New Build - Considering EPA Fireplace or Blazeking

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iron

Minister of Fire
Sep 23, 2015
621
southeast kootenays
Building a new home in the Canadian Rockies. Natural gas is cheap here, so a lot of people use that for ambiance. We will be heating our home with radiant floor heating and are considering a good sized solar install and trying to use as many electrical element as possible (possibly boiler, stove, etc). So, if we go with solar, then I would strongly consider wood heating (again).

In our last place, we had installed a Heat n Glo Northstar EPA certified fireplace and heated for 6 months a year in Seattle. I liked the look, generally, but hated the depth of the logs allowed (14") and always felt like it was half as efficient in terms of energy produced per unit of wood burned. Hence, I've always dreamed of a BK.

In recent talks with my wife, she's not super keen on the idea of a stove, though I think she's picturing old glass-less models. I think were we to do a stove, it would need to be alcove style to fit in the room and not protrude out too much. I haven't looked much, but this style doesn't immediately appeal to me.

So, my questions:
1. Is a BK + alcove install a good idea, or do they always look ugly?
2. Would it be better to just frame out a box to install a BK insert and then kind of get some of the benefits of a BK, while still having a semi traditional look?
3. Or, is there a new fireplace out there that can reasonably compete with a BK and looks better given that it can achieve a built-in look with hearth and mantel and all that?

I realize most of you with BKs think it's the best look in the world and would never trade it for anything. I think our style is more the classic fireplace look (EPA style with glass doors).

And, since we're burning for ambiance, not real heating needs, the BK might be overkill. I suppose there is a situation where we'd lose power/NG for a few days that would create a real need to rely on the wood heating. That being said, I no longer have a trailer and don't really want to go off collecting cords of wood each year anymore.

(lots of conflicts, I know)
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,094
central pa
Building a new home in the Canadian Rockies. Natural gas is cheap here, so a lot of people use that for ambiance. We will be heating our home with radiant floor heating and are considering a good sized solar install and trying to use as many electrical element as possible (possibly boiler, stove, etc). So, if we go with solar, then I would strongly consider wood heating (again).

In our last place, we had installed a Heat n Glo Northstar EPA certified fireplace and heated for 6 months a year in Seattle. I liked the look, generally, but hated the depth of the logs allowed (14") and always felt like it was half as efficient in terms of energy produced per unit of wood burned. Hence, I've always dreamed of a BK.

In recent talks with my wife, she's not super keen on the idea of a stove, though I think she's picturing old glass-less models. I think were we to do a stove, it would need to be alcove style to fit in the room and not protrude out too much. I haven't looked much, but this style doesn't immediately appeal to me.

So, my questions:
1. Is a BK + alcove install a good idea, or do they always look ugly?
2. Would it be better to just frame out a box to install a BK insert and then kind of get some of the benefits of a BK, while still having a semi traditional look?
3. Or, is there a new fireplace out there that can reasonably compete with a BK and looks better given that it can achieve a built-in look with hearth and mantel and all that?

I realize most of you with BKs think it's the best look in the world and would never trade it for anything. I think our style is more the classic fireplace look (EPA style with glass doors).

And, since we're burning for ambiance, not real heating needs, the BK might be overkill. I suppose there is a situation where we'd lose power/NG for a few days that would create a real need to rely on the wood heating. That being said, I no longer have a trailer and don't really want to go off collecting cords of wood each year anymore.

(lots of conflicts, I know)
First off you absolutely cannot just frame a box and put a blaze king insert or any insert for that matter in it. You need a code compliant fireplace to put an insert in.

When you talk about blaze king performance what exactly are you referring to? Is it efficiency? Burn time? Heat output? Emissions?
 
Last edited:

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,531
South Puget Sound, WA
How large of an area will this be heating? The Astria Montecito Classic is an EPA cat ZC fireplace that qualifies for the 26% tax credit.
 

iron

Minister of Fire
Sep 23, 2015
621
southeast kootenays
I have been MIA from hearth.com for a while (since getting ready to move, and then moving to Canada from the US). Is the 26% tax credit a US-only thing? I assume I'd need to buy in the US, then drive it over (doable...)

See below for current work in progress. Ignore red lines for the most part. Great Room is about 18x20. Open concept to Kitchen/Dining which is about 15x30. This is all upstairs. Vaulted ceiling in Great Room. Only ducting in the house would be for A/C unit (not sure if that'll be connected to air handler and we could do air recirculation like we did in Seattle).

RE: BK performance - I just want a taste of the legendary 24hr+ burns and set-and-forget temperature dials. Firewood up here appears to be ponderosa for the most part, so 24hrs is probably a stretch.

1633139598745.png
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,094
central pa
I have been MIA from hearth.com for a while (since getting ready to move, and then moving to Canada from the US). Is the 26% tax credit a US-only thing? I assume I'd need to buy in the US, then drive it over (doable...)

See below for current work in progress. Ignore red lines for the most part. Great Room is about 18x20. Open concept to Kitchen/Dining which is about 15x30. This is all upstairs. Vaulted ceiling in Great Room. Only ducting in the house would be for A/C unit (not sure if that'll be connected to air handler and we could do air recirculation like we did in Seattle).

RE: BK performance - I just want a taste of the legendary 24hr+ burns and set-and-forget temperature dials. Firewood up here appears to be ponderosa for the most part, so 24hrs is probably a stretch.

View attachment 282572
Yes a bk can burn for 24 hours but doing so there is absolutely no ambiance at all. And it is at a very low heat output
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,922
Long Island NY
Ugly is in the eye of the beholder (i.e. the significant other...). The Ashford has a more classical look among the BKs.

But if you burn occasionally, for ambiance, a tube stove may be better. If you want long, even burns, a BK is nice. But then there won't be a lot of flame show. Unless you need to run it on high - but then the burn won't be 24 hr but 10-14 (in my experience).
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,531
South Puget Sound, WA
The advantage of a ZC fireplace would be the ability to easily duct heat into the MBR. The extended hallway means the other BRs are not going to get much benefit from the wood heat.
 

iron

Minister of Fire
Sep 23, 2015
621
southeast kootenays
Yeah, not thinking that heating the bedrooms is a huge priority.

Our builder is finding his recent builds are around Step Code 4 or 5, which is damned near a passive house. So, things should be relatively tight and warm, even without a large heat source.

Is there a thread on hearth.com with a current list of XC FP's? I know someone started one about 8 years ago at the time I was selecting our previous one.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
1,922
Long Island NY
If your heating needs are not high, a long (low) even burning stove - i.e. a cat stove - could be in the mix to look at.

Running low, you can get 24 hr burns out of one load. But, again, no flames then. Just nice, even, no-maintenance heat.
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,199
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Which part of the Canadian Rockies? The reason I ask is electricity regulations vary by province and will change your plans on solar installation and electric heating.

For an ambience stove a BK is probably the last option I'd go with. If its more for asthetics go with a non cat. Personally I think there is a place for the HASE stoves listed on the Hearthstone website, i think they would look great in a newer modern looking home.
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,199
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
We're in the southeast Kootenays in BC.

That's good for a solar installation, BC has net metering instead of net billing like we have in Alberta.

And your heating requirements are a lot less than what we need up here.
 

iron

Minister of Fire
Sep 23, 2015
621
southeast kootenays
Yeah, only thing is that residential retail is about $0.115/kWh, whereas when you reach net metering status, you are reimbursed at wholesale rate which is around $0.04/kWh. And, no real rebate incentive. It's definitely not the US up here!

I'm very tempted to DIY it. And, maybe buy wholesale from a US supplier where things cost a lot less. Haven't gotten too far into research yet.

I suspect there is no "breakeven" point on the solar install here, despite the favorable sun conditions. Costs of panels/system is just too much compared to cost of buying from BC Hydro. However, I would like to remove ourselves from natural gas, if possible, for GW concerns and energy spikes (see: UK).
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,199
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Yeah, only thing is that residential retail is about $0.115/kWh, whereas when you reach net metering status, you are reimbursed at wholesale rate which is around $0.04/kWh. And, no real rebate incentive. It's definitely not the US up here!

I'm very tempted to DIY it. And, maybe buy wholesale from a US supplier where things cost a lot less. Haven't gotten too far into research yet.

I suspect there is no "breakeven" point on the solar install here, despite the favorable sun conditions. Costs of panels/system is just too much compared to cost of buying from BC Hydro. However, I would like to remove ourselves from natural gas, if possible, for GW concerns and energy spikes (see: UK).

The rates only apply if you generate more than you use, otherwise at true net zero you only pay a daily connection fee.

There is a breakeven point, my billing system is worse than that and is about 12 years, but I got a 90cent/watt rebate.

There is a rebate for solar coming shortly, google Canada Greener Homes Grant for details. Sounds like it will be $1000/kW.

BC though already has clean electricity, considering almost all of it is generated from hydropower. Natural gas does have CO2 emissions, but unfortunately it's the only affordable option for most people.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,465
SE North Carolina
1. Is a BK + alcove install a good idea, or do they always look ugly?
BK Boxer or Chinook in an alcove would look smart in my opinion.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,531
South Puget Sound, WA
sorry. ZC. zero clearance.

woodinville bourbon kicking in...
LOL, sounds like I may need to do a field inspection. There's a list here in this thread. There likely are more, but this is what I remembered when posting.

 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
In the search engine of this site, type in "Blaze King Alcove". There are many DIY postings to threads on the subject.
The 25D tax credit won't help you as it's for home(s) in the US.
 

ratsrepus

Minister of Fire
Jan 5, 2018
627
Howell, Mi
Whats a blanking insert? never heard of one of those. whats the firebox size?
 

ratsrepus

Minister of Fire
Jan 5, 2018
627
Howell, Mi
First off you absolutely cannot just frame a box and put a blanking insert or any insert for that matter in it. You need a code compliant fireplace to put an insert in.

When you talk about blaze king performance what exactly are you referring to? Is it efficiency? Burn time? Heat output? Emissions?
this was what Im asking about. was looking for a dealer that sold blanking inserts and couldnt find one
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,094
central pa
this was what Im asking about. was looking for a dealer that sold blanking inserts and couldnt find one
That was a mistake it should say blaze king it auto corrected