what is the best wood burning insert???

littlemeadowSeptember 6, 2007

We have been researching wood fireplace inserts and are thoroughly confused on what would be best for us.

We absolutely love the Hampton 1300, but we are concerned that it will not be able to heat our 2000 square foot house (even though that is how much it is supposed to heat) and that it will not be able to achieve the 8 hour burn times. Do any of you have personal experience with the Hampton 1300? Is it really able to heat 2000 square feet? Is the heat that it puts out just radiant heat? We also would prefer long burn times.

Others that we are looking at include the Lopi Freedom, Pacific Energy Pacific Insert (we would consider the Summit but it is too large for our fireplace), and Blaze King Princess Insert. Are all of these just as good as the others? Are there better ones available? Are there any that you would absolutely recommend? Are there any that you would absolutely NOT recommend?

Whatever we get, we want it to be able to heat out 2000 square foot house throughout the winter. We want it to be our only source of heat. We also want to have long burn times. We live in Colorado where the lows usually do not drop below the single digits. If possible, we also want it to be at least somewhat appealing to look at.

Also, just curious...cast iron or steel? Does it matter? Is one better than the other?

Any help would be greatly appreciate. Thanks in advance.

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I did research on the GW and based on the posts selected the Fireplace Xtrordinair FPX44. It is a wood burner and will serve as part of my backup heat source.

I have a geothermal heat pump system and a backup power generator to run the electrical emergency heat for these units was cost prohibitive - so I upgraded a wood burning insert to the FPX 44 and a gas insert to the FPX 864.

I have not turned these on yet (house is near completion) but here is why I picked the FPX 44: can handle 36 inch logs, has a 10-12 hour burn time on a full load of logs, can generate 76K BTUs/hr (1/2 of what I need for the entire house) , and it looks nice.

The down sides of the FPX 44 are: it is expensive, the hook up is complicated - it requires a fan with exterior vent to suck in air for combustion and that drives extra duct work and electrical work and it has two other 8 inch flex ducts for air intake as well, it is weighs a ton. I call it "the beast".

I also upgraded a gas firplace to the FPX 864 TRV for similar reasons as above. The 864 has two settings - one for ambience and one for backup heat. In the backup heat mode, it can generate 31K BTU's per hour. It also has an output vent that you can use to throw heat into another room besides the one that the fireplace is in - and I wanted that feature to heat my master bedroom and bath area when in backup heat mode. It also looks nice too.

Between the two FPX units, I can heat my entire house with no power. I will have a small power generator to run the fans for both fireplace units.

Hope this helps

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 9:04AM
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Another vote for the FXP 44. Yes, it is a beast, yes, it is pricey (but all the good ones are) and yes it takes professional installation, but it pumps the heat out and IMO can't be beat for looks and fit/finish. We have a 2100 sf, 2 story, kinda sorta shingle/cottage style house with propane fired radiant heat on both floors, but we're in northern NY on the shore of Lake Ontario, and we get wind, snow and cold, and wanted to have a woodburner back up that could handle the whole house. We've only had 2 fires in it (last May when installed), so I'll have a full report sometime this fall or winter, but it's rated for 3500sf, so should heat our house very well.

The other unit we considered was the Quadra Fire 7100, which is also a good unit and well built, but we liked the FXP better in looks and think the fit/finish is a bit higher in quality than the 7100. Honestly, I don't think you can go wrong with either unit.

Here's a pic when the surround was freshly installed. We don't have a mantel yet, but someday (soon I hope), I'm going to decide what I want.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 9:48AM
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Check out www.chimneysweeponline.com. They will tell you that the Pacific Energy Series had the longest burn times in tests they performed. With the gold plated door,etc, the price here in the PNW is $2095. I`m replacing my old Pacific Energy (circa 1985) next season with the Pacific. Another feature I like about this one is there is a heating area on top which is good for when the power goes out. There is a picture of it on chimney sweep. Hope this was helpful. *By the way, my older fireplace still works fine after 21 years, it just is not EPA certified, and the newer ones also burn about one-third less wood.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 3:36PM
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A big lopi fan here. We had a lopi answer in our previous home. 1200 sq feet and it heated well with a blower. Now we are in 2500 sq feet and our liberty can heat it all night(6hr burn)with or without the blower as it is a freestander.

Peace here in colorado.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2007 at 8:24AM
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