The fireplace installation crew arrived last week and after two hours, I had a new wood burning insert. I was a bit disappointed but it was my fault. The crew did an excellent job.
Back when I was looking for an insert, nobody I called had any in stock that they could show me. Most of their floor models were stand along wood stoves, gas and electric inserts. They just didn't install that many wood burning inserts to stock them. So after I found a place that had reasonable pricing, I looked through their catalog at various wood burning inserts.
Most couldn't fit in the opening I had for one dimension or another but there were three that I could choose from. One was a pretty attractive model and after double checking the outside installation dimensions to make sure it would fit, I ordered it. What I neglected to do was to check the dimensions of the actually wood burning part of it. Technically, I didn't really have a choice if I wanted an insert but I could have just torn out all the brick work and started over from scratch to make any fireplace I desired work.
When they unpacked the insert, the firebox was pretty tiny. It is about 18 inches wide, 14 inches deep and about 16 inches tall. It is about a sixth of the size of the fireplace that we had at our last house. I can probably only put a couple logs into it at one time instead of the four or five in the other fireplace and that won't leave much room for any kindling to get the fire going. I also suspect that some of my existing firewood is too big to really fit into the opening.
But there are some features this insert has that our last fireplace didn't have. In this one, the flue is always open and the seal to prevent cold air from seeping into the house when not in use is on the door. Our last fireplace had glass bi-fold doors that didn't seat anything, including smoke if there wasn't a proper draft. This one should allow smoke free use. The old one we had to open the bi-fold doors to allow heat to escape into the room to warm us up. This one has a built in blower so we can leave the door closed and still get heat.
Not having properly sized firewood to use isn't really that big a deal. I have about a cord and a half cut but I can use that in the outside firepit instead. I also have three or four cord on the stump waiting for me to cut later this fall and I will probably cut those in smaller sized pieces to use in the fireplace. All will be well.
The insert came with an extra wide surround to cover up the butchered opening that the previous owners created in the wood fireplace to install their cheesy electric insert and thus rend the wood fireplace forever more unusable. Aesthetically it just didn't look quite right so I decided to build a mantel surround to go around the metal surround and to spiff things up. I am mid-way through that project and I already know that it was the right choice. When I get that project done, I will do a project wrap-up post on here with some pictures of everything. I will also be able to cross off a fairly large project from my list and that makes me feel great!