New member looking for insert advice Regency or Lopi, Hybrid or not.

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RichBenn

New Member
Jan 18, 2021
9
Bridgeport
After doing some searches here, I think it’s time to start asking questions.

I have a small (900 sq ft) forest service cabin with only a 70’s era bricked in Heatilator for heat (plus a couple of space heaters). I am getting a California air quality voucher to help pay for an insert. The dealers qualified for the voucher carry two brands that I think we’d like - Lopi and Regency. Now that I know enough to be dangerous, I’d like to temper that with advice on size(small or medium), type(hybrid or regular), position( flush or not) and fan noise.

I have a cathedral ceiling and the chimney is in the middle of the house, so the draft is very good. On to the questions:

1. It’s only about 600 sq. ft upstairs where fireplace is, but it’s not super insulated. I think I could hold the temperature at night when it’s 20 degrees out with about 15K BTU or so, based upon my playing with space heaters. Up to a medium insert will fit. So the question is, will I be able to dial back the heat enough with a medium insert? Many of them say 70,000 BTU max, which would be great for when we arrive at the cabin in the winter, but I’m concerned any fringe heating may be too hot for comfort. I’m just not clear whether loading lighter in a bigger stove will burn efficiently.
2. Been a while since I heated with a wood stove. I’m aware of catalytic, but now we have hybrids. So what is the advantage of a hybrid? Longer (through the night) burn times? Ability to be more comfortable with a higher BTU unit?
3. Seems like most of the inserts are flush. So to get heat out, fans would seem to be necessary. How bad is it if we lose power? No local vendor for Blaze King here, so...
4. The specific stoves we are looking at are the Regency Classic, Altera or Cascades, or the Lopi hybrid-fyre or regular in either the small or medium sizes. Does anyone have anything to share about fan noise?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Seems like a great community!
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,660
South Puget Sound, WA
I would go medium-sized and with a square firebox if it will fit. My preference is for a stove that extends a bit out onto the hearth, even if that means adding a small hearth extension. It takes a lot of extra btus to warm up a cold place, especially at 20º or lower. One can always make a smaller fire, but there is only so much wood one can put in a small firebox.
There is a new tax credit that you might want to take advantage of. It applies to stoves that are 75% efficient or higher.
 

RichBenn

New Member
Jan 18, 2021
9
Bridgeport
I would go medium-sized and with a square firebox if it will fit. My preference is for a stove that extends a bit out onto the hearth, even if that means adding a small hearth extension. It takes a lot of extra btus to warm up a cold place, especially at 20º or lower. One can always make a smaller fire, but there is only so much wood one can put in a small firebox.
There is a new tax credit that you might want to take advantage of. It applies to stoves that are 75% efficient or higher.
Thanks. Having a bit of a problem finding many here that aren’t flush. So far the only high efficiency(hybrid) ones (that stick out) that I’ve found are the VC Merrimack and hearthstone Clydesdale. Regency i2450 and Hampton equivalent are non flush but only 72% efficient.

AFAIK, the Energy Star credit hasn’t been renewed for 2021. Plus it’s for primary residence, so I don’t qualify.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,660
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes, the selection is more limited this year. The tax credit is new. Started Jan 2021.
 
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RichBenn

New Member
Jan 18, 2021
9
Bridgeport
So Ithink we’ve narrowed it down to the Regency Cascades i2500 Hyrbid or the Fireplace X/Lope Medium Flush Wood Hyrid-Fire.

Any experience with either (or similar)?
 

JimH15

New Member
Dec 22, 2020
5
Reading, PA
I had the Lopi Medium Hybrid-Fire installed just a few days, and I have been very impressed with it. The build quality is very sturdy and I've found it very easy to operate. I also like that the catalyst allows you to run it at a lower burn rate. However, I feel like it does put out a lot of heat even at low burn or coaling stage. It's hasn't gotten very cold here since the install, so I'll probably have a better idea once low temperatures get down into the teens.
 

RichBenn

New Member
Jan 18, 2021
9
Bridgeport
I had the Lopi Medium Hybrid-Fire installed just a few days, and I have been very impressed with it. The build quality is very sturdy and I've found it very easy to operate. I also like that the catalyst allows you to run it at a lower burn rate. However, I feel like it does put out a lot of heat even at low burn or coaling stage. It's hasn't gotten very cold here since the install, so I'll probably have a better idea once low temperatures get down into the teens.
Thank you for your response!

When I initially researched this one (or maybe the cast iron version), some complained of fan noise. What are your opinions on that? Also, what kind of wood are you using? Throttling down is a major reason I want a hybrid, but I’m using mostly pine and/or fir, which would be quite different heat and burn times than hardwoods.
 
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JimH15

New Member
Dec 22, 2020
5
Reading, PA
Thank you for your response!

When I initially researched this one (or maybe the cast iron version), some complained of fan noise. What are your opinions on that? Also, what kind of wood are you using? Throttling down is a major reason I want a hybrid, but I’m using mostly pine and/or fir, which would be quite different heat and burn times than hardwoods.

I haven't had any issues with fans being too loud - they are about what I would expect. You can also turn the fans from low to high and everything in between and I usually have the dial around medium. I guess the sound depends on how high you turn up the fans, but I watch TV in the same room at about the same volume I did before I had the insert - with the fans on medium.

So, right now I'm actually burning a compressed wood product - Envi Blocks. They are like Bio Bricks, or other similar ones I have used in the past. Unfortunately I have little to no seasoned wood on hand, so I bought two tons of these before the install.

I am still in the experimentation phase as far as running the stove you I can't speak to burn times, overnight burns, etc. yet. I am working from home so I can feed it pretty regularly.
 

Saddle Mander

Member
Sep 20, 2013
57
SW Michigan
How much heat does the Lopi put out WITHOUT the blowers? We are looking for an insert that will warm our small house during power outages.
 

JimH15

New Member
Dec 22, 2020
5
Reading, PA
How much heat does the Lopi put out WITHOUT the blowers? We are looking for an insert that will warm our small house during power outages.

It's kind of hard to say because even with the blowers off we use other (ceiling) fans to try to move the heat around. Without the blower on it gets a good sized room with high ceilings close to 80 degrees pretty easily. Other side of the house (2900 square feet) is more like low 70's. With the blower on the whole downstairs can be mid 70's+ with stove room 80+. But keep in mind the weather here is pretty mild, usually lows in the mid 20's and daytime high's mid 30's in the middle of winter. But for my situation I usually run the blowers off 90% of the time, otherwise it makes the downstairs of our house too warm.
 

RichBenn

New Member
Jan 18, 2021
9
Bridgeport
How much heat does the Lopi put out WITHOUT the blowers? We are looking for an insert that will warm our small house during power outages.
I now have some time on the FireplaceX Medium Flush NextGen Fyre insert (same company as Lopi). My wife wanted it because it looks better(I agree). But, they did away with the Hybrid version(one with the cat), and I find not nearly as much heat comes out when there is no fan. I also find the fan very noisy medium to high speeds, which is what you need when it’s burning hot. BTW, I use a ceiling fan to distribute heat.

Knowing what I now know, I would have gotten the Regency. It sticks out further into the room.