Jotul C550: Ready to pull the trigger - Any Feedback???

tucoJune 25, 2008

I posted back on June 16th and have not had any feedback yet. I realize it's now summer but I don't want to wait until early fall to purchase a wood insert. The wood stove stores are already busy based on the cost of heating oil.

I'm just wondering if anybody has one of these inserts and can provide any feedback on its performance. Does a fireplace insert heat as well as a wood stove? My home is 2,000 sq. feet and the Jotul is rated for 1800 - 2000 sq. feet so it should be OK.

Thanks for your help.

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hi Tuco - sorry no one has answered you - they're probably all out shopping for stoves in a panic like I am!! Have you seen a stove shop on the weekend - around my area, you can not even speak to a salesman for an hour or so or they take you around the store in a group class! Crazy!!

Anyway, I have looked at the Rockport 550 insert by Jotul and like it very much, but it won't fit, so I am still considering the Kennebec, though I don't like the window view as much.

What I have been told in my research is that an insert can do the job but that a free standing stove will give you more heat due to the radiant effect. Freestanding stoves can also give you side or top door loading options, depending on the particular one. Following along this theory, they have told me that an insert that protrudes onto the hearth a bit may give slightly more heat (like the Jotul Kennebec insert) than an insert that is flush (like the 550).

I looked at the Jotul freestanding Oslo, but wondered why there was a BIG label on it that warned against voiding the warranty if you burned the stove with the ash pan door open or ajar - it can lead to overfiring - I thought, why would anyone DO that? and continued shopping.

Later that night in my continued online research I found many people reporting that the Oslo can be hard to light and often they get the fire going easier if they leave the ash door ajar a few minutes. Now the big label made sense, and if the stove manufacturer has to put a warning label on the stove itself, the reports must be true. So I nixed that one from my list.

Oh, and make sure to get a blower on an insert, and listen to them in the store too. They may not be burning the units in July, but at least they can turn the blower on for you.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 11:45AM
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Hi Again Tuco - DUH! Silly me - I didn't see your response to my own post and that you had already bought the Rockland! Sorry! It is a great looking insert and I wish it fit in my fireplace - if it did, my shopping would probably be done!

Enjoy it very much and be warm this winter!!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2008 at 11:54AM
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Hi Tuco,
I wondered if you actually did buy the Jotul C550. We're now looking at this insert, too. After looking at all the brands and models out there, I keep coming back to this one.

How loud is the blower on this? Do you have any comments for us? What other inserts did you consider?

We are on Long Island, and the Jotul dealers are very limited, ie, one out here. I hope they know what they are doing.

Thanks for any feedback!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 1:24PM
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contrasrule: Yes, I did purchase the Jotul C550 and like you kept coming back to it. My wife and I mutually agreed that this was the best looking insert we had seen. The aesthetics combined with Jotul's reputation made our decision fairly easy. The few people I spoke with that own a Jotul all had good things to say about the product.

We unfortunately were not able to view a working unit so I cannot comment on the noise level of the blower fans. The only thing I can say is that they are rated at 180 CFM (cubic feet per minute) which is a good amount of air volume. We both liked the "automatic fan setting" feature in which the fans activate based on a thermostat. My installation is scheduled for July 31st.

We looked at Regency, Quadra-Fire and Vermont Castings inserts but liked the Jotul C550 the best. This is not to say that they are any less of an insert - its just the one we considered most pleasing to our eyes. All seemed to have pretty much the same specifications in terms of efficiency, burn time, heat displacement, etc... for comparable sized units.

My best advice is to make your decision sooner than later. Every shop I visited told me they'll be out of stock by September or October at the going rate of sales. 45 -50 stoves/inserts per month during June alone is a good indication of what's going on out there. This is especially true when you consider that I was told they typically sell 1 - 3 stoves/inserts per month during June, July and August.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 4:57PM
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Thanks for all this information. The blower also has a manual setting, which is nice, if you want to kick it on sooner. Not all units have this.

Now we're wondering this. We have friends with a Quadrafire, and it sticks out a bit on the hearth; from the pictures, it appears that the Jotul does not. My husband is wondering about the additional radiant heat that you might gain from the Quadrafire.

As for price, it seems that the few dealers I've called are all within a similar range. Up in VT a dealer was asking $2414. Down here the closest dealer charges $2499. One about 80 miles away charges $2400, but won't install it here, since there is a dealer more local to us. Are these prices similar to what you were quoted? (this does not include the chimney liner and installation charges.)

Again, thank you for your input. It's all a bit overwhelming!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 9:28AM
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contrasrule: I would think that the fans would provide most of the heat displacement rather than the small amount of the insert that protrudes into the room. The heat output, heating capacity and efficiency rating listed in the specifications would be the best gauge of how well it should work in your home.

The price of $ 2,414.00 must be the suggested retail as that was the same price quoted to me by two of the Jotul distributors I visited. The additional surround, if needed (or wanted in my case), was quoted at $ 299.00 by both as well.

Most units of comparable size seem to have approximately the same specifications. In the end I think it boils down to what you'll be happy looking at in your hearth for the next 20 years or so. The Jotul C550 fit the bill for us in this respect.

Keep me posted.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 5:23PM
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