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advice--putting electric outlet in fireplace

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by quietcorner dad, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. quietcorner dad

    quietcorner dad New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
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    Loc:
    Eastern CT
    I intend to install an Enviro M55 cast fireplace insert in our living room. [a huge thanks to all of you whose posts were a great education as I learned about pellet stoves, the OAK debate, etc. and got my wife's support.]


    I haven't picked a dealer or bought the insert yet; I have an electrician scheduled to come in early January to prepare the fireplace. I'd welcome advice on the following:


    INSERT IN DOUBLE-SIDED FIREPLACE? The several stores I’ve stopped in seem fine to install in a double-sided fireplace; one site I saw declard that no pellet inserts are currently approved for doublesided fireplaces. Any thoughts on that? I’ll include a picture of one side in case this matters; both sides have the same glass doors that pull tight to seal the opening and a black mess screen that can be pulled across the length of the opening just behind the doors. In the photo, you can see chairs' legs at my kitchen table while looking through the fireplace. The double-sided fireplace opening that won't have an insert faces the table where we eat.


    WHERE TO PUT THE OUTLET? I assume that for the back side of the fireplace –the opening that won’t have an insert—we’ll just keep the glass doors and pull the black mesh screen totally across to obscure what is behind.

    If we do run electricity and/or metal box anywhere within the firebox, it will be somewhat visible unless we mask it somehow. Still, I’d rather pay to snake electricity up through our ash chute to avoid having a chord lead out of our fireplace.

    I don’t think it is an option to have an outlet flush w/ the floor facing up….in other words, I don’t think we can put the outlet box itself in the highest part of the ash chute. The insert will take be 16 and 1/8” deep, this means that about an inch of the outlet would be covered by the insert. [See my not-to-scale diagram, showing the possible placement of an outlet partially covered by insert, and attached pic of ash chute on the fireplace floor; ignore the black grate which would hold logs. Though the chute ends 19” back from the front of the firebox, some rough cement will prevent an electrical line and then outlet box from coming straight up the back edge of the chute].


    Where would you put an outlet?
    What would you be thinking about when making this decision?
    Any tips on whether I need to put in something special, i.e., heat-resistant pipes in chute or some special outlet box?
    tips re: buying black materials or a specific black paint I should use to hide whatever I put in?
    anything I'm not smart enough to ask about but should know?

    thanks to what I read in this forum, I'm clear that I want to get a permit, get the install approved, and let my insurance company know...My local code enforcement official made clear that an extension chord running down this chute was not acceptable-- a point I saw raised in another thread—and otherwise asked me to get an electrician to install a “permanent wiring method” that would meet with state building codes and the manufacturer’s requirements. Before talking to my electrician, help me be smarter about what to ask for/suggest/require...or what more I need to get clear with my town's code enforcer.

    thank you!
    --CT dad excited to be joining you pellet burners!




    double-sided fireplace, side that will have insert.jpg diagram, firebox, ash chute, M-55 .jpg ash chute, bottom of fireplace.jpg

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  2. chken

    chken Minister of Fire

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    Maine
    Well, the electrician is the expert and up on code requirements, but I'm assuming the ceo wants you to use metal conduit to run the wiring. Presumably, you would think about retrofitting whatever you do, if you sell the home and want to pull the stove out. I don't think you need anything special behind the insert. Before you know whether you can put the box in the ash chute, you'll need to see the actual insert. There may be room.
    quietcorner dad likes this.
  3. DBCOOPER

    DBCOOPER Feeling the Heat

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    Jan 23, 2010
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    396
    Loc:
    Stowe, Pa
    I would think some bx up to a box inside the the fireplace should be acceptable. You need to think about some type of surge suppressor also. I would block off the other side of the fire place with a piece of cement board painted black inside the glass and screen. If the M55 insert comes with a zero clearance shroud what ever you do behind the insert should be fine.
    quietcorner dad likes this.
  4. quietcorner dad

    quietcorner dad New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
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    Loc:
    Eastern CT

    chken, I hadn't thought at all about the option of pulling the stove out later and/or making it easier to undoing whatever I do for the next owner; I'll think about that w/ my electrician, and might get the insert first before doing electrical to see what will fit there..._thank you!_

    tom
  5. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    Southeast PA
    I'm not entirely clear by looking at the diagram but will the plug be reasonably accessible once the stove is installed? The reason I ask is because you want to unplug your stove during the off season to eliminate any chance of a surge, and it might be imperative to have easy access to the plug for potential service work down the road.
    quietcorner dad likes this.
  6. Micmann

    Micmann New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
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    Loc:
    Eastern MA
    Best thing would be like DBCooper said block off the other side. Cement board or sheet metal just paint it black. This will take away any concern of were to place the outlet. You can certainly ask the electrician to make it flush inside the chute, but this may cost you more in labor to drill and anchor it in an awkward location than blocking off the back. it also takes away any spacing concern. Just place the outlet near the back, with the block off you'll never see it or the butt end of the stove. Most times when you tell an electrician you need an outlet for a fire appliance insert they plan on floating it under the appliance or securing it to the fireplace floor in a raised surface box. Most people don't have access to the back like you do so the outlet needs to be easily accessible under the stove or when the stove is pulled out.

    Last thought. Your electrician will determine what method of wiring is best, but he may need to sleeve something in PVC through the ash chute. Ash can be very acidic, especially if there is ANY moisture. Any BX will most likely rust out , MC is aluminum but that may corrode over time as well. Romex is plastic sheathed, but is not rated for corrosive conditions. He's the professional, let him make the call. Just tell him what you would like as a finished product and see what options he gives you.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2013
    holstein and quietcorner dad like this.
  7. quietcorner dad

    quietcorner dad New Member

    Joined:
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    Eastern CT
    DBCooper,

    _Thank you_. I hadn't thought of blocking out the fireplace as you suggest; yes, that would solve any problem of how things look.
  8. quietcorner dad

    quietcorner dad New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Eastern CT
    Micmann, John 193, thank you both. You've helped me see why it'd be safer not to try to hide an outlet w/in the chute≥ Micmann, I really appreciate your thoughts on wiring method; yes, I'll defer to my electrician...how much ash is likely to get in back of the stove? that will happen only if there's a problem w/ the exhaust pipe?
    I'm new to doing this kind of board anywhere in my life; I so appreciate how y'all fill in things I don't know/wouldn't think of.

    tom
  9. Former Farmer

    Former Farmer Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    NE Wisconsin
    You may also want a thermostat wire ran as well, unless if you are going with the Wireless Digital Wall Thermostat option. I personally would run a wire, instead of a wireless model.

    In regards to the ash being corrosive, either use PVC or certain types of seal tight should be corrosive resistant.

    A good electrician can do just about anything providing it follows code, the only question is how much is it going to cost.
    quietcorner dad likes this.
  10. fmsm

    fmsm Minister of Fire

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    South of Boston MA
    What about access from the rear for cleaning etc? It would be pretty nice to be able to have rear access.
    quietcorner dad likes this.
  11. Cleetussnow

    Cleetussnow Member

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    Westchester, ny
    I would want to have the access if i could. Maybe get a set of mirrored glass doors there or something? Just thinking out loud. But running a vac around the blower fan would be nice to be able to do easily, or change a fuse.

    Great stove.
    quietcorner dad likes this.

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