Return to the Fireplaces Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Pacific Energy Vista insert

Posted by mrsmarv (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 26, 08 at 17:14

I'm hoping some of you can weigh in on our choice...we have a fireplace (Heatilator from the late 50's) and we're in the process of getting ready to purchase a wood-burning insert. Originally we thought the Pacific Energy "Pacific" insert would fit the bill perfectly, but after measuring and having a site inspection done, it appears that the opening width is not wide enough to install the "Pacific" (by 5/8 inch...dang!). Other than removing 5/8 inches of surrounding metal firebox (remember, it's a Heatilator PITA), which is not cost effective from the standpoint of deconstruction, we have to go with the smaller model, the Vista. Our house is slightly less than 1,500 sq. ft., according to who does the measuring, and the Vista claims to cover 1,500 sq. ft. of heating area. We plan on keeping our oil burner set at 60 degrees, and using the insert as much as possible to keep the heating costs down. We live on 7 wooded acres and have plenty of wood available for seasoning through the coming years. We currently have approximately 3 cords of seasoned, split, stacked hardwood, as well.
We've also looked at the Lopi and Jotul and have to say that aesthetically the Lopi is not our first choice. The Jotul dealer in our area is a tad...um...difficult, and I'm not too happy with how he wants us to commit to a contract prior to his doing a site inspection. And he doesn't come for a site inspection unless you've "committed". So, no thanks to that. We like the Pacific Energy reviews, their warranty, the local dealer, and liked the site inspection guy (who has a wealth of info), everything about Pacific including the price. Which is why we chose Pacific Energy. But we can't have the insert we planned on. Our concern is that the Vista isn't large enough and won't have a long enough burn time (only 6 hours compared to 8). Am I splitting hairs? Will the Vista be stove enough for our application? The Lopi claims it covers 1,200-1,500 sq. ft., and the model ("Revere") is considered a "medium-sized" unit ( also, the Lopi would run us an additional $800-$900). The Pacific Energy claims a 1,500 sq. ft. coverage, and the Vista is considered a "small" unit. They both seem comparable otherwise, but the Pacific Energy is the manufacturer we like more. Any thoughts?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Pacific Energy Vista insert

With the size of your fireplace opening, you probably won`t be able to get anything with a larger firebox. Hence your burn times will not exceed 6 hours max. The vista will be plenty of heat and the blower shuts off automatically when the unit is no longer producing usefull heat.

It is too bad you can`t get something with a larger firebox (at least 2.0 cu.ft),because you can always build a smaller fire in the larger firebox, but you can`t build a bigger fire in a small firebox. Heat-wise the vista will serve you well, but if you want continious heat then you will have to get up in the middle of the night to feed it.


 o
RE: Pacific Energy Vista insert

First of all I would be more concerned about safety than area heated At the very least any insert would have to be listed for installation in a prefab fireplace Second how would you sleep at night knowing that much heat is only inches away from combustiable framing Another point there were no UL listings for t your original heatalator you would be installing an insert into an unlisted surround Personally as an inspector I would never issue a permit for the installation On the other hand some heatalators were built into proper masonry fireplaces From here I can't examine yours to confirm its construction My question would be before I do anything how safe is my existing setup? Noy fretting over models or manufactures Another thought what precautions have you taken concerning freezing of your pipes? If you successfully heat with wood will your pipes freeze? Remember they circulated water, now they sit stagnant possibly exposed to freezing. You would not be the first one to discover that situation when its too late.
http://www.hearthtalk.com/ You might want to post you concerns here


 o
RE: Pacific Energy Vista insert

Sonny and elkimmeg ~ Thank you both for your input:

"Heat-wise the vista will serve you well, but if you want continious heat then you will have to get up in the middle of the night to feed it."
Point well taken. At that point, the oil burner should kick on until we're up and about in the morning. Middle of the night feedings are reserved only for children, and ours is grown ;o)

"At the very least any insert would have to be listed for installation in a prefab fireplace."
The Vista is approved for installation in an existing zero-clearance fireplace.

"Second how would you sleep at night knowing that much heat is only inches away from combustiable framing."
We are removing the wood mantle, replacing it with a bluestone mantel. The closet framing, wall or combustible is 4 feet away from the fireplace/insert.

"On the other hand some heatalators were built into proper masonry fireplaces."
Ours is built into a proper masonry fireplace.

"My question would be before I do anything how safe is my existing setup?"
Inspection done and anything that needs to be modified or corrected is being done.

"Another thought what precautions have you taken concerning freezing of your pipes?"
We are using our oil burner for heat, as well. Since we use our water (hot and cold) on a daily basis the water running through the pipes will never be "stagnant". We also have a propane hot water heater, which is located in the garage/basement. This throws off a certain amount of heat which is close to the cold water pipes. The hot water pipes run from the propane hot water heater. In any event, we will not be as remiss as to let our pipes freeze. We're planning on utilizing both sources of heat (insert and oil), and hopefully it will accomplish our goal of reducing our oil costs dramatically.


 o
RE: Pacific Energy Vista insert

There two approaches to saving heating cost an axillary heater wood stove. and preventing heat losses in you existing home All exposed hot water pipes in the basement For heating and hot water should be insulated to R-5.0 or greater. This would prevent freezing to an extent and reduce transmission loses. It also saves water running the tap till the water is warm enough that time would be reduced less water down the drain.
Set back thermostats Studies prove that setbacks on forced hot water systems are effective up to a 6 degree temperature swing Beyond that it uses too much fuel to restore the desired temperatures for any savings Studies also indicate a permanent lower thermostat setting becomes even more effective than the set backs.
Add insulation to the attic ceiling area Seal the sill plate and foundation contact weatherstrip exterior doors Add insulation to the cellar floor cavity. That area is subject to a 15% heat loss to your living space R19 or greater can reduce those losses Draft insulation behind all external electrical outlets. Reduce your heat losses saves money and holds heat in


 o
RE: Pacific Energy Vista insert

elkimmeg ~ thank you for your insight, expertise, and suggestions. We already have done everything on your "hit list", except insulating around the water pipes, which we will do. Our hot water heater is less than 2 years old and already set back, attic is well insulated, sill plates on exterior doors are done/weatherstripped, and the cellar/garage floor well insulated. Our house went through a major renovation/reconstruction about 10 years ago. At that time, we put in all new windows and doors, stripped the interior walls to the studs, re-insulated and sheetrocked, exterior insulation and siding, new garage door, everything that could be insulated and sealed (except the water lines in the basement/garage...which we'll do now).


 o
RE: Pacific Energy Vista insert

Good Job, that being the case, no matter what wood stove you purchase It should heat well


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Fireplaces Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here