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Wood burning fireplace inserts Login/Join 
Any members in the northern US that have experience with these I'd love some input. Especially on brands. Looking at getting one for my house mainly for the efficiency on wood but also for the heat. I've was looking at Lopi but got sticker shock when I got a quote. I have access to all the wood I want and a hydraulic log splitter.
Posts: 1041 | Location: DFW Metromess | Registered: May 20, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've had a fireplace extrordinaire hybrid insert for about 8 years. We got the biggest one they had for a 4ft wide heart, wasn't cheap. Weighs 600 pounds. It heats the whole house ( log cabin, 6" thick square logs) 1750 sq ft with a cathedral ceiling. It was worth the money $5000. I replaced the honeycomb catalytic converter part once, it was around $50. I'm in the Smokey mtns, winters aren't bad. When it's in the teens, I can keep it 72 in here, when my heat pump does nothing.
Posts: 83 | Location: TN | Registered: May 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Joie de vivre
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We wanted an insert for our fireplace but the firebox was to small. We opted for a standalone stove vented thru the fireplace. The company installed a chimney liner to draw combustion air in and exhausting the smoke out. All in we were just under $5k, expensive to say the least, but consider the following:

Stove efficiency is in the high 80’s which means burning less wood.
Stove has a side door for loading, front loading has greater risk of sparks or a log rolling.
Stove is a long term investment, our central heat has not been on in 3 weeks, great power savings
You get what you pay for, less expensive stoves leak air and burn more wood. Getting up at 3AM to feed it sucks.
We removed the hearth and used the stone for the base.
Consider the stove as part of the decor of the room/home

If nothing else it is therapeutic to watch a nice fire with an adult beverage as you kick back on the sofa or your favorite chair.

Just our thoughts.

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man
is a shame, two is a law firm,
and three or more is a congress.
-- John Adams
Posts: 3578 | Location: 1,960' up in Murphy, NC | Registered: January 29, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, the 3am feeding is a non issue with the big insert. I Pack it at 10pm and it's still good at 6-7am. Type of wood makes a difference too.
Posts: 83 | Location: TN | Registered: May 18, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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$7k for the Lopi but there is a 26% tax credit on purchase and install bringing it down to around $5400. Seriously considering it.
Posts: 1041 | Location: DFW Metromess | Registered: May 20, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a Lopi Freedom Bay, an older (2008) model. We love it. it heats the first floor pretty well.

Mom told me if I can't say anything nice, don't say anything.
Posts: 3583 | Location: Colorado | Registered: August 24, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Keeping the economy moving since 1964
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7 years ago we had a Clydesdale by Hearthstone installed. The unit fit within our existing fireplace and we had a 6" insulated stainless steel flue installed up through the chimney with a bird screen and rain cap above the chimney top. I really have enjoyed it. It has a large firebox (can burn logs up to 24" in it and it puts out alot of heat (70,000 btu). It burns efficiently. Firewood type does make a difference and I burn mostly oak, sugar maple, hickory, black locust, beech and ash. Hickory is my favorite. At night I put a few logs in it and throttle the damper down and in the morning I have good coals to work with. It has a fan which is somewhat noisy, and that is my biggest complaint. All in all thouhgh I love heating with wood.

Hearthstone offers a similar product today I see.

The pup likes it too.

You can't fall off the floor.
Posts: 7824 | Location: Rochester, NY behind enemy lines | Registered: March 12, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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When I moved into my NY house in ‘85 there was an insert in the fireplace and I tried to throw it out but it was too heavy too move by myself. It was January and I wanted a fire so I lit one in it and left the door open, which was OK but a little underwhelming.

The neighbor across the street said he’d help a couple days later but also said I really ought to try using it properly first because it was almost new and worked great, plus it had been pretty expensive for the previous owner and saved him a fortune on heating oil.

Well, I did and it’s still there today. Rarely gets used anymore, still have no idea who made it, but if I put a cheap oscillating fan on the mantel that thing will heat the whole place as long as interior doors stay open and therefore I’m quite glad I couldn’t lift it on that day back in ‘85.
Posts: 6722 | Location: Maui, HI | Registered: December 15, 1999Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a fireplace x:
I put it in 7 years ago when i moved into the house. The existing fireplace was drafty and didn’t really heat the house. The insert is awesome, can heat my whole house even with outside temperatures down in the single digits.
Posts: 172 | Location: Great Falls VA | Registered: February 03, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very nice to have in the event of emergencies. If you plan on heating exclusively with a wood burner there are a couple points I’d bring up. They can be a little messy with ashes and debris from wood being carried in. As others have pointed out you have to be selective with the wood you burn and the rate you burn it in order to avoid getting up once or twice every night. I would also recommend avoiding creating a hardwire on the fan in the event of a power outage so you can still get efficient spread of heat throughout your home by using a portable generator if you don’t have a whole house backup generator. Last and definitely not least is wood storage. It will take a decent amount of space to store an adequate amount of wood and it needs to be covered to make sure the wood is dry and also conveniently located in order to make bringing wood in easier. Also remember that certain creatures love to live in wood piles like snakes, rats/mice, spiders and other insects. We have two fireplaces in our home, one with a buck stove insert and the other a large masonry fireplace with a Hearthator fan system. I used both the past week to heat our home while we were without electricity.

Build a man a fire and keep him warm for a night, set a man on fire and keep him warm the rest of his life.
Posts: 1794 | Location: WV | Registered: December 15, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Over the years I added fireplace inserts to two different houses we had, WA State & GA. It’s a simple, lower cost way to get more heat out of a fireplace.

I just bought them & put them in myself, relatively newer homes, masonry chimneys. One had a fan, I thought the other not.

Mine worked fine, smaller homes. The doing it yourself idea could vary, fairly simple, keep it safe.
Posts: 4612 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Lopi would be a good choice. Quadrafire and Pacific Energy seem to be held in high regard. I had a PE Summit insert installed 8-10 years ago because it had the largest firebox and EPA approved without a catalyst. It throws massive heat into my 2200 sq. ft. A trustworthy dealer and competent installer are essential.
Posts: 79 | Location: Ohio | Registered: March 06, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a Lopi Freedom model. Certainly not cheap but rally works well. Mine has the built in fan. when it kicks on my fist floor is heated in minutes.

Posts: 1141 | Location: Northern Michigan | Registered: September 08, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Wait, what?
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We have a Regency 1200 that despite having a few years on it, is a very efficient unit. It follows the basic pattern of a large firebox with a catalyst system to reduce particulates and create maximum heat output. Instead of a canister, it relies on an overhead sloped fire stone shelf that the fire heats and rebuts emissions as they pass over it.

The key to any efficiency stove is a sealed exhaust pipe from the unit to the cap. After 3 years, one pass through with a brush leaves it shiny inside. No creosote buildup whatsoever. And no expensive chimney servicing.

“We have put together, I think, the most extensive and and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.”- Joe Biden
Posts: 12452 | Location: Martinsburg WV | Registered: April 02, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Shit don't
mean shit
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I grew up with a free standing wood stove, and I've had a fireplace insert at my current house for the past 12 years. I'm thrifty (not cheap), which means I prefer to buy used. Right after we moved in I bought a used Buck Stove (The Big Buck) made in about 1980 or so off of Craigslist (CL) for $300. That served me well for 11 years, but it wasn't very efficient and I burned a lot of wood.

I would search on CL occasionally but everything was old junk. In January of last year I stumbled on an almost brand new Quadra-Fire Voyager Grand fireplace insert for $900 on CL. They run about $3,200 new. I did a ton of research on installing it, mostly on I highly recommend you spending a lot of time on that site before buying.

My Big Buck had an 8" vent, and the Voyage Grand uses a 6", which is much more common. Get a stainless steel chimney liner. I installed a block off plate, rockwool insulation at the top and bottom, and I insulated the entire run of liner. All of this I found out by reading the forums on

I will say, IMO (and others on you'll get more heat out of a free standing stove than an insert. Due to aesthetics, my wife would never let me install the free standing unit. I run my insert about 20 hours per day, for at least 6 months of the year. I can't be bothered with getting up in the middle of the night so the automatic fan shuts off about 3 AM or so. We have natural gas heat, so I just run the stove to keep my bills lower. I have some air leak issues I need to address, but those are in a long list of other projects I have to do. If I stuff it completely full of wood it doesn't burn quite right, and I am left with big chunks of charcoal in the morning. I just fill it 90% or so and let it go out at 3 AM.

Posts: 5159 | Location: 7400 feet in Conifer CO | Registered: November 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Only the strong survive
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If you get one, make sure it has a blower to get the heat distribution. Also an ash tray makes it easier to clean up once a week.

I can heat my whole house with the Sierra Diplomat fireplace insert.

Posts: 10839 | Location: Herndon, VA | Registered: June 11, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bolt Thrower
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If you can wrangle a wood stove in your opening you will have a backup cooking surface.
Posts: 9040 | Location: Woodinville, WA | Registered: March 30, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Shit don't
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Originally posted by 41:
Also an ash tray makes it easier to clean up once a week.

Curious, does your insert have an ash pan? My dad has an ash pan on his free standing unit and he loves it. However, when i looked a few years ago I could not find an insert that had one. Usually because they need that area for the air to circulate.

I would love an insert with an ash pan. I empty mine about every 3 days, 4 max.

Also note that the EPA tightened the regs last year and made them much tighter on emissions. Over on there was a lot of talk about people buying stoves before the new regs went into effect.
Posts: 5159 | Location: 7400 feet in Conifer CO | Registered: November 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Might want to also bounce it off your insurance agent. I normally wouldn't think anything of it but we have a fireplace insert and when I was shopping insurance I priced out Ameriprise/American Family through Costco. They had the best rates by 40% cheaper...but they wouldn't insure our house with the insert. Told me I needed to have it professionally removed and with a written letter noting such. I didn't go ahead with that but just in case your insurance is quirky...
Posts: 5641 | Location: CO | Registered: October 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
I Deal In Lead
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I heated my last house before this one with a custom made (locally) insert for over 20 years.

Worked great and saved me a fortune. I used nothing but oak in it except for kindling.

Get your chimney cleaned out once a year to be safe.
Posts: 5872 | Location: Gilbert Arizona | Registered: March 21, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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