Just installed a Pacific Energy Neo 1.6 Fireplace Insert

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SeñorFuego

New Member
Feb 25, 2015
33
Holliston, MA
Hi Folks,

Newbie here. I'm lovin' the forum and find it very informative.

I'm looking into different options for a fireplace install (freestanding inside the firebox or insert). The Neo 1.6 Insert is a possible insert option and is carried by a local retailer. I've read decent reviews on the PE products and I like the large window and clean lines this model offers.

I'm checking to see if folks using the Neo 1.6 are still pleased with it's function and output. We are in a classic NE Cape style home (1400 SF) and the fireplace is located in the main living/TV room. We'd most likely have the blower off during TV time and on at other times for maximum heating efficiency. This would be used as supplemental heat to take the chill off, but also with a goal to reduce heating oil consumption also.

I'm curious on the following:

How's the blower noise?

With the blower off what is the convection output? Is it solid? Could it hold us over during a power outage? It appears that the PE units have a special design to assist with this (I know without the blower there is only some much it can do).

What burn times are folks seeing?

Would you recommend this model?

If the Neo 1.6 wins out I'd probably attempt a similar install as SwordWord did as we have almost an identical mantel and hearth set up.

Any input is much appreciated!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,325
South Puget Sound, WA
The Neo is working out well for most folks, but there are some caveats that apply in general to flush inserts. Any flush insert is going to be more dependent on its blower than one that projects out onto the hearth. Another caveat with flush inserts - no ash lip. That means ash drops straight down onto the hearth, directly in front of the blower intake. If that ash is not all cleaned up before the blower is turned back on then the ash gets sucked up and blown around the room.
 

SeñorFuego

New Member
Feb 25, 2015
33
Holliston, MA
The Neo is working out well for most folks, but there are some caveats that apply in general to flush inserts. Any flush insert is going to be more dependent on its blower than one that projects out onto the hearth. Another caveat with flush inserts - no ash lip. That means ash drops straight down onto the hearth, directly in front of the blower intake. If that ash is not all cleaned up before the blower is turned back on then the ash gets sucked up and blown around the room.
Thanks begreen.

I wonder if SwordWords raised install method pictured above avoided that issue. Yet another small thing that keeps pointing me back to a freestanding stove. The punch list keeps getting longer it seems.The Jotul F100 Nordic is the #1 contender at this point, but its small firebox (small rounds & short burn time) also worry me. I've been reading about that unit on the other threads.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,325
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, raising the insert will help prevent ash from getting sucked into the blower. The F100 is a small stove. How large an area are you trying to heat? Will this be mostly nights and weekends only?
 

SeñorFuego

New Member
Feb 25, 2015
33
Holliston, MA
Yes, raising the insert will help prevent ash from getting sucked into the blower. The F100 is a small stove. How large an area are you trying to heat? Will this be mostly nights and weekends only?
Definitely not looking at a 24/7 burn scenario. It would be the following: Work from home M/W/F along with Nights and weekends. Supplemental heat to create a cozy atmosphere in the downstairs area (6-800 SF +/-) with hope that some of the heat does go upstairs (400 SF +/-), but I'm not expecting a small stove in the fireplace to heat most of the house. A fan at the bottom of the stairs might help. I'm not sure if an Eco fan would fit.

With an insert with a blower going I'd expect more heat output to assist with heating the place, but since it's a main living area the sound of the blower scares me. Then there's the blower maintenance and power outage scenario. That's why I was hoping to see if folks using the Neo 1.6 have some input on the unit output w/o the blower. could it heat 500 SF +/- w/o the blower?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,325
South Puget Sound, WA
It sounds like your needs for the stove are reasonable. The blower on the Neo is quiet when running on low speed. I think it will heat the space with the blower off if the temps are not brutally cold, but I think you'll want the blower running at least on low when the temps are as nasty as you've experienced recently.

If you choose freestanding, why is the F100 the first choice so far. Why not larger? You don't have to run a larger stove at full capacity to have an enjoyable source of warmth. But it's nice to have some reserves sometimes.
 

SeñorFuego

New Member
Feb 25, 2015
33
Holliston, MA
It sounds like your needs for the stove are reasonable. The blower on the Neo is quiet when running on low speed. I think it will heat the space with the blower off if the temps are not brutally cold, but I think you'll want the blower running at least on low when the temps are as nasty as you've experienced recently.

If you choose freestanding, why is the F100 the first choice so far. Why not larger? You don't have to run a larger stove at full capacity to have an enjoyable source of warmth. But it's nice to have some reserves sometimes.
Thanks begreen.

I have read of folks attempting a generator hook up and/or marine battery hook up to keep the blower going during power outages. At that point I can just hook up the furnace also so I'm attempting to avoid any additional set up scenarios.

The F100 came into play due to the clearance scenario with the fireplace install. Unfortunately a true freestanding set up is not an option due to location of the fireplace. A stove sitting completely out of the fireplace would take up too much room. It's a similar scenario that other F100 owners using inside the fireplace have touched upon. The cost new for the F100 that I'm seeing locally is $1200 +/-. The NEO 1.6 is closer to $1700-$2000. Basically with the F100 I wouldn't need to use a hearth pad and only a basic heat shield on the lower mantel trim. I want to avoid any major adjustment to the mantel trim.

Funny you mention a larger stove. Initially the Jotul F3CB was tops on the list (solid reviews & slightly larger than the F100). It fell off the list after seeing the clearances and the cost new. I just found out last night that I might have a hot lead on a used unit (5 yrs old) that a friend of a friend is willing to unload for a song (removal cost only). This is still TBD. With the short leg kit it and protection of the combustibles it might work although it would still be tight.

Currently the hearth opening is 28".
Hearth-mount into a masonry fireplace
The Jøtul F 3 may be installed into a masonry fireplace provided the opening is a minimum of 28 1/2” high.
The short leg package reduces the stove’s height by 2 1/4”.

Jotul F3CB is 27.875"H - Won't fit into the
With short leg kit 2.25" = 25.625 - This would probably work with some effort.

I'm OK with having the unit stick out slightly from the fireplace as this will add to the radiation heat factor as designed.

I agree with you and most other on the forum that better to with a bigger stove if possible and it seems a common mistake with many newbies is getting too small a unit.

I need to get more feedback on the available unit (what shape it's in, effort to remove, liner included with removal?heat shield set up, heath pad etc.) along with a short leg kit cost/option. If all checks out and it's a serious savings rather then going new then it might be worth it.

Currently some family members have a similar set up with a VC Encore and have enjoyed it immensely. They're probably what started the stove bug for me along with heating oil prices and a wife originally from FL "suffering" through NE winters. 1

So like many other folks before a final decision is made I go around and around in my head with possible options for the space, budget and

I've committed to wood burning for the same reasons others mention which is step #1. Been using the fireplace on a regular basis for about 7 yrs now. Firepit outdoors was the 2014 and we enjoyed it a lot last year.

Thanks for all the feedback.
 

Grisu

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2010
4,121
Chittenden, VT
I would also take a look at the PE Super/T5 insert. That should be able to heat most/all of your home and also give you an overnight burn with plenty of coals in the morning for an easy restart. The air convects well around the Super insert so I usually run the blower only for an hour or two during the peak burn and then turn it off. Occasionally, I have run it completely without a blower with very similar heat output.

If budget is a concern, the Englander 13NCI has about the same size as the Neo 1.6 and appears to be a solid unit for quite a bit less.
 

SeñorFuego

New Member
Feb 25, 2015
33
Holliston, MA
I would also take a look at the PE Super/T5 insert. That should be able to heat most/all of your home and also give you an overnight burn with plenty of coals in the morning for an easy restart. The air convects well around the Super insert so I usually run the blower only for an hour or two during the peak burn and then turn it off. Occasionally, I have run it completely without a blower with very similar heat output.

If budget is a concern, the Englander 13NCI has about the same size as the Neo 1.6 and appears to be a solid unit for quite a bit less.
Thanks Grisu.

I have read that inserts with front extension definitely radiate/convect heat a lot better then the flush units and PEs are known to do this. I like how some PE inserts have the blowers on the side and not on the front of the unit. I'd probably just need a hearth ext. for clearance purposes. I'm OK with that as long I can remove in the off season.
 

SwordWord

Member
Dec 24, 2013
12
Weymouth MA
Hola Senor Fuego!

Sorry for delay. I was in Mexico for two weeks. Nice to be out of the cold for a bit, but now I'm back at it!

I've now had a full winter with the Neo 1.6 and I'm very satisfied with it. We in the Boston area just went through an incredible cold period from Jan - Feb, rarely getting above freezing in all that time, and the unit did well -- but I do need to use the house oil heat strategically during the day to get the house up to temp so that the neo heat can actually warm bodies and not just bring the furniture and walls up to temp!

My oil bill was $4000 last year. This year my oil tank hasn't gotten below 3/4 very much, and I'm probably going to spend about $1500 by the time my budget period ends in May -- much of it because of reduced oil heating, but also because oil prices are incredibly low.

My downstairs is about 1100 sq ft and the thermostat is in the same room with the neo. I have the house heat come on at 6am (70F) to warm my wife as she readies for work, and then it's set to drop to 60Fat at 9am automatically. I get up and fire up the stove around 8am most days, and by 9:30am, the neo has surpassed the thermostat and has taken over the heating duties for the first floor (I close the doors to the second floor bedrooms since no one is home during the day except me, since I work from home). The temp in that room typically gets to 74, and it's a fairly open floor plan in this Cape Cod style house.

Sometime on really cold nights (in the teens or 20s or lower) I do have to put the house heat on for an hour or so here and there if I want all the rooms to be toasty, especially if we have company of some kind. But when the temps hover in the 30s, the house is warm without the house heat .

As the first floor heats up during the day, I typically will open up one of the bedroom doors upstairs later in the afternoon and the warm air that has accumulated in the hallway up there flows in, and then heats it up.

As I've said before, the neo 1.6. was the largest unit I could fit in my fireplace, and I believe if heating your entire house is important, you should find the largest unit you can fit.

To your specific questions:

How's the blower noise? Not bad at all, but if you have company in the room, you are probably better off putting it on low. It still pushes out a lot of air on low. I've played acoustic guitar with friends in that room with the blower on the lower settings and it's not real noticeable at all.

With the blower off what is the convection output? I'm not real confident that the stove would heat much of the house in the event of a power outage. The blowers are important, and while it does some convecting, and you'll be warm sitting in front of it, you do need some way to push air into the far reaches of the room and the house. Fortunately for me, we are in the local (big) hospital power grid, and we haven't had power outages in years -- although all it takes is a local tree to snap some wires and that might all change. But the neo (or any insert) can't really compete with a free standing or semi-free standing (like the PE Alderlea T5 Insert)) if the blowers can't be used.

(I was originally planning on the T5 Insert, but just couldn't make the depth of the unit fit my fireplace)

What burn times are folks seeing? I generally put one or two splits in once an hour throughout the day, trying not the let the fire go to just coals. It's a small box, so maybe 3 or 4 smallish splits might fit in there. I generally expect to get 2 - 3 hours max on a burn (say, if I pack it and leave to go shopping or something, and come back 2 - 3 hours later, I might still have some flame, but I need to get more wood in there as soon as I return).

Would you recommend this model? I love this model. For it's size, it's really powerful. I treat it as my main source for house heat, with supplemental help from my oil furnace. Not the other way around. I'll bet for it's size, it's about the best there is.

If the Neo 1.6 wins out I'd probably attempt a similar install as SwordWord did as we have almost an identical mantel and hearth set up. Yes, that set up works very well, especially for loading and cleaning out ash (and by the way, no problems with ash and the blowers). I would think it's an easy thing for most installers to handle.

Good luck! And stay warm!
 

SeñorFuego

New Member
Feb 25, 2015
33
Holliston, MA
Hola Senor Fuego!


To your specific questions:

How's the blower noise? Not bad at all, but if you have company in the room, you are probably better off putting it on low. It still pushes out a lot of air on low. I've played acoustic guitar with friends in that room with the blower on the lower settings and it's not real noticeable at all.

With the blower off what is the convection output? I'm not real confident that the stove would heat much of the house in the event of a power outage. The blowers are important, and while it does some convecting, and you'll be warm sitting in front of it, you do need some way to push air into the far reaches of the room and the house. Fortunately for me, we are in the local (big) hospital power grid, and we haven't had power outages in years -- although all it takes is a local tree to snap some wires and that might all change. But the neo (or any insert) can't really compete with a free standing or semi-free standing (like the PE Alderlea T5 Insert)) if the blowers can't be used.

(I was originally planning on the T5 Insert, but just couldn't make the depth of the unit fit my fireplace)

What burn times are folks seeing? I generally put one or two splits in once an hour throughout the day, trying not the let the fire go to just coals. It's a small box, so maybe 3 or 4 smallish splits might fit in there. I generally expect to get 2 - 3 hours max on a burn (say, if I pack it and leave to go shopping or something, and come back 2 - 3 hours later, I might still have some flame, but I need to get more wood in there as soon as I return).

Would you recommend this model? I love this model. For it's size, it's really powerful. I treat it as my main source for house heat, with supplemental help from my oil furnace. Not the other way around. I'll bet for it's size, it's about the best there is.

If the Neo 1.6 wins out I'd probably attempt a similar install as SwordWord did as we have almost an identical mantel and hearth set up. Yes, that set up works very well, especially for loading and cleaning out ash (and by the way, no problems with ash and the blowers). I would think it's an easy thing for most installers to handle.

Good luck! And stay warm!
SwordWord,
Bienvenidos a casa! Many thanks for the detailed response. It sounds like we have a similar set up and needs of the wood burning unit. We are 30 minutes West of Boston so I feel your winter pain in 2015. You picked a good year to head to Mexico to escape. I am hoping for a few more inches to break the all time snowfall record in the region to someday tell the grandkids.

I really don't plan to heat 24/7, but will if possible. Like your set up supplement with furnace only when needed.

I was able to take the research to the retailers and check out a few stores in the area. Seeing the units in person puts a whole new perspective on things. I have officially ruled out the Jotul F100 Nordic as it is just too small a firebox and it would be a lot of work both on the firewood preparation and feeding It seems like a great little unit for the right application.

After some recommendations from Grisu and BeGreen I narrowed it down to the Regency I2400 and the PE Super. I like the look of the PE Super better along with the blower set up (variable speeds & sides) and warranty. It looks likes you can't go wrong with either, but the PE about 10-15% cheaper to start.

One feature I also liked about the PE units is you can pop the door off and use as a regular fireplace. (Super and Neo 1.6 allow this) Although not efficient it allows one to enjoy the unit as a fireplace rather then an insert. This would be nice in the spring/fall. It's a $150 accessory for the Super, but I could probably get away with using my current fireplace screen as it probably would only be on rare occasions.

I went to one dealer who after discussion advised that the Super would probably be too much stove for our set up. He was honest and wasn't trying to upsell me, but rather the opposite. We had some good conversation as I had a lot of questions. So then we went back to the Neo 1.6 discussion. I do like the look and he said folks are pleased with it. Now it's down to those two units PE Super or the Neo 1.6. I mentioned the controlled burn, but was advised if I don't burn the unit as designed it might not function as well. The Super firebox size and hearth extension are nice features as I'm sure it would do "Super" in a power outage. I just don't want to always melt and be uncomfortable as the fireplace is in our main living area. My leather recliner sits only 2-3 feet from the fireplace. (hence my blower sound questions) With the basic measurement that I took i think it should fit in our current fireplace.

Any folks have feedback on the "Too much stove" scenario? I suppose it's possible, but from most accounts I've read folks say better to go bigger if possible and adjust accordingly. It would be nice to have a unit that I control and doesn't control me.

Thanks
 

Grisu

Minister of Fire
Nov 1, 2010
4,121
Chittenden, VT
Any folks have feedback on the "Too much stove" scenario?
When you want less heat you just need to load less wood. When it gets really cold you will be happy that you have that added capacity. Plus, the Super will allow you to have overnight burns more easily.
 

SeñorFuego

New Member
Feb 25, 2015
33
Holliston, MA
When you want less heat you just need to load less wood. When it gets really cold you will be happy that you have that added capacity. Plus, the Super will allow you to have overnight burns more easily.
Yeah. That's what I'm thinking. Loading/burning less wood (extending supply) is always a good thing. I was caught off guard today when the dealer swayed me away from that mentality and pushed the Vista. I actually brought up the Neo 1.6 which has more output for the same price and looks better IMHO. The PE Super might be the one. Time to shop around and see when dealers/PE might offer some discounts.

Thanks for the input folks. Much appreciated.
 

Hogwildz

Minister of Fire
Yeah. That's what I'm thinking. Loading/burning less wood (extending supply) is always a good thing. I was caught off guard today when the dealer swayed me away from that mentality and pushed the Vista. I actually brought up the Neo 1.6 which has more output for the same price and looks better IMHO. The PE Super might be the one. Time to shop around and see when dealers/PE might offer some discounts.

Thanks for the input folks. Much appreciated.
What sf area or home are you looking to heat?
 

SwordWord

Member
Dec 24, 2013
12
Weymouth MA
Yeah. That's what I'm thinking. Loading/burning less wood (extending supply) is always a good thing. I was caught off guard today when the dealer swayed me away from that mentality and pushed the Vista. I actually brought up the Neo 1.6 which has more output for the same price and looks better IMHO. The PE Super might be the one. Time to shop around and see when dealers/PE might offer some discounts. Thanks for the input folks. Much appreciated.
I'm not all that experienced, but I don't understand when people say "if you don't burn as designed." Must it be cranking at all times? Mine often isn't, especially in the 'warmer' winter days, and all seems well with it. I agree with Grisu -- if you don't want it hot hot hot, then don't put in as much wood, and let it burn down a little bit longer, and maybe even turn off the blower. The Super gives you more options. True enough, when the deep cold hits, or the power goes out in Holliston for an extended period, you'll be happy to have the bigger stove. I think you can't go wrong with Pacific Energy, no matter which model.
 

SeñorFuego

New Member
Feb 25, 2015
33
Holliston, MA
What sf area or home are you looking to heat?
She's a classic smaller dormered New England Cape built in 1961

1400 total S.F.

First floor:
Living room where fireplace is = 15 X 15. Fireplace is exterior chimney
Stairs to 2nd floor, Kitchen, hallway, 2 back bedrooms and bathroom flow from the main living room.

2nd floor
2 bedrooms and a bath. Small hallway connecting.

Looks like the Super can handle that without even trying and give enough output w/o blower to keep the downstairs comfortable to survive a power outage if necessary. Like Grisu pointed out in an earlier post I'd probably only use the blower during the peak burn and at night while asleep.

I just need to revisit the hearth and mantel clearances as I'm trying to avoid any major changes. Hearth ext. would be needed with Super, but not with the Neo.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,325
South Puget Sound, WA
If you are in an area that is likely to experience winter power outages I would lean toward the Super. A hearth extension can be used that is removable off season.
 

Hogwildz

Minister of Fire
Sounds like a good choice. A ceiling fan in the stove room would be a plus. How many entrances/opening from the living room to the rest of the house?
I bet you use and appreciate the blower more than you plan on. At least here, it helps circulate the warmed air around the house better, rather than it just coming out and rising straight up.
Its all about a decent convection loop, whether you get a decent mix and distribution. Just make sure you feel it is enough for your weather in your area. Sucks to not heave enough stove for the need when time comes. If you're insulated & air sealed well, you should be good.
 

SeñorFuego

New Member
Feb 25, 2015
33
Holliston, MA
. How many entrances/opening from the living room to the rest of the house?
I bet you use and appreciate the blower more than you plan on. At least here, it helps circulate the warmed air around the house better, rather than it just coming out and rising straight up.
Its all about a decent convection loop, whether you get a decent mix and distribution. Just make sure you feel it is enough for your weather in your area. Sucks to not heave enough stove for the need when time comes. If you're insulated & air sealed well, you should be good.
The front entrance is right in the living room. We don't use that much anymore as we put a doorway direct to the garage from one of the back bedrooms. It's now an office/mud room. The kitchen with rear entrance and sink cut through is right off of the living room along with the hallway to the back bed and office/mud room. The stairwell upstairs is also off of the living room.

New windows 5 years ago. Blown in cellulose and air sealing happened 1.5 yrs ago. She seems pretty tight.

With the blower and additional circulation going there is a good chance we could heat the place fully on wood with the Super. That would be a bonus, but I'm trying to be realistic on my efforts and bringing the wife on board to assist when needed. She works from home more often then I do and arrives home earlier then I do. I'm trying to find something easy to use that I can get going in the mornings and she maintains with minimal effort. That's where the larger firebox would be helpful. She's originally from FL so if it came down to shorts and T-shirts inside December-March due to the insert output I'm sure she'd be very pleased.
 
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Hogwildz

Minister of Fire
Like I said, its all in how much if any convection loop you get going in the house. Tough thing is, you won't know that till you get the stove in and running.
Given the insulation etc, I think you will have no problem heating most if not all the house with the Super. Again, depends on air flow.
sounds like opening to kitchen area, and hallway to back bedrooms, then stairwell to the upper level, all off the living room. Good for several directions for the air to travel, but no real loop to complete a circle of flow.
You should still be able to heat a good portion. The bedrooms down the hall may be cooler, but you may be able to heat the whole place. Most folks want their bedroom cooler for sleeping anyway.
The office may be a little colder, and may need a small space heater for supplement, maybe not. My office here has no flow, and is the coldest room in the house. It also need to be tightened up.
I normally suggest the Summit, but I think that is too big for your set up, and may very likely heat you out of the living room.
Ceiling fan in the living room? Any upstairs?
 

SeñorFuego

New Member
Feb 25, 2015
33
Holliston, MA
Currently no ceiling fans in the place. We have considered adding them to the upstairs bedroom as they are already wired with a main light in each bedroom. Good to know about flow. Once a unit is in place that will be the next phase.
Thanks!
 

SeñorFuego

New Member
Feb 25, 2015
33
Holliston, MA
Another bonus to Super is that the standard surround fits our fireplace nicely. It doesn't dominate the brick facade. The Neo oversize surround is very large and a custom surround would be needed IMHO.

 

Hogwildz

Minister of Fire
I think you will gain more than supplemental heat if you can get distribution of the heated air established. You may find your oil heat becomes supplemental to the wood burner, reversing roles.
There are many happy Super owners on here, and you should be pleased.
 

SeñorFuego

New Member
Feb 25, 2015
33
Holliston, MA
Hi Folks,

The research continues. Due to location of the fireplace we are now considering spending the extra $$ for aesthetics of the insert. I understand that the guts of the inserts are the virtually the same and users are really just paying for the looks.

I've narrowed it down to three choices thus far all which have solid reviews on hearth.com

Regency Hampton HI300
PE Alderlea T5
Enviro Boston 1200

I'm running into a slight problem with the options.

Hampton HI300 - $2600
I like the Hampton HI300 a lot. It has the best clearances, but it appears that the rear of the firebox is just about 1/2-3/4" too narrow to fit the 23 1/4" width of the insert. I've been advised that it might be possible to grind out the rear of the firebox to make it fit. Have folks done this before? Is it recommended/legal?

Alderlea T5 - $3100
Much more expensive then the Hampton for some reason. Also has a larger rear firebox then the Super for some reason at 23 3/8. Not sure why?

Enviro Boston 1200 - $2600
The cost is comparable to the Hampton, but with a smaller firebox @ 1.85. This unit fits into the firebox, but the door swings the from right to left (which is a slight problem for loading due to where the wood is stored inside - it's on the left side of the fireplace). Also the surround is massive with a 49" surround which would basically cover the entire nice brick facade. It also looks like clearance could be an issue because of this.

Any other suggestions for medium sized inserts that extend out from the hearth and offer nice finishes in cast iron etc. that aren't astronomically expensive?

Gracias!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,325
South Puget Sound, WA
The Hampton has a good reputation. It should be ok to grind out an inch of brick on each side.
 
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