First year with wood insert, not really helping . . . please help!

JMBoriss Posted By JMBoriss, Feb 10, 2019 at 10:12 PM

  1. JMBoriss

    JMBoriss
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    Sunday
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    Hello! I've read a lot on these forums but this is my first time actually creating an account and posting.

    I have a 28.75" from hearth height (29.5" height from bottom firebricks to top), 41" wide and 27" deep fireplace in a 2600 sq ft open ranch. The hearth extends out 14". Masonry fireplace, outside of house.

    This is the first winter using a CFM Corporation CW2500X00 fireplace insert I bought for $75. I tore it apart, repainted everything and put new gaskets in. I paid $1250 for a 6" stainless insulated liner with a new cap, installed. so not a lot of initial investment. Before we were just using an open fireplace and our heating bills would be around $600 plus per month, extremely inefficient.

    So far with the insert, it works well only if the outside temps are above 40 degrees. The house's thermostat is on the other side of the house and this insert keeps the house above 65 degrees, but only if the insert is running full open, all the time and I'm constantly feeding wood into it, and again, if the house temp is 40+. I only get about 3 hours burn time as well. I think the insert is too small. I believe it's a 1.5cubic inch firebox. It makes the room it's in cozy, but I'm really looking for something to supplement heat in our house, not just make it cozy.

    I'm thinking before next year insulating the fireplace with Roxul and a block off plate, but I still think the insert is just too small for the house. I'll still do all that whatever I put in the fireplace but thinking about selling this insert for something else.

    I don't have $3k plus for a new insert that doesn't seem much bigger than the one I have now (would love the Kuma Sequoia) so I've been researching putting a wood stove in my fireplace.

    I know I need a blower and I know it can't stick out very far, due to my 14" hearth. I can always buy a hearth extender, I understand. I'm concerned about the 28.75 clearance so I'm thinking about hiring something to raise the height of the opening a couple rows of bricks. Does anyone have any experience with this?

    I looking for something like this size wise:

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/US-Stove-Company-3000-sq-ft-Wood-Burning-Stove/3775871

    I have a speeco 25 ton, Stihl MS261C-M and 2000 Chevrolet 2500 long bed. Cutting, splitting and hauling firewood is my happy place so I really want to use it to heat my whole house, even when the temps are sub 0.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Day insert was installed:
    IMG_3413.jpg IMG_3886.jpg


    With shroud removed:
    IMG_3887.jpg

    My 2017 Stihl MS261C-M
    IMG_3779.jpg

    My son on the 67 Wheel horse
    IMG_3607.jpg

    Moose, my golden helping me load firewood.
    IMG_3398.jpg
     
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  2. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz
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    Block off plate is a must. 1.5 is a small firebox. I am betting your wood is not dry enough. Running wide open is a waste of heat up the stack. You're better off with an Englander or Drolet, skip the US stove.
     
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  3. weatherguy

    weatherguy
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    How you going to get a top vent in there? Maybe the englander with short leg kit?
     
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  4. jetsam

    jetsam
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    It's getting to be that time of year when the big box stores clearance out their stoves.

    With a freestander you may do better going up a few feet and putting a hole in the masonry there.

    I used to have a dog named Moose. She was the best!
     
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  5. Tar12

    Tar12
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    Your present insert is way to small for 2600 sq. ft. I dont know or think that you would ever be satisfied with any insert trying to heat that place...You would be much better served with a freestander...you are going to have to put up some coin if you want to save on heating...I had a insert here initially trying to heat 1976 sq. ft....it wasnt working and I installed a freestander and have not bought propane since...how is your floor plan? Open? Ceiling height?
     
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  6. Ctwoodtick

    Ctwoodtick
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    How many inches does you current insert require for hearth extension and how much do you have now?
     
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  7. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone
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    Ok, lots to work on here.

    As others have mentioned, hearth depth is too short, a block off plate is needed, and wood is suspect.

    However, your little insert should still provide a lot of heat. CFM made a good stove! Please take a pic of the inside so we can see the condition of the baffle. Turning down the air will let less heat up the chimney and keep more in the room. Lastly, I didnt read any mention of a blower on the CFM.

    Thumbs up on the old golden pic! My 12yo golden rides with me every chance he gets!
     
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  8. maple1

    maple1
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    With that in an exterior fireplace, with no block off plate or insulation between the brick & the insert, you are losing a ton of heat to the outdoors.

    Plus the small size...
     
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  9. ED 3000

    ED 3000
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    You are on the right track.

    I'd start by getting a pack of roxul and stuffing it in the opening around where the liner disappears into the chimney. If you can get the insulation behind the stove, also.

    A block off plate to seal the area should help, too.

    Make sure the wood is dry.

    I'd also consider a larger insert. I think there are some deals around this time of year. Perhaps there is still a month or two this year to utilize it. Will your fireplace accommodate it? You can always extend the hearth.

    I think your stove is a Century. SBI makes several larger versions of your insert, from Drolet, Century, and Osburn.

    I also like the idea of raising it up. I'd do that too if it wouldn't require major chimney surgery.
     
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  10. JMBoriss

    JMBoriss
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    Sunday
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    Thank you all for the replies. Yes, my unit does have a blower that runs on high, although it doesn't seem to push out a lot of air from the front. My house is a pretty open floor plan with one room with a 12' ceiling but I have a ceiling fan blowing air down.

    I do have a moisture meter and the wood I'm burning, even after just splitting it smaller is under 20%. Mostly 10-15%, taken from the center of wood, not the ends.

    I'll take a picture of the baffle in the insert firebox and flue/6"pipe of the chimney inside when I get home today. I do know the baffle in the fireplace insert seems to be in really good shape, no rust, full of insulation so I just painted it and put it back in. It's all metal and one side's metal thicker than the other. I put the thicker side facing the direct fire.

    It seems like I definitely need to do a block off plate with roxul insulation up top, hi temp silicon caulk up top around the block off plate to seal everything off. I also need to insulate the sides and back of the fireplace since the fireplace chimney brick faces outside. Should I do the bottom of the fireplace box as well that's under the insert? We have a crawl space. From the block off plate up top, what do you all use to seal up around where the 6" pipe comes through the block off plate? Hi temp silicon?

    I had a conversation with the wife and she definitely does not want a free standing stove in the fireplace or in front so I guess that's out. With help from you all, Drolet 1800i seems to be the best bang for the buck. Seems I can get it new for around $1000. I'm sure I could sell my little CFM for around $300. I wish there was a bigger one available for a little more but the 2.4 cu.ft size of the 1800i firebox is much an improvement to my 1.5, I think. I can't afford the 2-3k ones right now. I haven't look at the century's or osburns. The stores around me have Regency and Napoleon and those are way too expensive $4k and up.

    I'll start looking for a bigger insert and figure out a plan to completely insulate my existing masonry fireplace as best I can.

    Thank you all for the replies.
     
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  11. georgepds

    georgepds
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    Re "I had a conversation with the wife and she definitely does not want a free standing stove in the fireplace or in front so I guess that's out"

    That's too bad.. a stove would provide a lot more heat.

    Me I like the look of mine. I took my wife to the factory to look at some, and she fell in love with the woodstock PH. If the budget permits, you might want to consider a more expensive stove. There are some lookers out there

    Helps a lot if your wife is pushing you to do something you want to do already.
     
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  12. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz
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    You can insulate around the outer casing of the insert it you want. More importantly is a block off plate at the damper are of the old firebox.
    Silicone is fine for everything except where the liner comes through the lower block off plate. Leave a small gap and stuff some door rope gasket in there.

    As far as being "stuck" to an insert. Many here are uninformed. Thinking an insert puts out less heat than a freestanding in the same hole. Same difference. A stove in that hole, whether freestanding or insert, is going to do the same job. With a proper block off plate, the heat has no where to go, but out into the room. Whether a freestander in there or an insert, same results. So take those advising on a freestander "heating more" with a grain of salt. Actually, an insert is made to convect more heated air, not all freestanders are, so the argument a freestander is better inside a fireplace is pure bullshitsky.
    Heating 2666sf here with an insert just fine.

    Next up will be the BK enthusiasts, but that will be much over what you want to spend.

    The 1800 will serve you well, and you most likely won't want to replace it for many years to come.
     
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  13. georgepds

    georgepds
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    OK I'll bite.. what is the peak BTU/Hr of the insert you recommended.

    How does that compare to to a WPH ( 12-73 k BTU/hr *)

    For the possibly uninformed , the greater the BTU /hr, the hotter the house

    For that matter, what is the efficiency ( again 81% for the WPH *)

    Ignore these measures at your peril when choosing

    Should these measures be the same for the insert, by all means go for the insert

    *https://www.woodstove.com/progress-hybrid
     
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  14. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz
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    Claimed peak BTUS is your first ill informed mistake. Firebox size, then actual BTUs per hour is more realistic and common factors.
    Claimed efficiency is your second ill informed mistake. Efficiency is based on many factors, not controlled lab testing. More so, wood dryness, operator habits, set up, flue etc.
    Focusing on these measure when purchasing is your 3rd ill informed mistake.
    He wants an insert. He didn't ask for a stove to install in place of the insert.
    Have you ever owned an insert?
    An insert is made to: fit in a fireplace, and engineered for that purpose, with considerations for convection, fitment, use of space, casing & distribution of heat for such fitment. Is your stove?

    There are many more choices of inserts made for the installation, that will fit in the firebox, and use the space to the most advantage. How many stoves are made with this purpose in mind?
    Given the size of the old firebox, the limits & choices of a freestanding stove are minimal.
    And a freestanding stove will have maximum wasted usage of space installed in a fireplace firebox, giving less cf of usable new firebox space. Unless you have a large enough fireplace to install said freestander into, which he does not.

    How does a freestander stuffed inside a fireplace, heat any better than an insert that is made to take full advantage of the space, with the largest firebox size available for the space? Legs, pedastal, are just a couple things wasting usable firebox space.

    And your purdy Progress ain't fitting into his fireplace firebox.
    How many inserts have you replaced with a freestander? Have you ever used an insert?

    There are two numbers of efficiency that are used for comparison. Again based on laboratory testing, not real world usage. They are not that far apart. And I am sure given the many factors of set up, wood moisture content, operators habits etc, the number are more realistically all over the place.
    If you based all your decisions on the measures posted on controlled lab results, I have some real nice land to sell you.

    Now you are informed.
     
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  15. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz
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  16. TWilk117

    TWilk117
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    Forgive me if I’m wrong, and please know I’m not trying to be argumentative or get in some kind of battle, but don’t most people that switch from masonry to freestanding, have the stove out on the hearth? Sometimes even going as far as to lower the hearth down closer to floor level and extend it forward? I haven’t seen too many free standing stoves shoved into a fire box, mine being an exception because my stove is tiny and isn’t in its forever position yet.
     
  17. Dix

    Dix
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    Not to throw gasoline on the fire, but Hogz has good points. I've been running the PE since fall with out a fan (working on it, working on it, have new fan installed, now need new AC cord & disc sensor to arrive), since fall with out the fan, and even when we had 0F and colder a few eeks ago, the PE was heating the house to 76F or higher with just a $10 small table fan blowing across the EXTENDED front glass, and 2 ceiling fans for assistance.

    To the OP... you will need a bigger firebox to get a house that size comfy and maintain the heat. I heat 2000 SF with the PE and the 13 when they are both running (weird layout).
     
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  18. TheIndian

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    LOL Hilarious
     
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  19. georgepds

    georgepds
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    Re
    "Claimed peak BTUS is your first ill informed mistake. Firebox size, then actual BTUs per hour is more realistic and common factors.

    Claimed efficiency is your second ill informed mistake. Efficiency is based on many factors, not controlled lab testing. More so, wood dryness, operator habits, set up, flue etc."

    So,what do you suggest to replace epa verifed tests... uniformed opinion ?

    Re
    "Focusing on these measure when purchasing is your 3rd ill informed mistake."

    In what world is less heat and less efficiency better? He lives in a cold house, more heat is better
     
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  20. ColdNorCal

    ColdNorCal
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    I almost installed an insert but wanted a free standing to save money and not have to rely on a fan. With a lot of extra work and some unconventional approaches, I installed a free standing that sticks out about 75% from the fireplace opening. If this was not possible, I would have been just as happy with an insert.

    SBI makes Century, Drolet and Osburn. The Century CW2900 and Drolet 1800i are almost the same. The cw2900 costs less and comes with the shroud. The blower has less cfms and does not have auto on/off. This can be addressed with an $8 thermo switch. A new 1800i for $1,000 is a very good price. You could install it and decide on the shroud later. If you think the firebox is large enough...

    Definitely insulate and block off plate.
     
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  21. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz
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    Some do, some don't. Some don't want to lose the real estate to the stove for one reason or another. Some can't fit a stove in the old firebox and are okay with either a rear vent or cutting a new hole in the flue and running the pipe up and into the new flue opening, other don't want that. There a re a few folks with large enough, or seriously large fireplaces, that they can fit any stove inside no problem. If a stove fits in, why let it take up more real estate than necessary? Similar thinking to an insert. Many reason for many installs. My point is, telling someone to install a stove when they want an insert, and have the space for an insert more so than a stove, and misleading them stating " That's too bad.. a stove would provide a lot more heat", or "Your present insert is way to small for 2600 sq. ft. I dont know or think that you would ever be satisfied with any insert trying to heat that place...You would be much better served with a freestander" is complete BS.

    Obviously one poster didn't like what I had to say, and doesn't like the informative response I offered. I suppose it just doesn't support their "advice", and they don't like that. Can't please everyone, but rest assured, I will call BS when I see it.
     
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  22. TWilk117

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    Good points Hogwildz, cheers!
     
  23. TWilk117

    TWilk117
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    I grew up with a Fire Boss insert in the house. Loved it. I would come home from school and get it going when I was just a squirt.
     
  24. JMBoriss

    JMBoriss
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    Thanks for all the replies guys I appreciate it and learning a lot. That Osburn 2400 is a beast, huge firebox but at $2200, I think for now the CW2900 and Drolet 1800i would be in my price range. I will do research on all of them. Who knows, I'll start searching around for a used one. Great idea about the door rope for getting in between the gap of the block off plate 6" hole.

    Here are pictures I took today of the pipe the installers did. I looked around, I think my block off plate will have to be slanted due to the bricks that were knocked out in the back. I have to be honest, first time looking at how they installed it. Seems to me like they didn't need to do THAT much damage to get the pipe down. It seems it'll now be harder for me to do a block off plate. Maybe I can do it higher up?? Anyways, can't do anything about it now.

    Anyone selling a bigger fireplace insert in the Indiana/Ohio/Michigan area?!? lol. But seriously.


    IMG_3903.jpg

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  25. weatherguy

    weatherguy
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    Actually hog he came here looking at putting a free stander that's why people were suggesting that. I'd look at the osburn 2400 if it fits your F/P and price range, one of the bigger affordable inserts.
     
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