Could someone recommend stove or fireplace?

deepdropDecember 22, 2007

Our kitchen is our coldest room of the house, but it is a place where we all like to congregate.

I was thinking of adding a woodburning stove or fireplace but don't know much about these. The house doesn't have any fireplace other than a Jotul propane fireplace we put in the living room.

I realize that we would need to have a hole put in the ceiling but I would imagine this shouldn't pose a problem for the installer since the roof is the only thing above the corner of the kitchen where I would like to place this.

Could anyone offer some general advice or direct me to a good resource to help choose a fireplace or stove, how to choose one, and the pros and cons of a fireplace vs. wood burning stove.

Thanks very much for any advice anyone cares to share.


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I think the latest technology for stoves would be an easier and less expensive installation. Some of the gas/propane stoves with direct vent technology are very safe (they do not pollute indoor air or deplete it of oxygen) and very efficient (they produce a maximum amount of heat for your dollar). Go to Google and plug in "direct vent stove." That should get you start on the options. Vermont Castings is one option worth considering. Some units vent up through the roof, or can be vented horizontally through an exterior wall. Many of the new ones are small enough to fit practically anywhere, and need very little clearance for safety. The fireplace option would definitely cost a lot more. You might want to do that if you like the look and feel of a fireplace, but you will probably not get more heat for your money. Happy hunting and good luck.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 8:42AM
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Dear Deep Drop--

We have just spent literally MONTHS investigating wood stoves/fireplaces. (By the way, in the industry, if you're set on a wood-burning unit, that makes you a "woodie". We are woodies, too:-).

I could write pages on the subject, but the thing you have to come face-to-face with is that wood stoves are built to get unbelievably hot. They are incredibly efficient, and will get every ounce of energy out of the wood you burn. The downside to that is that there are very strict "clearances" required when you put a woodstove into a room. A clearance is the required space you put between your stove and any combustible surface, like a wall, mantle or even a ceiling. We worked with our architect and tried every known combination we could to make a woodstove work (I really love the look), but in the end, the code required that the stove be so far away from any wall that the stove would eat up an unacceptable amount of floor space in our great room. So, we have abandoned our longing for a woodstove and are getting an efficient zero-clearance fireplace instead (made by RSF of eastern Canada).

If you have a very large room and can spare the footprint, then a woodstove is a beautiful, unique, economic and environmentally-conscious way to have extra heat and ambience in a room. I think Jotul are some of the most beautiful on the market. If, however, you don't have the space, you should probably resign yourself to a fireplace with a pre-fab chimney. You can still burn wood, and the clearances are much more forgiving.

Good luck. Your search will be well worth it. There's nothing better than a real wood fire.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 5:25PM
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If you want convenience, go for a high efficency (80% or better) gas fireplace or stove. Instant heat w/o dealing with wood. Also, direct vent through exterior wall would make installation easier too.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 6:45PM
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Since your main concern is a cold kitchen area, I'd start by asking what is causing that problem and whether solving that problem would make you happy.

Do you have warm air vents to the kitchen that don't put out heat? If so they may need some inspection and repair to solve the problem.

If you have warm air coming from the heating registers, you may need to extend the duct system and install a couple of additional heating registers.

If you just want a fireplace to use for heat, that's fine too. You can ignore these comments.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2007 at 10:11PM
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I'll second the comments about a wood stove taking up a lot of space. If you have a really large kitchen (maybe 16 x 24) then you'd probably have room. If you want to keep wood, kindling, and all the other "stuff" that goes with a stove it winds up eating up quite a bit of space.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 7:08AM
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I'd stay away from fireplaces if your looking for heat. We had an Osburne stove for 20 years in our previous home and it was great! Lots of heat, no maintenance other than dusting the outside, and it looked good too.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 1:30PM
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As with all things it depends on what you want to spend. A kitchen would be a great place for a masonry heater with a bake oven but you would need the ability to create a substantial foundation underneath and lots of disposable income. I think a better choice might be one of the newer wood cookstoves which are available on the market. I would suggest you look at the Aga Artisan I have linked to below. With double wall stove pipe there are minimal clearances, I'm not sure where you're located or what your climate is but you could get heat and cooking in the kitchen. Other stoves which are available are the Napoleon 1150, the Hearthstone Deva, or the Esse Ironheart. For more classic looks check out the cooking stoves at Lehman's. The general price range will be about $1,500 to $6,300 or so. Most of these cookstoves put out enough heat for the space you suggest as well as add some functionality. One caveat is that you usually have to cut the wood in smaller pieces.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aga Artisan

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 9:19PM
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