Regency Wood Insert-Not enough Heat

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Flying Pigeon

Member
Dec 31, 2014
6
USA
Here is the background to my dilemma

1. My house was built in 1910. The fireplace was never properly designed with the opening to the room completely out of ratio with the flue size. So smoke tended to come into the room through the huge opening. I know that this was an original mistake, because, incredibly, I have the builder blueprints to the house.

2. The house is completely fieldstone. So trying to dig into the masonry of the house and fix this issue is really not practical. So what we did instead was get a Regency insert. The largest one. This of course solved the smoking issue but I have to say I am really disappointed with the amount of heat it puts out, or should I say, DOESN'T put out. It doesn't seem to be blowing enough hot air compared t the amount of wood that goes in. It only heats one room of the house by a few degrees. The wood by the way, is all well seasoned oak and maple.

3. As I said above, the fireplace that the insert went into is LARGE. Too Large. So there was ample space around the insert when it went in.

4. I notice now that the fireplace hearth/vertical stones and brick around the insert are all quite hot. Which must be quite the feat because there is a substantial air gap between those bricks and the insert. But this tells me that not enough heat is being maintained in the structure of the insert and a substantial amount is heading up the flue and.or radiated from the body of the insert. So there is less heat available to be vented into the living space of the house.

5. So, in short, is there anyway I can make this more efficient ? Will packing insulation around the insert increase the retained heat in the insert and therefore the available heat to be fanned into the room? Will it help in an MEANINGFUL way?

6. Additionally would cutting a metal plate to go over the insert, which permits only the flue pipe, to pass help? Again, will it be meaningful?

7. Anything else that would help?

Your thoughts are appreciated.
 
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danham

Burning Hunk
Jan 12, 2012
139
Cape Cod, MA
Here is the background to my dilemma

1. My house was built in 1910. The fireplace was never properly designed with the opening to the room completely out of ratio with the flue size. So smoke tended to come into the room through the huge opening. I know that this was an original mistake, because, incredibly, I have the builder blueprints to the house.

2. The house is completely fieldstone. So trying to dig into the masonry of the house and fix this issue is really not practical. So what we did instead was get a Regency insert. The largest one. This of course solved the smoking issue but I have to say I am really disappointed with the amount of heat it puts out, or should I say, DOESN'T put out. It doesn't seem to be blowing enough hot air compared t the amount of wood that goes in. It only heats one room of the house by a few degrees. The wood by the way, is all well seasoned oak and maple.

3. As I said above, the fireplace that the insert went into is LARGE. Too Large. So there was ample space around the insert when it went in.

4. I notice now that the fireplace hearth/vertical stones and brick around the insert are all quite hot. Which must be quite the feat because there is a substantial air gap between those bricks and the insert. But this tells me that not enough heat is being maintained in the structure of the insert and a substantial amount is heading up the flue and.or radiated from the body of the insert. So there is less heat available to be vented into the living space of the house.

5. So, in short, is there anyway I can make this more efficient ? Will packing insulation around the insert increase the retained heat in the insert and therefore the available heat to be fanned into the room? Will it help in an MEANINGFUL way?

6. Additionally would cutting a metal plate to go over the insert, which permits only the flue pipe, to pass help? Again, will it be meaningful?

7. Anything else that would help?

Your thoughts are appreciated.
Is this an outside wall chimney? If yes, adding Roxul insulation around the insert will definitely make a difference. But as has been said, a block off plate is mandatory for this setup, preferably with more Roxul above it.

-dan
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
93,171
South Puget Sound, WA
Right now it sounds like the insert is heating outdoors almost as much as it is heating the house. Use Roxul board or batt or kaolwool blanket to insulate the sides and rear of the fireplace cavity. Then as Daksy posted, add an insulated block-off plate in the damper area. Doing these steps will make a major improvement in heat output.
 

Rhodesholar

New Member
Feb 21, 2022
2
Crivitz wi
Hello all. Registered for this site as this is the exact insert and issue I was having.

As OP stated my insert like his is basically sitting outside. I had blistering cold air coming out all around my insert and I do have both a top and bottom block off plates. I scoured the internet and found 100% conflicting views on my next statement.

There is no way to get to the back or the sides of the walls behind the insert would have to be completely removed. This was not an option. What I ended up doing was purchasing bulk ceramic fiber insulation and insulating around my insert but I left the top uninsulated for now. It took 30lbs of insulation just to do around my insert. This completely stopped the cold air draft and that is no longer an issue.

I fired it up and monitored every 15 minutes with my laser temp gun to make sure I was not even coming close overfire. I went from about 225 coming out of my blower vents to about 360. Also the insert remained heating for several hours after it went to coals where in a half hour or so the temperature in my house would already be dropping.

The max temp at the top of the recric tubes which was the hottest point I could find was about 580 or so. Please correct me if I am wrong but that is nowhere near over fire. I do however always run my blower on auto and max so perhapst this is why I see the temps I do. I can test with the blower off and see what I get up to. I also figured leaving the top uninsulated it is still basically sitting outside and allowing airflow over it.

So by insulating I saw a dramatic improvement in temperature, total draft suppression and a huge length of residual heating time with nothing as a far as I am aware of an overfire condition.

Finally this insert is heating the way I imagined it should.

Now if someone wants to chime in and say I should not have insulation all around the insert and I did something wrong I am all ears and nothing is written in stone.

Just trying to pass along what worked for me and may work for the OP.
 
Last edited:

AstroBoy

New Member
Feb 9, 2022
23
Philadelphia suburbs
This thread is timely for me. We're looking at getting a Regency insert installed, and just had someone from a local dealer here today to make measurements. Our fireplace is masonry, on an outside wall. Since I had seen this thread, I asked about insulating the fireplace interior walls before putting in the insert. The person from the dealer said that they never do that. No need, he said - the back of the unit doesn't get that hot. He said I would be the first customer they ever had to request something like that. He was very focused on drafts (which is OK, that's an issue too) and said that they would put some insulation around the flue so that we wouldn't be losing air up the chimney. That's good, but it seems like it's not either-or. He seemed pretty adamant that radiant heat from the back of the insert into the brick fireplace was a non-issue.

I had been ready to pull the trigger on this, but that interaction has me second-guessing this now. Curious to hear others' thoughts. (Not to hijack this thread, but seems related!)
 

Rhodesholar

New Member
Feb 21, 2022
2
Crivitz wi
I also do not want to hijack to he OPs thread but this is all seems relevant to his initial post and may be helpful as that is my intent. So let's look at this logically. Basically the OP and myself have our inserts sitting in masonry outside wall enclosure. If we take our inserts out of the equation we would still have basically and uninsulated masonry space. So I can not understand how this space cannot or should not be insulated. How can insulating this space be anymore detrimental then an insert installed in an inside wall sitting at say 70 degrees ambient temperature all the time?

Also for the record I am very happy with my Regency insert and I have had it for years.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
2,001
Northern Maine
I can’t see a down side to placing proper insulation on the back of the fireplace in an exterior wall application.
 

kborndale

Feeling the Heat
Oct 9, 2008
378
LI
I'm sure there are some competent dealers out there, but I would take what they say with a grain of salt as most of them are clueless.
 

spudman99

Feeling the Heat
Jan 26, 2018
376
Yardley, PA
I hope I am not talking down to the OP as that is not my intent. The effort you can take to improve your situation is simple heat dynamics.

Install a block off plate. That is mandatory. Heat rises. Your insert gets hot. In an enclosed space the heat will rise up the chimney around the liner (or hopefully insulated liner). Remember heat likes to warm up cold air and not the reverse - that is physics.

Second, install rockwool around the insert and against the side and rear walls. This too will retain heat in the fireplace (no filled with the insert). If the sides are visible to the room (no shroud to cover the opening), then others have painted the insulation with some black high heat spray paint, or installed it behind a concrete backer board also painted black and affixed to stand off the wall to allow the insulation between the wall, board and insert. Either way, you are placing a temperature break between the hot and cold surfaces.

By retaining heat in the former fireplace, the insert will remain warmer, and either burn hotter or longer. That is what you want.

My insert has all of the above. I can maintain a constant 500 deg temp near the top of the unit for 10 hours with the blower on low. I dont know what Regency Model you have and how robust the fan is. For sure it is better than the meager one on the BK Insert. Your fan moving the cold air from the room over the now warmer insert should dramatically improve the overall efficiency and enjoyment.
 

tadmaz

Feeling the Heat
Dec 21, 2017
497
Erin, WI
360F coming out of the blower seems good to me.
 

danham

Burning Hunk
Jan 12, 2012
139
Cape Cod, MA
I should have mentioned that our previous house had a Regency insert installed in an outside wall. Roxul and a tight blockoff plate made a huge difference and we never had any issues with the insulation.

-dan