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help with zc fireplace

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by rmnyi, Jul 21, 2011.

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  1. rmnyi

    rmnyi New Member

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    Jun 15, 2011
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    Loc:
    Hudson Valley - NY
    Hey guys. I've got a Superior BC-42 ZC fireplace and I've been looking for a wood burning insert. The height of the firebox is only 19.75" and I haven't found too much that fits that number. Depth is only 16.5". The width at the back of the box is 25" and 34.75" at front. The Hampton Hi200 would fit but I was a little concerned about the size of the firebox. I also looked at the Lopi Answer & Revere. The Answer looks like it wouldn't fit but the Revere would. Wife is not sold on the look of the Revere either. The fireplace is located on the first floor (approx 1000 sq ft) and the floor plan is very open. Stairwell is 30 ft from the fireplace. I had some decent weekend fires in the zc and it heated the first floor fairly well but required constant attention to keep a good fire going. My goal would be to heat the first floor and get some residual heat to the 2nd floor as well. My plan was to place a ceiling fan at the top of the stairs and draw the air up to the 2nd floor. Total sq ft is approx 2000 and the house is 6 years old so it's pretty tight. My local Vermont Castings dealer recommended removing the zc fireplace and replace it with a zc insert.

    One more question: can the smoke guard be removed from the zc fireplace? If so, that gives me a little more room on the height.

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions/advice you may have.

    Bob

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  2. southbalto

    southbalto Feeling the Heat

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    There are only a few inserts (maybe a couple stoves too) that are approved for use in an existing zero clearance fireplace.
    Be sure to read the manuals.
  3. mikeyd

    mikeyd Member

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    Jun 15, 2009
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    We had the BR-36 for 3 seasons and I hated it. I just finished tearing the whole thing out over the last couple of months and replacing it with a Lennox Ladera (aka BIS Nova) as this is all that would fit in the framed cavity. I looked into several options for inserts as well but all told the majority of folks I spoke to suggested against it - including a lot on this forum.

    Have you looked at alternatives? How much work to tear it out ? Ours was framed in with cultured stone so it was a PITA to try and save the stone which I did. With the help of a sweep I did a lot of the work myself and prepped everything for him to do the install as the chase needed some remediation work. I had it fired up in early May and can't wait for the cold weather. While it's not the largest fireplace and heater it is 100 X better than that superior PoS :)
  4. rmnyi

    rmnyi New Member

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    Loc:
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    Mikey, I have a local Vermont Castings dealer who has been telling me not to do the insert so he & I have had some conversations about ripping out the zc fireplace and I'm starting to lean that way. Obviously he's trying to make a sale, doesn't have an insert to sell me and I'm sure the insert could work but the few that would fit are pretty small. The thing that really caught my attention was a local dealer who is well known and has a good rep, also was steering me away from the inserts and he's a Lopi dealer. He has pulled out quite a few zc's and scared me a little as far as safety. So maybe the right answer is to pull the zc fireplace. The good news is that the existing setup has some standard slate tiles and basic mantle so nothing to worry about if i we do rip it out. I visited 4 dealers in the past 2 days and have learned a lot but still a little unsure. Just want to get this right the first time. Now I need to do some research on the ZC inserts.
  5. kingquad

    kingquad Minister of Fire

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    Enviro 1200 should fit.
  6. pastera

    pastera Feeling the Heat

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    You can remove the smoke shelf - actually you need to remove the smoke shelf to get the damper rod out on my box

    http://www.lennoxhearthproducts.com/resources/specs/Lennox_Hearth_BC-BR_Specifications.pdf

    From the spec sheet, you should be able to get close to 22" of height, so you should have plenty of choices


    I have a Hampton HI200 in a Heatilator E-36 - looks awsome but the firebox is a little small for a 3700 ft^2 house (3000 heated by the insert). It does keep the oil off and the temp at 68 in the most remote rooms but it needs to be fed every two hours.

    I went from 250 gallons every 5 weeks (Sept - Jan) to <100 gallons (Feb on) in the same time frame - that was with a temp of 63° with oil and 68-72° with wood (80° in the stove room).
  7. mikeyd

    mikeyd Member

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    Hey bob, what's your current venting situation with your BC-42? We had an AC chimney that a couple of shops were simply going to run a liner through. I couldn't get a straight answer as to how acceptable this solution was and again there was mixed opinions on this board. As Aaron points out you might have some option with an insert as mine was the 36 and not 42 so there was not much room to play with. Once I crunched all the numbers for me I just found that getting it out and replacing it from scratch was the best route.

    Anyway, once I did tear it out we found all sorts of code violations with clearances, insulation, etc. and nasty stuff including a bunch of dead mice and a nest. It gave me a chance to really seal up the chase and the cavity. It was a lot of work but in the end I am very pleased with the result. I hope you come to a solution that works for your budget and peace of mind.
  8. rmnyi

    rmnyi New Member

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    Aaron, that's a lot of work to keep that little stove going. Glad to hear that it's working for you. I would probably be in a similar situation if I go with the Hi200. Although I'm not heating as much space, it will still need to be fed often. Did you consider pulling out the zc fireplace?
  9. rmnyi

    rmnyi New Member

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    Mikey, I'm honestly not sure what i have inside the chase. The house is six years old and I would like to assume that the install was done correctly and to code but we all know how that ASSUME thing works. Checked out an RSF dealer today, very nice. He showed me the Opel but I think that might be overkill. Nice looking unit and a huge firebox. Shouldn't have a problem getting the overnight burns in that! Better price than the Vermont Stratton too! So much information this week...still trying to process it all.
  10. cwill

    cwill Member

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    W. MI
    I was in the same situation as you are in now. I have a ZC fireplace and considered an insert but i couldn't find one big enough to get overnight burns in that would fit my space. I considered the RSF products and kozy heat z42 as replacements but the price was too much. Decided to rip it all out and do a floor to ceiling alcove install of a freestanding stove. We picked up a small stove to start with but long term plan is for a PE super 27. This may be something to consider in place of a insert.
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    My first reaction to inserts in a ZC fireplace is always "NO!". It is my second reaction too. They just are not made to take the weight and the heat from a wood stove insert. Not to mention that the chimneys are not up to the job. An open fireplace is pretty much air cooled by the volume of air sucked into it. But people will tell you that they have one and it is fine and the house is still fine. So start here.

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/articles/inserts_short_info
  12. rmnyi

    rmnyi New Member

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    BB, thanks for the link. I've been doing a lot of reading on this site and really appreciate all the advice. I originally tried to purchase an insert late last year to take advantage of the rebate but I just couldn't rush the purchase without knowing more. Great forum you guys have. Thanks for helping the newbie!
  13. pastera

    pastera Feeling the Heat

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    With a 32ft chimney a ripout was simply not in the checkbook.

    Once the house is up to temp, I can throttle it down and get 4 hours out of a load. I just get up 15 minutes early and load up the stove in the morning.

    Small changes to your routine and it is easy to keep the stove going. Plus we all seem to gravitate to the stove room (and fall asleep...)

    Aaron
  14. rmnyi

    rmnyi New Member

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    Loc:
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    Update: I have ruled out the inserts. Installer came to the house for a walk-thru and we discussed removing/replacing the prefab fireplace but we also discussed a stand-alone stove. Only 1 spot for it and it would have to be a pellet. Wife wasn't sold on that id so we are most likely going with RSF Opel or KozyHeat Z42. Opel seems like the best buy as far as firebox size but the chimney pipe is $$$. I will probably need 20+ feet of pipe. The Z42 has a slightly smaller firebox but doesn't require Excel chimney. I haven't actually met with the Kozy dealer yet and he's 75 minutes away. The RSF dealer is only 15 minutes away. I've searched both units on this site and found mostly positive comments. I also contacted the manufacturers to see how responsive they would be to answering pre-sale questions. Sent email and also left vm for RSF, no response. Got through to someone at KozyHeat on my first call. Maybe that doesn't mean much...maybe it does. Any additional advise? I think i'd be happy with either unit, my biggest concern is the install.
  15. RSNovi

    RSNovi Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Michigan
    Did you guys determine if you can modify the smoke shelf on the Superior BR-42? That would open up many more options. It seems like there are quite a few inserts approved for zc these days.
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