Ashley Slammer Insert - worth making work?

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Fourthbean

New Member
Oct 17, 2021
17
N. Texas
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I apologize if this is redundant, been reading through the forum this afternoon and have found lots of great information and really appreciate all of you sharing your knowledge. Would love some personal advice/opinion.

Back story - we have a 4,600 sqft house with a single fireplace in the center downstairs. It has what appears to be about a 12” square masonry liner currently. Drafts great as an open fireplace about 35’ up above the second story roof.

But of course no heat to speak of, and we’ve been wanting to do an insert for years. We are in Texas so our heating season is just a few months, but really want the flexibility of throwing some heat off the fireplace day to day and especially if we lose power. We are all electric so no gas heat.

What I know is that I need the chimney swept/cleaned as-is. Then I know I’ll want to put in an insulated liner. From what I’m reading a 6” would be sufficient but have considered 8” and a damper being required in case it’s too much.

I purchased a 30 year old Ashley ahi1b from the original owners who had it installed as a slammer in their new house around 1991. They have used the thing a lot apparently and cleaned it yearly. It shows.

I don’t want a slammer.


1. If I put a damper above the insert do I have to remove the insert to remove the damper to sweep the chimney? How is that handled? Might be over thinking this.

2. The Ashley has a metal plate as a baffle, making it impossible to sweep the chimney from inside the insert. Thinking I could cut this out and install a shelf to slide a large piece of metal in similar to what is there now. Or maybe something fancier like fire bricks would be better. I need to look up what is commonly used as a baffle now.

I think if I can work out those two issues I can adapt a 6” collar on top of the insert. And be golden. Then in 5 years realize I should have spent the $3800 on a new one and replace the insert again. Hopefully the 6” liner is a one time thing.

Am I crazy? I’m seeing posts about $1000 inserts but from ten years ago, is that a thing now or is my $3800 price accurate now days? I doubt I can find much for dealers here in Texas, we don’t typically need this type of thing.

For reference I paid $250 for this unit. If I’m better off with a $1000 unit that is smaller but more efficient and similar heat I’m ok with changing directions.

Thank you!

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,631
South Puget Sound, WA
Well, it will never be efficient, which would be ok, if only for power outage use. But if the goal is heating with wood then you can do better.

4600 sq ft is a huge home and no single insert will heat all of that if the temps are very low. I'm not sure what will fit and how large of an area is open around the fireplace and what the ceiling height is in this area. Can you provide the fireplace dimensions including depth and the approximate sq ftg of the area that is open around the fireplace?
 

Fourthbean

New Member
Oct 17, 2021
17
N. Texas
Well, it will never be efficient, which would be ok, if only for power outage use. But if the goal is heating with wood then you can do better.

4600 sq ft is a huge home and no single insert will heat all of that if the temps are very low. I'm not sure what will fit and how large of an area is open around the fireplace and what the ceiling height is in this area. Can you provide the fireplace dimensions including depth and the approximate sq ftg of the area that is open around the fireplace?
What would you expect to pay for an insert that was modern? Do you think I could find something for less than $2,000. I know I can't put arbitrary prices on something like that but curious from the experts. The 3,800 price I got was from Home Depot which may not have competitive pricing in this realm.

I do acknowledge I won't be able to heat the entire home, the last cold snap here we couldn't keep the house above 55 even with electricity and heatpumps running full blast 24/7. Dipped into the single digits, which I know is embarrassing to have a house that can't keep warm above 0 but this house just wasn't built for that. (working the insulation end of it too but lots has been done there already). Having this could help keep things more comfortable.

The room it's in is just shy of 300sqft with 9' ceilings. Fireplace is 31" deep, 28"h, and 47.75"w.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,631
South Puget Sound, WA
How open is the fireplace room to the other rooms in the house? If it's nicely open to other areas then a 2.5 to 3.0 cu ft insert will work. There are no bargain 3 cu ft inserts. I'd be looking at a big Osburn,, Lopi, Regency, Pacific Energy or Buck insert for that setup.

If the floorplan is very open in connection with the fireplace room then I would look at this big Osburn for good heat.
 

Fourthbean

New Member
Oct 17, 2021
17
N. Texas
Thank you I'll do some more research and check again on the local used market now that I might know what I'm looking for. The room has a double-sliding door and another sliding door to two other parts of the house so we might could get some heat blowing around with strategically placed fans.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,631
South Puget Sound, WA
It will depend on how wide the sliding door openings are. If the room is not that open then this Drolet may be a better choice. It's a good, value insert.