Review of CFM-Century --- CW2900i -- Fireplace Inserted Stove burning Wood only
Installation Type: Wood/Coal - into existing Fireplace
Satisfaction Ratings from 5 stars (best) to 1 star (worst)
Satisfaction with unit = ✰✰✰✰
Satisfaction with dealer = ✰✰✰✰
Satisfaction with manufacturer = ✰✰✰✰✰
Other Information about the Home and Stove
Room Size (Sq ft): 900 | House Size (Sq feet): 2700
Bought in 2016 , Price Paid: 1099
Location : , MI , USA
Purchased from: Home Center/Hardware - Menards
Can load E/W (up to 20") or N/S (up to 16")
Easy to control
Easy to get parts and accessories
Informative and well thought out owner's manual
Large faceplate for large fireplace openings
Good customer service
Faceplate attaches via springs, as opposed to being more securely attached/bolted in, so it doesn't sit flush against brick by itself
Fan doesn't turn on/off by itself (not heat activated)
Stove is entirely square, not angled in the back like other inserts
This insert comes from SBI, which also makes the Drolet and Osburn lines to name a few. Being the Century line, it's the no-thrills version of the Drolet 1800i and Osburn 2000 insert, all three of which have the same specs (performance, firebox dimensions, steel thickness). So really its just a few differences/accessories added as you go up the chain.
That said, this insert has performed quite well for me so far. I've had it installed for a month now and found it was pretty easy to get used to right away. I have it installed in the family room in the basement of a ranch with just under 27' of chimney. I could have had one of two problems with this setup - poor draft due to a basement install or overdraft with a tall chimney - but I have none and find it easy to control and use.
I can keep it mid-70s if I load E/W and can go into the 80s if I want by loading N/S. I personally prefer N/S as I can turn it down lower, get more BTUs, and seemingly use slightly less wood. With my layout and setup, I have been able to get enough heat upstairs to keep the main living area warm when I want to minimize the use of the NG boiler. The main goal of the basement install was to heat the basement, any heat upstairs was just a benefit. It is definitely oversized for my basement but I'm glad I did it, one for the higher BTU output and longer burn times than the smaller version. If I need a short fire or not as many BTUs, I can simply adjust the amount of wood I put in.
I've been able to get up to 7 hour burns loading it relatively full with a mixed load of hardwoods (typically oak, cherry, maple). If I loaded it with strictly oak or similar, I'm sure I could get closer to 8 hours.
I have found customer service to be responsive and helpful, which is always a good thing. It's also very easy to get replacement parts and accessories. One thing I really appreciated was the owner's manual, which went at length discussing quality wood, good burning techniques, as well as safety and installation.
The fan I find is pretty quiet for what its doing. My home office is also in the basement and I can have it running at or near high and I can still take calls without it being intrusive. At the same time, I don't sit right next to it.
The faceplate is large to cover the larger fireplace openings, which I had.
As for cons, the faceplate attaches via springs to the sides of the insert. At least in my case, this holds the edges close to the insert against the brick but the outer edges don't. Still need to devise a way to fix this - could do it with screws into the mortar but I'd like to use that as a last resort.
I knew this going into it, but the fan isn't activated by heat, so you have to turn it on/off manually when the time is right after loading and then when the fire dies down. It's a not really an inconvenience for me as I'm by it enough to manage it.
I put the stove is square, meaning it doesn't taper in the back like some other inserts. It wasn't a problem for me but may be for others.
Performance wise though, I don't really have anything bad to say about it.
All in all, very happy with it. It does what its supposed to and does it well. The glass stays clean, just needs to be wiped down every once in awhile but this is normal if you have dry wood and burn correctly. It definitely burns clean when I burn it correctly, there's no smoke coming out of the stack outside.
Is it not as pretty as others out there? Yes, but if you're like me and just looking for a solid insert without the bells and whistles and a good price, this is the one to get.
* Dates that reviews were submitted were not recorded prior to Nov. 2004