replacing insert with stove

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questforfire

New Member
Sep 2, 2022
6
Lachute, Quebec
Hi - new to this forum and quite new to wood stoves in general. We have an insert with a broken blower, but even when the blower worked it struggled to heat our place (~2300 sqft with two closed bedrooms at the opposite end of the house). We were given advice to replace it with a stove, with the idea of running the pipe through our existing masonry (and presumably lined, when the insert was installed) chimney. I spoke with a dealer who dismissed that idea, saying all we needed was a better insert. He seemed to suggest that one could not install a stove in a fireplace, or in front of a fireplace - or that it would be so much work as to be not worth the while. But i see on this forum discussions that suggest people have done this and that it is a viable option at least in some circumstances.

My questions are:
1) Can we install a wood stove in the fireplace, assuming dimensions permit (and assuming the insert was properly installed)?
2) Could we install one in front of the fireplace, running the pipe back through the fireplace, if we get one with a rear facing output option (eg. Jotul etc)
3) Could we install it in front, but running the pipe up first and then through the wall back to the masonry chimney?
4) Is there good reason to do either 1 or 2 or 3, and if so, is there an obvious preference?

Thanks for any input!
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,187
central pa
Hi - new to this forum and quite new to wood stoves in general. We have an insert with a broken blower, but even when the blower worked it struggled to heat our place (~2300 sqft with two closed bedrooms at the opposite end of the house). We were given advice to replace it with a stove, with the idea of running the pipe through our existing masonry (and presumably lined, when the insert was installed) chimney. I spoke with a dealer who dismissed that idea, saying all we needed was a better insert. He seemed to suggest that one could not install a stove in a fireplace, or in front of a fireplace - or that it would be so much work as to be not worth the while. But i see on this forum discussions that suggest people have done this and that it is a viable option at least in some circumstances.

My questions are:
1) Can we install a wood stove in the fireplace, assuming dimensions permit (and assuming the insert was properly installed)?
2) Could we install one in front of the fireplace, running the pipe back through the fireplace, if we get one with a rear facing output option (eg. Jotul etc)
3) Could we install it in front, but running the pipe up first and then through the wall back to the masonry chimney?
4) Is there good reason to do either 1 or 2 or 3, and if so, is there an obvious preference?

Thanks for any input!
1. Yes you can install a stove inside a fireplace assuming it fits and meets clearance requirements for mantle trim etc. But it will not perform as well as an insert which is designed to direct the heat out of the firebox.

2. Yes you can install Infront of a fireplace but choices of stoves that are able to do that are few and far between

3. Yes it is possible but takes quite a bit of work and money.

Generally I prefer an insert for a fireplace install unless the fireplace is huge
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,229
Long Island NY
Do you have an insert or a zero clearance fireplace?

3: yes, and this is generally better for draft (elbow only after a certain height).
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,229
Long Island NY
What is the current insert?
What is the chimney height?
What is the layout of the house?
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,546
SE North Carolina
Height of the fireplace? This can be really limiting.
Interior or exterior chimney?
I have both insert and stove. Both need blowers. The best insert that will fit is probably better than the best stove that will fit just because you will have more choices of inserts.
 

ShawnLiNY

Burning Hunk
Dec 13, 2018
226
Ny
Depending on depth of your hearth , some people are able to get a rear venting free standing unit that fits either just inside the opening or just in front. insert vs freestanding equally sized the free standing transfers heat easier
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,187
central pa
Depending on depth of your hearth , some people are able to get a rear venting free standing unit that fits either just inside the opening or just in front. insert vs freestanding equally sized the free standing transfers heat easier
Only if that freestanding stove is outside of the fireplace.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,229
Long Island NY
If it's a double jacketed (convective) stove with a fan,. it's ideal (for a free standing one).

Inserts are made for this location. But the appearance is different.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,187
central pa
If it's a double jacketed (convective) stove with a fan,. it's ideal (for a free standing one).

Inserts are made for this location. But the appearance is different.
Even a completely jacketed stove typically dumps much or the heat straight up. Also the blowers are in the back meaning they are extremely difficult to service.
 
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stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
6,229
Long Island NY
I agree about the servicing.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,546
SE North Carolina
Even a completely jacketed stove typically dumps much or the heat straight up. Also the blowers are in the back meaning they are extremely difficult to service.
A blower on the firebrick floor works well with an insulated blockoff plate. Service is as easy as reaching back there. Now the wires can be more unsightly.

If you go the stove route read the manual especially if it’s the Jotul F45 (maybe the F55 to) as the whole back must come off to to clean out if top vented hearth install. I can remove all the burn tubes and baffle in my insert in under 2 minutes. They are designed to not remove the liner for cleaning.
 

heatwise

Feeling the Heat
Sep 13, 2009
438
ohio
Hi - new to this forum and quite new to wood stoves in general. We have an insert with a broken blower, but even when the blower worked it struggled to heat our place (~2300 sqft with two closed bedrooms at the opposite end of the house). We were given advice to replace it with a stove, with the idea of running the pipe through our existing masonry (and presumably lined, when the insert was installed) chimney. I spoke with a dealer who dismissed that idea, saying all we needed was a better insert. He seemed to suggest that one could not install a stove in a fireplace, or in front of a fireplace - or that it would be so much work as to be not worth the while. But i see on this forum discussions that suggest people have done this and that it is a viable option at least in some circumstances.

My questions are:
1) Can we install a wood stove in the fireplace, assuming dimensions permit (and assuming the insert was properly installed)?
2) Could we install one in front of the fireplace, running the pipe back through the fireplace, if we get one with a rear facing output option (eg. Jotul etc)
3) Could we install it in front, but running the pipe up first and then through the wall back to the masonry chimney?
4) Is there good reason to do either 1 or 2 or 3, and if so, is there an obvious preference?

Thanks for any input!
had an insert with blower and got tired of the constant fan noise . we removed the insert placed a hearth pad in front of the fireplace with a nice new stove without a fan. ran a pipe off the back to an elbow to the insulated pipe . it takes up space but was well worth it. we can still use a portable fan as needed to move air around and have a ceiling fan in the next room . highly recommended.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,187
central pa
Have you considered adding water coils near the upper exit of the chimney to harvest heat from flue?
No because if run properly there is no heat to spare
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,187
central pa
What if we increase burn rate by adding a chimney fan and preheated fresh air intake? Will there be extra heat to extract?

The OP's insert might be producing less than rated BTUs by its passive burn rate, could use a boost.
No absolutely not.
 

clewis338

New Member
Aug 28, 2022
2
CT
Kinda hijack, but how big of an opening would it make sense to use a stove vs insert. Example my fp is 36 inches high and and about 48 inches wide. Would a stove be better than an insert as I'm not keen to have a large surround to trim out an insert.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,546
SE North Carolina
Kinda hijack, but how big of an opening would it make sense to use a stove vs insert. Example my fp is 36 inches high and and about 48 inches wide. Would a stove be better than an insert as I'm not keen to have a large surround to trim out an insert.
Define better? If it’s an exterior chimney I’m going to guess that there is not a size of fireplace, where a stove and insert of equivalent size, where the stove puts more heat into the room if you insulate around the insert. That said it might not really matter to some just burn more wood to make up the heat loss.

Looks matter too. One member bricked up the extra large opening to a normal size for an insert. I just a stove bevy it’s stirs there not burning 8 months a year ( it is an interior chimney).
 

clewis338

New Member
Aug 28, 2022
2
CT
Define better? If it’s an exterior chimney I’m going to guess that there is not a size of fireplace, where a stove and insert of equivalent size, where the stove puts more heat into the room if you insulate around the insert. That said it might not really matter to some just burn more wood to make up the heat loss.

Looks matter too. One member bricked up the extra large opening to a normal size for an insert. I just a stove bevy it’s stirs there not burning 8 months a year ( it is an interior chimney).
My situation is an exterior chimney.
I like the look of the fireplace and not crazy about hiding it with an insert. I also want something affordable. I already have a nice regency insert in a smaller living room fireplace that we use all season. This fireplace here is not used due to how much heat it sucks out the house when using.
IMG_20220905_094135508.jpg
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,546
SE North Carolina
My situation is an exterior chimney.
I like the look of the fireplace and not crazy about hiding it with an insert. I also want something affordable. I already have a nice regency insert in a smaller living room fireplace that we use all season. This fireplace here is not used due to how much heat it sucks out the house when using. View attachment 298681
Mantel clearances might be an issue. You can always trim the surround to the opening dimensions and insulate. Running an insert with no surround is an option too. That’s what I do.
 

questforfire

New Member
Sep 2, 2022
6
Lachute, Quebec
Thank you all so much for your input - very glad i asked here...

I finally got the measurements: fireplace is 35.5" high, 26.5 wide at the front (only 25.5 at the back) and 15.5 deep. So not huge. also, here are a couple of additional details:
- the chimney is exterior, one storey high
- what is there currently is an insert into a previously existing fireplace, not a zero clearance fireplace
-brand seems to be Drolet, Escape 1400

so it seems like the upshot of the advice given here is that option #3 (pipe through wall) would be optimal if price/hassle were not a factor, but since they are, #2 (pipe into fireplace) is potentially a good idea if the height permits, and if it comes to #1(stove inside fireplace), an insert is better in our case (small fireplace, exterior chimney). is that a fair summary?

Heatwise, what stove did you do this with? or if anyone else had any other recommendations, either for stoves that would work for the second scenario (pipe into fireplace), or for a better insert, any of that would be welcome too. Also, heatwise, did you install this yourself? seems like it could be a tricky installation, depending on how much space you leave in front of the fireplace...?