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Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Posted by turningpoint (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 10, 05 at 11:53

I'm interested in an attractive heat efficient wood insert, and it's a big expense for me, but I feel that I want the coziness of a wood fire, charm, alternative heat source. My house is only 1600 square feet and the insert would go into a very poor existing fireplace- wrong dimensions, short chimminey, you name it, it has the problem. I grew up with fireplaces, so I love them. I looked at Jotul and Rais and Lopi. Appearance really counts, but so does expense and efficiency. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

Leslie in upstate NY


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

I have two Regency wood inserts. They were installed three years ago and they have been great.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Thank you tommyw. Does that mean it's helped with your heating bill? Are they nice to look at and sit in front of? Thanks for your reply.
Leslie


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Leslie, in terms of helping with your heating bill . . . OF COURSE!

Tommy W, if I recall spends nothing on heat other than the wood.

That is my goal for this year.

So far in October I've turned the heat on . . . nope. Not yet.

As for looks, I couldn't care less.
As for performance, most major brands will work very well.

If your house has the fireplace in a good location, central that is, then it should be a piece of cake to heat your whole house, bad chimeny or not.

How about some more detail on the fireplace and the house layout?

Drew


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

My existing fireplace is on an outside wall, and not at the center of the house. However, it is the wall to the largest room, and the second largest room is connect by double doors. The furthest away from the fireplace is a back room which is my pottery studio, so it is not always in use. The upstairs is well insulated, tending to be warmer than the first floor. I don't expect the fireplace to heat the entire house, but significant warming sure would help. I run a glass kiln near the thermostat for the regular furnace, (terrible placement, I know) so the fireplace would mean I wouldn't have to crank up the heat to reach the other areas of the house-I hope. Thanks, Drew. I confess I do care about looks however. I'm an artist and am known to do many out of proportion things for appearance. Cost is a significant factor, too, I fear.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Where is the staircase to the upstairs? If it is open to either of the first two rooms? Are the bedrooms on top of the two big rooms?

If you get a nice unit, I'll bet you a beer that you can heat the whole house with an insert.

I don't know about looks, but I've read nothing but good things about most of the major brands.

I have a Pacific Energy, but I've only had it a week or two, so my data set is small. Excellent data, however.

I just finished reading the patent on the overnight burn technology. Darn cool. The thing went about 7 hours on a single big log last night. I poked it when I got up, threw on a few pieces of kindling, and it was blazing. Very nice.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

You are sure making me feel good about my decision to put in an insert. Fabulous comments. The opening to the staircase is not over the fireplace, but it is wide- a spiral staircase- (this is sort a a hippyish artsie house, not rich). I'm excited about the good old fashioned warmth and about having an alternative to gas.

Leslie


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

installed a Jotul Kennebec wood insert last Winter....heats most of downstairs, really reduced oil bill.

Very happy with it...definitly get the blower to go with it..really cranks out the heat..hi and low setting.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

I really like the Jotul design- very attractive. Everyone seems to recommend the blower, so that's in. I'm a bit scared of the cost, but if you save on gas, I may be able to recoup some of the cost over the next few years, especially if the gas prices continue to go up. Thanks for your imput.

Leslie


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Leslie, I still can't believe they sell inserts without blowers. The blowers are standard on the Pacific Energy units.

ABSOLUTELY get a blower. In fact, I'd phrase it to a dealer as, "any insert price you quote me, please include the insert, the blower, the SS liner, and installation (if you're not doing it yourself)." That way you don't get caught up in nonsense over what is "optional". Without a blower, you might as well burn the wood outside.

With regard to the two Jotul units, they both are fairly small units rated at 55k btu. I would only suggest putting these in if you didn't want to try to heat your whole house with the unit. If you put these in thinking that you just want to supplement, and then later decide to go more to wood, then you won't have the option.

If you went with the mid size Regency insert, for example, you'd get about 40% more BTU capacity and about 6% higher efficiency for the same price as Jotul or maybe cheaper, I don't know.

Likewise, if you go with the midsize PE insert, you'll get about the same % increase on btu, and about the same efficiency as the Jotul. I'd guess a PE midsize insert would be about 1600-2k, and that's with the blower, which is standard. PE also comes with a thermo switch and a variable speed blower. Regency, I think, also has these. I highly recommend the thermo switch.

Figure 300-500 for the Stainless Steel liner, which is a must, plus 600+ for installation.

With regard to Lopi, they have a nice brochure with several models, all of which crank out about 70k btu. They have a bunch of different looks. I'm not sure how they get the same btu rating on the small firebox models, but the Revere looks pretty nifty at 1.9g emissions, which is ridiculously low. The downside of a small firebox is smaller logs and you have to refill it more often for the same btus.

Rais has what is really a large camping lantern that you can put in your fireplace. At 24k btu, this unit will help with the heat, but will certainly not keep the whole house warm.

Keep in mind, by the way, that there are nuances to heating with an insert/stove. You're not going to have perfect heat distribution throughout the house, and the differentials will depend on layout, insulation, etcetera.

We're fortunate in that we have been able to maintain a 5 degree differential, which is fine by me considering I don't give the gas company my money and I'm using a renawable resource.

So if it was me I'd get something that's rated at at least 70kBTU, with a thermo switch, with a blower, preferably variable speed, with a large firebox, with inside access to the liner for easy cleaning, and that is the cheapest. Of course that's going to be the matte black unit, and I'm guesing you're going to pay more for some good looks. Me, I like ugly, cheap, and fabulously warming.
Good luck.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Thank you Switching to Wood- I've printed out your excellent discussion to take with me to the dealer tomorrow. It's very helpful.
Leslie in Upstate Ny


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Just a folow up to say that I ordered the Jotul Kennebec today, but they won't install it till Dec 7th! I'm glad I didn't wait longer. I really considered the Pacific Energizer, but no one had one I could see in person, just a picture, so I went with the Jotul. It's going to be 4 grand including installation, and I have heard that sales of wood burning stoves have increased 300% this year! So I assume if I had done this last year, perhaps I would have done better. Anyway, I did get the blower. Thanks again to the helpers on this forum. Leslie.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

"It's going to be 4 grand including installation."

Ouch.

That's a big number for a small unit and a short chimney.

I hope it works out for you and you get what you want out of the insert.

Just to give you an idea of the potential money savings you might get. . .

In my 2400 sf house, the previous folks used a huge, inefficienct gas furnace. They used about 300 ccf in October, which is about 40,000 btu per hour average. At today's rates, that would cost about 450 bucks. This number is ghastly compared to most homes, but it's true.

Anyway, I spent about 720 bucks on wood, so by the end of November I'll be even on fuel cost.

By the end of winter, I'll have made back the entire complete insert purchase of about 2600 bucks.

You gotta wonder why these folks didn't put in a new furnace.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

$4,000...wow....I paid $3,000 last December.installation, insulated liner to top of chimney..I live in RI. where do you live??


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price

Just for reference:

Insert was $1,485
Blower ..$239
Oversized surround Panel(had oversized fireplace)..$235
Chimney liner...$385
ceramic blanket......$125
Marc Stephens Chimney Cap..$135
Labor.....$300
Tax 7%....$182

Total....$3,086

What was the price for just the insert??


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

My figs were . . .

2,000 Pacific Energy Insert, including blower and surround (and including tax).
500 25' SS flex liner kit, inlcuding cap (and incl. tax).

$2500 is what I paid.

They wanted 600 bucks for installation.

So figure about 3100 if I had them install it.

The Player - What type of insert, and how much liner and insulation did you need?


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Jotul Kennebec


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Well, I guess I am paying top dollar. That doesn't make me feel good. I bought the stove in Ithaca, NY. I think I remember a couple of years ago when I looked into it, it was going to be roughly $3000. I imagine prices have gone up sharply due to the gas prices and the season. It makes me wonder if I should try and cancel the order and let it go.
Leslie


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Leslie, I'd recommend calling around.

You can maybe beat that price with another dealer. You definitely can beat it with another brand.

If you do ask another dealer, make sure you get the price installed. As another thread made clear, dealers want to be able to force prices on you without competition from other dealers, and you might have trouble getting someone to install it for you if you don't buy it from them.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Well, I do appreciate all the help. I will call another dealer this morning and get some figures. The figures I have are $1969 (including blower I think) for the unit and $800 to $1000 for installation. That seems to be the thing around here, installation is expensive. The ball part estimate was almost $4000 and I guess that must be the liner that brings it up that high. I'll talk to him again.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Leslie,

I'm not saying that you got a bad quote...with the rise in fuel costs, there is no doubt that stoves will cost more than last year. I would check a few places though, get a few quotes and go with the dealer that gives the best deal and that you are comfortable with.

We love our Jotul Kennebec.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

SInce the last post on this thread, I've called two additional places that sell the Kennebec. One place has given me information that the installation would be considerably cheaper-close to $400 as opposed to $800, but they have not followed up with the details I asked for and talked about the installation taking a couple hours as opposed to a full day that the store from which I ordered the insert described. This made me wary, but since neither of these two stores I have consulted for competeing prices have given me firm quotes, it may be a mute point. So I haven't attempted to retract my order. I have some thoughts that perhaps I should have ordered a stove as opposed to an insert since they are attractive less expensive, (Perhaps soapstone) but I'm not sure, and I don't want to loose my Dec 7th installation date. In anycase, thanks again for the great tips on this forum.
Looking forward to a functional wood burning fire place, Leslie


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

There's no way any insert can be installed properly in two hours. A full day is typical.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Xanndra,
Can you explain what needs to be done when an insert is being installed which require a full day. My insert (Regency 2400) was installed in less than two hours and now it makes me worry that the installation was not right. Hence, it is not producing the heat I needed.

LW


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

It depends on what kind of fireplace you have, and other things, but it can be quite lengthy to explain it. The link will help.

BTW: I've had to spend upwards of an hour just to put a stove together not to mention several more for installation and that is working as a team with someone else. Stoves and inserts do NOT come fully assembled and the dealers finish assembling them, especially the firebrick placements on some. So, one hour to put together the stove and another to install it? I don't buy it. Even if you had another insert in there that was just being replaced would take some time.

Here is a link that might be useful: Insert installations


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

My Jotul installation took 3-4 hours I believe..the insert is the easy part, just slide the unit in and connect to liner. Getting the liner prepared took a while, wrapping with the insulation, getting the right size, putting it down the chimney.

$800 sounds ridiculous to me...sems like some dealers are taking advantage of the high demand..give high quotes, if the customer agrees...great..If not, they are probably booked anyways....that is usually how it works.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

I'm a little confused. I have a wood burning brick fireplace. I am in the processing of replacing my glass insert with another glass insert from Diamond W. It is costing around 1100.This is not a custom door. What do you mean about installing blowers. I was told that you should never close the glass although some say it is ok. My fireplace is one one end of a large wall doesnt seem to heat the 2 rooms adjacent to it. With a new insert does that mean it should be heating better? Thanks


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

this thread is about wood STOVE inserts..a stove that fits into your existing fireplace...not glass insert doors.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

This thread has taught me alot about wood stove inserts and the process of buying and installing one. I looked at the web page that described the installation, so it gave me an over view. At this point, perhaps because of the flooded market, I may be stuck with the high installation price I was quoted. I do have a 16 foot chimminey, and it has been too short for my current fireplace. I'll give an update on the finished installation in December when it is done. Since my current fireplace hurts more than it helps, it just seems I have to have an insert if I'm going to use fire, and wood makes the most sense to me, despite the lure of easy off on gas. I grew up in a house in Vermont heated exclusively by wood burning stoves, and one was so good you could load it at night and there would still be flames in the morning. The work involved with fire by wood seems psychologically healthy to me, in a way, and keeps me rooted to the reality of being a creature in the world. But that's me, and I won't impose my feelings on anyone. Leslie, now with empty pockets in upstate NY.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Alright, I've resisted writing this, but now it is time.

I'll try to do it as impersonally as possible.

Xandra, for all of the good advice that you give, I think that you should add the disclaimer "I have a HUGE bias toward dealers because I was one" on every post you make.

It is RIDICULOUS and WRONG for you to suggest that a fireplace insert is an "all day" thing.

You've got one poor person thinking their insert isn't functioning because of a bad installation.

Jeez.

"Especially the firebrick placement on some." What garbage is that? The "firebrick placement" took less than 2 minutes in mine. What are some, puzzles?

Anyone reading this is old enough to read, so here's my advice for you . . .

Don't trust me, don't trust Xandra, but rather read read read read and the more you read the more you'll figure it out.

My unit went in in less than 8 hours easily, and more like 6, and that was me working virtually alone. This is the first one I installed. If I had to do the same job again, I could do it in 3 hours with a helper, and that includes the oxy/acetylene cutting.

To the person who wonders whether a bad installation is responsible for your poor performance, the answer is . . . probably not. Folks, it is just not that complicated to get the unit in and hooked up. Because virtually all units use inside air, really, there's just one connection - stove to liner. That's it. A smart chimp could do it. And if that connection is good and you're using good wood, then you're going to get a good draft and the thing is going to work. That's it. 6" liner up 25' and the rest is not going to have anything to do with it in October.

So if you've just had a stove insert put in and it ain't working, sure it might be the installation, but more likely, IT'S NOT.

Got that? More likely it's your wood is wet, or you're not firing it up hot enough, or your damper setting is wrong, or your house is too tight (unlikely).

But like I said, don't believe me - read.

Finally, for the person who started this thread, like I said - good luck to you. I think you're getting ripped off, but it's your money and you're a big girl.

To Xandra, really nothing personal, I just think that you need to be clear what your bias is, because I think your dealer bias leads to some really skewed advice.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Hmmm-I agree that each person has to think for themselves and evaluate and research. The discussion has helped, and I'll try and get the price down if I can. Thanks gentlemen.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

S2W:
You have installed ONE woodburning insert into ONE fireplace.

They are NOT all the same and installing ONE does not make you an instant expert.

I do not claim to be "an expert". I do, however claim 10 years of experience in this particular field and I have much PRACTICAL knowledge to share versus theories.

Seeing as all of the "experts" are busier than heck right now and have not posted in many months, then the posters get what they get and they can pick and choose what they want to believe.

BTW: Your tone towards me certainly changed once you found out I am a female.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Xanndra,

Thanks for your information. In my case, the place I am buying the stove from gave me a quote for an installation that would take all day. Maybe when they see the situation, they will think it will take less time. Because I am an hour away from the store, they don't want to come by in advance and look at my fireplace. Again, thanks for taking the time to post and share your insights.

Leslie


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

You are welcome.

You brought up a point that I should have clarified better. Since no two persons' situations are the same and there is no "typical" installation (as there is always Murphy knocking on the door), the installers should ALLOW and schedule a full day to finish the job. However, most charge by the job and not by the hour.

My concern about the place that quoted you two hours, is that if they only schedule two hours and they run into a snag of some sort, which is most likely, then your installation would have to be rescheduled and finished at a later date.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

I'm still in a jam about this thing-the stove sellers just don't need the business, and even when I leave clear messages, twice per seller, that I am ready to buy, and I want a quote on this particular model which I know they sell, they won't call me back! That's why I think I'm paying so much, or I'll have to go with out which I don't want to do. So anyway, the point of this comment is just that the people who estimated a lower install fee aren't available anyway.

Leslie


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Leslie,

It's all supply and demand..right now the demand is very high. Many dealers do not need the work as they are backed up a few months already. So, they can now give higher than normal quotes, if the customer agrees..fine...If not, doesn't really matter. If I were you, I would keep calling all the dealers around and get firm quotes..once you get them on the phone, don't hang up until they give you a price.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

I think I'll go around to the stove shops this week once I finish with my jury duty and see if they could use some seasonal help. They could use the experienced help and I could use the money because this board doesn't seem to be paying me anything. :)


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

turningpoint,
....I feel your pain. Right now if you haven't ordered a unit don't expect one to be installed before Dec. The inserst are in very high demand now. As for which model to purchase I bought the Napoleon 1401. I bet noone has done more extensive research than I did before deciding on the Napoleon. Got the unit with gold door & including 25ft flex pipe for under $2k. I tried to purchase from my local dealer but could never get a response in a reasonable time so I went to the net...don't want to adviretise but send me an e-mail and I send you the link....also, I did assist a friend installing his insert last winter and it is pretty much an all day event but worth the savings.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Buying on the net might be OK for someone who knows how to install..but I would not recommend for someone who does not. You want to be able to call a dealer if there is a problem.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Hey, guys, I really appreciate the sympathetic help I've gotten here, but I'm reconciled to paying alot for the install. I agree, that since I am not terribly knowledgeable, I want to have contact with the seller if I have trouble, so even if they're are better deals on the internet, I'll keep the in person situation. I like the dealer I'm buying the stove from and it's sort of my fault for waiting until everyone was buying to order my stove. If I get my Dec installation, I will be very happy. What I'm really afraid of is that it will be delayed. Do people install in the heart of winter?

Thanks
poor but warm, Leslie


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Yes, they can install in the dead of winter, HOWEVER---- they probably won't install on a day that is raining/snowing and I know many that won't even install if there is existing snow on the roof because they don't want to go sliding off and it is difficult to seal a wet roof.

Ever see roofers out on a rainy day repairing roofs? Nope.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

turningpoint,
another option would be to buy the unit from your local dealer with the understanding that you are considering doing the installation yourself....then get install prices from your local chimney sweeps....If you're not happy with the install prices go back to the dealer and have them install.I think you'll be surprised at the savings....Inserts are not that hard to install for anyone that is some what handy or has a friend/relative which are handy.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

I live in Ontario, Canada and the going price here for installation is $600 regardless the number of hours. I'm planning on ordering a Clydesdale by Hearthstone and I'd like to hear from anyone who has one and how it is working out. I also liked the Hampton by Regency, but the Clydesdale will fit into my fireplace opening (48") and it feels like a better product.
beejay


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

This is prob. my last post. Getting super busy. And me, not even installing wood stoves like I should be.

Xandra - Two things.

1. Please don't throw that lamo feminism at me. I'm sorry if you were mistreated by men in your life, but don't accuse me of "changing" my behavior toward you because you're a woman. I frankly don't care what you are. The reason I posted what I did is because I have always seen your advice as biased toward the dealer, and, having read somebody responding to your post wondering whether they got a bad installation, I thought it would be useful to note that you saying "an 8 hour installation is normal" might be just a tad of a dealer-supporting overstatement.
Again, my apologies if you suffered abuse at the hands of another man - don't generalize to me, please.

Here's a thought for you going forward. I posted - AS A JOKE - after I found out you were a woman, "gosh darla, you're a girl." This, of course, was a reference to Our Gang. You, however, felt the need to respond with "more like a woman." Having worked at several large law firms and met every sort of bra-burning feminist there is, let me just say that I also despise the use of "girl," but your correction of my Alfalfa version just goes to show how you can find anything you want, even if it's not there, if you look hard enough. And you know who used to use "girl?" Not the men - they were all afraid of the establishment. Then Who? You guessed it - the women. "Us girls are going to lunch." And such.

2. Great, you've got experience. Wonderful. So do doctors who cut off the wrong leg.

My point is, and I"m sure you'll agree with this point, - you're not right about everything. If you think you are right about everything, please post it. Please post it like this - "I've got 10 years of experience and I'm right about everything."

If you agree, as I'm sure you will, that you are not right about everything, then consider that you are wrong about some things.

So, despite your attempt to minimize everything I've written on these boards by implying that the things I say are "theory" based while yours are "PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE," I don't buy it. Sure, your "10 years of experience" is going to get you far. But it's not the end of it, as you know, or all of the dealers that you tell other people to "avoid" because of their bad advice would all be right too, even thought they disagree with you.

I have ONE experience puttin in any insert. True.

I supplied the details of that instal. Given how tough of an instal it was, and the hours I've spent reading on line, and the various estimates I got for instalations, I am very comfortable with my theory that an 8 hour installation would be a very rare exception.

One other poster indicated his Jotul took 2-3 hours. Another poster said she was quoted 2 hours. Mine I could do in 3 hours if I did it again, by myself. But despite this, you're going to stand by your advice to the woman who is getting ripped off with an 800 dollar installtion quote of "all day." Is that right?

Please. What you should be advising this woman is that an 8 hour installation is abnormal, and if you have a straight shot 15' fireplace with no obstructions, then you're looking at a 2 or 3 hour instal. You should be helping this woman defend herself from the dealer, not convincing her that the gouging prices she's being quoted are "normal." Please.

Woman, man, dog, it doesn't matter.

The more you yell "10 years experience," the less convincing it sounds.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

This has been a lively and informative discussion thread. I will call my local chiminey sweep as well as a contracter friend of mine to see if I can get someone else to do the installation. Thanks very much to the several of you who have been so helpful. I will post the end to the story when I find out what it is myself.

Leslie


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To Xanndra

Xanndra:

Please do not get discouraged. Your experience and participation on this board is appreciated by many people. I personally enjoy reading your replies and I think that you add a needed angle of opinion: an experienced professional who is helping people make the right decisions. Keep up the good work. Thanx.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

after reading this lively discussion, it seems to me that first, xandra may have a bit of bias; however, switching2wood seems to be biased as well in his own way and it shows up on many threads. now, having said that, xandra, do you really think with a name like that noone knows your a woman??, it never even occured to me that there would be any question, i would have been surprised if i had learned that "xandra" was a man, but im sure that most here assumed from the start that "xandra" is a woman.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

I thought it was clear that I was a woman from the get-go. Xander would be the male version. But, S2W was the one that had called me a "he" and I had to correct that thinking.

As far as the "bias" assumption, I have absolutely nothing to gain or lose from my responses as I am not in the business anymore. I have not only a dealers perspective, but having used many of these products in own my home I can give my personal opinions of them. I also used to sell used stoves, so I saw a lot of the older junk come through. This industry has come a long way since the 70's, but it still has much further to go. With this winter, these products are making themselves more mainstream. If this trend continues then it will force the industry to be more responsive and innovative to the consumers needs and wants. There hasn't been much incentive to do that as of yet.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Maybe I am too late to join, although I enjoyed the discussion. I don't know if eventually you went with the Jotul Kennebec or at what price. Price wise, it may give you some comfort, to know that today I was just quoted Canadian $4,600 including install, blower, liner and tax. Tax here is a higher and the C$ has been gaining strength. From the searching I have done this seems to be about par for the price up here. Will look a bit longer before buying.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Hi rawdon- not too late for me, thanks for the info. I never did get a better quote, and am still expecting installation on the 7th of Dec. I'll post follow up then. Leslie


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Leslie,

Stop worrying, Jotul prices (and most other steel based items) spent most of 2004/2005 going up. In fact Jotul was one of the few companies that held price increases until the once yearly time. Most other companies raised prices approximately every three months. I know, I was working for a company for some of that time. Price changes were a major pain in the ***.

Most companies should schedule a full work day for a full install, especially if they haven't previewed the work site to know what problems they may run into. They will not install on rainy/snowy days, as this is a danger to the men. The install may take longer if they run into unexpected problems, but since you paid a flat fee for install, let them worry about it.

Beware going to local chimney sweeps or contractors. Local sweeps may not even be certified to sweep much less install. Contractors may be willing to try, but if they have no or little experience they could take longer and possible make errors.

Yes, this is somewhat from a dealer point of view, but I haven't worked there for a year. This is actually from the installer point of view, since one of my friends does installations and I get to hear his aggravations. Especially about unpreviewed work sites.

I hope all goes well with your installation.

Kim


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Since this thread is opened up again, can anyone tell me how clean these are..I mean do you get a lot of dust from burning wood? O r do the newer units help with that? I have a fireplace that the PO's converted to gas, but all the heat goes straight up the chiminey and cold air comes down and like everything else POs did I'm sure it is half-assed and unsafe, not to mention not up to any code. I am thinking about converting back to wood but only if it's going to be worth it ( which it seems ) and not create a lot of mess.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

It sounds like they didn't actually "covert" to gas, but they stuck gas logs in them. There is a huge difference between gas logs and gas inserts or gas fireplaces. Gas logs do NOT heat, but inserts and gas fireplaces will.

Have a direct-vent gas insert installed. You will get heat into the house, not all up the chimney.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Newer wood and gas stoves are very efficient. When looking at wood stoves/inserts though, if you want heating then pay the money for one that is rated to heat. There are plenty of pretty ones out there for cheap that will not heat a house very well, although they do put out heat. All stoves now have to meet EPA requirements, some do it with well designed burning systems, others use catalyst. I know there is at least one wood burning zero clearance fireplace out there that uses posipressure to heat.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Kyrstan, thanks for your comments, they were helpful and reasuring. It's great that people with professional experience post here, and I have no bias against dealers or installers current or former, I'm just glad for their inside info.

One week till my install and I'll post then.

Leslie


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

well, the day has come. Installed and stove together cost 3400- less than anticipated. Currently it is burning off the smells that a stove has when first burns. Looks great, the guys were really nice. So far, day one, I'm thrilled.

Leslie


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Ok...so how long was the install? My Jotul has been seeing lots of action lately..you will love it!!


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Two men took 2 1/2 hours to install the stove. It was very simple and straight forward and my existing fireplace was easy to fit it into. I know from earlier in this thread that might seem short, but I observed the men and they seemed to be being careful. In any case, I've been burning in it since noon and the odor seems to have burned off. My cat is afraid of it right now, however, I thought she'd be curling up there by now.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

I just four days ago had a new woodstove/fireplace insert professionally installed in my living room. It cost me $1,200 in Maryland in the summertime-- $600 for the SS flex liner and cap and $600 labor which included sweeping the chimney, installing the liner, transporting the stove from the place where I brought it, cutting out the old damper frame and completely assembling and installing the unit. I thought 600 bucks was kind of pricey for the amount of work involved and thought maybe I was gouged a little, but it seems like the price was pretty much in line. I bought a Regency I3100L. Regency was having a summer special-- free blower ($300) plus a $50 mail-in rebate. I can't wait to try it out.

Opinions?


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Hi there: I would put my bets on Lopi or Avalon. I have friend that have both types. they are sure nice.
thanks

Here is a link that might be useful: http://usedlopistoves.com/


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Hey all! I've just read through this topic and got a lot of info!

As was just mentioned, I might wait to have our insert installed in the summer months if that helps with regards to pricing.

One question. We are going to a huge "home show" this weekend and hoping to see if there are any deals abound. And new thoughts to add to the subject since the past post here? I got an estimate for an insert four ~$3600 insert, installation and labor for an insert...but I dont recall a bloweer in that conversation.

Onelast question....the blower. Would it need another power supply, electical run? I could see that as posing the only problem.

Thanks


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Where in RI did you get your insert?


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Does anyone have any opinion of the new Vermont Castings Montpellier Wood insert? I was looking at a PE Vista, but once I saw this unit with a huge glass viewing area, I was sold.

Also, does anyone have any idea what the temperature would be above the mantle with a wood insert burning? I'm thinking about hanging an LCD TV above the fireplace/insert. The operating temp for LCD's are 40C (104F), so not sure how hot it would get.....any idea?


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

"Onelast question....the blower. Would it need another power supply, electical run? I could see that as posing the only problem."

We're in the process of having a PE Vista installed. Yes, the blower will need an outlet. In NY you're not allowed to hard-wire a fireplace insert blower, which means there needs to be an outlet near the unit. Thankfully we have one on each side of the fireplace.
From what I've heard from various salespeople, sometimes that's a dealbreaker. Many folks don't want to see an electrical cord running along the front of the fireplace. It's the one thing the manufactureres omit in their brochure photographs, and I'm sure the reason is aesthetics.

And as far as mounting a flat-screen TV above a fireplace insert: gracious, no.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Just had a Jotul Kennebec 450 insert installed in my 2100 square foot house which has an open floor plan. I haven't really used the unit yet but I'm hoping it'll make a difference in our heating bill. Stove and installation ran about $3100. It's great looking unit and Jotul has an excellent reputation. That's pretty much why I bought the Kennebec. It's more in keeping with the contemporary style of our living room. As my wife stated: " I don't want something that looks like a Sherman tank!" At any rate....I feel good about spending the $3100. We had the install done in the beginning of June. Good thing......most area dealers are now swamped with orders and can't get the inventory in fast enough. Well..... Stay warm.


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

Curious on the brands mentioned earlier - Vermont castings and Regency any other that are top of the line and feedback on these or any others?

Typical prices would be helpful as well


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

I agree with rob1971 about Jotul. My wife and I purchased a Jotul C550 Rockland in June and had it installed in late July. We looked at several inserts but none compared to the C550. It is a furniture quality insert in terms of aesthetics but is also functional in that it is rated to heat up to 2,000 square feet. My house is a 2,000 square foot colonial with an open floor plan so it was a good fit.

It was a bit pricey ($ 4,500.00 delivered & installed) but we both felt it was worth it. My hearth looks like the one on the cover of the Jotul brochure, which coincidently shows the C550, so we knew how it would look before it was installed. The insert will be there long after the extra cost is forgotten and it should pay for itself in about 1 1/2 - 2 years based on the current price for oil.

Jotul has been around since 1853 and has a solid reputation. You can go on-line (www.jotul.com) and find a dealer local to your area.

As rob1971 said, the dealers are very busy and installation schedules in some areas are now into January '09. You should act sooner than later if possible.

Good Luck!


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

This thread has offered so much information. I am still reading some old posts - but I am sure I will have some questions.

Does anyone have pics of their stove inserts. I would love to see them in action and not just what they look like in a showroom. If you post - please post what stove you have.

Thanks so much
Ruth


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

This as been quite an interesting post! Of course I'm sure that I am too late to help most of you who have already posted. But I can tell you this. My family has a heating business. We definitely are not profesionals but we know more than the average consumer. When it comes to a wonderful insert that is beautiful AND is an excellent source of heat, Jotul and Pacific Energy can't seem to be topped. We always schedule a day to do any installation because you never know if you will run into a problem, although installations only taking a couple of hours is not unrealistic. Being a "certified" chimney sweep does not automatically constitute a knowledgable installer. Findind a stove shop that services what they sell should be A MUST! Don't buy anything that no one will work on!Prices are another big factor when it comes to installation. I like the term "you get what you pay for" but BE CAREFUL!! Ask any question you can think of about the type of liner that the installer will be using! Ask about warranties! Ask about ease of cleaning! You can have a very cheap liner installed, but is it worth a flue fire or worse? Explore your options and make sure you are paying for what you want. Don't just pick your stove or insert, and then ask for your installation quote, make your installer quote you a price on what you want! If we can be of any more help to anyone, feel free to call our store, PJs Hearth and Home Heating located at 2447 Quaker Valley Road, New Paris, PA 15554, Mon-Fri 7:30 am- 6pm est at 814-839-0074. Thanks for reading!


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RE: Best wood fire insert/please say experience

And someone had asked about mounting a flatscreen tv above the fireplace... The answer to that question is yes. There is a such thing as a mantle heat shield that can be purchased and is easy to install. This makes your clearances around the top of your fireplace smaller because the purpose of it is to reflect the heat out, not up. Installing a flatscreen above your fireplace can be done. And also if you have an installer that knows what he is really doing, you would NOT see the cord in front of your Pacific Energy insert. A little electrical might be involved, but if you already have an outlet close it is not at all a problem for a Pacific Energy or Jotul Installer. (Both Pacific Energy and Jotul inserts come standard with blowers, no extra purchase required). Thanks for reading!


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