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Thread: woodstove vs fireplace

  1. #1
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    Default woodstove vs fireplace

    gonna have a boiler with in floor heat for my primary system

    but I'm thinking it might be nice to keep some chill off during the shoulder seasons (aka summer here in alaska) and also to preserve my fuel tank during real cold spells

    we're building pretty small and it's going to be our "home" so I was looking at the sealed combustion fireplaces with a blower to save a little floor space and keep the pipe in an external chase

    has anyone had one of these? I'm thinking you'd get better heat with the stove just because of the stove's thermal mass inside the house....... but does anyone have firsthand experience?

  2. #2
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    To my way of thinking, a woodstove has the advantage of being a redundant heating and cooking source, that doesn't require electricity.

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    A woodstove is a serious heat source. A fireplace is not.

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    You might want to ask about the pipe in an outside case. Hopefully someone here knows better about what I mean. If the pipe is outside, it is colder, making it hard to get a draft going until that air has been heated.
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    I'm planning to put a woodstove in my next house and use it to make hot water for the infloor heat. I'll have a boiler as well, but I'm going to plumb the woodstove into the system to help ease fuel oil usage.

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    your woodstove is far more efficient than conventional fireplace or insert some even come with fans chase can still be on ouside walls minimise your offsets for pipe nothing compares to wood heat there is a small TULAKIVI unit that you can cook on also that is all soap stone which is one of a few natural materials that retains heat you can have a short hot fire (cook brekfast) to heat up mass and it will radiate heat for remainder of day they are a little spendy and take knowledgeable installer do not get swindled there is no comprable unit to all soap stone unit
    http://warmstone.com/index.php/fireplaces/listunits/14

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    There are out there now wood burning boilers that are pretty efficient I built a 16'x16' room for boiler /equip/wood with false chimney for one that heated a pretty good sized residence about 2000 sq. ft. there was also a backup boiler electric tied into same system it was all built into side of hill false chimney was used as wood chute about 4' above ground owner had a path that went by chimney and he used his quad with trailer to supply wood area from chimney he used very little electricity but burned every day he was in the arborist/tree business

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    A woodstove will always be more efficient than a fireplace; you will get neg efficiencies with most fireplaces. There are a few fireplaces out there that are outstanding heaters. One of them is by Travis industries (LOPI) a bit pricy but a great heater.
    Outside pipe and chase; it’s always better to keep the pipe within the house if possible it’s easier to keep it heated. The straighter you install the pipe the easier to clean and the better the draw will be as well
    Cold pipe + height and roof pitch could be a factor in draw. The cost to build a chase and pipe it into the chase is much higher as well.
    I am just touching on this feel free to message me on more information if needed.
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    Member alaska4ever's Avatar
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    I have a friend that also lives remote like me and he got some part time work and bought a soapstone woodstove and replaced his old barrel stove. He says it is the best stove he has ever had. The soapstone holds the heat and keeps his 16x24 cabin nice and warm.
    JOHN

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    soap stone units are a luxary item in the states the scandinavians heated all there water and cooking and heat useing peat moss only and efficient stoves for quick heat plate steel or better yet cast iron for less warp would be sufficient

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    I have a Lopi Woodstove and I use it everyday. It is my only heat source and I like it very much and would recommend it. I do want to purchase a soapstone stove one day if I ever find the money.
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    Quote Originally Posted by billhicksmostfunny View Post
    I have a Lopi Woodstove and I use it everyday. It is my only heat source and I like it very much and would recommend it. I do want to purchase a soapstone stove one day if I ever find the money.

    As much as my friend hated it, he spent a whole summer working and bought one brand new.
    JOHN

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    I use a Orley wood stove it is a old model and not up to local standards but heats very well for size with aggressive fire and I likely could cause damage with its ability to burn being aggressive feeding it the newer stoves such as LOPI and JUTOL are all some what designed from european models and the fact is there return in btu,s is far more than there consumption of fuel in comparison to older US stoves I could burn through a wheel barrow of wood in my Orley in one night having a high heat output for 8 hr span and newer nowaday units will give you moderate/ great heat for couple days on same amount of fuel I have a vision of wakeing in my remote cabin starting my fire in a Tulakivi cook stove cast iron top getting coffee going and haveing breakfast and when retireing at night noteing the mass is of soapstone is still warm to the touch there is allways hope

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    Gottago,
    I see your original question got a bit sidetracked into the " I love my woodstove" discussion.
    To get back to your original point:
    The first key piece of information in order to provide an accurate answer is to identify for us what type of fuel you had in mind for your fireplace option. If you meant wood - I would agree with almost everything that has already been stated.
    However, since you're talking about a boiler and in-floor heat, and heating a primary residence, I'm assuming you're not " off the grid"?? So- the boiler would be either oil or gas fired? When you refer to " sealed combustion" fireplaces, I'll also assume you're talking about the direct-vent gas fired units? All prior responders have made the assumption that you are inquiring about wood-fired fireplaces. I'm not aware of ANY direct-vent sealed-combustion fireplace systems other that gas fired. But I could be wrong.

    Based on gas-fired direct-vent ( comb air from outside bldg envelop / flue gases to outside- all within a manufactured direct-vent chimney system ) I will offer the following info from a purely technical standpoint. I have no ax to grind with or against any one particular technology.

    Gas direct vent fireplaces are, in spite of what someone stated earlier- serious heaters. They are tested, and certified, to a Federal- mandated AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency ) standard-- just like all furnaces, boilers, and whole-house heaters. Not only does this allow you to accurately, and correctly, compare one unit to another as far as efficiency goes, but it also allows you to run one off a thermostat, just like a furnace or boiler. The standard versions are millivolt standing-pilot ignition. This means they require no electricity to operate, and are thus a good backup source of heat in a power outage. These standing-pilot versions are typically about 65-70% efficient. The more efficient versions incorporate combustion blowers ( not be be confused with an air-circulating blower ), and are around 80% efficient. The higher-efficient units REQUIRE 120V AC just as a gas or oil-fired furnace or boiler would. The BTU heating capacity of the fireplace varies by models- the larger the unit, the higher the btu output. In my opinion, you do not need blowers to circulate heat with these. Personally - I hate the sound of the blower running, and would never own one with a blower, but this is strictly a personal opinion issue.

    In spite of what was also stated earlier - these gas fired units are every bit as efficient, and in most cases, far more efficient that a wood burning appliance in combusting their given fuel. Woodstoves are outstanding at putting out high-btu's of heat; they just don't combust their fuel as efficient as newer gas fired equipment does. There are some very good quality, and pretty darn efficient wood combusting products out there- but it's a reach if someone is going to state that they are more efficient that a gas-fired product.
    But- the wood fuel is "free" if you do all the physical work to get it yourself. Gas heat brings push-button convenience, but at a price- you have to buy it, haul it, etc.

    As for the flue going up the outside of the bldg in a chase--prior advise was accurate. However- if you insulate this chase, and use the appropriate manufactured direct-vent chimney system - they work just fine in this application. I can speak to this firsthand in my own home. It's always best to run a chimney within a conditioned space when able , but this should not be a limiting factor in your partaicular case.

    If you do not have natural gas available, and thus would be using one with Propane as your fuel- these units, if used regularly, will go thru a sizable amount of propane. This can get expensive. Used for ambiance in a room, an occasional back-up source of heat, these units are great. But- if heating your entire place with one on propane during the winter, I'd recommend a woodstove first, followed by one of the newer fuel-oil stove heaters, and then a gas fired fireplace or free-standing stove. The direct-vent fireplaces are every bit as efficient as the free-standing gas stoves-- they're just shaped differently. They vent with the same chimney product. I personally know people who heat sizable areas of a house with a direct-vent gas fired fireplace, properly sized to match the heat-loss for the given area. They do this with natural gas, however- not propane.

    You can PM me if you have any specific technical questions, if you'd like. I cannot speak to particular brands and models.

    PM me if you have any specific questions

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    The original title line to the original post is, "Woodstove Vs Fireplace" so yes I think it was safe to assume he meant wood-fired fireplace. So those of us who said, "I Love My Woodstove" would have been, in effect, placing our vote (opinion) as to which type of heating apparatus GottaGo should use.

    Besides I am not sure what is wrong with sidetracking (if it ever was actually sidetracked that is) the issue a little here and there, I didn't know we had such strict guidelines.

    The warm glow of my woodstove must be having adverse effects on my manners. Oops.
    “There's a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it.”
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    Default Didn't mean to ruffle feathers

    Sorry- didn't mean to offend anyone.Think I'll go crawl back in my hole now.

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    Default No Feathers Ruffled.........

    Don't worry about it man. It just seems to me a lot of times people are moaning and groaning about threads being "hijacked" or something like that. I just don't know what the big deal is, but maybe it is just me. I guess any comment is sometimes better than nothing even though it may be slightly "off topic".

    Would be good to hear from GottaGo as to any decision they have made or are thinking about making.
    “There's a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it.”
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    In my opinion fireplace is the best one for you. It gives your room warm in the winter amd there are many types of fireplace are availablein the market. It is no costly for you.

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