Wood inserts that work well without a blower

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unclefester

New Member
Sep 7, 2022
2
Basking Ridge NJ
SO, I'm looking at two inserts for my relatively small masonry fireplace - the Kuma Alpine LE and Vermont Castings Gifford. I'm heating about 1000 sf in a 200 year old house with pretty low ceilings. Issue is that I don't want to rely on a blower - we get a LOT of power outages around here, especially in winter, and I'm looking for heating without electricity. Any experience using either of these inserts without a blower? I'm leaning towards the Kuma because it isn't perfectly flush, and I've heard that I will get better radiant heating with a couple of inches of stove sticking into the room.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,254
South Puget Sound, WA
Yes. Get an insert that projects out onto the hearth as much as possible and avoid flush inserts. Neither of these two are ideal. What are the fireplace dimensions?
 

unclefester

New Member
Sep 7, 2022
2
Basking Ridge NJ
One more detail (if it matters): the chimney is located in the center of the house, not on an outside wall. I've wondered how much heat (if any) the chimney brick will absorb and then radiate out into our second floor rooms (where the chimney passes up on its way to the roof)
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,780
Southeast CT
I second the above advice about avoiding flush insert. I have one and, while it works great overall for my needs, the stovetop gets too hot with the blower off, which can damage stove of done often enough.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,518
SE North Carolina
Would be better to consider backup power for the insert? Do you have a generator? Interior chimney’s do soak up some heat but after about 18 hours of being run hard mine is pretty well heat soaked. I don’t think it would matter much.


I have one of these and a pc apu. And a generator. Seems like a good combo. AC Infinity AIRBLAZE T12, Universal Fireplace Blower Fan Kit 12" with Temperature and Speed Controller, for Lennox, Hearth Glo, Majestic, Rotom https://a.co/d/1d7c6o4
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,254
South Puget Sound, WA
What are the fireplace dimensions?
 

Russn77

New Member
Jan 20, 2021
71
North Central Ohio
So we have the Kuma Alpine LE. We opted to not install the surround. It has some flexibility as far as depth from the fireplace face for installation. It all depends on where your pipe is. Ours (the box of the stove) sticks out about 7" from the fireplace face. We have the blower on it, but even without the blower running, circulates heat very well. It would do even better without the blower installed, as you would have more space for air to circulate through the air passage.

IMG_3907.JPG IMG_3906.JPG
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
96,254
South Puget Sound, WA
It looks good without the surround. The more it projects out into the room, the better it will heat without the blower.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,109
central pa
I second the above advice about avoiding flush insert. I have one and, while it works great overall for my needs, the stovetop gets too hot with the blower off, which can damage stove of done often enough.
That should never happen no stove should ever need a blower to keep it in safe operating temperatures
 

Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,780
Southeast CT
That should never happen no stove should ever need a blower to keep it in safe operating temperatures
I’m glad to hear that for others with flush inserts. My issue may be due to my specific stove, which hasn’t ever been the same since an over fire situation years ago. I have blocked the doghouse air which keeps it working surprisingly well and after that my temps are in a good range after that.
I also haven’t observed the insert on too many occasions with no blower, so my comment on this thread could have been a bit of talking out of my arse.
I would think that a flush insert would retain the heat a bit more that a freestanding stove or non-flush insert, which would make that stove top temp higher. Exactly how much higher, I don’t know though.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,109
central pa
I’m glad to hear that for others with flush inserts. My issue may be due to my specific stove, which hasn’t ever been the same since an over fire situation years ago. I have blocked the doghouse air which keeps it working surprisingly well and after that my temps are in a good range after that.
I also haven’t observed the insert on too many occasions with no blower, so my comment on this thread could have been a bit of talking out of my arse.
Oh most have blowers but something is wrong with the setup if you need to run it in order to keep temps under control
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,109
central pa
Show a picture of your opening with dimensions. Is a wood stove an option at all?
A wood stove stuffed back in a fireplace is not going to perform better than an insert. In front yes
 
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mightytitan9

New Member
Sep 18, 2021
40
Mound City KS
A wood stove stuffed back in a fireplace is not going to perform better than an insert. In front yes
yeah obviously put in front of. More wanted to know the dimensions of the hearth and opening to account for what size could fit on hearth and what size you could put and still get the angle of the liner. I don't look at a ton of stoves, but there's only one that I know of with a rear discharge pipe.

A Jotul F55 could be an option if it fits on the hearth
 
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Ctwoodtick

Minister of Fire
Jun 5, 2015
1,780
Southeast CT
Oh most have blowers but something is wrong with the setup if you need to run it in order to keep temps under control
Oh most have blowers but something is wrong with the setup if you need to run it in order to keep temps under control
I decided to test this out again tonight. I have a medium load of red maple in the stove roughly 20% mc. With blower on, the stove top thermometer that I have roughly centered on stove top ( about 3 inches back was at 700. Nice cruising temp and firebox had good secondaries- nothing out of control. I turned the blowers off . About 5 minutes later the temp was about 800. Although this isn’t in the danger zone, I’d have to maintain that running this make/model of insert without the blower on should be done with caution.
 

mightytitan9

New Member
Sep 18, 2021
40
Mound City KS
Oh most have blowers but something is wrong with the setup if you need to run it in order to keep temps under control
to keep it under control yes. But I will say that the design of many takes air into the insert and then blows out heat. This by default would cool the unit down by intaking cooler air
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,109
central pa
to keep it under control yes. But I will say that the design of many takes air into the insert and then blows out heat. This by default would cool the unit down by intaking cooler air
Yes that is true of course