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Is this possible? Sealed fireplace doors instead of an insert?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by JRP3, Nov 12, 2007.

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  1. JRP3

    JRP3 Member

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    My parents have a fireplace in the basement that they rarely use. I was thinking of getting them an insert to help with the heating but was wondering about a sealed door kit instead, (if it exists). It seems to me the efficiency of the fireplace would really increase if the opening had doors and an adjustable air intake, like an insert, but this would be much cheaper. What say you all?

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  2. JohnnyBravo

    JohnnyBravo New Member

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    probably does not exist and many will warn against it because of original testing. i would give it a shot. maybe even an OAK of some sort so as to draw less air from the house.
  3. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    If it is any type of pre-fab, metal or other "pretend" fireplace they usually have warnings about installing glass doors. Those type of fireplaces need air movement around the firebox to stay cool, the doors block this air.

    If it is a true masonry fireplace, you could install glass doors, but the problem is still getting the heat into the room instead of up the flue. The doors would help some - you may double or triple the efficiency - but all that means is going from negative efficiency to 'zero' or a very small positive efficiency.

    An insert would definitely be a step up in efficiency - and a great gift as far as I'm concerned. But also be aware that wood burning is a commitment - if your parents aren't up to the challenge the insert might go unused. Or if they don't have the means to cut their own wood, much of the savings may be offset by the cost of buying firewood.
  4. KevinM

    KevinM New Member

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    I sealed the frame for the glass doors to the brick last weekend. It finally made it a heat generating experience to have a fire. Burnt for eight hours yesterday and managed to raise the temperature 1C in the house and it wasn't even below freezing outside. Still dreaming of real heat from an insert.

    Kevin.
  5. kalevi

    kalevi Member

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    Kevin:

    Get an insert. Try Top Hat on Merrivale for a quote. Once you have an insert, you will find that 1C rise takes about 1 hour or so.
  6. JRP3

    JRP3 Member

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    Thanks for the replies. It's a real masonry fireplace that is built out into the room. On each side it has 2 vents, 1 near the bottom and one near the top, the idea being as it heats up it draws cold air from the floor and puts out hot air at the top. Because of this exchange I was thinking it might be more efficient than a normal fireplace and might benefit more from the door idea.
    They would not be burning full time but I'd like them to have the option, especially during a power outage and really cold days. Not to mention that fuel oil prices are only going up and up in the future.
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I have a similar fireplace. Look up Wilkening airtight fireplace doors. They make air tight doors for masonry fireplaces. I installed one in mine this year and added an outside combustion air intake. I think this is a good option if use is only occasional. Cost me around $1100 for it. Sure I could of purchased a cheep insert for a few dollars more, but don't need the extra heat, can still have an occasional fire with a very large view, and it keeps the cold down drafts out when not in use.

    Something else I'm trying out with this fireplace is a pellet basket. I had one made by a local metal fab shop for $40. I burned it a couple times and it worked pretty well. I can get 20lbs of pellets in there and it will burn for about 6 or 7 hours producing good heat. Still tinkering with it and will post some pics when it gets colder and burned a few more times.
  8. JRP3

    JRP3 Member

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    That's pretty much what I was looking for, but more than twice what I was thinking it would cost. For that kind of cash I'd rather spend a little more and go for a full insert and get all the heat available.
  9. Scrounger

    Scrounger Member

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    We have a masonary fireplace in the basement. There is a screen over the opening and also glass doors. I have burned with glass doors open and glass doors closed and it makes no real big difference in heating the basement. Nice and toasty within 6 or 8 feet of the fireplace, rest of the basement is ice cold. In my opinion a fireplace is worthless no matter which way you slice it. Installed a Jotul Kennebec in the upstairs masonary fireplace and feel foolish for messing with the fireplace the couple years prior.

    Luke
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