Please weigh in on my insert selection - TN20 for 2000sqft house

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New Member
Sep 17, 2022
Hi, first post here! I've got one of those please-help-a-noob-choose-an-insert post. I've combed through previous posts and am leaning towards the True North TN20, which is the largest insert that will fit in my fireplace. I'd greatly appreciate any feedback or any recommendations, especially if I'm headed in the wrong direction.

I'm in Northern California, about 90 miles south of Oregon. It rarely gets below 40. But because it's coastal, it's a very windy, very wet 40 degrees.

I am looking for a woodburning insert to greatly supplement my current propane central heat. The existing fireplace has an opening is 34"wide x21.25" tall x 18" deep. The height really narrows my choices. There is ornamental masonry so many of the 29"x44" faceplate do not fit. 3 Inserts that fit are the True North TN20, the Lopi Answer, and the Pacific Energy Vista. There are some 1.3 cu ft choices but I'm thinking I need at least 1.5 cuft.

About the house: built in 1981, about 2000sqft, split-level open floor plan. Insulation is ok, but there are a lot of windows. The existing fireplace is in a 17'x27' living room with 17' vaulted ceilings. The dining room and master bedroom are both open to the living room, but on different levels (bedroom sits above the dining room). There is a 2-way ceiling fan in the living room. Hopefully that will help move heat to the master bedroom. I am not super optimistic about much fireplace heat reaching the kitchen, but anything helps.
Please weigh in on my insert selection - TN20 for 2000sqft housePlease weigh in on my insert selection - TN20 for 2000sqft house

Thank you for bearing with me on my long post. And thanks advance for any input.
I think you decided on a good insert. It fits and it’s 2.9 cu ft. I can’t think of another better recommendation.

Face plates can be trimmed to fit or a custom one fabricated, or you don’t even have to install them.

It’s pro time to think about other details of the install. Can you fit an insulated liner?
I highly recommend an insulated blockoff plate.
Is there room to insulate around the insert. It’s an exterior chimney so you want too keep as much heat as possible in the house not losing it outside via the masonry.

Dry wood is a must. I highly recommend a moisture meter and I love my Auber AT200 thermometer alarm.
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Sounds like you found the largest insert that will fit in your fireplace. The next step would be to call a chimney sweep to come and assess the chimney for condition and usability.
It'll be hard to choose where to look at there: the fire or the view!
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The TN20 has a nice deep firebox that affords N/S loading, but that comes at the expense of a deeper insert. Double-check the fireplace depth at the back, top to make sure it's 18" there. Be sure to include an insulated block-off plate in the damper area to maximize the heating potential of the insert. If there is room, a bit of insulation behind the insert will also help.

Will the recessed arch get covered by the faceplate? If so, maybe consider not having a faceplate at all, or customizing it to fit flush, within the rectangular opening?
The Ironstrike, Performer C210 and Montlake 230 would also fit. The C210 projects out on the hearth a bit further so no problem with depth. These lean more toward E/W loading.
Wow, thanks everyone! This is by far the most informative forum post I've ever made. I'll have more questions once I get a chance to re-examine the existing firebox, but I wanted to thank you for taking the time to read my post and, especially begreen and EbS-P, respond with such detailed info.