Looking to install woodstove in a fireplace

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Deere-nh

New Member
Aug 30, 2022
3
NH
Hello everyone and thanks for reading my post.

I am looking to install a woodstove in my fireplace. I am currently looking at the vermont casting dauntless. I was looking at the specs for clearances and it appears my mantel is 2" under. In the manual it should a 12" (from the wall) mantel. However, my fire place has stone to the mantel so there would be very little lip under the mantel.

Question 2, do I need access the back of the stove to? From my research it looks like I would need to install a T to sweep the chimney. The wood stove would leave me with a couple inches on each side.

Question 3, when we purchased the house 5 years ago the chimney was lined with a new ss liner. Do I need to install a new liner or can I just stub a piece in?

Thanks for all the help

20220829_204233.jpg 20220829_202358.jpg Screenshot_20220829-202954_Drive.jpg
 

vernorz

New Member
Aug 26, 2021
16
Massachusetts
That looks similar our fireplace we just had a Dauntless installed in.


As far as I know you would only need access to back of the stove if you had to take the heat shield off to fix something. I would be more concerned with side clearances. With our install, the bypass lever just clears the side of the fireplace. I can see myself getting a few burns if I don't use a glove to control the bypass. I also can't install a cat probe unless I pull the stove out, which I'll have to do once things get inspected.

As far as the mantel clearances, the manual says you need 27.5" of clearance if the stove sticks out of the fireplace, with a maximum projection of 12". If it sticks out of the fireplace more than 12", I don't think you can use the fireplace installation clearances. Our stove sticks out by about 4" and is 27 5/8" from the mantle. I might still put a heat shield up to be safe. I will defer to someone with more experience for recommendations on the liner.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,546
SE North Carolina
Is this an interior or exterior chimney? I ask because any hearth installed stove probably should have a fan and any exterior chimney should be insulated, that really means you should have an insert.
 

vernorz

New Member
Aug 26, 2021
16
Massachusetts
Is this an interior or exterior chimney? I ask because any hearth installed stove probably should have a fan and any exterior chimney should be insulated, that really means you should have an insert.
I'm not sure if this is a question for me or the OP. But this is an interior chimney with an insulated SS liner. There were no inserts that would work with this fireplace due to the shape of the firebox, very shallow and tall plus the angle of the side walls.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,602
Philadelphia
Hi Deere-nh. Given you're in NH, I know it's just as likely that any masonry fireplace may be central to your house, here in PA they tend to be always on outside (gable end) walls. I mention this because any stove installed inside a fireplace should be of a design that radiates very little heat off the sides, as the masonry is going to suck up the majority of all heat produced by the stove, in this installation type. If the masonry is completely central to the house, then this is a non-issue, perhaps even an advantage. However, if the masonry is connected to an exterior wall, much of the heat you produce will be pumped out to your back yard.

begreen will tell me I'm being too hard on Vermont Castings, holding the (numerous) sins of their recent past against the current company, whose products and customer service may not be quite as terrible as what they've had over the prior ten years. Perhaps he is right, but I still cringe every time I hear anyone even mention the idea of installing VC stove in their home, when there are so many other better options. They've had such a consistently-deplorable record, with customer service, with honoring warranty, and with terrible stove designs, that I'd be looking at other manufacturers (really, almost ANY other manufacturer), before signing up to put a VC on my hearth. Spend a little time searching the VC-related posts on this site, heck even include the word "warranty" in your search, and you will quickly see what I mean. Facts and documented history are stubborn things.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,346
South Puget Sound, WA
I think the difference here is that I had the privilege of owning an early VC stove and Ashful has not. VC developed a very solid following with their original stoves for a good reason. They were good performers, made well, and looked great. Unfortunately, they went through a succession of crappy owners after that heyday. This led to some poor products in a handsome jackets due to weak internals that were added to meet EPA regs. Fortunately, VC was bought by a major stove company with deep pockets, HHT, in 2014. That was a game changer from the turbulent history of the company between around 1986 and 2016. HHT is huge and has the capital to do things right. (Think Harman, VC, Quadrafire, Heatilator, Heat&Glo, etc.). They invested $8 million in VC over 4 yrs. starting with improving the quality of the refractory combustion chamber.

How this will work out in the long run, I can't say, but in spite of all the turmoil, VC still has some of the finest American stove castings today. Their foundries make castings for many other major stove manufacturers too. It's a more complex stove, but they perform well and have had some nice features like thermostatic air control, since the 1970s. I hope that things are settling down for them. They still are amongst the best-looking stoves made.

That said, I would also consider more convective stoves for that fireplace like the Jotul F45 if it will fit. This is not knocking the VC, it's just a matter of getting more heat into the room and less getting soaked up by the fireplace walls.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,602
Philadelphia
Good points, begreen. Along with the F45, would you consider PE Alderlea T4 or BK Ashford 20/30?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,346
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, the Ashford would work, or an Alderlea T5 and I would get the blower option.
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,546
SE North Carolina
Good points, begreen. Along with the F45, would you consider PE Alderlea T4 or BK Ashford 20/30?
I would but they are top vent and need enough height clearance to the lintel. Adding a thimble above the mantel is extra work I would only do as a last resort.
 
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vernorz

New Member
Aug 26, 2021
16
Massachusetts
Check out a Morso 7110. It's a little smaller than the Dauntless, and no catalyst, but it is top or rear vent and might give you the clearance you're looking for. That was my first choice but availability was too far out due to covid.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,602
Philadelphia
I would but they are top vent and need enough height clearance to the lintel. Adding a thimble above the mantel is extra work I would only do as a last resort.
True. But what is lintel height? I have top vent stoves in both of my fireplaces, but my lintels are relatively high.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,346
South Puget Sound, WA
It's a good point. The Dauntless is 25.75" high, the F45 is 26.25 with the short leg kit. The Ashford 30.2 is almost 33" tall and the Alderlea T5 LE is 29.75" to the top of the flue collar.
 

RShim

New Member
Oct 5, 2022
43
Madison WI
Yes, the Ashford would work, or an Alderlea T5 and I would get the blower option.
Discussing Alderlea T5 purchase with the local dealer. Depending on the home size and layout - he told met he blower option could always be added. I have ceiling fans in every room in the house and plan to change them over to draw air towards ceiling...see how that does along with the fan on my air purifier that happens to be aimed towards the hallway leading to bedrooms.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,346
South Puget Sound, WA
@Deere-nh. Did you make a decision? One caveat with the Dauntless and some other stoves is the thermostatic control. These stoves are meant to work out in the open. The captive heat in the fireplace cavity can throw off the thermostat. In that case, an insert is a better choice. Or, awoodstove with front air controls will be a better fit. Additionally, a top loader is awkward in a fireplace cavity.
 

Deere-nh

New Member
Aug 30, 2022
3
NH
Hi Everyone, and I thought this thread was dead... and I wish I got notifications that this chat was happening.

Thank you for all the replies.

I do have an exterior chimney. So a wood stove that would heat more from the top or front would work best for my application. It appears that the only vermont casting stove that would work in my application is the Aspen for mantel clearances. However, I have heard a lot of bad things about them.

I do like the other stoves that you mentioned but will have to do more research on them.
 
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TWilk117

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
282
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
This seems to be an issue for a lot of us folks. In the old days all stoves vented out the back into a fireplace. Sure an insert seems like a fine option but you can’t cook dinner on an insert. The morsoe 7110 mentioned above is pretty small and the company doesn’t even give any idea of burn times. Similar stoves of that nature and size may say 4-8 hours when in reality it’s like maybe two really good hours and than things cool down. I’m tempted to make my own company.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,602
Philadelphia
I believe you can turn on email notifications for watched threads in your settings. Worst case, look at top of this page on the right, and there's an "unwatch" button. Click it to unwatch, then click it again to re-watch. At that time, you should get a pop-up asking you if you want to receive email notifications.

If you are simply placing this stove in front of the fireplace, then any stove with good back shielding (meaning any stove with small rear clearances) could work pretty well. That even includes classic cast iron stoves with good back shields / tight clearances. But if you're pushing it back into the fireplace at all, you're going to want one with side shields, typically the "box in a box" designs that advertise as convective stoves, and these will also usually have tighter side clearances to help in identifying them. It's not that you specifically need the clearances, but these are the stoves that minimize heat radiated off back and sides, which in your case will be lost to the exterior masonry (assuming it's actually masonry thru to outside). Additionally, if there are any concerns of combustibles around that surround, these stoves will help you there.

begreen will check me on this, but I believe the BK 30's, BK 20's, PE T4, PE T5, and Jotul F45 all fall into this category. I am sure there are others. You would specifically want to avoid putting any of the more classic cast iron Jotuls (eg. 400, 500, 600), Vermont Castings, or Woodstock soapstone stoves into a fireplace on an exterior wall, as they'll have the worst radiant losses. I believe Woodstock does have one model with better convection (Ideal Steel?), but not their classic models.
 

TWilk117

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
282
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
I believe you can turn on email notifications for watched threads in your settings. Worst case, look at top of this page on the right, and there's an "unwatch" button. Click it to unwatch, then click it again to re-watch. At that time, you should get a pop-up asking you if you want to receive email notifications.

If you are simply placing this stove in front of the fireplace, then any stove with good back shielding (meaning any stove with small rear clearances) could work pretty well. That even includes classic cast iron stoves with good back shields / tight clearances. But if you're pushing it back into the fireplace at all, you're going to want one with side shields, typically the "box in a box" designs that advertise as convective stoves, and these will also usually have tighter side clearances to help in identifying them. It's not that you specifically need the clearances, but these are the stoves that minimize heat radiated off back and sides, which in your case will be lost to the exterior masonry (assuming it's actually masonry thru to outside). Additionally, if there are any concerns of combustibles around that surround, these stoves will help you there.

begreen will check me on this, but I believe the BK 30's, BK 20's, PE T4, PE T5, and Jotul F45 all fall into this category. I am sure there are others. You would specifically want to avoid putting any of the more classic cast iron Jotuls (eg. 400, 500, 600), Vermont Castings, or Woodstock soapstone stoves into a fireplace on an exterior wall, as they'll have the worst radiant losses. I believe Woodstock does have one model with better convection (Ideal Steel?), but not their classic models.
Not many new stoves have the option to vent out the rear anymore. One turn off for BK is the low max output. And for Woodstock. The major one is dealers don’t sell or want to install them, and I believe they aren’t CSA. That’s more important than UL in my opinion.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,229
Long Island NY
I think your insurance cares more about UL.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,602
Philadelphia
Not many new stoves have the option to vent out the rear anymore. One turn off for BK is the low max output. And for Woodstock. The major one is dealers don’t sell or want to install them, and I believe they aren’t CSA. That’s more important than UL in my opinion.
True on rear exit, that's going to limit your choices.

But I think you've been misinformed on "low max output". My cat stove will consume it's entire 2.8 cubic foot firebox in around 5 hours, two other posters in the last few days have posted max burn rates for theirs, which are faster than mine. Exactly how fast do you expect to consume wood? How fast can be it be done safely and repeatedly in other stoves you're considering? I can walk and do away from my stove at that burn rate, it's doing this while I'm outside working at least a few Saturdays per year, and @Poindexter runs a load per day at this rate for a good part of his Alaskan winter.

I do believe some non-cats may have even faster consumption rates, if only slightly, and possibly while on the edge of meltdown. But would you actually walk away from ANY stove, cat or non-cat, and leave them running a burn rate faster than perhaps 1.5 hours per cubic foot of firebox?
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,229
Long Island NY
I concur with Ashful - even though my set up does not allow me to burn a load down that quickly (every install is different).

But why I concur is because, per BKVP, testing data has shown that the efficiency of a BK burning at its highest rate is *not* significantly lower than the efficiency at the fabled low rates. What that means is that when burning at this high rate, the ratio of the amount of heat shed into the room (which, after all, is the important data) to the heat pushed up the chimney is not lower.

This is important because if at such a high burn rate "all" the heat would go up the flue, then the burn rate does not help someone that wants a large BTU output into the room. However, this, evidently, is not the case.

 
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TWilk117

Feeling the Heat
Dec 20, 2018
282
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
True on rear exit, that's going to limit your choices.

But I think you've been misinformed on "low max output". My cat stove will consume it's entire 2.8 cubic foot firebox in around 5 hours, two other posters in the last few days have posted max burn rates for theirs, which are faster than mine. Exactly how fast do you expect to consume wood? How fast can be it be done safely and repeatedly in other stoves you're considering? I can walk and do away from my stove at that burn rate, it's doing this while I'm outside working at least a few Saturdays per year, and @Poindexter runs a load per day at this rate for a good part of his Alaskan winter.

I do believe some non-cats may have even faster consumption rates, if only slightly, and possibly while on the edge of meltdown. But would you actually walk away from ANY stove, cat or non-cat, and leave them running a burn rate faster than perhaps 1.5 hours per cubic foot of firebox?
I was referring to max btu output of bk.

D48B5C99-A261-4A5F-9510-2B4E62145A89.jpeg
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,602
Philadelphia
Yeah, that's misleading. I'm sure BK has some real basis for those numbers, but they don't reflect what many of us have already tested and seen.

I can put 700k BTU of oak into my firebox and burn it down to dust in less than 5 hours. That's an average 140k BTU/h, and more realistically much higher than that in the first few hours, tapering to some lower number late in the burn. Yet BK lists max at 36k BTU/h... maybe on Balsa wood?

@Poindexter recently chimed in and said he can burn down his firebox in 4 hours, and does this every afternoon in winter. I believe he's burning Doug Fir, so similar heat output to me, but for ~20% less time.

Another new member with a BK Boxer 24 said they're consuming full fireboxes in 4 hours, so again, similar heat output, all roughly 4x higher than that number listed by BK.

I do believe the max output at 9 hours would be close to 36k BTU, if you burn a very poor softwood and don't pack the box very tight, as it adds up to only 323 BTU total (half-full stove?). And for full disclosure, @stoveliker says his stove takes about 10 hours to burn down a load at max rate, although I do have some trouble believing it, based on my own experience with two Ashfords.

Maybe BK is just listing worst-case for the worst install parameters, but the numbers just don't add up. Why would anyone put only 323k BTU's into their nice big Ashford 30, and use that to measure max output? The stove is only half full!

In the end, it doesn't really matter to me what stove you choose, but it's good to have accurate information in making a decision. Also, while everyone wants to pick the "right" stove the first time, don't sweat it too terribly much. You're not marrying the thing, and swapping stoves on a good chimney setup is really not that big of a deal. I had five stoves this house inside of about 3 years, 2012 - 2015, between various repairs of older stoves and ultimately finding what worked best for me. All stoves were sold within a few hundred dollars of what I paid, and sold very quickly from Craigslist, so even that was no big deal.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,229
Long Island NY
Two things. I repeat that Ashful's numbers only support his point IF the efficiency (ratio of heat up the flue vs into the room) does not change with a high burn rate. And BKVP says that it does not (significantly) change, see the post linked above. This is a repeat, but it's an important one for a consistent reasoning.

Second, in all fairness, there are users (well, at least 1 that I know of) that say that his BK puts out less than other stoves he's had in the same home/chimney with (I presume) the same firebox size. That's bholler. And his conclusion is based on how often he has to reload to keep the same temperature in the home. Hard to argue with that (too).

I had planned to keep my stove cold and use the minisplit past night and today. But it was windy, I missed the fire, and I have more wood than I need this winter, so I lit up again yesterday late afternoon.
Pine, 14% (okay, and one thin red oak split because it would fit and I did not have such small pine pieces). It was 40 F last night, 32 F this morning. It's been keeping my home (from the basement) at 71 F for 14 hrs now. With the swoosh at between 4 and 4.30. I gather that is a "high" setting for many folks. Not max, but higher than they normally burn. And I still have 20% of the "volume" of wood left or so (hard to estimate, and impossible to know what fraction of the BTUs that were in the firebox is still in there...)
16 hrs on pine around freezing and windy running 3/4 of the thermostat setting is good for me...

A LOT depends on how many BTUs you need. I.e. the insulation and sealing of your home.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,184
central pa
Two things. I repeat that Ashful's numbers only support his point IF the efficiency (ratio of heat up the flue vs into the room) does not change with a high burn rate. And BKVP says that it does not (significantly) change, see the post linked above. This is a repeat, but it's an important one for a consistent reasoning.

Second, in all fairness, there are users (well, at least 1 that I know of) that say that his BK puts out less than other stoves he's had in the same home/chimney with (I presume) the same firebox size. That's bholler. And his conclusion is based on how often he has to reload to keep the same temperature in the home. Hard to argue with that (too).

I had planned to keep my stove cold and use the minisplit past night and today. But it was windy, I missed the fire, and I have more wood than I need this winter, so I lit up again yesterday late afternoon.
Pine, 14% (okay, and one thin red oak split because it would fit and I did not have such small pine pieces). It was 40 F last night, 32 F this morning. It's been keeping my home (from the basement) at 71 F for 14 hrs now. With the swoosh at between 4 and 4.30. I gather that is a "high" setting for many folks. Not max, but higher than they normally burn. And I still have 20% of the "volume" of wood left or so (hard to estimate, and impossible to know what fraction of the BTUs that were in the firebox is still in there...)
16 hrs on pine around freezing and windy running 3/4 of the thermostat setting is good for me...

A LOT depends on how many BTUs you need. I.e. the insulation and sealing of your home.
I can tell you without question the flue temps increase allot when I go from 12 hour burns to 8 hours. At 8 hours I am running between 300 and 350 on the surface of single wall when the regency would be 200 250. I know this will probably be followed by people saying I am biased and my observations don't matter. But it's what I experienced
 
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