recommendations on a good insert

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1990dtgl98

New Member
May 21, 2021
4
Pennsylvania
Hey all,

So I'm not new to wood stoves, but am new to epa/catalyst/high efficiency stoves. Grew up on coal and wood, then went to pellet as a kid growing up with the parents.

Got out of a wood stove for a while as my house didn't have one. Now I have a new house that has a fisher insert that can crank out some heat, but has some serious drawbacks (mainly runtime). I do like the fact it juts out into the room rather than being flush.

The house is located in central Pennsylvania, 1900sq/ft. Built in 1994. It's fairly well insulated (2x6 with insulation plus foam board instead of osb for exterior sheathing). Older windows (original to the house) are a little drafty. Open down stairs with the kitchen and family room one large room, and the living room having a 6' opening from the family room. Only the dining room is kind of closed off. Insert in in the family room opposite the kitchen and next to the transition to the living room. 2nd floor is 3 rooms (both kids rooms opposite side of the house from the insert) and master is on the insert side. There is a ceiling fan in the family room 6' from the insert.

Chimney is roughly 26' with a stainless 6" flex pipe liner that's insulated. The fireplace opening is 30" wide, 28" high and 21" deep. Small slope toward the back (back is 28" wide, 26" high).

I can usually keep downstairs at 74 in the winter, which in turn keeps the upstairs kids rooms, with the doors cracked, around 67-68.

I usually set the house hvac to run an intermittent fan to help get some heat upstairs at night. I have geothermal but it's not super efficient in the winter (for some reason it likes to go into aux electric heat and run the 3500watt coils if it gets below 30).

My biggest gripe is the output. I can't get 5-6 hours out of the fisher on an overnight burn. I get more like 4 or so hours. The old fisher had a "gasketless airtight" door, but I don't know if mine is bent. If I load up the firebox to try to get 6 hours, it will run uncomfortably hot (700 or higher stove top, verified with 2 thermometers).

That lengthy backstory brings me to my question. I see they're offering 26% rebate. Im debating buying a new stove to get overnight and at work burns. I would like to know what inserts y'all would recommend. It doesn't need to be 75% efficiency to get the rebate (but I figure if one is 4k with 1k back and the other is less efficient and 3k, might as well go big). I've been eyeing up the blaze king princess as it also extends into the room like the fisher, but am open to any and all suggestions based on my house. I've never ran a catalytic stove but I'm not opposed to one. Vice versa, if something was significantly cheaper than say a princess and got me 90% of the performance, I'm definitely ok with that too. Spending 4k just to get a 1k rebate vs 2k out of pocket total doesn't seem like a great idea either.

I briefly researched Kuma, blaze king and regency. However, like I said, I'm open to any and all suggestions.

Thanks for the help, sorry about the winded post. I just wanted to get as detailed as possible.

P.S.- On a semi related note. The liner is close to the top of the fireplace since the fisher is dead on top and extends up a good bit. Most inserts I saw are on the back at a 45* angle. Am I going to need a new liner, or is there a way to code to extend either the liner or insert to fit? The previous owners installed it just 2 years before I bought it (in 2016) and I would like to try not to spend money to replace the entire liner.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,665
South Puget Sound, WA
The big Osburn 3500 insert is worth looking into.
 
Last edited:

dafattkidd

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2007
1,767
Long Island
The Osburn 3500 insert is a beast and vents straight up off the top of the unit. When I purchased mine (which is a very similar unit) 12 years ago it was the largest firebox I could fit in my fireplace at the lowest price. Loaded with hardwood you can easily get long hot overnight burns.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,177
central pa
Is the Osburn 3500 better than the blaze king princess if the price is within 400 of each other?
That depends completely upon your needs
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
It's not a rebate. It's a tax credit used to lower tax liability. If for example you have a total credit amount of $2,000 and you owe $3000 in taxes, it lowers the amount owed to $1,000.00

If you owe $1,000 in taxes and you have a $2,000 total credit, your tax liability is reduced to zero. You do not receive a $1,000 tax refund but you can carry forward the remaining $1,000 to the next year to help reduce tax liability.

As to the liner, I do believe you can purchase a fitting that you can attach to both the current liner and the added length you may need.

You may wish to use that as part of your purchase negotiation, "can you include 24" of a prior cut-off from your scrap pile and a joiner if I buy from you?"

As to which model you should purchase...your Fisher may not have long burn times, but it does provide some nice features. The Princess insert, like your Fisher does have a deep belly that keeps ash removal intervals down. I'm hesitant to tell you more as I work for BK. As everyone here knows, you should buy the best model for your needs.

My suggestion is to go see both. Compare things you like about your current insert to the models you look at. Don't overlook something and then later say "my old insert had xyz.

Have you considered repairing your Fisher or somehow tightening up the door fitment?
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,177
central pa
Yeah the liner is no problem you can use a coupler and section of liner. Or just an elbow may be enough
 

dafattkidd

Minister of Fire
Dec 11, 2007
1,767
Long Island
Is the Osburn 3500 better than the blaze king princess if the price is within 400 of each other?
I cannot imagine the Osburn is as good as the Blaze King Princess, but they are two different units. Blaze King has a cat system that allows for super low, long burn times. The Osburn cannot do that. My 2400i is a large firebox that can burn really clean hot fires. I liked the Osburn because it was the least expensive option at the time (by way more than $400). I also burn a lot of construction debris at the time, so a non cat seemed to be a better option for me.

Blaze King owners tend to really love their units. It's certainly an avenue worth pursuing.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
766
Eastern Long Island NY
Compare outputs per hour, and total burn lengths for the ones you are looking at, and with what you know about BTU needs that your home and preferences have.

Note that a BK, while (also?) giving long burns, often does have less of a flame show as compared to non cat stoves. I.e. views versus control over output at the low end (shoulder season).

One thing I like much about my BK (as compared to my previous stove) is the level of control and the consistency of heat output over a burn cycle. The thermostat allows an even output. There are a few other stoves with a Tstat, I believe (though maybe no other inserts?).

In the end, it is important to know what makes you happy. While BKs make a lot of people happy, some are not. And given the price, they are then very much not happy...
Either because they bought something not suitable for what they need, or not compatible with the specs of the rest of the system (chimney, house tightness etc). So carefully check the requirements of any stove you buy.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,177
central pa
I cannot imagine the Osburn is as good as the Blaze King Princess, but they are two different units. Blaze King has a cat system that allows for super low, long burn times. The Osburn cannot do that. My 2400i is a large firebox that can burn really clean hot fires. I liked the Osburn because it was the least expensive option at the time (by way more than $400). I also burn a lot of construction debris at the time, so a non cat seemed to be a better option for me.

Blaze King owners tend to really love their units. It's certainly an avenue worth pursuing.
If you need low btu output then yes the bk is a clear winner. But if you need more btus not so much. I run pretty much the same burn times and use the same wood that with the princess that I did with a regency 3100. And when temps really drop the regency could keep up better. It is all in matching the stoves strengths to your needs.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
766
Eastern Long Island NY
The OP is not in central PA, but in NC - which is almost like your "shoulder season" in January...
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,177
central pa
The OP is not in central PA, but in NC - which is almost like your "shoulder season" in January...
Absolutely. I would think a bk should work well there.