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Beginner here...need some advice

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Egghead, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Egghead

    Egghead New Member

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    Hi all,
    We purchased our 2nd home about 6 months ago. The house is appx. 2300 sq ft downstairs (main living area) and another 1000 sq ft upstairs (bonus and 2 BR). Our house has a dreaded heat pump for both floors and when the temperature gets below 35ish, the units really struggle (Georgia- south of Atlanta weather). We currently have a fireplace (Desa B36 prefab insert) that has a set of gas logs in it. The logs are not ventless so there's no real benefit of having it apart from the nice flame. I would love to have a wood stove insert installed but have no clue where to even begin. I talked to a local fireplace shop about options but his recommendations sound like using the existing prefab fireplace and installing an insert inside it. Is this even possible/safe? I was under the impression that the prefab would have to be removed and an insert installed in it's place. I don't know the exact dimensions of what's behind the prefab and can only go off of the install sheet for the B36 for now. What options do I have currently? I'm assuming that if my current prefab is capable of housing a wood stove insert that it would be tiny. The other option I'm guessing I have is completely removing the insert and installing a wood stove insert into the "rough opening" that's left. Where do I even begin on my journey? Thanks!

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Welcome Nathan. I don't think you can install a woodburning insert in a gas fireplace. The heat level and flue requirements are quite different.

    You are partially correct. The gas fireplace would need to be removed, but not replaced with an insert. An insert needs a fireplace to be inserted into. You most likely would need a good quality ZC wood fireplace replacement or a free standing woodstove in lieu of the gas fireplace. It you chose the former, there are nice EPA units that will do a much better job heating your home.
  3. ArsenalDon

    ArsenalDon Minister of Fire

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    Pics please? But I believe you are going to have to go with a free standing stove.
  4. Egghead

    Egghead New Member

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    Sorry for the delay. Let me know what measurements would be helpful.

    Attached Files:

  5. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    Is it a gas fireplace or a prefab woodburning fireplace with gas logs? I had the latter, and the professional installers were able to put in the small Quad insert that I have.

    The dimensions you want are height, depth, and width in the front and the rear. From the pic, unless it's deceiving, it looks like only a small insert would fit.
  6. Egghead

    Egghead New Member

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    It's a prefab woodburning fireplace with gas logs in it. According to the manufacture's website, the front opening is 34.75", rear width is 19.375", depth is just under 14.5", and height is 21.5". I'm afraid that if anything only a small insert is going to work. If that's the case, what options (other than free standing) do I have? If I were to rip the current prefab out and install another, what are the chances that another prefab with the same rough opening specs will have room for a bigger wood stove insert?
  7. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    You don't want to do that. If you decide to rip out the prefab, you want to install a free standing wood stove or an EPA efficient wood burning fireplace
    like a Kozy Heat or an RSF Opel (two of the manufacturers). The EPA fireplaces look great, have bigger fireboxes, and fit where your current fireplace fits, but are expensive
    to put in. There are people here who have ripped out prefabs and put in wood stoves. If you use the search function, you can find some of those threads.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Visually this looks like it wants a nice classic freestanding stove in front.
  9. Egghead

    Egghead New Member

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    What would be involved if I decided to go with a freestanding unit? How do they compare (heatwise/efficiency) with the inserts?
  10. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Depending upon your layout (of which a floor plan would help immensely ;) ) a free stander might help more than an insert.

    Welcome to the forums !
  11. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    A small insert is a firecracker. A large freestanding stove is a stick of dynamite. (heatwise). With an insert, you will probably be buying the unit and an insulated liner for the prefab chimney. With a stove, you will be buying the stove and chimney appropriate for a wood stove. For the extra cost, you get a lot more with the wood stove. I have both in my house. The insert is a toy compared to my big stove, but both are highly efficient.

    Okay, I'm editing. I exaggerated a bit. Small inserts can be very useful. More like a 1/2 stick of dynamite vs. a full stick of dynamite.
  12. Egghead

    Egghead New Member

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    So here's a rough drawing of the downstairs living area. The red rectangle represents the current fireplace and the green rectangles represent air returns for the heat/air (the idea I had was running the house fan to help push that hotter air from the stove to other parts of the house that aren't as close to the living room). If I did go with a freestanding unit, how is that going to work in the current prefab, or will it? I would guess that the prefab would come out since it has a bottom to it? Need a little more info on how I would do this. Thanks!

    Attached Files:

  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The location is pretty good. Is the height of 21.5" the opening size? We need the height from the hearth to the top of the opening to see if a freestander would fit. If not, I'm looking into the Enviro Boston. We also need the dimensions for the clearances to the mantle side posts and face. This is the height and width of the black surround area for the unit.
  14. Egghead

    Egghead New Member

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    The current opening size is 21.5". The height from the hearth (which is floor level) to the top of the opening is 27". The side stone pieces on the sides of the fireplace are 6.5" W x 27" H (goes to the top of the fireplace). The top stone piece is 7.5" H x 49" W
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Is this a cast mantle with no wood in it?
  16. Egghead

    Egghead New Member

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    Doesn't feel like it....feels like all wood to me
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    OK I must be confused. What are the stone pieces?
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Right now I am leaning toward an Enviro Boston 1200 insert. It will be a close fit, and I think it will need a mantle heat shield due to the heavy trim above the insert.
  19. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    RIP it out!! Put in a free stander.

    Ok, I am biased, but man does it work. :)

    As far as "what might be involved".. click that link in my sig lines..

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