Replace a fireplace insert

edwardkellyJanuary 9, 2009

Howdy all,

I bought a house recently that has a fireplace insert. It seems pretty fancy for a fireplace insert, nice bi fold glass doors, wire mesh etc. Problem is, it's still just an insert.

I'm thinking about getting a stove insert instead, but have a few questions... Given there's already an insert that was put in when the house was built (about 9 yrs ago) is it likely that the chimney etc would need to be upgraded with a stove? Is it hard to install a stove insert? I have access to some fairly handy people (my father in law built his house), but is it something for the pro's to do?

any estimates on cost?

Finally.. Anyone know if it would be worth bothering trying to sell the current insert once I pull it out? Not sure if there is any sort of 2nd hand market for that sort of thing.

Not expecting any definitive answers given the nature of the questions, but any tips appreciated.

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Wood or gas?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 5:06PM
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If what you have is a direct vent insert, I would think twice before replacing it, because they are the best technology for a stove or fireplace -- safe, very energy efficient, and not affecting indoor air quality.

Do a search on this forum for direct vent to find out more.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 9:28PM
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What is the insert "inserted" into? Usually there's a masonry fireplace that has an insert installed, or a zero clearance fireplace that has an insert installed. So what's behind your insert? Or do you have a zero clearance fireplace? You need to know what you have before changing it.

Cost for a woodstove including installation can run around $3,000 depending on your situation. A liner will have to be installed inside your chimney to reduce the diameter from 8 inches to 6 inches. Then the difference is lined with Kaowool. Not really a job for amateurs.

But a woodstove is so comforting when in operation. Yes, it is work, but th ework is well worth it. I wouldn't have anything else in my home. My stove is the main heat source up here in VT and there's NOTHING like a wood fire!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 7:25AM
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If you are wedded to the idea of a wood stove, you should check out the website They have a chat room used by wood fire enthusiasts you might be able to help you.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 9:32AM
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A large Regency wood burning insert with a 35' stainless steel liner will run you about $3800 installed. In the fall they have a deal where you get a free blower which would otherwise cost you about $300.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 11:38AM
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Here we have a case where you also must get a unit sized for your needs. I too have a Regency stove. But mine is now a freestanding stove since I have moved from the home with the insert. We have a 1200 sq ft home and the smallest stove (F1100) heats the house very nicely even when the temps go to minus 30.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 7:16AM
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Thanks for all the followups. To answer the questions:

1) I currently have a wood fireplace insert, looking to replace with a wood stove insert

2) Direct vent insert - what does that mean? Does that mean it's got a flue that runs all the way outside? For efficiency everything I've researched says what I currently have is about 40% efficient, whereas a stove can get upwards of 75% efficient.

3) The current insert is stuck into an exterior wall, with a 'chimney' built out around it. The chimney is just normal wood/vinyl siding, I think inside it there is a metal flue pipe. Actually I just found a link to one that is basically the same as what I have:

Mines a HC 3820A though. Mine also doesn't have the blower.

Thanks for the tip, I'll check that out.

On the final follow up - Our house is about 2000sqft, but I'm not looking to the wood stove to be the sole heat source. We have propane forced air as well, my goal for the wood stove is just to put a significant dent in the amount of propane we go through.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 10:33AM
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OK, went to the site listed. You have a ZERO CLEARANCE FIREPLACE, not an "insert". You wnat to put an insert into your fireplace. Go to a stove and fireplace shop. There are plenty of brands that will fill your needs. Most are certified for zero clearance installations.
What must be done is the insert installed inside the firebox, and a chimney installed inside your current one. The liner is then insulated with Kaowool. It's a pretty straightfoward operation, except for the Kaowool part. A small insert like the Regency F1100 will do nicely heating the living areas.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 8:20AM
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Thanks Christopher. I was a bit confused with the terminology. I had though what I currently had was referred to as a fireplace insert (basically a fireplace 'inserted' into the wall). I thought stove 'inserts' only worked with old school big brick/stone fireplaces.

I've since discovered a stove that should fit (Lopi Revere) and a gent from one of the local stove shops is coming out to measure up and give me a quote for installation.

Thanks for the comments.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 2:51PM
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Chap came and measured up yesterday. Quote to install a Lopi Revere, with a blower is about $3300.

I think I'm going to give that a shot.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 9:16AM
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