Flush wood inserts, Morso 5660, Neo 1.6, Sirocco 25

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jayVI

New Member
Oct 2, 2019
13
Southern Vancouver Island
Trying to decide on a flush-ish insert, or at least one with more modern simple lines rather than the traditional look. Slightly limited by the existing masonry fireplace depth, which is 18 3/8" at the bottom 17 5/8" at 20" up, I have plenty of width and height however 35"x25.5". My chimney is located in the interior of the house.

This means the Sirocco might not fit, but perhaps is possible if it extends onto the hearth a little more. Has anyone furred out a Sirocco? Or could I have the taper at the back of the firebox decreased?

The Morso and Neo 1.6 would fit better, but offer much smaller fireboxes. This would be our first year wood burning, in a mild climate. Insert located in the living room of a 70's split entry (1300sq ft per floor), open concept. Intention is to reduce oil furnace cost in the short term and supplement a future heat pump in the long term.

Trying to determine if secondary burn or Catalytic would be better for out mild climate with access to mainly softwoods such as doug fir. Also a little concerned the catalytic will be more picky with wood, I plan to use as dry as I can, but there may be a learning curve and time lag to get a stock pile. We are also limited in storage on our suburban lot.

Haven't had quotes yet (they are set up) but I assume the Morso and Sirocco are about equal and the Neo is quite a bit cheaper. The Morso has a much larger view area (20x11) compared to the Neo(15.5x9.5) and the Sirocco is the largest at 24x12.

The Morso doesn't have a fan, and Neo apparently can run without the fan on as the fans are on the side, which is nice at the insert is in the living room. The Morso has cast iron fins I think would apparently provide good convection?

Haven't seen a Neo in the flesh and didn't think to look close enough at the Morso, does anyone know how deep the ash lip is on these two(think that is the correct term). Eg past the door how much of lip is there to keep a bed of ash?

My existing hearth is 18" and raised 11.5". Would it be possible to install the Neo or Morso slightly inset so the door opening so that I can meet the 18" of required hearth extension without having to put a steel plate on the floor in front of the hearth. It isn't the ideal look at the hearth is 10' long so the steel would only cover a portion of the floor in front of it.

An additional problem is that my municipality may require make up air, even though my house is older! Any ideas that are nicer than putting one of those vents in a wall near the stove? I'm reluctant to put an extra air leak in my house, plus the vent doesn't look great in the living room wall. There is an air door in the firebox, the routes to the basement, is it possible to put a duct down there to route through the rim joist? Looks like the Morso is a bit more sealed in regards to outside air? Which may be more efficient?

Phew, that was a lot! Thanks for reading!

P.S. Looked at the Lopi medium hybrid-fyre but is is $1600 more than the Sirocco!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,638
South Puget Sound, WA
Take a look at the Osburn Matrix for another choice.
 

jayVI

New Member
Oct 2, 2019
13
Southern Vancouver Island
The matrix was one the list, but lower down. Looks like it would fit with the 2" projection kit. Seems like they have met the 2020 regulation by reducing the range of air adjustment:
Pre-2020 11600-32200BTU
2020 15650-23300
70% HHV vs 75% for the Neo.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,132
Downeast Maine
What floor is this going on? With an open concept house I think the Morso would do a decent job and yeild 8 hrs minimum coals to coals on soft woods. The Scirocco would be a better fit for heat output, but I don't know about getting it set back into the fireplace. The BK stove is really great for long low burns. This isn't really a huge advantage if you are going to be using the heat pump as your primary heat in the future. I have a smaller Morso stove and it is a top quality product. Our stove heated our ok insulated 1200 sqft salt box just fine last winter.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,638
South Puget Sound, WA
I have read that the Morso is not that good for heating without the blower. I wouldn't install any flush insert without one.
 
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jayVI

New Member
Oct 2, 2019
13
Southern Vancouver Island
The insert is located on the top floor of the split entry home.

begreen, I've heard conflicting statements regarding the efficiency of convection without a fan.

You also needn't be concerned about reduced heating efficiency. When the air in the exchanger is allowed to flow naturally, it enters the room at a very high temperature. When a blower is used to create more velocity through the heat exchanger, MORE air comes out FASTER, but, because the available heat from the fire is spread out over more air molecules, it also comes out proportionately COOLER. The net delivery of convected heat into the room is virtually unchanged.
from https://chimneysweeponline.com/hosummitblower.htm

Both the Morso and Neo do not block the convective flow with a bottom mounted fan. I have seen it suggested that a fan in the room would be more effective ( and reliable) than a insert mounted fan. My theory is that an a chimney within the condition space would help here too. Perhaps fans were more necessary before the convection heat chambers were standard on inserts?
 

SculptureOfSound

Feeling the Heat
Sep 9, 2017
372
Wisconsin, USA
As an owner of a flush insert I can say you get a lot less heat without a fan. Probably about 50-75% less. A lot of the heat gets trapped in the old fireplace and gets sucked up by the brick before it can make its way to the room
 

Rhodie

Member
Oct 29, 2018
42
Pacific Northwest
While a Neo can work without a fan, it comes with and it’s waaaay better to have the insert’s fan going than having a fan in the room. Our default fan setting is on low.
 

Rhodie

Member
Oct 29, 2018
42
Pacific Northwest
Well we burn 90% doug fir. Our neo 2.5 is excellent for supplemental heat, greater Seattle area. While our house layout/openess is nowhere near ideal, chimney is on the interior & has four flues (so large mass) - and while insert is in a daylight basement, main floor living area is comfy but not hot. That’s good because our piano doesn’t like too hot.

Your house layout and lifestyle probably impact stove choice significantly. Some people really want the longest burn times but who gets that with doug fir? All stoves do best with dry wood, doug fir seasons fairly quickly so that’s a plus.
 

spudman99

Feeling the Heat
Jan 26, 2018
348
Yardley, PA
Rhodie has good info for you to ponder. My suggestion is to consider your lifestyle, fireplace use and wood storage.

1. Fireplace Use: If you plan on mostly ambience and weekend burns, then the Moreso is better. You said you plan on supplementing the heat pump, but think realistically for the next 3-5 year if that will be true. Will you fall in love with wood burning and its comfort and then go full bore into heating, or will you have family responsibilities, kids, travel and other matters that will relegate the insert remaining a supplemental unit. Think forward for your answer, you know yourself better.

2. Have you considered the Princess Insert. Similar to the Sirocco with a smaller glass opening, it does not need the same depth in the firebox and may achieve what you are trying to do with the Sirocco by firing it out. I just purchased a Princess and have the same limited hearth in front, but will add an ember protection and should meet clearances.

3. A cat v non-cat is in my opinion tied to #1 above. If this is for ambience and social use, then stick with the Moreso or the other units recommended. If it is to be a pure heating device, then yes go with a cat. Longer burns with slow steady heat will meet your needs by reducing the cycle rate of the heat pump. Doug fir will work fine in a cat unit, so long as it is dry.

Lastly, since you are here and seriously considering a purchase, go out and get wood now. Yes winter is coming but secure some wood now and let it begin to season covered. Having wood will also give you a taste of the effort to secure, stack and maintain this commodity. If you end up not getting an insert, you can sell the seasoned wood for at least what you paid and get your money back.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,132
Downeast Maine
A cat is not a requirement for use as a primary heater, but it does have some advantages, as well as some disadvantages.
 

hilly

Feeling the Heat
May 28, 2006
334
Vancouver Island, Canada
If your wood is well seasoned (less than 20% m/c as verified by a moisture meter) and you can store enough for at least one season I think a cat stove makes a lot of sense in our climate and with softwoods we burn. A stove like the blaze king will be able to moderate the heat from the stove so there isn't the spike in temp like you get from the burn cycle of a non-cat stove.
When the time comes for me to get a new insert it will certainly be a cat stove. Having those longer burn cycles in the long shoulder seasons would be fantastic.
 

jayVI

New Member
Oct 2, 2019
13
Southern Vancouver Island
Still waiting on the Blaze King quote but so far I'm leaning towards the Neo 1.6 vs the Morso as the existing floating hearth is 18" (min in Canada) and it would be possible to cut down the outer surround and have the Neo flush which would mean no additional floor protection, if I had a differently designed hearth, I wouldn't be so hesitant to extend it, but I feel it may look awkward whatever we do with ours. The Neo installer is suggesting a 5" liner however, stating that our 7x7" ID clay flue wouldn't fit anything larger. This is giving me a bit of pause. Installer claims it'll be fine....
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,165
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Some people really want the longest burn times but who gets that with doug fir?

I do. Doug fir burns great in a cat stove. 24 hour reloads at my home. Other local species like red alder and maple burn even longer due to additional ash masking.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,165
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
If your wood is well seasoned (less than 20% m/c as verified by a moisture meter) and you can store enough for at least one season I think a cat stove makes a lot of sense in our climate and with softwoods we burn. A stove like the blaze king will be able to moderate the heat from the stove so there isn't the spike in temp like you get from the burn cycle of a non-cat stove.
When the time comes for me to get a new insert it will certainly be a cat stove. Having those longer burn cycles in the long shoulder seasons would be fantastic.

My thoughts exactly about 7 years ago when I had a noncat stone stove. Then I switched to a cat stove and what you say is true. Long burns, low output, high efficiency, in our mild climate that makes for a really nice wood heat experience with minimum effort and steady temperatures.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,638
South Puget Sound, WA
I do. Doug fir burns great in a cat stove. 24 hour reloads at my home. Other local species like red alder and maple burn even longer due to additional ash masking.
I have been burning doug fir exclusively for the past several years and love it. 12 hr burns in shoulder season and 8 in cold weather.
 

par0thead151

Feeling the Heat
Jul 26, 2009
494
south eastern wisconsin
I have a flush fit enviro venice 1700
been running it hard for many years. it heats a 3K sq ft house (open concept) fairly well
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,638
South Puget Sound, WA
I have a flush fit enviro venice 1700
been running it hard for many years. it heats a 3K sq ft house (open concept) fairly well
The Enviro 1700 series are great heaters. The Venice and Boston look fabulous, but they are not flush. They project out onto the hearth about 6-7" as I recall.