Wood Burning Insert advice

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ReyPescador

New Member
Nov 20, 2021
5
West Chicago, Illinois
Hey everyone,

I'm looking at putting in a wood burning into our living room. I was ready to buy a 2008 Lopi Flush Mount on Facebook Marketplace, but I wanted to talk with a professional first. I went to our local store, and the salesman at the place I went strongly suggested against it, arguing that it would make the house way too hot.

I live on a wooded acre with lots of access to free oak and other firewood, so it seems like a great way to supplement my heating.

I live in the Chicago area, and I have trouble believing that I'm going to regret having a free heat source.

The floor it's in is about 500 square feet, and there are stairs about 20 feet from the fireplace that go up to the bedrooms. The salesman said that the heat would go to the bedrooms and be too hot, but it seems like we could always close the doors.

The upstairs level is also about 600 square feet. The salesman said the heat would keep out furnace from turning on, but we three zones for our boiler, so it seems like a perfect setup for me.

What do you guys think? Also, do you recommend a good used insert, or going with a cheaper Menards insert that's new?

Thanks

(I attached a picture of the room. It's about 8 foot ceilings, and the other photo is from the fireplace looking up to the rooms.

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,319
South Puget Sound, WA
Would the insert be the Lopi Declaration with the 2 doors? If so, I agree. That's a 3 cu ft stove and oversized for this area. A 1.6 to 2 cu ft insert would be a better fit.
 

ReyPescador

New Member
Nov 20, 2021
5
West Chicago, Illinois
Would the insert be the Lopi Declaration with the 2 doors? If so, I agree. That's a 3 cu ft stove and oversized for this area. A 1.6 to 2 cu ft insert would be a better fit.
Thanks for the quick reply!

I have a few options that I'm looking at, so that is really helpful. Maybe I'll look for something smaller.

The sales guy I talked with said that any stove would be too much or would lessen the enjoyment, since a smaller stove would have a smaller viewing area.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,319
South Puget Sound, WA
That salesman is not paying your heating bills. There's more to wood burning for heat than just the viewing area. This is not a big screen tv, though the fire can be more entertaining at times. A 2 cu ft insert will work. What are the fireplace dimensions?
 
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Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,615
Southeast CT
I agree that a stove size like Begreen mentioned would work well. The key to getting the right amount of heat from wood is the reloading schedule. I’m in CT and the dead of winter you’re burning pretty much 24/7. Right now in November, it depends on the day. We’re at 53 degrees at the moment and I only put a small load on this morning. Maybe another small load tonight. You put wood in when needed and not when it’s not needed. I have to imagine it gets pretty chilly in Chicago. That stove salesman sounds like he’s not giving you a good picture of reality. My guess is that he doesn’t have the product you need and doesn’t want you to go elsewhere.
 

ReyPescador

New Member
Nov 20, 2021
5
West Chicago, Illinois
Sounds good. The fireplace dimensions are about 36 x 22 x 22 (from memory).

Any recommendations on good units that are too much. I know there isn't really inventory now, but I might just save for next year.
 

ReyPescador

New Member
Nov 20, 2021
5
West Chicago, Illinois
I'm leaning toward getting a Drolet 1500i now, or possible the 1800. We have a small budget, and those are in stock and affordable.

The 1500 has a 1.9 cf firebox and the 1800 has a 2.4 cf firebox. I'm thinking that the 1500 is probably best with our setup.
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,615
Southeast CT
Sounds like a good choice for firebox size
 

jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,366
Long Island NY
I'm leaning toward getting a Drolet 1500i now, or possible the 1800. We have a small budget, and those are in stock and affordable.

The 1500 has a 1.9 cf firebox and the 1800 has a 2.4 cf firebox. I'm thinking that the 1500 is probably best with our setup.
I doubt very much you'd regret having a stove. FYI, it's often a surprise to folks investigating new installs, that the liner and install can cost as least much as the stove itself.
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,713
SE North Carolina
The 1800i feels really big to me coming from a 1.7 cu ft stove. I Did added insulation to a trio kit and did a diy install. 2000$ tax included (looks like prices have gone up since I purchased earlier this year) I have to learn how to load a stove that big. Its so large when I want a smaller fire The box feels pretty empty The 1800 can throw some heat. It sticks out quite a bit. Looking at the specs the 1800 actually is listed with a lower min burn rate. FWIW (probably not much).

I don’t care for the air control lever. It doesn’t have a good feel nor can I easily identify the current settings.

Blower is very good and quiet. Door glass stays amazingly clean. Paint smell is taking a more time to burn off than I thought. 8 fires and I can still smell it. First one was Smokey. I have 24 ‘ if liner and it’s over drafting.

I shopped for two years and I can say the Drolet line is the best value. Not the best looking but it’s easy to maintain. I was easily able to swap the blower cord to the other side of the blower.
 
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ReyPescador

New Member
Nov 20, 2021
5
West Chicago, Illinois
It looks like the 1500 surround is three inches too short for our current setup. I can raise the hearth or go with the 1800.

Does the lower minimum burn rate on the 1800 make up for it being a larger firebox size for a smaller house? Both units have the same minimum heating size--500 square feet.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,282
07462
I always suggest to go as big as you can fit, you can always run the stove with less wood, and also factor ash build up taking space which means less wood to load, you also wont need to run the blower as heard or even sometimes no blower at all and you can always open a window and get fresh air into the room which for me is a huge plus.
Salesman gave out good advice to make a new sale thats all.
 

Brokk

Member
Dec 9, 2008
126
Central/Eastern Mass
I have a small insert due to fireplace size limitations, I often wish I had bigger so I could run it longer without needing to refill it as often.

That being said, I can open the air and load it up with dry wood and get a lot of heat out very quickly, bringing the room temp up to 75F, or I can just cut back the air to nearly closed and toss in a log or two every 90 minutes through the day and just keep it warm enough to hold off a chill in the room (65F). You are in charge of how much heat you want to get out.

I definitely agree with the need to start cutting, splitting, stacking and drying your wood. The stuff I am burning now, I cut down at least 5 years ago. In the last 10 years I have never cut down a tree for firewood. I have removed them because of storm damage, to open up an area for another purpose or because they were dying. I can't burn it all fast enough (remember, small stove) to keep up with the firewood mother nature provides to me.
 
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