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Fireplace Insert surround panels

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by joshuaviktor, Jan 4, 2006.

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  1. joshuaviktor

    joshuaviktor New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2005
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    Loc:
    Northwest New Jersey
    Simple question.

    Why?

    I have a masonry fireplace, solid brick. I intend to build a solid steel damper/venting block at the elbow where it moves up into the chimney, and at the top to lock the chimney in place. Chimney=SS liner, Yes Elk, doublewall insulated. <grin>

    I like the looks of the fireplace. Why put surround panels on? Are they cosmetic, or is there a reason for them?

    I'm also thinking about an outside air pipe. Just musing. I think I've settled on what I want. I'm probably going to buy a Pacific Energy Summit Insert, nickel door and trim, and later down the road, a Snowflame 4100 corn fireplace insert. Between the two, I should be able to keep the whole house warm for a lot less money than the thrice be damned old oil boiler in the basement.

    Joshua

    "Censored"
    Apparently I piss people off. Sorry.

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  2. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    824
    It usually depends if you're getting your combustion air from outside, if the panels serve any function on inserts. Inserts normally want the surround to be sealed to the fireplace opening if you choose outside air for combustion so inside air can't sneak into the intake. If you burn inside air, usually the surround is for decorative purposes. My unit burns inside air and it heats a little better without the panels on, I get more air movement around the outside of the insert and it finds its way into the living area easier, but is ugly as sin without them.

    The Pacific Energy Summit you refer to gives you the choice of inside or outside air. It too follows the pattern, if you want to burn outside air you remove your ash pan drawer (where it will get its combustion air) and your surround needs to be sealed to the fireplace opening and any other place air may sneak in from the inside. Choosing the inside air option instead your panels are decorative as the combustion air comes through the front grill. An insert without it's surround panels is really strange and ugly looking. In my opinion, I don't think you'll leave them off regardless how nice the fireplace looks.
  3. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
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    441
    Loc:
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    Just one small correction, Rhonemas. No ash drawer on the Summit Insert. Instead there is a 3" diameter round knock-out plug on the left side of the outer shroud that you pull out to allow additional room air. My intaller said that he didn't think it made a big difference because the surround typically does not fit very tight against rough brick, but I pulled mine out anyways just because the manual said to.

    Willhound
  4. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    I just added the surround to my Osburn last night, and I'd swear it heats better with the surround in place. No clue why. It's counter intuitive. Could also be that I finished burning my Elm pile and started on my Ash pile last night also, so could be better BTU's in the Ash. It sure looks better, but I've got a crappy looking Majestic, not a nice masonary fireplace.

    One question I had was: How hot do your surround panels get. The upper portion above the stove on mine got hotter than was comfortable to touch, and even seemed to cool slightly once the fan kicked on. Just wondering.
  5. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
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    On my Summit, not hot at all, with the fan on. Sides are cool, top is warm, but just. With the fan not running, sides still stay pretty cool, top warms a bit more, but not so much that you can't touch it. Different designs probabley react differently. My Summit has a pretty substantial looking cook shelf that acts as a pretty good heat deflector. This does definatley get very untouchabley hot.

    Willhound
  6. Rhone

    Rhone Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
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    824
    Woops, thanks Willhound I did say "ash drawer". I meant to say ash "cleanout" which is part of the fireplace.
  7. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
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    441
    Loc:
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    Absolutely correct. I wish I could have gone with outside air, but because my fireplace hearth is below grade there is no outside ash cleanout. Didn't think it was worth the hassle and $$$ to start cutting into the chimney casing from the outside.
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