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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
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2007-09-26          146106


This question was asked in another thread but it probably belongs in a thread by itself. Anyone know anything about Quadra-Fire wood burning inserts? We're ready to buy a wood stove insert and are looking at the Quadra-Fire 5100i that is supposed to be capable of heating up to a 3500 sf house (many variables here). They look to be pretty well built but I'd be interested to hear from owners or dealers about any good or bad experiences.


Link:   Quadra-Fire 5100i

 
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nosteiner4me
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2007-09-26          146115


KW....In looking at the specs i would not recommend a wood insert that would not at least take a 24" log( as long as your fireplace will fit one). If you were heating a small area i guess 21 inch would be ok. You can get the same type or look and heat output with a LOPI
freedom bay model that will hold 24" logs. I had a LOPI freedom insert that would hold 18" logs in the far back and 24in logs upfront. The bigger freedom bay model will hold full 24" logs front to back. Good luck ....

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nosteiner4me
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2007-09-26          146117


KW...almost forgot to mention to get one with a damper to open when refueling. You get much less smoke when you open the bypass damper then open the door. Some do not offer one. The LOPI does and it works great. ....

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kwschumm
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2007-09-26          146118


Thanks for the input. I was sort of amazed that we could even fit a 21" log into an insert in this fireplace. Do the LOPIs load end-first or sideways? The end-first loading is appealing to us since we've had logs roll out before and that won't happen loading end first. The QF does have several damper controls. ....

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kleinchris
Join Date: Jun 2007
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2007-09-26          146120


The company selling you the stove is probably telling the truth when they advertise that the unit will heat a 3500 ft2 house, but that house probably has a bunch of air circulation and they were probably burning a dence hardwood. Pine logs might get you about 60% of that. My last insert kicked a**, but I was living in a poorly designed house. The room with the stove could be at 90F and my back bedroom would be at 65F. That was with fans. It didnt bother me too much, but it drove my wife (now shes my wife) crazy. ....

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kwschumm
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2007-09-26          146121


The house is pretty well built. A blower door test showed 0.48 ACH and all the ducts have been sealed and tested with a duct blaster. There are 8-10 returns in the house and the heat pump fan runs continuously so I'm hoping the heat distributes well. We shall see. One change I need to make is to rewire the heat pump fan so it will run off the generator during power outages. ....

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nosteiner4me
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2007-09-26          146124


Kw...I think both inserts would work for you but to heat 3500 sq ft at 15 degrees is a feat for an insert!! Whats the style of house ? 2 story or 3 story or ranch? The inserts just do not have the cfm's to heat that much space at 15-20 degrees. It will heat the main room its in but the other rooms will be colder for sure no matter what fan system you are using. Now at 32-40 degrees most inserts will do you well. ....

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kwschumm
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2007-09-26          146127


The house is 3500 sf with three floors (including an unfinished but conditioned and insulated basement). For the most part the insert will be used for supplemental heat. Here we get some very long power outages and then the insert would become the primary heat source. We also have a fireplace in the basement that can supply some heat and will eventually be installing radiant floor heat in the main floor. Last year we lost power for 4 days when the outside temp was in the 20s and the fireplace could get the house no warmer than about 58 degrees. If we can get it to 68 with the insert during similar conditions I'll be happy. The generator has enough capacity to run a few thousand watts of space heaters for the colder rooms if needed. ....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
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2007-09-27          146129


OK....shoot me.

I'm a bit off the main topic here. Please bear with me.

While reading up on the various corn stoves, I found some information that I thought was rather surprising to me.

The average home heating requirement is about 100 million BTUs per year. After figuring out my average propane usage over the past five years, I discovered that heating my home requires, on average, 188 million BTUs per year......nearly double the average U.S. home heating requirements.

The difference here, of course, is that I live in Siberia, USA....otherwise known as North Dakota. There is nearly 100 degrees difference between the indoor and outdoor air temperatures (often quite a bit more than that), in January. This means that the furnace never shuts off for more than a few minutes at a time. And with Propane at over $1.25 per gallon, it makes for a very steep heating bill.

I plan on installing a large corn burner in my house this coming year. I do not intend for it to be a primary heat source, but rather a supplemental heat source. I also plan on raising my own corn, which will greatly reduce my operating costs for the supplemental heat.

Corn produces about 7000 BTU per pound. (figured using the corn moisture content at 15.5%.) To get my required 188 million BTUs, I'll need to produce about 500 bushels of corn. (56 pounds per bushel) 500 bushels of corn would produce the same amount of heat as my propane furnace. Since I don't intend to eliminate the propane furnace, I wouldn't need to produce that much corn.

I'm hoping to reduce my propane usage by about half. Therefore, I'll need to raise enough corn to get about 300 bushels. At 150 bushels per acre (irrigated), I should be able to raise enough corn on only two acres of land to cut my propane bill in half. (a cost savings of over $1200 per year.)

Now.....my last job is to pick a corn burning furnace that I'll be happy with. Any and all suggestions, comments, and / or recommendations regarding your experience with corn burning furnaces will be greatly appreciated.

Joel

....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
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2007-09-27          146135


I'll pass on the experience of a friend of a friend with his corn stove. Bin run corn even at 12-13% moisture didn't work too well for him, it has too many fines,(cracked kernel pieces, weed seeds, dirt, etc.) that caused it to not burn correctly. He solved that by buying a used rotary grain cleaner and running the corn thru it first. Another fellow in the community has a hook up with a small Mom and Pop seed company where he buys their left over seed that is out of germ test for about market price, that way it is clean and already bagged for easy handling. The other complaint from the friend of a friend was the daily refilling of the small corn hopper on the back of the stove, so he is looking into a hopper bin outside with a small stoker coal type auger to automaticly feed the furnace. He has kind of a trapped feeling now. he put the furnace in with the anticipation of paying 2 bucks or less for the corn, the furnce was pricey and with 3-4 dollar corn the resale on it is zip. n Now he is considering the outside hopper bin deal, so his economies have long since went well past the cost of LP. Just pasing on what I've been told. Frank. ....

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
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2007-09-27          146136


Candoarms:
My suggestion is don't do it! I had an AmazaBlaze corn stove that attached to my furnace. I had excellent corn density, dried to perfection and the cleanest corn they had ever seen and couldn't even keep it burning. The house got down to 55 degrees on the main floor and colder upstairs. The soot from opening and cleaning the unit got sucked in through ducting and the entire house got black; walls, drapes, carpeting and ceilings.

I'd only figure 100 bushels per acre rather than 150. Figure the cost of equipment, seed, fertilizer and fuel. Remember it also needs to be clean and dry. If you want to go forward, I have a wooden gravity box that would fit on a pickup, hand corn shellers and a fanning mill from days gone by. Can make you a really good deal, since I've sold the farm yard properties and need to dispose of stuff.

If you want a secondary heat source, consider wood pellets. My cornstove was taken back at full price and replaced by a pellet style furnace. Now that worked awesome!

Getting back to the originaly discussion. I have a LOPI insert in a ranch style house of about 1200 sq. ft. that is a rental unit. They get free wood from a relative. Each room has a ceiling fan and recirculates air very even. The logs go in sideways and yes they had one roll out and burn the carpet. The primary heat source is a propane fired hot water heat furnace. That works well, since the wife uses the basement as a seamstress for a cowboy apparel store. She can turn on just the basement zone as required. ....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
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2007-09-27          146138


Frank, Yooperpete,

Thanks for the heads-up info on the corn burners. Unfortunately, trees are very scarce here in North Dakota. Wood pellets would have to come from far away, making the shipping uneconomical, alone. In addition to the cost of shipping, wood pellets cost about twice as much as corn.

Not sure which way to go at this point.

I might allow the mother-in-law to move in. The hot air would be free. I'd only need to invest in a good pair of ear plugs. hehehe.

Joel ....

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DennisCTB
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2007-09-27          146141


I have set up a separate board for Pellet stoves. ....

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kwschumm
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2007-09-27          146144


Joel, my intuition says you'd end up losing money on your proposition but even if you did manage to save $1200/year it seems that's an awful lot of labor each year to save $1200. And I'm not a farmer but I don't think you can grow corn year after year without depleting the soil. ....

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yooperpete
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2007-09-27          146145


Candoarms:

I've been told that some stoves designed to burn bio mass work lots better than those intended to burn just corn. You can burn cornstalks, corn, woodpellets, wheat, soy by products to name a few. I think mine had trouble getting enough air. The saleman was back peddling lots at first about the corn and said the corn from out West burned better than the corn here. Some people I know have and still are burning corn but agree that it is a hassle. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2007-09-27          146149


I suspect there's a lot of mis-information about wood pellets here.

First, there's lots of reputable dealers all across North America who will quite happily sell to anyone with a credit card. Shipping is as simple as gravity and as common as the nearest transport company yard.

Pellets come typically in 40 pound sacks, very easy to move, and a typical user needs 100 -150 bags a year. 4 to 6 thousand pounds is not a lot to ship palletized and not much money either.

Secondly, I doubt there's an area of the US where there isn't a dealer selling both pellet burners and pellets.

Best of luck. ....

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nosteiner4me
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2007-09-27          146167


Kw....forget the corn burners....For your 3 floors you will be fine with the insert. You may want to put plastic on the windows if an older home but at 1100 square ft per floor you should be fine, not counting the basement. You may have to burn a fire in the basement when in the teens to just help out, but think with your insulation and movement of air you may lose upto 5 degrees per floor, more or less depending on weather. I know heat rises but you will have heat loss due to no direct heat source on the other floors besides residual heat from the insert cooled from another fan. Anything is better than an open fireplace for sure!!! ....

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kwschumm
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2007-09-27          146174


Thanks for the input. I'll go look at the LOPIs tomorrow and then make my choice. The windows shouldn't be an issue, they're efficient sealed dual pane Low-E units. ....

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Murf
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2007-09-28          146197


Ken, I have several Pacific Energy units, both inserts and free-standing stoves, they are absolutely top-drawer stuff!!

They are made just north of you in British Columbia.

Other than being a VERY satisfied consumer I have no affiliation to the company whatsoever, I first learned of them from a recommendation from a (very large) local dealer here.

All of their units carry a lifetime warranty and they've been making units for over 30 years now, the founders were employees of another manufacturer that closed it's doors.

As a side note, one of the features I like most about their unit over some of the others is the clever draft design, unless I am burning scrap paper or something equally nasty, the glass in the door is always perfectly clean, and if it does get covered in soot and such, 10 minutes after adding some good clean wood and the door is clearing itself again.

Have a look at some of their info. if you're interested.

Best of luck. ....


Link:   Pacific Energy

 
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kwschumm
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2007-09-28          146215


Murf, there's a local dealer for Pacific Energy so I'll check those out too. Thanks for the recommendation. ....

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candoarms
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2007-09-28          146218


Murf,

I went to the Pacific Energy website looking for a dealer in my area. I was surprised to find one so close......hehehe.

712 miles....or 12 hours and 16 minutes from here, in Waco, Nebraska.

Joel

....

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Murf
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2007-09-28          146219


Joel, if I had only known......

I flew to BC and back this past weekend and went right over your head on the way home.

I would have gladly dropped one off on the way back.

Best of luck. ....

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kwschumm
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2007-09-29          146249


I checked out the LOPI at a dealer and they had nothing that would fit. The setback of the flue in our Heat & Glo EM48 fireplace is 16 3/8" measured from the fireplace face to the center of the flue and none of the brands he carried (LOPI, Regency and Vermont Castings) would fit even with flue offset adapters. ....

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Murf
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2007-10-01          146334


Ken, I don't quite understand the issue, is the top of the firebox really low?

In my case I have the opposite problem, the insert is in a double-sided fireplace that is 6' deep from face to face, so the flue is about 36" back from either face. When they put it in it was a long way back to the flue, but it was also a long way up, they just ran the SS flex-pipe back and up the flue. It has been there for a long time now with no issues at all.

My only problem now is that I am trying to fit a second liner into the single flue tile in the chimney in order to put an insert in the back side of the fireplace which faces into the family room.

Best of luck. ....

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kwschumm
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2007-10-01          146338


According to the LOPI dealer the top of the fireplace is too low to fit the flue offset adapter on top of the insert. He said even if they made it work it would never draft right. The Quadra-Fire looks like it may have the same problem but not to the same extent. I don't fully understand the issue since our existing fireplace was the biggest Heat & Glo unit made when it was installed and it seems like there would be a lot of room to work with. The guy is coming out to look over the installation prior to finalizing a price and I'll ask him how they intend to handle that. ....

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Murf
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2007-10-01          146354


Ken, depending on how your hearth and the surrounding area is set up it may not be much of an issue.

I've seen many retrofits where the same problem as yours existed, all they did was leave the stove protruding more than in a 'typical' installation. In more than one case they even had trim kits to account for this problem.

Best of luck. ....

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DennisCTB
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2007-10-01          146358


Ken,

Do you have to have an insert or could a wood stove be used? I know some people prefer the aesthetics of the insert. My brother in law wanted the stove but the wife would not have it. Either way its the warmth that counts.

I am always struck by how my wife has become such an advocate for the stove now that we have one. To her its a must have, and when I say I am not going to burn so much wood this winter she turns and says "hold on a minute there, what did you say?"
LOL ....

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kwschumm
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2007-10-01          146363


We would have to heavily modify the raised masonry hearth and hardwood floor to make a standing wood stove work. As it is a hearth extension will be required on the wood floor to meet code and we haven't found one of those that looks good. I may have to make one. An insert can be made to work but we would prefer minimal hacking. It will be interesting to hear what the site survey guy says. ....

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nosteiner4me
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2007-10-01          146365


Kw...Forgot you did not have a masonry fireplace, but would think since you have 16 3/8 inch from the front fireplace to center of flue that you could push in an insert to fit or line up with the flue and not be flush with the outside of the fireplace. The Lopi freedom is 21 3/4 inch high and the flue sits back 5 5/8 inch on center from the back of the insert. I never used the outside kit to go around the insert, i used bricks and pc of granite to close off the look of the draft pipe and got more heat that way. Good luck. ....

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Murf
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2007-10-01          146370


Ken, when my (now ex) in-laws put in an insert they, like you, got forced into compliance with the new setback to a flammable floor covering.

All the installer did however was remove a section of the hardwood floor by outlining it with a router and then removing the interior of the cut-out then laid in an area of slate tiles.

The whole process only took about an hour to do.

Best of luck. ....

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kthompson
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2007-10-01          146374


KW, if this is an outside wall and you use an insert, if it is not insulated then find out if it can be. I found fiberglass worked well if away from the flue opening and I could tell it helped with more heat output. There may be a better option than fiberglass now. Of course no paper backing. kt ....

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kwschumm
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2007-10-01          146379


Dennis, that hearth extension looks just like the "Hearth Classics" one that we might buy. The only problem with those is that they don't have a model that would look right with the synthetic round river rock surround of our fireplace. We're toying with the idea of buying one initially for code compliance and then replacing it with something else afterwards.

Murf, it could be done but I'm not too enthusiastic about it. Another idea is to buy some of the concrete flat hearth rocks that are on the raised hearth and build an extension that will just sit on the wood floor.

KT, yes, the fireplace is on an outside wall but it's well insulated with cellulose and a layer of foil faced batts. Thanks for bringing that up now. ....

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Murf
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2007-10-01          146381


Ken, if that's your concern look into the special fire-resistant area rugs they have now.

They just look like a regular area rug, available in a variety of sizes, shapes & colours except they are made of that Nomex-type non-flammable stuff.

If nobody told you they weren't a regular throw rug you'd never know.

All it takes is one hot spark to mess up a nice hardwood floor. :(

Best of luck. ....

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DennisCTB
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2007-10-01          146382


I was told by the building inspector that putting a 2.5 inch thick slab of blue stone directly on top of the carpet and hardwood would not pass code and that I had to use a UL rated fireplace pad.

When we bought the UL rated pad I fully intended on buying that blue stone slab and setting it on top of the pad. I even planned to remove it in the off season, well we got used to it so there it sets.

Dennis ....

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DennisCTB
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2007-10-01          146383


Another thought, if you have not done so, is to take the stove shops' pad samples home so you can see what works best for you in your home setting. That is what we did and it worked out well. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-10-01          146384


Ha, tractorpoint decorating tips! I love it :)

We've got a big 10x14 Tibetan rug in front of the hearth so another rug may not look so good. But I was thinking of buying one of those, cutting it up, and using it as a base for stone that might lay on top.

I dunno. Good idea, Dennis, on taking the samples home. I'll ask if they'll let me do that. ....

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nosteiner4me
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 113 ohio
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2007-10-13          146928


Kw...Im burning a little wood here in ohio with 37-47 degree nights. Did you find an insert to fit or flooring in front of the insert? ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-10-13          146929


I've put a deposit on the Quadra-Fire 5100 but the install hasn't been scheduled yet. The guy came out and confirmed it will fit and didn't see any problems with the flue arrangement. I think for the flooring we'll just lay down a fiberglass hearth rug. It doesn't meet code but I'm only worried about sparks when the door is open. Since the wood loads lengthwise it's unlikely that a log will roll out. ....

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candoarms
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1932 North Dakota
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2007-10-14          146933


Kwschumm,

I contacted the people who insure my home, and discovered that I can install a wood burning stove in my house for only 25 dollars per year more than I currently pay.

There's a catch........there always is.

The stove must be installed according to the manufacturer's specifications, and it must be installed by a licensed contractor. Afterward, a series of photos must be taken, showing a measuring tape and the distances between the neighboring walls, the size of the pad, and the outside stovepipe. The measuring tape must be clearly visible in the photos, so that the exact measurements can be verified.

OK.....so I do all of that, and everything is exactly to code, and there's no chance of having a fire now......so why do my insurance rates go up at all?

I'm not complaining about the 25 bucks. I just want to know why I'm at a higher risk, with a stove that meets every possible safety requirement!!

Do I have a point? Or, am I just talking nonsense here?

Joel ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-10-14          146934


Joel, it would make a difference to your rates if the stove is an insert going into an existing fireplace or a new addition to the house. I'm sure having a wood burning appliance does increase the risk of fire by some degree.

I'll install a hearth extension for insurance purposes if necessary but it will be covered with a hearth blanket anyway for appearance sakes. Seems like a waste but the insurance company must be satisfied. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-11-03          147687


Apparently *nobody* makes an insert that will work with this fireplace without taking a sawzall to it. So a woodstove is out of the question. I guess we'll take that money and invest in radiant floor heat on the main floor. ....

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nosteiner4me
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 113 ohio
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2007-11-03          147692


Kw... if your intention was to heat the entire house in the winter or just for power outages, you need something to use that the heat will rise to all the rooms by gravity. The only way to really do this is an add on wood furnace in your basement hooked up to your existing duct work and it will heat basement and all in any power outage by gravity, but it does have 3 speed blower anyway. Look into Energy King wood indoor furnace. I sold my insert for this wonderful thing. It cost me 2400 for the furnace and 300 bux for the 6" ss liner up the flue. I load it once a day, 2 times max. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-11-03          147693


The Energy King sure looks like it would heat the house but locating it would be a major problem. It wouldn't fit in our mechanical room and getting a chimney in there would take an act of God anyway. It might be possible to fit a water-to-air heat exchanger in the air handler and remote locate a wood burning water heating appliance but those exterior wood burning furnaces make way too much smoke as they heat up and cool down. I've pretty much gone full circle with this whole house auxiliary heat issue and keep coming back to a BIG diesel generator that will provide enough oomph to start and run our heat pump during outages. That or a major construction job to rip out our two fireplaces and surrounds and rebuild them with woodburning stoves in mind. Either way it's too much money. ....

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nosteiner4me
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 113 ohio
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2007-11-05          147783


Kw...I tied in the Energy King wood furnace on the back side of the existing masonry fireplace in the basement. I wasn't using it anyway and it is now just for looks. If you could possibly tie into that flue, you would be set. ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2007-11-05          147802


Nosteiner, the chimney sort of runs up the center of the house. On the main and upper floors the backside of the flue is in bedrooms and the backside in the basement is electrical panels. It's probably possible to put it somewhere in the basement and run a new flue up the side of the house but we don't want the EK or something similar in finished space. Instead we'll put the money into radiant floor heat on the main floor and see how much that helps during outages. If we could keep the house above 60 with no power we'd be happy. ....

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mozart33326
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2 MN
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2010-11-01          174906


Not sure about your particular use but customer service at Quadra-Fire is terrible. Rheostat went out when unit was new and have been dealing unsuccessfully with them for over one year. Wouldn't recommend brand. ....

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WilliamLau
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 2 McLean,Virginia
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2012-05-31          183711


I bought one of these from ChimneyHeaters.com . I installed and it works fine. Heats my 2000 square foot house. I have the pump connected to a UPS but I am not sure how long the pump will run if the electric goes out. I had it installed all winter and did not have to turn on my Electric heat once which saved me about 200 euro a month here in Romania.

The Electric is not stable here so I had to rush to take out the fire a couple of times because the water pump had stopped and the pressure valves were going off. The UPS will solve that but I dont know how long a UPS will keep my central pump going. I will attach a pic of what chimney heaters are in case you are not familiar with them. The pump is a Grundfos and has three speeds.
....


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