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Best wood stove insert

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by Reddog35, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. Reddog35

    Reddog35 ArboristSite Lurker

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    I am building a 2650 sqft house and I want to get a wood stove insert. I am not planning to have this as my prime heat source but that may change as heating prices go up. What brands and features should I look for?
     
  2. A. Stanton

    A. Stanton Addicted to ArboristSite

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    For a house your size, you are going to need a big one. I have a Pacific Energy and like it. They make a model called the Summit that heats 3,000 sq feet and I would advise you to get that one. Just be sure that it will fit in your fireplace. You will pay about $2,500 plus the price of a chimney liner which is about $800. This sucker is all cast iron and fire brick-lined. It weights over 450 lbs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2008
  3. wkpoor

    wkpoor Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If you are building a new house I would do a free standing stove with a pipe through the ceiling. I have a stove downstairs and a fireplace on the first floor. If I had it to do all over again I never wood have put in the fireplace, just another stove on a large hearth.
     
  4. Reddog35

    Reddog35 ArboristSite Lurker

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    Which model do you have now? Did you get it from a local dealer or buy it online? What are your burn times like-can you burn all night?
     
  5. Reddog35

    Reddog35 ArboristSite Lurker

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    What about the 1st floor stove don't you like?
     
  6. KindlingKing

    KindlingKing ArboristSite Operative

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    If you can't do a freestanding stove, get a Lopi or an Avalon. I have Avalon's Olympic (largest they make) and it is fabulous. Its a non-cat and takes a 24" log (3.2 cu ft firebox). If you want overnight burns and don't want to have to get up constantly to stoke the fire get the biggest unit you can afford. There are many other good brands out there. Just don't let anyone talk you into a catalytic stove. They cost you a pretty penny every couple of years to buy replacement catalysts (every year if you burn unseasoned wood). You can get stoves that are just as clean burning and which are also EPA phase II compliant that don't cost you a penny to burn for the life of the stove..... Best of luck in your decision.
     
  7. 046

    046 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    totally agree... if you are building from scratch. get a free standing wood stove. main reason is it's easier to plumb ducting into house's main distribution ducts.

    if house is already built with a fireplace. then it's best to use existing infrastructure with a fireplace insert.

    go with a insert with a secondary burn system. ask for references of other local folks with similar size houses using that model. you need to find out real wood usage in cords and what size house unit will actually heat.

     
  8. Reddog35

    Reddog35 ArboristSite Lurker

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    Has any one herd of the RSF wood stove insert? Are they any good?
     
  9. wkpoor

    wkpoor Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Don't have a 1st floor stove. My stove is in the walk out basement. I have a fireplace on the 1st floor. Really wish I had a stove instead on a large hearth. However the convenience of the walk out basement makes it easy to get the fuel in and heating the basement effectively heats the whole house.
     
  10. A. Stanton

    A. Stanton Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I bought the middle model from a dealer. It heats 2,000 sq feet; the Summit wouldn't fit in my fireplace. The sucker won't burn all night. I only get about a 4-5 hour burn. The Summit is advertised as giving an 8 hour burn. Forgot to say that Pacific Energy gives a lifetime warranty on most of the parts, if not all.
     
  11. huskystihl

    huskystihl Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I agree! I have the avalon raneer and it heats my entire 2400 sq ft house and literally heats you out and it was only rated for 1800 sq ft.
     
  12. mranum

    mranum ArboristSite Operative

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    This is old I know but.........


    Yeah RSF makes a very good unit, in the form of high efficiency fireplaces anyway. A friend of mine has one and I looked hard at them and the BIS brand before making my choice for the BIS. Only because I preferred one dealer over the other.
     
  13. infomet

    infomet ArboristSite Operative

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    I have a Buck 91. 4 cubic foot firebox, heats great! You can install it as a stove with legs too. If I were starting again, I'd put the stove on some sort of stand, so I could load it without bending over. Think about how you'll handle ashes too. Again, if I were starting again, I'd have a hollow stone base with an opening to the outside. I'd cut a hole through the base of the stove, so ashes could be pushed down without any handling.
     
  14. mranum

    mranum ArboristSite Operative

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    Thats kinda what my Dad did when he built his house/fireplace some 40+ years ago. The house was built with a 2 flume masonary chimney that originated in the basement. The fireplace was on the main level and was built into the flume, the lower part of the flume was used as an ash disposal area. He put a trap door in the base of the fireplace so when you needed to clean ashes you just popped up the door and pushed them into the hole. In the basement was a door on the side of the flume and you simply opened it and scooped them out for disposal. It worked really slick and you didn't have the ash mess in the living area.
     
  15. 046

    046 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    lots of advantages using an existing quality fireplace/hearth.

    fireplace technology has been around since just about the dawn of time. masons KNOW how to built quality fireplaces.

    ashes dump/outside air source, built into firebrick floor makes clean out much easier. gas log starter in place making starting fires a breeze.

    because hearth is designed from scratch to handle high heat... it's a much safer installation.

    main disadvantage of inserts is difficulty of installing ducting to your existing ducts. if fan driven will put out a large amount of heat. problems is getting that heat to the other ends of the house.

    this is no small issue as heat distribution decides overall comfort for your house. free standing wood stoves are much easily to duct into house duct for even heat distribution.

    placing wood stove in center of house would be best of all.

     
  16. juanboy2k

    juanboy2k ArboristSite Lurker

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    Summit Burner - Including Analysis

    We have a SUMMIT Pacific Energy insert. Depending on the wood type, and the size of the logs relative to how many I can place in the firebox, it will burn over night from say 11pm thru about 6am, though that's pushing it. I don't always drop the air control to the min setting either though.

    We have a single floor ranch house, about 2900 sq ft. The burner is at one end. We run the ceiling fan (it's in a great room with cathedral ceiling) on medium or low whenever the burner is running, blowing air DOWN. Then, we place a box /window fan in the front hall that shoves the warm air down the front hall, into a bedroom, around a hall in the end opposite from where the burner is, and backup to the great room. The resulting air flow keeps the house (even a therm up on near a kitchen window in the same area as the great room at 70-78). Bedrooms stay comfortably cooler, but the main living area is perfect, if a bit too warm when we have guests over. We frequently open the windows in Dec or Jan if we have over 20-30 folks in house. And no, we generally do not run the central air fan of the furnace to circulate air ... I've tested it, and it just doesn't seem to help a whole lot.

    I have the thermostat for the furnace set at 62. It hardly ever runs.

    I do admittedly throw a log on in the morning at about 3-4 am usually, because I get up anyways for the dogs. That makes sure there is heat in the house when I reload prior to leaving for work in the AM.

    On those rare days when the temp hovers around single digits all day long, I'll have a neighbor swing by and toss a few more logs in around 1-2pm.

    I have a weather monitoring system in/on the house; and have the great room monitored in the ceiling. It is very easy to tell from the charts when the heat is on the UPSIDE vs when it's cooling off.

    I even can have it page me if it gets too hot ... but in practice that's not an issue.

    If anyone would like to see a chart or two of the temperatures for various days, compared to the outside temp, let me know. I'll post them hereabouts perhaps.

    All in all, the only downside about the SUMMIT is that you have to pretty much let it cool down to remove the ashes .... it has no ash drawer.

    But other than that, the glass is easy to clean, etc.

    I don't have a temp senser for my online system yet for the burner itself (it's on the wrong side of the room for wiring); for that I use a remote grill/oven temp sensor, with the receiver in the bed room so that I can check on the temp from the comfort of my bed. When it falls beolw 140 or so, I know I better get up and go reload. (You can't access the flue very easily so I have to get close via the metal probe in the air OUTlet are of the burner. The highest I've probably ever had it is about 380 or so.)

    Here's the web site for my weather system ...
    http://www.johnedelmann.com/weather.html The burner room is the "great room".

    John.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2008
  17. Wood Doctor

    Wood Doctor Edwin

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    Federal Airtight

    I have a gut feeling my stove insert is no longer sold in the USA and that's a bummer because it's a dandy wood heater:
    [​IMG]
    The Federal Airtight 288 is just about all cast iron with a side loading door, two front doors with glass inserts, shaker grates, ash pan, and high efficiency. I no longer use a catalytic cumbustor, but it's optional. It takes a 25" log and weighs in at 550 lb. Overnight burns are possible by adjusting the three air intakes, but I don't throttle it down that much.

    Even without running the 2-speed blower, you get lots of convection and radiant heat. At full bore, the flue gas temperature can reach 1400 F, but I usually keep it coasting at about 1000 F.
    [​IMG]

    Most of the time the doors are closed tight, but I thought I would show you that they do open for atmosphere. I even made a grill for it to cook steaks and chops, and on top I boil water for humidification and have often cooked breakfast with cast iron skillets. Why on earth they stopped making this stove and exporting it to the USA, I'll never know. :dizzy:
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2008
  18. 046

    046 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    your federal airtight 288 is one impressive design!!!

    just about the most efficient design I've ever seen. it's secondary combustion control chamber is unique. sure wish I could duplicate it's function in my insert.

     
  19. Wood Doctor

    Wood Doctor Edwin

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    Thank you, 046, for your kind words as I approach the heating season, my 21st with this marvelous stove/insert. The Federal Airtights do not run by themselves. Their owners have to know what they are doing to make them work right. As the years went by, the stove and I became good friends. I learned what it could do, and it responded by producing fabulous heat.

    The only major part that I ever had to replace was installed his year--the fireback plate. This piece finally burned to the point where it warped inward and was reducing the size of the firebox significantly. So, I visited a welding company and obtained a 12" x 24" piece of 5/16" plate steel that I installed. Shucks, it only required me to drill two holes to hang it using the bolts that were already there. For $20 and using my drill press and one of my wrenches, I was in the clear.

    So, men, now I am ready for season #21 with one of my best friends--a wood stove/insert that I can trust and one that will allow me to stay warm as toast (and cook a couple of juicy steaks!). We all live on a very good Earth, but we still need heat. :)
     
  20. stihlwielder

    stihlwielder New Member

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    Federal Airtight

    I know this thread is old but I stumbled upon because I just scored the same exact insert off of craigslist. I was actually looking for advice on how to install it. What parts do I need etc. Doesn't seem like a tough job but I want to make sure its up to code and I don't smoke myself out.

    As for the stove itself I can't wait to use it. Growing up my parents had a Federal Airtight free standing stove so I'm quiet familiar with how to operate it and I remeber it being very efficient. Everything looks pretty much the same as they had. Got it for $150 bucks!!!
     

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