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Decisions, need help which Natural gas fireplace?

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by not2creative, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. not2creative

    not2creative New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Northern VA
    I just edited the title since it seems that replacing with NG is the answer. Now the question is which one? I found one made by Majestic: Marquis ClearView Premium Clean Face Fireplace it is rated at 32,500-50,000; however the FE Rating seems low: 67.6%.

    I have a "builder grade" gas fireplace installed in my home. The draft coming in from around it is crazy. I have had a fireplace repair person come out and look at it and he said there isn't much he could do. He sealed around the areas that go outdoors to no avail. When it is windy the pilot light goes out. This year I bought some foam insulation board to try to stop the draft. As a result of putting up with this for ten years I decided to go to the local fireplace store to look at a replacement gas fireplace. The store recommended a pellet stove over a new gas fireplace; however, most of their clientele live in older houses heated with more costly fuels (propane, oil, electric baseboard).

    If I go with a pellet stove, I have decided on the QF, Mt Vernon insert. My original intent was not to save money on fuel bills rather to stop the cold air from coming in the house. I am not sure if I want a solution that requires more effort than flipping a switch but the thought of potentially saving money has me intrigued. I have been reading about the new gas fireplaces and they seem to have become more advanced in the last ten years. On the same token, these pellet stoves have me very interested.

    The price for both options are about the same. From what I have read pellets are the least expensive fuel OUTSIDE of natural gas so I am not sure that I would see any savings.

    What to do, what to do???

    The facts:
    I have two zone heating.
    Brand new heat pump upstairs.
    Main level and basement are heated with a natural gas furnance which is ten years old.
    Approx 3500 sq ft above ground
    Relatively open floor plan
    13' ceiling in FR where fireplace is.
    Return duct is about 25' from the fireplace
    Last winter gas bill average was $225/mo
    Last winter electric bill average was $273/ mo (before new heatpump)

    Thoughts?????

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Usually a good natural gas stove is pretty efficient. I would be looking at improving over the builder's grade unit. But first, there may be construction issues with the first install that are compounding the problem. Can you post some pictures of the current installation? Is it tacked on the outside of the house?
  3. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    southern Indiana
    ;-P Any high efficiency gas unit will whip the pants off of a pellet appliance in savings, as well in the maintance. Have you seen the price of pellets? I wouldn't take a whole truckload of pellet stoves if they were giving them away! Seriously, (probably opening up a hornets nest here) Pellet stoves cost as much as a direct vent gas unit and cost more to operate and much more in maintenance. I had a pellet stove a few years ago, it had to go, too many problems, just check the pellet room, mostly problems there, sorry pellet people, it's true!
  4. not2creative

    not2creative New Member

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    Loc:
    Northern VA
    Here are the photos. The cold air is coming in from the gold vent at the bottom. The fireplace in the basement is cold to the touch but not as drafty as the one in the family room. If I select pellet I have to have the vent moved to the top of the chase as they are worried the "exhaust" from the pellet stove could re-enter the house from the second vent.

    The fireplace itself is 36"w x 34"h. The dimensions inside the trim are 47"w x 40.5"h. The highest BTU fireplace that I have seen in this size is about 30,000. Any recommendations on the gas fireplace?

    Attached Files:

  5. Renovation

    Renovation New Member

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    SW MI near Saugatuck
    What BeGreen and Webby said.

    It sounds like the basic problem is with your install, and that's independent of the fuel source.

    I'd get a qualified stove installer out there to fix your air leaks, insulation, and whatever else is messed up.

    Once that's straightened out, you can put in a good stove.

    Natural gas is the cheapest and most convenient of the fuel sources, the only thing cheaper is "free", as in free wood. I doubt even a pellet stove fan would argue against the economy and convenience of NG.

    So going with a NG insert seems a no-brainer. Just get your install fixed, and pick out a good one.

    HTH, and good luck!
  6. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    southern Indiana
    Is there a name on that Direct Vent fireplace anywhere? It is strange to get that cold air infiltration from a direct vent unit like that.
  7. not2creative

    not2creative New Member

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    Loc:
    Northern VA
    The fireplace is a Heat & Glo SL-750TR. Just about froze pulling down the grate to get the model number. It is frigid outside tonight!! (I posted on a community website and this seems to be a problem with many of the fireplaces in here)
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You need a well sealed unit that heats well. I'm going to move this over to the gas forums so that you can get a more targeted response. Unfortunately some gas fireplaces are made for show, not go. Good flame display, but no heat.
  9. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    Your fire place is outside the heated envelope of your house & even with
    everything sealed, this type of install will ALWAYS be "cold."
    Warm air will enter the convection chamber thru the top louver,
    will be cooled by the metal box, drop down the back & exit the lower louver,
    giving the perception of an air leak, but it's not from the outside of your house.
    You have what we call a "Builder Grade" unit. Low heat, probably 27.5K input.
    Not the nicest looking log set.
    Looking at your pix, you can probably change it out to a 6000CLX, with minimal
    interior damage.
    Is the cap in the pic for this unit the farthest one away from the camera
    & is the pic of the caps showing the rear of the chase?
    Your installer needs to be a professional hearth guy, NOT a builder who throws the units in.
    There needs to be FACED insulation under the sheetrock INSIDE your chase -
    on all SIDES & on the TOP & BOTTOM of the unit.
    Every seam in the sheet rock needs to be caulked or sealed with aluminum tape.
    Every hole needs to be plugged with insulation or expandable foam.
    In this area, it'll cost in the $5500+/- range, but done right, MOST of your drafts
    will be eliminated.
  10. not2creative

    not2creative New Member

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    Loc:
    Northern VA
    Q. Is the cap in the pic for this unit the farthest one away from the camera
    A. I am not sure. Is there an easy way to tell? I can't reach the vents from the exterior of the home. I took the photos from my deck.

    Q. Is the pic of the caps showing the rear of the chase?
    A. Yes, the caps are on the rear of the house.

    The pellet stove installed was quoted at approx $6200 so I am prepared to spend some money to fix the problem.
  11. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
  12. Install fire 1

    Install fire 1 Member

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    Loc:
    Canada.
    This complaint happens all of the time.

    I pull out old zero clearance units like this, wrapped in insulation right up against the body. No seal where the vent exits the house, no firestop, combustibles right up against the pipe.


    If the chase is not insulated and sealed properly, and the vent doesnt have a firestop that you can seal to the wall and where the vent passes through it, you will always have massive leaks.


    I have had to, in many installs, re-frame, insulate and board a chase because the construction was so poor. No way to get a thermal break.

    A sealed unit such as a direct vent will not leak cold air into the house on its own, it's the lack of proper install and construction.

    When it's "included" by the builder, you'll get some plumbing apprentice with no experience installing your unit, not a hearth professional such as myself and so many others who are on this board.

    Rip it out, fix the construction deficiencies, and have it installed by a hearth pro who will seal every penetration to the outdoors properly.


    Spending extra on a quality unit with a professional install will save you on heating costs in the long run!


    Sorry for the drawn out response, i hate seeing people throw their money out the window literally.

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