Insert worth it?

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dolcecullo

New Member
Mar 2, 2022
3
York, PA
Hello, I have been wanting to get an insert for my brick fireplace for some time and have officially gotten my wife onboard! The only hesitation I have is the layout of my home. We have a large living room that was added to the back of the home with cathedral ceilings. That living room is where we spend the majority of our time and where our brick fireplace is located. Attached is a rough sketch of our home layout with the back living room only attached by a standard sized door and the fireplace location marked as the red box. My question is, would that layout provide heat to the other rooms in the house or will the stove basically only be useful for that living room? Back room is roughly 300sq ft and the whole rancher is about 1500 sq ft.

I have been looking at the BK Ashford 25 or Sirocco 25 as long as my fireplace can accommodate them.

Layout.jpg
 

NativeCT

Member
Jan 14, 2016
3
North central CT
I have a Drolet insert. Generally speaking its good. Definitely nice to look at. Obviously the warmest room in the house is where the insert is.
I have a small circulation fan in the corner of a door slowly moving air. It definitely makes a difference. We are starting to get into warmer days, daytime highs in the upper 30's and lower 40's. On days like that, my thermostats almost never call for heat. A centrally located stove would do a better job, but thats not something I am willing to do in my current house.
And before you ask, a stove in the basement is something I would never consider again. Did that in a smaller previous house and I burnt over 5 cords a year and the house was still very cold.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,201
South Puget Sound, WA
The assumption is correct. With this layout, the insert would mostly just heat the back room. If that is where the family likes to hang out, then that should be ok. Is there also a fireplace in the living room?
 
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shortys7777

Feeling the Heat
Nov 15, 2017
396
Smithfield, RI
Open that entire wall up and I bet a the whole house will get some decent heat. similar sq ft house and my kids rooms are the exact opposite of the house and their rooms stay comfortable. My bedroom is a 180 degree turn just outside the room the stove is. It still warm enough to sleep at night with all the doors open.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,420
SE North Carolina
A space that size probably means your BK would be burning on low with possibly black glass much of the time. Tall ceilings will take some extra heat. I really like my flames. They are mesmerizing. BK does have great turn down. What’s the goal? Save money, looks, heat a space that’s usually colder than the rest. What’s the budget? What are dimensions?

Evan

Edit… I can say I didn’t expect to break even on my first stove install (I probably save at most 75-100 a month for January.) then i went ahead and installed a second one. I thought it was “worth it”.

Evan
 
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FPX Dude

Feeling the Heat
Oct 4, 2007
415
Sacramento, CA
Cathederal ceilings will help not bake you out. Depending upon how much you use living room, and you probably don't want that much heat to bedrooms either I think you'll be fine. With only 1,500 sqft., you could open that kitchen wall and/or if ceiling fan or otherwise might be options too.
 

dolcecullo

New Member
Mar 2, 2022
3
York, PA
The assumption is correct. With this layout, the insert would mostly just heat the back room. If that is where the family likes to hang out, then that should be ok. Is there also a fireplace in the living room?
There is another fireplace in the other living room. However, it is no long functional and very small. Since that room is used as a dining room when we host friends/family my long term goal is to put a gas insert in there at some point for decoration and minimal heat.
Open that entire wall up and I bet a the whole house will get some decent heat. similar sq ft house and my kids rooms are the exact opposite of the house and their rooms stay comfortable. My bedroom is a 180 degree turn just outside the room the stove is. It still warm enough to sleep at night with all the doors open.
The drawing does not do a great job of giving reference for size, unfortunately the kitchen is small and that wall is the only place to put our refrigerator. Between the door opening and the fridge is maybe 3 feet.
A space that size probably means your BK would be burning on low with possibly black glass much of the time. Tall ceilings will take some extra heat. I really like my flames. They are mesmerizing. BK does have great turn down. What’s the goal? Save money, looks, heat a space that’s usually colder than the rest. What’s the budget? What are dimensions?

Evan

Edit… I can say I didn’t expect to break even on my first stove install (I probably save at most 75-100 a month for January.) then i went ahead and installed a second one. I thought it was “worth it”.

Evan
My overall plan would be to help reduce some heating demand for when my wife and I are at work. We recently had my mother in law move in with us (that's a whole other topic of conversation). Since that happened our heating and electric are several hundred dollars a month more expensive than the previous year. That room does have a minisplit installed to help with cooling, but the heat pump does not do great during PA winters. And I have a hard time justifying running the furnace all day when she is sitting in either the living room reading or in her room watching tv.

I have a few goals in mind.

1. would be to help heat that room. Due to the high ceilings it is typically several degrees cooler than the rest of the house. I have had insulation checked and windows sealed along with a new roof, but am told that the HVAC was poorly run to that room with only two small vents that run through the concrete slab is was built on.

2. Budget is not really an issue so that led me to the usually more expensive but well reviewed blaze kings. My plan is to have it installed this spring/summer

3. could you elaborate on the dimensions you are looking for?
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,377
Philadelphia
Is that back room zoned separately from the rest of the house, with regard to your central heating? This could be a good setup for evenings by the fire, if the rest of the house is zoned separately. If it is not, or could not be easily reconfigured, then you may want some forced air exchange between that back room and the rest of the house.

edit: you posted comment on minisplit while I was typing. It'd be great to not run that thing in our colder weather, I pay a small fortune running a few minisplits for outbuildings, here.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,201
South Puget Sound, WA
There are a few options to consider. The first is the insert, but with the cathedral ceiling it will take ceiling fan(s) to circulate the heat that will pocket at the peak. This may be what the issue is with the current mini-split system. If properly sized and of modern design, it should be able to keep up with most of the load. Another option is to zone the heating system and put the back room on its own thermostat.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,377
Philadelphia
No issue with the high ceilings. I have 14 foot ceilings in a large room containing one of my BK Ashford stoves, and with two ceiling fans running, it's a total non-issue. In fact, it's warmer at the end of the room farthest from the stove, with the fan over the stove running "pull up" and the fan at the far end running "push down".
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,377
Philadelphia
This may be what the issue is with the current mini-split system. If properly sized and of modern design, it should be able to keep up with most of the load.
It's not just an issue of keeping up. Minisplits cost a small fortune to run when temps dip much below 20F, and York will have a few single-digit (or even sub-zero) nights each year, with several weeks of regular overnight teens °F. Sometimes I feel like I'm just dumping cash into a blender, when I hear my minisplits running in January.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,201
South Puget Sound, WA
No issue with the high ceilings. I have 14 foot ceilings in a large room containing one of my BK Ashford stoves, and with two ceiling fans running, it's a total non-issue. In fact, it's warmer at the end of the room farthest from the stove, with the fan over the stove running "pull up" and the fan at the far end running "push down".
Yes, as noted in the prior post.
 

dolcecullo

New Member
Mar 2, 2022
3
York, PA
Is that back room zoned separately from the rest of the house, with regard to your central heating? This could be a good setup for evenings by the fire, if the rest of the house is zoned separately. If it is not, or could not be easily reconfigured, then you may want some forced air exchange between that back room and the rest of the house.

edit: you posted comment on minisplit while I was typing. It'd be great to not run that thing in our colder weather, I pay a small fortune running a few minisplits for outbuildings, here.
The house is only on one zone but I do have temp sensors for my thermostat in the back living room, master bedroom, kitchen and dining room (other living room in the drawing). I use those to make a fake zone for that back room when we are home and switch it to only using the temp from the bedroom while sleeping.
There are a few options to consider. The first is the insert, but with the cathedral ceiling it will take ceiling fan(s) to circulate the heat that will pocket at the peak. This may be what the issue is with the current mini-split system. If properly sized and of modern design, it should be able to keep up with most of the load. Another option is to zone the heating system and put the back room on its own thermostat.
We do have 2 ceiling fans in that room that could be used in a similar setup to what you described.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,201
South Puget Sound, WA
Sounds like an insert will do what you want. It will need a stainless liner, most likely an insulated one. Also, the stove will need fully seasoned firewood. For many hardwoods, this means 2 yrs of seasoning. Most firewood sold as "seasoned" is not fully seasoned to the core of the wood.
 

davidmsem

Minister of Fire
Oct 30, 2014
544
New haven, Connecticut
I used to be an advocate but after 7 years of heating and having my unit developed cracks I'm not so sure. I believe I just about broke even as I keep track of the reduction in my heating cost, but there is the investment in time and equipment to get firewood and wear and tear on your body doing that. So I'm no longer sold on the idea. I will see if the company stands behind it with warranty but it was not over fired, we ran the fan meticulously to keep it at the correct temperature watch the temperature on the box. People can say whatever they want but be cautious. These units are not as good many of them as advertised and warranty can become a difficult to impossible issue. I'm in that process now.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,377
Philadelphia
I used to be an advocate but after 7 years of heating and having my unit developed cracks I'm not so sure. I believe I just about broke even as I keep track of the reduction in my heating cost, but there is the investment in time and equipment to get firewood and wear and tear on your body doing that. So I'm no longer sold on the idea. I will see if the company stands behind it with warranty but it was not over fired, we ran the fan meticulously to keep it at the correct temperature watch the temperature on the box. People can say whatever they want but be cautious. These units are not as good many of them as advertised and warranty can become a difficult to impossible issue. I'm in that process now.
I suppose we should start another thread for this debate, but I don't think your experience is typical of the norm on this forum. Many here are heating with wood solely for the savings.

My ROI for the cost of stoves + liner installations was definitely well under 2 years, and I've seen numbers not too far from this from the few who've posted them.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
16,377
Philadelphia
Yes, as noted in the prior post.
Sorry begreen, I got interrupted while typing, and your post came in while I was typing a similar response. Didn't mean to step on your toes, again.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,201
South Puget Sound, WA
I think both of our postings overlapped. We were thinking the same thing.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
I used to be an advocate but after 7 years of heating and having my unit developed cracks I'm not so sure. I believe I just about broke even as I keep track of the reduction in my heating cost, but there is the investment in time and equipment to get firewood and wear and tear on your body doing that. So I'm no longer sold on the idea. I will see if the company stands behind it with warranty but it was not over fired, we ran the fan meticulously to keep it at the correct temperature watch the temperature on the box. People can say whatever they want but be cautious. These units are not as good many of them as advertised and warranty can become a difficult to impossible issue. I'm in that process now.
I think it would be appropriate to wait for the response of your mfg before complaining more.
Yes there is an issue with the stove and that sucks (literally, air...). However, if they fix the issue for you (in whatever way), you'll be ok. And you don't yet know what they'll do.

Moreover, them "standing behind the warranty" is a bit complicated in your case due to the specific circumstances in which you bought the stove. Warranty is part of the legal contract that is the transfer of ownership of the stove. Legal contracts should be followed to the letter - otherwise those written contracts don't hold up to much.

Rather than bashing the mfg more (tho I'm appreciative that in this particular post the mfg is not named), I'd just wait and see what the response is of the mfg. The ball is in their court. They might help you - even if they may have no legal obligation to do so. I sure hope that's the case.

Finally, if you only look at breaking even based on heating costs, you are missing things. We all buy stuff that makes us feel good. That never breaks even, in dollars. And a stove or insert may keep your pipes from freezing, and keep you (at least somewhat) comfortable when the power is out. That independence is worth something too. It's insurance. The complete "break even" picture is, in my eyes, thus larger than cost of the stove and the savings on oil.

There is a separate thread on this case.

My two cents, trying to put this particular post into context for this thread. Not trying to offend you - I genually hope things will get sorted out to your satisfaction as I agree that your insert cracking at 7 years is not something that should be expected.
 
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davidmsem

Minister of Fire
Oct 30, 2014
544
New haven, Connecticut
I think it would be appropriate to wait for the response of your mfg before complaining more.
Yes there is an issue with the stove and that sucks (literally, air...). However, if they fix the issue for you (in whatever way), you'll be ok. And you don't yet know what they'll do.

Moreover, them "standing behind the warranty" is a bit complicated in your case due to the specific circumstances in which you bought the stove. Warranty is part of the legal contract that is the transfer of ownership of the stove. Legal contracts should be followed to the letter - otherwise those written contracts don't hold up to much.

Rather than bashing the mfg more (tho I'm appreciative that in this particular post the mfg is not named), I'd just wait and see what the response is of the mfg. The ball is in their court. They might help you - even if they may have no legal obligation to do so. I sure hope that's the case.

Finally, if you only look at breaking even based on heating costs, you are missing things. We all buy stuff that makes us feel good. That never breaks even, in dollars. And a stove or insert may keep your pipes from freezing, and keep you (at least somewhat) comfortable when the power is out. That independence is worth something too. It's insurance. The complete "break even" picture is, in my eyes, thus larger than cost of the stove and the savings on oil.

There is a separate thread on this case.

My two cents, trying to put this particular post into context for this thread. Not trying to offend you - I genually hope things will get sorted out to your satisfaction as I agree that your insert cracking at 7 years is not something that should be expected.
Appreciate the input. Let's see what the manufacturer does. There is a large range of outcomes based on my research on the internet.
 
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velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,176
Sand Lake, NY
Tough location. The doorway fans work. I wonder also this: the ceiling is cathedral so high temp air would tend to gather there. I wonder if that hot air could be routed to the kitchen somehow? I don't think you want to oversize the stove, unless you figure out a way to move the excess hot air.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
4,353
Long Island NY
Is there a place for an in-the-wall fan at ground level to move the coldest air from the kitchen into the stove room?
 

doogiegh

Member
Aug 23, 2011
20
Central NJ
Hello, I have been wanting to get an insert for my brick fireplace for some time and have officially gotten my wife onboard! The only hesitation I have is the layout of my home. We have a large living room that was added to the back of the home with cathedral ceilings. That living room is where we spend the majority of our time and where our brick fireplace is located. Attached is a rough sketch of our home layout with the back living room only attached by a standard sized door and the fireplace location marked as the red box. My question is, would that layout provide heat to the other rooms in the house or will the stove basically only be useful for that living room? Back room is roughly 300sq ft and the whole rancher is about 1500 sq ft.

I have been looking at the BK Ashford 25 or Sirocco 25 as long as my fireplace can accommodate them.

View attachment 292959
I think if you put a small fan just outside of the laundry room door, pointing into the Kitchen, you'll be able to further push the warm air into the other parts of your house and an insert would work out very well. I am in central NJ, on oil baseboard heat, and just installed a Pacific Energy Summit insert into my existing fireplace 1 month ago. We absolutely love it and have had the furnace on "off" other then for 2 days when it was super cold and windy and the insert needed some extra boost (drafty house).