Am I wrong to hate my Lopi Freedom insert for not being a Blaze King?

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,611
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Wow, 90% neighbor removal. Must be eerie.

I see the mini split heat pump there by your front door and you say you have a gas furnace as well. Surely this Lopi was used as an emergency heater or for ambiance and was pretty good for that.

Full time wood heaters that have been spoiled by a Bk really notice things like short burn times. I would rip out the lopi and put in a princess if it was me.

Or, since you have gas, a nice gas insert with infinite burn time. Look elsewhere in the house for a place to install a new BK with a nice class a chimney.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
23,597
central pa
Wow, 90% neighbor removal. Must be eerie.

I see the mini split heat pump there by your front door and you say you have a gas furnace as well. Surely this Lopi was used as an emergency heater or for ambiance and was pretty good for that.

Full time wood heaters that have been spoiled by a Bk really notice things like short burn times. I would rip out the lopi and put in a princess if it was me.

Or, since you have gas, a nice gas insert with infinite burn time. Look elsewhere in the house for a place to install a new BK with a nice class a chimney.
Unless you are one of the people that requires more btus and doesn't get long burn times
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
23,597
central pa
That princess insert would look really good in that spot. All black just like on the web page.
Princess inserts don't look good anywhere .
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
23,597
central pa
Lol, I’m not sure if a guy’s gonna get much resale out of that lopi.
It should go for around $1000. It doesn't really look abused.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
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pvfjr

Burning Hunk
Nov 18, 2015
150
Lyons, OR
Wow, 90% neighbor removal. Must be eerie.

I see the mini split heat pump there by your front door and you say you have a gas furnace as well. Surely this Lopi was used as an emergency heater or for ambiance and was pretty good for that.

Full time wood heaters that have been spoiled by a Bk really notice things like short burn times. I would rip out the lopi and put in a princess if it was me.

Or, since you have gas, a nice gas insert with infinite burn time. Look elsewhere in the house for a place to install a new BK with a nice class a chimney.
It was definitely an eerie, quiet neighborhood at first. All sides of our 3.6 acres are burned, but only about 3/4 acre of our property and none of our structures. It came within 50 feet of the house on one corner, and about 80 feet on the other corner. This house had a force-field around it! There's also a gravel road all the way around, and everything on the opposite sides is burned up. Crazy stuff.

The heat pump is just for that room, and it's a bit of a joke. It makes more noise than anything else. That particular room was a covered porch that was converted in 2002, and rather than rework the central HVAC to service the new family room, they just added the mini-split.

I do like the gas furnace, but it costs money, and I also like cutting wood and prefer the feel of wood heat. We also lose utilities for extended periods (like 6 weeks following the fire), so I like the idea of being comfortable without counting on "the grid".

I just noticed they've come out with an Ashford insert that has better aesthetics than the Princess, but it's not as big! Grr...
There also seem to be a lot more catalytic insert options than the last time I shopped around, but I haven't seen any specs that stack up against the Princess yet. I wonder why that is?

I think a Princess running full time on low with a blower would give me the long burns I'm used to, and would help keep our furnace use to a minimum. I might try to tune up this Lopi a bit and play with it for one winter at least. I'll bust out the borescope and make sure things are as expected inside. Both the air control and bypass control are pretty stiff. I'm wondering if the bypass is even sealing properly.
 

pvfjr

Burning Hunk
Nov 18, 2015
150
Lyons, OR
Beauty in the eye of he/she that pays for it!
Sometimes beauty is in the eye of the spouse of he who pays for it! That's why I sprung for the Ashford last time. The Princess specs were great, but the Ashford won when adding in the wife approval factor. It's too bad the insert version is shrunk down a bit; 2626 sqft may be pushing it, even if we rarely see truly cold temps here. I'm sure the 21' ceiling in the great room doesn't help...
 

pvfjr

Burning Hunk
Nov 18, 2015
150
Lyons, OR
Well I fired it up 11 hours ago, and the third stuffed full load is dwindling down. I'm running it in what the manual refers to as the overnight range, with the air control between 0 and 9/32 open. Temp in the bedrooms is a bit cool, but it was in the 30s all day long and that's uncommon. Still, way too much tending and loading. I can't keep it up through the night.

To top it off, the blower just started squealing!
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
23,597
central pa
Well I fired it up 11 hours ago, and the third stuffed full load is dwindling down. I'm running it in what the manual refers to as the overnight range, with the air control between 0 and 9/32 open. Temp in the bedrooms is a bit cool, but it was in the 30s all day long and that's uncommon. Still, way too much tending and loading. I can't keep it up through the night.

To top it off, the blower just started squealing!
You really need to determine if you have a full insulated liner and if you have a block off plate. Have you checked the door gasket? This insert should easily be able to get 8 hour burn times.
 
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john26

Feeling the Heat
Oct 27, 2008
463
Wildwood MO
I run a Lopi freedom with a 29' insulated chimney 8 hours seems to be max on burn time. I usually reload between 6-8 hours. Occasionally I will go 10 hours but the blower is not running and its down to coals not much heat. I think the major problem is overdraft the secondary's seems to draw hard and eat through the wood but it does heat 1600 sq ft very well but not evenly. Once the wood is in the coal stage things slow down, The secondary flames seem to burn very hard and get sucked up in the top of the stove. I have a Napoleon 1401 (2.3sqft) at the other end of the house with a 19' chimney it easily gets 10hr burns sometimes up to 12.
The fire box in the the Lopi I find annoying I dislike east west loading and hate that trapezoid shape. I put 18" splits in the rear and 22" - 24" in the front. I can usually load 6 to 9 splits in it.
 

john26

Feeling the Heat
Oct 27, 2008
463
Wildwood MO
It should go for around $1000. It doesn't really look abused.
Around here they sell between $300 and $700 there are two for sale locally now both look good $450 and $600
 

pvfjr

Burning Hunk
Nov 18, 2015
150
Lyons, OR
You really need to determine if you have a full insulated liner and if you have a block off plate. Have you checked the door gasket? This insert should easily be able to get 8 hour burn times.
I will be making those determinations for the sake of long-term optimal burning, although I'm not certain they would take me down the right path for the performance issues I'm having with this stove. I can snuff out the fire by shutting off the air, so if my door is leaking, it can't be awful. It may be making some sort of contribution. If I let it have a little air, it takes off like a rocket. I don't have a way to hook up a manometer to the flue, but the draft is very strong.

I run a Lopi freedom with a 29' insulated chimney 8 hours seems to be max on burn time. I usually reload between 6-8 hours. Occasionally I will go 10 hours but the blower is not running and its down to coals not much heat. I think the major problem is overdraft the secondary's seems to draw hard and eat through the wood but it does heat 1600 sq ft very well but not evenly. Once the wood is in the coal stage things slow down, The secondary flames seem to burn very hard and get sucked up in the top of the stove. I have a Napoleon 1401 (2.3sqft) at the other end of the house with a 19' chimney it easily gets 10hr burns sometimes up to 12.
The fire box in the the Lopi I find annoying I dislike east west loading and hate that trapezoid shape. I put 18" splits in the rear and 22" - 24" in the front. I can usually load 6 to 9 splits in it.
I think N/S loading would work better if my wood allowed it. I think my splits are too large for this stove, despite the large "volume" of the box, it just doesn't work out like my Ashford when trying to arrange things in there. I also have too many splits in the 18-22" range that prevents N/S. And when I load E/W, I have too many splits that are <16". They're too long to put end-to-end, and too short to effectively take up space. Large diameter splits just don't jive with the short height of the box. There's no room for arranging things properly, so it's hard to get the box packed tightly. The bad part is, I probably have 8 cord of wood that was cut/split with the Ashford in mind.

I am finding that I can get reloads to last a little longer than first loads. I'm probably getting more pounds of wood in the box without the kindling and paper, and I'm probably wasting less of it getting the fire established. My best burn yesterday out of three loads was about 6 hours to the last visible coals, and that was with maple. It provided plenty of heat during that time period. I'm not sure if the furnace ever kicked on either, but the main part of the house was comfortable enough.

In the long term, I want a stove that can go all night on fir, pine, or cedar. My old stove used to do that, and I was much happier with it. Those are just the needs we have. I'll keep fooling with this one to see how good I can get it, but I just doubt it will ever suit our needs. At the very least, perhaps I can get it usable for long enough to find a good deal on a Princess. I just don't know if I can fork out retail price again.
 

john26

Feeling the Heat
Oct 27, 2008
463
Wildwood MO
In the long term, I want a stove that can go all night on fir, pine, or cedar. My old stove used to do that, and I was much happier with it. Those are just the needs we have. I'll keep fooling with this one to see how good I can get it, but I just doubt it will ever suit our needs. At the very least, perhaps I can get it usable for long enough to find a good deal on a Princess. I just don't know if I can fork out retail price again
Over night I think would be a stretch with fir, pine, or cedar I try to load at 9:30 pm then reload again at 4:30 the next morning and that is with oak. My wife usually adds a few logs late morning then I load again around 3 pm. I am considering a blaze king sirocco or ashford if I can find a great deal on one.
 

Nealm66

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2020
818
Western Washington
Maybe paint some nice flames on the glass of the princess insert for ambiance during the shoulder season to make the wife happy. Let the installer mess with the chimney
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
18,611
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I see people in my life buying 600-800k$ houses, 100,000$ pickup trucks, 150k boats, and 3000$ refrigerators. I have none of those things but my 3500$ Bk princess has allowed a wood heating lifestyle that has been a joy. The princess matches my needs very well.

If you keep the Lopi, just lean on your gas furnace to fill the difference between your desired effort level and minimum comfort. I had a Lopi freedom bay insert. It was fine but it was a noncat insert. First I removed the masonry chimney and installed a proper freestanding stove. Big improvement, you can drastically modify or remove that masonry dinosaur. It looks great but you may be able to remove the hearth part and plop a freestanding stove in front and reuse the chimney.

Then I replaced the noncat freestanding stove with a BK and that was a huge upgrade.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
23,597
central pa
Maybe paint some nice flames on the glass of the princess insert for ambiance during the shoulder season to make the wife happy. Let the installer mess with the chimney
For me the problem is not the lack of flame show. It is the design and proportion of the stove it self. It just looks awkward.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
23,597
central pa
I see people in my life buying 600-800k$ houses, 100,000$ pickup trucks, 150k boats, and 3000$ refrigerators. I have none of those things but my 3500$ Bk princess has allowed a wood heating lifestyle that has been a joy. The princess matches my needs very well.

If you keep the Lopi, just lean on your gas furnace to fill the difference between your desired effort level and minimum comfort. I had a Lopi freedom bay insert. It was fine but it was a noncat insert. First I removed the masonry chimney and installed a proper freestanding stove. Big improvement, you can drastically modify or remove that masonry dinosaur. It looks great but you may be able to remove the hearth part and plop a freestanding stove in front and reuse the chimney.

Then I replaced the noncat freestanding stove with a BK and that was a huge upgrade.
It all depends upon your btu needs. For my house the bk is more convenient because I can stretch out the burn time but it simply is not nearly as good at being the only source of heat for our house. It would be fantastic if my btu load was lower but once I get to the low 20s with wind or teens without wind the oil furnace needs to help keep house temps up at 8 hour burns
 

pvfjr

Burning Hunk
Nov 18, 2015
150
Lyons, OR
Maybe paint some nice flames on the glass of the princess insert for ambiance during the shoulder season to make the wife happy. Let the installer mess with the chimney
Yes, the installer will definitely mess with the chimney. The bad news is, I am the installer.
 

pvfjr

Burning Hunk
Nov 18, 2015
150
Lyons, OR
For me the problem is not the lack of flame show. It is the design and proportion of the stove it self. It just looks awkward.
I don't disagree, but I've gotten more used to them over time. I also find the insert easier to look at--maybe because half of it is hidden. Also I think the legs on the freestanding one contributes to the awkwardness. The insert just looks utilitarian to me, rather than awkward.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
23,597
central pa
I don't disagree, but I've gotten more used to them over time. I also find the insert easier to look at--maybe because half of it is hidden. Also I think the legs on the freestanding one contributes to the awkwardness. The insert just looks utilitarian to me, rather than awkward.
I can agree with that. The princess I am using has a pedestal and it doesn't look as goofy as one with legs