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Double sided fireplace: what are my options?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Olivesmom, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. Olivesmom

    Olivesmom New Member

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    My husband and I are in the early process of planning our new build home in western WA. We don't have the lot yet, but I'm pretty sure it will be at least five wooded acres. We are planning on a ~3,500 sq ft 1.5 story, with the master on the main (only the kids rooms and loft will be upstairs). Given that we are in the pacific northwest, and that we are building on a wooded lot, we are going for a cottage-y sort of cabin with rustic/ craftsman touches including a large stone hearth.

    This isn't the exact floorplan, but this is similar to the first floor we are envisioning. Basically one large great room (kitchen, dining, living) along the back of the house.

    [​IMG]

    I'm considering moving the fireplace to be in between the dining space and living room, and I'd like to do a double sided or see through fireplace. Here are some photos I like.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My concern is that I won't be able to do a wood burning insert. I'm not even totally sure I want to go wood burning, but I guess I need to know what my options are. Can I do two separate wood burning inserts back to back? What about a wood burning insert for the living room and a gas insert for the other side? I have seen the accucraft(?) see-through wood burning fireplace and I don't think it appeals to me. I think I would rather have an insert. I want glass doors on the fireplace and I like the rustic feel the metal grates add. I really like this wood burning insert by high valley.

    [​IMG]

    There are many double sided gas options, maybe that would be the easiest. Many of the lots I have seen do have gas available, so that's not an issue. I just feel likes gas fireplace is too fake or something. I also like the idea of the fireplace heating all or most of the house (doesn't get that cold here, maybe lows in the mid 20's -30's during winter). Can gas fireplaces heat a whole house? The ambiance of a wood fire also appeals to me, I like the smell of a real wood fire and the cracking sound.

    I know I'm all over the place here, but what I guess I'd like to know are what, if any, wood burning options exist for the two sided fireplace I'm envisioning. Thanks!

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  2. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I don't know of any commercial double sided insert options. Maybe one of the soapstone stoves has side glass panels and this would get you close.

    Matt
  3. mcollect

    mcollect Member

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    We built a similar home 20 years go n the fireplace reduced the temps be ten degrees . Five years my smart wife insisted we fix the problem. We had built a screen to close off the dining room and inserted a Jotul 550. This is the answer unless someone has a better solution. The screen looks like a fireplace but the Jotul heats our entire house. The high end architects even said it was a great idea. Double sided fireplaces are a great aesthetic feature but the suck all the heat out of the house! Now we heat with the Jotul and couldn't be happier. No power for a week and the house is at 74 degrees. It finally works. Aesthetics are great but function only follows form! Ask your designers to look at
    http://www.zigersnead.com/projects/details/western-maryland-house/ and see how beautiful design could work. This house is a work in progress as additions are slowly added.
    We added a master bedroom last year doing to aging and the heat work there also. The stone six tons also added a great heat synch. Once the hearth heats up the room stays really warm. Mantel reaches 130 and the top of the column reaches 90. Sort otf like the Nordic design.
    ScotO likes this.
  4. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Go to the ICC site. I was there today checking something about my pipe, and I saw they had fireplaces. (I think they are called RFS Fireplaces, but I may be wrong). Anyway, looked at all the products, and they are interesting. Largest is 4.4 cu ft firebox. They can almost all be used with ductting to zone heat a home, if desired. there is a large double sided fireplace that may be what you are looking for (it can't be ducted). Says it is the only double sided fireplace in the industry. Don't know much about them, but ICC is a superior product, and this may well be also. Worth finding out. A nice feature is that you can signficantly customize their appearance.

    These fireplaces use ICC double wall chimney pipe
  5. Olivesmom

    Olivesmom New Member

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    Is the link your home then? I do not see the screen in the fireplace. Do you have any photos of it close up? Nice house, by the way!
  6. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Here is an option. http://www.supremem.com/opus_see-through_fireplace.php I have installed one of these units, not a see through, but a supreme ZC fireplace. They put out some good heat! If you are wanting to put in inserts, you will need to build a Masonry fireplace, it would be silly to spend all that money, just to install inserts, if they would even fit. There are alot of options out there for Zero Clearance high effiecency fireplaces that make good heat and are alot cheaper than masonry. Here is another option although not see-through. http://www.fireplacex.com/ProductGuide/ProductDetail.aspx?modelsku=98500113
    ScotO likes this.
  7. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    That's a very large and difficult house to expect to be able to heat effectively with one wood burning appliance in the Great Room...regardless of just where it's located, it probably ain't gonna happen. You could likely keep the Great Room & kitchen comfortable, and a bunch of heat will naturally find its way up into the loft...where it goes from there depends on the upstairs configuration. Ceiling fans are mandatory. Your Foyer & Study might feel a bit of warmth, especially with judicious use of fans. Your Master Suite, I'm afraid, will not benefit much, if at all, from the Great Room wood burner. The Pantry, Mud Room, Home Office, & Utility Room will feel next to nothing.

    Traditional wood burning fireplaces throw away more heat than you can throw into them. Manufactured wood burning stoves and inserts are much more effective, but ya gotta realize they are space heaters. They generally do a terrific job heating the space they are in, but not so much the rest of the house (depending on the configuration & natural airflow). IMO, the home you've depicted here needs a ducted forced air central furnace system of one kind or another. I would most highly recommend that you look into a Natural Gas fired system, as you indicated you have that option available. Heating that whole house with wood is going to require either a wood furnace (to include ductwork, fans, etc.) or more than one wood burning appliance. In either case, we're talking about a major commitment to a heck of a lot of work & time involved to provide heat for this palace. A wood burning appliance can be a pure pleasure to own and operate and enjoy...but if you go into this expecting a bunch more than it can ever deliver, you'll just be frustrated & disappointed. In a house that big with that sort of layout, and jobs & kids & whatever to tend to...I'd put a good, modern, efficient forced air gas fired system in, then go from there for the fun stuff. A nice wood burning stove sitting at the end of the Great Room where you show the fireplace could be very nice, I'd say.

    You haven't told us where you live...climate is a major variable affecting this subject. Welcome to the forums! Rick (Here's a pic of my place):

    gr1.jpg
    ScotO likes this.
  8. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    OP's 1st post: Western Washington = relatively mild.
  9. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    I just checked the ICC site again. They have a Renaissance Rumford Fireplace, steel, 600 pounds, hide away ceramic glass door the full size of the fireplace front, 42 inch high fireplace, goes from lit to burning with no smoke emission in under two minutes, with door closed emits under 1 gm/2.2 pounds firewood , door closed completely seals home from any cold outside air into home. Is designed to be completely servicable in the field and comes with a 30 year guarantee. They say it is built to last as long as your home. Has won numerous awards, for design and low emissions(low emissions award from the US EPA). I'm tempted to put one in my bedroom....Have to find the thread where the wife wanted a wood stove in her bedroom...

    Their RSF Fireplaces are designed with optional venting systems, either zone to up to three zones, or central duct heating. Their largest fireplace is huge and has huge viewing windows. Pretty impressive.

    All are certified with ICC chimney of one size or another. ICC is certified to withstand 3 separate 30 minutes fires of 2100, plus comes with an unliimited lifetime warranty.
  10. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Yup, missed it, thanks. In any case, I think my previous comments apply. "Relatively mild"...yes, but then all we're really talking about is appliance heating capacity. It still gets relatively cold even sometimes in relatively western Washington. ;lol Rick
    rideau likes this.
  11. Olivesmom

    Olivesmom New Member

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    So I think I'm confused about the difference between a stone hearth with an insert vs a fireplace. I know I want a door or doors (as opposed to an open fireplace) and I want it to be efficient and not cause drafts. I like the looks of some inserts (specifically that high valley 2500) and it seems like inserts have more controls (levers, dampers???) and might be easier to use. I'd like it to be see through, but I might be okay with just the insert or FP on one side and a screen or something on the other.

    Maybe I should just consider gas, I didn't mention it in my original post but I was also thinking of putting a wood burning stove in the kitchen. I originally wanted a cook stove, but that's out now that I see they are illegal in WA. I guess a regular stove will do, I can still put a kettle on top for effect. With this set up at least I'd have a wood burning stove elsewhere in the house and could just go with gas for the double sided dilemma.

    As far as heating the entire house, I wasn't sure that was practical anyway. I'm looking into radiant heat for the floors. It sounds nice and since we won't be installing central air it might make sense. Then again I want mostly wood flooring so I'm not sure how well it will work.

    All of this heating and fireplace business is new to me (if you couldn't tell;) ) I mostly stick to home decor and kitchen planning, so excuse my ignorance. Thanks for the advice so far!
  12. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Just out of curiosity, are wood burning stoves illegal in the kitchen in WA., or are wood burning cookstoves illegal, or are there just no wood burning cookstoves that meet WA emissions standards?
  13. Olivesmom

    Olivesmom New Member

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    I think wood burning cookstoves are illegal because none pass emissions testing (probably more likely that they just haven't been tested due to the costs involved). Wood stoves that meet WA's strict emissions requirements are legal in the kitchen I believe. However, I will be further restricted due to burn ban days which will apparently limit how often I can utilize a wood burning fireplace (and possibly stove?). I find this all highly annoying given that I live in a rural area, but unfortunately still within the death grip of King county.
  14. dafattkidd

    dafattkidd Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum. Maybe this will bring some clarity: masonry fireplace is a fireplace constructed of all stone or brick. These are the least efficient in terms of heat output and burn time. An insert is a unit that is designed to sit inside a masonry fireplace (basically a modified woodstove). These units burn very efficiently and put out massive amounts of heat, with the assistance of a built in fan or blower. A prefabricated high efficiency fireplace has similar qualities of an insert, but is installed directly into a chimney/fireplace set up in lui of a masonry fireplace. High efficiency fireplaces are often installed during the construction process. Inserts are usually installed after a homeowner decides their existing masonry fireplace is not nearly efficient enough. So to spend the money on a masonry fireplace just to stick an insert in there is generally not the most cost effective way to build. Hope that helps. You came to the right place for answers.
  15. elmoleaf

    elmoleaf Feeling the Heat

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    I encourage you think about the overall design of your house first. 3500 sf is rather large. How much space do you really need...will all the rooms actually be needed or used? How old are the kids...do you really all want them on a separate floor? How will you orient the house on the site....can you take advantage of natural windbreaks, passive solar etc etc. If the fireplace is running, would anyone actually gather on both sides, or as someone suggested, maybe the back side just needs to be nice aesthetics, non-functioning? What relationships and adjacencies are needed between rooms? Views to outside?
    Check out the "Not So Big House" series of books from Susan Susanka for some good planning ideas. Keep asking yourself questions, and get a notebook to record your ideas, photos and articles. Consider hiring an architect if it's within your means.
    Once you get the big puzzle pieces of the design solved first, the fireplace/stove/heating question will fall into place and be easier to solve.
  16. kingquad

    kingquad Minister of Fire

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    I'd personally nix the fireplace idea and put a hearthstone equinox where you want the fireplace. It's not two sided, but it looks good from all angles and would be one of the few stoves that could dent the heating bill in that barn you're building.
  17. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You might check to see if there is an exemption for this case. If not, there are still wood stoves that you can cook on that are EPA approved. I would contact Tom at www.chimneysweeponline.com. He is in Bellingham and sells wood cookstoves. http://www.chimneysweeponline.com/woodcook.htm

    EPA wood stove that you can cook on: Napoleon 1150P - http://woodstoves.net/napoleon/wood/1150.htm

    I agree with Fossil's assessment, that is a big home with a lot of cubic footage to heat. Our climate may be mild, but we do get cold snaps some winters. One thing you might consider is the amount of power outages in your new neighborhood. Some areas can be without power for days in the event of a big storm. If you have natural gas, that is less likely to be interrupted by a storm. Also, the screened porch area is going to be quite a heat loser. You might consider having the option to close off that area in colder weather. For gas fireplaces, there are companies that offer double-sided units.http://www.fireplacex.com/ProductGuide/ProductDetail.aspx?modelsku=98500228, http://www.fireplacex.com/ProductGuide/ProductDetail.aspx?modelsku=98500191

    Another option would be to build in two flues in the masonry divider and then put in a high-efficiency, one-sided wood heating, zero-clearance fireplace on the great room side and a small, free-standing gas or wood stove on the porch side. Or more practical from the heating perspective would be to have a true masonry fireplace custom made that would gently heat the home. It too could be designed with two flues so that the porch side had a regular glassed-in wood fireplace for ambient burning. http://www.mha-net.org/masonry-heaters/ , http://www.tulikivi.com/USA-CAN
  18. mcollect

    mcollect Member

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    Olivesmom

    That picture was taken before we had the Jotul installed. The screen is on the back side . It makes cleaning a snap 10* job. Remove the screen undo the thimble and clean from the bottom up. No more climbing the roof fro my wife, I am scared of heights after falling twice.We built it as a vacation home, now it is going to be our retirement home.
    We had it designed by some local architects, when they first started tier firm. Now they are out of sight. Check out some of their other work, Zigersnead.com
  19. Olivesmom

    Olivesmom New Member

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    With regard to the floorplan, I failed to mention that we will not be doing any if the screened porches as they don't make much sense in our climate. I will likely also remove the sunroom off the kitchen too.

    As far as he house size goes, I do not feel that 3500 sq ft is exceptionally large. I lived in a home slightly larger than that and it didn't feel too big. Our current home is 2,000sq ft and it is too small for us, though a livable floorplan. We have two small kids and I'd like to have a couple more (maybe).I have no qualms whatsoever about having the kids upstairs. I definitely want the master on the main as this is our forever home.

    I just saw some info on masonry heaters and they have me intrigued , so I have lots to think about.

  20. Margomania

    Margomania New Member

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    Hi Olivesmom,
    I have been looking for a double-sided, wood-burning, free-standing stove for the same purpose - but we do not want the investment of a full fireplace with foundation costs etc..
    We are building a new home and we had a Hearthstone gas stove in the home were selling. We loved it and thought we would be able to find a wood-burning one with double sides easy enough. Wrong!
    I did however find a place that will ship to the U.S. in case this is something you want to look at. Here is an example photo. I haven't contacted them yet since we are not ready for it but here is the link.
    http://www.ashgrovestoves.com/


    [​IMG]
    ScotO likes this.
  21. eclecticcottage

    eclecticcottage Minister of Fire

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    I can't help with the two sided part.

    I just have some food for thought on placement for you.

    My grandparents built a home on a lovely lot, with a rear living room overlooking a few acres. Nice big picture window on the rear wall, made nearly useless by fireplace placement, imo. NOW, the fireplace was probably a masonry type, with the stone wall it was in being at least 15' long and 5-6' deep. The stone was in the kitchen, dining rooms and living room, the only fireplace opening was in the living room. A hot fire for a while and the stone acted as a heat sink and worked really well for heat. BUT...it was opposite the window, so you couldn't enjoy the fire and the outside at the same time.

    When we looked at homes, this was something we ran across more than once. The Cottage offered, imo, a nearly perfect option. We took out the old stove that was in a corner, replaced two windows with sliding doors and put the new stove between the two, offset so the TV would fit next to it on the wall above the wood box. As I type, I am watching the snow fall on the lake, the fire in the stove and Property Brothers (they need a fireplace education btw) on TV.

    It's your home...but just consider if you want to look outside and see the flames at the same time or not. My grandparents fireplace was an amazing heater and it was nice, but it just didn't allow you to enjoy it and the location at the same time.
  22. hotjava66

    hotjava66 Member

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  23. Billybonfire

    Billybonfire Feeling the Heat

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    Hi,
    double sided woodstoves are a very attractive feature, sure they must be available in the US somewhere.
    We have a Yeoman Devon single door woodstove, great stove, they also make double sided stoves (not sure if they sell in the US though).
    Here is a link to their website, may give you some ideas.
    http://www.yeoman-stoves.co.uk/traditional-stoves/double-sided-stoves.aspx
    Good luck with your new home, the layout looks fantastic.

    Billy.
  24. NW Walker

    NW Walker Member

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  25. joe boncha

    joe boncha New Member

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