free standing or insert fireplace?

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by okiemom, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. okiemom

    okiemom Well-Known Member

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    Which is better? We designing a new house and want to know if a fire insert is as good as free standing? What about the room it takes up? W/ an insert if the electric goes out your blower is also out. What about the free standing?

    Wood or pellet?

    Currently the designer made a insert on the plans but want make sure it is the best option. i love the look of a free standing but hubby wants an insert.
     
  2. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    Youll get more heat into the room with a freestanding, and you can cook on it in emergencies. If you get a pellet stove it wont work at all without an electricity source. Freestanding stoves still put out a lot of heat even without a blower
     

  3. WolfWalksSoftly

    WolfWalksSoftly Level II -Inappropriate

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    I have done both and the free standing is the better way to go. Wood..Not pellets.
     
  4. Dug

    Dug New Member

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    Technology has made huge advances in wood heat. Fireplace inserts can achevie upto 73% efficiency, while free standing can do slightly better. The actual heat output will be much higher with the freestanding because of it placement "within" the room. Bottom line, you will get more BTUs for your buck with the freestanding, but fireplace inserts should not be overlooked. It just depends on what look you are going for.

    Wood versus pellet? I would choose wood hands down. Of course, I have 21 acres of timber, so fuel will never be a problem. If a source of wood is an issue, or the dirt and hassle of handling firewood is not pleasant, pellets are a great alternative. It really all boils down to what best suits your lifestyle.

    Google "wood heat" and you will find many intersting articles on heating with wood, pellets, pros and cons of fireplaces, stoves, outdoor boiler units, etc. Woodheat.org is a great site.
     
  5. okiemom

    okiemom Well-Known Member

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    Hubby and I have come to an agreement. We are building a firebox (somewhat decorative and then putting a freestanding inside. the firebox will capture and relese the built up heat.

    The issue we were discussing was that freestanding fireplace has a tendency to be farther out into a room ( ours won't be in a corner) so we didn't want it to be as easily "walked into" the freestanding will be "tucked" into its own cubby. If needed the firebox at somepoint *could* support a fire, so it will be working. the pipe going up will be insulated and sealed so heat won't be wasted up the fireplace box.

    We can use it when the electric goes out and place a pan of water on it for himidity. Cook if needed.
     
  6. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    We recently went through the same thing - hubby wanted the insert and i had thoughts of a freestanding. We decided upon the insert because it takes up less space and we had tile put flush with wood floor. We have an open concept where LV, dining area and kitchen and open. I'm so glad we went with the insert because if we didn't we would have lost alot of space.

    It really heats up the downstairs and works it way upstairs - the heat doesn't come on when it's going and that's without the blower.

    We chose NOT to do the blower because it wouldn't work without power and because they are noisy if you are watching TV or a movie or something and mroe money.

    We were able to have a tile surround around our woodstove and a mantel. and it really brings together the entire space. I picked tile that played off the colors in my counter and i then used some of those colors in my shades, etc. and it looks good.

    The thing i like best is that it doesn't take up room and we are not tripping over it and makes our space look bigger.
     
  7. okiemom

    okiemom Well-Known Member

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    the designer had a traditional fireplace/insert designed but I don't like ours. the blower is noisy and to really get all the benifits of the heat (w/ ours) the blower needs to be going. :shrug: w the blower it is a great fireplace.

    I wanted it for power outages and additional heat. w/ the freestanding in the firebox it will be out of the way yet still able to set things on top. We get power outages several times a season. Always at bad times, of course :p .
     
  8. Gailann Schrader

    Gailann Schrader Green Woman

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    I have an insert. You can get those stove top fans that move the air with thermal energy - but they don't move it like a blower does. I also use my chimney/fireplace brick as passive storage for heat. I would LOVE to have one of those stoves that heats the massive stone chimney and then passives off the heat...

    I do cook on my insert... I have an old Fisher insert... I've made lots of meals on that stove...

    Good luck. (I, too, would stay away from pellets. You have to have electricity and the stove is 'cold.' The problem is that you have to BUY the product. Split wood takes a while and is messy? But it's easily found/gotten.)
     
  9. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    How do you cook on your insert - is it not flush with the brick surround?
     
  10. ovendoctor

    ovendoctor north of the lift bridge

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    we heat with wood only[no gas back up]
    one of our heating sources is a home made fire place insert built out of an old ashley wood stove
    I cut the face off of it and fit it to the opening of the fire place
    took 4 pieces of 2'' square tube and fit them to the shape of the fire brick
    the cold air goes in the bottom and the heat comes out the top
    also I use axial fans for air circulation,still a little loud but better thain a blower
    crank the thing up and it will drive you out of the living room as far as heat goes
     
  11. crafty2002

    crafty2002 Well-Known Member

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    I saw a thread the other day and started searching info on wood pellet stoves and found out some things.
    They say how effiecent the pellet stoves are, so I did some compareing of the info.
    Pellets come in 40 Lb. bag and the best I could find put out 8,200 Btu's per lb.

    That is 328,000 Btu's per bag and the best price I could find on the high heating pellets was $6.15 per bag. That is about 54,650 Btu's per dollar.

    Electricity is supposed to be the highest priced energy to use, but there is supposed to be 5,200 Btu's in a kilowatt. At 8 cents per KWH which is about what it is costing on average there would be 65,000 BTU's in a dollars worth of electricity.

    I don't think pellet stoves are what they are cut out to be for the cost of the heat. IMHO.

    I use an old fireplace built in the 1940's with a tube/grate blower I built and it heats a 1,440 square ft. home pretty good bit I wish we had room for a nice sized buck type stove. The floor space won't allow it unless we have nothing in the room to speack of but the stove and we need that room.

    If you are designing the house, I would suggest the wood stove myself.
     
  12. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    i have a fireplace insert in an old stone/masonry fireplace on an exterior wall. it does really good. my family used a kodiak insert for about 20 years until the inside baffle plate buckled, nearly closing off the flue and cracking the boiler plate around the weld seams. i replaced it with a timberline insert of similar design and it does a good job too. both stoves protruded out of the fireplace about 12-16 inches (unsure without measuring) and i can cook on the current stove and have cooked many times on the old kodiak. i liked the air circulation design of the kodiak better than the newer timberline as the timberline is narrower in the air channel and more restrictive, allowing only a front mounted blower.

    the best design i have encountered was a friends log home. he had a greatroom/living room/kitchen etc. all open downstairs with a cathedral ceiling. the 2nd story had a landing overlooking the greatroom. in the middle of the living space downstairs, he had a freestanding stove hooked into a stone cased masonry chimney. it was fully exposed to the room. this allowed heat from the entire chimney to be shed into the house. my fireplace has stonework outside. this allows the cold from the outside to pull heat away from my thermal mass. his interior chimney, cased with stone, created a huge thermal bank that was totally inside the home. if i ever built a new home or drastically remodeled, i would do what he did and keep it all inside and with a huge thermal mass as his was.
     
  13. lodestar

    lodestar Alternative Realities

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    I'd go with a masonry stove with an oven and cookstove included...

    [​IMG]
     
  14. mdharris68

    mdharris68 Well-Known Member

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    lodestar, do you have any pictures of your masonry/fireplace stovetop, like from above the light fixture in the pic that you posted? Also, is that a swedish design heater that has all of the baffles? pm me if you want to at :

    mdharris68@sbcglobal.net
     
  15. ovendoctor

    ovendoctor north of the lift bridge

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    nice unit lodestar :goodjob:
    home made or factory?
    I can see one of thies in our future
     
  16. okiemom

    okiemom Well-Known Member

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    Loved the cooktop/oven/woodstove. I ran across those as well. I nearly died when I saw they cost $5,000+. There is a dealer about 40 miles from me too.
     
  17. lodestar

    lodestar Alternative Realities

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