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In need of help/advice?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by acosta2269, Dec 31, 2006.

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  1. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    Roo...hello again. Thank you for all of your help last time. Unfortunately, I'm still not getting great heat.

    I moved into the house (3,500 square feet in total) 2 years ago. In 2004-2005 I used approx. 1,400 gallons of oil ($3,000). In 2005-2006 I used approx 1,200 gallons ($3,000). Milder winter in 2005-2006, but higher oil prices.

    The house is only 5 years old. As far as I can tell there seems to insulation in the outer walls and in the cathedral ceiling. I had a ceiling fan installed in the cathedral ceiling (I thought that was the problem at first) and there was insulation in the ceiling. I was careful to cover the hole pretty good before I sealed it up to avoid drafts.

    The Hearth is made of stone, all the way up to the ceiling. On each side of the Hearth there is a hole into the fireplace. I'm not sure why. Neither did the local building inspector. Possibly for venting. There is also a vent on the outside of the house off the chimney (directly off to the side of the firebox). Could this vent be effecting the performance?

    I have the Summit blower on automatic. It kicks on/off when it reaches a certain temps. It usually shuts the blower off within a couple of hours of feeding the stove. On overnight burns, it's rare that the blower is still going in the morning. I haven't monitored outside temp vs shut down, but for the most part, it only stays on a couple of hours from the point that I put my last logs in.

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  2. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    I just saw the rest of your questions...

    I don't know if it has a block off plate to the chimney. I had it "professionally" installed. If it's an extra charge, then probably not. I paid $375 total for installation. I will ask.
    No outside air kit intalled. I asked the retailer/installer about and said it was not necessary and that he had never installed one. I should have known better at that point, but because of you, I insisted on getting a PE (lol), and he was the only local retailer. I think that vent that I mentioned earlier is probably the outside air supply on the fireplace.
  3. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Roo and I are on the same page here Lets make the assumption the stove is preforming as it should.
    Now supose your home is loosing heat at a rate a little less than you summit generates?
    here is part of what I am thinking the 9' ceiling presents a different heating situation than the common 7'6" meaning heat always rises and fills up the top layer and works down
    9' ceilings also adds about 20% more vollume to heat. Sitting on a couch puts you in the lower third of the room height. An equilvent comparison in a 7'/6" ceiling height
    that couch would have elevated 18' to matche the same heat area.

    I need to know more about your home when it was built windows glass area especially in the room of the stove. IS it located on the first floor over your basement?
    tell me about your current heating system and the btu output did it carry the home susficiently before the summit? What was your fuel usage? Is the basement ceiling insulated?

    do you have thermopane double glazed windows? int the upstairs is there an attic pulldown stairs?

    Here is what I am thinking if the stove is opperating within range then the home dymanics may be the missing piece to feeling the heat I agree with all posters here that stove should be cooking.

    Other questions were asked before but you hqave yet to answer them is the chimney fire place located on an exterior wall did you use a full lenght liner? is there a damper block off plate?
    It is possible that you are loosing too much heat up that chimney With the stone front it is impossible due to the un even surfaces that you can ever get a proper seal with the suround. That being so all around that suround is room air escaping up that chimney especially without a block off plate. Another think could be happening if fully lined cold air is settling down the flue and cooling your convection scroud cooling the heated air before it enters the room a block off plate would prevent this from happening Again is there a bl damper block off plate?

    WE all are guessing here because we need more info
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'm wondering if those holes are a rudimentary outside air supply. Do you have any incense? If yes try lighting a stick or cone outside. Then put it near or in that vent on the outside of the chimney. I would be curious if the scent of the incense comes into house in the room with the fireplace.
  5. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    acosta2269 , i think you and Elk post about the same time so let him catch up on your reply.

    #1 a lot of hearths have front vents , I'm not a big fireplace hearth expert but there built in for a reason.

    #2 The thing that gets me the most is that you have to keep feeding the fire and the blower fan only stays on for a short time .............you stove is cooling off fast and it shouldnt.

    #3 you said no out side air kit is installed on the "stove" but there is an air supply on the outside of the house / hearth. no chimney block off plate ..................ELK?
  6. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Here is a hearth with vents ...........

    Attached Files:

  7. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    Elk, thank you for joining in.

    The home is 5 years old. It was already built, so I'm not certain on specs/quality of the windows. The lock on the windows have an "AW", which I assume is Anderson Windows, which I thought to be good quality.

    The stove is located on the 1st floor (Family Room) directly over the boiler. The house has forced heat, which did an "ok" job of heating the house before the summit. But to be honest, I never raised the thermostat high enough to get the house toasty warm (too expensive). Last season I burned 1200 gallons of oil. The year before I burned 1400 gallons. The basement ceiling is insulated with R-19.

    The upstairs attic has a pulldown staircase. Aside from the pulldown stairs it has a heavy plywood door that closed above it (on the attic side). The attic floor is insulated with R-30.

    The chimney is on an exterior wall. I don't know what type of liner they used or if they used a damper block off plate.

    I think I got it all (lol)
  8. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    Roo, my vents are on the sides of the fireplace. Facing the side walls, not facing forward.
  9. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Front room is on one side of the "L" and the kitchen on the other part of the "L" .

    Where are the bedrooms what is the other 2500 sf? ( i can find it or remember reading that )
    Is only the front room cathedral ceiling ?
  10. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    The family room and the kitchen are basically one big room in an "L" shape. Picture the stove in the bottom (right) tip of the "L". The kitchen is in the top of the "L". These rooms are closed off with a door and 2 small openings to a living room, dining room and a hallway. The bedrooms are all on the second floor. I keep the door closed to the living room creating a closed in "L", except for the 2 doorway openings to the Dining room and hallway.

    Yes, the only cathedral ceiling (about 18 feet high) is directly over the fireplace for about 10 feet out. All other ceilings are 9 feet.
  11. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    I'm still wondering about this question ............

    You said it right , "the heat is going somewhere" ..........I know for a fact a Summit dont cool off that quick.

    Maybe one of our fireplace / hearth / block off plate / outside air supply guru's will jump in on this one.

    Someone posted a wile back about an outside air supply to there fire place that was cooling things off real quick , i cant remember the outcome of the thread.
  12. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    I have to go back and re read the first post you presented but Begreen is thinking what I am now thinking an

    Sounds to me you have a heatalator type fireplace supplied with outside air. now if the outside air is not encased or piped threw the bricks iand just an oppening allowing thew heatalator metas shroud to be exposed to cold air that could act to draw heat away from youe stove Unfortunately opposites attract warn air is drawn towards coold air If warn air is being drawn from your stove then it is not going to the room. I read your manual and unfortunately it states if installed ina heatalator type fire place thoes grills can not be blocked off. another thing could be happening the shroud is being warmen enough that it could be drawing cool room air in those bottom vents which inturns cools the shroud and wicks more heqt from you stove it could be a vissious cycle made even worse with out a block off
  13. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    How can find out if this is the case? And if it is, how can I correct it?
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There are too many unknowns here. Most important are - is a blockoff plate really installed? and how was this fireplace constructed? You and we need more information. Try the incense test. Lets first see what those holes are for. Can you post a picture of the interior ones too?
  15. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    BeGreen, thank you for your help as well.

    I will try the test tomorrow, although it may be a bit difficult to reach. The back yard slopes down and the vent is about 25 feet from the floor.

    Wouldn't the incense smell go into the vents and up the chimney? Would the scent come into the house?
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That all depends on where that outside vent leads to. If it leads to the holes by the hearth, you'll smell it. If not, where does it go? It's really hard to determine what was installed or why without being there. That's where pictures can sometimes come in handy. If you are having problems posting, let us know and we'll walk you through it. Or PM me with pictures.
  17. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    I will try in the morning as well as post some pictures. I will also call the retailer/installer and ask the following questions:

    1. Was a block off plate installed?
    2. Confirm that a full lenght liner was used

    What else should I ask them about the installation?

    Also, if this turns out to be the problem, is it correctable? Can I install an outside air kit to utilize that vent and solve this problem?
  18. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Mu summit insert is installed into an old heat-a-lator fireplace. It too has two low vents & two hi vents built into the surrounding brick face. It may be possible that your vents are sucking the heat from the insert & taking it up the chimney. If your old fireplace vents, vent outside (mine doesn't). I bet your heat is being sucked right out and never making it into the room. I understand the manual says no altering the vents. Mine were blocked off with 3/4" plywood under the grilles. The previous owner did that due to the fact as he says " it was sucking the heat out and causing cold air drafts. I know it says not too, but you might want to try and block those old vents and see if that makes a difference. If they are no longer in use, I don't see what harm it can cause. At least you can see if it makes a difference and rule it out, or maybe you'll find its the cause. That Summit should be HOT to stand in front of. And you can't mistake it, its HOT.
    Note that my vents did not open to the firebox, or to the outside. Looks more like air went in lowers vents, through a chmber along side the heat-a-lator sides, and back out the upper vents. Another thing to check, is your stone along side & above the insert getting very hot? Mine with the old fireplace got REAL HOT, now its barely warm.
    If its hot, then that may be another indicator that your losing heat up, beind or somewhere around that old firebox.
  19. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    Hogwildz, how are you?

    Standing in front of the insert is not extremely HOT. It blows warm/hot air out, since day 1, which is why I started this mess.

    The stones on the face of the chimney are not hot. They are slightly cooler than room temperature.

    How do I know if I have a Heat-a-lator fire place? How can I find out what "type" of fireplace it is and how those vents are being used? Is that something that the building dept would have on file in the house plans?
  20. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    blocking the vent may aor may not be a good idea those vents may be neede for air circulation that cools that suround and prvents from heating up too much and torching near by combustiables they could be part of the clearance listing to combustiables

    God I hate metal pre fabs nothing but a cheap way to install a fire place every one leaks cold air when not in use. In all the years building, I never installed one or had one installed ,in the homes I built.
  21. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Just hanging out on the side listening in. Summit that won't heat. Can't be, can't happen.
  22. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    I don't remember exactly what the inside of the fireplace was, but it definitely was not metal. It was some sort of stone (or cement at the least). Could it still have been a pre-fab covered with some sort of stone?
  23. acosta2269

    acosta2269 New Member

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    Brother, its happening. My wife is sleeping on couch right now, about 5 feet from the stove covered in a blanket and is still cold.
  24. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Just keep hanging out BrotherB , its not that the Summit is not heating, its acosta2269 heating the state and not the house. ;-)
  25. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Gotta be brother.
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