Trying to pick a good, small cat insert......

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,758
South Puget Sound, WA
It looks like other than the trim, the Expedition II and the Vermont Castings Montpelier II are the same insert. There are some early reviews on the Montpelier II here. Owners seem happy so far. Old timers are skeptical of the automated air control.
 

rwhite

Minister of Fire
Nov 8, 2011
1,800
North Central Idaho
IMO, if I was looking for a occasional use/backup as well as ambiance I would avoid a catalytic stove. I have a princess. Great stove and it heats wonderful but it is boring. The ambiance is gone as soon as I close the bypass and turn it down.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,362
SE PA
IMO, if I was looking for a occasional use/backup as well as ambiance I would avoid a catalytic stove. I have a princess. Great stove and it heats wonderful but it is boring. The ambiance is gone as soon as I close the bypass and turn it down.
Point well taken. I read that, when I turn it down it goes dark.

And I assume that I am not supposed to burn small loads with the bypass open when I just want a little ambiance fire?
 

rwhite

Minister of Fire
Nov 8, 2011
1,800
North Central Idaho
Point well taken. I read that, when I turn it down it goes dark.

And I assume that I am not supposed to burn small loads with the bypass open when I just want a little ambiance fire?
I would think a small fire would not hurt anything but your pocket book. Big expense for a catalytic stove that will not get used properly. I'd personally stick with a traditional secondary burn tube stove. Can be had a lot cheaper and will fill your needs of ambiance and a back up heat source. There are plenty out there that will carry a fire a long time, burn clean while fulfilling your needs
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,758
South Puget Sound, WA
Point well taken. I read that, when I turn it down it goes dark.

And I assume that I am not supposed to burn small loads with the bypass open when I just want a little ambiance fire?
Correct.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,758
South Puget Sound, WA
There's a Sirocco 25 insert for sale in NH if you are interested in a long drive.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,362
SE PA
Poking around, found this thread:

Where they found large window flush inserts:

The stoves our local dealers have that we liked in order from cheapest to most expensive are:
- Enerzone Destination 2.7-i
- Quadra-Fire Expedition II
- Green Mountain GMi 70
- Vermont Castings Montpellier II
- Travis Industries (Lopi) Large arched

The Destination 2.7-i looks good to me....found a dealer 9 miles away.

And I have to say, I am turned off by the no air control on the Quadra-Fire.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,758
South Puget Sound, WA
It's a good, well-made insert that will fit your criteria with the same firebox as its Osburn and Drolet siblings. Having a dealer close by is also nice.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,681
Iowa
Point well taken. I read that, when I turn it down it goes dark.

And I assume that I am not supposed to burn small loads with the bypass open when I just want a little ambiance fire?
We occasionally enjoy our BK for ambiance. Simply. Don't turn it down far enough to extinguish your flame. Bypass closed.
Either way it sounds like you are getting a good amount of feedback here! Enjoy the research.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,362
SE PA
The Destination 2.3i looks like it fits the bill. EPA 2020 and I can buy a screen for it for ambiance fires. The surround looks like its too short, but I assume the installer will have a solution.

Esp if I am moving in a couple years. The next owner will like/need simple controls.

The dealer is in a 'cheaper' suburb than the BK one... hopefully the markup will be lower.

I basically know I can't sell the house with a 40 year old stove on a direct connect into a clay chimney. So I'm going to be paying money to get it 'fixed' at selling. I fear that I pull the old stove out, and get the tiles inspected and they get failed, and I have to reline or get some other $$$ solution. Nor do I want to give the next owner an open fireplace in my dense suburban area.

So I figure I 'update' what I have now, enjoy the functionality, and remove a risk/hassle when I sell.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,362
SE PA
Osburn Matrix looks like it has the same guts and specs, with a face that I like a little better.

Also by SBI. I like to look of these better than the Drolets.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,217
central pa
The Destination 2.3i looks like it fits the bill. EPA 2020 and I can buy a screen for it for ambiance fires. The surround looks like its too short, but I assume the installer will have a solution.

Esp if I am moving in a couple years. The next owner will like/need simple controls.

The dealer is in a 'cheaper' suburb than the BK one... hopefully the markup will be lower.

I basically know I can't sell the house with a 40 year old stove on a direct connect into a clay chimney. So I'm going to be paying money to get it 'fixed' at selling. I fear that I pull the old stove out, and get the tiles inspected and they get failed, and I have to reline or get some other $$$ solution. Nor do I want to give the next owner an open fireplace in my dense suburban area.

So I figure I 'update' what I have now, enjoy the functionality, and remove a risk/hassle when I sell.
Don't bother with the screen
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,362
SE PA
Don't bother with the screen
Thanks. Agreed. Just content that the manufacturer is OK with a small burn with the door open.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
24,217
central pa
Thanks. Agreed. Just content that the manufacturer is OK with a small burn with the door open.
Yeah most people that get them just use them once or twice but then they collect dust
 
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semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
4,015
SW Virginia
Osburn Matrix looks like it has the same guts and specs, with a face that I like a little better.

Also by SBI. I like to look of these better than the Drolets.
I really like the look of that Matrix! The Osburn Inspire also looks nice and doesn't have a blower.
I feel like the classic look of our Oslo does not fit in with our mid-century modern stylings.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,362
SE PA
Haha @semipro. I must be getting close to deciding, bc now I'm torn between the Matrix and the Destination, and leaning a bit towards the latter. But tomorrow I will probably be back to the Matrix. :rolleyes:
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
4,015
SW Virginia
Haha @semipro. I must be getting close to deciding, bc now I'm torn between the Matrix and the Destination, and leaning a bit towards the latter. But tomorrow I will probably be back to the Matrix. :rolleyes:
Decisions like this are tough for me. I tend to research and dwell on things for a while and then leave it alone for a bit. When I come back to it later almost always my priorities have changed and I go a different direction. I used to have a prof who suggested doing something similar on tests -- read through each question then start solving. He maintained that while you were consciously working on a problem, your subconscious would be working on the others.

The thing that concerns me about your installation the most is the chimney/flue. I installed my rigid 6" dia. SS flue in a 12x12 ceramic and recall it being challenging because of misaligned tiles, the smoke shelf, etc. Granted, the pipe was insulated which complicates things but I'd really suggest you make sure you can run the required liner in your existing 6-in. before you commit on the stove.

Side note: this thread has brought me to realize just how much @begreen actually knows about this stuff -- amazing.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,862
Downeast Maine
Decisions like this are tough for me. I tend to research and dwell on things for a while and then leave it alone for a bit. When I come back to it later almost always my priorities have changed and I go a different direction. I used to have a prof who suggested doing something similar on tests -- read through each question then start solving. He maintained that while you were consciously working on a problem, your subconscious would be working on the others.

The thing that concerns me about your installation the most is the chimney/flue. I installed my rigid 6" dia. SS flue in a 12x12 ceramic and recall it being challenging because of misaligned tiles, the smoke shelf, etc. Granted, the pipe was insulated which complicates things but I'd really suggest you make sure you can run the required liner in your existing 6-in. before you commit on the stove.

Side note: this thread has brought me to realize just how much @begreen actually knows about this stuff -- amazing.
I'm worried my clay liner will not play nice with the rigid insulated liner I plan on placing inside of it, but breaking the tiles is always an option even if it is messy.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,362
SE PA
Its been a few years, but I did take a good look down my flue from above. The tiles at that time were clean as a whistle, appeared to be in good condition, and not a lot of mortar sticking out. If I was doing the install myself, I would worry about getting 'stuck' having to return/buy a new liner, etc. Another reason why I am NOT doing the liner install myself.

i will find out soon what the pros think they can install in there. I think it will be tight but doable. Maybe BG's oval thing.

My old stove was a slammer when i bought the house (a couple years before I found you guys), no cap, and the fireplace was filled with dry leaves that had blown in from the top. The stove has an exhaust vent corresponding to a 8" round flue, so I didn't want to vent it into a 6" liner. I upgraded it to a direct connect myself back in aught-eight, only cost me a few hundred bucks. Elkimmeg would not approve, but it has burned waaaay better on the direct connect to the 8x12 tiles than in slammer mode.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,362
SE PA
As for the stove, I want a flush insert with 'modern' design, a simple surround, and EPA 2020. I live in a HCOL area, so a pro install is gonna cost. I will get three quotes and decide. And honestly, if the BK comes in close to the others I like, I might still go for it.

My hearth front area is a mess....the floor is a concrete slab, with wall to wall carpeting edged at a proper distance from the current stove. But I have 60 yo asbestos linoleum tiles under the carpet, and they extend into the hearth area 6", with black asbestos mastic under them. I just covered that whole hearth area up with a large dark colored but attractive wool rug. So the mess factor from the flush insert with no ash lip....I'm ready for it.

It'll be interesting what the pros think of that...
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,862
Downeast Maine
My cookstove has no ash lip and every time I open the door I get a small pile of ash on the floor, which is saltillo tile. The only thing I don't like about my cookstove. Probably will be the only thing you don't like about a stove without an ash lip.
 
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xshmoox

Member
Nov 1, 2015
22
Bucks Co., Pa
Hey I see you’re in se pa. I’m in the churchville area. I was gonna go with the Sirocco/Ashford but it’s just to close to risk pulling the trigger on one. I’m installing myself. But try Rattan’s fireplace over in Burlington nj. They were offering a good discount on in stock units if I paid cash/check and picked the unit up. They carry Bk, pe, hearthstone, Vermont castings. I’m still eyeing on the princess insert the wife just hates the look. But it would be like at least 500 cheaper through them.
 
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semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
4,015
SW Virginia
it has burned waaaay better on the direct connect to the 8x12 tiles than in slammer mode.
I made the previous comment mistakenly thinking you had smaller clay tiles -- I'm not sure why.
8x12 sounds totally doable for a 6-in dia. or oval pipe.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,758
South Puget Sound, WA
To compare with the Matrix, also look at the Regency CI2700, FPX Medium Flush insert and the PE Neo 2.5.
 

woodgeek

Minister of Fire
Jan 27, 2008
4,362
SE PA
To compare with the Matrix, also look at the Regency CI2700, FPX Medium Flush insert and the PE Neo 2.5.
One of the vendors I reached out to sells FPX stuff....

These places are all slow to call me back, and seem busy. I guess there is a rush bc of 'winter is coming' and '2020 tax breaks'.

I guess I can get $300 for any stove with eff >75%. Is that gonna be any EPA 2020 model in practice?