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insert into old heatilator

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by digger, May 10, 2006.

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  1. digger

    digger New Member

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    I recently purchased a home (my first and first fireplace) with what I've been told is steel heatilator fiireplace. My guess is it's thirty plus years old in poor condition (rotted firebox). My goal is to install a stove insert and build a decorative mantle that would cover the old heatilator vents in the existing masonry. My questions are:
    1. Can I safely cover the vents (or block them) with an insert application.
    a. Will heat still be cycled through vents.
    2. How much space should be left between the perimeter of insert (outside face) and any
    woodwork.

    I hope my description is clear. Thanks for any advice.

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  2. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    1) yes
    2) no
    3) refer to manufactures specs to get clearance to combustables.

    On a side note, get your current fireplace inspected, its needs the integrity of the original firebox to hold a insert. In otherwords you cant install a insert in a firebox that cant safeley burn wood.
  3. DonCT

    DonCT Minister of Fire

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    Pictures!!! We like pictures :)

    Like MSG said, have it inspected first. They will be able to determine if it's even feasible to put an insert in. You may look at replacing it with a high efficiency fireplace like a FPX36. That is what I was looking at before I chose a more radical approach.

    Also, there are some stoves out there that are made to be installed into a masonry fireplace with a surround to make it like an insert.
  4. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Proceed with extreme caution: Rusting out Heatalator firbox sounds un fit to be serviceable for an insert
    Then there are venting issues 30 year old, large 10" or greater vent, is not suitable for modern insert usage.
    One it does not meet code, probably not Class A HT 2100 compliant, then there is the cross- sectional issue,
    Flue being to large to properly vent a 6" flue collar appliance.

    we need more details current venting setup lenght width Masonry depts and thickness Location interior or
    exposed to the exterior Size of current fire box current clearance to combustibles These are all factors that have
    to be considered, to give proper advice
  5. DriftWood

    DriftWood Minister of Fire

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    I had the same problem. A 1944 Steel Heatilator Fireplace in an exterior brick three flue chimney.

    Decide how you want to use the space that is now your old fire place. What type of fuel you want to use. How fast you want heat and how much heat. Shop for a EPA , UL listed, Energy Star appliance. When you decide use the owners manual clearances, to get what you want it to look like when your done, done safely.

    I am placing a Hearthstone Heritage on a hearth pad in front of the Heatilator fireplace. Venting out the back of the Heritage to a 6 inch, insulated, 316 TI Stainless Steel Chimney Liner through the Heatilator, up the full leingth of 12 inch ceramic tile lined center chimney flue.

    I thought about removing the 1944 Steel Heatilator. It was much easer to leave it in place. I tore off the entire fireplace surround and covered the face with stone tile. I had to raise the mantel about a foot to the Hearthstone Heritage clearances. Leaving the vents in place, they look good and get some heat out that radiates out the back, into the room.

    I thought about a Hearthstone Homestead. It would have fit right in this Heatilator venting out its top to the 6 inch, insulated, 316 TI SS Liner .

    I liked the side / front loading, huge fire view, all soapstone and a gasket sealed ash pan the Hearthstone Heritage has.

    Good Luck!!
  6. Rob From Wisconsin

    Rob From Wisconsin Minister of Fire

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    This "thread" brings-up an interesting question that's been
    on my mind many times. Let's say (hypothetically, of course)
    that one were to have one of those generic, zero-clearance
    fireplaces - similar to the ones they sell at the hardware
    chain stores for several hundred dollars. Could one put an
    insert inside of the pre-fab fireplace, and route chimney-
    liner pipe inside of the fireplace's existing metal chimney pipe
    (usually it is 8" diameter)?? Can this "legally" be done??

    Rob
  7. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    Shure! some fireplace inserts are designed to fit in zero clearance fireplaces. The quadrafire 2700I will fit nicely in a heatilator ec36 zc firebox, and the flue outlet on the insert lines up perfectly.
  8. Rob From Wisconsin

    Rob From Wisconsin Minister of Fire

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    Darn!!
    We had that exact Heatilator unit at our previous house!
    Would have been nice to have gotten some "meaningfull heat"
    out of it, using a "real" wood heat device.
    Thanks for neat info....

    Rob
  9. bodeen

    bodeen Member

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    Digger

    I too am installing a insert into a rusted out heatilator. The differance in mine is that my smoke shelf has rusted completely out. My firebox is in great shape. To answer your questions. I think if you look at inserts and decide on one you like and read the manual, you will find the answers in the manual. I would have a pro look at that firebox first though.
    The insert I picked says in the manual "do not block openings for heatilator". It also gives complete clearances in every direction for combustibles. Some inserts I looked at said "do not install in metal fireplces".
    I have a standard masonry chimney with a metal fireplace. Lots of people have metal fireplaces with metal chimney's. I am building a block-off plate to go below damper and lining full length of chimney with 6"s/s before installing my insert.
    Hope that helps.

    Bodeen
  10. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    I think what Elk is referring ot is that the Heatilator chimney would not be tested to the 2100 degree standard required for use with a wood insert. The test didn't exist 30 years ago, so in other words line that chimney.
  11. Rob From Wisconsin

    Rob From Wisconsin Minister of Fire

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    How about the flue coming out of the insert??
    Could you use "liner" & run it up inside the
    existing ZC firebox flue??

    Rob
  12. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    It gets gray here. "NFPA211 12.4.6 Existing Flue Use. Another solid fuel-burning appliance shall not be installed using an existing flue serving a factory-built fireplace unless the appliance is specifically listed for such installation."

    My suggestion to you. Find an insert that is zero clearance listed. Line it with a 6" liner tested the UL 103 Type HT standard and you'll be alright. Remember never cut any thing out of the firebox to accomodate the insert and make damn sure the ZC is installed correctly.
  13. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    Shane, to add my .02 to your post, i think your post said this in a vague way. I assume you mean a insert that is listed for zero clearance, not a zero clearance insert.. we know there isnt any such thing as that.
    manufactures testing takes precedence over NFPA211. If the insert manufacture states that it can be installed in a zero clearance fireplace then it can. One example is the quadrafire 2700I, it specificly lists there unit for ZC and our inspectors have never failed us, and we live in one of the most code regulted places on earth im shure. I hope im not confusing the issue.
  14. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Yeah your saying exactly what I said.... I think. I do mean an insert listed for installation into a Zero Clearance fireplace. And NFPA says directly it has to be listed for such use or cannot be installed so yes mfg. listing trumps NFPA211. Many inserts had a blanket zero clearance listing but now they are requiring manufacturers to test individual zero clearance fireplaces separately so many manufacturers are getting stuff listed for specific brands/models of zero clearance fireplaces. Of course AHJ trumps everything and most any inspector in the country is going to pass an insert installed in a zc so long as like you said it's listed for installation in a zero clearance fireplace and has a proper liner installed. The 2700 is a great example so are a few of the Lopi and Avalon inserts. I cannot stress enough though that people need to make sure that the zero clearance fireplace is properly installed. I've seen countless ones improperly installed. A plethora of problems no firestops, no clearance to chimney, standoffs smashed down with a hammer and framing placed directly on top of the fireplace etc.
  15. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    This insert fits very well in the heatilator EC-36. It is the 1700, however I believe the 1200 (smaller) will fit is well. This is the biggest unit I could find to fit in the EC 36.

    http://enviro-fire.com/fireplace-products/wood/fireplace-insert.html

    I have the same model zero clearance fireplace, and did lots and lots of homework. The biggest issue is the flue outlet lining up (other than basic dimensions).

    In other words, the stack for the heatilator is 6 inches at the center of the flue opening measured from the back of the INSIDE of the fireplace. A link to the manual for your heatilator with diagrams and measurements can be found here:

    http://www.heatilator.com/customerCare/installManuals/index.asp

    You need to go down a bit on the page and select your model in the box for "fireplace" . It is listed as "EC 36 (2 mb)" and is a pdf file. Look at page 6.

    The kodiak center of flue is 6 inches from the outside of the back of the insert. So, you have only a one inch issue. You still have a little clearance as the kodiak is only 19 inches tall, and the collar for the flue on the kodiak insert is removable as well as can be installed from the inside of the insert firebox. See that same kodiak link for the insert install instructions with the dimensions on it.

    Also, the inside of your heatilator flue pipe is 8 inches, so you have room to move the stainless liner in the 8 inch flue to line everything up.

    So the SS liner can be fed down the chimney, the collar for the insert installed from inside the ZC firebox, then the insert slid in, reach up from the inside of the insert (the ceramic baffle and tubes are removable so you can do this) and pull the collar in place, then tighten the retaining bolt. Of course you need to use sealant, and of course a block of plate and insulation should be used, but I am just giving you a basic description, I am NOT telling you how to install this.

    Edit: And you need a solid, good ondition ul approved ZC fireplace to start with as suggested earlier.

    Hope this helps, KD
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