1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

questions about wood burning fireplace blowers

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by andrewjoseph, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. andrewjoseph

    andrewjoseph New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    36
    Loc:
    omaha, ne
    Hello all-
    Been reading on here for a few weeks and can't quite find what I've been looking for. Was hoping someone could tell me what I'm working with here. We moved into a house built in 1983 and didnt get much info from the previous owner due to his poor health. I've never had a fireplace before and we are tring to get ready for the winter.

    I am hoping the picture uploaded right. There is a vent on top that says wood-aire. There are two on the bottom on each side that have blowers inside attached to flexible vents. They look like mini versions of the blowers in my furnace.

    There is a control on the right side I think you can see with an off high and low position.

    There is no power on the romex going into the blowers or into the blower control. The lines are wired up but nothing is "hot". I am wondering if I am missing another switch, shut off or breaker somewhere that isn't obvious. All of the breakers on the fusebox are on.

    Iy seems like I have a nice set up here and am just wondering what to do to get these blowers functioning. I don't know if this is something easy I'm missing, or if I need an electritian, or a special fireplace guy. We had some wireing reworked in another part of the house and I asked the electritian to look at it and he said he had never seen anything like it.

    Thanks for any help of advice that can get me going in the right direction.

    Attached Files:

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. andrewjoseph

    andrewjoseph New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    36
    Loc:
    omaha, ne
    I realize that this is a pretty basic and general question. Any help on a starting point would be appreciated. It seems like a well built system. I just dont understand how it works.

    It seems much more complicated than I guessed a wood burning fireplace would be.
  3. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,329
    Loc:
    Holliston, MA USA
    I'm no expert on them but it looks like you have a prefab fireplace there with blowers. The problem you have sounds electrical. Assuming you have verified there is continuity between the blower motor and that fan control, next step is to trace the wiring from the fan control back to the breaker box, looking for a disconnect or fault. If you are not comfortable around electrical work calling an electrician would be a good idea.

    BTW, if you are planning to use that fireplace, other things to be doing now are to get the flue inspected and cleaned and to work on the wood supply. Don't expect a basic fireplace like that to do much real heating of the house, as even with the blowers its efficiency is low compared to a stove/insert. But it should be great for ambiance and to warm up by on a cold night.
  4. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    703
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    Hi, welcome to the forums.

    Wood-aire stove systems were custom installed units built from the early '70s to the mid '80s. There is a thermostatic control in many wood-aire units. The fan will not start until it warms up. I would have a sweep inspect the unit since it dates to the late '70s. If it is sound then light it up and go from there. There should be a model plate on the side just inside the doors. A model number will make research easier...

    Here is an ad from 1976:

    woodaire.jpg
    (Click image for larger view)

    KaptJaq
    begreen likes this.
  5. andrewjoseph

    andrewjoseph New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    36
    Loc:
    omaha, ne
    Thank you for the help. I got an estimate of a little over $600 to make it safe to operate. Do you think this unit is very efficient at all? Worth fixing up? Would it be in any way comparable to the modern day inserts people talk about on here?

    Thank you! A lot of great info on here.


    Thank you so much for the reply. I have gotten an estimate to fix the liner, clean flue, coat chimney on outside for a little over $600. I am wondering how good a system like this I
  6. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    7,108
    Loc:
    N.E. Penna
    For that 600 bucks, what were they going to do to the system?
  7. andrewjoseph

    andrewjoseph New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    36
    Loc:
    omaha, ne
    Sealing the crown of the chimney due to cracks with a rubber membrane. grinding and filling cracks which run the entire height of the chimney. Replace all flashing.

    There is a small amount of water which is coming through the ceiling on one side. I asked him if this is something I could go without and he said it would not be recommended since it was a safety issue.
  8. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2007
    Messages:
    7,108
    Loc:
    N.E. Penna
    Sounds legit.

    pen
  9. andrewjoseph

    andrewjoseph New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    36
    Loc:
    omaha, ne
    I cannot find a model number. I have looked all over inside but it possible I'm overlooking it. I've noticed there are red wires alongside the romex leading from the blowers down inside the unit. Could there be a thermal switch that denys or supplies power to the fan control when it gets hot? I'm wondering if that is why there is no power when I read it with a tester on both the control and the wiring leaving the two blowers.


    The wiring underneath in the basement looks in good order, and there are no fuses or breakers tripped that I can see. I'm just wondering if I spend the money on the chimney and then find out the blower system is bad and won't really give any heat anyway.

    Thanks for any advice.

    Wood-aire stove systems were custom installed units built from the early '70s to the mid '80s. There is a thermostatic control in many wood-aire units. The fan will not start until it warms up. I would have a sweep inspect the unit since it dates to the late '70s. If it is sound then light it up and go from there. There should be a model plate on the side just inside the doors. A model number will make research easier...

    Here is an ad from 1976:

    View attachment 112049
    (Click image for larger view)

    KaptJaq[/quote]
    I can
  10. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,854
    Loc:
    SE PA
    I just the like the expression '2 1/2 horse squirrel cage blower'. I wonder what that sounds like translated into chinese and back. ;lol

    Seems to be: 2 1/2马鼠笼鼓风机
  11. andrewjoseph

    andrewjoseph New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    36
    Loc:
    omaha, ne
    These are what the blowers look like. I am assuming the red wire is for the thermostat control or switch.

    Attached Files:

  12. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,854
    Loc:
    SE PA
    I just replaced the (different) blower on my similar vintage insert. When you get power to 'em, if they still don't work, I am sure it will be easy to find something similar. Look more like 0.25 horsepower to me. 2.5 horse is just craaazy.
  13. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    703
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    The fan is thermostatically controlled. There is a snap disk somewhere. Use your tester to see where you loose power. Does the line go from the circuit breaker to the switches alongside the stove first? Or does it go into the stove first? You might need an electrician to help trace the wires.

    It appears to be a robust unit, A 2.5 hp fan can move about 1,000 CF of air a minute. If their 200,000btu output is close to accurate it should easily heat your home. Since it is not a modern, secondary burn or catalytic stove it will probably eat a lot of wood. Are there any ducts from the stove other than the ones right next to it? The ad indicates a 60 ft range.

    KaptJaq
  14. andrewjoseph

    andrewjoseph New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    36
    Loc:
    omaha, ne
    There is one vent in the middle above the fireplace. I assumed this would be the output. its about four inches high by three feet wide.

    I have assumed wrong about a lot of this stuff and have realized there is quite a lot to how these things work. KaptJaq I appreciate all of the good feedback.
  15. Ed Williams

    Ed Williams New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Messages:
    28
    Likely the snap switch is keeping the fan off until it senses heat. Some of these guys, similar to Heatilator and Superior brands, are tricky to get cleaned due to the heated convection air ductwork hindering access to the smoke shelf.. I advise having a very knowledgeable sweep show & explain the entire process of cleaning it properly to you. Some of these need a cleanout door installed in the smoke chamber in order to get all the creosote out of the smoke chamber. If this is not done, most of the swept creosote from the flue is merely relocated to the smokeshelf, becoming a hoard of chimney fire fuel...not cool...
  16. andrewjoseph

    andrewjoseph New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    36
    Loc:
    omaha, ne
    Thanks for everyone's input. I had an electrician come over and figure the the blowers weren't getting power. Turns out there is no thermostat regulation at all, just a manual blower.

    At some point something was disconnected and the control just wasn't getting power at all. We ran a wire from the ceiling fan right next to it for power, and both blowers fired right up.

    Just a wiring issue. Fireplace sweep coming out to make repairs to chimney and should be in business.

Share This Page