Stoll Heat Champion - Any actual users (or know someone with one)?

Cfran88

New Member
Jul 11, 2019
38
Central Ohio
I've searched here and google. I've found less than 5 reviews or people even just saying they have one (and they don't seem to be active on this site anymore). But Heat Champions have been selling at least a decade so someone must be buying them. I HATE the idea of losing all the heat from the fire and my house up the chimney so I advocated for an insert. My husband wants a traditional fireplace and wants to watch the flames with as much view as possible. This product seems to be the only thing I've found that might make both of us happy (He begrudgingly said I could have the insert but I gotta let the guy have a "win" once in a while ;)).

I know Heat Champion is not as good for heat or burn times as inserts but honestly we don't need an insert, we mainly just wanna burn for ambiance and a touch of heat (This one room does run colder than the rest of the house because it only has a crawl space below that's not heated - the rest of the house has the heated basement. And our ranch layout means no stove will ever replace running the furnace.) And I do like the grill and kettle stove add-ons (we love to cookout on the firepit so I think we'd actually utilize at least the grill). We have a whole house natural gas generator so I'm not too concerned about no blower during power outages.

But the price for these are very high. So I'd like to hear from someone that's had ANY experience with a Heat Champion (even if hearsay from friends or customers) to make sure it's not just money and wood down the drain. There is a local dealer I plan to talk to but I can't fully trust anyone that is ultimately trying to make a sale.

Thank you
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,658
South Puget Sound, WA
The Stoll is a flashback to the 70s. I wouldn't pay much for one. It's not really an insert, it's more like a heat exchanger with glass doors. Are they still selling them? If so, what are they asking?
 

Cfran88

New Member
Jul 11, 2019
38
Central Ohio
The Stoll is a flashback to the 70s. I wouldn't pay much for one. It's not really an insert, it's more like a heat exchanger with glass doors. Are they still selling them? If so, what are they asking?
I do know they are still for sale. A local hearth store confirmed they sell it. Is the Heat Champion model or the Stoll brand itself a "flashback"? If you don't know much about this particular model, what are your thoughts on the brand? Might you know any other items that are a similar concept? As for what appeals to me, I thought I stated that in my original post but sorry if I was a bit long winded.

Long story short: I'd like but don't NEED an insert and my husband doesn't want one, he wants a traditional look and watch the flames. I don't want to to lose heat from the fire or my home, it can operate with doors shut and has a blower (this room is colder than the rest of the house). This unit is marketed as hybrid and could possibly make us both happy. I also like the cooking features (mainly the grill). I don't like the price but I'd pay it if it's a quality unit - we both love sitting by a fire and I think we'd use it several times a week. I'll never be happy with a regular fireplace (had one before, ignored it d/t heat issue)
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,658
South Puget Sound, WA
Well, it's better than an open fireplace for reducing heat loss, but as you noted it's not going to be great for clean burning or saving wood. Stoll is a well known name for fireplace doors and has been around for a while. How much are they asking for this unit?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,475
central pa
I've searched here and google. I've found less than 5 reviews or people even just saying they have one (and they don't seem to be active on this site anymore). But Heat Champions have been selling at least a decade so someone must be buying them. I HATE the idea of losing all the heat from the fire and my house up the chimney so I advocated for an insert. My husband wants a traditional fireplace and wants to watch the flames with as much view as possible. This product seems to be the only thing I've found that might make both of us happy (He begrudgingly said I could have the insert but I gotta let the guy have a "win" once in a while ;)).

I know Heat Champion is not as good for heat or burn times as inserts but honestly we don't need an insert, we mainly just wanna burn for ambiance and a touch of heat (This one room does run colder than the rest of the house because it only has a crawl space below that's not heated - the rest of the house has the heated basement. And our ranch layout means no stove will ever replace running the furnace.) And I do like the grill and kettle stove add-ons (we love to cookout on the firepit so I think we'd actually utilize at least the grill). We have a whole house natural gas generator so I'm not too concerned about no blower during power outages.

But the price for these are very high. So I'd like to hear from someone that's had ANY experience with a Heat Champion (even if hearsay from friends or customers) to make sure it's not just money and wood down the drain. There is a local dealer I plan to talk to but I can't fully trust anyone that is ultimately trying to make a sale.

Thank you
Don't waste your money. They gain you very little for allot of money
 

weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,749
Central Mass
Theres a lot of inserts where you can have a good view of the fire.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,658
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes there are, with the caveat that most are not designed for open door burning. The Osburn Matrix does have a screen option if this is a desired feature.

Note that fully seasoned firewood is a necessity for satisfactory operation.
 

Cfran88

New Member
Jul 11, 2019
38
Central Ohio
Thanks for the input everyone. I went to hearth store today and saw a few things in person. I didn't even ask for the price of the heat champion as the guy said I'll still lose a lot more heat than what it returns.

He pointed me in the direction of a few Lopi models still for sale that tend to be more drafty because I have a short chimney. I guess they don't meet the new 2020 regs so they might be chopped at any point. (I *think* my chimney is only 10 feet but he didn't recommend extending it until I saw if I actually had problems drafting with whatever system I chose. I was shocked to hear they would still install it on a short chimney, I thought they'd stick to the manufacturer requirements. Or will they say anything to make a sale?). In person the fireboxes didn't look to small but he showed me a dirty one. Do your windows get black quickly?
 

Cfran88

New Member
Jul 11, 2019
38
Central Ohio
Yes there are, with the caveat that most are not designed for open door burning. The Osburn Matrix does have a screen option if this is a desired feature.

Note that fully seasoned firewood is a necessity for satisfactory operation.
Will having the screen door open on the Matrix still lose a lot of heat?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,475
central pa
Thanks for the input everyone. I went to hearth store today and saw a few things in person. I didn't even ask for the price of the heat champion as the guy said I'll still lose a lot more heat than what it returns.

He pointed me in the direction of a few Lopi models still for sale that tend to be more drafty because I have a short chimney. I guess they don't meet the new 2020 regs so they might be chopped at any point. (I *think* my chimney is only 10 feet but he didn't recommend extending it until I saw if I actually had problems drafting with whatever system I chose. I was shocked to hear they would still install it on a short chimney, I thought they'd stick to the manufacturer requirements. Or will they say anything to make a sale?). In person the fireboxes didn't look to small but he showed me a dirty one. Do your windows get black quickly?
I would do the same. Try it and see how it works. You can always extend it with class a later.

Will having the screen door open on the Matrix still lose a lot of heat?
Yes you will.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,658
South Puget Sound, WA
Will having the screen door open on the Matrix still lose a lot of heat?
Yes, it is functioning as a fireplace then.

Osburn inserts in general work ok on shorter chimneys, though 10' may be pushing it. I'm not sure about the Matrix specifically, but you could ask them. They recommend a 12" section of rigid pipe above the chimney top. Pacific Energy inserts also work ok on shorter chimneys.

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Edmonchuck

New Member
Oct 13, 2019
26
West Central Alberta
Hey all!

Sorry to zombie this thread, but I too am looking at the Heat Champion, or even just the front, to cover a masonry fireplace. I live on a ranch, so wood is not an issue. However, like the OP, I found the combination of the heat exchanger and the doors rather pricey ($3500 shipped).

I can build a heat exchanger easily enough, it is the doors that become the issue. @Cfran88, did you eventually buy an insert?
 

john26

Burning Hunk
Oct 27, 2008
205
jrshrum@yahoo.com
I was interested in the heat champion as well. I went to a local stoll dealer and inquired about one, they sent a service tech out. He asked "why in the world would you be interested in one of them?" He said "they are basically for aesthetics if you wnat the looks save ypour money and buy the doors if you want heat get an insert."
 

Cfran88

New Member
Jul 11, 2019
38
Central Ohio
Hi, pretty much the same thing happened to me. Inquired about it at the store and they said it really doesn't do much.

We ended up with a Lopi Flush Hybrid Fyre. My husband fell in love with the large, it was the only thing he'd consider. But our fireplace couldn't fit that so he settled for a medium (which is the only size that is non-cat). It gets installed Nov 1st so no word yet on how it works.
 

Edmonchuck

New Member
Oct 13, 2019
26
West Central Alberta
Thanks all!

I'm trying to balance getting something that helps seal a hole and would help get some more heat, vs destroying a perfectly good chimney and gaining only a percent or two. I burn mainly Trembling Aspen as I have acres of that up here. I do get birch, but with 100 acres of Aspen and its fast regrowth, it becomes the primary fuel source. So, for me anyway, 70% vs 80% efficient is like spending tons of cash to save 1 mpg....
 

Cfran88

New Member
Jul 11, 2019
38
Central Ohio
Thanks all!

I'm trying to balance getting something that helps seal a hole and would help get some more heat, vs destroying a perfectly good chimney and gaining only a percent or two. I burn mainly Trembling Aspen as I have acres of that up here. I do get birch, but with 100 acres of Aspen and its fast regrowth, it becomes the primary fuel source. So, for me anyway, 70% vs 80% efficient is like spending tons of cash to save 1 mpg....
I'm a little confused on what would destroy the chimney. Are you considering closing it off permanently? Do you already heat with wood from another stove?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,475
central pa
Thanks all!

I'm trying to balance getting something that helps seal a hole and would help get some more heat, vs destroying a perfectly good chimney and gaining only a percent or two. I burn mainly Trembling Aspen as I have acres of that up here. I do get birch, but with 100 acres of Aspen and its fast regrowth, it becomes the primary fuel source. So, for me anyway, 70% vs 80% efficient is like spending tons of cash to save 1 mpg....
I also am not sure what the 70 vs 80% is comparing. If you are comparing the Stoll to a modern insert it is maybe 15 or 20 to 70 or 80
 
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Edmonchuck

New Member
Oct 13, 2019
26
West Central Alberta
While I don't think the Stoll set up would even get close to a modern insert, I have rebuilt my basement firebox w/a heat exchanger by adding steel doors with air intakes, lining, and better damper control and doubled my burn time. It also heats the 3,600 sq foot basement to a constant 26 degrees C with little effort, and I've had it up to 30 degC on occasion with little extra fuel. So, 10-20% vs an open firebox on a Stoll would be more a poor installation vs a true performance number from the product. Again, I have no doubt that the Heat Champion is not the most efficient, could never beat a modern insert, and won't spend too much time trying to defend the product that seems to be rather panned and expensive for what you get.

I have a neighbor that uses my fuel as well, and he has an Osburn 2200. He does not fare much better than I do for burn times vs my basement mods. Anecdotal, yes, but it is what it is.

All I was trying to say is that the law of diminishing returns vs investment is a consideration here. I have a rather ornate firebox that I was looking to cover with something. A modern insert may not look as...er...appropriate or fit the overall look. Anything good enough becomes super expensive, and then when you add the chimney mods, it doesn't make financial sense.

It is not a huge heat source, it is more decorative. I just want to enjoy the fire without turning it into a very effective but unwanted vacuum pump. I'll just keep looking and I appreciate the advice.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
4,208
Downeast Maine
If you want to enjoy a fireplace without loosing the heat, look at high efficiency EPA approved fireplaces. I take it you don't want to remove the damper for a liner to go in. From what I've read here it's not very hard to reverse the process. An EPA approved freestanding stove, insert, or fireplace will not only keep your basement comfortable, but it will keep the whole house warm.

Perhaps you wanted to see if your opinions about the fireplace mods and heat exchangers could be backed up by others. I really wanted an antique stove, I have no regrets about getting an EPA stove. There's a lot of collective wisdom on this forum.
 

Edmonchuck

New Member
Oct 13, 2019
26
West Central Alberta
Thanks for the replies.

I've attended more than a couple expos and even went to a few stores. What I am looking at is about 8-10K all in, and the masonry chimney will have to be bashed out rather than just left open, making the change irreversible unless I want to reinstall the brick one day.

I'm just going to back off on the whole thing. Natural Gas is fairly cheap here for now (barring billing fees, but that is about the same cost as what it takes for me to get wood).

I appreciate the input, and sorry to trouble.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,475
central pa
Thanks for the replies.

I've attended more than a couple expos and even went to a few stores. What I am looking at is about 8-10K all in, and the masonry chimney will have to be bashed out rather than just left open, making the change irreversible unless I want to reinstall the brick one day.

I'm just going to back off on the whole thing. Natural Gas is fairly cheap here for now (barring billing fees, but that is about the same cost as what it takes for me to get wood).

I appreciate the input, and sorry to trouble.
Why would the masonry need to be bashed out?
 

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,909
Indiana
Thanks for the replies.

I've attended more than a couple expos and even went to a few stores. What I am looking at is about 8-10K all in, and the masonry chimney will have to be bashed out rather than just left open, making the change irreversible unless I want to reinstall the brick one day.

I'm just going to back off on the whole thing. Natural Gas is fairly cheap here for now (barring billing fees, but that is about the same cost as what it takes for me to get wood).

I appreciate the input, and sorry to trouble.
I’m not following you? The champion is installed like an insert, the entire thing is custom made to fit YOUR fireplace. What have you been told..?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,475
central pa
I’m not following you? The champion is installed like an insert, the entire thing is custom made to fit YOUR fireplace. What have you been told..?
Yes and it is not much more than a glorified set of doors. No way is it worth the cost
 

Edmonchuck

New Member
Oct 13, 2019
26
West Central Alberta
I’m not following you? The champion is installed like an insert, the entire thing is custom made to fit YOUR fireplace. What have you been told..?
No, as stated earlier, I wrote off the Champion as pretty much unanimously here people made it clear that I was a fool/idiot/complete moron for buying this.

So, I looked at the Blaze King Princess, Osburn 2400, and a few others since my last post in October. When installers came out, not only did they want to charge me a lot more for being about 3 miles outside the service zone, but they looked at the flue and said that it wouldn't be a simple job - it would take some brick bashing to make it right. So, for the Blaze King, I'd be looking at 10K all in. ...and given that I burn mainly Trembling Aspen, there appears to be no need to be going for the uber-efficient stove with either the great cats nor the secondary combustion as it appears that I would only get that for a few minutes anyway...and many here seem to have trouble keeping it going on a good fire anyway. So, I am not going to pay for chords and chords of Maple to be sent my way when I have acres of Trembling Aspen, a lot of deadfall that would be more than I can burn yearly, and then drop $10K to get a few more minutes of heat.

It literally looks like a huge law of diminishing returns the further I go down this rathole vs just getting a really efficient NG central furnace to replace my 1990's Lennox. I was planning to use some of the heat to keep the stress off the Lennox...
 

Edmonchuck

New Member
Oct 13, 2019
26
West Central Alberta
Yes and it is not much more than a glorified set of doors. No way is it worth the cost

Yeah, starting at $3500 for this cover is not where I thought it would start...but that is where the "basic" model fell in.