Fireplace Insert Make, Model and Size

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cbscout

Member
Aug 16, 2018
93
Mid-Michigan
I am in the process of deciding what insert to buy. What are your opinions on the companies - which have the best quality inserts? i.e. Vermont Castings vs. Quadra-Fire vs. Jotul vs. Napoleon vs. etc...

We have a ranch that totals 1228 sq ft. The main area that will be heated is about 500 square ft. The house layout then splits off somewhat into the rest of the square footage.

I think my questions are probably what everyone addresses. What company should I go with and what model and size? I am concerned about the size because I don't want to roast ourselves in the main area, or bring the fire down too low, as I've heard that the windows will soot up if you do that.

Thanks for your help in advance!
 
VC would not be on my list.

I chose Jotul because I wanted an enamel finish and the brown goes very well in my home.
 
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Love my Pacific Energy !!!

Welcome to the forums :)
 
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We have a 1200 sq.ft. rancher.....installed an Enerzone 1.8 the summer of 2017. All in all I kinda wish we have installed a 2.3 to get longer burns....other than that we are satified.
Check out SBI stoves...they make various brands n are made in canada.
I feel they are a very good stove for the money with a descent warranty....
 
Love my Pacific Energy !!!

Welcome to the forums :)

Thanks! I've never heard of Pacific Energy, so it's great to have another one to shop and compare the differences.
 
BadLP and Webby3650, thanks for your thoughts on VC. I had a different impression of them, and I appreciate you bringing that up. I've been reading through the forum categories and see all these other brands that people have bought, but they almost never talk about Vermont Castings.

BadLP, how do you like that enamel finish? Is it long-lasting? No chipping?
 
I am in the process of deciding what insert to buy. What are your opinions on the companies - which have the best quality inserts? i.e. Vermont Castings vs. Quadra-Fire vs. Jotul vs. Napoleon vs. etc...

We have a ranch that totals 1228 sq ft. The main area that will be heated is about 500 square ft. The house layout then splits off somewhat into the rest of the square footage.

I think my questions are probably what everyone addresses. What company should I go with and what model and size? I am concerned about the size because I don't want to roast ourselves in the main area, or bring the fire down too low, as I've heard that the windows will soot up if you do that.

Thanks for your help in advance!
Whichever brand you go with...just make sure to get the largest insert you can fit into your fireplace. You will really appreciate more heat output and longer burns in the frigid winter months.
 
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We installed a Quadrafire late last fall. I would say that it is super efficient, but without using the blower it will take awhile to heat. I retrospect, I think I would have went with a Pacific Energy instead. They do have a cleaner look, IMO. However, given the costs, I am pleased with the Quadrafire.

If family members are OK with it, you might consider extending forward and installing a wood stove. I know the look is not everyone's taste, but heating wise, you do much better than an insert.
 
BadLP and Webby3650, thanks for your thoughts on VC. I had a different impression of them, and I appreciate you bringing that up. I've been reading through the forum categories and see all these other brands that people have bought, but they almost never talk about Vermont Castings.

BadLP, how do you like that enamel finish? Is it long-lasting? No chipping?

I absolutely love the brown enamel finish. It compliments the field stone fireplace and the mahogany floors very well. There are no chips of any kind. I couldn't imagine having a black stove in it's place. Being able to see the fire is a huge bonus while watching the TV.

I will not lie to you and tell you I love the sound of the blower. I rarely run it on full speed, mostly about 75% or lower. It had a slight rattle when it was installed but that was easily eliminated by adjusting the blower sheetmetal. I also never use the auto setting because it takes too long to turn on and shuts off too soon IMO. I read it can be adjusted but haven't bothered.

For my power cable I added onto the factory cord and dropped it down the ash dump. Drilled a hole thru the cement block and entered the back of a metallic box. The circuit is fed off the generator panel. There is no way I'd be willing to see a power cable running across the hearth.

I think an insulated block off plate is really needed and I plan on getting to that project one of these days.

I bought the insert on a stove shops anniversary sale and the guy who installed the liner treated me very fairly. I have zero regrets about the insert and have never seen one I rather have.
 
We installed a Quadrafire late last fall. I would say that it is super efficient, but without using the blower it will take awhile to heat. I retrospect, I think I would have went with a Pacific Energy instead. They do have a cleaner look, IMO. However, given the costs, I am pleased with the Quadrafire.

If family members are OK with it, you might consider extending forward and installing a wood stove. I know the look is not everyone's taste, but heating wise, you do much better than an insert.

Again I am hearing about the PE. I will take a serious look at them. I would love to do the stove, but don't know if it is possible with my fireplace, not to mention my wife wants a cleaner look. If it works with the fireplace, I will try to convince her. I would prefer to NOT have a blower, primarily because of the noise.
 
I absolutely love the brown enamel finish. It compliments the field stone fireplace and the mahogany floors very well. There are no chips of any kind. I couldn't imagine having a black stove in it's place. Being able to see the fire is a huge bonus while watching the TV.

I will not lie to you and tell you I love the sound of the blower. I rarely run it on full speed, mostly about 75% or lower. It had a slight rattle when it was installed but that was easily eliminated by adjusting the blower sheetmetal. I also never use the auto setting because it takes too long to turn on and shuts off too soon IMO. I read it can be adjusted but haven't bothered.

For my power cable I added onto the factory cord and dropped it down the ash dump. Drilled a hole thru the cement block and entered the back of a metallic box. The circuit is fed off the generator panel. There is no way I'd be willing to see a power cable running across the hearth.

I think an insulated block off plate is really needed and I plan on getting to that project one of these days.

I bought the insert on a stove shops anniversary sale and the guy who installed the liner treated me very fairly. I have zero regrets about the insert and have never seen one I rather have.

Thanks for your thoughts on this, BadLP.. My wife was the first one to note that finish, and I admit it does look beautiful and seems very durable too. Glad to hear that it doesn't chip easily. As to the power cable and other technical mods, I would have to have someone else do them, most likely. Like I was telling Greenghopper, the idea of blower noise doesn't thrill me much. I would rather have a stove if it would work for me, but not looking like it will.

What is a block off plate?
 
Thanks for your thoughts on this, BadLP.. My wife was the first one to note that finish, and I admit it does look beautiful and seems very durable too. Glad to hear that it doesn't chip easily. As to the power cable and other technical mods, I would have to have someone else do them, most likely. Like I was telling Greenghopper, the idea of blower noise doesn't thrill me much. I would rather have a stove if it would work for me, but not looking like it will.

What is a block off plate?
It does chip easily, and the surface under the brown is white. With care it will look nice for many years, overfiring or the accidental whack with a fire poker and you’ll see just how fragile it is.
 
It does chip easily, and the surface under the brown is white. With care it will look nice for many years, overfiring or the accidental whack with a fire poker and you’ll see just how fragile it is.

Well I tend to take very good care of my stuff.

Not sure how you over fire an insert but my buddy's brother has abused the hell out of his wood stove and yes he has bubbled the finish a few times and busted the glass more than that. He tends to leave the clean out door open for maximum fire and forgets about it.
 
Thanks for your thoughts on this, BadLP.. My wife was the first one to note that finish, and I admit it does look beautiful and seems very durable too. Glad to hear that it doesn't chip easily. As to the power cable and other technical mods, I would have to have someone else do them, most likely. Like I was telling Greenghopper, the idea of blower noise doesn't thrill me much. I would rather have a stove if it would work for me, but not looking like it will.

What is a block off plate?

Block off plate can hold the Roxul insulation up in the throat of the fireplace preventing needless heat loss up the chimney chase.
 
Block off plate can hold the Roxul insulation up in the throat of the fireplace preventing needless heat loss up the chimney chase.

Ok, thanks. Sounds like a block off plate would be worth having. Regarding taking care of the stove...yeah, we take care of our stuff too. Will educate ourselves and watch and make sure not to overfire it. I have heard that you can cause yourself some real issues.