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Can You Remove the Metal Firebox Safely?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by newguy08, Jan 1, 2010.

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  1. newguy08

    newguy08 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    Southern Tier NY
    I am looking to move my Avalon Olympic fireplace insert to another fireplace. But the new location has a firebox which is not big enough to hold the vast size of the Olympic. Additionally, the firebox within this fireplace is completely shot, warped and has a hole within it. Has anyone removed the firebox safely and placed the stove within the cavity that remains? (I would install a SS liner and the surrounds panels while the cavity is completely masonry.) The Avalon Olympic is sold as a wood burning stove in addition to being used as an insert. I have looked at how these types of fireboxes are built (Hearform, Vestal Aire) and it seems to me that this could work. My only concern is the tile chimney, but they are not suppose to be supposed by the firebox. Anyone?

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  2. newguy08

    newguy08 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26
    Loc:
    Southern Tier NY
    With the wide range is articles and response I have read on this site, I thought someone must have attempted this. I understand without looking at the setup as is, one might not be able to tell exactly how this was placed together. As I stated, it appears to be a Heatform or Vestalaire fireplace fire box. With the Olympic insert built to be either inserted or a freestanding unit, I thought it would work well. Just a little concerned about the structure stability of clay liner.
  3. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    5,399
    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    I guess nobody has attempted to do what you want, so here's my take on it.
    I'd contact a mason AND a local building inspector to perform a complete inspection
    of what you have & let them know what you want to do with what you have.
    This is FIRE we're talkin about, & while it's your home & your life & you can
    do what you want (within reason) with either of them, you can't mess around
    with the lives & property of others.
    My own impression, for what it's worth, is:
    If it don't fit, it ain't gonna work. Period.
  4. scottgen20

    scottgen20 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    Messages:
    52
    Loc:
    Lower Saucon, PA
    Hey NewGuy,

    I would just have a local installer or sweep come by and take a look. My fireplace is built out of fieldstone and at some point, someone had put in a heatilator (metal) firebox. I didnt know much about it and when I had someone come out and take a look, they said it was pretty far gone - very rusted, etc. They suggested getting an insert or a freestanding stove and getting rid of the metal box if necessary.

    I followed their suggestion and basically cut out the back and top of the metal firebox. This opened up a very rather large area, constructed of stone, which allowed me to easily run my liner SS liner up through the clay lined chimney.

    I suppose it's what is behind your firebox that is important - if it's framing, you're probably out of luck.. If it's masonry, you might be in good shape. If it's sold as a freestanding as well, and you've got masonry behind the metal box, I don't see how that would be different than installing it freestanding, with the required surrounds. Best to check with an expert , though!

    Good luck,
    Scott
  5. wellbuilt home

    wellbuilt home Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Messages:
    532
    Loc:
    NY
    Here's the deal , The old steal fire box was used as a forum for the concrete block .
    The flue and block sit on top of the steel . ?There is supposed to be masonry block and concrete around the steal to support the chimney .
    Most of the time the chimney sits on block on the rear of the fire place and only the flue hangs over the steel box .
    I drill thru the chimney and support the flue with a steal re bar . Then remove the stone/ brick in front of the hawth .
    To remove the steal box you must first remove the damper & smoke chamber then support the box at the flue with with 2 2x6 from the floor to the steal angle iron or concrete block or flue or whatever you have up there .
    Now with a grinder with a cutting blade cut 12" off the floor and remove the steal all the way around.
    Most likely you will have a double wall box and need to remove the second steal plate
    Once the bottom is removed the box will drop inside and you can pull the fire box out.
    Most of the time the block stays put and the flue drops out . you can break the flue with a drill and a breaker tool .
    If the chimney is to tall 15' you could just let them drop on some wood 2' at a time .
    We parge the inside of the fire box and run a new SS flue to a o clearance insert and re stone the front of the wall .
    Ive replaced a bunch of fire places with gas/pellet inserts.
    I never know exactly how it going to go until we get started.
    We never had a chimney just crumble and fall off the house .
    Take it slow and easy . John
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