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Fireplace Inspection gone bad....need new fireplace

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Goater32, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. Goater32

    Goater32 New Member

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    Madison WI
    Well here is the situation. Moved into the home a couple years ago have fires in the winter months about once a week or so. Decieded to have a chimney sweep come out and take a look over everything to make sure all was well......it was not. His words were I would not use this at all. I can't get an insert that I would like as it is an older (over 28 years) metal insert currently. Not looking forward to shelling out 5-6-7 grand for a new fireplace, but don't think I can make it through the winter with out having a couple fires. As long as this is happening I would like to be able to heat some of or all of my 1600sq ft ranch now. Looking at RSF Opel 2, Kozy Heat Z42 at the moment. I think I can handle getting rid of the brick on the front now and taking out the old unit. Have the company place the new unit with new chimney (currently have an old stainless steel, that i don't think would fly on a newer unit). Then I would frame around it and put cement board on it for this year, then finish next year with some type of stone or faux stone. I am open to all opinions, options, comments basically anything. Need to get this taken care of sooner than later as I am sure the dealers are pretty busy this time of year. I live in the Madison WI area, so if anyone knows of a good installer open to that as well. Thank you for all your help.

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  2. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    If you are in Madison check out Top Hat on Verona Rd. He carries many brands including the ones you mention, a great servicing staff and a great reputation. Ask for Roy and tell him Bert sent you.

    Also if anyone condemns your installation, ask for the reasons on paper and also ask for pictures (most sweeps nowadays carry special cameras to take pics of the inside of the chimney.) That way he'll have to stand behind what he says.
    ScotO likes this.
  3. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    Lots of ideas to look at and try. We didn't work with one as old as yours, but are very happy with the results. There are many people on here who have done a tear out and rebuild. We didn't intend to heat our whole house.. just not waste the bTu's of our evening fires.. lol. Heat pump hasn't been on much in the last couple years. It's really not as diffcult as you would think to replace with either a new fireplace, or even a freestanding stove.

    (see the link in my sigline...)
    weatherguy and raybonz like this.
  4. Benchwrench

    Benchwrench Member

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    I'd start with a second opinion
    Oldhippie, ScotO, Joful and 2 others like this.
  5. jeffoc

    jeffoc Member

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    I was going to say the same thing as benchwrench. I had two local companies come in and tell me completely wrong things. They are both HVAC companies that do this as a sideline and claim hundreds of years of experience.

    One guy told me that if I removed any of the bricks or flue the entire chimney would collapse on my head. That's when I found this site and had a mason come out.
    When I told him about the chimney collapsing he laughed so hard he cried.
  6. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    I'll share a story about my first install, again.

    I have old chimneys. We're talking 1700s old. I wanted to install a stove in the large fireplace in the Summer Kitchen. I had a very well known company come in to look at the chimney. Two men came out and looked up and down my chimney inside and out. When they were done, the had a quote that was over five grand (I can't remember the exact number, but I've posted it before). They said the entire chimney needed to be redone. Open up the stone from the outside, reline the chimney, then re-stone the chimney before I could even think about installing a liner for a stove. So, I was looking at over five grand for the chimney work and then another two grand for the install.

    I was depressed and a little annoyed as I did not see why the chimney needed so much work. Then I called two other well known sweeps. Both of which had no idea why the first company quotes such a price for something that, in their opinions, did not need to take place.

    I ended up going with one of those two other sweeps after asking additional questions as to why they were so sure the chimney was in good shape. The install went fine and the chimney is still in good shape.

    I'm not saying the chimney sweep that you had looking at your chimney was trying to rip you off. Your chimney may need all the work that he quoted you. But, I would sure as hell bring in at least two more sweeps before I made a decision.
    etiger2007 and ScotO like this.
  7. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    My story is so much like BAR's, it's not worth repeating. Only difference is my quote was $9500, for a solution the liner manufacturer and two other sweeps all said was both unnecessary and not code. Two other sweeps both quoted $2400, and I did my own homework with the liner manufacturer to ensure what they quoted was both safe and code.
    ScotO likes this.
  8. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Our numbers were really close. I couldn't remember if it was five grand or ten. I mentioned it before, and you thought we might have used the same guy since the quote was nearly identical.

    I bet I would remember the number if I ended up paying it. ;lol
  9. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

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    Sherman, NY
    I had a Zero Clearance metal unit fireplace that in 40 years attempted to burn the house down multiple times. The thimble through the wall going to the 1972 prefab metal chimney was a single wrap of asbestos paper. I had one guy come out and the quote was 6k+. I called my father and we had the fireplace and chimney on the trailer going to the scrap yard in 2 days (Cost: 2 cases of beer) Had another company come in (Matters of the Hearth in Findley lake NY) and he quoted me about 4k for the stove and stack. I did some research and found this price to be in line and other than the usual Old stove VS EPA stove issues, we have burnt less than 50 gallons of heating oil in the last year (DHW is oil).

    Moral of the story: get another quote!;)
    raybonz likes this.
  10. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    south central WI
    Besides Top Hat, check out Madison Fireside Hearth and Home on Watts Road. I shopped both and had a reasonably good purchase/install experience with
    Fireside on two homes.
  11. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    you most definately need a couple of other opinions before you proceed. These other guys' testimonies go to prove that point very well.
    etiger2007 likes this.
  12. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forums, Goater !

    Sorry to hear of your tribulations, maybe some pics, so we can see what you're dealing with, would help.
  13. Goater32

    Goater32 New Member

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    Sep 26, 2012
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    26
    Loc:
    Madison WI
    Hope this works not the best at these things
    Picture 1 where that gap is there is a wood header on the other side of it....chimney sweep said that would be first and largest concern
    Masonry doors another no no
    No idea if there is a fire blanket (i believe that is what he said) between fireplace and attic space
    and fire box old and should be replaced doesn't feel it is sound enough
    the corner where the fireplace is clearly was added on and have no idea what is back there or if the whole crap could go up in flames

    hopefully this link works for you guys
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgoetter/
  14. Goater32

    Goater32 New Member

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    Loc:
    Madison WI
    Ok so had 5 companies look at my situation 2 said no problem just put in a wood burning insert into the fireplace and call it done 3 others said no way in hell. Also any feedback on the lenox brentwood?
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I have to defer to the eyes on the ground that are looking at this installation. You want safe, peace of mind, year after year. I wouldn't risk investing in an insert for an iffy install either. The "no problem" guys may be worth avoiding.

    I'm not positive, but I suspect that the Brentwood is made for Lennox by BIS. It looks like a BIS Ultima to me. If so, it's a good unit. At 2 cu ft, this fireplace is a smaller than the prior mentioned RSF and Kozy units. But based on your usage it should be fine and certainly will be a world better than the old fireplace for heating.

    Note that Lennox is getting out of the fireplace business. I would ask for a discount or consider getting a BIS directly.
  16. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    Unless I missed something here, It looks good to go. It's a Zero clearance box right? So whats up with the header? If you can see any cracks between the fireplace front and the brick face, seal them up with some morter. As for the door, he's right. Although, your door apears to be ventilated at the top and bottom, thats the issue, can air get to the vents in the firebox? You should leave those doors open while burning anyway. Can air get to the loovers on the fireplace? Like I said, unless I missed something, it sounds like you have had some hokey jokey sweeps out that are looking for that next big sell.
  17. Goater32

    Goater32 New Member

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    Madison WI
    Thank you all. Decieded that we are just going to replace the thing and get something that is efficient. Right now for my money I can get a Northstar Heat and Glow, the old one tore out, the new one put in and framed for $6300...6 mo same as cash financing which makes this very affordable and could have the guys out to the house for a 1 or 2 day install in 2 weeks. My big question and no one really seems to think it's necessary is the outside air intake? We live in an older house and can't believe negative pressure would be an issue, but wondering if there are any other pros and cons. Also anyone's take on the Northstar found a couple reviews, but not a ton. Thanks again.
  18. Goater32

    Goater32 New Member

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    Anyone? Thanks again
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I don't know much about the Northstar, haven't seen one in person. But on paper it looks like a decent unit and a nice size.
  20. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I would not bother installing the outside air kit at time of install, particularly with an older home. It is not likely you will have a drafting problem, and even if you do, it's easily remedied down the road. When you get the unit installed, experiment with cracking a window versus burning with the house closed up tight, and you will quickly determine whether or not you want to proceed to that step. No sense in installing one until you prove you need it.
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Actually, unless future access is going to be easy, I would install the OAK now.
  22. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    Install the oak, reason, if its drawing from the oak its not drawing from the house that you are trying to heat up. So why in H double hockysticks would you want to have to heat a bunch subartic air entering the house than just re-warming whats already there. Besides, that cold air sucked by the fire travels along the floor= cold feet. A nice hot fire can create a small tornado along the floor and that just isn't comfy. I have a big stove with Oak and I can still feel cold air draft coming from bedroom end of house it is not bad just know its there, actually its a bit of a good thing as that means warm air is getting back to the bedrooms.
  23. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I guess you guys don't live in big, old, drafty houses. In my case, the cold air is nearly infinitely available from a million other sources, why provide an inlet for more? If you're going to argue the draft of the stove is drawing more cold air into the house, you surely don't understand the difference between a mountain and a mole hill. The draft driven by the pressure differential between the windward and leeward wall of any substantial house is an order of magnitude beyond the capacity of your wood stove.
  24. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I must have missed that. Was there anything posted about the construction of this house in this thread? In a reasonably well sealed house I would rather keep the humidity a bit higher by not importing any more exterior air at a very low dew point than necessary. In a drafty house I would be hard at work sealing up leaks. It's made a world of difference in this old farmhouse.
    etiger2007 likes this.
  25. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    yep, your point is valid, begreen. It's just we all tend to come at these problems with our own assumptions. I think, "of course everyone lives in a drafty old house," and you think, "who the hell wouldn't have 6 inches of spray foam in their walls?" ;lol

    BTW... it doesn't take a "drafty" house to provide many more times the make-up air requirement for the average wood stove. The average house does that quite adequately. I once found a good paper on the subject, but did not adequately bookmark it. Let me see if I can go find it now...

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