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tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: mattkime
Date: December 02, 2019 11:32PM
I'm not sure I've given fireplace inserts a fair shake when it comes to my particular fireplace. After spending some time in front of one this past week and appreciating the benefits perhaps I should consider my options.

I have a big old fireplace. I'd like the fireplace insert to match the original fireplace as much as possible. Most inserts I've seen look like a smaller fireplace inside a larger brick structure and I definitely don't want that. I'm curious if there are custom options - mostly so I can have sticker shock and forget about the idea. That said, if there was a match between my aesthetic requirements and financial reality then I might go for it.

This is my fireplace. For scale, the firebox is about 4 feet across.

Any recommendations?









Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/02/2019 11:33PM by mattkime.
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: Acer
Date: December 02, 2019 11:35PM
That arch might present a challenge for ready-made options.
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: Kraniac
Date: December 03, 2019 12:14AM
Mattk,

this place, Accucraft, in Minnesota does great work..none of the custom joints are cheap though..

These folks make excellent, heat producing inserts to your specs...they'll handle the arch..Their current front page photo is a good example in a fireplace similar to yours in shape

all inserts are gonna rob some space..the ready made ones are painful in space like yours..

if you go the distance you'll be pretty happy and you can minimize the space and aesthetic loss
with a great looking and appropriate looking result.

Accucraft Custom inserts

Also, here is a good forum for this subject..there are guys here who will
help you:

Fireplace inserts n stove discussions



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2019 12:20AM by Kraniac.
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: Fritz
Date: December 03, 2019 06:41AM
we have a very old Vermont Castings that has been great for 30 yrs.
They were acquired some years back.
[www.vermontcastings.com]



!#$@@$#!

all I need to know I learnt from Bugs Bunny on Saturday mornings.
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: December 03, 2019 07:35AM
You do know the advantage of an insert, yes? A standard fireplace has unlimited access to combustion air, and that air comes from inside of your house. The replacement air comes from outside, usually through every little drafty crack, doorway or unsealed window. So overall a fireplace makes your house colder, other than the few feet directly in front of the fire.

An insert does two things. It controls the amount of air coming into the fire. That means your wood lasts longer and less cold air is drawn into the house. Some inserts draw combustion air directly from outside rather from inside the house. Our county requires that sort of outside air induction for new inserts.

After 20 years of cutting and splitting our own wood, we now have a gas fireplace with a glass front. It also has a remote control and a thermostat. No more wood mess, no more carpenter ants and cedar bugs brought into the house. Now we go for bike rides instead of cutting and splitting wood.



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: spacescape
Date: December 03, 2019 08:33AM
Quote
Markintosh
You do know the advantage of an insert, yes? A standard fireplace has unlimited access to combustion air, and that air comes from inside of your house. The replacement air comes from outside, usually through every little drafty crack, doorway or unsealed window. So overall a fireplace makes your house colder, other than the few feet directly in front of the fire.

An insert does two things. It controls the amount of air coming into the fire. That means your wood lasts longer and less cold air is drawn into the house. Some inserts draw combustion air directly from outside rather from inside the house. Our county requires that sort of outside air induction for new inserts.

After 20 years of cutting and splitting our own wood, we now have a gas fireplace with a glass front. It also has a remote control and a thermostat. No more wood mess, no more carpenter ants and cedar bugs brought into the house. Now we go for bike rides instead of cutting and splitting wood.

We put in a gas insert last year!!! So nice and so easy. They talked us out of a wood burning insert that is basically a furnace because the fireplace is our main sitting room and warned us we would be very hot!!! They had other options but opted for a gas insert.
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: deckeda
Date: December 03, 2019 09:10AM
Best idea I’ve seen is the kind that treats the chimney as merely a conduit for two air tubes. One for intake and one for exhaust. Heat stays in the house (yes, with a fan and it’s enclosed.) Open-flame fires are for outside only, now that we know better.

People talk about the obvious heat loss traditional fireplaces cause, but you really want that insert to use outside air to burn. Some have an intake that’s on the bottom or back and doesn’t need a dedicated tube going all the up top, so long as you can cut a hole in the back of the chimney.

The other issue with air intake is poison. Carpet/rug fibers and more chemicals inside your house are generally OK to live with until the dust and whatnot they give off get BURNED up in fire. That chemical reaction isn’t something you want to breathe.

Optionally there’s a way to seal chimneys from the inside by dropping a special spreader trough down on a rope. Pour sealer down the chimney and the trough catches it and spreads it into all the cracks as you lift it up and out from the top. Slick.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2019 09:10AM by deckeda.
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: deckeda
Date: December 03, 2019 09:15AM
Bottom line: you won’t (I don’t think?) be buying just an insert and plopping it in. But if you treat it as a second or alternate furnace and do it right (depending on priorities such as fuel choice) then you’ll without question add value to the home, if not functionality.

Fireplaces are holdovers no one should ever need today, included mostly for romantic notions of what “a home should have.” The problem is that they are a ironically a liability unless done right.
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: Kraniac
Date: December 03, 2019 09:52AM
The only insert i would consider is one that has heat exchangers built around the sides n back..essentially, .a single united network of heavy duty steel pipes that usually have a quiet fan blowing the hot air inside of them into your house...ideally, you are also using outside air as your air source for controlling combustion..I've seen some pretty tricked out systems where the outlets of these exchangers have been routed out into the room and are heating the space very nicely...you dont need much in the way of exchangers...the air in those things gets very hot in a firebox situation
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: December 03, 2019 09:57AM
Mattk...
I helped my father in law and father put in inserts. Both heated their homes for years with them. For a young family like yours, especially in colder climates, it's not a bad thing.. if you have a supply of wood. Do NOT get one unless you are willing to be your own lumberjack. With all the issues that come with that.

Modern inserts also come with a host of other complexities.... catalytic converter for smoke mitigation. Recommended chimney liner double walled stainless pipes because chimney fires are... well, they suck. (Been there twice). Etc. etc. etc.

Take your photos and measurements to a local fireplace shop and ask around. You may end up with a glass door cover so you can use the fireplace 'if you want to' and stick with your normal home heating solution.
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: mattkime
Date: December 03, 2019 11:12AM
Quote
Kraniac
Mattk,

this place, Accucraft, in Minnesota does great work..none of the custom joints are cheap though..

These folks make excellent, heat producing inserts to your specs...they'll handle the arch..Their current front page photo is a good example in a fireplace similar to yours in shape

all inserts are gonna rob some space..the ready made ones are painful in space like yours..

if you go the distance you'll be pretty happy and you can minimize the space and aesthetic loss
with a great looking and appropriate looking result.

Accucraft Custom inserts




Also, here is a good forum for this subject..there are guys here who will
help you:

Fireplace inserts n stove discussions

oooOOooo - this is exactly the sort of thing I'm interested in.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2019 11:13AM by mattkime.
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: GGD
Date: December 03, 2019 11:53AM
Quote
Markintosh
That means your wood lasts longer

I think Pfizer has a product that does that too.
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: December 03, 2019 03:04PM
The soot at the top of the arch implies that the arch made the box opening too tall and it is spilling exhaust gas into the room (CO and particulates).

I have links to Hearth.com that are from an older forum version that no longer work (also a link to wood stove discussions at Dealmac). It looks like Wisconsin doesn't have any rules about fireplace emissions, so that makes it easier. How well an insert will work really depends on how big the fireplace is. 48" wide is a very good number but it needs to be pretty deep to hold a decent amount of wood.

If you just want an alternate heat source and don't have easy access to free wood, consider getting a pellet stove. I continue to be disappointed that even with all the advances in tech, even big freestanding wood stoves won't burn much longer than 14 hours.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: December 03, 2019 04:14PM
goodone
Quote
GGD
Quote
Markintosh
That means your wood lasts longer

I think Pfizer has a product that does that too.



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: Grateful11
Date: December 03, 2019 07:42PM
We're very happy with our Century made in Canada but that fireplace is going to need
a custom surround to make it look right because of the arch. I believe Jan. 1 2020
new stoves have to meet and even tougher EPA regulation. It's half the particle
emission of our older EPA certified insert.
[www.epa.gov]

You could buy an standard model and then get a surround made for it.

We went with the small model so it wouldn't run us out of our Den. It's going right now.
[www.century-heating.com]
Century Heating CW2500 HighEfficiency Wood Stove Fireplace Insert EPA Certified CB00019
[www.ruralking.com]

Our insert lit.
[www.youtube.com]



Grateful11
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: Sam3
Date: December 04, 2019 03:49AM
We are considering getting a pellet stove insert for our lower level fireplace that can't be used due to the flue having cracks and being degraded. Though they are not very attractive, they do generate heat very inexpensively, we are looking to lower our gas bill.
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Re: tell me about fireplace inserts
Posted by: mattkime
Date: December 04, 2019 11:20AM
Quote
Sam3
We are considering getting a pellet stove insert for our lower level fireplace that can't be used due to the flue having cracks and being degraded. Though they are not very attractive, they do generate heat very inexpensively, we are looking to lower our gas bill.

What kind of gas? Natural gas? I'm surprised pellets would be cheaper than natural gas.



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