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2 sided gas fireplace and gas odor

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by Winebrats, Nov 30, 2009.

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  1. Winebrats

    Winebrats New Member

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    Gotcha! Yes, UGLY metal doors...If swapping those out for something nicer, but needing to keep them closed, would be an option I would take it!

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  2. Winebrats

    Winebrats New Member

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    Got the manual. Company emailed me the PDF. Their #1 troubleshooting discussed the drafting and recommended making sure the chimney is 3feet taller than anything within 10feet of it (which I am pretty sure it is). Also to consult a chimney sweep to check it and possibly install a chimney cap or fan. It even said "in severe conditions, you may need to open a window near the fireplace 1-2 inches when burning the log set"

    That goes with what I have researched about energy efficient homes causing backdrafts because they are so airtight and houses need to "breathe". So hopefuly the chimney sweep will have a resolution, otherwise we will be cracking a window.
  3. Inside Guy

    Inside Guy Member

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    I am by no means a fireplace expert, but I do have over 15 years experience designing and certifying gas and wood burning fireplaces, and I've never seen a open hearth, see-thru, indoor/outdoor, wood burning fireplace. I can't believe this a legal application. Was this home inspected prior to your purchase? You really need to find the identification on the fireplace and then contact the manufacture of the fireplace... not the gas log set. Establish a file with the fireplace manufacture.

    This sounds all to familar, a homeowner has a complaint with a smoking, spilling wood burning fireplaces and some builder thinks he can fix the problem by installing a set of gas log. The fact of the matter is if a fireplace spills with wood, there's a very good chance you'll have problems with gas. It'll continue to be a problem until the root cause of the problem is properly diagnosed.

    Spillage is not something you want to take a chance on, the consequences are deadly!!! Contact the fireplace mfg.
  4. Winebrats

    Winebrats New Member

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    Yes, as I stated before, the house was inspected. The seller said she burned in the fireplace (wood with a gas starter). I can't imagine she allowed her home to fill with smoke. I have seen the design before. Maybe it is a southern thing. Where would identification be? Why do you assume there is a fireplace manufacturer? Can a fireplace not be built without a manufacturer? I'm not clear on that. It looks as if it was built on site, it's not an add on, it's masonry. On the original design blueprint, it was a onesided fireplace and the seller wanted it see through so they did. So either both the final inspection for the house AND our inspection when buying it "let it slide" or it is not unusual here.

    It was plumbed for gas from the building of the house, it was never JUST a wood fireplace. WE installed the gas logs (the installer) because we didn't want wood. I need to redoe the spill test anyway and be sure I do it correctly this time. Also, the Chimney sweep will shed some light on the draft situation and what can be done.

    HAH!! I found a mettle tag with info about the fireplace! DESA...now I have to research the model number.
  5. Winebrats

    Winebrats New Member

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    Well the seller got back to me...and it's all becoming clear now...par for the course with this seller...it was all about looks and she did NO research into building this house and just went along with "pretty" things with no thought about how things function...

    "Doug (builder) brought a fireplace guy to visit with us. The fireplace guy recommended the 2 sided FP. We didn't use it very much but 1 time we tried to open both sides & all the smoke went inside. Something to do with negative air pressure according to the FP guy we talked to so after that we kept the outer doors closed and never had another problem. To be honest Doug had the FP guy put it in. He didn't do it himself. I'm sure I don't still have the guy's name but I could see if Doug does."

    So, lets talk about doors. Since it is looking like the draft IS the issue completely, and I don't know, yet, if the chimney guy can do anything to improve the draft...Are there such doors I can install that one side can stay closed with a gas fireplace so the draft works? Are there such doors that both doors can be closed? Can a fireplace such as this be closed in on one side with masonry? I refuse to accept that I am now stuck with this gaping, useless hole in my wall.
  6. Inside Guy

    Inside Guy Member

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    Just a little basic info: When installed inside a home, See-Thru woodburner can be problematic. One reason is the room on one side is very different from the room on the other side in terms of dimensions and air flow. This results in spillage to one side. Generally this is easily avoided by keeping the doors on the opposite side of the spillage close.

    I'm really simplifying things here, so bare with me:)

    If wood was burned, you examine the left and right sides of the refractory, generally there is a big difference in black residue accumulation from the opening view from room (A) to room (B). The side that has more soot (side A or B) is the side that the spilling. In your case, this black residue is probably favoring the interior fireplace side.

    If only gas was burned, look at the fake logs, the side that has more black residue is probably the spilling side. You probably can put air tight doors on the exterior side, this may help. Desa probably offers and air tight door option. Really, your fireplace will be affected with the weather, some days good or not too bad... and other terrible and dangerous. I can't think of a proper solution that I'd feel good about. The fact that this is open to the outside is very, very complicated.

    It'd be nice if there was a see thru gas DIRECT VENT insert out there, but I don't think they exsist. I suppose you could put a single-sided gas DIRECT VENT insert facing the interior, but then your exterior view of the fireplace would be bad. The only true indoor outdoor fireplace that I know of is made by heat & glo, the twilight. This is a nice gas direct vent see thru fireplace, however, the costs to do this could get exspensive.

    Hope this helps.
  7. Inside Guy

    Inside Guy Member

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    One more thing, don't let the builder and fireplace guy confuse you with terms like "negative pressure" and things like that. Sure you might have negative pressure, but the real problem is you've got a big whole in you house.
  8. Winebrats

    Winebrats New Member

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    Is it possible to mason up the outer side?

    Since she only burned wood in it with the outer doors closed, and rarely, there are no soot marks and there were no gas logs before we bought them, so, regardless, the spill is coming inside, not out.

    I would be very happy if i could get through to DESA...there phone has been busy all day and the 800 & 866 number is disconnected AND the website doesn't work...I would love the option of a sealed outer glass side.
  9. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    I heard DESA is no longer....

    Yes you should be able to mason over one side.
    Also you might be able to just get a sealed glass for the outdoor side.

    http://www.glassfireplacedoors.com/
    See if they have a dealer near you, we get doors from them.
  10. Winebrats

    Winebrats New Member

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    Thanks for the link! I will look into the sealed glass before the mason as it is nice to see outside.
  11. Winebrats

    Winebrats New Member

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    OK, so the final solution, after 2 different fireplace places (one that came out and one that was explained on the phone), you guys advice and the Chimney sweep who came out. We ARE to use the fireplace with the outer door closed and the inner door open. When this is done, the draft works perfectly. Because of the way it is set up, the normal rule to open both/close both does NOT apply here. We could extend the chimney by 1 or 2 lengths to possibly improve the draft, because although it is adhereing to the 10/2 rule (or whatever) it might be improved and is fairly inexpensive to do. There is no need to replace the outer door with a fixed one as long as we keep it closed when burning. It needs to be "warmed up" for 5-10 minutes at a low temperature to heat up the flu and then can be turned up. End result, heat in the house without gas spill and it still looks good.
  12. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    You do realize that gas logs still are not a heating appliance, and you will not get an overall heat gain in the house. The area around the logs will get warmer, while outside air will get sucked in elsewhere in the house. Although with half the fireplace being outside it may be sucking enough air from there.

    I hope the gas log set you have is a singled sided set, if it is a double sided set the flame on the outer side will be starving for air all the time and drift. It could overheat the controls or blow the glass out.

    Also, I would fix the outside doors shut somehow, so no one can accidentally burn it with them open and kill everyone in the house.
  13. Winebrats

    Winebrats New Member

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    Yes, we know it won't heat the house, but it does take the chill off the room if we don't want the heat on. We do live in Texas, so there really is never a need for "heat". It's more for the ambiance and a toastyness while sipping wine in the chaise. Since there are only 2 of us in the house, I am not too concerned with one of us accidentally burning it with it open. If we both aren't here, it won't be on. We were told by all the people who have seen the unit that the glass will be fine. If it blows, we replace it, but both the fireplace place guys who saw it and the chimney sweep said that is unlikely to happen. As for controls, I'm not sure what you are referencing...the only "control" is the key in the wall to turn the gas on. We light it with a match.
  14. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like you are good to go then. Its nothing I would consider safe, or acceptable, but I guess it is what it is...
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