New insert owner salute

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New Member
Feb 22, 2014
Seattle, WA
I got my first fireplace insert installed on Tuesday. I had been looking for a secondary heat source for the cold basement half of my house as well as a way to heat at least a bit of the house in the event of a power outage.

I've been scouring this site for information on how to operate it and what to expect, and I'm so grateful for a resource like this.
My insert is a Lennox Montlake 230. I couldn't find much information about it since it's relatively new, but I liked that it was made locally, only a few miles from where I live. I figured I'd give it a shot.
The previous owner of my house left a few cords of wood behind but it's a mess, either in massive 12lb halves or 6" rounds that are over 24" long.

I managed to scrounge up enough wood for break-in fires and was finally ready for a real fire. Thanks to NWFuel I now have a ton of Northern Idaho Energy Logs in my basement. (Actually I've only moved about 1000 pounds of them inside so far, the next half-ton needs to be done tomorrow...)

I loaded two energy logs along with a big chunk of half-charred dense i-don't-know-what from the previous owner's wood pile and lit 'er up. Still learning what to do, but after about an hour of air adjustment and learning how things work here are the fruits of my labor with the damper nearly closed:

My basement office (where the fireplace is located) turned into a sauna and I almost got cooked out of the room.

Now about 4.5 hours later I've got a big bed of coals and I'm learning how to manage the fire at this stage. I clearly need a coal rake of some sort, and it needs a long handle because I get burned just from the infrared light alone if I get my hand anywhere near the stove when the door is open.

As for the stove, I like it. The blower isn't the quietest thing, but it's acceptable. I accidentally whacked one of the baffles with a poker yesterday and put a dent in it, apparently they're very fragile and also surprisingly expensive. Seems like they don't need replacing until they have holes in them.

My only complaint about the stove is the documentation, it's atrocious. Quoting the manual:
Your new appliance is painted with a high temperature paint that cures during the first few firings. We recommend that you put your stove or fireplace insert through a regimen of three burns. The first two should last for 20 minutes each at 250 degrees (the stove or fireplace insert should be allowed to cool completely between each burn). The third should be a burn of at least 450 degrees F. for 45-60 minutes

What in the world is a 20 minute burn? What should be 250 degrees? There's a single picture in the manual that shows a thermometer on the insert, and there is no way that they want that part of the stove to ever reach 450 - it's the decorative "warmer top" that is really only connected to the stove through air convection. I was measuring temperatures all over the stove with an IR thermometer- the highest I saw was a tiny bit of the top of the actual stove at close to 700F during the peak of burn, while the part of the stove where they depict the thermometer was only at 190F. If that were to reach 450 I am pretty sure I'd have to call the fire department. I cannot stick a thermometer where I measured at 700F, it's part of the top of the inner box, and basically an air duct.

Anyway, thanks to all of you for helping to make such a useful website.


There are some who call me...mod.
Staff member
Aug 2, 2007
N.E. Penna
If you measured 700 on any piece of metal of this stove, you done got 'er broken in!

I think that section of the manual causes a bit more concern than it's worth.

Enjoy that insert!


Staff member
The picture needs to be larger. ;lol


Burning Hunk
Jan 10, 2014
Augusta, GA
Nice - my brother-in-law had his installed yesterday. His wife just texted mine and said he couldn't wait any longer. Hopefully a video is on the way of the Buck 81.


Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
South Puget Sound, WA
Looking good. Those NIELs are da bomb. How far was the air closed when you shot the video?


New Member
Feb 22, 2014
Seattle, WA
Looking good. Those NIELs are da bomb. How far was the air closed when you shot the video?
10% open, max. It may have been closed all the way. I had a better fire going today that had the secondary tubes glowing dull red with the damper closed all the way. The highest temp I can measure anywhere on the stove (this is inside the top air duct) with my IR thermometer is 700F. The place the manual says to put the thermometer never got past 210F, I'd really like to have a word with the people who wrote the documentation.

The NEILs are actually a bit more energy dense than I need for every day use, but I wanted a pile of seasoned burnable stuff promptly and have a place to store them indefinitely. I'm going to begin collecting good wood that's not cut to unusable lengths, but I know that won't be ready for next winter unless I act fast or get really soft wood. I'll probably have to drag another pallet of NEILs inside next winter... (so sore right now...)


Oct 29, 2010
Middle Tennessee
A few years back I bought a cheap steel garden rake with a wooden handle. I cut a few tines off each side so the rake is about 6 inches wide and cut the handle down to about 24 inches. I use it to separate the ash from the coals, usually every day when i burn 24/7. I also use it to rake the coals forward near the end of a burn.

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