Wood Insert Suggestions for Large Masonry Fireplace

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

dukethin

New Member
Jan 12, 2022
2
Vermont
I am looking for recommendations for a wood insert for a masonry fireplace for a house in New England. I have looked at the shops locally but have not found anyone terribly helpful and so I am a little overwhelmed in choosing between so many options. The insert will be installed in a family room that's rather large, about 800 sqft. The house is a Colonial-style, typical New England style house that's about 4000 sqft. My primary purpose is to offset the cost of heating with propane. I don't expect to heat the whole house given the size of it, but would be nice to spare as much propane as I can. We have plenty of hardwood to go around. The fireplace is large, 48" width, 34" height, 24" depth. The hearth extension is stone and it's 20" depth. To match with the style of the house, I am looking for something traditional, not modern. Most of what I've seen in stores seems small for the size of my fireplace--I want to avoid having a tiny looking firebox with more surround paneling than actual fire. I have been looking at large fireplaces, but I am not certain how big is big enough, and how big is too big. Given that the insert will be in the family room, with a TV above it, I want to be comfortable sitting on the couch a reasonable distance from the insert.

Thanks in advance for the input. I'll attach pictures, with measurements given above.

IMG_2491.jpg IMG_2505.jpg IMG (2).jpg
 

John B

Member
Sep 26, 2012
91
I put a freestanding Woodstock Ideal into my fireplace and I couldnt be happier. It replaced a Kuma insert that frankly never ran properly.

Woodstock makes great stoves and best of all they are in NH and you can buy and pick it up directly from their factory.

fireplace.jpg
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,231
SE North Carolina
I like the stove look. 34” high will limit a few choices.
You could always do a custom surround that fits inside the opening. An all cast stove will have more radiated heat. Jacketed steel or cast over steel will be more convective like an insert.

Don’t got smaller than 2.4 cu ft with a room that big and house if that size.

Evan
 

dukethin

New Member
Jan 12, 2022
2
Vermont
To go with the aesthetics of the house, I have decided to go with enamel. Having said that, it seems that there aren't that many large wood insert options for enamel. And so I have started to narrow down the list...

What do people think of the Clydesdale from Hearthstone versus the Alderlea T5 by Pacific Energy? If anyone has any other recommendations for large, enamel wood inserts, I would be appreciative. I'm aware but not as interested in Montpelier II and Ashford 25 (the Princess is great but doesn't come in enamel).
 

Jack Swanzy

New Member
Feb 13, 2022
7
Fredericksburg TX
I have an old (20+ years) insert that I haven't used for a long time because it leaked smoke into the house. What can I do? Fix it? Or buy a new one? Do the new ones, 2020 EPA certified have this problem? I don't want to try for a solution and end up with the same problem.

tempImage1ytmvN.png sorry it's upside down, don't know how to rotate it
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,189
central pa
I have an old (20+ years) insert that I haven't used for a long time because it leaked smoke into the house. What can I do? Fix it? Or buy a new one? Do the new ones, 2020 EPA certified have this problem? I don't want to try for a solution and end up with the same problem.

View attachment 292087 sorry it's upside down, don't know how to rotate it
If they are installed and operated properly they won't leak smoke no
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,189
central pa
There few dealerships here so I am relying on recommendations from users on what to buy. Are all of the EPA 2020 certified ones equally good?
No EPA certification has nothing to do with quality. Just emissions. What are the things that are most important to you in an insert?
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
To go with the aesthetics of the house, I have decided to go with enamel. Having said that, it seems that there aren't that many large wood insert options for enamel. And so I have started to narrow down the list...

What do people think of the Clydesdale from Hearthstone versus the Alderlea T5 by Pacific Energy? If anyone has any other recommendations for large, enamel wood inserts, I would be appreciative. I'm aware but not as interested in Montpelier II and Ashford 25 (the Princess is great but doesn't come in enamel).
What is your chimney like? The T5 is a great stove and an easy breather. I don't think I'd want it on a very tall chimney. You may even want to look to see if the T6 would fit. With that size room, I doubt it would be a problem provided you can move cold air in from other rooms.
 

EatenByLimestone

Minister of Fire
I have an old (20+ years) insert that I haven't used for a long time because it leaked smoke into the house. What can I do? Fix it? Or buy a new one? Do the new ones, 2020 EPA certified have this problem? I don't want to try for a solution and end up with the same problem.

View attachment 292087 sorry it's upside down, don't know how to rotate it
I'd try to figure out why your current insert leaks smoke before I bought a new one. Tell us about your chimney and liner.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
1,258
Texas
I'd try to figure out why your current insert leaks smoke before I bought a new one. Tell us about your chimney and liner.

Howdy, neighbor. I think finding out whether your chimney is lined or not would be the first step. Are you able to look behind the surround of the insert and see what’s going on or look down the chimney from the top (or even just post a photo of the top of the chimney taken from the ground)? Have you ever had the chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional? I know even those can be hard to find in this area.

This forum is a great place to get recommendations for an insert that will fit with your heating requirements and goals. Giving folks an idea of the size of the fireplace, the room, the house overall, and what your plans are for the insert (an occasional fire, back up for power outages during crazy winter weather, heating as much of the house as possible for as much of the winter as possible) will help get you better guidance.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jack Swanzy

Jack Swanzy

New Member
Feb 13, 2022
7
Fredericksburg TX
Howdy, neighbor. I think finding out whether your chimney is lined or not would be the first step. Are you able to look behind the surround of the insert and see what’s going on or look down the chimney from the top (or even just post a photo of the top of the chimney taken from the ground)? Have you ever had the chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional? I know even those can be hard to find in this area.

This forum is a great place to get recommendations for an insert that will fit with your heating requirements and goals. Giving folks an idea of the size of the fireplace, the room, the house overall, and what your plans are for the insert (an occasional fire, back up for power outages during crazy winter weather, heating as much of the house as possible for as much of the winter as possible) will help get you better guidance.
I have had a chimney sweep clean the flue several times and one is scheduled for this week. I'm hoping he can help figure out what's wrong. The fireplace is 48" wide, 31" high, 24 deep at the bottom 17 at the top. We use the fireplace only for backup heat when it's cold, not that often here.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
28,189
central pa
The chimney is 25-30 feet high, no liner, constructed about 50 years ago. Chimney sweep coming this week to help figure out the problem.
The problem is that you don't have a liner hooked to the insert
 

Jack Swanzy

New Member
Feb 13, 2022
7
Fredericksburg TX
Howdy, neighbor. I think finding out whether your chimney is lined or not would be the first step. Are you able to look behind the surround of the insert and see what’s going on or look down the chimney from the top (or even just post a photo of the top of the chimney taken from the ground)? Have you ever had the chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional? I know even those can be hard to find in this area.

This forum is a great place to get recommendations for an insert that will fit with your heating requirements and goals. Giving folks an idea of the size of the fireplace, the room, the house overall, and what your plans are for the insert (an occasional fire, back up for power outages during crazy winter weather, heating as much of the house as possible for as much of the winter as possible) will help get you better guidance.
Thanks for your suggestions, help is on the way this week. Our chimney, 50 years old, has no liner.
 

DuaeGuttae

Minister of Fire
Oct 26, 2016
1,258
Texas
Thanks for your suggestions, help is on the way this week. Our chimney, 50 years old, has no liner.

While you have your chimney sweep out this week, have him measure the interior dimensions of the flue and note any offsets. It would be best to have an insulated liner installed, but you need to have adequate space, and I had an incredibly hard time finding someone who would do it for us. If you’ve got a nice large flue that’s a nice straight shot, that would be ideal. Having an insulated liner should greatly improve safety and draft, and that should help with smoke leakage problems.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jack Swanzy

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
92,817
South Puget Sound, WA
To go with the aesthetics of the house, I have decided to go with enamel. Having said that, it seems that there aren't that many large wood insert options for enamel. And so I have started to narrow down the list...

What do people think of the Clydesdale from Hearthstone versus the Alderlea T5 by Pacific Energy? If anyone has any other recommendations for large, enamel wood inserts, I would be appreciative. I'm aware but not as interested in Montpelier II and Ashford 25 (the Princess is great but doesn't come in enamel).
The PE T5 will provide a better experience. It is able to load N/S and the air control is run by the user. Get the blower to convect heat out of the fireplace. Install a 6" insulated liner and insist on an insulated block-off plate in the damper area.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EbS-P