PDA

View Full Version : Wood Stove--Fireplace


BriEOD
05-18-2011, 12:25 PM
I know we are going into summer, but I'm curious to get some thoughts on the prospect of installing a wood burning fireplace insert.

We bought our current house last year. We recently had the chimney swept only to find out there is a good crack in the number 2 tile in the top of the chimney along with some issues with the concrete cap. Also, the plate that closes the floo is missing as well. I had a few companies come out and give me some estimates to get things right: $3-5k.

What I've concluded is that a fireplace insert is our best bet. We live in MD and have two heat pumps on the house-- no furnace, etc. Upon moving in, I replaced all the windows (22 of them) and blew a bunch of insulation into the attic. However, it still gets below freezing here and a heat pump doesn't do us much good at that point. The fireplace is located in a central part of the house with a nearby air return. My wife and I don't mind managing firewood, etc. So, I think an insert let's me get things right and helps me keep the electric bill down while keeping the house warm.

All this said, I'm looking at the Regency I2400. Thoughts?

76S&S
05-18-2011, 01:05 PM
Depending on the severity of the chimney issues, they may still be a problem even with the insert. If you live in a rural area, I would consider an outdoor wood boiler. We have on and love it, best heat I've ever had. It heats our home and also heats our hot water in the winter. The reason I asked about the rural area, is that the chimney on a wood boiler is only about 3 feet tall. So the smoke may blow over on your neighbors. Of course, if you don't like them, then this may be a good way to get back at them.

JohnE
05-18-2011, 02:58 PM
Put electric backup in the heat pumps. It's not as expensive to run as you may think. What's the going rate for a cord of wood in your area? ~$300 here. Wood is dirty, and the fireplace room will be warm the rest of the house not warm. I inspect about 100 wood or pellet stoves a year. The best was a close friend who put in a wood boiler to save money. Paid $9K for the boiler and it was supposed to use ~8 cord of wood a year but actually used closer to 13. But even at 8 cord he had over $2K of wood. His justification was that "the wood is free". I countered with "you could sell it once you have it cut, split, and stacked and people will line up to pick it up atc$200/ cord. He sold it a year later for $2500....because you could now buy a new one for $3K. Granted wood insert isn't as extreme, but analagous IMO.

BriEOD
05-18-2011, 03:21 PM
Sorry John, I'm not following you with the electric backup comment. Can you please elaborate further?

A cord of wood is $180. It's good seasoned wood that is delivered.

Nope, I live in a suburban neighborhood

pmkkdx
05-18-2011, 03:59 PM
back in the mid 80s, our house had a heat pump but any time the temp dropped below ~35 degrees for any length of time, it could not maintain inside temp even with electric heat strip backups (they were undersized for sq footage, thank you Pres. Carter energy plan of the late 70s). We put in a wood burning fireplace insert, Earth Stove brand insert (the largest that would fit in existing fire place). Worked wonderfully and heated almost the entire house (very open floorplan though) except the master bedroom. approximately 2300 sq ft home. We would use about 1-1 1/2 cord normal winters and 2-2 1/2 cords of wood per hard winter. The key for ours was to get it burning hot and keep it going for days on end by adding a large log upon leaving for work in the morning and then using that to punch back up in the evening.

most are designed to get your fire going, then close it up and they bring on almost super heat internally ... and then there is an electric blower (mandatory option) that can be regulated with a switch that sucks in room air and circulates around the heated fire box and blown out into the room. Use great caution burning wood that is high in sap / green wood, as that will carry out the the exit of the insert into the chimney, sticks to the walls and can later catch on fire ... So, with that all said, be sure your chimney issues will handle the super heat from the insert and not burn your home to the ground!!! I know of several people this has occured...

but, with the heat pump, typically there are electrical heater strips in the inside unit, that are energized when the temperature gets low enough that the heat pump can't produce the necessary heat. I found this out after we put in the fireplace insert. ours were just too small for the sq footage of our house and could have been upgraded to larger heat strips (which we did later on anyway).

1redTA
05-18-2011, 04:21 PM
I would get a LP or natural gas back up instead of electric and have it set to come on any time the temps drop below *40

BriEOD
05-18-2011, 05:18 PM
Thx for the response PMK. Our heat pumps have the electric heating strips as well. But as you say, they aren't for long periods of time.

mayo93prostar
05-18-2011, 05:22 PM
Bri, Have you considered a pellet stove? A little less mess, not sure on price of pellets vs wood.

ski_king
05-18-2011, 05:26 PM
Brian, did you look into pellet stoves?

I don't have tone, but have several neighbors who have them. They swear by them and they burn clean and they have little smoke coming out of the chimney. As I understand you can add a liner into your masonary chimney or use a simple thru the wall vent.

I may look into one as I believe my chimney has simular issues and havn't used my wood burner for a few years.

Covi
05-18-2011, 05:59 PM
Our house started with a very traditional fireplace, useless other than for ambiance. I installed this Vermont castings Intrepid II. This stove will heat my entire first floor. I installed a six foot SS starter pipe into the existing block lined chimney. I go through 3 - 4 cords of wood depending on how cold the winter is. I love wood heat, nothing better!!! What a mess however. And unless you dont mind tending to wood (stacking, splitting, loading, and cleaning it can be a pain in the ***!!!!

pmkkdx
05-18-2011, 06:13 PM
my concern would be with the crack in the chimney, especially if it is on the house side where heat could penetrate between the chimney & the house structure. Additionally, if you opt to merely do the wall vent, be overly cautious of any horizontal or near horizontal runs of the vent pipe, as that is a known location for any of the unburned sap (greenish wood) to collect over time and eventually catching on fire like a blow torch (same thing with the crack if between chimney & house) getting hot enough to burn thru the triple wall vent pipe totally unnoticed until the structure caught.

My wife's uncle learn this lesson the hard way with a professionally installed free standing wood burning stove :(

BriEOD
05-18-2011, 07:01 PM
When we put the insert in we'll have to install a stainless steel liner from the back of the insert to the chimney cap. Because of this, the crack in the number two tile will be marginalized. Also, the cracked tile is above the roof line. We have to do some concrete work to the chimney cap as well. However, once everything is in it will be 100% within code.

I've seen the pellet stoves. My neighbors just got rid of theirs. Also, he pointed out that pellets are a commodity and the price and availability can vary greatly.

I think wood is the best option. We don't mind tending the fire and dealing with the wood. We have lots of wood around here.

Covi
05-18-2011, 07:08 PM
When we put the insert in we'll have to install a stainless steel liner from the back of the insert to the chimney cap. Because of this, the crack in the number two tile will be marginalized. Also, the cracked tile is above the roof line. We have to do some concrete work to the chimney cap as well. However, once everything is in it will be 100% within code.

I've seen the pellet stoves. My neighbors just got rid of theirs. Also, he pointed out that pellets are a commodity and the price and availability can vary greatly.

I think wood is the best option. We don't mind tending the fire and dealing with the wood. We have lots of wood around here.

Pellet stove make noise. I believe the fan / motor is running always?

Thrall
05-19-2011, 08:25 PM
I'm not very saavy on the brands of inserts, but make sure you get the type that has the double burn design (whatever it's called) where the smoke is directed back thru a plenum and essentially re-burns. Also get the fan set up so you have forced air heat...agian gets it to put out alot more heat than convection alone. Much better efficiency than a std fireplace.
That dbl burn feature cuts down significantly on creosote buildup as well.
If you're down with cutting, splitting, stacking, drying, hauling wood and ashes, nothing better than wood heat IMO.

Covi
05-19-2011, 08:29 PM
I'm not very saavy on the brands of inserts, but make sure you get the type that has the double burn design (whatever it's called) where the smoke is directed back thru a plenum and essentially re-burns. Also get the fan set up so you have forced air heat...agian gets it to put out alot more heat than convection alone. Much better efficiency than a std fireplace.
That dbl burn feature cuts down significantly on creosote buildup as well.
If you're down with cutting, splitting, stacking, drying, hauling wood and ashes, nothing better than wood heat IMO.

Catalytic is what you are talking about. + for Catalytic

Sullivan
05-20-2011, 12:51 AM
We just installed a Pacific Energy Summit Insert this past fall in our main living floor. My wife was all kinds of pissed at me for doing it. "Its dirty" is all she kept saying before we fired it up. We live out in the sticks and have lots of down wood that I normally cut up and give away. Our house has a day light basement that I redid five years ago. When we finished we installed a Harmon pellet stove insert in the basement. Its nice because it runs off a thermastat. But it sucks to clean and the heat is NOT even close to what we get out of our Pacific Energy Summit insert. There really is no heat like wood heat.

Now, my wife absolutely loves our wood stove. I love it too. Its not uncommon for us to go to bed and the whole upstairs is in the 77 to 76'F range. Yes I know it sounds crazy but we got used to the warm temps. Wake up in the morning to a warm house put a few logs on and we are good to go.

Don't waist your money on a pellet stove. You seem like you want a wood stove, you won't regret it.

kkkeating
05-20-2011, 02:12 AM
I installed a Regency Fireplace wood insert three years ago and it works great. Once I get it going the heat pumps never come on. The inserts are much more efficient than the fireplace and really put out the heat. Go with the electric fan option on the insert it puts out quite a bit more heat than without. If you have the room in the chimney I'd go with the insulated liner to decrease the amount of creosote buildup and ensure a better draft.

BriEOD
05-20-2011, 09:01 AM
Guys,

Thanks for all the comments and support for wood. That is exactly what I was waiting to hear. We are going to go with a wood stove insert. It has a fan with a thermostat (automatic turn on and off). Also, we're going to install and insulated stainless steel liner from the back of the stove, through the chimney, terminating at the chimney cap.

BriEOD
11-28-2011, 12:33 AM
Here is a photo of the Regency wood stove we installed. I did all of the tile, stone, and wood work.

ntidsl
11-28-2011, 11:03 AM
You sure that tile is up to code?

We had to come out alot further with our tile and glad I did. The tile holds the heat.

In the new basemnet I did 100% tile and I get heat on the tile 10 feet away after a long weekend.

Note my return above the stove...whole house fan on and it circulates the heat through the rest of the house.

Did the whole set up myself including cutting thru floors and adding walls to contain the flue pipe thr the attic and out the roof.

It is a chore to keep up with the wood demand but well worth it on a 5 degree day and its 80 in my house...lol...

BriEOD
11-29-2011, 01:25 AM
We are within code.

That room is dead center in our house and it does a great job of heating the top two floors (colonial: basement, first floor, second floor). We rarely turn the central heat on. But you're right, it is a chore managing the wood. That said, it is well worth it when a minuscule electric bill comes in at the end of the month.

BrianT
11-29-2011, 01:08 PM
I had a new house build 2.5 years ago and installed a Quadra-Fire 7100 EPA wood fireplace. Best money spent for heating. On a cold stretch our heating system doesn't even kick in. We have a walk out bungalow and the walk out has in floor heat. The main floor maintains heat through the FP and the walk out stays warm through the in floor heat. Our heating bill in minimial but it does require quite a bit of wood. These Quads have a four-zone combustion, they burn the smoke and gasses for maximum efficiency. Anyone interested look them up. quadrafire.com

JohnE
11-30-2011, 04:06 PM
Brian, sorry I never replied back in April. I never noticed the thread after my initial reply. Electric backup elements are electric heater packages that install in the air handling units and kick in when the outdoor temp gets too low for the heat pumps to work effectively. Typically around 30-40 degrees.

On to your current situation. Someone mentioned you may not have the proper clearances. From what I see, you need to check to see if the hearth extends far enough out from the face of the unit. And that the clearance from the top of the stove to the combustible mantle is adequate. Both of these dimensions need to conform to manufacturer spec's and will be found in your owner's manual.

Congrats and I hope you don't need to use it much this year.

east tx skier
11-30-2011, 04:40 PM
Looks good, Brian. My father in law has a wood stove at his house. It has really come in handy when the power has gone out there during the winter. We have a gas fireplace that has worked well for us. But that wood stove can really bake a large room at my father in law's.