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more heat to one room of a two-sided fireplace

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by brngrp, Dec 12, 2008.

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  1. brngrp

    brngrp New Member

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    Southern CA
    Hi guys

    I'm new here, and don't know much about fireplaces and heating, so please give me a break for any stupid ideas, or questions I might ask. But, I'm pretty handy, and will be VERY appreciative of any advice you can give me.

    I have a two-sided, see-through, gas log fireplace that opens into two rooms. I've been told that I must leave all the glass doors open (or closed) when in use, but since we sit in only one of the rooms (the den) about 95% of the time, is there any way that I can direct most of the heat into the den, and not have to waste the heat energy that goes into the other room? A couple of things I've thought about:

    Closing the glass doors that go into the other room. (Must I really leave them open? What happens if I close them?)

    Placing some sort of a heat reflector on the hearth in the other room, to reflect the heat back into my den. (If so, can I put it fairly close to the fireplace opening, and do I need to leave much open space around it - or can I almost close the fireplace opening off with it?)

    Placing a small fan in the other room, aimed at the fireplace, to push heat back into the den.

    Will any of these work? Or, do you have any suggestions and sources?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Gary (brngrp)

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  2. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

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    Hi Gary,

    Welcome to the forum. Some questions for you, is this a masonry fireplace that was converted into a gas long fireplace, or did you buy the unit and logs as a package? Either way can you tell us what make/model the gas logs and or fireplace is? That way we might be able to look up the manual online and look through it together.

    I'm guessing they want the glass to be in the same position on both sides so the air flow is balanced in the firebox. I wouldn't use a fan to blow air through the firebox and into the opposite room because if I understand you correctly you'll be blowing all the exhaust/combustion products into that room too which can be deadly.

    I suppose you could try a radiant heat reflector, but I think you'll be disappointed with the results and you will also want to watch out that it doesn't reflect too much heat in the wrong places like your mantle or carpet.
  3. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Loc:
    Averill Park, NY, on Burden Lake II...
    Hey, Gary,
    Like R&DGuy;said, we'll need a little more info on your set-up. If you are burning a gas log set in a two-sided fireplace, & you want heat, you're going to be disappointed. You may get some warmth from it - but not heat per se...
    Some of that "warmth" you feel is air you've already heated in other parts of the house being drawn up the chimney...
    As far as the doors are concerned, you are supposed to burn gas logs with them open.
    The main reason is that there are plastic & rubber bushings & seals in the gas valve that will destroyed by the temperature in the firebox...
    Another reason ias that your fireplace doors are probably tempered glass shich will not take extreme temperatures..
    I know, you get no heat, but these things are hot - another mystery of life...
  4. brngrp

    brngrp New Member

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    My thanks to R&D;GUY and DAKSY for their prompt responses to my post. Here's some more info:

    The house was built in 1991 with the fireplace in it. It's by "Heatilator , Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, model #ST36B". It's a complete unit, including the glass doors, which appear to be tempered glass, maybe 1/4", but more like 7/32nds. Each of the four doors (two on each side) is 18" x 18". The fireplace was originally plumbed with a natural gas pipe to aide in burning wood. I THINK the previous owner did burn wood, but shortly after I bought the house in 2003, I converted it to a vented gas log set, with burner. I couldn't find the details on the gas log and burner, but it looks exactly like the internet pictures of "Petersen's Charred, split oak - 18", and the invoice refers to it as "C-Thru". The logs actually give off pretty good heat, and I recall the salesperson said this log set design - with sort of a hole in the middle of the logs - would give off heat. It does, and there's no smoke or noticeable gasses, but the heat goes into BOTH rooms - and my basic question is "can I, or how can I, get more of the heat to go into just one of the rooms?"

    I didn't do the gas log installation myself, so I'm not absolutely positive, but I don't think there are any valves or rubber seals inside the fireplace. I light it the old-fashioned way, with a long match, after turning the gas on via a key in the wall, several inches outside the fireplace (the valve is right there). Both sides have a stone hearth, so there's no danger of carpet fire, and the outside of the fireplace (both sides) is stone (probably fake, cement stone) for nearly a foot on each side of the fireplace, and maybe 15+" above it, to the integral "stone" mantel. Thus, I wouldn't be too concerned about reflected heat being a problem, except that it would reach the open glass doors (which each have an included metal casing at the top and bottom of the glass), unless I could put a reflector right up against the fireplace opening.

    That may be too much information, but if it helps, I'm grateful for whatever you can tell me. By the way, I was advised to keep all the doors open (or completely closed) by some do-it-yourself website, not by the manufacturer. I don't even have his brochure. Is that advice correct? I've never tried closing the doors - does the heat still come through the glass pretty well? And lastly, would it do any good (and be ok) to close the doors on the other side part of the way, or most of the way - if I can't close them all the way?

    Thanks again,

    Gary
    brngrp
  5. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Vented gas logs are not heater rated. They are ANSI listed as a decorative appliance. You will never get any useful amount of heat out of it. It may get warm around the fireplace but it is sucking massive amounts of air up the chimney, air your furnace probably heated up earlier. To replace all that air cold outside air will leak in your house all over the place where ever it can. If the salesperson told you it would provide useful heat for your house he was not being honest, sorry.

    You need to run with both doors open all the time. If you do not do this, or make any modifications to anything you are risking CO poisoning.

    Please go get a good CO detector.
  6. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

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    I can't find the model on Heatilators website, but the closest is a wood burning fireplace. jtp10181 is right though, this type of set up can only radiate heat into the room and that's why you aren't satisfied with the results. As noted you need to look at this as a visual, or what the industry calls a decorative appliance. You'll see the gas industry as a whole has gone to direct-vent (DV) systems which take combustion air from outside and blow clean heat into the room. That way there is no negative draft in the home. It can be a very efficient design, but until you invest in what I'll call a real gas fireplace you will be unsatisfied with the heat output.
  7. Fire Bug

    Fire Bug New Member

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    Hi Again Paul,
    With everyone posting on this topic trying to help this new member out you brought up a very interesting point concerning closed glass doors and internal rubber gas valve parts.
    As I have previously stated in other posts, I have a FB Grand Fireplace Insert in my living room. This FB Grand Insert has the Arched Glass Front with the glass bi fold doors. This front was discontinued a couple of years back along with similar square front.
    Heat n Glow advertised that by closing these doors the heat output from the unit can be "dramaticaly reduced" which can come in handy for early fall, cool summer nights, late spring burning, or just for just plain ambience when heat is not needed.
    Finally, my question is, can these doors being closed when the unit is being used cause problem with the rubber internal parts in the gas valve as you stated above?
    These doors are really great for the purposes that I mentioned above and for the reasons H&G;advertised?

    Thanks Once Again,
    John
  8. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

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    That's a question for the mfg or installer. Sounds like some of these systems don't have any more than a shut off ball-valve and a Bic lighter. I doubt there is anything with "rubber" in the firebox, but who knows. I can't imagine the liability for these types of systems, but I can understand the confusion. Anyone know the standard they're held to pre-1996/2000, are we talking ANSI Z21.50?
  9. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Hey, John...

    <> Finally, my question is, can these doors being closed when the unit is being used cause problem with the rubber internal parts in the gas valve as you stated above?
    These doors are really great for the purposes that I mentioned above and for the reasons H&G;advertised?<>

    I don't think you have to worry about the valve seals in your FB-G...
    The firebox is ceramic fiber & located ABOVE the gas valve & we all know which way the heat goes...
    The problem with the GAS LOG valve is that it is IN the firebox & can't take the heat from having the doors closed...
    Even the Peterson units with the SPK valves (manually match-lit pilot) have seals which fail due to heat...
    The EPK valves fail even MORE often, because the wiring in the ON-OFF pinecone will melt...
  10. brngrp

    brngrp New Member

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    Thanks to all for trying to help me out!

    To make sure I understand, let me summarize what I believe you've said, and what I see from here:

    1. My vented gas logs are not supposed to provide heat - just ambience. Actually, I do definitely feel warmth from the fire, and it raises the temperature in the room (a thermometer is in the room - 7' from fireplace), but I realize it's very inefficient, and much heat goes up the chimney. I'm not challenging ANSI's official stance, but me, my wife, and my little dog all love it - for both looks and warmth. The Peterson vented gas log is MUCH better than several others I've had in the past.

    2. My basic question of "how can I get more heat into one of the rooms" is answered "you can't". Specifically, don't close the back set of doors, don't use a fan, and a reflector probably won't help, and could be dangerous. From what you've said, I guess I'm lucky to get any heat in the house from the gas logs, even if half of it goes into the other room. So, as long as I can afford it, I'll keep on enjoying my fireplace as it is.

    3. Get a CO detector.

    4. Always keep all of the glass doors wide open when I'm burning a fire. I assume that I can close them after I turn the fire off to prevent house heat from going up the chimney.

    5. Thank you all again for your input, and I wish you a Merry Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate). and a Happy New Year!

    If I've misinterpreted any of the above, or if you have more thoughts, please let me know.

    Gary :)
  11. R&D Guy

    R&D Guy New Member

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    Looks like nothing was lost in translation from what I see.
  12. Fire Bug

    Fire Bug New Member

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    Hi Paul,
    Once again THANK YOU for your feedback and patience to my questions. I sure feel better about the melting rubber parts in other unit gas valves.
    I didn't think that H&G;would design something like this, but than again who knows.
    These doors really look and function great on this particular unit.
    Now, if I can get the Hearth & Home Technician who tried to fix my banging blower shroud to return my phone calls I would feel like I am getting something positive accomplished with this problem and others on my FB Grand Unit.
    I must commend You, JTP, and R&D;Guy,(among others), on this site for their assistance not only to my questions but the many others that post on this great site.
    Thanks Again Everyone,
    John
  13. Fire Bug

    Fire Bug New Member

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    Loc:
    Clarks Summit,Pa.
    Hi Paul,
    Once again THANK YOU for your feedback and patience to my questions. I sure feel better about the melting rubber parts in other unit gas valves.
    I didn't think that H&G;would design something like this, but than again who knows.
    These doors really look and function great on this particular unit.
    Now, if I can get the Hearth & Home Technician who tried to fix my banging blower shroud to return my phone calls I would feel like I am getting something positive accomplished with this problem and others on my FB Grand Unit. But he is based out of Deluth Minn. and from what see on tv, the weather their has been brutal.
    I must commend You, JTP, and R&D;Guy,(among others), on this site for their assistance not only to my questions but the many others that post on this great site.
    Thanks Again Everyone,
    John
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