Wood insert advice

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GreenHills

New Member
Feb 8, 2022
3
Tennessee
Good morning. Like many others, I find myself here for the first time asking for some advice on burning wood. We bought a 1970s ranch home with a finished basement in northeast Tennessee last year. The living room has a large traditional fireplace (heatilator) in the living room with one wall dedicated to it (stone fasade) . Our chimney sweep cleaned, inspected and advised it was not safe to burn wood in directly due to cracking tiles in the chimney, and he advised we could have a stove or insert installed with a liner running through the chimney. We strongly prefer an insert with a surround to overlap the stonework around the fireplace opening. Our chimney sweep can do the install work, but does not sell stoves/inserts. Our local hearth company has not been much help unfortunately, simply pointing me at a few websites. So now we are doing our own research and learning as we are quite green.

The fireplace is on the farthest east wall of the house and the living room itself is 13' X 36'. The kitchen and dining rooms (combined are about the same size as the living room) are connected to the living room with 2 large door openings (no doors). As a typical ranch, a central hallway with bedrooms/bathroom is on the other end of the house. Currently we are using HVAC for the only source of heat and the primary use case for burning wood is to heavily offset the cost of running HVAC. Wife works from home most of the time and we are mostly at home most of the time when not working anyway. The basement will soon have a vent free propane stove installed that will be used occasionally for ambiance when downstairs. Wood is in great supply on the property. There is a vent/duct work with a blower fan that pulls air from the living room ceiling and to the far end of the hallway ceiling as well.

The information given by the chimney sweep for dimensions are:
Front opening width: 45"
Front opening height: 28"
Side walls, slanting back to rear wall: 26"
Rear wall width: 37"
Total height of unit with vertical outlet can be 25.5"

Recommend unit with 6" vent as it will minimize deconstruction of original firebox.

I appreciate any advice you all may have to offer on this. I am new to burning wood, but excited to get this going before next winter. We are currently collecting and splitting wood in anticipation. I don't want to get something that is too big and puts off so much heat that it can only be used on the coldest of days, nor do I want to be struggling to keep it going and not getting enough useful heat to make it worth it. I want to buy something good that will hopefully last 20-30 years, and not spend too much of a fortune on it since we only need it for a few months a year. Osburn has came up in conversations a few times, and we like the look of the Matrix 2700, but wasn't sure if it was too much stove. We are new and clueless to this world of stoves, inserts, splitting wood, reburn, and cats!


Thanks!
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,039
SE North Carolina
For perspective I heat a 1965 ranch that’s 2000 sq for up stairs half is open concept with stove in the center of it that is 1.7 cu ft. It could be bigger but does great 90% of the time if you tend it every 4-6 hours. Don’t go smaller than 2.2 cu ft. Dry wood is a must. Pine and poplar dries in a summer. Oak takes 2-3. I can burn 2 cords if wanted to heat with wood only. Its 45 going up to 55 today so the heat pump is on. I burned a load when I got up this morning at 430 stove is still at 150 degrees. Dry wood is getting low.

Tax credit of interest to you? That will limit choices some.

Get an insulated liner. Plan on a woodshed. I like the matrix
 

GreenHills

New Member
Feb 8, 2022
3
Tennessee
Thank you for your reply, EbS-P. That is all good advice. The tax credit is a consideration, but as I'm learning today, can be a fairly limiting factor as well. There are so many options, and so few, it's all a bit mind boggling!
 

Dix

Minister of Fire
May 27, 2008
6,537
Long Island, NY
Welcome to the forums !!!

Try for the biggest (as well as considering cost issues) firebox you can fit. You can always build a smaller fire in a large box, but not a bigger fire in a smaller box.

Good on ya for getting ahead on firewood now. You won't regret it !!
 

doogiegh

Member
Aug 23, 2011
20
Central NJ
Good morning. Like many others, I find myself here for the first time asking for some advice on burning wood. We bought a 1970s ranch home with a finished basement in northeast Tennessee last year. The living room has a large traditional fireplace (heatilator) in the living room with one wall dedicated to it (stone fasade) . Our chimney sweep cleaned, inspected and advised it was not safe to burn wood in directly due to cracking tiles in the chimney, and he advised we could have a stove or insert installed with a liner running through the chimney. We strongly prefer an insert with a surround to overlap the stonework around the fireplace opening. Our chimney sweep can do the install work, but does not sell stoves/inserts. Our local hearth company has not been much help unfortunately, simply pointing me at a few websites. So now we are doing our own research and learning as we are quite green.

The fireplace is on the farthest east wall of the house and the living room itself is 13' X 36'. The kitchen and dining rooms (combined are about the same size as the living room) are connected to the living room with 2 large door openings (no doors). As a typical ranch, a central hallway with bedrooms/bathroom is on the other end of the house. Currently we are using HVAC for the only source of heat and the primary use case for burning wood is to heavily offset the cost of running HVAC. Wife works from home most of the time and we are mostly at home most of the time when not working anyway. The basement will soon have a vent free propane stove installed that will be used occasionally for ambiance when downstairs. Wood is in great supply on the property. There is a vent/duct work with a blower fan that pulls air from the living room ceiling and to the far end of the hallway ceiling as well.

The information given by the chimney sweep for dimensions are:
Front opening width: 45"
Front opening height: 28"
Side walls, slanting back to rear wall: 26"
Rear wall width: 37"
Total height of unit with vertical outlet can be 25.5"

Recommend unit with 6" vent as it will minimize deconstruction of original firebox.

I appreciate any advice you all may have to offer on this. I am new to burning wood, but excited to get this going before next winter. We are currently collecting and splitting wood in anticipation. I don't want to get something that is too big and puts off so much heat that it can only be used on the coldest of days, nor do I want to be struggling to keep it going and not getting enough useful heat to make it worth it. I want to buy something good that will hopefully last 20-30 years, and not spend too much of a fortune on it since we only need it for a few months a year. Osburn has came up in conversations a few times, and we like the look of the Matrix 2700, but wasn't sure if it was too much stove. We are new and clueless to this world of stoves, inserts, splitting wood, reburn, and cats!


Thanks!

It appears you could perfectly fit in a Pacific Energy Summit insert. I'm in central NJ, had my insert installed *TODAY* and am watching my very first fire with it right now and it is absolutely fantastic! I am having my hearth extended to meet local codes next week. :)

2fire.jpg fire.jpg
 
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RockyMtnGriz

Burning Hunk
Apr 19, 2019
171
SW Montana
Welcome!

I'm going to respectfully disagree with the popular opinion that you should get the biggest stove that will fit, because you can always build smaller fires in it. I like a stove that I can run in an efficient operating range most of the time. I find the small fire thing a pain in the rear. You can end up starting more fires than you would otherwise, and stoves run low tend to create crud you have to clean. I'm not opposed to adding long johns, or maybe even an additional heating source on the few days it can't keep up - it sounds like you have a few options there already. In fact, I've found the right long johns, and I wear them very comfortably all winter, saving me a lot of wood cutting work - but that's a different story!

You'll get a lot of good recommendations here, probably the majority will be for new stuff, and, if you are playing the tax credits, you'll probably need to go with the latest, but if not, I'm going to go a little outside the box:

I haven't done the measuring and math - I'll leave that up to you, but in a similar situation, I had a Lopi Revere insert that I really enjoyed. I hope I don't get into trouble for posting this link, but this site has a nice rundown of what appears to be the recent, but mostly previous, generation of Lopi inserts:


There were a lot of options that could fit the look to a lot of different tastes, plus different models besides the Revere, depending on the size you desire, and you might find what you like leftover, used from a dealer, or on Craigslist, pretty reasonable. IMHO, they were quality.

I promise that you'll never make up the difference in price of the latest models vs. efficiency using it "some" in a moderate climate.

Another A+ on getting dry wood in order - you'll be so glad you did - but you probably won't actually appreciate that without suffering first with wet wood!

Happy stove hunting!
 
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BrianVA

Member
Oct 28, 2020
107
Central VA
Lopi/Travis Industries has nice inserts. I have the Large Flush insert. It does not qualify for the tax credit, but the Evergreen does. I am very happy with my Large Flush and would buy it again.

Edit to add pics:

The first pic is the old fireplace, the second one is with the new insert. Sorry its not a very good pic. That is from 2020 and my phone at the time was pretty old. I wanted a flush unit for looks. This fits that bill and still does a great job heating the house. I run it 24/7 at times. Mostly the weekends, but sometimes through the week if its really cold and I'm working from home.

KIMG0662.JPG KIMG1272.JPG
 
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spudman99

Feeling the Heat
Jan 26, 2018
378
Yardley, PA
Several good suggestions above. I'll add my thoughts for your consideration. I am on my 3rd year with the Blaze King Princess Insert.

1. Cut or procure your wood now for next year and beyond. Number 1 complaint of new burners is bad burns, most of that is due to wood that is insufficiently dried out. While doing your research, and if fully committed, get yourself 2 or 3 cords cut, split, stacked and covered by April to give it at least 1 partial season to dry.

2. Determine how burning will fit into your lifestyle. Are you committed to acquiring the saws and tools needed to cut, split and stack wood? Do you have the requisite time during various parts of the year to do the same? Do you have the physical ability to do the same? Will you burn for the full winter season or simply for ambience when you can? The latter may impact the size and features of a unit that ultimately affect cost.

3. I wanted to burn full time to save heating costs. I chose the BK Princess for its ease of burning and longer heat output. I load around 8pm and 8am with usable heat the entire time. It does not keep my 3000 sf house totally warm but I save about $1,500 per year in costs.

So while you are thinking and evaluating various options for an insert, please take time to consider how you will adapt your lifestyle to incorporate wood burning into your daily or weekly schedules.
 
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GreenHills

New Member
Feb 8, 2022
3
Tennessee
I wanted to thank you all for your replies. We have been busy over the last few weeks splitting wood and trying to get that in order. We are continuing to look into inserts and we are leaning towards the Lopi Large Flush Wood NexGen-Fyre. It has a 3.0 cubic foot firebox. https://www.lopistoves.com/product/large-flush-wood-nexgen-fyre-arch Is that to large for our house? We intend to use this primarily to offset our electric costs and feel we have a lifestyle that is fairly compatible with burning wood. It seems to be a weird market area for buying things like this. Our local dealer didn't seem to have much concern or care in helping us, which is frustrating. The next nearest dealer is about 2 hours away and was very helpful over the phone, but didn't have anything to show us, and advised to expect lead times of 2-6 months currently. And my chimney sweep (who will be doing the install) won't call me back about a few questions I had. Our hunt continues and we hope to be ready before next winter. I continue to research and read on the forums here.
 

BrianVA

Member
Oct 28, 2020
107
Central VA
It has a 3.0 cubic foot firebox. https://www.lopistoves.com/product/large-flush-wood-nexgen-fyre-arch Is that to large for our house?
Hard question to answer. For me, I chose the Large Flush over the Medium Flush because I had a big fireplace and I wanted it to look good. I figured bigger is better when it gets really cold. I can make adjustments to get less heat out of a big firebox, but if its too small, nothing can be done. Also, I wanted to easily get overnight burns, which I do.

Yes, I sometimes "over heat" the room that the insert is in, but no big deal. I just use a fan to move some of the heat out into the rest of the house. Such is life with a wood burner.
 
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