for another day. We have a temp gauge on top of the insert next to the bypass and try to keep it between 450 and 550 degrees. We cool down about every four days, shovel ashes, clean the glass, vacuum the blower intake and then we're good to go for another four days. I also use those little Rutland soot-sweep tubes once or twice each week. We all like the pretty purple flames.
  13. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    OK, I have to ask, what is a smoke bypass?
  14. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Usually it is a damper setup wh that when you get your stove hot enough you engage the damper.
    A secondary exhaust route with help of air tubs, some cat combustors, can ignite that smoke and exhaust gasses.
    You get a secondary burn. IT cleanner and prolongs stove temps that actually produce a decent amount of heat longer.
    IT holds heat in longer anf lees wood is burned
  15. Hinterlander

    Hinterlander Member

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    It's just an exhaust opening from the firebox to the stack that bypasses the secondary burn by routing the gasses straight up the stack, therefore reducing the amount of smoke that spills into the room when the door is opened for loading wood. Works great for starting the fire too, because it increases draft while the stove is cold. Stoves without a bypass will spill smoke into the room when reloading, unless the fire is burning very hot (and how often is the fire burning really hot when you are reloading?). Lopi has them on all inserts except the Answer. Highly Recommended!
  16. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I am in the same boat - in search mode for an insert for a ZC fireplace. I have a Heatilator A36R in the new (to us) house we moved into in January. I had a Quad 2100I in the last house and loved it, especially the fore-to-aft wood loading. It doesn't look like the 2700i can do that, although an advantage could be that the existing hearth does not have to be modified. It also doesn't appear that the 3100i will fit, but I'm not positive on that. A couple of the local (near Albany, NY) sell the Country brand, and have said the C210 "Performer" model can fit. http://www.countrystoves.com/documents/Insert_Specs.pdf . It appears to be fairly large, but seems to load wood from side to side.

    I know some components of the ZC fireplace can be removed, per the installation manual. I wonder though: the A36R has a raised section, pyramid in cross-section, about 1" high extending the width of the fireplace towards the front. I imagine the function is to prevent the logs or embers from rolling out or something like that. Can an installer smash this down if just a little more height is needed? Has anybody seen anything like this issue before.

    Thanks very much.
  17. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    Velvetfoot, mine is just a metal strip that sticks up, really flimsy, no pyramid. It is held in by just a few screws, and yes, it looks like it is there for keeping ash and coals in. Not sure about yours, but, that piece just removes with a few screws and the bottom of the firebos is there, so I would think, (based on what I am looking at on mine) that it is no problem. Tou could always replace it with a piece of flat sheet metal that is the same gauge as well.

    Heck lets compare notes on what will and won't fit! There has to be a few inserts out there that are fairly priced, look nice, have decent amount of btu's (say around 60,000), designed for and fit a smaller zero clearance fireplace, have smoke bypass, and don't sound like a truck when running. Kevin
  18. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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  19. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Well, we ordered a QuadraFire 2700i. $1500 stove, $1200 install (!!!). Floor model - doesn't look much used - dealer said half a dozen fires. Original warranty. Scheduled to be installed 3/16.

    It comes down to what will fit, who sells what, and does the dealer appear competent. Never mind price. There aren't enough dealers in my area for comparison shopping, I feel.
    This unit seems pretty nice. It sits pretty flush, so it doesn't look like a hearth extension will be required. There's a bit of wood trim around the existing fireplace, so I think I'll have to take that off. The trim plate that goes around the unit is pretty wide, so I'm figuring the existing drywall won't require any more covering, although maybe I'll put in some tile.

    The dealer told us the unit had a bigger ft3 capacity than our old 2100i. That might be true but the largest piece that you can put in back to front is about 15" - MAYBE 16" but it'd probably be touching the glass. Side to side, looks like about 18" or so.

    We got the infinitely variable speed fan. It doesn't seem too noisy. I did not have a fan on the 2100i - this should be a nice addition.

    Our colonial-style house is 2000ft3, so this won't heat the whole house. If it does indeed have as much capacity as the 2100i, it should make the downstairs pretty cozy though.

    It has outside air capability. The dealer says they've never installed this on this unit. Perhaps I will start a thread on this.

    Now I have to scare up some seasoned wood. :)
  20. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    Congrats on the new insert. I am still looking, but I think I have narrowed my choice down to the country stove c160. Here is the link.

    http://www.countrystoves.com/wood_in_StrikerCA160.htm

    Actually the c210 which is the next size larger appears to fit my insert as well. But it is very tight, so I am sticking with the c160. I agree that it will contribute nicely to the the heat in the house, but I do not expect it to heat the house. I have looked at so many models (on the internet and in person) I am tired of shopping for them. I don't like how I can not download the manual to see what I will be in for on the install on the c160.

    I have visited a few dealers in my area, and have called a few as well. I made two phone calls just yesterday to dealers on the country stoves "dealers list". One person was really helpfull, the other was not interested in talking with me when I told him I was just intersted in the stove and liner, not labor. (I told him I had a family member who installs). Some never called me back, and man I am ready to buy. I am not in a hurry, but, I am ready to buy.

    I did ask if they offered a price break for DIY's or for purchases during off season. Only one of them seemed to consider it, but never commited. I even told them that this would be a cash (not check, not credit card, but cash) purchase. Still not a budge at all. While I am not looking for the farm, heck all that is involved is to order an insert, call me when it's in, and I come take it away. Easy sale as far as I'm concerned. Same for the flue pipe and fittings, tell me what I need, thank you, here's my money, thnk you, I'll call you if I need something else. Now, I am not bashing dealers, and I know I may take some heat for this statement, but, are those the same dealers that complain when a dot.com directs ships to "their area"? Am I doing something wrong by asking for a little break?

    Please folks, don't take this the wrong way, just passing on my experiences in the past few weeks. I am aware of some of the mark ups on stoves and such, so I figured they had some room to move a little. I will be purchasing from a local dealer when I find someone who is willing to work with me. I believe in supporting the local guy. But, it is hard sometimes. I have heard to many times, "I can usually do something, but not on that model". The funny thing is, they all say that, regardless of the model, even on different models. Maybe I am shopping in the wrong places. Gonna head north to the property for a tree felling party, and will visit some dealers up there.

    OK done with the rant, sorry, just finished a double shift. Velvetfoot, when is your install taking place? Sure would like to know how it went, how the insert performs, and pics would be nice. Best of luck with it.
  21. JAred

    JAred New Member

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    If the next size up is a tight fit but you think it will work , by all means get the bigger one. you'll be glad you did. The extra costs will be offset by it's heating capacity. As such your oilgas bill will reflect that. also the larger firebox will promote longer burns.

    just my opinion
  22. Hinterlander

    Hinterlander Member

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    Buy the biggest insert that will fit in your fireplace. You won't be happy with a small insert that doesn't have the capacity to do what you want. If you will be investing your valuable time finding, cutting, hauling, splitting, stacking and keeping firewood dry, you should buy an insert that will heat your house, or you will be very unhappy next winter.

    I almost bought a small 1.6 cubic foot insert and ended up buying a larger 2.2 cubic foot insert after reading many posts on this forum. My house is 2000 square feet with a 20 foot ceiling in the great room where the insert is along the outside wall. Very open floor plan, perfect for wood heat. The Lopi will heat the house, but just barely on cold Michigan nights and only if I've got it my temp up to a minimum of 500 degrees. I have lots of red and white oak, which I cram into the firebox at 10:00 pm, and by 5:00 am, I have just a few coals and the blower has shut down. With that firebox, an overnight burn has not been possible. In the morning, it takes a good hour to get it up to temp again.

    My brother has a larger 2.9 cubic foot firebox in his Lopi insert and gets 10 hour burns using dry oak and ash mixed (Michigan Buggy Ash). The bigger the better in both heating capacity and burn time. A small insert may be fun at first, but you will be frustrated with the end result.
  23. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Thanks kd. Will do.
  24. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Well, they installed the 2700i yesterday!
    Very smooth install into that Heatilator fireplace.
    It's working well. Throws out plenty of heat especially with the fan installed.
    There are a couple of surround issues that I will post in a separate thread with pics.
    Loading the wood from side to side seems not to be a problem other than making sure nothing rolls out.
    Seems to fit a fair amount of wood too.
  25. ourhouse

    ourhouse Minister of Fire

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    Velvetfoot, we are very much in the same predicament as you (pre-fab house, not wanting to use up floor space, etc.) Thank you for posting again to let us all know that you had it installed. We are looking at the same model and want to continue to hear how your experiences go with this insert. As much info as you can share would be great. Out of curiosity, how big is your house and how much of it does it seem to heat? Feel free to PM us with your experiences.
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