Gas Fireplace - Open or Sealed?

Martin Strand III Posted By Martin Strand III, Jan 31, 2011 at 7:04 PM

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  1. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III
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    Nov 20, 2005
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    I'm ripping out an old metal Majestic zero clearance wood burning fireplace. She won't have the wood mess any longer and we've decided to convert to a zero clearance gas fireplace for several reasons I won't bore you with.

    I'm trying to compare two different types, both about 50,000 BTU and zero clearance rated:

    1. Open (no glass doors), like Isokern or FireRock, with add on gas burning unit, fake ceramic logs.
    * Large 10" class A metal chimney required
    * Hefty 1000+ lbs of 'masonry' firebox unsealed (good radiant heat) and open to the room
    * No fans or accessory heat ducts


    2. Closed and sealed (glass) zero clearance gas fireplace (many Mfgs)
    * 8" Direct vent metal chimney (outside air in/exhaust out)
    * Double walled metal box with masonry veneer in firebox, approx 500 lbs (some radiant heat)
    * Fans and accessory heat duct available (some more heat)

    I'm wanting to know how 1. and 2. above compare regarding actual heat output and cost given same BTU input. Other comparisons and comments are welcome.

    I've read cost of the open type could be "1/3 to 1/2 that of a true masonry fireplace" and some of the sealed metal gas fireplaces run up to $6K.
    Any real world knowledge will be appreciated.

    Aye,
    Marty
     
  2. DAKSY

    DAKSY
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    Dec 2, 2008
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    If you burn 50K BTU in an open, vented FP, you are going to get WARMTH & AMBIANCE not HEAT.
    Your heat & your dollars will be going up the chimney, along with OTHER warm air you've paid to heat.
    Get a DV unit & get some heat & ambiance & keep the wife warm & happy...
     
  3. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III
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    Nov 20, 2005
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    Are you saying more than double the mass in the 50K BTU open unit does nothing but generate a little "warmth" and ambience?

    Aye,
    Marty
     
  4. DAKSY

    DAKSY
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    AYE
     
  5. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III
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  6. Install fire 1

    Install fire 1
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    Dec 5, 2010
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    A masonry wood burning fireplace has a lot of mass, still cools your house down and wont "heat".

    Direct vent is the way to go, you will actually get some benefit out of your money spent.

    The open unit may be cheaper, but you will quickly loose the gain with all the energy loss.
     
  7. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III
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    Nov 20, 2005
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    Thanks. I get it now.

    A 10" vent to the sky
    draws the BTUs 'out-the-house'.
    But why?

    An 8" direct vent
    is money well spent.

    I wanted the mass
    t' keep the BTUs at bay.
    ... And now I know
    it won't work out that way.

    Thanks for your thoughts.
    As I've learn'd lots.


    Aye,
    Marty
     
  8. pyrotom

    pyrotom
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    In case you needed another vote, I also strongly concur. If HEAT is anywhere on your wish list, stick with a direct vent fireplace.

    People spend all kinds of effort installing insulated glass windows, storm doors, insulation and weather stripping but don't think about the fact that poking a 10" hole in the top of your house to let the heat out is counter-productive. PLUS, the installation manual will require that the damper be clamped open or removed when installing gas logs, so you get to enjoy inefficiency all year round.
     
  9. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III
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    Nov 20, 2005
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    Now I know why
    a 10" hole to the sky
    takes heat out-the-house.

    It's a bit of a rouse
    cause Mother Nature's a louse.

    It's no surprise
    she makes the heat rise
    leaving you chilled
    instead of fulfilled.

    No longer confused
    I'll be more than amused
    to get smaller venting
    keeping heat in the house
    with fake logs which burn gas
    and no more wood smoke up my face.

    Aye,
    Marty
     
  10. jtp10181

    jtp10181
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    Feb 26, 2007
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  11. Install fire 1

    Install fire 1
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    Dec 5, 2010
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    Check out the valor ventana as well. Super heater with a super clean front.

    These things put out tons of radiant heat!

    Fully modulating with the maxitrol valve as well.
     
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