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Hello!

Before I start my post, let me say that I have been a long time lurker on the site and want to thank everyone for their years of collective knowledge and insights. I could not have made my choices without this site.

I just put a down payment on the Regency Cascades I1500.

Installation occurs in 3-4 weeks. It is the standard model with a 5.5 inch liner, black Classic door, and variable speed blower. It will cost us just shy of $6500 installed with the included NJ Sales tax.

With the US Biomass tax incentive, I’ll get $1690 back next year. That makes me happy.

This has been a home improvement project that has been four years in the making and I want to recount my basic to do list with the associated pricing so that I can help the next lurker make their decision.

After we purchased our 1920s home in 2014, we never used the fireplace. The previous homeowner had allowed the hearth to decay to the point that it was “perceived” unsafe to walk on. Fixing up the fireplace was something we said, “we will get to eventually.”

In 2018, during Thanksgiving dinner, we noticed a robust breeze coming down the chimney. We decided then, to look into fireplace inserts. We never considered a gas insert because we wanted a method that could supplement our heating without adding to the winter utility bill.

In 2019, we had the structure of our hearth redone. It cost us about $750 for a handyman to remove the old tiles and concrete and redo the floor structure under the hearth.

2019-Hearth_rebuild1.jpg 2019-Hearth_rebuild2.jpg

In July of 2020, we put a down payment on a Pacific Energy insert, but, we were told that our terra cotta flue was too small (six inches) for the required liner. We received a quote from a fireplace contractor of $2500 to remove the tiles. That put us way over $6000 budget. We had to back out of the sale.

In July of 2021, we zeroed in on the Regency Cascades models. They took a smaller flue, were eligible for the tax credit and were at the height of efficiency. If the specs are to be believed, it seems like Cascades I1500 will heat the 1000 square foot first floor and give us a little warmth on the second floor as well. I wanted the bigger model but, our fireplace was just too darn small.

To complete the hearth, we purchased a Quartzite stone remnant for $500 and I purchased a few feet of mahogany to complete the edging.
2021-Hearth_rebuild.jpg
I did a little Photoshop sketch to visualize the final install. We might purchase marble ledger panels to finish the look.

2021_I1500-Photoshop_Installation-Drawing.jpg

I am now on the hunt for wood. I ordered a half cord of seasoned wood from a local NJ supplier three weeks ago. To find out the status of my order, I had to call him today after my previous emails went unanswered. That type of delay does not fill me with confidence. Out of the entire fireplace to do list, the hunt for an agreed upon definition of “seasoned wood” from a reliable seller in New Jersey seems to be an utter crap shoot.

If anyone has any NJ firewood dealer recommendations, I am all ears. This uncertainty has convinced me that we will buy kiln-dried wood this year for our new insert. I hope next year we can season our own.

I will update this thread after install and give an in-depth review of the I1500 this winter.

Thank you again to the Hearth.com community for all your help.
2020-Hearth_rebuild.jpg
 

kborndale

Feeling the Heat
Oct 9, 2008
334
LI
I would buy some green wood today so you can stack it and have it ready for the winter of 22-23. For this year get some kiln dried and/or some bio-bricks.
 
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Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,845
Northern Maine
See above.
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,713
SE North Carolina
If anyone has any NJ firewood dealer recommendations, I am all ears.
Just consider a pallet or two of Compressed sawdust bricks as part of the install. Trust me trying to run brand new stove in less than ideal wood sucks. Here is how the conversation went in our house about Christmas time as I was sitting in front of the stove watching wood try to burn with wet wood and little heat coming off.

wife”we paid how much for this? It’s only purpose to burn wood. I don’t see any flames or feel any heat it’s been “burning” how long? How long are you going to mess with it? Something is broken.”

me” I don’t think the seasoned wood be bought is dry enough is just smoldering.( i open the door and smoke roles out for the 5 th time to stuff some sticks I just gather from the back yard”.

wife seeing the nice flames “ you fixed it”.

10 minutes later.

wife “it’s broken again”.

conversation repeats itself.

This went on for a couple weeks until it staketed stacking wood in the garage with a dehumidifier two weeks in a gage stake would give me 3 days of fire. Do the math. So I bought some bio bricks sorted through and restacka whole cord of “seasoned” firewood and purchased a moisture meter.

Second winter was bliss…

evan
 
Good advice!

Sadly, it looks like I just unknowingly ordered a half of a cord of green wood. Yesterday, I received a 1/2 a cord of firewood "Seasoned for two years" according to the seller. :rolleyes:

2Year_Seasoned-Firewood-Delivery_NOT.jpg

I am already hearing the beginnings of understandable "dissension" from my significant other.
"We can't use any of this wood THIS year?"
"... and we have to buy more?"

It's understandable because we don't have a big property. We can comfortably store 2 cords without it taking over the backyard or the garden.

I'm going to look into some NJ kiln-dried firewood suppliers this evening. I'll also check into Bio-Bricks. I am guessing that both of those could be stored inside a garage.

Bio-Bricks/Compressed Sawdust fuel is OK for a catalytic stove correct?

Thanks.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,713
SE North Carolina
Good advice!

Sadly, it looks like I just unknowingly ordered a half of a cord of green wood. Yesterday, I received a 1/2 a cord of firewood "Seasoned for two years" according to the seller. :rolleyes:

View attachment 280932

I am already hearing the beginnings of understandable "dissension" from my significant other.
"We can't use any of this wood THIS year?"
"... and we have to buy more?"

It's understandable because we don't have a big property. We can comfortably store 2 cords without it taking over the backyard or the garden.

I'm going to look into some NJ kiln-dried firewood suppliers this evening. I'll also check into Bio-Bricks. I am guessing that both of those could be stored inside a garage.

Bio-Bricks/Compressed Sawdust fuel is OK for a catalytic stove correct?

Thanks.
Do not use wax based(usually sold at big box stores). 100% saw dust only. Here was a brief conversation this week. No need to store firewood in side just stack and cover. Sawdust MUST be stored in side.

 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,319
South Puget Sound, WA
Were those moisture readings on the surface of the splits, or were they re-split and tested on the freshly exposed face of the wood?

BioBrick, ECO Bricks, Redstones, Tractor Supply bricks are all ok. If you are looking at pressed logs, be doubly cautious. There are many sawdust logs on the market that are compressed under low pressure. They burn quickly and create a lot of ash. Then there are some highly compressed logs made under great pressure. These logs are very dense and hold their shape as they burn. They're a little harder to start, but burn 2-3 times longer than the cheaper low compressed sawdust logs. Northern Idaho Energy Logs (NIELS) and HomeFire Prest-Logs are good ones.

Wax impregnated logs like DuraFlame are not permitted for use in a wood stove.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,319
South Puget Sound, WA
I have some old tests posted of solid fuels up on the wiki:
 
Installed on September 2!!

Installed_Regency-i1500-1.png Installed_Regency-i1500-2.png
We are sourcing white marble tiles for the surround so, there is still a little bit of work to do.

I am ordering some kiln dried wood and/or some Bio Bricks. I’m not sure from where yet.
Were those moisture readings on the surface of the splits, or were they re-split and tested on the freshly exposed face of the wood?
The reading was not taken from a freshly split log. I split a few this morning October 22. Three were off the chart! The moisture meter just climbed and went blank! Others were at 21% - 24%. IF I use anything in that pile, I’ll have to double and triple check them.

Let’s see how the season goes!

Thank you everyone for your help.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,867
central pa
Installed on September 2!!


View attachment 283767


View attachment 283768
We are sourcing white marble tiles for the surround so, there is still a little bit of work to do.

I am ordering some kiln dried wood and/or some Bio Bricks. I’m not sure from where yet.

The reading was not taken from a freshly split log. I split a few this morning October 22. Three were off the chart! The moisture meter just climbed and went blank! Others were at 21% - 24%. IF I use anything in that pile, I’ll have to double and triple check them.

Let’s see how the season goes!

Thank you everyone for your help.
Be careful even with "kiln dried" wood. Allot of it is really just heat treated in a kiln to kill off bugs so it can be legally transported longer distances. It isn't nessecarily dry.
 

DackSkyrunner

New Member
Dec 16, 2020
1
Connecticut
I had this insert installed a year ago and was happy for a couple nights until at around 2 am the blower decided to announce its presence with a very loud metallic buzzing. I unplugged it and went into the baby's room to put him back to sleep. Turns out the bracket holding the motor was bent and the motor wasn't fully attached, this unfortunately also ruined one of the rubber gaskets attaching the fan to the shaft allowing it to move and contact the metal bracket and wake babies. I got it replaced for free, and it seems these blowers are common failures so watch out for that. Today I pulled up the latest revision of the owners manual and noticed these baffle bracket aren't present on my insert. I pulled out my hard copy and this step isn' t there, but the part is shown in the parts list. I'm just wondering if yours has them and my installer didn't install them. The installer also put the side baffle covers on like this when I believe they are meant to be on top of the baffle on the two sides so my confidence in them is low.

Screen Shot 2021-11-17 at 1.54.27 PM.png baffle holder.jpg
 
I had this insert installed a year ago and was happy for a couple nights until at around 2 am the blower decided to announce its presence with a very loud metallic buzzing. I unplugged it and went into the baby's room to put him back to sleep. Turns out the bracket holding the motor was bent and the motor wasn't fully attached, this unfortunately also ruined one of the rubber gaskets attaching the fan to the shaft allowing it to move and contact the metal bracket and wake babies. I got it replaced for free, and it seems these blowers are common failures so watch out for that. Today I pulled up the latest revision of the owners manual and noticed these baffle bracket aren't present on my insert. I pulled out my hard copy and this step isn' t there, but the part is shown in the parts list. I'm just wondering if yours has them and my installer didn't install them. The installer also put the side baffle covers on like this when I believe they are meant to be on top of the baffle on the two sides so my confidence in them is low.

View attachment 285631 View attachment 285642
Hi DackSkyrunner.

Is this is a Regency Cascade I1500?
The interior doesn’t look like mine. Our Air Tubes are of a different design.

In any event, after a cursory look at the current Wood Insert Manuals on the Regency site, I don’t see ANY baffle installation that has metal pieces overlapping on the top of the baffle like yours.

If I compare our pictures (and we both have a Regency Cascade), you are correct-- the two metal baffle holders that I point to in my photo shouldn't be on the top of the baffle, they should be on the side.

Regency_Cascades_I1500_Interior.png

There are also two small baffle holders that slip in on the top left and right.
If your installer got this wrong, that would concern me greatly. I would double check everything he/she did.

I’ll watch out for the fan. Thank you for the heads up.
 

ToastyRanch

New Member
Nov 15, 2021
57
Coastal Massachusetts
Hello!

Before I start my post, let me say that I have been a long time lurker on the site and want to thank everyone for their years of collective knowledge and insights. I could not have made my choices without this site.

I just put a down payment on the Regency Cascades I1500.

Installation occurs in 3-4 weeks. It is the standard model with a 5.5 inch liner, black Classic door, and variable speed blower. It will cost us just shy of $6500 installed with the included NJ Sales tax.With the US Biomass tax incentive, I’ll get $1690 back next year. That makes me happy.

This has been a home improvement project that has been four years in the making and I want to recount my basic to do list with the associated pricing so that I can help the next lurker make their decision.After we purchased our 1920s home in 2014, we never used the fireplace. The previous homeowner had allowed the hearth to decay to the point that it was “perceived” unsafe to walk on. Fixing up the fireplace was something we said, “we will get to eventually.”

In 2018, during Thanksgiving dinner, we noticed a robust breeze coming down the chimney. We decided then, to look into fireplace inserts. We never considered a gas insert because we wanted a method that could supplement our heating without adding to the winter utility bill.

In 2019, we had the structure of our hearth redone. It cost us about $750 for a handyman to remove the old tiles and concrete and redo the floor structure under the hearth.

View attachment 280834 View attachment 280837

In July of 2020, we put a down payment on a Pacific Energy insert, but, we were told that our terra cotta flue was too small (six inches) for the required liner. We received a quote from a fireplace contractor of $2500 to remove the tiles. That put us way over $6000 budget. We had to back out of the sale.

In July of 2021, we zeroed in on the Regency Cascades models. They took a smaller flue, were eligible for the tax credit and were at the height of efficiency. If the specs are to be believed, it seems like Cascades I1500 will heat the 1000 square foot first floor and give us a little warmth on the second floor as well. I wanted the bigger model but, our fireplace was just too darn small.

To complete the hearth, we purchased a Quartzite stone remnant for $500 and I purchased a few feet of mahogany to complete the edging.
View attachment 280840
I did a little Photoshop sketch to visualize the final install. We might purchase marble ledger panels to finish the look.

View attachment 280838

I am now on the hunt for wood. I ordered a half cord of seasoned wood from a local NJ supplier three weeks ago. To find out the status of my order, I had to call him today after my previous emails went unanswered. That type of delay does not fill me with confidence. Out of the entire fireplace to do list, the hunt for an agreed upon definition of “seasoned wood” from a reliable seller in New Jersey seems to be an utter crap shoot.

If anyone has any NJ firewood dealer recommendations, I am all ears. This uncertainty has convinced me that we will buy kiln-dried wood this year for our new insert. I hope next year we can season our own.

I will update this thread after install and give an in-depth review of the I1500 this winter.

Thank you again to the Hearth.com community for all your help.
View attachment 280839
Hi! Hopefully you’re having good luck with your new insert and you’re still reading replies to your original post…. Anyway, I would be most grateful if you could explain in a little bit more detail what was the process of creating/ supporting your new hearth extension….. My guess is that a wood frame box mold with an open top was created for the concrete, and then concrete was poured into the mold from the top: meaning someone brought a small batch of mixed concrete into your finished upstairs space and poured it into the mold….. It’s the rest of the process which is mysterious to me. How was the concrete tied into the joists? How was the concrete supported from underneath? The code says that no combustible material can be underneath the hearth extension, so I’m trying to understand how one gets around supporting the concrete with plywood from underneath….. Was the handyman who did this hearth extension involved with any other part of the insert hookup, (meaning someone familiar with details of fireplace code) or was he just a basic handyman who followed your specifications?
4E8AC873-147B-4566-A89C-B1D6B0E27734.jpeg
Thus far, we’ve been (instead of an insert) thinking to retrofit a wood stove with an ember protection pad: in part because we haven’t been able to find anyone who understands how this extension should be done. We currently have a small floating hearth extension with wooden flooring directly underneath it. It’s structurally sound for inserting a flat front insert, but it needs a bigger, supported hearth extension. Attached is a photo showing the dimensions for an insert and hearth extension in blue tape, and also the basic parameters for a wood stove addition in the purple tape.

The extension doesn’t need to be thick since the hearth is floating more than 8 inches above the floor (can be as thin as 3/4 inch) but it can’t have combustible material underneath it (such as subfloor). The underlayment process is leaving me baffled. I would like to determine the standard construction method for a retrofit extension installation located on the first floor with a wooden floor/subfloor/joists and a full basement directly below. Thanks for any help.
 

creek chub

Member
Sep 28, 2015
91
Va
congrats on your purchase. I hope it is trouble free and you don’t have to rely on Regency’s warranty process and dealer support. It’s not very good
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,319
South Puget Sound, WA
congrats on your purchase. I hope it is trouble free and you don’t have to rely on Regency’s warranty process and dealer support. It’s not very good
The point was made in your thread. It's not ok to raid other threads to vent. The issue may be more with the dealership not pushing harder.
 
Hi! Hopefully you’re having good luck with your new insert and you’re still reading replies to your original post…. Anyway, I would be most grateful if you could explain in a little bit more detail what was the process of creating/ supporting your new hearth extension….. My guess is that a wood frame box mold with an open top was created for the concrete, and then concrete was poured into the mold from the top: meaning someone brought a small batch of mixed concrete into your finished upstairs space and poured it into the mold….. It’s the rest of the process which is mysterious to me. How was the concrete tied into the joists? How was the concrete supported from underneath? The code says that no combustible material can be underneath the hearth extension, so I’m trying to understand how one gets around supporting the concrete with plywood from underneath….. Was the handyman who did this hearth extension involved with any other part of the insert hookup, (meaning someone familiar with details of fireplace code) or was he just a basic handyman who followed your specifications?
View attachment 286876
Thus far, we’ve been (instead of an insert) thinking to retrofit a wood stove with an ember protection pad: in part because we haven’t been able to find anyone who understands how this extension should be done. We currently have a small floating hearth extension with wooden flooring directly underneath it. It’s structurally sound for inserting a flat front insert, but it needs a bigger, supported hearth extension. Attached is a photo showing the dimensions for an insert and hearth extension in blue tape, and also the basic parameters for a wood stove addition in the purple tape.

The extension doesn’t need to be thick since the hearth is floating more than 8 inches above the floor (can be as thin as 3/4 inch) but it can’t have combustible material underneath it (such as subfloor). The underlayment process is leaving me baffled. I would like to determine the standard construction method for a retrofit extension installation located on the first floor with a wooden floor/subfloor/joists and a full basement directly below. Thanks for any help.

Hi ToastyRanch.

We had a wonderfully seasoned and wise installer (old and Yoda smart) who was with a chimney/masonry installation company. I let him do his thing. Because of that, I remember almost nothing of the specifics of the job.

I’ll be happy to explain what I do remember of our hearth extension build.

We have a 1920s house - I think we have 2 x 6 floor joists not 2 x 8.

There was a box existing in the floor that was already reinforced with extra 2 x 6s and blocking.
The concrete was pored into the box lined with rebar netting to a depth of 4 or 5 inches. We added two sheets of Micore 300 on top of the concrete. We placed our Quartzite slab on top of that sandwich.

I am so sorry that I can't remember exactly HOW the extension is tied into the floor and chimney.

My only concern was that we would achieve the thermal insulation/protection R value of 1.4 that is required by Regency for a safe install.

https://hearth.com/articles/chimneysweep/horvalue.htm

I double checked the R value of our installation at the above link.

Since your Insert is going to be installed so high off of the floor, Micore or cement board and a granite slab on the subfloor will get you very far. You can easily surpass the code requirements because you hit the 8 inch exception and have peace of mind. I am sure that the R value you require for your insert will be surpassed as well.
 

ToastyRanch

New Member
Nov 15, 2021
57
Coastal Massachusetts
Hi ToastyRanch.

We had a wonderfully seasoned and wise installer (old and Yoda smart) who was with a chimney/masonry installation company. I let him do his thing. Because of that, I remember almost nothing of the specifics of the job.

I’ll be happy to explain what I do remember of our hearth extension build.

We have a 1920s house - I think we have 2 x 6 floor joists not 2 x 8.

There was a box existing in the floor that was already reinforced with extra 2 x 6s and blocking.
The concrete was pored into the box lined with rebar netting to a depth of 4 or 5 inches. We added two sheets of Micore 300 on top of the concrete. We placed our Quartzite slab on top of that sandwich.

I am so sorry that I can't remember exactly HOW the extension is tied into the floor and chimney.

My only concern was that we would achieve the thermal insulation/protection R value of 1.4 that is required by Regency for a safe install.

https://hearth.com/articles/chimneysweep/horvalue.htm

I double checked the R value of our installation at the above link.

Since your Insert is going to be installed so high off of the floor, Micore or cement board and a granite slab on the subfloor will get you very far. You can easily surpass the code requirements because you hit the 8 inch exception and have peace of mind. I am sure that the R value you require for your insert will be surpassed as well.
Thanks for reading and replying in depth to my questions. It seems to me that pouring a concrete form reinforced with rebar and then possibly cladding it with something decorative is the basic strategy for building a hearth extension. It also seems like the exact means for tie-in and/or underpinning is going to depend upon the exact details of my setup. What you’re saying is basically the same thing as what the code is saying. In other words that a retrofit is done with basically the same process as for creating a new installation of a fireplace, except that: in a new install, the rebar inside of the hearth extension directly ties into the masonry of the chimney itself, such that the hearth extension is cantilevered for support….

As a general comment, we’re dealing with a lot of site-specific constraints, and we initially had no idea that rebuilding the hearth extension might be be necessary for a wood burning insert. We’ve now ascertained that in terms of physical firebox dimensions, we could only fit in a gas insert which would give us a maximum BTU rate of about 40% of the output of the smaller (medium sized) wood burning insert that we could fit. That would be a Regency Cascades I2500. We could even fit a large sized insert but we’re pretty convinced it would be overkill. Anyway, if we did gas, we wouldn’t need a hearth extension, since it’s much less heat output and sufficiently high up off of the floor…. However, I just woke up realizing that since the gas line would need to run close to our basement oil burning boiler, gas might well be an explosion hazard, and thus prohibited by code…. We are getting the boiler serviced tomorrow, and will ask the technician if he knows about this, and also check with our town fire chief, before proceeding…. As a general concept, the chief is partial to gas inserts, as he prefers appliances which are only operational when folks are awake. But we haven’t spoken to him about the constraints of this house in particular.

Of course on the other hand, if we went with a wood stove instead of an insert, we would be best off removing the hearth extension altogether, so that the stove sits closer to the flue opening. Yet we can probably get away with keeping the current small extension and plunking a stove directly in front of it and onto a pre-made purchased hearth pad. If we had a longer chimney, that plan would be one obvious strategy, but since ours is short, it’s possible that chopping off the extension and getting 8 inches closer to the vertical chimney with slightly reduced elbows, might draft significantly better.

Anyway, I’ve got lots to think about and it’s good to know as much as possible about what each option entails.