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Newbie building a new house and needs GAS fireplace guidance. Help?

Post in 'It's a Gas!' started by lithnights, Dec 30, 2012.

?

Which gas fireplace should I go with, for my situation?

  1. Keep the builder included Majestic DVM500 Cameo

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  2. Spend some more and get a Travis Xtrordinair or other unit

    0 vote(s)
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  1. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Messages:
    51
    Loc:
    SE PA
    I just found this site (love it!) but I am a total newbie to fireplaces. I'm hoping I can get some good answers for my question which is.. WHAT GAS/PROPANE FIREPLACE SHOULD I GET for my new home?

    Here are the details that I think are important to my situation.

    We are building a home next month via a semi-custom builder. The current home design comes with a propane fireplace in the family room (20x15). But I also want to add a wood burning fireplace in the living room (13x18) which is on the other side of the home. See .jpg floorplan which I hope you can view.

    The home is around 3100 sq ft., around 1500 on each floor. Center hall colonial with 2 story foyer. It will have forced hot air and the heating system in the specs is a propane furnace but with the price of propane here (PA), I am leaning towards an electric heat pump with either propane or electric backup. Gas main is 700 feet away and thus not available.

    Regardless of main heating source, in addition to the propane fireplace, I want to install a wood burning fireplace to supplement heat when it gets a bit colder (under 40 degrees or so?). And I'm an outdoorsy and fire person so I like the idea of making and tending a real fire, not flipping a switch. The propane fireplace would be more for simplicity and low maintenance (for the wife), and it would likely pain me to run that all day, knowing how much the propane (3x the cost of my current gas) is costing me. So I likely would be hesitant to run it all day as a supplemental heating source.

    1. I know this may be a broad question but what gas/propane fireplace should I look to? The builder says he uses a Majestic DVM500 Cameo. I called some local places and they say it isn't a cheapy builder grade unit, but also isn't top of the line either. Both places suggested looking into a Travis Industries Xtrordinair unit. So I'm wondering if we just stick with the Majestic OR spend a little more and go with a Travis Industries extraordinaire. One place suggested a 864HO (which heats up to 2500 sq ft), but the other suggested a TRV (heats 1500 sq ft) since he said I'm not really using it to be the main heat source for the whole house. I'm thinking if I don't plan on using this fireplace to heat up more than just the room itself (the furnace and wood fireplace would take care of most of the house), do I really need a large/powerful unit? Thoughts on these options?.

    2. For my needs, should the gas fireplace be located in the family room or the living room? I'm sure most would say it's personal preference but I'm thinking from a heating efficiency perspective. We would spend most of our time in the family room and kitchen, and little time in the living room. So if I wanted to keep us really warm in the FR/kitchen area, would the gas NOT be the best idea there, since it will cost a fortune to run it? Again, see floorplan. Similarly, I'm wondering if the wood fireplace was in the FR and we ran it all the time, would the FR and kitchen get TOO hot? I just have no idea of how the heat would travel and circulate with a given unit.

    3. Is there anything I will likely want to upgrade on a gas fireplace? Cleaner faces (not grills), higher flame, blowers, remotes etc?

    4. When an 860HO or TRV unit runs, how much should I expect it to heat up the room and surrounding rooms? Will it be like an oven in there but a bit cooler as I turn into the foyer and into other rooms?

    Sorry for all the verbiage but I figured more info was better than not enough.
    Thank you so much in advance!
    1st floor jpg (Medium).jpg 2nd floor jpg (Medium).jpg

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  2. FanMan

    FanMan Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2012
    Messages:
    319
    Loc:
    CT stix & upstate NY
    Your second question is really the subject of discussion here, no need to split the discussion. 1st and 3rd question, can't really help there, no experience with those models.

    For the 4th question, all I can do is give you my experience: Our house is 1400 ft², one floor, no basement. Had an oil (kerosene, actuallly) burning furnace rated 69,000 BTU. Noisy, unreliable, and leaky ductwork in my crawl space. Last spring I installed a used ($300) Osburn LA30 gas fireplace in the living room. By itself it easily heated the whole house, but the back two bedrooms got chilly, not cold, in 30°F weather, not too hot in the living room. Before finding the Osburn used, we had nearly settled on a 40KBTU Avalon Cypress. Added (per the original plan) a pair of 7500BTU propane wall mount heaters ("gravity furnaces") in the back bedrooms and a "through the wall" fan to heat the bedroom nearest the living room. Good so far, though the coldest it's been is 20° and windy, fireplaces and heaters are not running even half the time... though the furnace will stay as a backup this winter until I'm satisfied the pipes in the crawl space don't freeze.

    Based on your floor plan, i would say a wood stove in the FR, plus a gas fireplace in the LR, would do for the first floor... either one alone... without overheating the room they're in. Use the wood stove as primary, the propane fireplace in the LR as backup and when you're in there. Upstairs, you might not need much more, or gas wall heaters or mini gas fireplaces as supplemental heat. Nice thing about the propane is it works even if there's a power failure while you're away on vacation. And if the gas company ever changes their mind it's an easy conversion from LP to NG.

    A friend has a single 30KBTU gas fireplace downstairs handling his entire 2-story house (not sure what the square footage is), with electric baseboard heaters upstairs that turn on only on the coldest nights.
  3. lithnights

    lithnights New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Messages:
    51
    Loc:
    SE PA
    My intent with the "which should I put where?" was just in case someone saw this thread but NOT the woodburning thread. Didn't mean to dupe anything.

    For the 3rd question, it's not specifically for those models. Just wondering what normal upgrades are for a typical gas fireplace. I guess it's all personal preference, whether one wants a remote/blower/higher flame etc.?

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