Advice / Review need: Regency CI2600 fireplace insert risky & costly?

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Yingyang Picasso

New Member
Oct 7, 2014
4
NY Orange County
I'm about to pull the trigger to order the Regency CI2600 because of the sleek, modern look and hybrid design. Our local stove company, whose advice comes highly recommended, advises against it, saying the catalytic converter is problematic and costly to replace every 3 to 5 yrs. I was quoted over $600 ( by a Regency dealer) for this particular unit's catalytic replacement. Our local stove company also claims that catalytic stoves/ inserts are on their way out. Also, from some of my research reading, Regency seems like a company that will not stand by you when the unit develops problems. Since the Regency CI2600 is so new to the market, I can hardly find any reviews over the internet. I feel like I am back to square one. I am thinking either I wait until next year so that some users can share their experience or just risk it and be the guinea pig and learn the hard lesson (this unit will run me over 5K, unit plus materials and installation). Any opinion is welcomed. Thank you so much for your time.
 

Grisu

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2010
4,121
Chittenden, VT
A catalyst should not need replacement every 3 to 5 years when treated properly. That means:
- Burning only dry firewood (less than 20% internal moisture) and approved firestarters. No colored magazine paper, no treated/painted wood, no trash etc.
- Regular checking of the door gasket seal.
- Proper burning practice like closing the bypass on time to avoid flame exposure of the cat.
Doing that, the cat should last at least 5 to 8 years. Since the Regency is a hybrid stove the stove may still work somewhat even with an older cat. Nevertheless, $600 is expensive, most prices I have seen here for cat replacements were $150 to $200. Cat stoves are also likely to make a comeback with new EPA emission standards. Hybrids like the CI2600 may soon be the norm.

If you don't want to risk buying an unproven unit, take a look at the Osburn Matrix. It has no cat, is based on the popular Osburn 2000 and has been around a few years. Another contemporary insert would be the Pacific Energy Neo 2.5 but that was also just released. It has no cat though and PE usually makes very solid units. A third option would be the Large Flush Hybrid insert from Lopi/Avalon/FireplaceXtraordinaire (same insert, different outside looks) but that has again a cat. It has been around a bit longer (maybe 2 years?) and you may find some reviews.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
85,952
South Puget Sound, WA
Welcome. I'm sorry that the local stove company is blowing smoke. Regency makes high quality stoves and is expanding its catalyst line. You can be sure that Blaze King, Buck, and Woodstock would strongly disagree with the statement about catalytics. They are not on their way out. If anything, the market is slowly increasing and may expand further with new EPA regs. This makes me suspicious of the salesperson that made these statements.

This is a new stove so we can't recommend it based on experience, but the cat is warranted and prorated through 6 yrs. The design here looks sound and is not a dramatic innovation. It should be a good performer. The stove itself has a lifetime warranty.
 

Petitfeu

New Member
Oct 8, 2014
4
Qc
I'm going through the same process right now. I already have a PE spectrum but want to get an insert to get back the lost space in my living room. I was looking at the Neo 2.5 and Matrix and discovered the CI2600 and this site. I went through few stores and same as you, have been informed of the cat reliability concern by 2 salesperson. I'm curious if the supposed efficiency gain is going to cover the cat cost. I looked on regency and did some search from the warranty page on the PDF owner manual. I googled versagrid catalytic converter and found this sub brand website and different stove application and prices. The 2600 is not listed yet but they are asking 336$ for the 5100 cat replacement. Here is the link.
http://www.firecatcombustors.com/category-s/1628.htm
 

Grisu

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2010
4,121
Chittenden, VT
I'm curious if the supposed efficiency gain is going to cover the cat cost.
Secondary burn stoves are already very efficient so I would not expect a big gain with the cat. If you buy your wood you may be able to recoup the cat cost over its lifetime and maybe some. The advantage of a cat model is usually better heat regulation, more sustained heat output, longer burn times and a cleaner burn which means less creosote in the flue and potentially less issues with regulations by your municipality. You have to decide yourself whether those are worth the extra cost and somewhat higher maintenance of having a cat model.
 
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Yingyang Picasso

New Member
Oct 7, 2014
4
NY Orange County
Friends, thank you so much for all the input. I’m taking notes left and right. And after reading your posts, I’m inching even closer to getting this unit. I do have one more question regarding the spec of this unit: Burn time : over 14 hrs. I was told the 14 hrs burn time may not be achieved realistically. And long burn time may actually degrade the catalytic converter since the creosote may never get hot enough to begin to burn off. Is this opinion accurate?

Petitfeu, thanks for pointing out the versagrid catalytic converter.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
85,952
South Puget Sound, WA
As long as the catalyst remains hot, it will burn off the smoke and during a low idle will be the primary source of heat. I don't see how this will degrade the catalyst unless it gets plugged from stalling. The insert will take some learning, but I have to admit I am a little envious, it looks like a damn nice design. My main concern is that you seem to have a dealer that is full of odd opinions, creaky knowledge and against the technology. Their attitude doesn't bode well for support. If they don't understand the stove who will?
 
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canospam

New Member
Oct 9, 2014
5
Dunstable, Ma
I'm about to pull the trigger to order the Regency CI2600 because of the sleek, modern look and hybrid design. Our local stove company, whose advice comes highly recommended, advises against it, saying the catalytic converter is problematic and costly to replace every 3 to 5 yrs. I was quoted over $600 ( by a Regency dealer) for this particular unit's catalytic replacement. Our local stove company also claims that catalytic stoves/ inserts are on their way out. Also, from some of my research reading, Regency seems like a company that will not stand by you when the unit develops problems. Since the Regency CI2600 is so new to the market, I can hardly find any reviews over the internet. I feel like I am back to square one. I am thinking either I wait until next year so that some users can share their experience or just risk it and be the guinea pig and learn the hard lesson (this unit will run me over 5K, unit plus materials and installation). Any opinion is welcomed. Thank you so much for your time.
My first post here after lurking long time.
We just ordered a CI2600. Installing it in three weeks. I had similar frustrations: No reviews, little anecdotal information etc. After a lot of back and forth, we decided to take the plunge. Worst case, let's you and me set up a thread to whine about our problems with the stove. I suspect that won't happen, though. I think the stove will prove to be a winner. We have a ~2,200 sq. ft. Cape in northern Massachusetts. Stove is smack in the middle of an open floor plan. I promise I'll pop back into this thread and share any thoughts I have on the operation/performance of the stove with you.
That crap about the catalytic stoves going out of style is total B.S. As far as the expense of the replacement catalyst, if you look at page 38 of the online manual (http://www.regency-fire.com/Files/Manuals/CI2600-919-300.aspx), you'll see the prorated warranty spelled out pretty clearly. I'm actually more concerned about the refractory bricks holding up.
Good luck with whatever choice you make, and if you pick up the 2600...you won't be alone.
 

ctswf

Burning Hunk
Sep 23, 2014
154
ct, usa
why does the blaze king princess incert claim double the burn times of the ci2600, when both are catalytic stoves with the same size fire box?
 

tarzan

Minister of Fire
Jan 16, 2014
1,552
wv
Dealers in my area will also say that catalytic stoves are on the way out. My take on it after questioning a couple of them about there stoves is, most people (including the dealer) in some instances, don't know what dry wood is. Customers are not happy with there new cat stoves therefore dealers are not happy with cat stoves.

Easier for them to steer you toward something else than to say "come back next year when you have some dry wood".
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,301
Unity/Bangor, Maine
Dealers in my area will also say that catalytic stoves are on the way out. My take on it after questioning a couple of them about there stoves is, most people (including the dealer) in some instances, don't know what dry wood is. Customers are not happy with there new cat stoves therefore dealers are not happy with cat stoves.

Easier for them to steer you toward something else than to say "come back next year when you have some dry wood".
I think that's a large part of it . . . a very large part . . . the other part is that many dealers aren't selling stoves with cats so they may not know a lot about them or want to extoll the virtues of their competitor's stoves.
 

prezes13

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2014
936
Connecticut
T
why does the blaze king princess incert claim double the burn times of the ci2600, when both are catalytic stoves with the same size fire box?
hats because a BK is a cat stove where the ci2600 is a hybrid. BK uses cat to burn smoke and generate heat at low air intake for a prolonged burn. Hybrid stoves use the the cat as a final stage of burning it extends burn a bit but I believe it just helps to clean exhaust more than heat.
 
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Jonny006

New Member
Aug 2, 2013
98
Ct
Not alone. I picked up this stove yesterday. I too was concerned bc of lack of reviews, but it is the only stove my wife likes! We were limited to only having an insert due to clearances and the CI2600 is the only aesthetically pleasing one given our fireplace design.
This talk of the catalyst is new to me. My dealer who is very helpful and knowledgeable gave me no indication that this is a concern. With any cat stove your fuel is the determining factor.
I'm in Ct in an 1800sq ft colonial. I have an additional 800 in a finished basement but that won't get heated. My only concern with this stove, or any for that matter, will be its ability to heat the whole house. Stove is on the north end of the house in the existing fireplace in a room which is 13x24. There is only one doorway in and out so getting the heat out will be a challenge. I got the fan, which is an option, so I am hoping the air will move. If not I will install a small wall fan to draw in cold air through an existing wall at the end of the room.
I plan on installing the stove in the coming days. I need to coordinate the help as this thing even stripped is quite heavy. It's built well from what I can see. I don't as of now, regret the purchase.
I will report back after I have had a few fires.
 
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Grisu

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2010
4,121
Chittenden, VT
Not alone. I picked up this stove yesterday. I too was concerned bc of lack of reviews, but it is the only stove my wife likes! We were limited to only having an insert due to clearances and the CI2600 is the only aesthetically pleasing one given our fireplace design.
This talk of the catalyst is new to me. My dealer who is very helpful and knowledgeable gave me no indication that this is a concern. With any cat stove your fuel is the determining factor.
I'm in Ct in an 1800sq ft colonial. I have an additional 800 in a finished basement but that won't get heated. My only concern with this stove, or any for that matter, will be its ability to heat the whole house. Stove is on the north end of the house in the existing fireplace in a room which is 13x24. There is only one doorway in and out so getting the heat out will be a challenge. I got the fan, which is an option, so I am hoping the air will move. If not I will install a small wall fan to draw in cold air through an existing wall at the end of the room.
I plan on installing the stove in the coming days. I need to coordinate the help as this thing even stripped is quite heavy. It's built well from what I can see. I don't as of now, regret the purchase.
I will report back after I have had a few fires.
Congrats. Before punching holes in the wall, I would try to place a small desk fan at the end of the corridor/room that the doorway leads to and blow cold air towards the stove room along the floor. Even on low that should generate enough of a convective loop to get the heat out of there.
 

Yingyang Picasso

New Member
Oct 7, 2014
4
NY Orange County
To begreen & canospam, thanks for pointing out the prorated warranty, very helpful !!!
To Jonny006, congrats for the purchasing, I am eager to hear back from you.
And friends, thanks for taking the time to share, much appreciate.
Temperature is going to drop to 37F by tomorrow evening. It is just the beginning of the October in NY upstate!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
85,952
South Puget Sound, WA
To canospam , my chimney sweep guy agrees that refractory bricks is not the best.
How so? I would think they would stand up as well as they are treated. Slam wood into them and they eventually will crack and crumble. Place wood in the fire without slamming it in and they should last many years.
 

PapaTango

New Member
Oct 10, 2014
2
New York
After extensive & exhaustive searches online and a few physical showroom visits, we also decided upon the Regency CI2600 because of the available fireplace opening dimensions, room volumes and efficiencies, promised by this new unit but our problem is getting what we consider to be good customer service.

We have approached by website links four dealers and visited two others seeking prices for full installation including a new liner and with the exception of one company, the response have been like pulling teeth! Personally, I originate from another country and from the construction industry but I am surprised by the atypical American custom service and have had one company return our deposit because of my alleged assertive attitudes by email which were sent because of the protracted time it took to get to a point of supply. I admit on reflection, it may have been too harshly worded but I have been so frustrated by the whole research & buying process, I just had to explain how I felt at this point.

We are still keen on the Regency but would ask if anyone on this Forum, could provide a dealer who says what they will do and do so promptly and efficiently. It need not be anyone necessarily local to NY but clearly would be advantageous from an installation point of view.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
23,106
central pa
Finding someone who can install a stove promptly right now may be a problem most sweeps and installers are typically scheduled out pretty far right now. That is no escuse for not getting back to you but i know right now if you were to order a stove from us we would not be able to install it until jan 6 most stove shops are not that far out but it will most likely be a month or so. As far as the stove goes we have not sold a 2600 yet but have sold and installed 2 5100s and they seem like good units but haven't had much feed back yet from the customers
 

PapaTango

New Member
Oct 10, 2014
2
New York
Finding someone who can install a stove promptly right now may be a problem most sweeps and installers are typically scheduled out pretty far right now. That is no escuse for not getting back to you but i know right now if you were to order a stove from us we would not be able to install it until jan 6 most stove shops are not that far out but it will most likely be a month or so. As far as the stove goes we have not sold a 2600 yet but have sold and installed 2 5100s and they seem like good units but haven't had much feed back yet from the customers
Thank you for your prompt response but perhaps I should have included the points that I began the Insert model search search back in July and by August, had put out enquiries to supposed dealers or stockists. By the middle of the month it was clear that either no-one wanted the business or the Regency model was so new, they were unable to advise sufficiently but either way, no progressive feedback ensued. I visited a local stove shop who insisted I place an order for the model, including payment, BEFORE they would even visit our home to assess the CI2600's suitability ... and we were literally within two miles of their shop. Eventually, they relented and an appointment was made but they not only failed to arrive but didn't even bother to phone with apologies or any excuses! In desperation, I obtained a Regency Rep's number and he apologised for the tardiness of dealers and then gave a contact in CT and then the communications with that outlet became really slow & tedious!

I absolutely understand that just before winter, all dealers should be flat-out busy now but when all said & done, I feel pretty disappointed in the process of spending c$5k with a reputable dealer/installer and wondered whether anyone on this board, could advise a first-class dealer/installer into this part of NY.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
23,106
central pa
I absolutely understand that just before winter, all dealers should be flat-out busy now but when all said & done, I feel pretty disappointed in the process of spending c$5k with a reputable dealer/installer and wondered whether anyone on this board, could advise a first-class dealer/installer into this part of NY.
Well i cannot help you there I dont have any good contacts there I am sorry. That is a totally different situation I didn't realize you have been getting the runaround so long i am sorry to jump to that conclusion.
 
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