Insert with cooking capabilities - Lopi Answer?

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

Jeremiahc

New Member
Jul 22, 2021
5
Central IA
Greetings,

Our home is just shy of 1300 square feet and we have an existing masonry fireplace that we would like to upgrade. Under normal circumstances, we plan to use a woodstove for supplemental heat. However, with power outages, we would like to the option of being able to heat and cook on the stove. Several years ago we were looking into the Lopi Republic but it is no longer being manufactured. We are strongly considering the Lopi Answer per the recommendation of a retailer/installer. We plan to use the answer as an insert without the surround. While I have measured the top of the stove and a small pan and kettle will fit, I am concerned there won't be enough surface heat to truly cook on as the stove is designed to heat more by convection than radiantly. Thoughts?

P.S. unfortunately, freestanding stoves aren't really an option given the size of our fireplace opening (32x35)

Thank you!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,131
South Puget Sound, WA
I recall the Lopi Answer as having a convective lid top. If so, it will get hot enough for slow cooking, but not hot enough to boil water.

One stove that could fit and has a hot top is the MF Fire Nova or Nova2. It has a 3" short leg option which makes it 26.5" tall.
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
957
MA
I have an Answer. Yes, convection top. Never measured top temperature. I have the surround on the unit.
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
957
MA
BTW, I like my Answer a lot.
 
Last edited:

Jeremiahc

New Member
Jul 22, 2021
5
Central IA
Thank you for the replies. I reached out to the installer about the Nova, will see what he has to say. I have really liked what I've seen of the Answer but if boiling water and cooking truly isn't possible, it isn't an option for us.
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
981
Colorado
Just an idea and most likely won't work but could you enlarge the fireplace and make it like a surround with bricks and everything and then pick a cooking stove of your choice with burning heat? I checked and there seems to be no inserts out there that would work for you..the Lopi Answer your checking out looks pretty close with a convection heat as some members mentioned but personally I would think that if a cooking top is so important to you it would have to be convenient as well and easy to use and I do not think that is the stove for you. Really ignorant on how a lot of these stoves work but as a woman I would think that you would want the cooking to be a pleasant experience with the capability of having storage around for the different utensils that you might need for cooking.. Personally I think that you are asking too much from an insert and should rethink your idea..Mrs clancey
 

Jeremiahc

New Member
Jul 22, 2021
5
Central IA
Thanks Clancey, you are right about inserts not having cook tops. There do not seem to be any on the market right now. We are somewhat limited with location as we have the existing fireplace that we would like to utilize for chimney. Finding a standalone that is small enough that can extend out from the fireplace seems like a good compromise. But required clearance has been a challenge. Hoping the Nova is an option - or something similar.

I'm still interested to hear if someone has first hand experience with the Answer and how practical cooking on a convection top is.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,697
Iowa
Gas grill. Cooking covered.........

Opens up all your insert options that you are currently dismissing for worry over a few random power outage's? Or do you have extended outages once a month or more that last for days?

Edit: Just realized your from Iowa.

Gas grill...
 
  • Like
Reactions: EbS-P and PaulOinMA

Jeremiahc

New Member
Jul 22, 2021
5
Central IA
I spoke with the installer and he is making some contacts about the Answer's convection top temps. In our conversation thinking out loud, he considered the possibility of filling the front convection opening while cooking with something like ceramic wool to keep the heat from escaping and increasing the surface heat of the convection top? Thoughts on this? He is leary of the newer, smaller company that manufactures the MF NOVA. He would sell us parts, but would not install it.

In this thread: https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/lopi-answer-operating-temps.78549/#post-1000487 the answer stove top temps average around 500 degrees. How does this number translate to cooking?
 
Last edited:

Jeremiahc

New Member
Jul 22, 2021
5
Central IA
Gas grill. Cooking covered.........

Opens up all your insert options that you are currently dismissing for worry over a few random power outage's? Or do you have extended outages once a month or more that last for days?

Edit: Just realized your from Iowa.

Gas grill...
Thanks Moresnow - yes, we can go several days without power and being able to stay in our home would be a huge blessing! I would like something more sustainable than gas and we have trees for lumber... But you did get me thinking about a small outdoor "camping" wood stove as an additional cooking option...
 
  • Like
Reactions: moresnow

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,697
Iowa
Thanks Moresnow - yes, we can go several days without power and being able to stay in our home would be a huge blessing! I would like something more sustainable than gas and we have trees for lumber... But you did get me thinking about a small outdoor "camping" wood stove as an additional cooking option...
Welcome to Hearth by the way. Your interest in using your wood stove to cook on is something that comes up occasionally here. Almost as often as using the stove as a humidifier by setting a container of water on top.
I've done both and decided that for me I can say it's much easier to cook with the grill and humidify with a dedicated humidifier. No muss. No fuss. No destroyed stove finish with the inevitable spills that I swear are unavoidable!_g
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,131
South Puget Sound, WA
I spoke with the installer and he is making some contacts about the Answer's convection top temps. In our conversation thinking out loud, he considered the possibility of filling the front convection opening while cooking with something like ceramic wool to keep the heat from escaping and increasing the surface heat of the convection top? Thoughts on this? He is leary of the newer, smaller company that manufactures the MF NOVA. He would sell us parts, but would not install it.

In this thread: https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/lopi-answer-operating-temps.78549/#post-1000487 the answer stove top temps average around 500 degrees. How does this number translate to cooking?
Ask where they are reading the temps. It's typical to read an insert's temperature on the middle front, just above the door, often with an IR thermometer. That is not the same as on the top.

Cooking on an insert is not very easy because most don't project out very far, which leaves just a narrow ~6" shelf to cook on. It can be precarious for a larger pot or fry pan. Regency used to sell an insert called the Hearth Heater, model H2100 that would have been what you are looking for. If you could find one used in good shape, it is a good stove with a cooktop that projects out onto the hearth.
 
Last edited:

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
773
SE North Carolina
I can’t cook on my stove but I have cooked in it. I think my plan would be a Dutch Oven. (Outside the house of course or inside the stove.) Your desire to cook on whike I agree is appealing really will only be needed a handful of times and there are solutions. Limiting my insert choices based in the cooking requirement just doesn’t make sense.
 

Attachments

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,131
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, we use a Dutch oven for slow cooking on the stovetop. It works great but it is large and we have the whole stovetop on which to place it.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
948
Texas
We occasionally cooked on top of our Lopi Revere insert (another option for used, if used is an option). I, too, would opt for the gas grill, though, most of the time in a power outage situation.

Are your room and hearth suitable for a free standing rear-vented stove placed in front of the fireplace?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,131
South Puget Sound, WA
Frequent power outages is one reason I put in a gas cooktop when we moved into our house 26 yrs ago. It has saved our bacon (literally sometimes :)) several times.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
948
Texas
Frequent power outages is one reason I put in a gas cooktop when we moved into our house 26 yrs ago. It has saved our bacon (literally sometimes :)) several times.
We have a gas cooktop as well. I was assuming that the OP did not have that option, which was why I mentioned a grill since they can be hooked up to a portable propane tank.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
88,131
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, a few years ago I got a Coleman propane grille for camping so now that is also an option. Redundancy is good.
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
957
MA
I thought Coleman two-burner grill would be a good option, too.