fireplace insert question

Hello all, I have a chance to buy a used wood burning insert for my fireplace. I don't use my fireplace much but thought that if this thing puts out some heat it may be worthwhile. How much more efficient than regular fireplaces are the inserts in heat output? Anybody have any reccomendations or experiences they'd like to share. Kudos Steve
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Regular fireplaces are often net heat losers - it only feels warm near the fire, but sucks in cold air from all your house door and window leaks. Inserts with proper circ. fans can be quite efficient, and can actually warm rooms and houses, unlike conventional fireplaces with unlimited fresh air draft. Check that the used unit is not cracked, a not uncommon reason for selling, and a separate flue liner up the chimney may be required, as well. Also, consider a freestanding woodstove that sits on the hearth. We have a freestanding woodstove with its own stack, and it is a great heater, very small, but rated at 43000 btu. And check your local codes. Some insert models are ok, some don't pass EPA pollution requirements for local areas. I know this answer muddies the water, but there are so many variables! Another excellent resouce for woodstoves and inserts, in general, is newsgroup: alt.energy.homepower
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I bought a home where the original owners had a wood burning insert then converted to gas logs. I want to go back to wood burning.
What should I look for to make sure all is OK, I have looked and no apperant damage or cracks can been seen so far.
Thanks,

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Could you name the brand of stove you have ? We have 2 fireplaces in the house, basement and living room. We are looking at putting a gas replacement in the living room. But I would like to replaces the 50+ year-old fireplace with something that could heat the place durring an emergence, and maybe even double as a stove top if necessary.
What you descrbe sounds very interesting.
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The stove available is made by Harrowsmith?? It goes into the existing firplace hearth.

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This is a copy of a response I had recently to a local newsgroup post.
It is not legal to install any stove or insert that is not EPA "certified". Watch out for older units. There should be a label on the stove indicating certification. The certified units produce a lot less smoke out the chimney than older designs. Permits may be required for installation. Without a permit, your insurance could be at risk.
A stainless liner from the stove out the top of the chimney will help the unit have good "draw" so that the smoke tends to go up rather than in. It also makes cleaning easier, as you don't have to pull the unit out of the fireplace to clean the smoke shelf. All the crud drops back into the stove. I have to take some firebricks out of the top of mine when cleaning, but that's a lot easier than removing the stove from the fireplace. They are very heavy.
Keeping the stovepipe clean is important. As it plugs up, the smoke has much more tendancy to come into the room when adding wood, etc. Mine tends to plug right at the top, where the pipe comes out of the chimney into cold air.
You will get pollutents into the house, even if you are careful to open up the draft before opening the door and to open the door slowly. It may or may not be enough to bother you.
Most inserts have a fan available to blow air past the back of the unit to get the heat into the room. If you get one without the fan, it may not heat well. The fans tend to be expensive, so if you buy a stove without a fan, know what it will cost to buy one first.
If you get a used stove, it may look ugly. Stove paint is available at stove shops which can make a big difference.
Bob

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"not Steve Buscemi" ( snipped-for-privacy@ripnet.com) writes:

We got a Regency model I2400M with fan. We have not lived in this house a whole winter, but with use at Christmas and March break I know it heats this house down to at least -15C. My belief is that the fan is quite necessary, otherwise the heat has a hard time getting into the house with only one exposed face. Leaving the fan off in spring/fall might be an advantage so that the fireplace can be hot enough without overheating the house.
We also have a wood/oil furnace which is not EPA that uses more wood and leaks smoke into the house when the door opens. It will still be necessary to use it on the coldest days, but it will be run full out when in use so smoking will be minimal.
All in all we are happy so far and I expect to use about 1/3 to 1/2 as much wood as was used in the wood furnace. Plus I get to watch the flames dance when I am reading the paper.
Jonathan
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snipped-for-privacy@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Jonathan Mau) wrote in message writes:

hi i have a freestanding wood fireplace for sale for $50. it is a "NITE WATCH" brand. works very well and is in excelent shape. come and get it. really heavy to move. will need help. i live in apple valley minnesota. 55124 952 432 5128 need to get rid of it soon. THANK YOU. BYE
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