Looking for wood burning insert with largest possible view

steveroof

New Member
Jul 24, 2017
8
Philadelphia, PA
Hello,
I am looking for recommendations for a wood burning insert with a really big glass window.

My wife and I are first time homeowners. We live in a city and are not experienced with wood burning. Our new house needs some love, and we are trying to decide what to do with the fireplace. We got an estimate to re-line our chimney for $5500. It seems to me that the cost to buy and install a wood burning insert would be similar while being more efficient. My wife really likes the idea of an open fireplace, but she is tentatively ok with an insert as long as you can have a big view of the fire. Can you please point me in the right direction? Thank you.

The fireplace opening is 34 1/2" wide and 32 1/8" tall

Our house was built in 1933. It is 1700 sqft and uninsulated. It is constructed of stone and brick, and one wall is shared with a neighbor. The house is heated by an oil fired boiler, but it also has natural gas for cooking and hot water.

The reason the wall is damaged and mantel is missing from my photos is that the previous owner had constructed a floor to ceiling brick wall in front of the original wall, and in the process he discarded the original mantel.

IMG_20170723_160611.jpg

IMG_20170723_160551.jpg
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,932
Indiana
The inserts with the largest glass that come to mind are the Hearthstone Clydesdale, Lopi flush/Cape cod inserts and the Blaze King Sirrico/Ashford insert. The Blaze King being the most efficient of the line up.
 

NYSB

Member
Mar 30, 2015
42
New York
Hi - we purchased a 2000sqft home in a relatively dense suburban area in the northeast in 2008 which had a typical open-hearth fireplace such as the one in your picture. Around 2014 we upgraded the fireplace to a wood-burning insert. We looked at a lot of brands and we had specific design constraints which included a modern or contemporary design, a large glass window, and a stove which could be mounted flush or with minimal protrusion into the room (<2-3"). Some of the inserts protrude quite a bit into the room - and there are certainly advantages to that type of design in terms of heat distribution - but that was not what we were looking for. Ultimately, we decided on a Regency CI2600 "hybrid" stove. They call it a hybrid since it has both secondary air tubes and a catalyst. It has about a 2.5 cubic foot firebox and will take up to 22" logs or so. After I got the hang of running it, I can get very long burn times and it heats the entire house no problem. They did have some initial design problems with this stove when it first came out, but I have the newer revised version and it really works great. There are several threads on this stove you can read. We are very happy with ours.
 

steveroof

New Member
Jul 24, 2017
8
Philadelphia, PA
Hi - we purchased a 2000sqft home in a relatively dense suburban area in the northeast in 2008 which had a typical open-hearth fireplace such as the one in your picture. Around 2014 we upgraded the fireplace to a wood-burning insert. We looked at a lot of brands and we had specific design constraints which included a modern or contemporary design, a large glass window, and a stove which could be mounted flush or with minimal protrusion into the room (<2-3"). Some of the inserts protrude quite a bit into the room - and there are certainly advantages to that type of design in terms of heat distribution - but that was not what we were looking for. Ultimately, we decided on a Regency CI2600 "hybrid" stove. They call it a hybrid since it has both secondary air tubes and a catalyst. It has about a 2.5 cubic foot firebox and will take up to 22" logs or so. After I got the hang of running it, I can get very long burn times and it heats the entire house no problem. They did have some initial design problems with this stove when it first came out, but I have the newer revised version and it really works great. There are several threads on this stove you can read. We are very happy with ours.
Thank you.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,052
07462
I have always been leery of inserts that have a cat and a by-pass. If seems that when you clean the chimney you'll have to pull the stove out to properly clean around the upper chamber with the by-pass, or pull the cat and hopefully not damage it and have a new gasket on hand when you re-install it.
epa reburn stoves are much easier to clean because you can remove the tubes and baffles with little effort to clean the fly ash build up.. that just my opinion and I maybe considered a "BK fan boy" to some.
 

NYSB

Member
Mar 30, 2015
42
New York
Well, for whatever it's worth I've had no trouble at all cleaning my Regency insert. I've removed and cleaned the catalyst each season, and vacuumed out the fly ash in the area behind (the bypass damper). I then use a soot-eater from below to clean the chimney liner. Not having used another stove perhaps I don't know any better - but it doesn't seem too bad to me. I presume other catalytic inserts would be similar.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,922
central pa
I have always been leery of inserts that have a cat and a by-pass. If seems that when you clean the chimney you'll have to pull the stove out to properly clean around the upper chamber with the by-pass, or pull the cat and hopefully not damage it and have a new gasket on hand when you re-install it.
epa reburn stoves are much easier to clean because you can remove the tubes and baffles with little effort to clean the fly ash build up.. that just my opinion and I maybe considered a "BK fan boy" to some.
The regencies are rasy to clean i have never had to pull one
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,922
central pa
I have heard that the catalytic stoves are not as newbie friendly. Is that right?
No not really. They are not any harder to operate just a little harder to clean because you have to pull the cat. But if it is designed well that is not an issue.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,922
central pa
That being said if you house is uninsulated you will have a pretty big btu load and the main benifit of a cat stove is low slow burns. So they may not make sense for you. But do your own research to make your decision. And most cat stoves will still put out plenty of heat if run harder you just will not be taking advantage of cat stoves strong point.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,668
SEPA
Immediately banish the idea of an open fireplace, regardless of the Mrs.' opinion. If you want the largest view, that's fine. A modern insert is like a high-definition tv screen that only plays the yule log program that they show around December 25, with the added benefit of heating your house with "green" fuel, free if you play your cards right.

Or, if you want, just crack a window open all winter (that's pretty much what you'll get with an open fireplace). If you have too much trouble convincing your wife of the better way to go, you should find someone with more sense.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,922
central pa
Immediately banish the idea of an open fireplace, regardless of the Mrs.' opinion. If you want the largest view, that's fine. A modern insert is like a high-definition tv screen that only plays the yule log program that they show around December 25, with the added benefit of heating your house with "green" fuel, free if you play your cards right.

Or, if you want, just crack a window open all winter (that's pretty much what you'll get with an open fireplace). If you have too much trouble convincing your wife of the better way to go, you should find someone with more sense.
There are many people who really enjoy their open fireplaces. And i know you were joking but in my experience banishing the wifes idea is generally a bad idea.
 

steveroof

New Member
Jul 24, 2017
8
Philadelphia, PA
Immediately banish the idea of an open fireplace, regardless of the Mrs.' opinion. If you want the largest view, that's fine. A modern insert is like a high-definition tv screen that only plays the yule log program that they show around December 25, with the added benefit of heating your house with "green" fuel, free if you play your cards right.

Or, if you want, just crack a window open all winter (that's pretty much what you'll get with an open fireplace). If you have too much trouble convincing your wife of the better way to go, you should find someone with more sense.
_g

Happy wife, happy life
 

stovelark

Minister of Fire
Oct 10, 2009
1,501
SE CT
I'm with webby. HS Clydesdale has a large view, big heat too. Jotul's Rockland CB550 Clean face version has a large open view. Quadrafire Voyager Grand does as well. Lots of nice choices out there, try to check out many and get the compromise of good looks and heat output to make all happy. Good luck.
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,932
Indiana
I have always been leery of inserts that have a cat and a by-pass. If seems that when you clean the chimney you'll have to pull the stove out to properly clean around the upper chamber with the by-pass, or pull the cat and hopefully not damage it and have a new gasket on hand when you re-install it.
epa reburn stoves are much easier to clean because you can remove the tubes and baffles with little effort to clean the fly ash build up.. that just my opinion and I maybe considered a "BK fan boy" to some.
There's a lot of inserts out there that do not have a removable baffle, or at least very difficult and time consuming to remove. Inserts with a bypass are typically very easy to clean, almost all the junk falls into the firebox. I honestly don't clean any cat inserts except BK's, I never need to pull the cat or the stove, because it's designed very well. I could see other older cat inserts being a pain though.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,922
central pa
There's a lot of inserts out there that do not have a removable baffle, or at least very difficult and time consuming to remove. Inserts with a bypass are typically very easy to clean, almost all the junk falls into the firebox. I honestly don't clean any cat inserts except BK's, I never need to pull the cat or the stove, because it's designed very well. I could see other older cat inserts being a pain though.
So you never clean the cat or behind it?
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,932
Indiana
So you never clean the cat or behind it?
Vacuum off the cat, that's it. The flue collar is mounted at a 30 degree angle and the bypass opens back toward the cat. All the debris falls into the firebox. When I have pulled a cat in a BK insert, there's only ever been a tiny amount of flyash behind the cat.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,922
central pa
Vacuum off the cat, that's it. The flue collar is mounted at a 30 degree angle and the bypass opens back toward the cat. All the debris falls into the firebox. When I have pulled a cat in a BK insert, there's only ever been a tiny amount of flyash behind the cat.
I have never been confident that i got cats clean without a soft brush. And i have seen allot more than a little flyash behind the bypass. Especially if they left the bypass closed all summer. I just cant just assume there is nothing behind the bypass.
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,932
Indiana
I have never been confident that i got cats clean without a soft brush. And i have seen allot more than a little flyash behind the bypass. Especially if they left the bypass closed all summer. I just cant just assume there is nothing behind the bypass.
So you clean a lot of BKs inserts?
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,932
Indiana
I have never been confident that i got cats clean without a soft brush. And i have seen allot more than a little flyash behind the bypass. Especially if they left the bypass closed all summer. I just cant just assume there is nothing behind the bypass.
I often do run a horse hair brush across the cat as I run the vacuum. Pulling the cat each season is just not necessary on a BK. There no reason to waste a gasket and stress the cat unnecessarily.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,922
central pa
So you clean a lot of BKs inserts?
No not allot. Never said i did.

I often do run a horse hair brush across the cat as I run the vacuum. Pulling the cat each season is just not necessary on a BK. There no reason to waste a gasket and stress the cat unnecessarily.
No reason unless there is a pile of stuff behind the cat that fell down over the summer which you will never know is there unless you pull the cat. And i would say it is a design flaw that you need to replace the gasket everytime. And that pulling it for routine service stresses the cat. I use a soft bristle 1" paintbrush on them
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,932
Indiana
No not allot. Never said i did.


No reason unless there is a pile of stuff behind the cat that fell down over the summer which you will never know is there unless you pull the cat. And i would say it is a design flaw that you need to replace the gasket everytime. And that pulling it for routine service stresses the cat. I use a soft bristle 1" paintbrush on them
Of course, as expected you'd bash BK.. an interim gasket on the cat isn't specific to BK, and handling a used cat unnecessarily should be avoided with any stove.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,922
central pa
No just pointing out that many other stoves put the cats into a frame that is bolted into place the gasket stays in place and you dont touch the cat. Why is that an attack? Are we now not allowed to point out places where we see room for improvement? What is it with you bk guys? Every other stove gets criticism and no one jumps on those people.