wood burning fireplace insert - does the brand matter? Also, dealer markup.

WaGreg

New Member
Sep 12, 2020
4
Washington
Hello everyone, I am brand new to the forum.

Recently purchased a house with a fireplace in a great shape with very little use. I have access to very cheap firewood, thinking about getting an insert to save some heat pump electricity.

There is a Blaze King dealer nearby. Interestingly, they accidentally shared the wrong price list with me from which I calculated they have 60% markup on fireplaces, this will help with negotiations for sure...

However, there are many other brands that can be ordered online. Are some better than others?

Lastly, how much could the installation cost? The chimney, damper etc seem to be in great shape.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,919
central pa
Hello everyone, I am brand new to the forum.

Recently purchased a house with a fireplace in a great shape with very little use. I have access to very cheap firewood, thinking about getting an insert to save some heat pump electricity.

There is a Blaze King dealer nearby. Interestingly, they accidentally shared the wrong price list with me from which I calculated they have 60% markup on fireplaces, this will help with negotiations for sure...

However, there are many other brands that can be ordered online. Are some better than others?

Lastly, how much could the installation cost? The chimney, damper etc seem to be in great shape.
A 60% markup isn't really that high. They need to make money. They need to pay shipping rent or mortgage insurance wages etc etc.

We would need way more info about the space and expectations from the unit to give you any real input on what stove would be a good fit.

As far as installation goes a high quality installation using a heavy duty insulated liner block off plate etc can easily cost close to the same as the stove.
 

WaGreg

New Member
Sep 12, 2020
4
Washington
Thanks for responding! I am attaching here a picture of the fireplace and measurements. The fireplace is NOT on the exterior wall if that matter, is fairly centrally located within the house. One story house, rather well insulated. 1800 SF, zone 6B. We have a fairly recent and efficient heat pump and electricity is rather inexpensive hear, but would want to use the insert for supplemental heat on the coldest days and just for the pleasure of it I suppose.
 

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,700
South Puget Sound, WA
There are several brands that look like they will fit. Typically inserts are about ~23" high. If the rear of the fireplace is sloped, measure the depth again at that height.
 

WaGreg

New Member
Sep 12, 2020
4
Washington
Thanks, yes, certainly there are multiple that fit, my question is whether it matters what we buy in terms of reliability and performance. I have now learned that there are generally two types of inserts - those with the catalytic converter and those that reburn wood gas differently.

For example, I have Lopi dealer and Blaze King dealer nearby. Lopi dealer tells me that Blaze King stoves are much inferior, they dont heat up the house, need much maintenance and Blaze King cheats on tests. But it seems that BK products enjoy good reputation on this board.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,700
South Puget Sound, WA
Is this the owner of the place or a salesperson? He is blowing smoke. Any cat stove including Lopi hybrids will need a bit more maintenance. Heating the house is a matter of proper sizing to the output to the heat loss of the house. It's no fault of a BK stove or any other. If this salesperson keeps spinning yarns like this I would find another.
 

WaGreg

New Member
Sep 12, 2020
4
Washington
well, that is why I question the value dealers provide at their 60% markup... This dealer sells Lopi only, so they may be a bit biased...
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,700
South Puget Sound, WA
This dealer sells Lopi only, so they may be a bit biased...
May be? I expect that BK stoves in Walla Walla are their prime competition. I'm surprised they are able to survive selling only one brand.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
Good morning. When it comes to inserts, there are two types. Flush (or nearly) and hearth heaters. The flush inserts provide a clean profile and more often than not, in very cold situations, fans will help move the hot air into the room. In these models the firebox sits further back into your fireplace.

Hearth heaters sit out prominently onto the hearth. They tend to provide excellent radiant heat. As an example, our Princess insert sits about 13" in front and 13" behind the front of the fireplace. Hearth heaters work really well without fans or blowers, but even these may be needed on the coldest of days or nights.

If you like the idea of a hearth heater, look at ours (of course), KUMA, Regency and a few others. If you want a flush/semi flush wood insert, there are plenty to choose from on the market. Remember you must have at least 16" of ember protection in front of the unit. With a hearth mounted insert, you may need to explore a few options to extend the hearth. You can choose a hearth rug, hearth pad (made just for such situations) and of course just adding more tile in front.

Travis is a superbly run company and they make a great line of products. I am 100% confident their management would not agree nor appreciate the comments made by the dealer.

This forum and it's members will help you.....
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,919
central pa
Good morning. When it comes to inserts, there are two types. Flush (or nearly) and hearth heaters. The flush inserts provide a clean profile and more often than not, in very cold situations, fans will help move the hot air into the room. In these models the firebox sits further back into your fireplace.

Hearth heaters sit out prominently onto the hearth. They tend to provide excellent radiant heat. As an example, our Princess insert sits about 13" in front and 13" behind the front of the fireplace. Hearth heaters work really well without fans or blowers, but even these may be needed on the coldest of days or nights.

If you like the idea of a hearth heater, look at ours (of course), KUMA, Regency and a few others. If you want a flush/semi flush wood insert, there are plenty to choose from on the market. Remember you must have at least 16" of ember protection in front of the unit. With a hearth mounted insert, you may need to explore a few options to extend the hearth. You can choose a hearth rug, hearth pad (made just for such situations) and of course just adding more tile in front.

Travis is a superbly run company and they make a great line of products. I am 100% confident their management would not agree nor appreciate the comments made by the dealer.

This forum and it's members will help you.....
Are there hearth rugs that qualify as ember protection?

And to the op check the manufacturers instructions. Some inserts require more than just ember protection for the hearth extension
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
Are there hearth rugs that qualify as ember protection?

And to the op check the manufacturers instructions. Some inserts require more than just ember protection for the hearth extension
Not certain, but certainly not for units requiring r-Value. Let me look into that.
 
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BKVP

Minister of Fire

Linked is the standard that must be met to make certain claims.


This seems to be the standard that must be met by carpets or rugs. Pretty vague, but most definitely there are rugs that state there intended use is for ember and radiant heat. I think a hearth extension is the way to go.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,919
central pa

Linked is the standard that must be met to make certain claims.


This seems to be the standard that must be met by carpets or rugs. Pretty vague, but most definitely there are rugs that state there intended use is for ember and radiant heat. I think a hearth extension is the way to go.
Yeah i have never seen a rug that is anything more than fire resistant. It needs to be non-combustible to qualify as ember protection
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
83,700
South Puget Sound, WA
Some are made of fiberglass and are supposed to be non-combustible. Still, I would not depend on one. The hearth extension is also supposed to be fixed in place and not move around. Little rugs like this can move around a lot.