Replacing wood burning stove with pellet insert

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mike64b

New Member
Feb 13, 2021
10
bishop, ca
Hi all,

have a place in the mountains with a an old wood burning stove from the late 70s/early 80s. Need to replace it with a pellet stove, this is what I'm working with currently:

existing_fireplace.PNG



My plan was to tear out the old rock myself, put up some new concrete board & put ledger rock on the bottom half- very rough mockup would look like:
1613258521477.png


I'd then have someone come out and install the chimney vent pipe insert and the actual install of the pellet stove.

The current wood burning stove is about 36.5" wide x 33" Tall (haven't been able to measure the depth yet).

I'm trying to plan this out and have a few questions:

- From what I'm seeing, pellet stove inserts have pretty widely varying requirements on the size of the firebox. Given that mine is already fairly large at 36.5"x33", is there any reason to want this smaller? It seems most inserts have paneling to cover up any gaps between the insert and the firebox, but I wasn't sure if I should be waiting until I actually select a specific pellet stove insert before doing the stone ledger (just in case I need to reduce the size of the front of the firebox for visual purposes).

- AC Outlet inside or outside firebox? From a visual look, inside is much nicer, but I don't like the plug being stuck inside, inaccessible (although throwing it on a switch might alleviate these concerns, but also more electrical work $). If I go with an outlet outside, next to the fireplace, I assume running the cord along the edge of the wall-floor is the standard way to go? I assume thermostat wires would run along with it as well?

- BTU Rating - given the place is only 900 sqft, the recommended BTU size is only about ~27000 from what I've seen. However, since its the mountains, temps in the winter range from lows of 10F to highs of 40F. So I've been including stoves of 30-40000+ BTUs in my search, not sure if this is too much though.

So far these are the ones I'm considering right now, any strong opinions or other models to look at?

- Harman Accentra 52i-TC
- Quadrafire Trekker Insert
- Lopi AGP Insert


Thanks!
 

Washed-Up

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2011
669
Kananaskis,Alberta, Canada
I’m pro Harman, just know that with any insert, they’re a bit more difficult to clean and maintain, some here have had quite the challenge with installing an outside air kit as well
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
4,206
Lorraine NY
Harman or Quad both very good reliable stoves. I dont know any history on the lopiAGP. I do know the lopi freestanding i have is a POS. It’s the next to go to the scrap yard.
 
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mike64b

New Member
Feb 13, 2021
10
bishop, ca
I've been reading on the maintenance and it's definitely concerning - this is going to be used partially by nightly renters so honestly the less maintenance and more stupid proof I can make this, the better. Are free-standing just better from that stand-point? I don't really understand why?
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
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mike64b

New Member
Feb 13, 2021
10
bishop, ca
Sadly the place has no gas lines. It's not possible. It's a common dilemma in the area and most of the rentals here have pellet stoves or wood stoves, so the maintenance & cleaning crew is pretty familiar with them. Guests are given pretty good instructions on using them but yeah choosing one that requires the least fiddling would be a plus.
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Well, then they have propane so hook into the propane line for the furnace and install a propane fireplace unit. No difference between a propane unit and a NG unit except the gas orifice. In fact most gas fireplaces will come with a propane orifice.

Owning rentals I can tell you from experience that a pellet stove in ANY rental is bad business.
 
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mike64b

New Member
Feb 13, 2021
10
bishop, ca
Well, then they have propane so hook into the propane line for the furnace and install a propane fireplace unit. No difference between a propane unit and a NG unit except the gas orifice. In fact most gas fireplaces will come with a propane orifice.

Owning rentals I can tell you from experience that a pellet stove in ANY rental is bad business.
I'm confused, I don't think I indicated they had propane? There is no gas of any type - electric heating only. So my options are floorboard heaters, space heaters, wood stoves, and pellet stoves. (I suppose radiant heat and electric heat pumps too, but I can't really install anything outside the unit so don't think a heatpump is going to work).
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Presumptuous on my part, sorry about that. Then buy one of those 150 buck fake woodstoves at Menards that have a heating element and fan inside with the fake flame logs and stick that in there. Problem solved, no grief and a helluva lot cheaper in the long run.

I would never own an all electric home, rental or personal dwelling. Just too much of a chance to get gouged big time when rates go up and they will soon. Way up.
 
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Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
4,206
Lorraine NY
Quad cb1200. Hi med low heat, high med low fans, nothing more that 2 switches for and idiot renter to mess with. Everything else is controled by the board and safeties.
 

mike64b

New Member
Feb 13, 2021
10
bishop, ca
Presumptuous on my part, sorry about that. Then buy one of those 150 buck fake woodstoves at Menards that have a heating element and fan inside with the fake flame logs and stick that in there. Problem solved, no grief and a helluva lot cheaper in the long run.

I would never own an all electric home, rental or personal dwelling. Just too much of a chance to get gouged big time when rates go up and they will soon. Way up.

No worries - that's definitely an option, I need to do some more experimenting here to see how insanely expensive it would be to go all electric though :) Like you say, not fun.


Quad cb1200. Hi med low heat, high med low fans, nothing more that 2 switches for and idiot renter to mess with. Everything else is controled by the board and safeties.

Interesting, that sounds like an option - Also, is there something special about pellet inserts that make them more difficult to use & maintenance prone than free-standing units? One option I hadn't considered was just using a free-standing unit either directly in front of the fireplace or inside of it (although that would probably require widening of the firebox unless its a super small unit).
 

Tonyray

Minister of Fire
Free standing stove gives u complete 360 for cleaning and relacement of any motors that go on you. Distribution , exhaust etc. Inserts have to be pulled out on a dolly or stand of sorts just to get to certain areas that are a must to clean eventually.
 
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tbear853

Feeling the Heat
I built my log home in 1990 mostly, funds were tight but I got it done, things eased up when my other home sold too, but by then I had given up on a fireplace with chimney, the pellet stove was a viable alternative is why I have it. If I had a firplace insert, I'd either replace with new, build one, or fix the blowers in the old one (built one for a buddy, used two Fasco blowers from WW Grainger, in 1984, still going at buddy's house). I like my pellet stove but If it ever gives up, I'll replace it with either gas or wood stove if I have to add a flue even.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Quad cb1200. Hi med low heat, high med low fans, nothing more that 2 switches for and idiot renter to mess with. Everything else is controled by the board and safeties.
All well and good Sysko but there is still one inherent issue, Fly ash and cleaning the stove and venting regularly. Not something a renter is likely to do with any regularity.

Having owned rental properties for decades, I'm here to tell you that no matter what any renter says they will do, what they actually do and what they say are 2 different animals. Why I have all the utility rooms in all my rentals separated off and under lock and key and I keep the key. If there is an issue, call me and I will either handle it or call one of my contractors to handle it but don't fiddle with anything because your fiddling will only make a small issue a large issue. Been down that road before, I learned the hard (and expensive) way.

IOW, keep your mitts off. Why they all have central high efficiency furnaces and ac units and no fireplaces or biomass stoves. HWH is also high efficiency.

2 of them had fireplaces and chimneys and I had them removed entirely and drywalled up and the chimneys taken out. HF furnaces and HWH's are direct vent, PVC pipe. My philosophy is, you want an electric heater 'cause your totsies get cold, have at it because you pay the electric bill and a 1500 watt resistance heater around here can add a quick 50 to your electric bill in a month and you pay the freight so have at it.
 

gfreek

Minister of Fire
Nov 5, 2010
1,421
Attica,,New York
Free standing stove gives u complete 360 for cleaning and relacement of any motors that go on you. Distribution , exhaust etc. Inserts have to be pulled out on a dolly or stand of sorts just to get to certain areas that are a must to clean eventually.
Free standing with complete access would be the best..Pellet stoves are not set it and forget it. They will need maintenance, either from the front , sides or rear..all..
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
4,206
Lorraine NY
All well and good Sysko but there is still one inherent issue, Fly ash and cleaning the stove and venting regularly. Not something a renter is likely to do with any regularity.

Having owned rental properties for decades, I'm here to tell you that no matter what any renter says they will do, what they actually do and what they say are 2 different animals. Why I have all the utility rooms in all my rentals separated off and under lock and key and I keep the key. If there is an issue, call me and I will either handle it or call one of my contractors to handle it but don't fiddle with anything because your fiddling will only make a small issue a large issue. Been down that road before, I learned the hard (and expensive) way.

IOW, keep your mitts off. Why they all have central high efficiency furnaces and ac units and no fireplaces or biomass stoves. HWH is also high efficiency.

2 of them had fireplaces and chimneys and I had them removed entirely and drywalled up and the chimneys taken out. HF furnaces and HWH's are direct vent, PVC pipe. My philosophy is, you want an electric heater 'cause your totsies get cold, have at it because you pay the electric bill and a 1500 watt resistance heater around here can add a quick 50 to your electric bill in a month and you pay the freight so have at it.

i know but I don’t own the cabin and i have no control over what the man wants anymore than you do. so i give him info for him to make his decision. Not up to me
 
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