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Inspector giving me a problem putting in gas logs into Temco Fireplace Insert #TBF-36-1

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by thebradster, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. thebradster

    thebradster New Member

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    I have a townhome build in late 80's using a Temco PreFab Zero-Clearance All Fuel Fireplace. This FP was used for wood... and I am NOW looking to install Gas Logs. The Fireplace has a "gas" cut-out on the side to run the line. I filed for Permits, and the Town wants proof that this fireplace is rated for use with gas logs. I have no manual, no documentation and nothing to go on. How can I find the manual? What do i tell the town engineer who will not issue my permits? All my neighbors have converted to gas, and my guess is, may not h ave gone the honest way by using permits. Help please...

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  2. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    Is this your manual? Tempco manual

    Shari
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    What is the need for inspection? What change is going to happen in the fireplace?
  4. thebradster

    thebradster New Member

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    The fireplace is for wood. I have a gas guy running gas pipe to the fireplace. He will install a vent-free gas log set. SO basically, I am converting a pre fabricated fireplace for wood into a GAS LOG fireplace.... so i need permits for the gas line. The inspector said how do i know that fireplace can handle the heat of gas logs? I said because I normally burn 50 logs at a time, and it comes with a special "cut out" in the side to run a gas line. That is what an All Fuel / All purpose fireplace is about. Very Frustrating that Temco has gone out of business. Thanks Much. Any suggestions? Rob
  5. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    thebradster,

    You pm'd me saying the manual I linked to is not your fireplace. Why don't you check with one of your neighbors to see if their fireplace is the same and if they have a manual? I find nothing elese on the web.

    Shari
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Moved to the gas forum for more specific help.
  7. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    You should not need a permit for a gas log. They are decorative. Its not a heating appliance so it does not need an HVAC permit, and you are not doing construction so you do not need a building permit. The only possible thing you would need is a permit to run the gas line.

    I also do not think the fireplace needs to be rated for gas logs. Does it have a metal tag on it anyplace, possibly with a UL listing stamp or UL listing number?

    Hrmph... I just now read you plan to do a VENT FREE gas log? For these MANY MANY prefabs manuals specifically say "DO NOT INSTALL VENT FREE GAS LOGS" in the manuals. So the inspector is correct to question it. If you close the damper and run the vent free logs to heat the house the top of the firebox will be subjected to a lot of heat, probably more than when you burn a wood fire. This could ignite the framing in the wall above the fireplace.

    Get a direct vent gas insert if you want heat output, or a vented gas log if you just want looks with no heat output.
  8. Fsappo

    Fsappo New Member

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    In some areas you dont need a permit for the gas log itself, but you do for the gas line. Your inspector is very lacking in general building know how if he doesnt understand that a wood burning prefab fireplace can accept gas logs if there is a knockout for a gas line there. Sometimes prefab wood fireplaces has a metal data plate that will give a model number, serial number and even tell you the specs for gas conversion.
  9. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Sound like the OP is wanting to do vent free gas logs though, that is a whole different animal. See my post above.
  10. thebradster

    thebradster New Member

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    Thank you to ALL who replied... this was very useful.

    First off, I located a guy (neil) in Calif who was very knowledgeable about Temco Fireplaces. He told me to call Monesson Hearth Corp. at 877 863 4350. Within 3 minutes, they had located the Temco Manual for my unit TBF 36-1.

    I went to the inspectors office who basically said "I dont know if your unit can handle gas logs, but I need to cover my A so Im making a copy of your manual". In the manual I showed him where it discusses installing the gas line, and the fact I have a gas "knock out" in my unit for this purpose so he said thats fine.

    As for vented vs vent-free. I purchased the Vent-Free logs for 1)heat and 2) less gas used. Ive gotten different views as to whether my unit can accept vent or vent free. My logs can go either way (although less flame of course b/c its made for vent free). The inspector is already talking about putting a little clip in the damper/flue so that it stays open so I may be going this route.

    THANKS AGAIN.... I learned a lot in this process.
  11. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Yes, your damper should be locked fully open at all times. Do not install vent free gas logs into ANY prefab fireplace unless it specifically says it is OK in the owners manual of the prefab metal fireplace.

    I hope you do not mind wasting tons of gas for no heat output.
  12. thebradster

    thebradster New Member

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    The town home was built in 1982. I am told that vent-free gas logs were not available at that time, hence why the owners manual for the Temco does not specifically mention this set-up by name. I know I have a very good prefab zero clearance all fuel fireplace with the nock-out for gas in the side. Some say I should be "ok" with ventless but no one can seem to confirm. I do not intend to heat the home with this, and would typically use it for 15 - 30 minutes at a time at the most. At this point, Ive come to the realization I may be going the vented route with an open flue due to the uncertainty, but would really like to figure this out. BTW... the gas logs are Empire Charred Oak with a Vented/Vent-Free VFSV-18 Burner. Rob
  13. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I sold Temco for a long time, and in fact they were one of the first companies to produce and sell a lot of vent free logs. At the time, which was the late 1980's they had approved them for virtually ALL fireplaces which were capable of burning wood. It was a few years before they actually made a fireplace which was for vent free only - that unit did not have a damper in it, but was built very similar to the other units.

    One well known company, healtilator, bucked the trend and never produced vent free logs and then, in fact, labeled their fireplaces not to allow them. This was not done 100% for safety, but I think they figured "what's in it for me??....in other words, they took a stand against vent-free and simply wanted nothing to do with them!

    Let me summarize this way:
    1. If Temco were here today, they would probably tell you in writing and in the manual that you could install vent free in that firebox.....because their manuals for their vent free logs said you could install in most any approved wood unit.
    2. The lower BTU of that vent free log is not likely to overheat the walls or other parts of the firebox - consider that UL testing probably loads firebrands (small oven-dry wood) in there and may get to 100,000 or more BTU/Hour.......prefab fireplaces are, in general, designed so that the hotter they get, the cooler they get (more airflow around them).
    3. If you use any gas logs, do not use glass doors closed or partially closed.


    Some other ideas may be of note. One of the dangers of vent -free was the amount of heat placed on the fireplace face above the fireplace opening - so if you have wood very close AND the damper is fully or partially closed, this can overheat the wood. Mantel protectors were often suggested with vent free.

    Back when I sold vent free logs, some customers asked for us to actually close off their damper areas so the fireplace would more closely match the vent-free firebox and heat would flow out the front as opposed to build up in the upper part of the firebox. We did this mostly with masonry fireplaces, I would not suggest it with prefabs as part of the cooling mechanisms (air flow intakes, etc.) might be up there.

    It was also allowed for dampers to be adjusted open or closed or even cracked slightly open......some log set instructions mentioned this.

    You would still need a permit in most areas to install a gas log set - after all, you are piping gas. That's plumbing! We always needed on in NJ where I lived.

    Personally, from afar, I think it would work fine. But there may be a better solutions. There used to be a type of log which was called "partially vented", and although they stopped using that name, the type of sets are still available. An example is the Monesson Duzy. These are radiant log sets which throw out a nice amount of heat...and some of them allow the damper to be closed somewhat (see instructions for various sets).

    With any of these sets...and, in fact, even with a wood fire the largest dangers occur when they are run 24/7 - maybe a power failure and people try to use their fireplace to keep the house warm! Other than that, the other danger with pre-fabs is using a glass door other than the one made by the manufacturer (or a listed equiv.).

    Hope that all doesn't confuse you too much....

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