Wood stove in stone fireplace: Rear vent and catalytic?

Well, here goes.
I've visited this forum off and on for many years. Now it seems there are a lot of options and some limitations.
Just bought a house at 3200' elevation in the southern Appalachians. Had a clunky Drolet at 2100' before this, and managed to heat a 1200 SF house almost entirely with that. Hard to control, often too warm.

This place is a 1000 sq ft log house with a 700 SF addition, and an added 800 SF sun room that has its own wood stove at the far end. There's a doorway and a window between the main living space and the sun room.

The living room/kitchen has a vaulted ceiling and a massive stone fireplace. The opening is 33" high, 35" wide, and 29" deep. There's another 18" of hearth in front, which is 12" above the faux-wood floor.

We looked into inserts and decided freestanding stove would be better. Also thinking cat is better than non-cat.
Seems we need to rear-vent. Seems a rear heat shield with thermostat-controlled fan would push more heat into the living space.

The local stove/sweep company sent two guys out to measure and assess the chimney, which needs work up top. They suggested the Jotul 3 or 400 (and the smaller would likely work for us), but they are non-cat. Both are with rear-vent and short-leg option.

Reading much good about Woodstock; but do they have a blower?
We like the idea of having heat should we lose power; and ability to cook on top of the stove is nice. Or at least have a pot of hot water for humidity and dish washing.

Thanks in advance for advice and critique.
I installed a Jotul in an earlier home but never got to use it. This time around, we are likely to pay to have it done.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,281
South Puget Sound, WA
How open is the floor plan to the addition?

Woodstock stoves do not have a blower, but they are good heaters. Take a look at the Ideal Steel for starters if the heated area is 1700 sq ft. A ceiling fan or two will be necessary to move heat that will pocket at the cathedral ceiling peak. Measure the height again carefully. There is a chance a Blaze King stove might fit there too and that has a blower option and thermostatic heat control, though it is at the back of the stove and may not work as well in the close space of the fireplace. Do you have a style stove that you prefer?

How is your firewood wood supply? A modern stove is going to need fully seasoned wood to perform well.
 
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It's plenty of work to maintain 2 homes (mowing 2 acres) until the other one sells, and I have a couple cords of dry oak and locust over there; but it's 50 miles away and will probably stay. Near here, there is good wood at good price, so I am building a sun-facing wood shed. Meanwhile, we don't need to heat more than 1000 SF most of the time. If we have guests, we can turn on the propane heat-pump furnace. If we get too much heat in the main living space, we can put a fan into the sun room. And we have ceiling fans.

A Blaze King that vents out the top may or may not give us any stove top space for possible cooking. The rest of the package we like. Appearances are not critical.

The installation guys were not of the opinion that a blocking plate would be necessary. Closure at the top of the chimney would stop any circulation, and half of the chimney warmth would in fact radiate into the house (southwest wall chimney).

There's a little trap door in the hearth, apparently to evacuate ashes??.. but could maybe supply outside air to the stove, and/or feed an electric connection to a fan.?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,281
South Puget Sound, WA
With the cathedral ceiling the stove will be heating much greater volume of space than a 1000 sq ft. home with 8ft ceilings. I'd err a bit to the oversize if you want the stove to handle the load when a cold blast comes down from Ohio. It's easier to burn a smaller fire in a large stove than stoking the stove like a fireman when you really need heat. We had the Castine in our house and the F3CB before that. Both were too small and we are in a mild climate. At 3200' you are going to see some cold winter temps. Are you up near Boone?

Is the chimney exterior? If so, I would insist on a block-off plate. Heat goes to cold and exterior masonry really sucks out the heat.
It might be possible to rig an OAK via the ash cleanout. Depends on what's below and whether a supply air pipe can be snaked up through it to the stove.

How old is the log house and how well insulated? Post some pics if you have them.
 
This house dates from 1997. Not sure yet how cold the log walls will get, but the attic looks well wrapped. Presumed also good in the cathedral area. Windows seem pretty good, and doors.
The 2 bedrooms and bath in the original rectangle have baseboard electric, and we seem to have a working furnace, so I'm not too worried about the occasional cold night.

Appreciate the first-hand knowledge of the smaller Jotuls. Still we are hoping that among the many options there is a Cat stove that fits this fireplace.
Why did Jotul abandon catalytics? Might they come back, with the new regulations?
Do the Woodstocks all load from the side? Has anyone gotten that to work within a fireplace such as we have?

Also, how does one clean out the stuff after a chimney sweeping? Install with a Tee on the back of the stove and reach behind to retrieve it?
Our previous non-cat had a baffle plate welded inside, so it was a pain removing the stovepipe and vacuuming every time we cleaned, which was 3 times a year.

Oh, we are west of Asheville and just a few miles east of the Smokies. The Appalachian Trail is 14 miles north.
Pictures I will work on; thanks again.
 

Geoff C

Member
Oct 29, 2011
33
PA
I would check out the Woodstock Fireview. If you are on a budget they pop up on Facebook Marketplace used a lot for around $1000
 
Yeah, I fell asleep looking at the Fireview. It would probably do the job but is a lot "fancier" than we may want. Or we could grow to love it.
It comes with short legs for a 28" total height -- that works in our 33" high opening. We have 35" horizontal, and it's listed at 26" wide. But the side loading door is 10.5", so it would be close to maxing out the space when the stove is all the way to the left in the existing fireplace.

Does that look funny?

It's actually kind of nice that ashes won't fall out the front toward the floor; and that firewood is parallel to the glass and separated by some fixed andirons. I like that I can sit on the hearth to do loading, rather than pull up a stool or keep one there.

Now the footprint or leg layout is shown as 18 x 24. Add the door width to that, you get 34.5 -- seems they might know just how tight a space this unit fits into. Or it could go in at an angle? Wife not like that.

 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,154
central pa
I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss inserts. If you are sitting a rear vent stove infront of the fireplace you will gain some heatoutput over an insert. But if it is stuffed back in the firebox you won't be gaining anything and may well loose some output
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,281
South Puget Sound, WA
Why did Jotul abandon catalytics? Might they come back, with the new regulations?
Do the Woodstocks all load from the side? Has anyone gotten that to work within a fireplace such as we have?
The new Jotul F500 has a catalyst. How well it will perform is unknown at this point. It just came out.
The Woodstock Ideal Steel is a front loader and the leg height is adjustable.
Oh, we are west of Asheville and just a few miles east of the Smokies. The Appalachian Trail is 14 miles north.
Pictures I will work on; thanks again.
We have a member from Hendersonville that lives in an older, small log cabin. She went from a smaller smoke dragon up to the 3 cu ft Englander 30NC and never looked back.
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
10,852
Southern IN
If you are sitting a rear vent stove infront of the fireplace you will gain some heatoutput over an insert. But if it is stuffed back in the firebox you won't be gaining anything and may well loose some output
Right, our Ws Keystone is in front of the fireplace opening and I have the heat shield on the back to keep the stove from radiating heat into masonry. With the stove sitting outside the fireplace, radiant heat can be felt when we have line-of-sight to the stove, especially when sitting near the stove like we do. You'll have to check floor protection requirements if you put the stove out on the hearth. I'm not sure how their steel stoves radiate, but I would go for their additional size for your square footage and vaulted ceiling.
Having a stove that heats without a blower is more of a priority for me than being able to cook on the stove. We lose power sometimes, but not too often or for more than a day, in most cases. It's a peanut butter sandwich or canned food until the power comes back on. ;)
 
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BKVP

Minister of Fire
I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss inserts. If you are sitting a rear vent stove infront of the fireplace you will gain some heatoutput over an insert. But if it is stuffed back in the firebox you won't be gaining anything and may well loose some output
I agree with bholler. A hearth mounted insert can be quite capable as a heater and most have fans. Being a hearth mount, you'll still get plenty of radiant heat should power go out.
 
I suspect the fireplace insert is supposed to provide a "cleaner" appearance, and that's why they offer the surround piece. But that arrangement makes us dependent on a fan to bring some heat out, while depriving us of the use of the stove top. Functionally, I'd prefer an insert without the surround, but that would be uglier than a nice stove sitting in a fireplace with air movement naturally convecting all around.

And we don't really need a horizontal length of pipe if we can avoid it. There has to be a point where a T connector on the back of a rear-venting stove lines up just right with the stainless chimney liner, and which makes cleanout fairly easy. If this puts the stove 1/3 or 2/3 within the fireplace, it still radiates to the whole room. With the stove off to one side, to accommodate a side door, there should even be room for a fan of some sort on the door side.

If there is room to insulate part or all of the fireplace behind the stove, so much the better. Our limitations are the 35" width of the opening, and the 18" of hearth in front of that opening. The room is small-ish -- it's the dining AND living room -- so the stove must be confined to this existing hearth.
I'll try to get pictures while my millennial daughter is still here. We have computer and internet issues, and I have issues with high tech. No love for the 21st Century.
 
Here's my living room fireplace. Kitchen to the left. The whole room is 14x24 or 336 sq ft. The vaulted area is another 3.5 ft, so the volume is equivalent to not quite a 10 ft ceiling.
 

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,281
South Puget Sound, WA
Very nice looking fireplace. I can see why visually you might prefer a freestanding stove. Inserts that project out onto the hearth, as opposed to flush, can do a decent job of heating during a power outage. They are less dependent on the blower. The issue during an outage will be the heat stratifying at the ceiling peak. Some inserts look better than others without the surround. You could also get an insert and make your own custom surround that sits fits tightly to the fireplace opening. This could be made out of expanded metal if you want to recoup some heat that is normally trapped behind the surround.

In cat inserts, look at the Blaze King Princess. There may be a Buck store in your area too, so look at the model 80 (cat) and 75 (non-cat). Another non-cat to consider would be the Pacific Energy Super, but that looks best with their surround.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,154
central pa
I suspect the fireplace insert is supposed to provide a "cleaner" appearance, and that's why they offer the surround piece. But that arrangement makes us dependent on a fan to bring some heat out, while depriving us of the use of the stove top. Functionally, I'd prefer an insert without the surround, but that would be uglier than a nice stove sitting in a fireplace with air movement naturally convecting all around.

And we don't really need a horizontal length of pipe if we can avoid it. There has to be a point where a T connector on the back of a rear-venting stove lines up just right with the stainless chimney liner, and which makes cleanout fairly easy. If this puts the stove 1/3 or 2/3 within the fireplace, it still radiates to the whole room. With the stove off to one side, to accommodate a side door, there should even be room for a fan of some sort on the door side.

If there is room to insulate part or all of the fireplace behind the stove, so much the better. Our limitations are the 35" width of the opening, and the 18" of hearth in front of that opening. The room is small-ish -- it's the dining AND living room -- so the stove must be confined to this existing hearth.
I'll try to get pictures while my millennial daughter is still here. We have computer and internet issues, and I have issues with high tech. No love for the 21st Century.
If it needs to be confined to that hearth you can't have much of the stove sticking out. So you will be reliant on fans to help extract heat. An insert is much much better at getting heat out of the firebox because it is built to do exactly that.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,281
South Puget Sound, WA
If it needs to be confined to that hearth you can't have much of the stove sticking out. So you will be reliant on fans to help extract heat. An insert is much much better at getting heat out of the firebox because it is built to do exactly that.
Depending on the insert or stove, an ember protection hearth extension at the floor level may suffice to cover this. This could be as simple as a narrow sheet of metal tacked in front.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,154
central pa
Depending on the insert or stove, an ember protection hearth extension at the floor level may suffice to cover this. This could be as simple as a narrow sheet of metal tacked in front.
Yes that could work I guess I took the confined to the current hearth very litterally. But you are right it could be brought out with a hearth pad added that wouldn't be intrusive.
 
The Woodstock stoves are side-loaders, so there's no great chance of embers falling out on the floor. What kind of clearance is necessary for a flammable surface (floor) that is 12" below a stove that is, say, 4" back from the edge of the hearth?

A dog will sleep in that zone and not burst into flame.

If a 20" deep stove like the Fireview is 14" outside the fireplace and just 6" within, that is pretty good exposure to the room.

Honestly I'm not worried about a reservoir of warm air near the ceiling costing me very much. Mostly we hope to benefit from an easy-to-clean chimney liner. Is it so easy with a cleanout Tee that it isn't even worth mentioning? Nobody here and it seems no stove manufacturer can find the time to leave an explanation.

Having lived with a stove that had no reasonable means of cleaning out, I'm pretty excited to have this work better, starting this winter.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,154
central pa
The Woodstock stoves are side-loaders, so there's no great chance of embers falling out on the floor. What kind of clearance is necessary for a flammable surface (floor) that is 12" below a stove that is, say, 4" back from the edge of the hearth?

A dog will sleep in that zone and not burst into flame.

If a 20" deep stove like the Fireview is 14" outside the fireplace and just 6" within, that is pretty good exposure to the room.

Honestly I'm not worried about a reservoir of warm air near the ceiling costing me very much. Mostly we hope to benefit from an easy-to-clean chimney liner. Is it so easy with a cleanout Tee that it isn't even worth mentioning? Nobody here and it seems no stove manufacturer can find the time to leave an explanation.

Having lived with a stove that had no reasonable means of cleaning out, I'm pretty excited to have this work better, starting this winter.
I find a tee hurried behind a stove in a fireplace one of the more difficult setups to clean. But still not a big deal. As far as front clearances check the specs. They are always spelled out pretty well.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
There are two reasons for floor clearances. The first, ember protection, which is what you are describing when you address hot coals or embers falling out of the stove. The second is temperature based. As the firebox heats up, the floor in front and sides can and will radiate heat. Some stoves result in elevated floor temperatures to such a degree that R value requirements are specified. Watch for both...
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,281
South Puget Sound, WA
The Woodstock stoves are side-loaders, so there's no great chance of embers falling out on the floor. What kind of clearance is necessary for a flammable surface (floor) that is 12" below a stove that is, say, 4" back from the edge of the hearth?
The Woodstock Ideal Steel is a front loader. The Fireview and some other Woodstocks only need 8" of hearth in front, due to the exclusive side load door.

The requirements for the hearth extension and depth will vary with the stove installation. There is no universal answer. Many will just need ember protection which can be achieved with a strip of metal.

Same thing goes for ease of cleaning. Some stoves liners can be cleaned by simply opening up the bypass. Others have an all in one baffle that easily drops out and exposes the flue connection, and some you need to pull a couple tubes for good access. There definitely are some that are more of a hassle than others.
 
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BKVP

Minister of Fire
Or just get a nice hearth extension, like these from Hearth Classics...
Screenshot_20190704-174256_Chrome.jpg
 
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After major deliberation and flip flopping, we are now leaning to the Blaze King Princess insert.
Is there any fresh air feed option on this stove?
Why is the Princess rated to heat 50% more area than the Ashford or Sirocco, when the firebox is only 10% bigger?

We still may get a BK fireplace insert and not use the shroud; or remove the shroud in the event of a power outage.
One reason is that the available shrouds don't fit our opening very well. The largest is just tall enough and would cover much of our nice stone on the sides.
Other reason is we like the flat top for a humidifier pot, and better passive air circulation.

Our local Clean Sweep will order and install it for us, but I'd rather put my eyes and hands on one first.
Expecting a rather huge shipping cost, unless someone knows a way around it.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
79,281
South Puget Sound, WA
That's a good choice. As noted earlier, you can create your own surround (shroud). It doesn't need to be flush with the stone face, it could be inset a bit. One caveat, the BK Princess has a convective top. above the actual stove top. This is common in inserts so that the air from the blower blows across the stove top. The convection jacket top will be cooler than the actual insert top.
 

BKVP

Minister of Fire
That's a good choice. As noted earlier, you can create your own surround (shroud). It doesn't need to be flush with the stone face, it could be inset a bit. One caveat, the BK Princess has a convective top. above the actual stove top. This is common in inserts so that the air from the blower blows across the stove top. The convection jacket top will be cooler than the actual insert top.
Above a portion of the firebox. The PI29 (new 2020 version), we made more direct surface area on top by reducing how much the convection deck protrudes. We made other small changes, but you can fit a half steamer or more on top.