small wood burning fireplace suggestions?

deedlesJanuary 13, 2013

Hello all,

I live over on the kitchens forum but recently DH and I realize we need to get serious about choosing a fireplace.
Can anyone please give a few recommendations for a good, wood burning fireplace with a small-ish foot print? We'll be putting this in a small (1200 sq ft) one story house, and at present wouldn't be our main heat source but would like to be able to keep ourselves warm if we have to. Have looked at RSF and like them.

We're just starting on this and if experience tells me anything, it's that asking GW folks for information can save you a lot of time.

Thanks in advance!

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Is it a fireplace or a wood burning stove you are considering?

There is a difference.

Regardless of the difference the first step is to contact your insurance agent and ask he/her if they will cover you for loss due to fire. You will be surprised at the numbers of companies not taking the risks today as wood burning fires are amongst the one of the highest risks of loss due to residential fires, and thus the ridiculous premiums that they demand today in some areas of North America. About 8 years ago I received a registered letter from my insurance provider telling me that if I didn't remove a 15 year old wood burning stove stack and bring it to code as well as the stove they never even looked at my fire insurance would be suspended within 30 days. The readers digest version of this tale is that they didn't care a hoot about what they insured previously if I didn't remove it and had an electrical fire I had to prove it wasn't due to a wood stove fire. Lawyers around here start at $150.00 per hour.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2013 at 11:05PM
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It would be a fireplace. Are insurance companies that nuts about fireplaces, or just woodstoves?

I know we were told our ins. co. wouldn't cover a woodstove in the garage, but that's because the garage was unattached and wouldn't (theoretically) have a fire monitored at all times.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 4:14AM
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Fireplaces are open hearth units and not enclosed as is a wood burning stove. An open hearth fireplace is uninsurable here in Ontario. If someone has one and uses it certainly is not breaking any laws. They just do not have fire insurance. Ask your insurance people. A wood burning unit is safer than a fireplace, think piping embers entering the living space. Any wood burning stove to code is legal and insurable, regardless attached dwelling or unattached. To code which covers many aspects of the unit, from fire retardant flooring surrounding the unit to the transition through the ceiling and on and on and on.

Ask your insurance agent.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 8:31PM
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I must have my definitions mixed up: I thought a wood burning stove was a free-standing unit? We want a fireplace but not an open hearth old fashioned kind and I didn't think my original post would have led anyone to believe that's what I meant. Like an RSF or Lodi insert unit with a surround built around it. You know... like a wood burning fireplace? Just looking for recommendations on the best bang(s) for the buck on a small one. Hoping someone can help with some product info. Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 6:01AM
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Hey Deedles, I'm in nearly the same spot (trying to decide between a wood burning fireplace and a wood stove for a 960 sqft one and a half story house in IA).

Are you looking for an all in one fireplace (with surround and mantle) or an insert?

We have a wood burning stove now that's a Drolet. It's amazing. We have it in our basement (not recommended because it's an unfinished space), but it still cuts our propane bill in half for the winter so I would highly recommend them. They also sell wood burning inserts.

From what I've read in past threads on here-and other fireplace forums is anything over 80% efficiency or so is a waste.

That being said there are so many brands and models. There seem to be many good brands with high efficiency and are certified by the new EPA standards so you may be able to get an energy rebate.

I honestly don't have experience with any other brands, but I hope I've helped a little bit. This forum just doesn't seem to get much traffic.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 3:56PM
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