Fireplace insert

Jlinz911 Posted By Jlinz911, Feb 13, 2017 at 7:46 PM

  1. Jlinz911

    Jlinz911
    New Member 2.
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    Feb 13, 2017
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    Pittsburgh, PA (North)
    I am new to all of this...So I am sure some of these questions have been answered 100 times but I love fireplaces...and am looking to install an insert in my home. I have been using my existing fireplace on the regular when cold enough and can heat my house up into the 60s with ease, but it eats wood quickly. Id like to get something together that is alot more efficient.

    Wife and I bought a house few months ago....Smallish split entry approx 1250sq ft north of Pittsburgh, PA..

    The home is a 1980s build with masonry fireplace brick chimney that is lined.

    Opening on the fireplace is 36"W x 24"H X 22"D...

    I have been reading on hearth.com for a bit but have been holding back from posting, but figured id ask some advice.

    I am not looking to break the bank as i know there are some very nice quality stoves out there. I am looking to install a fireplace insert as a supplemental heat source for the home. The house is currently heated with heating oil, and while the cost is not crazy at the moment, i know that can fluctuate. We have 5 acres and another empty 10 acres around us....Its all wooded and we have basically an almost endless supply of good burning hard wood....

    I am planning on taking out the steel insert in the current fireplace, removing the flue, sweeping the current chimney and running a new stainless liner up the chimney. Do I need more than double walled and or flex duct??

    From there I have been looking at inserts...I like the look of the Osburns but like the price of the
    Vogelzang "The Colonial" on Northern Tool and A Century I found that all seem to fit the opening with ease...Trying to keep the cost around $2000 for everything. I'll be doing the install....

    Next question is I have 4 vents around my fireplace...Its a heatalator system that hardly works...the fans spin but very little air movement comes from them...Is there a way I can fill these or do I need to leave them?
    IMG_8927.JPG IMG_8931.JPG IMG_8910.JPG
     
  2. yooper08

    yooper08
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    Jan 4, 2016
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    I'd go with the Century over the Vogelzang - Century is made by the same company that makes the Osburn and Drolet lines. A lot of times they're the same firebox, just different features.

    As for the chimney, a flex kit works, but also get insulation for it. Ideally you'd also plan on doing a block off plate in the damper area.

    The vents can be covered up if you choose. I'd only take out what you need to of the iron that's in there now.
     
  3. SterlingSL

    SterlingSL
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    Nov 4, 2010
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    See my thread on our insert installation. We have a Heatform by Heatilator from the late 70's (I think). It was GREAT at eating wood but you had to sit on the mantle to get nice and warm. On the second page of threads there are photos of the cutout that was done etc...

    Not mentioned is my existing intakes: since as you'll see they cut out three of the heat exchanger tubes the current fan system on the heatilator is useless. I simply put cellophane over my existing intakes and you can't even tell it's there.
     
  4. mstoelton

    mstoelton
    Feeling the Heat 2.
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    Dec 16, 2013
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    Loc:
    SE michigan
    Just a note of encouragement and a little advise. Research the inserts you are considering. When all is said and done, make sure that the functionality and the aesthetics of the insert you are considering work for you. Price is not everything. You may be better off spending extra on your insert. You are going to live with it for a long time. Buy the insert you really like.

    A well built and quality insert will pay for itself many times over - regardless of it's initial price.

    Note: I live in SE Michigan and have paid exactly 0$ to heat my home with natural gas for the last 4 years.
     
  5. jetsam

    jetsam
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    Dec 12, 2015
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    I put a BK Princess in my fireplace 2 years ago. The oil burner has run only when we were out of town for more than a day since then.

    I thought I was getting supplemental heat, but it just took over the whole job.

    It was expensive, but it's amazing how fast it pays for itself when you have free wood and no oil bill.

    Pretty much any stove insert is going to be a huge upgrade to a fireplace, though.
     
    BetterCallMaul likes this.
  6. prezes13

    prezes13
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    Jan 12, 2014
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    If I was you I would not skimp. Put a good quality insert that has a good lol to you. It's something you will be looking at for long time. Cheap is not always good. A lot of time there is a reason why it's cheap. Considering that you have a good wood supply I would look into a BK line of inserts. They are expensive but you should be able heat your house exclusively with wood without feeding the stove every 4 hours. Ashford 25 is coming out by the end of the month and it looks very pretty.
     
  7. Blazing

    Blazing
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    Mar 2, 2015
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    I'm sure you will figure out what insert works for your needs and price range. My only suggestion is to make sure your wood is dry enough to burn in a new stove. A moisture meter is a nice tool to have when starting off and takes some of the guess work out of things. Also welcome to the forum
     
  8. Jlinz911

    Jlinz911
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    Feb 13, 2017
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    Wife has chimed in on this. She wants to keep the look of the fireplace so she wants something that fits flush.

    Osburn Matrix might be direction I am headed...
     
  9. SterlingSL

    SterlingSL
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    Nov 4, 2010
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    Give the Hampton HI400 a look. We almost went with that one. It's flush and B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L....
     
  10. jetsam

    jetsam
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    Dec 12, 2015
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    Have a try at talking her around by discussing the efficiency benefits of having a semiflush with some radiant surface area. Maybe tell her that flush units really depend on the fan to get heat into the room, and thus aren't the best heaters in the event of power loss.

    It's not the end of the world if she shoots you down, but if she agrees, you enter the bonus round. You get the chance to try her again and see if you can get upgraded from a semiflush to a freestanding stove (the same arguments apply :) .
     
    Dmitry likes this.
  11. prezes13

    prezes13
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    My insert is flushed I think it is beautiful but it's not that practical. You will have a bit of mess on your hands no matter how carefull you are. There will be some ash that will drop and will be sucked in by the fans there is no way around it. As far as radiant heat I do get some not as much as I would with a freestender but that glass does radiate a lot of heat when the stove is hot.
     
  12. ValleyCottageSplitter

    ValleyCottageSplitter
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    Dec 11, 2016
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    How much did you pay for heating before? I have gas boiler heat that comes to about $750 for the winter @ 2400 sq ft in NY. It seems like best case I could pay off a small insert in about 8 years. Based on wood availability and time at home it would be more like 18 yrs. So I'm having trouble justifying it for myself as much as I want one. My pre-fab can only fit a 1.8cu ft unit. Maybe I can bring it down a little if I can legally install it myself.
     
  13. yooper08

    yooper08
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    Jan 4, 2016
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    I also have a NG boiler for my main heat source and struggled with the payoff period as well since NG is the next cheapest energy source and only by a small margin. My calculations showed that if I was able to replace 60% of my heat demand with the insert which came out to going through 2 cords of wood, it would take 20 years to pay it off with a professional install, and that's including buying wood at $55/face cord. But it came down to the fact that I needed an extra heat source in the basement as the baseboard heat couldn't keep up.

    I've only had mine installed since mid December. I don't have an apples to apples comparison for my gas bill yet (will have to wait for the February bill), but so far seeing an impact. Last January, my wife was working and our son wasn't here yet, so obviously less heat demand. Now, we're all home all the time, so larger heat demand. Despite that change, we've reduced our gas use year over year by $28, factoring out bill period length and change in temperature, so looking forward to the February YoY comparison. Anecdotally, the upstairs stays warmer with the insert, the boiler doesn't cycle as often.
     
  14. NW Pa Burner

    NW Pa Burner
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    Sep 3, 2015
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    When I built my house I thought a lot about the payoff period to install the fireplace, chimney, insert, etc... As stated before NG is now a pretty cheap heat source, several years ago it was higher. But I figure at todays rates I save $400 to $500 a year on my heating bill. Last and first years total natural gas cost was $360 for heat and hot water. Now if you have to buy firewood there would be little to no savings at around 2.5 full cord per heating season but I scavenge all of mine. But I guess after buying two 460s and a 660 and building woodshed that savings per year was just redirected.
     
  15. jatoxico

    jatoxico
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    Aug 8, 2011
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    Calculating savings over the houses primary heat source is not always done apples to apples. I figure I save about 25% on my oil consumption. But if I kept my house at the temp the stove gets me to when running it would be much more. There's also quality of life to consider, the wood heat is really nice.
     
  16. mstoelton

    mstoelton
    Feeling the Heat 2.
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    Dec 16, 2013
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    Loc:
    SE michigan
    In SE Michigan I am saving $300-$350 per month for Nov. - March and an additional $150 per month for October and April. That is $1800-$2000 per year. It does not take long to pay for just about any heating appliance at those rates. I wish I could find a way to cool my house in the summer with a wood fire! ::-)
     

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