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Alcove definition revisited

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by SIERRADMAX, Nov 21, 2011.

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  1. SIERRADMAX

    SIERRADMAX Feeling the Heat

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    Is it considered an "alcove" if two shallow walls (separated 7') are constructed to a full floor to ceiling height?

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  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Check with the manufacturer and the AHJ but IMHO an alcove is a confined space with minimum clearances usually with reduced ceiling height.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You are probably fine if the ceiling height is 7ft high or better. What stove would this be for? Will the back of the stove be in front of the shallow walls?
  4. SIERRADMAX

    SIERRADMAX Feeling the Heat

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    It's for a Harman Oakwood. The installation manual doesn't depict clearances for alcoves. I contacted a dealer and was told to contact Harman directly.

    I just received a letter from Harman stating it is not approved for alcove installations and was only tested to UL standards with 8' ceiling height. My floor to ceiling is 8' and the hearth is 6" higher. The stove is about half way tucked in to the face of the two walls you see. I have the required 13" of rear clearance to the wall and 22" of side clearance to both side walls. The side walls have utilities in them (electric, A/C and condensate run for the attic AHU) so removing the walls will require significant cost.

    [​IMG]

    So, would it still be classified as an alcove even if the living room height is continued to the rear wall?
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Looks like a 2 ft deep alcove to me. Why do you ask? Also, is there really 7 ft ID between the side walls? Look more like 5-6 ft.
  6. Wade A.

    Wade A. Feeling the Heat

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    I wrestled with that one too. My side walls are roughly in the same proportion to my stove depth as yours appear to be. In other words, I had an "alcove" that also doesn't surround the stove much at all. Too, at what distance do those side walls need to be from the sides of the stove for it to not qualify as an alcove at all?

    As to the ceiling height. My understanding is that a definition of "alcove" only covers a stove surrounded on three sides, the overhead dimension not being a consideration.

    My stove is rated for alcove installation, and I used those clearance dimensions, but I think I was an overly cautious. Not that a little extra caution isn't worht it, mind you. Jotul did require a bottom heat shield on all alcove installations, so I put it on. Then, after burning it for a time, I realized that it I was not getting any appreciable downward radiation and I pullled it off.

    In the end, I'll offer these suggestions, and you've probably already made this list too:

    1. If your job is permitted, abide by the Buidling Inspector's opinion (not that you'll have a choice, right?)

    2. Solicit an opinion from the manufacturer... use that if #1 applies.

    3. Use your best judgment if 1 & 2 don't apply. Err on the side of safety, but within reason. Burn some test fires and takes some temp readings if needed.

    Nice looking hearth and stove, BTW.
  7. SIERRADMAX

    SIERRADMAX Feeling the Heat

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    I haven't paid much attention to the overall width. I just did a "dry-lay" of the stove and measured off each side of the stove. After doing some math, I have 74", a little more than 6' to be exact.

    I really wish Harman would have posted "Not for Alcove Installation" in their manual.
  8. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    My only thought is the further forward the stove is positioned, the less space in front to the edge of the hearth.

    I'd be more worried about that than the alcove definition, but I'm sitting several thousand miles away ;-)
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    By that response, it sounds like you did not provide a description or they didn't pay attention to your description and that they are going with the definition of an alcove having a reduced ceiling height. Provide them with detailed measured drawings and see what they come back with.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Agreed. The Oakwood puts out a lot of heat, but this is a bad oversight if they are stating it is non-compliant. I would send them a front and top view with accurate measurements. And ask if this would pass approval if the walls had NFPA 211 wall shielding. (full brick veneer or wall shield with a 1" air space).
  11. SIERRADMAX

    SIERRADMAX Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks BeGreen, drawing sent. We'll see what they say.
  12. cwill

    cwill Member

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    I had the same issues you have now. stove did not say anything about no alcove install, so I went with the corner clearances on both sides. my alcove ceiling is even with the rest of the ceiling. I ended up with side clearances larger than needed and set it to the back clearance requirement. I monitor wall temps and so far highest i have seen was 119 after burning for the entire day. I think you will be fine as long as you keep an eye on temps for a while to make sure you don't burn the house down.
  13. SIERRADMAX

    SIERRADMAX Feeling the Heat

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    I just received an email from Harman. I sent them this drawing.
    [​IMG]

    After review, here's what Harman stated...

    Looks like I'm good to go.
  14. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    Brilliant news, congratulations.......

    Looking forward to the pictures as it progresses ;-)
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Excellent. What is the plan for the side wing walls of the alcove to make them into an NFPA wall shield?
  16. SIERRADMAX

    SIERRADMAX Feeling the Heat

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    2 layers of 1/2" cement board with airspace then a stone veneer. It should compliment the brick hearth nicely.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There ya go, I'm glad it's going to work out. It should look great. A single sheet will work as long as it's well supported. You can use long, doubled-up, 3" wide strips of the cement board on each stud to create the airspace with a solid backing. Be sure that there is a 1" opening at the top and bottom of the wall shielding. It can be integrated into the stonework to look quite intentional.
  18. SIERRADMAX

    SIERRADMAX Feeling the Heat

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    Update:

    I finished up the install with cement board, double wall stove pipe and the required heat shields. I fired it up for the first time last night and ran the stove lightly for about 4 hours. Granted it was 45 degrees outside but my downstairs reached 70, upstairs was 73.

    [​IMG]

    Waiting on the stone to do the veneer.
  19. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    It looks good so far!

    Probably the best time to run a stove in, when you don't need the heat...... ;-)
  20. jjs777_fzr

    jjs777_fzr Feeling the Heat

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    Looks great keep us posted.
  21. SIERRADMAX

    SIERRADMAX Feeling the Heat

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    Took me a year and a half to finish but it's finally done.

    [​IMG]
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Very nice finish Sierra. That stove looks ready to put out some serious heat. Have you had a chance to fire it up? How much chimney is on the stove?
  23. SIERRADMAX

    SIERRADMAX Feeling the Heat

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    I ran it all winter without the veneer finish on the back wall. The stove has a rear & bottom heat shield. It throws a lot of heat from the top & sides. It heated a 2600 SF house to 68 degF rather well in late fall/early spring. Deep winter months, it struggled but a far better heating device than the zero clearance fireplace prior.
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