Choosing a new insert - Primary heat source

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5alive

New Member
Sep 19, 2022
4
Ontario Canada
Good day,

I have been lurking on this forum trying to learn and gather information while preparing to renovate our living room. Below I will attach pictures of the space and a floor plan which I hope will aid in delivering the advice being requested.

We have owned this house for just over 2 years (built 30 years ago) and would like to upgrade the insert while we renovate the living room. The existing insert surround has an osburn label on it and our primary complaint/concern is that the firebox is too small and the burn times are too short. We are constantly filling it up to the brim and the fire lasts about 4-6 hours MAX with the damper *almost* closed and it burning slowly. It also can only accommodate small pieces of firewood in the 14" range which we would like to increase.

After two winters in Ontario, Canada we have tried to use this stove as our primary heat source (oil furnace as backup) and unless we are feeding it every two hours the oil furnace is being utilized quite a bit. When the fire is constantly maintained the furnace is essentially un-utilized.

The fireplace it self has a brick firebox with soapstone and a soapstone hearth. We would like to remove the golden oak mantle and uprights and frame an extension on the existing soapstone to the ceiling and then re-clad the soapstone and framed extension in a new stone for aesthetic purposes.

In the first floor floor plan below the red stairs in the centre are open concept and air floor to the second storey in not impeded. The cathedral room the fireplace resides in has a ceiling fan in the centre which also promotes airflow into the second storey quite well. (white areas on below floor plan have a second storey)

First floor layout.png

Pictures of the house, room, and fireplace:

20220919_142313.jpg 20220919_101604.jpg 20220919_142218.jpg 20220919_142232.jpg

We have been looking at the Lopi Large Flush WoodNexGen-Fyre as the most likely candidate for this project and would like to hear if this would be a good choice and or others that we should consider. The flue appears to have a 6" OD which was inspected and swept last year and reported to be in good condition.

I made a cardboard template to test the fit of the Lopi and it would need to extend aproximately 3" beyond the existing soapstone:

20220919_105650.jpg

As we would like to re-clad the soapstone with a more modern dark grey stone or a stone on board product are there any significant issues with taking this approach? I would frame the wall above the fireplace out to match the depth of the soapstone and the entire floor to ceiling would receive this new cladding to the continuous from floor to slopped ceiling. See red area:

20220919_1016042.jpg

So to sum it all up,
1) Looking for new insert recommendations which will provide better burn times and same or better heat output for 2700 sqft home.
2) Can I reclad the soapstone and frame the wall above the existing mantel with cement board and a non combustible stone on board product to provide the final aesthetic and depth required to fit the Lopi large or other larger stove if necessary? (existing golden oak mantel and uprights to be removed first)
3) What other options or considerations would you look at/for?

Thanks for taking the time to review this lengthy post and look forward to hearing the feedback and advice. Please ask any questions or request photos as needed to provide advice.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
Looks like an older Osburn Escape 1600 or something similar. These were E/W loading.
1) If the goal is heat and if the fireplace can accommodate it, I would consider getting a ~3cu ft insert that loads N/S instead of a flush insert. You will be able to load more wood (18" splits) into the firebox without concern of it rolling into the glass. Look at the big Osburn 3500-i and Pacific Energy Summit inserts.
2) Yes, as long as the insert clearances are met.
3) See #1, especially if power outages are also a concern.
 

5alive

New Member
Sep 19, 2022
4
Ontario Canada
Looks like an older Osburn Escape 1600 or something similar. These were E/W loading.
1) If the goal is heat and if the fireplace can accommodate it, I would consider getting a ~3cu ft insert that loads N/S instead of a flush insert. You will be able to load more wood (18" splits) into the firebox without concern of it rolling into the glass. Look at the big Osburn 3500-i and Pacific Energy Summit inserts.
2) Yes, as long as the insert clearances are met.
3) See #1, especially if power outages are also a concern.

Thank you for the feedback,

I looked at both of those stoves and I think my firebox space is a bit too small to accommodate. I have mocked up the below with my dimensions:
1663615635015.png

My main challenge is the taper from front to back on the sides. The firebox starts tapering from the front edge and the back is only 25" wide.

In response to your points above:
1)I don't think those stoves will fit without extending the firebox forward which may create issues with the liner lining up with the top of stove?
2)Thank you for that confirmation
3) Power outages are a concern and we made it through with the old stove. The oppostie end of the house has a propane insert which we use only for ambience or emergency heating.

So with all of that being said are there any other recommended inserts that accommodate what might be an aggresive taper from 33" at the front to 25" at the rear. The taper is straight, not stepped and the depth is 19"
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,392
South Puget Sound, WA
What is the depth at the lintel level (top) of the firebox? Is the back straight up so that the depth is still 19" or is it less?
 

EatenByLimestone

Super Moderator
Staff member
Why not keep a freestanding stove in the fireplace? The more it sticks out, the better it'll heat. If you do not have a block off plate, you will lose a good amount of heat up the chimney.

How dry is your wood? A fire with less than dry wood has to cook the moisture off before it can start heating the house. Purchased wood is often wetter than what is desireable.
 

5alive

New Member
Sep 19, 2022
4
Ontario Canada
Why not keep a freestanding stove in the fireplace? The more it sticks out, the better it'll heat. If you do not have a block off plate, you will lose a good amount of heat up the chimney.

How dry is your wood? A fire with less than dry wood has to cook the moisture off before it can start heating the house. Purchased wood is often wetter than what is desireable.
Thanks for the suggestion! The wife prefers the look of an insert in the space.
 
Dec 2, 2018
63
Maine
It is a pretty small fireplace. We also have a small fireplace opening and went with a Regency Alterra. It is a small firebox but throws a ton of heat. E/W loading insert. Flush mount with 2 speed fan. It is a more modern looking one that still looks at home in our 100 year old brick fireplace. The killer is the firebox size of 1.3 cu. ft. Not long burn times. Packed full with the air down all the way you get 6 hours tops for burn time. I wish you luck finding an insert!
 
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