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Convert Zero Clearance Fireplace to something that actual gives some heat

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by rfrazier, Aug 26, 2008.

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  1. rfrazier

    rfrazier New Member

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    Hi folks,

    With about 80% of the general population I am looking into a way to get some relief from high winter oil costs. I live in the New England region and I'm forecasting about a $6K winter and not looking forward to the oil man cometh.

    I currently have a zero clearance fireplace, Temco TL-42, that we use occasionally to help with the chills but as you are aware an open flame fireplace like this doesn't help at all. So I'm considering replacing it. I visited two different fireplace stores today and got two drastically different stories. The first told me that I can install a new
    "insert" fireplace made by Heatilator the Constitution model. The second dealership told me that I could not simply replace the ZC fireplace and would have to go with a stove. Now I realize that the chimney needs to be replaced in either condition however I thought that if the proper precautions (thinking wonderboard) were made once the old ZC was removed, why wouldn't the Heatilator Constitution be an option? I like both and think either would help offset the cost of fuel (2800 Sqft house) however the fireplace is more kid friendly. We have two young children and I'm nervous about them running into the 400degree stove.

    Any advice you folks can give me would be greatly appreciated.

    Rob

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  2. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    You should be able to remove the existing fireplace and chimney and install a new EPA ZC fireplace w/ chimney in its place. Expect it to cost $5k or more, though. You might also be able to install a hearth stove in front of the existing fireplace, connected to a new liner in the existing chimney.
  3. rfrazier

    rfrazier New Member

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    Thanks appreciate the info.
  4. the_dude

    the_dude Feeling the Heat

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    The Heatilator Constitution is an EPA ZC fireplace. There is no reason you wouldn't be able to replace your existing ZC with that unit, provided you have the room to do so, i.e. deep enough chase, proper combustible mantle clearances, etc. As mentioned above, this will be a costly endeavor. I just had my ZC replaced with a high efficiency ZC fireplace, and it was over $7K. I have an endless supply of free wood, so it was worth it to me. There are lots of good units out there, and I found the Heatilator/Heat-n-Glo/Quadrafire to be on the high end of the price spectrum. Look for dealers in your area that sell Bis, Kozy Heat, Napolean, Magnum, etc. There are a lot of good EPA fireplaces out there, and I found the difference in total project cost between dealers to be pretty interesting. I don't know if I would be going back to the dealer that told you that you could not put in a high efficiency fireplace. Does he only cary stoves? Good luck.
  5. dgisme

    dgisme New Member

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    I had the same situation as you minus the young kids, I ended up removing the zc fireplace, flue and hearth. I built a new hearth pad and had a new wood-stove installed with a new double wall insulated flue pipe up through the framed chase that the existing one used. then I closed up the opening from the fireplace and tiled the wall behind the stove I had posted pics on this forum under " new equinox " it was a tough a job working in such a tight space behind the stove but I got it done. the total job was about $7000 the stove cost about 3 and the flue pipe was about 3 with installation the rest was tile wonder board and other material. even with that kind of money I figure it should only take me 2 years to recoup the money in heating the house. Good luck.
  6. mranum

    mranum New Member

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    I was talking with my dealer yesterday about that situation for my Dad's house. This is what they recommended to me, depending on the size & mantle position of his current setup. He said they take the front off of the existing fireplace, pull out the damper and put in a stainless chimney liner. A ballpark estimate without looking at his setup would start at about $4000.

    http://www.lopistoves.com/product_guide/wood_inserts.aspx
  7. the_dude

    the_dude Feeling the Heat

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    Wood inserts are an option, but you typically must put in a much smaller unit than if you went with a high efficiency fireplace. Depending on the size of the liner of your current ZC, you may have a tough time finding an insert that will heat 2,800 sq. ft. Definately an option you may want to look at though.
  8. polaris

    polaris Feeling the Heat

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    Jotul stoves are approved for connection through zc fireplaces(maybe others as well). I have had one done as have several others on here with good results. Proper clearances must be observed and a liner must be run through your existing chimney but it can be done safely and is a pretty straight forward install. Do a search for stove into zc and see if you come up with anything. There are a couple of good threads with a lot of info about this type of install.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    When you approach the 3000 sq ft range, it gets hard to heat with one stove, regardless of size. It can be done, but it takes everything being right. For sure you want something with at least 3 cu ft capacity, centrally located in an open floorplan. If the house is tight and well insulated that may work to keep the core of the house very comfortable. If the ZC fireplace is at one end of the house in rooms with cathedral ceilings throughout, then this could be a tougher job. Another option might be a wood-fired boiler. If you already have hot-water heat this can be a more even, safe and comfortable way to heat a large home.

    As far as the anxiety about the children, normally they have an innate understanding that hot can hurt and they give the stove adequate respect, especially if this is reinforced with a stern warning that the stove is hot and can cause an owee that will hurt badly. There are also child protective gates available that can surround the stove to give the parents better peace of mind.
  10. beakon20

    beakon20 New Member

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  11. rfrazier

    rfrazier New Member

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    Thanks to all that have posted replies.

    A general question that may stir the pot a little .. but what is more efficient a wood stove or ZC EPA fireplace? I believe it to be the wood stove but have not seen the data to proved this is the case. Manufactures don't seem to disclose their testing methodologies for us to compare accurately. As if that were not enough, what about pellet vs Wood? Coal vs all? I guess I"m open to anything provided that it is the best solution long term. I'm even considering leaving my existing fireplace and add a second fireplace/stove somewhere in the house. How about heating from the basement? Anyone doing that?
  12. mranum

    mranum New Member

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    For efficiency I think you'll find it to be a free standing stove. If for no other reason that more radiant surface area.

    Can't comment on pellets or coal since I no knowledge of them. My Dad heats his house with a Riteway wood furnace in the basement. Can't say enough good about it, too bad they closed up shop long ago. It originally was jacketed and hooked into the heat ducts in the house then after about 10 years of use the insurance company said no more, it had to be radiant or take it out. So its radiant and it really performs just as well that way. We put a couple air vents into the floor to help the heat rise but still there is only a couple degrees difference between floors. We put it in back in '78 and rebuilt it once. Still going strong yet, heats 2000 sq ft 24/7 from Oct - April and uses about 9 face cord on average.
  13. rfrazier

    rfrazier New Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply.

    I notice you have a BIS Ultima ZC Fireplace, this is one that is on my "short" list :) What do you think of it? Do you use it to heat the house? How is it on efficiency? I really wish there was a way I could know how much wood to achieve the manufactures long burns and what btu they were at.. would take a little guess work out of this. It is also great that you gave me an idea of how much wood you use, I burned thru at least 2 cord last year with the fireplace I have now and got nothing out of it... Maybe I should just move to Florida :)

    thanks again

    rob

    Temco 42
    John Deere 318
    Mahindra 1815HST
  14. mranum

    mranum New Member

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    Sorry I can't tell you much just yet we are just finishing the install of it this weekend. I am planning on heating with it as much as is practical though. There are a couple posters here that have BIS fireplaces and they seem to like them well. It was very close in size to a RSF model the we were considering and I have a friend that has that one and he uses about 3 or so full cord. That heats 80% of the time. The people around here with them are telling me anywhere from 2 - 4 cord depending on use. I am trying to figure about that 4 cord mark. My brother is having an Ultima put in too this month and when he asked his insurance agent about it he told him that he himself has one and loves it.

    The main reason I went with the Ultima was mainly the dealer. Very supportive high volume dealer and not to mention $1000 cheaper than the competition.
    So we'll see I guess.

    Matt.



  15. the_dude

    the_dude Feeling the Heat

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    Based on my research when determining what to do at my house, I don't believe there is much difference in effeciency between a high efficiency fireplace and a woodstove. The ZC EPA fireplaces are essenctially a ZC wood stove. I agree with the previous poster, that depending on placement you likely would get a little more radiant heat out of a stove. In fact, BIS, the fireplace you are looking at, stands for Built In Stove. Basically the same design as a woodstove. How much square footage are you trying to heat? Have you looked at the BIS Tradition?
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