Gas Insert Sizing Question

joe_bloweSeptember 11, 2007

We're close to buying a Fireplace Xtrordinair FPX32DVS or Jotul 450 Katahdin gas insert.

On our last visit to a FireplaceX dealer, the crew on hand suggested we look at the larger FPX34DVL. I knew this was a more powerful unit, and I told them I didn't want to be "blasted" out of our 200 sq. ft. living room. They all replied, "Don't worry about that... go for the larger viewing area!"

So my question is: How do these inserts perform when running at their lowest setting and cycling on/off? Is it like a gas furnace? Isn't that the exact scenario you want to avoid with these units -- oversized and cycling on/off?

Also, I'm leaning towards Fireplace Xtrordinair because of all the great feedback on this forum. I've seen good feedback on Jotul also. But between these two brands in this setting, is one better than the other? Or is it just aesthetics at this point?

Thanks,

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daingus

The reason they are tying to upsell you, is that with Inserts, you want to get the most Fireplace for your opening. (You don't want a surround that's bigger than your actual Fireplace). I don't believe there is actuallly much of a differance as far as heat output between the two on the low setting anyway (a differance of ~2,000 BTu's). Is this room open to others? Is ther an open (upward) staircase? With only 200sqft in a closed off room, with either unit you may find yourself rarely even turning it on. If it is open, IMO, go with the bigger one.

Both will perform the same, and yes, like a Furnace (If you are using a Thermostat for it). It will not hurt the units at all nor decrease their efficiency to cycle on/off w/ the T-stat. These have been designed and tested to perform at all settings. In fact, you will find yourself using your Furnace much less. Thus, having the Fireplace paying for itself.

I have not seen either of these units run, but from being in the industry for a while, I can tell you I've heard better of the Xtrordinair brand. Just make sure they stand behind their product and offer service. If there is a dealer in your vacinity, another good brand you might want to look into is Heat & Glo.

Enjoy.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 4:25PM
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joe_blowe

Thanks for your response. Based on this, and a couple of additional conversations, I think we'll be going with the 34DVL.

Our 200 sq. ft. living room has two doorways: a 6 ft. wide opening to a dining room and adjoining kitchen (~325 sq. ft. total), and a 3 ft. wide opening to a long hallway. The entire single story house is only 1,350 sq. ft.

If natural convection manages to work it's way around, then we'll be very happy -- I've seen plenty of reports where people claim to heat entire homes with just one insert. That would be great if it worked out that way...

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 12:53PM
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