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Certifiable nut looking for a stove (insert?) in south Alabama

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Intheswamp, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Early in my hunt for a stove I had a store quote me $299 for a "Level II" inspection. Add that to whatever the mason would charge to correct the problem(s) and I'm starting to trash my limited stove budget.

    I was already figuring on an insulated liner, due to the safety factor and to the recommendation to insulate if you're not having the chimney inpsected. Being so picky over the heat shields for the cabinets, worrying about the R-factors for the hearth...all this was focusing on safety. I guess if I was that worried about safety I should've sprung for an inspection to start with, eh? I'm getting leery now, though....kinda had cold water thrown on me, I guess you could say. [​IMG]

    I'll think it over for a day or two and decide what to do or not to do. Thanks for the help and recommendations.

    Best wishes,
    Ed

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It shouldn't cost any more for getting mason out for an opinion than it costs for getting one here. The flue needs to be swept regardless. After he's done, ask what he thinks. If you put in the Castine, it looks like you can just squeak by without side shields and the existing hearth will work as is. So call up a mason or two for a quote to raise the lintel and stop beating your head against the wall.
  3. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Looks like someone built a 2x4 form and duct taped styro foam insulation in there to keep the cold down drafts at bay. I'd cut the insulation out and see if that's the case, it will also give you a view of what else is up there.
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yeah yank that junk out of there and get a look. No way I am believing they bricked that whole wall and stuck a piece of wood in the middle of the job. Somebody just wanted to stop the air leak up the chimney at some point.
  5. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement ya'll. When I saw that wood it just kinda blew me away.

    BG, I'll see about getting a mason out and see if he can tell anything about the piece of wood. I guess either a chimney sweep or a competent mason should be able to tell me whether it's a "go or "no-go", shouldn't they?

    Todd, BB...yelp the wood was built into that chimney. The styrofoam and duct tape was stuck in there roughly 18 years ago by yours truly back when all we had was one working floor furnace and a 1' wide space heater in the bathroom (*old*, open-flame style)...before the geothermal system. That piece of wood was put their when the chimney mortar was wet.

    I've put off tearing out the styrofoam so far but might as well rip it on out and see if the damper area is made of papermache' or something.<sigh>

    We'll hopefully get an answer this week from somebody.

    Thanks, as usual, for the feedback.

    Ed
    ...whose brain cells are resembling lemmings and are suddenly scurrying towards the cliff.
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Even though I still don't think that wood is in the mortar joint in those bricks it just hit me that the fascia bricks are exposed to the firebox above that lintel, not firebrick. That was a definite screwup.
  7. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    BB, it's hard for me to believe they did all that brickwork and put wood in it.

    I just measured the thickness of the wall/island that the fireplace is on (that island of closets and fireplace between the living room and the interior hallway). That "island" is 32" thick. Measuring from the bottom rear of the firebox it is 17" to the fireplace/wall face which leaves 15" of space behind the firebox to the surface of the hallway wall. To either side of the firebox is roughly 17" of brick. The face of the fireplace is 5' 7" wide, the full chimney extends into the attic space and is head high to where it starts narrowing into the chimney that we see above the roofline.

    The chimneytop opening has bricks going across the opening. It's been several years since I was at the top of the chimney (roof flashing work) but as I recall the cross-ways bricks were something like this....apparently to keep birds, coons, whatever out?
    [​IMG]
    The bricks across the opening seems strange though, because you could never sweep the chimney out with it blocked like this (I was figuring on cutting these out).

    It is a *substantial* structure...there has to be *several* tons of bricks involved, but.... The wood above the lintel, the propane floor furnaces venting into the chimney, and the top of the chimney having bricks inserted cross-ways of the flue...these things make me wonder.

    Like I said earlier, hopefully we'll find something out this week.
    Ed
  8. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I hadn't thought about the lintel bricks needing to be firebricks. The only fireplace I'm familiar with is the rumford we built at the "work in progress" cabin in the swamp. Some intake air comes around the lower point of the lintel and then curves around the rounded breast. That lower part and a portion of the breast facing the fire stays relatively cool from the sheet of inrushing air. I know this squared-off lintel won't function like that but thought I'd mention it.

    Good point and observation, BB.

    Ed
  9. pyper

    pyper New Member

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    Hi Ed,

    I live in South Carolina. It's a bit colder for a bit longer, but not too different from where you live. We put in a free standing stove last winter and we love it. We use it for a lot of heat, especially on the weekends, but we still have the heat pump.

    Anyway, as I've read through -- er, make that "skimmed" -- this thread, two things came to my mind.

    1) first, heat probably wont' circulate very well in your house unless you help it with some fans. You could put a big box fan in the bedroom door to blow into that room "north" of the living room and it would move air in a circle around the house. If you do that, then you'll need a fairly decent heat source. If your wife doesn't tolerate a box fan in the doorway blowing all the time, then you don't need as big a heat source, because heat will build up in your living-room. Since it doesn't get that cold, it's easy to heat one room with a small fire. I'm sure a free standing stove puts out a lot more heat than an insert, but last winter my wife was sick and she kept wanting it warmer, and before too long the living room was 90F. The back of the house was still 60.

    2) for the prices you're getting quoted for a stove, you could probably put in new windows (or at least some of the biggest) , which would make your house a lot more comfortable and greatly reduce the amount your heat pump runs. New windows made a huge difference in our house, especially when the wind is blowing. They help in the summer too, and as you know, our AC season is longer than our heat season.

    Best wishes with whatever you do!
  10. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I guess I'm kinda like a bad penny...I just keep turning up. ;)

    Well, after....2 1/2 months the brick mason shows up. Looking at it he thinks that it will be fine for a direct-connect stove installation. Gotta cut that 2x4 out of there, but other than that he said things look ok....

    Now, good ol' nutty Ed here can't leave well enough along, so...here comes some pictures and remarks....

    Here is a shot of the chimney foundation under the house. This is the east and north(back) sides of the chimney. You can see where the exhaust from the old floor furnace entered into the the base of the chimney. On the opposite (west) side of the foundation another exhaust from a different floor furnace enters the foundation at approximately the same location. I'm thinking of tearing this pipe out and fill with brick and mortar.
    [​IMG]

    The next two shots are of the lintels. There are two lintels. It looks like the 2x4 piece of wood was probably used to help support/position the upper most lintel. The 2x4 should be able to come out with not problem.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Remember the floor furnace exhaust pipes under the house... In the next two photos you can see two bright red spots on either side of the flue, these are apparent openings, but to what? We couldn't figure out what it was, but after the mason left a little light went on in my head. Apparently there is a chase running up the sidewalls of the chimney and these openings were where the exhaust entered the chimney flue. I called the mason and mentioned it to him and he thinks it is a non-issue. The very last shot shows that I will have to take out some firebrick on the back for enough room for the flex-pipe to pass through the throat.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So, I'm all ears...start chewing'em.
    Ed
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    So what is the plan, 2 liners? Will the remaining floor furnace get its own liner up to the top and the stove will get an insulated liner, yes?
  12. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Nope, just one liner. Both furnaces were disabled years ago. One furnace is completely gone and the return for the geothermal system is in it's place, the other furnace is simply filling a hole in the floor.

    Is that sounding any better?

    Ed
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yup. One insulated liner coming up.
  14. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, BG. I've been figuring on an insulated liner from the beginning for performance and safety reasons.

    After having three outfits in the running for the F3CB I made a phone call to one of the three (not the cheapest, but the most helpful) and will get things moving shortly. This seller sells Metal-Fab liners which from what I understand is of good quality.

    I will be going with the short-leg kit and the stove will be the blue/black enamel. I'm figuring on a short section of double-wall pipe going to a "T" that can be used as a clean-out.

    It is a straight run from chimney top to the firebox, though (as I mentioned) some firebrick at the top of the firebox's back will need to be removed to allow the 6" pipe to come through.

    The brick mason talked about building a run of bricks around the top of the chimney to attach the cap to. As it is, the top of the chimney is cement sloped away from the chimney opening.

    I've been away for a while and last I heard was that Du-Rock's composition had been changed and was no longer listed as being used as hearthboard material...any info on what a comparable product would be?

    Looks like I need to start back scavenging some wood...which is another can of worms after having a little "episode" while cutting a *small* bit of live oak...a stress test, ekg, ultrasound, new blood pressure med, and a cholesterol med later I know little more than I did when it hit me...but I am going a little easier at things now.


    Thanks for all your help, looks like we might just have a cozy fire in the house this winter!!
    Ed
    (with a few marbles left, but still one brick shy of a load)
  15. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    It's been a while since I posted in this thread. Being as this is the thread that got me rolling in the direction of acquiring a stove I think I will start back here for the "rest of the story". I've posted some topic in a few other threads where I figured a specific title might help. Here' s a few (but not all) of those threads for someone who might be interested. I ended up choosing the Jotul F3CB.

    Jotul F3CB: Height at top of horizontal rear exit flue???? - A little discussion about top of the horizontal oriented flue with some good tips for operating the F3CB from tutu_sue.

    Jotul F3CB, installation and general use tips??? - A little talk about wood length/width, liner installation, Durock Nextgen, etc.,.

    Certifiable nut in south Alabama went and put a deposit down on a stove… - :lol: This one ended up being a thread where us southerners are convincing everybody else that it actually gets cold down here.

    From here on I'll try to post in this thread about my F3CB adventure... :)

    Ed
  16. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I guess it was only appropriate that the day that I make the 250 mile drive to pick the F3CB up that a "winter mix" is predicted and I end up with sleet and snow coming down on me. ;)

    I made the trip and managed to get the stove inside the house. It's sitting with the doors open letting the temperature settle out...so far I haven't noticed any condensation (a concern of mine earlier that some of the pros put to rest for me). That was some COLD steel by time I got home with it!

    But...I'm kinda feelin'....melancholy(?). Vendors.

    Seems the shop that sold me my stove was kinda "oh, your here to pick up a stove"...."here's an invoice"..."pull down to the dock and we'll get it loaded for you". And that's the way the greeting went. No conversation about the weather, the drive, nothing that would really make you think that I was a customer that just spent that kind of money with them. Really strange. I haven't ordered a thermometer, or gloves, or any thing else...there was no hint of them seeking to sell me anything else. When the girl came out with the invoice I hadn't been there a full 60 seconds and there was no inquiry if I needed something else...shoot, I'd already figured I'd go ahead and buy another door gasket, maybe a full set of gaskets to have on hand. Definitely needed a thermometer. Will need a piece of stove pipe, figuring on double-wall because of that low lintel. The guy had the stove boxed up with strapping on it...he said he had checked it out and all was good. The center runner on pallet was laid to the side and one of the outer runners was swaying a bit. For some reason I took him at his word, we loaded, and I left. Down the road I got to thinking so I stopped and cut the straps off...everything looked fine to me so I came on home. Just really a kinda of strange deal...they were nice enough I guess, but was Hannibal Lecter in the back room?

    Ok, so moving on to the liner. I'm still wondering about this one as I may have a problem. I've got to talk with the vendor tomorrow, but for the time being I have a question. If you were to receive an insulation blanket (just the blanket in the box) and it had "25x1/4 S" written on it and box with a sharpie what would you take that as meaning? This is the first part of the liner/insulation kit to arrive. I'm thinking that the vendor sent me a 1/4" blanket. :( I don't feel good about this one...the vendor was short and hurried with me when I ordered it but the price was very good (...if it sounds too good to be true...). This is a well-known vendor. Unlike the stove vendor this person immediately started asking if I needed some high-temp silicone and I agreed that I did (ordered some) then he asked if I was going to be cleaning my own flue...he was doing a push sales on me (I had told him this was our first stove...did he see a sucker coming?) but I saw what he was doing and told him I'd handle that part later....he seemed a little miffed that I stopped him. Anyhow, I'm wondering if I'm getting the liner and insulation kits that are shown on their website or not. I'll see what he says about the insulation blanket tomorrow.

    How would someone as green as me be able to tell if this is a 1/4" or 1/2" blanket? I've gotta feeling this is just gonna cost me more $$$. :(

    So, I drove 500 miles today and got my F3CB and it's a purty little thing...so, why ain't I grinning like I should be?

    Ed
  17. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    Hey Ed,

    Glad to hear you got your F3CB. I know what you mean on the treatment. It seems to be more and more common these days, even in the land of southern hospitality. When you give someone a couple thousand dollars or more, you would think they would at least be a little more enthusiastic and talkative. Sign of the times I guess.

    I can't answer your question about the blanket, but it definitely sounds like 1/4 inch instead of 1/2. (I don't know how much that matters) Is there an invoice or part # anywhere you can match up? It's a hassle I know, but you can have the vendor make it right and it shouldn't cost you anything if they are a reputable business. If they made a mistake, they should fix it.

    The experts here should help you answer your question though.
  18. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Yelp, made it back ok with the F3CB. I guess you're correct to a degree about the treatment being a sign of the times. I'm a small retailer and trust me, I'm appreciative when someone buy *anything*! :) They weren't rude or anything, just not really an outshowing of gratitude. Whatever the case, I got the stove home and all seems ok with it.

    The jury is still out on the liner/insulation purchase. I sent an email off last night inquiring about what “25x1/4 S†written on the box and insulation blanket meant. On their website they clearly state that 1/2" insulation is to be used on wood burners and being as I have an unlined chimney I really want the heaviest insulation. The whole purchase process made me a little uneasy...I should've went with my gut instincts. I'll wait and see how they respond today.

    In regards to the insulation blanket... Is it common for the edges of the blanket to be fairly wrinkled up? ...seems that would make it more difficult to seal with the tape....there was no padding in the box so it could have happened from the ends being banged around during shipment. It sure didn't look like the liners in their ads with the clean, crisp edges. It's probably not as bad as I make it out to be, I'll try to get a picture of it today at work.

    In the mean time, here's a couple of shots of this cute little southern belle, er....stove.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  19. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Ok, just got off the phone with the liner/insulation vendor. The first person I spoke with stated that the 1/4" blanket is what was ordered (not) and then quizzed me about the size of my flue (apparently figuring my flue was small and needed the clearance). When I told her my flue was roughly 9.5"x10" and that it didn't have any tile but just bare brick she transferred me to the guy that actually took my order. He actually sounded friendlier(?) than the other day (maybe he had had a bad day) but he was still cut and dry with his conversation. He said that he would make it right and would send an entire new kit out to me. If he comes through with what he said, I'll feel much better about the transaction. It is one of the larger companies and has some good references here on hearth.com so I'm hoping it was just a hiccup with the transaction and no harm intended.

    We'll see.

    Thanks for listening to my rants and pity-partying.

    Ed
  20. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    That's a pretty stove. Looks well made.

    It's good they are making it right on the blanket, as they should. You never do know what you are going to get for customer service sometimes though. So, I understand your worries.
  21. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Good morning Nic. I looked at lot stoves before deciding on the F3CB, we had some clearance limitations that limited us on choice but all in all I think we made a good choice. I think it looks pretty good, too. ;)

    The rest of the liner/insulation combo came in yesterday. It really is amazing that it made it with all the parts to me. The liner was inside of a BIG box which was good for protecting the liner, but everything else was loose inside the box...both inside and outside the coils. The rest of the "insulation kit" was in the box along with the liner parts, but the tape and wrapping wire don't look like that represented on their website...the tape and wire are definitely off of bulk spools...kind of odd. I've other thoughts, observations, but I'll hold off. 8-/

    I had upgraded to a squared-off, hinged chimney cap but received the standard round one. The upgrade wasn't charged on my invoice so I'll probably go with the round one and upgrade it later if I decide to...I've just gotta be sure my credit card isn't charged for the upgrade. Also, the tee cap...should there be screws holding it onto the bottom of the tee?

    It will all work out in due time, I've still got plenty of time as the mason still has some work to do and I've got to address the hearthpad and mantel/side heatshields. Who knows...we might get to light a fire by the Fourth of July!!! :cheese:

    I'm waiting on the 1/2" blanket kit to arrive (supposed to receive a RMA for the 1/4" and associated parts) and then I'll give a (mostly) "all clear" for the vendor. Really, I think the vendor is good, I just think that my order has been a comedy(?) of errors so far, I feel confident it will get worked out. Anyhow, here is what I've received so far.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  22. Nic36

    Nic36 Feeling the Heat

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    Ed, hopefully some others with liner experience can answer your questions. I know ZERO about liner installations since all I researched was double wall chimney installation.

    Odd that the tape and wire is like that, but it may be common for all I know. As long as it is the amount you ordered, I guess that is OK. I can understand how that would be a bit of surprise. If the pictures on their site depicts it one way and it doesn't make a note somewhere, then by all means, you should receive it that way. I could overlook that though.

    The only advice I can give you is to go slow and not get in a hurry. Whenever I get in a hurry, I inevitably screw something up.
  23. PJF1313

    PJF1313 Member

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    Ed,

    If you bought the supplies at a "discount" or a cheaper than average place, they may have bought their supplies in bulk, then taylor made/custom cut your order from their bulk supply. The only thing I would worry about is the thickness of the the insulation that your received, is less than the the thickness that you ordered.

    I hope they make it right without a headache!
  24. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    Hi Ed,

    As PJ said above, some items may be taken from bulk. I was sent a roll of foil tape for my liner, and could have taped 3 liners. I have more than half a roll left. As far as the insulation being a little crumpled, you can flatten it out just fine as you go. My only issue with my liner was they sent a 5" snout for a 6" flue collar. I e-mailed them and it was shipped the next day.

    When this project is complete, you'll sit back and realize the whole planning and work associated with it was worth it. You will have also gained a wealth of knowledge.
  25. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Thanks everybody for the replies. Yes, the combo liner/insulation was discounted so that may be the "from bulk" rolls of wire and tape which is ok but it wasn't what I was given the impression of that I was buying. Being as the chimney is in the center of the house and un-tiled I want to get it insulated and secured as well as possible...if using extra tape and wire helps that I'll see if I can buy some somewhere (wire's no problem, but the tape...???).

    The 1/4" liner situation spooked me....if they had not written the thickness on it this newbie probably wouldn't have detected the goof and would have happily slid the thinly insulated liner down into my un-tiled chimney...my grand-babies and my wife and I sleep just a few feet from that chimney. Kind of scary. Hopefully I'll get the replacement blanket next week and ship the 1/4" one back to them.

    I think everything will turn out ok with getting the insulation issue taken care of, as I mentioned vendor sounded like he was concerned and in his words "I'll take care of it".

    Nic, I hear you on not getting in a hurry. I've still got several things to do yet before I can snake the liner down the chimney. Getting all the materials together is one stage, then on to the mason work, heart pad, block-off plate, etc.,. I want to do it right and I'm like you mentioned....when I get in a hurry there's gonna be a blow-down somewhere along the trail.

    PJF1313, I hear ya!...I don't need anymore headaches than what I've already got. :-S

    fishingpol, you're right, since I've been researching and reading (mostly here on the forum...ain't it great!!!) I've learned a great deal about wood burning and stoves...lot's of things I had no ideas about but that makes good common sense. And yes, I really believe that we will be thankful for the stove and the enjoyment and comfort that it will bring.

    One aspect I've yet to cover is.........WOOD. ...but, I'm working on it. :)

    Ed

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