Insert Review - Lopi Answer with Blower "Update after 5 months"

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Minister of Fire
Hearth Supporter
May 20, 2008
2/27/09 Just an update on my little Lopi Answer Insert after about 5 months of burning...if anyone is looking at purchasing a small insert and not burning 24/7

Well, I have to say I am pretty pleased.....had some oil delivered today (1st since 12/3 and we took about 180 gallons.....heat hot water with it too)

Been keeping track of oil useage, and we have used about 39-40% less than last year for the exact same time period, and temps have been much colder than last year here in New England. (We have a family of 5)

Some thoughts updates:

Temperature: The lower level of the house is consistantly at 70-72 degress with the stove running, and before we would keep the thermo at 64 degrees...cant imagine how much oil I would have burned with the thermo set at 70-72 degrees . Upper floor gets to 66-67 after a full day or burning, so really no need to turn on the heat..programable thermo kicks on upstairs at 63 degrees. ...My problem now, is that when I don't have the stove running my wifes internal temperature module has shifted from 64 to like 68 on the themostat, so on days we don't fire it up, we are using more oil :(

Wood Useage - Pretty much ran out of my good stash of oak and maple, and I am now on to the maple that has been cut/split about 7-8 months. Burning from say 6am to 6-7pm I have used about 1 1/2 cords...this would be three times per week, and the figure I am burning 12 hours/day for 5 days

Wood sizes - The insert has a small firebox, so it does better with several small splits....been using splits sizes about the size of a Popeye forearm, and usually 3-4 will burn good for 3 hours or so. When he had the ice storm and no power, I did pack it to the gills a few times, and we squeaked out about 5 1/2 hours with a stack of red oak - seasonsed for 2 years. (12 hours is not even close to realistic...but I had planned on 5-6 max when I bought it....also, I consider a "burn" to be temps starting at 550 or so, and then dropping down to 300 before reloading)

Blower - It seems to work well, but I have been getting this annoying rattle at med to higher speeds.....I down think it is the blower per se, but a vibration between the top of the blower, and the bottom of the insert....washer/shims work sometimes, but I haven't had the time to take it apart yet. Might just need a little "persuasion" on my part.

Overall cost: Appx $3200 including a full liner and the blower.

Hope this might help some folks on their decision....feel free to pm me with any specific ???'s

Thanks for reading.

(Older post)
Hi All,

I figured I would post of a review on our insert installed over the summer. I know that there is a review section on the site, but I always thought the reviews were a little "light". I thought a small review might help some of the newbies (including myself) on perhaps what to get for an insert.

House size is 1800 sq feet, with 900 on each floor. (Its your typical colonial that my wife and I vowed never to buy for lack of character...and here we are :) )
We don't have cathedral ceilings, and the rear of the house is open from east/west. With the front rooms boxed up a bit.(Basically, not a real open floorplan)

I'm situated in North Central Massachusetts, with an elevation of apx 1000'....a few miles from Wa-wa- chusett!!

Ceiling height is 7 1/2 feet on the first floor, and 8 feet on the second. No big foyer/entryway...just a small hall in the middle with the stair in the middle as well.

Insert is located on the far end of the house, with an exterior chimney, appx 26' with a full liner.

We had a rather small fireplace, so we were limited on what we could fit as the back of the fireplace tapered greatly. Also, didn't want to have a large extension on to the hearth, so we went with the Lopi Answer Insert.

Its a pretty small insert, so I was a little worried that it wouldn't heat the house that well. So this week, we have had temps at 15-20 at night, and around 30 highs during the day, so I thought I would give it a run and see how it performed.

I work at home 3 days/week, so these are my burning days for now. Basically, I start it up around 6:00 am....after it is running nice with some small kindling, I put around 2 to 3 med sized splits at about 7:00am....let it get to about 500 and damper it back about 3/4 shut....this gives me a good burn until around 10:00am with the temp down to 325-350, and I then reload with another 2-3. Then, reload at apx 1:00pm and 4:00 pm.

At about 8:30am in the morning, the temp gets to appx 66-67 in the room farthest away from the insert...and by 10:00 or so its at 69-70..nice, as I don't like it too hot, and I was so used to 64 for so many years, 68 is pretty comfortable. The room with the insert gets to be about 72-74, and that room is fully open from the left/right of the house. (Temps outside were appx 25-29 all day today)

I usually run the blower on at 50-60%, as full its a little loud....don't really see a big difference in heat output at the lower speeds either. Blower works well at 50%, and realy no need to run at 100%. Pretty quiet too at 50-60%..which makes the Mrs's happy :)

Best thing is, by the end of the day when I put the final splits on at apx 4:00pm, the temp upstairs in the bedrooms is appx 65-66. (No need to turn on the heat upstairs for I have 3 little boys) Furnace eventualy comes on at appx the oil burner is pretty much silent from 7:00am to 10:00pm..not bad for only using about 12-14 splits a day. (Oil burner does some on for the hot water, as we don't have a seperate tank)

Wood that I am burning is mainly oak and maple, both seasoned appx a year. I don't put real large rounds in the insert, as the firebox is pretty small. Haven't tried to really stuff it yet, but 4 hour burns seem pretty easy with only 3 medium splits in the stove. I think if I stuffed to the gills, 6 hours would be reasonable.

Thanks for reading.
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Reactions: Jaison
That is a nice review.

It is also a good diary to read for somebody that wants to know how a wood burning appliance will affect their day to day life.
Thanks for the nice review. It's nice to hear about how smaller stoves and inserts work out.
Thanks, just thought it would be nice to see some feedback on a small insert, as I have to admit that I am jealous as most folks here burn a larger one.
ilikewood - Thanks for the detailed review of the Answer. I'm looking at small inserts as I too have a small fireplace to work with. Do you have the front or rear blower on your Answer?
Great review.. I like our Lopi also...
5 month update at the top of the thread.
Your blower rattle is normal. If you can take it off and bend the mounting lip inward slightly then re-bolt it..........then it will fit tight against the bottom.

Clean blower at least once a season and oil with light machine oil and it will run like a new fins get very dusty and then get out of balance making it vibrate more.

Great review.

Robbie said:
Your blower rattle is normal. If you can take it off and bend the mounting lip inward slightly then re-bolt it..........then it will fit tight against the bottom.

Clean blower at least once a season and oil with light machine oil and it will run like a new fins get very dusty and then get out of balance making it vibrate more.

Great review.


Thanks Robbie. When you mean bend the mounting you mean to push the metal part where the screws go through for mounting inward?

Also, cleaned it well about a week ago with a small vaccum...but most of it is put together with rivets vs screws, so its very difficult to take it apart and oil/clean. Any suggestions?
I used to push a shim (wedge/splinter of wood) under the lip of the blower on my old Answer where it almost touched the floor. That seemed to mechanically load it somehow to quiet down the rattle. While cleaning it seems like a good idea (it will need it), it didn't really make mine quieter.
Yes, bend the lip inward very slight. You might want to gently tap on lip with a hammer while it is laying on the floor.

All this does is make the frame of blower push more firmly against stove when put back on.

It does not take much, just a couple taps above each hole. You must remove motor to clean. Use a long bristle brush to sweep the fan blades while vaccuming. Also make small hose adapter to insert inside areas of fan so you can clean all dust out.

Use duct tape to attach smaller hose to shop vac hose. (old water hose or smaller works well)

Use an oil tube extension (very small like the small red tubes that come with spray cans) to fit in and oil each end of motor bushings.

This whole deal takes about 30 minutes to do but is worth it when you get it back on and hear how smooth it runs from low to high.

Once a season is all it takes.

Just curious, but why don't you burn the stove overnight?
Small firebox I would guess. It only will get 3-4 hr burns normally. Maybe 5 in a pinch.
Southland said:
Just curious, but why don't you burn the stove overnight?

Well, with the small firebox, I would need to stay up until 11:30 and get up at 4:00 I need more sleep than that :)
Yup, when I was burning with my old Answer it was a very dicey proposition to go overnight. Was usually up at least once to feed it. But, its a happy stove and works fine as long as you're there to load it.
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