Re: Fireplace inserts
I have a Lopi Revere insert, which I had installed last summer. My house is a ~2000 SF colonial. The insert is located on the first floor, in the family room which is located behind the garage, offset of the kitchen, dining room and living room. Our master bedroom is directly above the family room.
When I bought my house, the primary heat was an electric heat pump/central air system. The first two winters my electric bill averaged $400 a month from December to March. That was with the thermostat set at 64-65. With the wood insert last year, my electric bill averaged $160 wth the thermostat set at the same temperature, but when the stove is being fed constantly, the house will be 70-72. I load wood into it before I leave for work at 6 am and the stove will still have coals in it when I get home a 330-400. However the heat pump will have kicked on durning the late afternoon when the stove stops producing heat. The heat pump will also kick on in the early morning hours if I don't get up to reload the stove. With that said, If I were home all day and could keep feeding the stove, it would heat my whole house, and keep it at 70 degrees fairly easily. Last winter I burnt about 2 cords of wood.
I'm very happy with mine, even with the initial steep investment. I cut my own wood, so cost for wood are minimal. You will have to get your chimney cleaned every year though. It's nice to have a house with real heat in the winter.
Make sure you meet the minimum clearances for the stove. My fireplace is surrounded by built in shelves, which made it difficult to meet the side clearance of most stoves. You will most likely also need a stainless chimney liner.