Looking for opinions and thoughts on wood burning for large masonry fireplace opening

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uforia

New Member
Dec 19, 2020
6
New Jersey
Hello everyone,

This is my first real post. Happy to have found you guys. Been doing a lot of reading here and you guys are fantastic! What a wealth of knowledge and friendly people.

I live in central NJ in a brick English Tudor built in 1927 with as you can guess old steam heat which is very costly. I am looking to supplement my steam heat by utilizing my large masonry fireplace in the living room by adding a wood burning insert. Again, I won't be burning 24/7 or expect it to heat the entire house, a good portion of the first floor would be satisfying although my living room is central to the house and adjacent to the living room is the stairway upstairs so I would imagine some of that heated air would find it's way upstairs too which would be a big plus...

I am not too fond of the inserts that protrude out onto the Hearth IE. the PE Summit although it still may be an option for me I would much prefer something that is for the most part flush or a comes out a couple inches onto the Hearth. One of the reasons is I really love the blue stone on my hearth and surround (see pics) I do realize that inserts that extend out are known to heat better/throw off more heat so I will take that into consideration when I make my final decision.

My opening is very large 48" W and 39.5" High (see pics) looks are very important to me as well so I am looking for a insert that will really add to the living room and fit well to the existing blue stone work....

Ok, all this being said I really like the Lopi large Nexgen Fyre insert but my concern is the BTU rating is significantly lower then say the PE Summit do you guys think this inserts BTU output may be to small? My entire house is about 3k square feet but approx 300 is an in law sweet that is on the other side of the house. Again I am looking to just use this on a supplemental basis and would really prefer an insert that was flush. I see the firebox on both the Lopi and the Summit is 3.0. Another reason I like the Lopi as my house being a Tudor has somewhat a theme of arches throughout the house and the Lopi offers an arched door which would go really nice.

My other concern is no matter what insert I go with, with such a large opening it seems it will require some oversized additional plate to cover the opening. Do you guys see any issues with this on the Lopi?

I'd love to hear any opinions from people who have the Lopi or suggestions for alternatives. I like the Regency insert however I am pretty sure I would prefer a insert without the cat combustor while I may do some overnight burns on weekends and here and there it won't be the primary use of the insert..

I apologize for the long post but wanted to give as much detail and info as I could.

thank you in advance,
Chris

fireplace.jpg fireplace3.jpg
 

uforia

New Member
Dec 19, 2020
6
New Jersey
I wouldn't hide that beautiful brick at all, go with a free standing stove.

So are you saying I can put a free standing stove inside by fireplace opening? That concept is new to me. I have a ton of questions but will hold off for now LOL

Can you recommend or suggest a model that would work based on size of my opening and heat capacity?

But yeah I really love the stone work here and don't want to hide if possible

thanks in advance,
Chris
 

avsmusic1

Burning Hunk
Jul 26, 2012
218
CT
with a 48x40 opening you could put basically any freestanding you want but if you don't want anything protruding than it's prob not the right choice. As you seem to already know, there is typcially a relationship between how much heat the stove provides to the space, and the amount of the unit that protruding into the room. Many folks have tucked a freestanding stove entirely into the fireplace with mixed results as those stoves aren't really designed for that - they're designed to radiate heat from the various surface area into the space. That's obviously inhibited if it's tucked in a fireplace.

That being said, as FPX notes, aesthetically it could be a nice option. I'm a sucker for the way soapstone looks and wish I could put a Woodstock Progress Hybrid in my fireplace.

Everything I've read on the Lopi inserts is they're very well built and they're certainly nice on the eyes - I've looked at them extensively myself. It's my understanding that the oversized plates are basically just sheet steal. If that's true I see no reason you couldn't have someone cut it to your desired size to prevent covering too much of your stone.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,215
SE North Carolina
Clearance to you mantle will need to be addressed. My stove sits pretty flush with the fireplace opening. I like the look here better than an insert. Big openings look better with stoves in my opinion. It’s worth looking into.
Evan
image.jpg
 

uforia

New Member
Dec 19, 2020
6
New Jersey
Clearance to you mantle will need to be addressed. My stove sits pretty flush with the fireplace opening. I like the look here better than an insert. Big openings look better with stoves in my opinion. It’s worth looking into.
Evan
View attachment 271882
Thanks for the picture.. hmmmm I am not sure how I feel about having a stove sitting inside the opening like that. That being said, what is the opening sizes height and width where that stove sits?

I guess there are pluses and minuses... Is the reason you went with a standalone stove because you had such a large opening??

thx in advance,
Chris
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,584
South Puget Sound, WA
You can also install an insert without the factory surround. Some look ok, naked and in other cases like this, a custom surround, inset an inch or two inside the face of the fireplace, would look good. The Summit would look sharp done this way. In freestanding, check out the Jotul F55.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,215
SE North Carolina
Thanks for the picture.. hmmmm I am not sure how I feel about having a stove sitting inside the opening like that. That being said, what is the opening sizes height and width where that stove sits?

I guess there are pluses and minuses... Is the reason you went with a standalone stove because you had such a large opening??

thx in advance,
Chris
As I recall it is 42” wide by 30” high. Part of the reason it is so far back is that it meets the 16” ember protection with out adding it to the floor. Stove selection was rather limited by my short height.
Evan
 

uforia

New Member
Dec 19, 2020
6
New Jersey
As I recall it is 42” wide by 30” high. Part of the reason it is so far back is that it meets the 16” ember protection with out adding it to the floor.
Evan
As I recall it is 42” wide by 30” high. Part of the reason it is so far back is that it meets the 16” ember protection with out adding it to the floor. Stove selection was rather limited by my short height.
Evan
Thanks for the info. My opening is even bigger being 39.5 H X 47 W I guess there are pluses and minuses to just putting a free standing stove in there VS insert. How common is this practice? I'd love to see some more pictures of other setups where this was done.

From a cost perspective I would imagine putting a stove in VS insert would be less expensive?

thx again,
Chris
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,215
SE North Carolina
Thanks for the info. My opening is even bigger being 39.5 H X 47 W I guess there are pluses and minuses to just putting a free standing stove in there VS insert. How common is this practice? I'd love to see some more pictures of other setups where this was done.

From a cost perspective I would imagine putting a stove in VS insert would be less expensive?

thx again,
Chris
From my looking around high end inserts are about the same as high end stoves. Liner and labor cost is the same for both. I think there more choices of stoves than inserts.
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,020
MA
Do you get DABL network on TV? Lots of wood burners in large fireplaces and inglenooks on Escape to the Country from England. Three episodes daily.