First timer looking for wood insert recommendations

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shackman

New Member
Sep 30, 2021
7
Connecticut
Hello, I recently bought a new home in Connecticut. It's a 2000sqft colonial with a masonry fireplace chimney located in between the family room and the garage, both 1 story roofs, unsure about how much of a draft there may be. The hearth is generous at 2'x6'. The opening is 32" tall x 35" wide, and tapers down to 25" wide at 2ft of depth. The back wall tapers inward somewhat, but at 19" of depth, I have approximately 29" of height (hard to tell if I'm measuring perfectly straight). Mantle is only 14" above the top of the opening however I am not tied to it or can simply raise it if needed. So I think I can fit just about anything.

There seem to be Osburn, Regency, Pacific Energy available and specifically I've been looking at Osburn Matrix and Matrix 2700 (wife likes the appearance over the Inspire which is also available), Pacific Energy Super, and an Alderlea floor model which I find quite handsome. The wife and I have gone back and forth on flush vs bumped out, sister in law has a bumped out Regency and the baby gate gets quite hot and so only run the stove at night, but they also don't have as big a hearth. Ultimately I think we prefer the bumped out stoves which seem to be less reliant on blowers to heat the room, but are open to either style. Our max budget is around $5k installed, I have a quote for Matrix 2700 for just under that, the smaller Matrix for $4650ish and also PE Super for $4600ish.

One sad thing I noticed is the oversized surround on the Alderlea is only 34 1/8th" wide, and would leave almost an inch gap with my 35" opening.

I am looking forward to hearing your recommendations and any positive / negative experiences with your wood inserts..thanks!
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,794
South Puget Sound, WA
Welcome. How large is the family room? Is it open to any other rooms on that floor or are there doorways between them? This will determine the insert size to some extent. An open floorplan can accommodate a larger insert because the heat can easily circulate to other parts of the house, but in some colonials each room is separated from the other by doors and hallways.

How frequent are power outages in the area and how long do they last?

How will the insert be used, 24/7 or nights, weekends and holidays?
 
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shackman

New Member
Sep 30, 2021
7
Connecticut
Welcome. How large is the family room? Is it open to any other rooms on that floor or are there doorways between them? This will determine the insert size to some extent. An open floorplan can accommodate a larger insert because the heat can easily circulate to other parts of the house, but in some colonials each room is separated from the other by doors and hallways.

How frequent are power outages in the area and how long do they last?
Thanks begreen! I read some of your recommendations on other stove recommendation threads too.

The family room is 14ft wide and 22ft long (front to back) and almost 5ft opening into the kitchen / 2 story portion of the home. For overnight, I was thinking I could set up a fan at the back of the family room and blow air down the hall towards the front door + stairs, and maybe another fan to blow upstairs.

Power outages happen a few times a winter, and generally last a couple of days. It seems the past few years we have had a couple bad storms each year and once recently were without power for 5 days.

As far as usage, somewhere in between 24x7 and nights/weekends/holidays. I enjoy fires, wood stoves, splitting wood etc but realistically having 3 children 3 and under and a pup will keep me quite busy.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,794
South Puget Sound, WA
My preference is for inserts that project a bit out onto the hearth for a few reasons. Power outage heating is one and keeping ash out of the blower system is another. The Matrix 2700 is new so we don't have an established track record but the design is fairly normal. What concerns me is the use of refractory panels instead of firebrick. That seems like a vulnerability if the insert will be used a lot for 24/7 heating and a maintenance expense down the road. The PE Super or Alderlea and the Regency i2450 have more conventional firebrick interiors.

For moving the heat, a fan set low, on the floor, blowing from the cooler location toward the stove room is often more effective. It's easier to move cold dense air than lighter warm light.
 
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shackman

New Member
Sep 30, 2021
7
Connecticut
My preference is for inserts that project a bit out onto the hearth for a few reasons. Power outage heating is one and keeping ash out of the blower system is another. The Matrix 2700 is new so we don't have an established track record but the design is fairly normal. What concerns me is the use of refractory panels instead of firebrick. That seems like a vulnerability if the insert will be used a lot for 24/7 heating and a maintenance expense down the road. The PE Super or Alderlea and the Regency i2450 have more conventional firebrick interiors.

For moving the heat, a fan set low, on the floor, blowing from the cooler location toward the stove room is often more effective. It's easier to move cold dense air than lighter warm light.
Good to know about moving the air. I will dig into Regency a bit more, they have some nice looking inserts. I like the idea of the additional max burn time too..
 

shackman

New Member
Sep 30, 2021
7
Connecticut
Good to know about moving the air. I will dig into Regency a bit more, they have some nice looking inserts. I like the idea of the additional max burn time too..
I think I am down to the PE Alderlea and Regency HI2450. I do like the style of the Alderlea much more, but I like the slightly larger fire box + max burn time of the Regency. Can anyone speak to how large the difference in between the two stoves in terms of fire box size + burn time? If both can go overnight, maybe it's not such an issue? Thanks!
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,258
SE North Carolina
What concerns me is the use of refractory panels instead of firebrick. That seems like a vulnerability if the insert will be used a lot
This would be the only reason I would need to choose the PE. Ask how much the panels are to replace. Bricks are 5-10$ each and can be replaced or locations swapped as needed. Kids want to help. I want them to learn but more than once they have just chucked a split it. They know it could be hot and don’t want to get too close so they let it fly. Youngest first words were “hot hot”. (Wife will argue and she is probably right it was mama but my version is a better story). They will melt something on it. The enamel cleans up/burns off well.

As someone with 4 kids 10 and under and another on the way I hear you about how much time you have. For me it’s more about space and access to wood. All we have is a mini van but we have a big lot. I figure it’s pretty easy to process and stack 1/2 cord a month if you have space to keep a big load of wood in what ever state it happens to be in. Logs, rounds , piled splits, or nice stacks. I found I burned all the dry wood I have had every year. About 1.5-2 cords. Come March I was sorting stacks and picking out the driest wood that really didn’t burn great. Plan ahead. If you don’t have dry wood now get a pallet of bio bricks or the equivalent. It sucked trying to burn a brand new stove with wet wood. Just consider it part of the install cost.

Just some thoughts

Evan
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,794
South Puget Sound, WA
This would be the only reason I would need to choose the PE.
Personal preference, but another reason would be the square firebox for easy N/S loading. The Matrix 2700 is more like the PE Neo 2.5. That said, I have not seen one in person yet. It looks very nice in the publicity pics and I expect it will be a winner.
 
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shackman

New Member
Sep 30, 2021
7
Connecticut
Interesting considerations Evan + BG thanks for the replies.

I've called around and other than an upcharged floor model, I have not found availability for the Alderlea and no ETA from distributors. The Hampton 2450 however seems to be available, with some stock to a 1 month backorder. Quite a bit more than my brother in laws HI300 he got three or so years ago. It looks like I might be going that route.

Is there a good place to get chimney liner kit online? 20ft should do it. Also I've been quoted for 5.5" liner and 6"conversion. I'm assuming this is just to save cost over full length of 6"? Is this approach advisable?
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,258
SE North Carolina
Stove supply is tight. Are you aware of the 26% tax credit for inserts with HHV efficiency 75% or greater. It will apply next year also. My two cents is it’s ok to wait a winter if what you want isn’t in stock. If what you like is available no better time than now.
 
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shackman

New Member
Sep 30, 2021
7
Connecticut
Stove supply is tight. Are you aware of the 26% tax credit for inserts with HHV efficiency 75% or greater. It will apply next year also. My two cents is it’s ok to wait a winter if what you want isn’t in stock. If what you like is available no better time than now.
My understanding is very few of the non-cat inserts actually test for >75% efficiency. I'm wary of cat stoves but not very informed on them.
It seems like Alderlea and HI2450 are really good options options now and I think the HI2450 looks pretty nice with the oversized surround. My understanding is you can also load E<->W which is also nice. If some new stoves come out next year, even if they are nice I would probably not feel bad having went for either of the options available today. But I do wish there were more to choose from today, as I saw some really nice stoves were discontinued in the past few years.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,794
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, this year is challenging and with supply issues it will probably get worse as seasonal demand goes up.
 
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shackman

New Member
Sep 30, 2021
7
Connecticut
I ended up ordering the Regency HI2450. The stove came in yesterday but the oversized faceplate is still on back order.
I will go pick up the stove soon and start looking into the install. One thing I am curious about is the insulation and if I can begin install (remove flue damper) without the faceplate present.

I will post some pics when it is in! Thank you all.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,794
South Puget Sound, WA
The insert can be installed and operated without the surround installed.
 
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shortys7777

Feeling the Heat
Nov 15, 2017
357
Smithfield, RI
I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. My oldest is obsessed with carrying wood (1 piece at a time) so we are making progress. Plus I don't need to keep an eye on him 24/7 if I'm moving or splitting wood on and off while we are outside. Looks like you'll have some good helpers in a few years with whatever stove you choose. The wife and kids will also love the heat and view when hanging out.