Advice for Purchase of Gas Insert

nsymonds Posted By nsymonds, Dec 12, 2009 at 9:21 PM

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  1. nsymonds

    New Member 2.

    Dec 12, 2009
    San Francisco
    I am a babe in the woods regarding all the features and their benefits and understanding the terminology. I am hoping you can help steer me in the right direction and get the best use of my money. I am looking at three gas insert models to heat my family room which is about 24 ft by 14 ft.

    1. The Regency Model U32 has 24,500 Input and can be turned down to 16,500. Will 24,500 be enough to heat the room and is the turn down to 16,500 enough of a turn down should the room get very warm? (Just in case you're wondering, the 26,000 BTU doesn't fit my fireplace opening - its a 1/2 inch too short)

    2. The Kinsgman Model IDV33 has an input of 31,000. Is that too high? And it turns down to 20,900. Is that enough? Any other insights into Kingsman?

    3. The Valor Legend G3 has 26,000 but can turn down to 6500 so this is the biggest spread of the 3. However, its about $950 more expensive than the other two. It also is battery operated so you can turn the pilot off with the remote control. The sales person says that this will save me money on fuel usage. I think the remote may have a few more bells and whistles to control the heat. The brochure says its "radiant" heat. I don't know how to think about that feature. Any insights?

    Is it worth the extra money to get the Valor? Are the features worth it to get maximum comfort?

    What's the difference between vented, direct vent and vent free and what should I be looking at?
    Thanks for your guidance.
  2. DAKSY

    Patriot Guard Rider Moderator 2.
    Staff Member

    Dec 2, 2008
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    How well is your family room (or the rest of your home, for that matter) insulated?
    That is the most important thing to consider when sizing a space heater, &
    that's what an insert is - a space heater.
    Secondly, you need to determine the efficiency of each of the units to determine the
    BTU OUTPUT. Input x efficiency = output.
    In upstate NY, we work with 30, 40 & 50 BTU per square foot (BTU/sf) - based on the insulation of the room (home).
    If your room is duck's butt tight, you may be able to get by with 30 BTU/sf...
    If you've got a 250 year-old farmhouse where the curtains move in the breeze,
    EVEN when the storm windows are closed & the inner windows are locked,
    you're gonna need roughly 50 BTU/sf...
    Average houses, maybe 40...
    So your family room is 336 sf. Average BTU (OUTPUT) to heat this room is 13,440 (336x40).
    Let's say your unit is 75% efficient...
    You'll need about 18,000 BTU in to get 13,500 BTU out...
    Those numbers are based on a Direct Vent (DV) unit.
    B-Vent units are not sold as much as they used to be because of drafting issues...
    Vent-free - or MORE correctly - ROOM-VENTED heaters are losing popularity
    & are already outlawed in at least 5 states, so I'm not even gonna go there...
  3. webbie

    Seasoned Moderator 2.

    Nov 17, 2005
    Western Mass.
    They are all decent units, but in the Bay Area you may not need the max heat of those units much of the time.

    That makes the Valor interesting.

    I should mention that I have a Valor.....fireplace....but they are not a client of mine (or sponsor).

    The other units might also hook to a thermostat and that would turn them off and on to get to the heat level you want over a period of time, so that is also a solution.

    We can't see your wallet........sometimes money is just money - meaning, that style and other things come into play for something you are going to look at full time! If price is the #1 object, there are probably even less expensive units you can get! But they may not look as nice or be as efficient.

    Empire, for instance, makes some about 1500

    But I do like my Valor and you get a very nice looking unit there - I look at it like a nice piece of furniture! (which often cost more!).
    Here is mine
  4. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy
    New Member 2.

    Apr 25, 2007
    DAKSY pretty much covered it. Sounds like the Valor has a Intermittent Pilot Ignition (IPI) system which will save you money on your gas bill since the pilot only burns when the burner is on.

    You can look at your gas bill and figure out how much it will save - a pilot burns about 2,000 BTU's an hour (I've clocked them out of the box at 2,200) or .020 therms an hour. Take a look at your gas bill and see how much a therm costs. Don't forget to add in all the local taxes and charges. I did a calculation a year or so ago based on a standing pilot verses IPI with an average daily burn time of 3 hours a day for 8 months (if I remember correctly) and that saved about $125 dollars a year. The drawback

    I'd make sure your insert has good blowers - without a good set then your insert isn't going to radiate enough heat into the room no matter what the brochure says.

    The only other thing I'd suggest is to look around at what else might be out there. A number of inserts in the industry off the insane low of 6K BTU's and have IPI that only use batteries as a backup when the power goes out. Also keep in mind that 2K of those BTU's are the pilot so check out how it looks on low, some look really silly!
  5. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy
    New Member 2.

    Apr 25, 2007
    Nice Craig - it looks beautiful!
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