Opinions on potential fireplace/ stove set up- Freestanding stove in a masonry fireplace

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Eric Minnis

Member
Dec 25, 2020
54
NC
We built a new house last year and set up the upstairs stone/ masonry fireplace for a Jotul 550 Rockland insert. After finishing the house we found them to be out of stock and discontinued. Heard from Jotul this morning and the replacement is in work but there is no ETA on it being released. This gave me time to research optional plans.

In the process of being impatient and reading many topics on here, I started thinking about the idea of a freestanding stove partially inset into the fireplace. Had I understood how much more efficient free standers can be, I would have likely gone a different route when we built.

I am considering placing a Jotul F-500 V3 freestanding stove into my existing fireplace/ hearth. I've read the manual front to back and believe that with a simple heat deflector I can get the mantel clearances I need to remain within their recommendations.

I'm attaching a picture so you all can give an opinion of what you recommend. The fireplace is 36" wide (28 at rear), 30" tall, and 23" deep. The F-500 would protrude onto the stone hearth but would leave about 12" of stone in front. Only 10" of the stove would be inside the masonry fireplace. I would achieve the remainder of the needed front spacing with a non-combustible hearth pad over the hardwood floor during burning season. The short leg kit allows it to fit easily.
We like the idea of no blower noise and we have a large ceiling fan in the room to keep air circulating. This floor is about 1800 sq. ft and the chimney is about 30' tall. I'm thinking this would be a good mix of radiant heat and would also warm the masonry fireplace for a solid heatsink.

Appreciate the opinions!

We already have a F-45 Jotul in the basement and love it. Would like to stick with the brand if at all possible.

Opinions on potential fireplace/ stove set up- Freestanding stove in a masonry fireplace
 
if you go with the f500 i would think you'll want it out on the hearth more to use the side load door. I'm sure other more knowledgeable folks can chime in but I think historically the f500 models has been a PITA to use with the front
 
I had not thought of it being tough to load from the front. I guess the potential for logs to roll out is there with a parallel load. That would make it a no go from a dimensional perspective. I'd likely just go with the F-55 at that point which is also an option.
 
Personally I am a big fan of freestanding stoves. With the amount of glass they have these days you really get the feeling of sitting by a fire, with the added benefit of a ton of heat. This looks like it would be a straightforward fireplace install (unlike mine, which was really cramped with wood trim all the way around).

As the previous poster suggested you may want to pull it out further to access the side door. You're adding floor protection anyway, so why not?

Don't forget to figure an insulated liner into your budget calculations.
 
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I vote for another f45 with short legs or F55 if you want to go bigger. I have been wanting to add a second stove and would really like them to be the exact same model but that ship sailed with the 2020 emissions requirements. Same model new versions might have interchangeable gaskets at least.
I really like my blower I don’t use it much but it makes a big difference if I want to run the stove at max output. Keeps temps in check. If you are putting down floor ember only floor protection I would consider how far out you want it to stick. The further back the softer the radiant heat the more a blower might help. That could be good or bad. Mine is almost flush and even when running hot walking by it is more of warm glow rather than a hot blast. Make sure you get a block off plate and that it’s insulated. I just have an replacement blower sitting on the floor behind the stove. Not sure it’s worth the extra cost for an oem blower.
Evan
 

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The F500 works best with side door loading which may be awkward with the proposed install. I would also look at the F45 or F55 as an option.
 
is there a reason you don't want to wait to see if Jotul releases an insert you like?

From the looks of it you're in NC so I'd presume your winter is shorter and even if the local dealer had your alternative choice in stock I'd imagine it'd be a couple weeks before you were up and running. You're prob only "missing out" on ~8wks of burning for the chance of getting the intended look. Worst case you're likely to save a few bucks on the F45/F55 if you have it installed offseason
 
Have you checked craigslist for the insert you want?
 
I actually got a reply from Jotul today regarding the inserts. They currently do not offer one but they do have one in "the design phase". It worries me that my dealer says that there are so many people waiting on the new Jotul insert and there is no ETA.

I've looked at other brands and do not object to that idea. At the end of the day- it has to get my wife's thumbs up aesthetically.

What got me to considering a free standing stove is operating my F-45 in the basement. The radiant heat it produces is nice. I'm not sure I would want to always deal with the sound of a blower when using an insert.

I have checked craigslist and ebay and found a few but am a bit skittish on used stoves. I will probably buy new just to avoid any surprises.
 
With all the home being bought and sold right now.. and oil prices so low.. great time to score a used stove.
 
Purely speculation on my part but I would presume some new stoves and inserts are going to be released this year. Some big manufacturers like Jotul and Hearthstone don't currently have a wood insert which is surely a gap they'll be working hard to fill. I'm not surprised they aren't giving a firm date in the current environment but I'd be surprised if they weren't shooting to release before next season

There are folks on here with much deeper industry experience that me but I suppose my thinking is that best case you get what you want, worst case you save a few bucks with off peak season install pricing. I can't imagine you wont be able to get an f45/f55 in July
 
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I’ve been searching Craig’s list for several months now at the max 250 mile radius. I can count on one hand the number of runnable stoves that have come up and all but one have been small, think Jotul F100/F3 and they think they can ask a lot for them. Used F3 $1800, rusted F500 that’s been outside for a while $1500. Granted it’s not the best timing. Season and EPA requirements for new stoves I think are at play here. For us southerners the used stove market is tough. I wish it were better.

Evan
With all the home being bought and sold right now.. and oil prices so low.. great time to score a used stove.
 
That's a beautiful hearth! What kind of wood is the mantle?
 
Thank you so much for the compliment on the hearth! When we bought this farm there was an old 1890's barn with a black walnut tree growing out of one corner. My dad and I had a heated discussion about which one needed to go as they could not co-exist. My vote was to tear down the old barn and save the pretty walnut tree. His was to remove the tree and save the barn.
He won out and we ended up spending the better part of 3 days digging that tree out of the side of the barn and a year restoring the barn. I made the mantle out of that black walnut tree.
Here are before and after pictures of the barn. Was a fun project. We cut all the wood off our land that we used to restore it.
It's cool to see the barn and the mantle and think back to that day when we were arguing over it.

Opinions on potential fireplace/ stove set up- Freestanding stove in a masonry fireplaceOpinions on potential fireplace/ stove set up- Freestanding stove in a masonry fireplace
 
Wow, that's a really cool back story. Y'all did a great job on the barn and the mantle. And the mantle is a very good use of the tree you were forced to cut down. I also like that International cultivator. I'm guessing its a Farmall. My grandfather has a 1954 model Farmall that he still uses every season.
 
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Thanks BrianVA. Mine was bought from the original owners and while not shiny, it's in great mechanical shape. We use it to tend a large family garden that seems to grow (no pun intended) each year.
Make sure that old Farmall of your grandfathers stays in the family! One of my earliest memories of my grandfather was riding with him on his Farmall Cub to the garden to cultivate. I'd give anything to find that old tractor.
Given the current situation in our country, having the ability to be self sufficient has merit.
 
I installed mine in my existing fireplace with similar dimensions. I had to extend my stone hearth so the stove is completely out of the fireplace for maximum heat and for the side door (90% of the loading goes in from the side), also able to use the regular length legs.
Not in the picture but I installed a heat shield below my mantel as it does get hot, not sure about how to protect your mantel supports?
Opinions on potential fireplace/ stove set up- Freestanding stove in a masonry fireplace
 
Personally I am a big fan of freestanding stoves. With the amount of glass they have these days you really get the feeling of sitting by a fire, with the added benefit of a ton of heat. This looks like it would be a straightforward fireplace install (unlike mine, which was really cramped with wood trim all the way around).

As the previous poster suggested you may want to pull it out further to access the side door. You're adding floor protection anyway, so why not?

Don't forget to figure an insulated liner into your budget calculations.

Mind if I ask what stove you went with? I’m looking at a Vermont Castings Aspen for my own cramped wood stove install.
 
Personally, I would go insert all the way on that hearth. I like free standing stoves too, but a nice insert (flush or semi-flush) would look really great on that hearth. Yes, a free standing stove will outperform it as a heater, but a good insert will still give very good performance.

Also, an insert would probably not require additional floor protection, and you probably wouldn't have an issue with clearance to that awesome mantle (though still need to check the manual before buying anything).

Just my thoughts. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what looks good to me might not look good to you.
 
Mind if I ask what stove you went with? I’m looking at a Vermont Castings Aspen for my own cramped wood stove install.
Well I ended up with a VC intrepid II, but that was a combination of it being on super sale, I like how it looks, and because it's tiny. I ended up pulling it out into the room away from the mantel to meet clearances, I think there must be stoves with closer side clearance requirements than the intrepid.
 
If you're looking for a smaller insert that will protrude a bit I really love my Osburn 1600. I think it's now called the 1700 for the new EPA regs but it does great work for me and I think its sharp. Very basic looking, the brushed nickel parts come in black also. My fireplace was very shallow and angled so this was one of the few models I could fit in there and heat my 1600 sq feet. Very, very happy with it.

You'll also notice my old man kneel pad I got for $ at Lowe's. One of the best purchases ever made lol.

20210108_201559.jpg
 
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We built a new house last year and set up the upstairs stone/ masonry fireplace for a Jotul 550 Rockland insert. After finishing the house we found them to be out of stock and discontinued. Heard from Jotul this morning and the replacement is in work but there is no ETA on it being released. This gave me time to research optional plans.

In the process of being impatient and reading many topics on here, I started thinking about the idea of a freestanding stove partially inset into the fireplace. Had I understood how much more efficient free standers can be, I would have likely gone a different route when we built.

I am considering placing a Jotul F-500 V3 freestanding stove into my existing fireplace/ hearth. I've read the manual front to back and believe that with a simple heat deflector I can get the mantel clearances I need to remain within their recommendations.

I'm attaching a picture so you all can give an opinion of what you recommend. The fireplace is 36" wide (28 at rear), 30" tall, and 23" deep. The F-500 would protrude onto the stone hearth but would leave about 12" of stone in front. Only 10" of the stove would be inside the masonry fireplace. I would achieve the remainder of the needed front spacing with a non-combustible hearth pad over the hardwood floor during burning season. The short leg kit allows it to fit easily.
We like the idea of no blower noise and we have a large ceiling fan in the room to keep air circulating. This floor is about 1800 sq. ft and the chimney is about 30' tall. I'm thinking this would be a good mix of radiant heat and would also warm the masonry fireplace for a solid heatsink.

Appreciate the opinions!

We already have a F-45 Jotul in the basement and love it. Would like to stick with the brand if at all possible.

View attachment 271337
I have a free standing woodstove in my fireplace which heats our house. I made a lot of modifications to it to make it work. One thing I had to do was install a small fan to move air along the mantel as it was getting pretty hot. The small fan also serves to move heat around the room. If you are able to have your stove out on the hearth that will help make it more efficient. I did not have enough hearth to do that so my stove actually sits in my fire place.

Absolute stunner of a mantel you have there.
 
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Mind if I ask what stove you went with? I’m looking at a Vermont Castings Aspen for my own cramped wood stove install.

We actually decided to wait a bit and see what starts coming out during 2021 from Jotul. We have a stove in the basement and it will not hurt us to be patient. I am just now getting next years wood stack to where it needs to be.

Like I mentioned before, we dimensioned (fireplace and clearance) for the insert. After taking numerous measurements for clearances I have see that it might be hard to do any free standing stove without some modifications to the mantel. Neither of us are keen on that right now.

Thank you for all the opinions and pictures. I have learned a lot!

Eric
 
I think that's the right call. Lots of manufacturers are backordered too so you may have decided only to find out the new choice wasn't available till spring anyway

let us know when the choice is made though