Very Pleased With Eco Fans and Axial Fans

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Hiker

New Member
I have had a Lopi Revere insert in my rock fireplace for some years. We installed it with the metal surround that closes off the fireplace opening. I found out right away that I needed to buy the electric blower to get the heat out of the fireplace and into the room. The motors go bad after several years and I have bought at least 3 so far. They are expensive and the current one is on its way out. The blowers do an excellent job but are LOUD.

This year I removed the metal surround for better air circulation and bought two heat powered EcoFan Airmax stove top fans which from Home Depot together were significantly less than the cost of a new blower. They have a low humming sound but are massively quieter, use no electricity, and are circulating the air well enough. If the power goes out they are still doing their job. They do not move close to as much air and do not draw it directly from around the surface of the stove as the blower but they run continuously and overall work very well. The air movement is subtle. They do not produce a wind.

I also bought a set of two AC Infinity AXIAL S1238 fans that run off one rheostat controller that I mounted in the upper corner of the doorway from my living room to circulate air into other parts of the house. They are a little less than 5" square but blow substantial air for their size. I only find the need to run them occasionally but they do a good job when I do.

It is all working very well.
 

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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,141
central pa
I have had a Lopi Revere insert in my rock fireplace for some years. We installed it with the metal surround that closes off the fireplace opening. I found out right away that I needed to buy the electric blower to get the heat out of the fireplace and into the room. The motors go bad after several years and I have bought at least 3 so far. They are expensive and the current one is on its way out. The blowers do an excellent job but are LOUD.

This year I removed the metal surround for better air circulation and bought two heat powered EcoFan Airmax stove top fans which from Home Depot together were significantly less than the cost of a new blower. They have a low humming sound but are massively quieter, use no electricity, and are circulating the air well enough. If the power goes out they are still doing their job. They do not move close to as much air and do not draw it directly from around the surface of the stove as the blower but they run continuously and overall work very well. The air movement is subtle. They do not produce a wind.

I also bought a set of two AC Infinity AXIAL S1238 fans that run off one rheostat controller that I mounted in the upper corner of the doorway from my living room to circulate air into other parts of the house. They are a little less than 5" square but blow substantial air for their size. I only find the need to run them occasionally but they do a good job when I do.

It is all working very well.
Do you have an insulated block off plate above the stove? Insulation behind it?
 

Hiker

New Member
Do you have an insulated block off plate above the stove? Insulation behind it?
It is difficult to see what is up there now. My contractor friend that installed it and I talked recently and neither could remember exactly how it was blocked off but I know something was done. I have been considering putting some time of insulation around the back and sides but have not come up with anything yet. Was looking at ceramic or rock wall batting but there is some concern with the potential for the release of airborne fibers.

Also, I do not want to remove the stove since due to the clearances of the fireplace we were barely able to fit it in. Being able to place and somehow attach insulation will take some doing. This is a true log cabin built in the 1930's or 1940's and there is a lot that is not standardized. But then again, neither am I. LOL
 

Bolson32

New Member
Jan 30, 2020
20
Minnesota
Interesting, help me understand what that metal shroud does, other than look nice? I have a similar problem, exact same setup. I have one of those heat fans right now but with the shroud on, it doesn't appear to do much.

I was going to pickup this aftermarket version as you can replace just the blower unit once you have the whole setup which is only about $80.


Given the description, I'm hoping it addresses the concerns you bring up. Maybe the standard mounting hardware and better bearings vs rivets would cut down on some of the noise?

"So why re-invent an OEM kit that works perfectly fine? If several years in the industry have taught us one thing, it's that simple changes matter. The most common complaint we receive is that the OEM kit's blowers are not serviceable, so we now offer a replacement blower that works across several Lopi and Avalon models. Secondly, we've eliminated the hard to remove rivets and replaced them with standard hardware, which makes servicing the blowers incredibly easy. The high heat environment in which these blowers operate can also lead to premature bearing failure and composite wheel distortion. We've addressed these issues by replacing the composite wheel with aluminum and upgrading to a 100% ball bearing assembly. The net effect of these changes is a better than OEM blower assembly that not only pushes more air, but costs far less than the OEM assembly."
 

MainePatsFan

Member
Nov 24, 2007
71
Southern Maine
When I bought my current house the fireplace came with a stainless liner and I looked up and could just look up the brick chimney all the way to the top. All I could think is half the heat the prior owners generated went right up the chimney as they had a stove that sat partly in the fireplace also. So I bought a bunch of Roxul and stuffed it around the liner sealing every crevice. I probably stuffed a good 20" up the chimney, the Roxul just fills the space and doesn't fall back down. I have meant to cut some metal to attach under the Roxul to provide more support and provide a more finished appearance but I have never had a problem with the Roxul since I stuffed it up there 7 years ago. I really don't think I am losing much heat up the chimney now. Most of the heat even from the back of the fireplace ends up escaping the front of the hearth and up to the ceiling. I have thought of using those stovetop fans but really I haven't had any issue with the stove warming up the downstairs and the upstairs as the heat reaches the open stairs.

In my last house the wood stove was in the breezeway on one side of the house and originally I used one of those doorway fans until I read on this forum I think that you really don't want to blow the heat away from the stove, you want to blow the cold air towards the stove so that the air displacement of the incoming cooler air will cause the warm air to move more efficiently to other parts of the house. So I tried a small floor fan aimed at the stove and it worked much better at moving the warm air to the further parts of the house.
 

Hiker

New Member
Interesting, help me understand what that metal shroud does, other than look nice? I have a similar problem, exact same setup. I have one of those heat fans right now but with the shroud on, it doesn't appear to do much.

I was going to pickup this aftermarket version as you can replace just the blower unit once you have the whole setup which is only about $80.
Once I took the shroud off, even before I got the EcoFans, it seemed that there was more warmth coming into the room which is of course pretty subjective. I would assume that if the fireplace was very cold for whatever reason that it could have the opposite effect. I think a big reason for the shrouds is for the sake of appearance. Has a more finished look. In my old cabin looks fine without it plus I have little concern regarding the appearance. Kind of like it better without the shroud. Seems a little more homey and natural.

Perhaps the newer fans will be somewhat quieter but since they are about moving a substantial amount of air I doubt it would be satisfactory for me. I think the value of the electric fan is that if you are starting a new fire want to get a lot of heat out quickly they are better. Though one thing I did not like about them was it took a fairly long time for the stove to warm up the fan thermostat for it to go on. I think it also depends on your home set up. In some situations they would circulate the air more quickly further from the stove. In my application the stove typically is going continuously though it cools down at night. Fan generally keep going all the time, slower or faster depending on the heat of the stove. The continuous operation makes a big difference. The built in electric fan would often just go off.

One thing I did not like about the electric one is that it sucks the air in from the bottom front of the stove which is the best place to pick up dust from ash, wood, etc. which accumulates on the fan blades. My dealer told me that this tends to through the fans off balance and wears them more quickly. The only real way to clean them is to pull the blower off the stove and blow it out with high pressure air (outside). It is a pain to remove the blowers since they are attached with two small hex head screws back in and under the front ash plate. I would have to lay down in front of the stove with a flashlight and a small ratchet wrench with an extension to get them off. Getting the screws back in was tricky. Not an intelligent way to attach the blower. A cloud of dust would come off the fans when I blew them out.

One more thing about the shroud. The EcoFans need to have a temperature difference to create the electricity between the heat coming off the stove top and cooler air coming from behind. Removing the shroud certainly helps that. I was surprised how little heat it took to get the fans going. Certainly less than stated in the company info. With a free standing stove they recommend placing the fan towards the back of the stove to pick up the cooler air behind it. I place the fans against the front of the cowling that the blower air comes out of . I don't have the space to put it on top of the cowling which would reduce the heat anyways coming off the stove top.

I looked into buying a replacement blower over the years from Fireplace Blowers Online which you mentioned. Cost is actually about $280 for a whole new unit or $90 for one of the fans only, or $160 for both.
 

Hiker

New Member
When I bought my current house the fireplace came with a stainless liner and I looked up and could just look up the brick chimney all the way to the top. All I could think is half the heat the prior owners generated went right up the chimney as they had a stove that sat partly in the fireplace also. So I bought a bunch of Roxul and stuffed it around the liner sealing every crevice. I probably stuffed a good 20" up the chimney, the Roxul just fills the space and doesn't fall back down. I have meant to cut some metal to attach under the Roxul to provide more support and provide a more finished appearance but I have never had a problem with the Roxul since I stuffed it up there 7 years ago. I really don't think I am losing much heat up the chimney now. Most of the heat even from the back of the fireplace ends up escaping the front of the hearth and up to the ceiling. I have thought of using those stovetop fans but really I haven't had any issue with the stove warming up the downstairs and the upstairs as the heat reaches the open stairs.

In my last house the wood stove was in the breezeway on one side of the house and originally I used one of those doorway fans until I read on this forum I think that you really don't want to blow the heat away from the stove, you want to blow the cold air towards the stove so that the air displacement of the incoming cooler air will cause the warm air to move more efficiently to other parts of the house. So I tried a small floor fan aimed at the stove and it worked much better at moving the warm air to the further parts of the house.

Regarding the Roxul I certainly think it is a good idea to have as much insulation as possible. I have been looking into either purchasing rock (as the Roxul) or ceramic batting just for more insulation back there. One concern I have, which may or may not be realistic, is that fibers can be released from the batting and breathed into the lungs (like with asbestos) which is considered a health hazard since they lodge in the lungs and stay there. I am aware that once installed there is less of a chance of fibers being released but with heating and cooling and air movement who knows. With no shroud there is nothing to contain them. In normal installations if the batting is sealed within walls. Since I tend to be proactive with health I am cautious with things like this. Problem is that there is no way of really telling what is going on. There is a lot of literature about the potential danger with those materials but it centers more around the manufacturing, handling, and installation.
 

Dustin

Minister of Fire
Sep 3, 2008
605
Western Oregon
Is the chimney lined or does it just direct dump into a masonry chimney?
 

Hiker

New Member
Is the chimney lined or does it just direct dump into a masonry chimney?
If you are asking me, there is a stainless steel double wall stove pipe running up the chimney from the stove. Would not do it any other way for various reasons. It rises a few feet above the top of the chimney which is sealed around the pipe. The pipe is braced above the chimney as well.
 
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Maine420

New Member
Nov 30, 2020
2
Kennebunk, Maine 04043
I have had a Lopi Revere insert in my rock fireplace for some years. We installed it with the metal surround that closes off the fireplace opening. I found out right away that I needed to buy the electric blower to get the heat out of the fireplace and into the room. The motors go bad after several years and I have bought at least 3 so far. They are expensive and the current one is on its way out. The blowers do an excellent job but are LOUD.

This year I removed the metal surround for better air circulation and bought two heat powered EcoFan Airmax stove top fans which from Home Depot together were significantly less than the cost of a new blower. They have a low humming sound but are massively quieter, use no electricity, and are circulating the air well enough. If the power goes out they are still doing their job. They do not move close to as much air and do not draw it directly from around the surface of the stove as the blower but they run continuously and overall work very well. The air movement is subtle. They do not produce a wind.

I also bought a set of two AC Infinity AXIAL S1238 fans that run off one rheostat controller that I mounted in the upper corner of the doorway from my living room to circulate air into other parts of the house. They are a little less than 5" square but blow substantial air for their size. I only find the need to run them occasionally but they do a good job when I do.

It is all working very well.

We have a Lopi Freedom - we JUST replaced the fans with this from FBO: https://www.fireplaceblowersonline.com/lopi---avalon-replacement-blower-bundle-promo.aspx
 

Bolson32

New Member
Jan 30, 2020
20
Minnesota
We have a Lopi Freedom - we JUST replaced the fans with this from FBO: https://www.fireplaceblowersonline.com/lopi---avalon-replacement-blower-bundle-promo.aspx

I actually JUST installed mine on Saturday and ran it on Sunday. I was surprised at how well it heated the whole house. It was below freezing outside and our furnace never actually ran after I started the fire up. Sitting at like 74 degrees most of the day. It's not mindblowing from no blower, but it's a pretty big difference. I didn't think the blower was particularly loud on a medium-ish setting. On high it is stupid loud though. But thankfully only a slight turn down from that makes it tolerable/unnoticeable.