Advice Needed: Woodstove for three-sided Fireplace?

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NancyPeacock

New Member
Nov 2, 2020
9
Santa Fe
Hello!

We are under contract on a lovely home in Santa Fe, with a non-functional three-sided fireplace. We had it inspected and the chimney sweep recommended installing a woodstove in the fireplace after our failed fire test due to faulty design. I've read through the forums and am hoping someone here might have some advice about what might look good aesthetically and be functional in the fireplace.

I'm worried that a woodstove will sit so far back in the fireplace as to make loading it impractical because the wall serving as the mantle is at least a foot from the start of the firebox. And we'd have to either close off the back of the fireplace or you'd see the back of the woodstove in that room...

Another option would be a propane insert of some kind with custom glass doors on all three sides (is that even possible?) but we are worried that would be both cost prohibitive and not as warm as a woodstove. The house is about 1800 square feet and the other heat source are three mini-split units throughout, so we do want to use this as a heat source as well as for ambiance, but it's not crucial for heat and temperatures rarely dip too far below freezing here.

The Chimney sweep recommended the Kuma Aspen LE and the woodstove store salesman recommended the Rais Q-Tee II without base. The fireplace dimensions are 30" tall by 50" wide. I was thinking the Q-Tee could work if we put it in at an angle... or was thinking something totally different and funky like the Jotul F602 V2?

So my question is: what would you do, and do you have any suggestions for woodstoves that might work and be functional?

Thank you so much for your thoughts and help!
 

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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,470
SE North Carolina
Couple quick thoughts. If you choose a wood stove I like the angle idea. I’m not any expert but I think it will need to be a rear vent stove. it is really neat design aspect, personal opinion here, is there another place in the room/ house that a wood stove might be a better fit as will really change the openness of the original design and limit stove choices.
A custom gas burner or off the shelf gas log set might look neat. Not sure it would need doors. Many fireplaces converted to gas don’t have them around here. Do you already have gas/propane? You could look into gas stoves. I personally like the look of the Jotul’s. Some of the modern designs fit better with the Santa Fe architecture better than the more traditional ones. Feeding a woostove for heat is a chore. If I had natural gas or propane I would have installed a gas stove. Burning for ambiance on a regular basis will be less of a chore but you could burn through wheelbarrow load in a weekend.
Hope that is helpful.
Evan
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,546
South Puget Sound, WA
I don't know if you can locate one but a BarBas Unilux 270 would look good in there. They come in left or right side glass configurations.
 
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NancyPeacock

New Member
Nov 2, 2020
9
Santa Fe
I don't know if you can locate one but a BarBas Unilux 270 would look good in there. They come in left or right side glass configurations.
Thank you so much! This looks wonderful. I've sent an email to the company, but checking in to see if you know of any USA (or, if not, North American?) distribution? I can't find anything online...
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,262
Downeast Maine
Thank you so much! This looks wonderful. I've sent an email to the company, but checking in to see if you know of any USA (or, if not, North American?) distribution? I can't find anything online...

Looks like the closest showrooms are in Canada. Neat stove, but it might be difficult to get here.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,546
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, it might take direct purchasing from the UK or Canada. Tell them we get 2-3 requests here a year for this style insert. That is why I earmarked this one.
 
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NancyPeacock

New Member
Nov 2, 2020
9
Santa Fe
Couple quick thoughts. If you choose a wood stove I like the angle idea. I’m not any expert but I think it will need to be a rear vent stove. it is really neat design aspect, personal opinion here, is there another place in the room/ house that a wood stove might be a better fit as will really change the openness of the original design and limit stove choices.
A custom gas burner or off the shelf gas log set might look neat. Not sure it would need doors. Many fireplaces converted to gas don’t have them around here. Do you already have gas/propane? You could look into gas stoves. I personally like the look of the Jotul’s. Some of the modern designs fit better with the Santa Fe architecture better than the more traditional ones. Feeding a woostove for heat is a chore. If I had natural gas or propane I would have installed a gas stove. Burning for ambiance on a regular basis will be less of a chore but you could burn through wheelbarrow load in a weekend.
Hope that is helpful.
Evan
Thank you Evan! We have propane, and I'm leaning towards a conversion if we are investing in bringing this back up to function. Unfortunately the fireplace store here didn't really have much to offer in the way of custom gas burners and suggested that log sets wouldn't offer much in the way of heat. I think if we decided to go the log-set route (aka not too concerned about heat), we might test it out with a biofuel burner. One other suggestion was to just fix the chimney and install a fan at the top to help draw smoke up.
 

NancyPeacock

New Member
Nov 2, 2020
9
Santa Fe
Yes, it might take direct purchasing from the UK or Canada. Tell them we get 2-3 requests here a year for this style insert. That is why I earmarked this one.
Thank you! I'm not sure I'm ready to pay shipping from the UK on a wood stove, but I'll see what the company says when they respond! This is a beautiful fireplace, thank you so much for finding it.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,262
Downeast Maine
A good wood burning appliance that is beautiful and will also heat your house is worth the money. You have to look at the stove year round.
 

NancyPeacock

New Member
Nov 2, 2020
9
Santa Fe
Yes, it might take direct purchasing from the UK or Canada. Tell them we get 2-3 requests here a year for this style insert. That is why I earmarked this one.
Well, I heard back from the company-- they said that there is no US distribution and that their wood stoves are not approved for the US market. I did tell them that there are several requests for this kind of insert every year, and encouraged them to consider expanding into the US! Thank you begreen. Please do let me know if anything else crosses your mind.

Right now the best bet seems to be installing a wood stove like the Rais Q-Tee II or a Stuv Cube STOVE (not insert, because as we know, there are no inserts that work for this kind of fireplace!) in the firebox. I was hoping for something like the Malm Carousel, but it's too large for the space. Ah well.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,262
Downeast Maine
I see you are in Santa Fe and I agree that you might be best served by making it into a functional fireplace and just enjoy it whenever you want a fire. The stoves you are looking at will bake you out of the house and you would only be able to burn a bit of kindling before becoming uncomfortable. Gas logs aren't a bad idea, but the heat will escape through the chimney anyway or you will have a room vented set which have their own set of problems.
 

NancyPeacock

New Member
Nov 2, 2020
9
Santa Fe
I see you are in Santa Fe and I agree that you might be best served by making it into a functional fireplace and just enjoy it whenever you want a fire. The stoves you are looking at will bake you out of the house and you would only be able to burn a bit of kindling before becoming uncomfortable. Gas logs aren't a bad idea, but the heat will escape through the chimney anyway or you will have a room vented set which have their own set of problems.
Thank you, SpaceBus! We didn't think those stoves would be too warm, since their capacity is on the smaller side, but I appreciate your feedback.

Do you have any other suggestions? One option we need to explore more fully is to remedy the chimney issues that came up in the inspection by relining or putting in a liner, then to install a fan at the top to help the air draw, and just to use it as a regular fireplace. The fireplace shop said that would work. Or (cheapest option) just to use ethanol burners in there.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,262
Downeast Maine
Thank you, SpaceBus! We didn't think those stoves would be too warm, since their capacity is on the smaller side, but I appreciate your feedback.

Do you have any other suggestions? One option we need to explore more fully is to remedy the chimney issues that came up in the inspection by relining or putting in a liner, then to install a fan at the top to help the air draw, and just to use it as a regular fireplace. The fireplace shop said that would work. Or (cheapest option) just to use ethanol burners in there.
Ethanol burners will have the same issues as the gas logs; water and other combustion products being emitted into your house.


Is your house insulated? I know many CA houses are not. With poor insulation/air sealing a small wood stove might work, but a 600+ degree box in a living room sounds unappealing at 60 df outside temperatures.
 

NancyPeacock

New Member
Nov 2, 2020
9
Santa Fe
Ethanol burners will have the same issues as the gas logs; water and other combustion products being emitted into your house.


Is your house insulated? I know many CA houses are not. With poor insulation/air sealing a small wood stove might work, but a 600+ degree box in a living room sounds unappealing at 60 df outside temperatures.
Hi SpaceBus-- I live in Santa Fe, in Northern New Mexico. The house is pretty well insulated (built in 2009), but temperatures in the winter have an average high of 42 and average low of 17.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,262
Downeast Maine
Hi SpaceBus-- I live in Santa Fe, in Northern New Mexico. The house is pretty well insulated (built in 2009), but temperatures in the winter have an average high of 42 and average low of 17.
Well that certainly changes things! Go for the Rais, the Stuv doesn't have any user adjustment aside from load size. I suppose that can be an advantage for some.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,842
Iowa
I've been stuck in a snowstorm in Santa Fe! We may need a geography refresher here;lol
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,470
SE North Carolina
We used ethanol burners for several years. They got real solid “ehh , that’s good enough... I guess.” Just bought more bio ethanol first time in a few years and the price was up considerably. 70$ for 12 liters. Figure a liter an hour for an ok sized fire. I have three of these . Not a perfect solution but a cheap one. Some times I opened the dampers but usually kept it closed
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,546
South Puget Sound, WA
Well, I heard back from the company-- they said that there is no US distribution and that their wood stoves are not approved for the US market. I did tell them that there are several requests for this kind of insert every year, and encouraged them to consider expanding into the US! Thank you begreen. Please do let me know if anything else crosses your mind.

Right now the best bet seems to be installing a wood stove like the Rais Q-Tee II or a Stuv Cube STOVE (not insert, because as we know, there are no inserts that work for this kind of fireplace!) in the firebox. I was hoping for something like the Malm Carousel, but it's too large for the space. Ah well.
The Stuv Cube and the Rais Q-Tee are interesting options. There is also the Supreme Novo series which can be used without a base.

An insert can work without the surround. Some have plain sides that don't look too bad.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,262
Downeast Maine
Maybe a Supreme Vision/Duet would look nice there? It is one of my favorite stoves on the market.
 
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NancyPeacock

New Member
Nov 2, 2020
9
Santa Fe
Maybe a Supreme Vision/Duet would look nice there? It is one of my favorite stoves on the market.
The Stuv Cube and the Rais Q-Tee are interesting options. There is also the Supreme Novo series which can be used without a base.

An insert can work without the surround. Some have plain sides that don't look too bad.

Thank you! I'll investigate the Novo 24-- on the list now.

@SpaceBus I agree, the vision / duet is a lovely looking stove. Unfortunately the dimensions don't work-- our firebox is about a 30" square and the Vision is 33" wide and 38" tall, the Duet is 36" wide.

Any thoughts on where I might be able to find photos of the BACKS of the Rais Q-Tee II and Novo stoves? It may come down as well to what looks *ok* with its rear end exposed...
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,262
Downeast Maine
Thank you! I'll investigate the Novo 24-- on the list now.

@SpaceBus I agree, the vision / duet is a lovely looking stove. Unfortunately the dimensions don't work-- our firebox is about a 30" square and the Vision is 33" wide and 38" tall, the Duet is 36" wide.

Any thoughts on where I might be able to find photos of the BACKS of the Rais Q-Tee II and Novo stoves? It may come down as well to what looks *ok* with its rear end exposed...
You will probably have to contact the manufacturers or a showroom directly.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,262
Downeast Maine
Is there really nowhere else to put a stove? That fireplace is so unique.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,546
South Puget Sound, WA
The back side opening could have perforated screening to disguise the rear view.
 
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NancyPeacock

New Member
Nov 2, 2020
9
Santa Fe
Well, I heard back from the company-- they said that there is no US distribution and that their wood stoves are not approved for the US market. I did tell them that there are several requests for this kind of insert every year, and encouraged them to consider expanding into the US! Thank you begreen. Please do let me know if anything else crosses your mind.
@begreen Good news on the Barbas Bellfires front! In chatting with Barbas Bellfires about the Unilux insert and multi-sided insert needs in the US, they said, "we're working on an approval for the USA, but this will take while. Good to know also your opinion about possibilities for our brand in the USA. It should be soon, after corona... when traveling and business can go back to normal, approximately after summer time...." -- so that's good news! Perhaps I'll hold out hope and wait until next Fall...
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,546
South Puget Sound, WA
Good news. Did you ask about the price of this unit?