1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

A bit overwhelmed. Looking for a Hearth Stove.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Halligan00, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Halligan00

    Halligan00 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    I live in northern Virginia, and want to burn wood for ambiance, auxiliary, and emergency heat. The house is heated by heat pump, and we're at just about the northern limit of that, especially with a 60 year-old house. Decent attic insulation, new windows, not too drafty, but not much insulation on the masonry exterior walls. Luckily, I have two existing fireplaces, stacked in the center of the house. The main living space is upstairs, and I'd like to keep that as an open fireplace. The chimney for the upper fireplace runs maybe 7 feet to the uninsulated attic and then another 7 to the roof. It drafts well once warm. The chimney for the mostly unused but heated and finished basement is 8-9' longer, and I'd like to put a stove into that one, or barring that, an insert. I prefer the stove for looks and power-out performance. However, I'm not sure I can fit a stove on the existing hearth.

    My dimensions are 27"w 27"h 24"d free and clear in the fireplace. The fireplace opens to 36" at the front. The hearth is 18" deep and about a foot high. There's carpet infront of that, but we'd like to go to something different when we get around to it. I doubt the wife will accept expanding the hearth.

    Each floor is about 1200 sq. ft. Right now we only occupy the top floor, basement has shop, guest room, laundry, and unused family room. Winters aren't terrible here, but we lose power for a week every couple of years, due to ice or snow. Already ruled out gas, too expensive. Don't really have indoor storage for pellets.
    1. Should I go with a stove or an insert?
    2. How do I choose one?
    3. Do I need to put a chimney liner in? not sure of flue dimensions, etc. 8" x 8 or 10 x 10, I can't remember.
    4. Is there much I can do with the open fireplace to make it more efficient while we figure out what to do with the basement? Doors?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Halligan00

    Halligan00 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Also, when we use the upstairs fireplace, if the fire smolders, there's a strong odor of smoke in the basement.
  3. sailor61

    sailor61 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    112
    Loc:
    Warwick, RI
    I had a similar raised hearth...note the word "had". It wasn't too bad to remove and then finish the exposed edge. The bluestone came off with wedges and some careful work. Then the brick work underneath it was a small sledge, the center of it was rubble. I cut the couple of bricks that needed to be cut then I took a piece of 5/8 plywood and built a form across the front to even things out. Sack of ready mix, poured it in, let it set, took down th form and then got some cheap slate tiles cut to size at Lowes. Thinset to hold them in place and then finshed the top edge with more slate cut to size. I picked through all the loose slate at Lowes to get ones that were strong in the red tones to blend to the brick of the fireplace. On the floor I used grey slates to make a floor hearth on the existing floor slab. Total cost was under 50 bucks. I took this approach because the existing raised hearth was not deep enough for my Woodstock Fireview and I was unwilling to lose another foot by extending it into the room. I need to post some pictures...
  4. sailor61

    sailor61 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    112
    Loc:
    Warwick, RI
    and the thoughts of lifting ANY Woodstock stove onto a raised was totally unappealing... though now I'm thinking about raising just the stove about 6 inches over the coming summer.

    as to the smoke smell...I'm not experienced with double flues but I'll guess you're getting some feedback through a faulty damper in the basement. Try opening it and running a gloved hand around the lip where the damper should seat...there might be some junk that has settled there over the years. If you don;t put a stove in the lower fireplace I'll guess one of the various rooftop dampers would help to solve the problem. (and I'm assuming that both fireplaces have totally separate flues)
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    47,052
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    The second issue with the smoke smell is probably because the two flue terminate at the same height. Smoke is siphoning into the basement flue. This can be alleviated by extending the upstairs flue by 6-12".

    Your simplest solution will probably be installing an insert. No modification needed other than possibly opening up the damper area for the liner. The primary issue with a stove on the hearth will be the 27" clearance of the flue pipe under the fireplace lintel. That limits choices. There are workarounds, but not simple ones. You could go with a smaller stove, but that wouldn't satisfy the heat needs of the house.

    Is this a full masonry fireplace or a prefab fireplace?
  6. Halligan00

    Halligan00 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Full masonry FP. Triple chimneys, 2 fireplace, 1 blanked ex-oil furnace. Chimney is 4'x4.5' stack through two floors and attic, center of house. There's also a 6' double wythe wall that gives the fireplaces a 11' wide brick interior wall in the two living areas. In front of this wall is an 18" deep, 12" high, 11' wide hearth / low bench.

    I'll check on the lower damper tomorrow. Is there an easy way to add 1' to a chimney?
  7. sailor61

    sailor61 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Messages:
    112
    Loc:
    Warwick, RI
    the quickest way I know of are the old style terracotta extensions...chimney pots I think is what they are called. I imagine they are not as effective as adding a tile and brick but they've been around for centuries so must work somewhat.

Share This Page