The Department(s) of Making Me Sad are at least allowing me to install a wood burning stove in our new addition. Since I'm one of the few people in the Bay Area allowed to have one, no one knows much about them.
Here is what I like about this model:
- It has a clean look - large square glass
- It claims to be 86.6% efficient
- It can push heat into adjacent rooms
Here is what I don't like:
- It only takes 19" logs
- I believe it requires a blower to operate (need to consider power outages)
- Viewing area is only 22" x 12" - not very big
- No way to install a baking oven above it.
- Reading the manual - the slow burn that allows for 6-8 burn creates a lot creosote.
- Only 30,000 BTUs/hr with 3-4 hour burn time with a recommended load
- Any recommendation on other fireplaces that qualify as "Pre-Manufactured EPA Phase 2 Compliant"?
- Would adding thermal mass make the stove heat the house better by having a hotter fire in the evening instead of a slow-creosote building burn? Any recommendations on how much to add?
- Does this have any consumable parts? A lot of these of stoves have parts that need to be replaced every few years.
I would appreciate any insights. I don't want to get into a 'mass heater rocket stoves are better' conversation - unless you know of one that is pre-manufactured EPA phase 2 compliant - preferably with a nice glass window otherwise I have to stick with what the county will let me do.
I'm not familiar with that particular fireplace. I have a Blaze King woodstove "insert" that sits recessed in my masonry fireplace. I use it for my primary space-heating (New England climate)
But to back up a step, what are your goals/requirements for the fireplace? When I hear "Bay Area" I think mild Mediterranean climate and compact urban dwellings. Wood-burning usually makes more sense in the country where we have access to free/cheap cord wood.
Do you currently have natural gas service to your house? If so, you will likely not save any money on heating bills by burning wood. They do make gas inserts if you're just interested in viewing the flame show.
eco-innovator & pollinator
Location: Los Gatos, California Zone 10a (30°F to 35°F) Steep South Facing Slope, Rocky Soil, Ph 7.1
I live in the hills below the Santa Cruz Mountains just outside of the city on a few acres. We have no natural gas (which is why we are allowed to have a wood burning fireplace at all). A few trees a year fall across our driveway and need to be removed - the wood is free and a fire hazard is not properly disposed of. The Bay Area is no New Hampshire, but it does get chilly at night for several months a year. This is not a a straight ROI against propane or electric heat, its about 1) having a secondary heat source if/when we lose the primary - which we do about 2x/ winter, 2) being more carbon neutral, 3) finding a good use for all those fallen tress, 4) the aesthetics of a beautiful fireplace, 5) greater self sufficiency, and 6) yes, it would be nice to if the fireplace eventually paid for itself. Since we are building something new - an insert does not work, there is nothing to insert into. I hope that helps.
I will google EPA certified Masonry Heaters, maybe there are some options there.
ah OK, so that situation isn't too different from mine, If you have a few acres of deadfall plus the chainsaw, splitter, etc. burning wood makes more sense.
I'm not familiar with masonry heaters - read about them but never used one. My impression is that they shine where it gets cold and stays cold. In other words, if daytime highs rise considerably, you may overheat your house, and that thermal mass is a train with no brakes.
Looking over your requirements, it sounds like you will be a "nights and weekends" burner, not a "24/7" burner. So you may want a secondary burn stove, rather than a catalytic stove (secondary burn also provides a better flame show). How frequently would you be home to feed the stove? Burn time can be anywhere from 3 hours to 12+ hours, depending on firebox size and efficiency.
An efficient fireplace like you posted would be fine if you don't need the cooktop surface.
Some stoves have convection fans to distribute the heat around the house - Do you have a backup generator to run the convection fans if needed?
Thanks. I'll check out the Hearth guys. I think the masonry heater depends on how much wood you put in it and how much mass it has - some can hold heat for 30 hours, but I would be looking a smaller one that would last ~12 hours. Yes, I'm a 100% night/weekend burner with a fire started at 5-6pm for 2-3 hours and helping keep house warm until 8am the next day (We may need an hour of conventional heat in the morning to get the kids out of bed. ) Yes, anything that requires a blower would need to be run differently to the breaker to use a generator or battery pack. I also talking to the Masonry Heater Association and I will let you know what they say.
I'm more of a woodstove guy, not a big fan of fireplaces and inserts. But if you have the budget, definitely consider Renaissance Rumford 1000. It heats mostly by radiant heat and, for a fireplace, is clean and efficient. I'm not an expert on codes but I thought pre-manufactured homes were regulated differently than mobile homes. I do know the fireplace I'm talking about is not certified for mobile homes, you'll have to check to see if it works for a pre-manufactured home:
Thanks. To clarify, the house is not pre-manufactured, the county code requires the wood stove/fireplace itself to be pre-manufactured i.e. a hand built masonry stove would not be allowed. Yes the renaissance fireplace is gorgeous and their sister company has a nice stove too - http://rsf-fireplaces.com.
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