Questions about insert size and install

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FramerJ

New Member
Mar 18, 2021
27
Missouri
Hello all. Newbie here. What a great community you have here. Thank you all for your time and knowledge. Im in the market for an insert --along with half of N. America it seems based on pricing and availibility. I have been reading and using this forum as a quide in my search. I hope I am not rehashing old material with my questions. I really tried to read as many as possible before posting so as not to waste anyones time. Im really just curious about a couple things really that are based around getting the largest size that will fit my opening. 1) how the heck is the flue accessed and securely installed if the insert takes up the whole firebox? and 2) can you really go too big?

I have a 970 sf ranch built in 1955 with a masonry fireplace on a diagonal in the corner of the living room which is a good size room. 8 ft tall ceilings. No insulation in walls but ceilings are insulated. All windows are new. I live in Missouri. Fireplace exits the roof and is approx 14ft tall from hearth floor to top of chase (future draft problems?) My firebox opening is 35"wide, 22.25" tall, and 21.5" deep. My reasons for getting an insert are ambiance and supplemental and/or emergency heating. I have a 95% efficient natural gas furnace for main heat. However, after what happened down in Texas with the power grid and gas plants getting shut down, I feel I better have a back up plan for heat.

Im looking at the Napoleon S20I, the Neo 2.5 and the Lopi/FPX nexgen fyre medium flushmount. If I go with the Neo2.5, it would fit "snug as a bug in a rug" in the opening. Its a perferct fit. I would however have to remove the upper row of firebrick in the back but those would probably get removed anyway when cutting out/removing the damper. But that leads to question 1. How does one hook up and seal the flue to the top of the insert without access to it? Im guessing by removing the baffles from inside and pulling the flue in but how does it fasten? I would be getting this professionally installed. I have an installer coming out to measure and give me a price on Monday--just curious how the do it.

Lastly, Is the Neo or nexgen too big for my house and use? I dont want to be roasted off my sofa which is 8-10 ft in front of the fireplace. Ive read many post that say get the largest insert that will fit and better too big and not need it than too small. Im guessing you have a lot more control over the heat output with these newer inserts than in years past so maybe too big isnt such an issue anymore?

S20I--least expensive, smallest unit(too small?), smallest viewing area, but based on everything I have read a very good unit
Neo 2.5--largest size unit that will fit with average size viewing area and based on a post I read Pacific Energy units work well with shorter chimneys
Nexgen fyre medium flush--largest viewing area

Thanks again for your time
 
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Reactions: Dix

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,681
South Puget Sound, WA
The Neo may breathe easier than the Napoleon which will be important with a shorter flue liner, which the insert will need. Older Napoleons wanted at least 15' of liner. The S20 is a more conventional design but the manual doesn't state the
Minimum Recommended Flue height. Regardless of the insert choice, the liner should be insulated.
 
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Reactions: Dix

Dix

Minister of Fire
May 27, 2008
6,419
Long Island, NY
Welcome to the Forums!

Floor plan, even rough drawn, will help.

You get more heat out of an extended front insert than a flush, in an emergency.

Get your firewood seasoned NOW !!
 

FramerJ

New Member
Mar 18, 2021
27
Missouri
Welcome to the Forums!

Floor plan, even rough drawn, will help.

You get more heat out of an extended front insert than a flush, in an emergency.

Get your firewood seasoned NOW !!
After doing some more research on the NEO 2.5 and Lopi med nexgen, I believe I can extend the insert out with faceplates and trim kits a couple inches. Plus, the rough stone on my fireplace will not allow a fully flush look and will probably stick out another inch. This will help a little with what you are talking about (I hope) and I wont have to remove any of the firebrick in the upper back of my firebox for those inserts to fit. I wasnt comfortable with doing that anyway. So win-win.

I went out and got two truckloads of maple today. Some guy a few blocks away cut it down sometime last year. Been splitting all afternoon.

I have attached a very rough drawn floor plan of my humble abode.

Thanks for the help. 20210320_194547.jpg
 

FramerJ

New Member
Mar 18, 2021
27
Missouri
The Neo may breathe easier than the Napoleon which will be important with a shorter flue liner, which the insert will need. Older Napoleons wanted at least 15' of liner. The S20 is a more conventional design but the manual doesn't state the
Minimum Recommended Flue height. Regardless of the insert choice, the liner should be insulated.
The S20 manual recommends a min 15' stack as well.
I had the Lopi salesman tell me they just add some insulation above the insert and some at the chimney top. That is how the Lopi nexgen manual shows it. I will insist on an insulated liner. Thank you
 

FramerJ

New Member
Mar 18, 2021
27
Missouri
The S20 manual recommends a min 15' stack as well.
I had the Lopi salesman tell me they just add some insulation above the insert and some at the chimney top. That is how the Lopi nexgen manual shows it. I will insist on an insulated liner. Thank you
I just had the Lopi rep out to measure. When I told him I wanted an insulated liner, he looked at me kinda funny and said it was not necessary and not standard practice and his installers havent done one 20yrs. He said it would cost more and I said thats fine. Why would it be an issue to install an insulated liner? I read some previous posts from several years ago and saw different opinions. I have 9x13 clay tiles. A previous inspector did find a smallish crack. Wouldnt it be better to err on the side of caution? Plus, I will be meeting the minimum height required at 15' as it is. Are they any downsides to using an insulated liner other than cost or maybe overkill?

Hate to rehash an old topic. Just want to do whats right and safe.

Thanks
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,681
South Puget Sound, WA
The insulated liner will help with draft by keeping the flue gases hotter. It will also reduce creosote buildup. But the key reason is to meet code. An interior chimney needs 2" clearance all the way from any combustible, the exterior chimney requirement is 1". Does the chimney meet this requirement? If not, tell the installer you want things done to code for your safety and to keep the insurance company happy.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,956
07462
Welcome, on a 9x12 ID flue a 6" insulated liner should fit fine, how much room in front of the hearth are you working with? I ask because for back up emergency heating you'll want some of that insert sticking out, under no power conditions flush inserts tend to lack, especially when there's no power (some people take the shroud cover off)
As far as connections, there's appliance adapters that actually hook up from inside the stove, a bit of a pia but a competent installing can do it no problem, inquire about a block off plate in the smoke shelf area also, chances are your installer will also say thats not needed, it certainly is for best performance since its reflects heat made from the stove and keeps it from going up the chimney or being absorbed into the masonry which doesnt help anything, only hurts performance. If draft turns into an issue due to flue height, you can install a anchor plate adapter onto of the masonry chimney and put a 3ft class a extension on it, this can be after the fact, just specify to your installer (at time of install that you want an extra 3 or 4" of liner sticking out of the masonry, they can adjust the cap to make it look good and still have a lip should you need that class a.
Like dix mentioned, go get some wood now, lean towards ash & maple preferred dead standing stuff so its dry by November (and thats about as fast as you can get for wood, live tree's can take up to 2 seasons to dry properly)
Go with the largest insert that can fit, a 1.8cuft fire box seems big in the showroom, but after factoring in wood ash and firewood that is in different shapes & lengths, the 1.8cuft fire box gets small, worst case scenario is with a bigger box, you make smaller fires or not turn the blower on as high.
 

FramerJ

New Member
Mar 18, 2021
27
Missouri
Welcome, on a 9x12 ID flue a 6" insulated liner should fit fine, how much room in front of the hearth are you working with? I ask because for back up emergency heating you'll want some of that insert sticking out, under no power conditions flush inserts tend to lack, especially when there's no power (some people take the shroud cover off)
As far as connections, there's appliance adapters that actually hook up from inside the stove, a bit of a pia but a competent installing can do it no problem, inquire about a block off plate in the smoke shelf area also, chances are your installer will also say thats not needed, it certainly is for best performance since its reflects heat made from the stove and keeps it from going up the chimney or being absorbed into the masonry which doesnt help anything, only hurts performance. If draft turns into an issue due to flue height, you can install a anchor plate adapter onto of the masonry chimney and put a 3ft class a extension on it, this can be after the fact, just specify to your installer (at time of install that you want an extra 3 or 4" of liner sticking out of the masonry, they can adjust the cap to make it look good and still have a lip should you need that class a.
Like dix mentioned, go get some wood now, lean towards ash & maple preferred dead standing stuff so its dry by November (and thats about as fast as you can get for wood, live tree's can take up to 2 seasons to dry properly)
Go with the largest insert that can fit, a 1.8cuft fire box seems big in the showroom, but after factoring in wood ash and firewood that is in different shapes & lengths, the 1.8cuft fire box gets small, worst case scenario is with a bigger box, you make smaller fires or not turn the blower on as high.
Thank you so much for getting back with me. That past few days have been an interesting journey. After meeting with the Lopi rep yesterday, I went down to the PE Neo rep today and he was adament about using insulated liners. Said they have been doing that for the last 13yrs and that all they will do. He basically cited everything begreen mentioned. There is one problem though--my clay liner is actually 8.5"x 17.5" OD with a 6.5"x 16.5" ID so his 6" insulated wont fit. It measures 7". However, he believes he can use an oval liner. Another option- they can use a 6" liner and pour in a fill-in insulation mix? Not sure what the forums opinions are on that.

The Neo rep also had already figured in a liner extension to meet height requirement.

I have a 13" hearth that is 13" above the floor (part of the reason for the shorter flue length). So sticking the insert out wont be a problem. I will be adding more protection on the floor anyway. As it is the insert will stick out about 2" from the stone face. I dont know if the backer trim plates on the Neo adjust for depth or not. Or if they make depth extension trim kits. I might just have a gap there.

20210318_164303.jpg


Needless to say, I am leaning heavily towards the Neo over the Lopi. Its the largest insert that will fit at 2.5 cuft and the Neo rep is on his game and really working with me.

I spent all weekend splitting about half a chord of dead maple. Got a moisture meter at Lowes and it read around 17%. Not sure how accurate this model is but its a baseline to start with. I was out looking at new chainsaws today and ran into a guy that has acreage with a bunch of black locust he wants cleared out. Can get a start on next years pile as well.

Thanks everyone for the help and guidance. I sincerely appreciate it.
 

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,681
South Puget Sound, WA
Pour in insulation will not ensure even distribution around the liner all the way down the chimney. An oval or ovalized liner will work. Duraliner oval is preinsulated and made for this kind of installation.