bk princess insert questions

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

4stfire

New Member
Aug 19, 2022
5
Lake of the Ozarks, MO
So the wife and I bought a 3000 SqFt ranch with a walk out basement in MO. There is a fireplace in the basement we had inspected and unfortunately can't be used due to chimney liner issues. The home is basically 2/3 open on the basement and first floor with the remainder being bedrooms, stairs in center. 18' chimney on an outside wall. I've been trying to decide on an insert and researching here, so much information! We started wanting the Osburn 2000 because of the large viewing area. My wife wants to see the fire... I don't like it because it lacks flexibility in settings ( am I wrong?). Long story short, I've convinced the wife the heat source is more important than viewing area and widdled down to thinking I like the BK Princess insert. I've even sold her on the thing taking up most of the hearth (which wasn't easy!). Because there are no inserts to be seen in a shop i want to be sure this is the right decision. Please, if you own one let me know what im missing, pro or con. Is the top of the stove large enough to cook on at all? In the pictures it looks like it's maybe 6" at best. There is a fan right? I can't find anything in the literature about a fan. If so, how loud is it? variable speed? I know it's a very generalized question, but how well will this heat our space? Does anyone have a similar set up and conditions? Thanks in advance for input. BTW, we'll be burning mostly oak from our property and i'll be sure it's seasoned well and metered ( I've seen how you grind on others about seasoned wood....).
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,554
SE North Carolina
How much time do you spend in the basement? How does the basement connect to upstairs. Just as point of reference I have the Drolet 2.4 cu ft insert (I forget which Osborn is shares a firebox with) in my 1000 sw ft open walkout partially finished basement. In the past we haven’t spent a great deal of time down there but when we did it was cold and we wanted it warm fast so we really wouldn’t get much advantage from the BK turn down.

Now if I was wanting to heat my whole house (or at least attempt to) from the basement I think the BK could really work well.

Yes it has a blower. I think the idea of cooking on an insert just isn’t realistic enough to make it a deciding factor. A generator to run a fridge and a small hot plate or my grills are my plans.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,285
Long Island NY
I don't think you can heat a 3000 sq ft home with this insert. Or most stoves. It's likely too much home. You will of course offset heating bills.

Does it fit in the masonry fireplace? That would be the first thing to check.

What is the chimney issue? Get a new and insulated liner, for safety, code compliance, and performance.

You can get "heat" out of other stoves too.

I don't have an insert but a BK Chinook. Similar firebox size. In the basement. Hearing 1700 sqft plus the basement.
 

4stfire

New Member
Aug 19, 2022
5
Lake of the Ozarks, MO
Thank you guys. We do spend a lot of time in the basement so heading the space is important. The stairs are center of the house connecting the 2 large living spaces. Trouble with chimney is grout gone between the clay tiles. Tiles will have to be removed to get new in due to tile size being 9x13 (6.75x11id). The opening for the fireplace is good size, 32w x24.5h x26d. We have a heat pump that really struggled through the coldest days last winter, ran 24 hours for days. We had a profane line installed and we're waiting on a new HVAC unit to be installed this fall (also on backorder...) the house is on Lake of the Ozarks and was never used full time prior to our arrival.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,285
Long Island NY
Ok. I heat from the basement too, but to keep my main floor around 70 F, the basement temperature is much higher. I'll explain my "air moving" strategy below, but the result is that it's 85 F near the basement ceiling and 77 or so at the basement floor.

If you want to be comfortable in the basement AND heat a large home above the basement, you'll have to compromise some. It won't be possible to keep both at 70 F or so.

Now, I have central stairs to the basement, with on the main floor on one side of the stairs a living/dining room and an open kitchen. On the other side a hallway, bathroom and 3 bedrooms. (Then two more bedrooms and a bathroom one floor up.)
I ran with the heat coming up through the stairs one year. It was not possible to heat with wood alone this way. I think it's because what happens is warm air rises through the stairway, and cold air (necessarily) has to go down through the same stairs. So eddies appear, and total heat flow to upstairs decreases.

So, I made the following. Before do anything like this, talk to your code inspector or fire department.
I made a register on the far end of the living room floor. To that register I attached metal ducting and a fire damper (device that automatically closes if it gets too hot), then a flexible duct down along the wall of my basement and an inline fan (and register) at the floor of the basement. The fan sucks the (coldest) air from the floor of the living room and deposits it on the floor of the basement where the stove is. This pushes up the warmest air near the ceiling that then rises to the main floor through the stairs.

The important parts are the metal ducting and fire damper: you're making a hole in a floor. This helps air, but could help fire spread much more quickly too. Even wooden floors have a fire resistance (i.e. a time in which they delay the spreading of the fire - this delay due to the fact that they have to be burned before the fire can get through). Hence code, FD.
The second part is the fan: have it run the right way, depositing cold air on the basement floor. This keeps the warm air near the top, keeps temperature stratification and heat rising to the main floor.
The third part is the flexible duct: you don't want any fan vibrations transmitted to the floor (joists) of your living room floor.

This set up allows me to move enough heat upstairs. But it makes the basement still very warm.

So if you want to spend time down there AND want the main floor to be comfortable based on wood heat, you are having a problem. The problem is that a stove or insert is a space heater, and thus one often (but not always) runs into trouble if one wants to heat more than the space. In particular for a home that large when a LARGE heat flow has to go up the stairs, needing either a huge air flow (large fan noise), or very warm air going up.


Me thinks you have to compromise: get the insert to get the basement to normal comfortable temperatures, benefit from any heat that naturally rises to the main floor, but don't expect the main floor to be at temps from the insert alone.


9x13 would properly allow for an insulated liner to be installed. That's good.

Finally, I don't think you have to choose between "heat source" and "fire view". The BK has flames too when running above midway thermostat settings. And other stoves will put out the same heat as a BK (or better).
The BK is "different" in that it has extended the low end of the BTU output range.
I don't see the contrast you draw between "heat source" and "seeing fire". For most stoves (including the BK in its upper half of the range), the heat is coming from the fire. So they go hand in hand.

But first you have to decide what volume you want to heat, keeping the above basement/main floor temps in mind. And then determine the BTU capabilities you need and then look at what pleases your eye and fits.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
2,083
Iowa
@4stfire sounds like a nice place to live. I've travelled through that neighborhood during the winter months a number of times. Always amazed at how mild the winter weather is compared to my local. I'd be inclined to believe the Princess, or any large insert should provide for a nice portion of your heating needs.
As mentioned, creating an enhanced convection loop with additional cold air returns at the outside walls of the main floor may be the trick.
How's the fishing? ;lol
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,554
SE North Carolina
Look into oval liners. You might not have to break out clay.
 
  • Like
Reactions: stoveliker

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,422
South Puget Sound, WA
Trouble with chimney is grout gone between the clay tiles. Tiles will have to be removed to get new in due to tile size being 9x13 (6.75x11id).
Yes, an ovalized liner can solve this. Duraliner oval is pre-insulated with a 7 3/4' x 4 3/4" OD. Or an installer can put in an insulation-wrapped flex liner that is oval.
 

4stfire

New Member
Aug 19, 2022
5
Lake of the Ozarks, MO
Thank you all again! Great ideas, especially the oval liner. The setup you're running Stoveliker sounds like it's working well for you. Now im second guessing and thinking the BK Ashford would be a better compromise for the wife's viewing pleasure and the area we are really trying to heat. As for the fishing, it's picking back up after a long hot summer. Trying to get the list knocked down a little so I can get out soon!
 
  • Like
Reactions: moresnow

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,285
Long Island NY
Let me first state that I think BKs are fantastic stoves. Mine is the best ;-). (As many people on here would say about their stoves, regardless of brand.)

However, I still don't understand your remark "thinking the BK Ashford would be a better compromise for the wife's viewing pleasure and the area we are really trying to heat".
It could very well be working well, and will be a great heater. But it will by no means be the only brand stove that'll work well to heat. BKs are by no means "the best stove to provide heat" out there. (Despite many BK fanboys, including me, often saying otherwise..)

If you go with a tube stove (one with air tubes in the top to facilitate secondary burn), you should always have flame visible (even if only at the tubes at the top). A BK will also run without flame (because the glowing cat will clean up the flow into your chimney, and produce heat).

So if viewing pleasure (flames) is a must, I do strongly suggest to see if there are other stoves with appropriate BTU output ranges and without a cat. The only thing where a BK "shines" (i.e. beats most if not all others, personal opinion) is in it's handling of low-output burning.

I'm not saying this because a BK won't do what you need it in terms of heat, but I'm saying it because other stoves will be able to heat too, and will have better (more often to always) flame visible, and that seems to be an important aspect for you.

Have a large enough view of what's out there before you make a decision. Don't stare yourself blind on a BK - even if they are the best stoves out there ;-)
 

4stfire

New Member
Aug 19, 2022
5
Lake of the Ozarks, MO
Let me first state that I think BKs are fantastic stoves. Mine is the best ;-). (As many people on here would say about their stoves, regardless of brand.)

However, I still don't understand your remark "thinking the BK Ashford would be a better compromise for the wife's viewing pleasure and the area we are really trying to heat".
It could very well be working well, and will be a great heater. But it will by no means be the only brand stove that'll work well to heat. BKs are by no means "the best stove to provide heat" out there. (Despite many BK fanboys, including me, often saying otherwise..)
the BK
If you go with a tube stove (one with air tubes in the top to facilitate secondary burn), you should always have flame visible (even if only at the tubes at the top). A BK will also run without flame (because the glowing cat will clean up the flow into your chimney, and produce heat).

So if viewing pleasure (flames) is a must, I do strongly suggest to see if there are other stoves with appropriate BTU output ranges and without a cat. The only thing where a BK "shines" (i.e. beats most if not all others, personal opinion) is in it's handling of low-output burning.

I'm not saying this because a BK won't do what you need it in terms of heat, but I'm saying it because other stoves will be able to heat too, and will have better (more often to always) flame visible, and that seems to be an important aspect for you.

Have a large enough view of what's out there before you make a decision. Don't stare yourself blind on a BK - even if they are the best stoves out there ;-)
I appreciate your point of view, and thanks for the response. Can you point me towards a insert that claims 20-30 hour run times? I want to make this "easy" for her to run also, and to start the day with a bed of coals would certainly be advantageous. I admit after looking at many options I have really gravitated toward BK. I have gone back and looked at others like the Lopi with the green start. then i come back to a 10 hour burn time for the Lopi and the BK makes more sense to me. My wife's office is in the basement, she starts early in the morning. I think because of all I have read on this site I would have a better chance with the BK keeping the basement warm all night and not starting a new fire in the morning from scratch. Obviously the propane furnace will run and keep the house warm, but the basement is always quite a bit cooler. I have only a little experience with a wood stove and it was years ago so I'll plead ignorance to all insert things. I wish I could see all the inserts run somewhere, I think it would help. Feel free to continue educating me, I don't offend easily. Just want to make the right choice.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,259
central pa
I appreciate your point of view, and thanks for the response. Can you point me towards a insert that claims 20-30 hour run times? I want to make this "easy" for her to run also, and to start the day with a bed of coals would certainly be advantageous. I admit after looking at many options I have really gravitated toward BK. I have gone back and looked at others like the Lopi with the green start. then i come back to a 10 hour burn time for the Lopi and the BK makes more sense to me. My wife's office is in the basement, she starts early in the morning. I think because of all I have read on this site I would have a better chance with the BK keeping the basement warm all night and not starting a new fire in the morning from scratch. Obviously the propane furnace will run and keep the house warm, but the basement is always quite a bit cooler. I have only a little experience with a wood stove and it was years ago so I'll plead ignorance to all insert things. I wish I could see all the inserts run somewhere, I think it would help. Feel free to continue educating me, I don't offend easily. Just want to make the right choice.
No other insert that I am aware of is capable of 20 to 30 hr burn times. But the bk inserts when run that low are going to be putting out very few BTUs. So with your space I really doubt you would be running that low very often
 
  • Like
Reactions: Highbeam

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,285
Long Island NY
I don't know of other inserts that run for this long. However, note that when comparing burn times, you have to be aware that that is not a well-defined number. Is it until there are no flames? No glowing coals? No usable heat output? (which transfers the ambiguity to "usable"). Comparing burn times is often not very fruitful - when comparing between stoves *that have the same fire box size*.

(My personal measure is 'until the cat falls out of the active range', and I've had 36 hrs on a Chinook 30.2 that way. But it was spring, so not that cold outside.)

The latter (fire box size) matters because the size of the fire box determines how many pounds of dry wood you can put in there, i.e. how many BTUs you put in there. The stove then allows you to set the rate with which these BTUs are extracted. Running high, you get a lot of heat but over a shorter time. Running low, you get less heat, and the fuel tank will last longer.

So, a 20-30 hr burn time will put out a small amount of heat - for very long. That may or may not be enough for the BTU needs of the heated space. If it is not, then you won't reach those burn times, because you'll dial up the stove.

Hence my earlier post, suggesting to figure out the BTU needs of the space you want to heat - and then find the stove with the capabilities that match those. The needs depend on room size, insulation, climate, personal comfort-zone (office = sitting down, so a bit higher I presume to not get cold). Others here are better able to help you with (gu-)es(s)timates on this than I am.

Finally, note I think if you have a 2.5-3 cu ft firebox, you won't have to restart in the morning for most modern stoves; i.e. fill the stove up before bedtime, and run them low enough (while still efficient burning, i.e. there is a minimum burn rate to do so), and they'll have at the very least coals left 8 hrs later that make it easy to restart.

The BK can just turn down very low, and thus make its fuel last long.

I'm *not* saying the BK may not work for you, I'm only saying that it might not be the only stove that does what you want (overnight fire, and flame view, and we discussed the latter already above).
 
  • Like
Reactions: bholler

BKVP

Minister of Fire
The PI29 does sit out onto the hearth 12.75" and inside about the same. If you have a power loss, having more firebox in front of the fireplace will result in more radiant heat.

The PI29 is about 5" deep from door opening to bricks, AF25 insert is about 3". The added depth make emptying of ashes less frequent, but build up of ashes reduces capacity, shortening overall burn time opportunities.

The PI29 has a single axial fan which is quiet on low, louder on high. The AF25 has two squirrel cage fans with greater CFM overall.

The longer burn times are often appreciated during shoulder seasons (early winter or late winter). Regardless of burn rate set by the user, the heat output will remain even due to the thermostat.

As others have noted, there are other inserts on the market, some quite capable. Lastly, both the PI29 and AF25 qualify for the 25D federal tax credit. I believe 7 other inserts also qualify.

Speaking of fishing....leaving AK for Denver. Halibut bite was strong.

BKVP
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: moresnow

4stfire

New Member
Aug 19, 2022
5
Lake of the Ozarks, MO
The PI29 does sit out onto the hearth 12.75" and inside about the same. If you have a power loss, having more firebox in front of the fireplace will result in more radiant heat.

The PI29 is about 5" deep from door opening to bricks, AF25 insert is about 3". The added depth make emptying of ashes less frequent, but build up of ashes reduces capacity, shortening overall burn time opportunities.

The PI29 has a single axial fan which is quiet on low, louder on high. The AF25 has two squirrel cage fans with greater CFM overall.

The longer burn times are often appreciated during shoulder seasons (early winter or late winter). Regardless of burn rate set by the user, the heat output will remain even due to the thermostat.

As others have noted, there are other inserts on the market, some quite capable. Lastly, both the PI29 and AF25 qualify for the 25D federal tax credit. I believe 7 other inserts also qualify.

Speaking of fishing....leaving AK for Denver. Halibut bite was strong.

BKVP
Thanks for the reply BKVP. I ordered the Ashford insert today, I think it will meet my needs with the basement portion of the home being about 1500 SqFt (2/3 open, 1/3 bed and bath). I expect we will send some heat upstairs to the main area of the home through the stairwell and that'll be great. Excited to get it, but that won't be until January per my local rep. We just moved away from the northern front range of CO. Glad to be away from the rat race and in the country near some real water! A friend in Ketchikan is forever sending pics of their fishing exploits, jealous. I'll get there someday..
Thanks again, Chris