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Questions about Zero Clearance Fireplace

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by mattd860, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. mattd860

    mattd860 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
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    Loc:
    Eastern, CT
    I purchased our home 2 years ago and it came with a Majestic Zero clearance fire place that is nothing but junk. The ink on the nameplate has burned off but numbers stamped into the namplate read 176629 032829.

    I recently installed a wood boiler to heat the radiators and domestic water but I want something to keep us warm during the fall and spring when the mornings/evenings are cold but the day is warm. So I have been researching a wood stove insert for my fireplace however, my fireplace is too small for anything! I was all set on getting the Avalon Pendleton but my fireplace does not meet the minimum requirements!

    I am pretty handy with masonry so I am thinking about ripping out the zero clearance junker and building my own fireplace out of brick or stone. The chimney is just a stainless pipe that travels up a 4ft X 4ft chase so my chimney is a masonry chimney.

    Can I just tear out the existing fireplace, building a masonry fireplace and then connect the existing stainless chimney pipe to it? Then I can install a fireplace insert into that.




    Ps - I cannot install a wood stove in this area although this would be the easiest solution - there must be a fireplace for various reasons.

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  2. kingquad

    kingquad Minister of Fire

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    You should post some pics. You say that your chimney is a stainless pipe running through a chase, but in the same sentence you say it's a masonry chimney. It's a little confusing
  3. Mike Bergeron

    Mike Bergeron New Member

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    Aug 23, 2012
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    New Hampshire
    x2 . Sounds like you have a zero clearance wood burning firebox up through a chase. They don't heat much if anything. if you still want to burn wood your best bet and most cost effective is to rip out the unit and run a newer similar sized majestic or similar brand circulating (top&bottom louver's w. blower) wood burning box. check out majestic's website they have some nice newer products.

    this way you'll probably be able to utilize the existing metal chimney in your chase.
  4. fox9988

    fox9988 Minister of Fire

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    NW Arkansas
    Quote from "What Stove Do You Recomend" thread:

    Yep, I'm with BG on the freestander. Only reason I'd ever consider using an insert is if I was stuck with the fireplace and needed to do something with it.

    If you go with any free standing unit, you'll save yourself a lot of work over building the faux fireplace, and you may find that you won't need to run a blower at all (depending on your setup) to heat the place with the free stander, but with an insert you'll hear that fan running all the time no matter what.

    If you were considering building the fireplace for an aesthetic purpose, perhaps a creative stone (or other material) wall behind the stove would work nicely? Or perhaps the aesthetics of a soapstone stove as BG mentioned also could help fill a visual void.

    But really, there are lots of stoves on the market that are great and would serve you well. I'd consider doing some window shopping, find a bit longer short list of stoves, then folks on here can help you decipher the nuances of each to help you pick the perfect one.

    Also, you didn't mention if you burn wood currently or not. If not, just a heads up that the vast majority of folks selling "seasoned wood," aren't. It's best to keep at least 1 full year ahead on your wood supply, buy it cheap (or get your own done early) and do the seasoning yourself. Cut, split, and stacked in a well ventilated outdoor area for 1 year and your good with a good many species of wood, smaller rounds (unsplit pieces) and oak can take 2 years.

    Welcome!

    pen
  5. papa bears stove

    papa bears stove Member

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    This had a tricky edge to it. You would need to check with Majestic to see if they have any wood burning inserts that are approved to be inside their firebox. It could lead to a liability issue. Start there to see if it would be allowable and check with code enforcement as well.
  6. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Why not just run the wood boiler? If it idles too much, why not spend the money storage rather than a fireplace?

    ac
  7. mattd860

    mattd860 New Member

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    Feb 21, 2011
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    Eastern, CT
    Ok - sorry for the confusion. My chimney is NOT a masonry chimney - leaving the word 'not' out of my original post was a typo.

    I do indeed have a zero clearance fireplace installed up through a chase. There is a chase opening in the attic where I can visibly see the chimney piping but I cannot get close enough to feel it or identify markings and therefore I do not know if it is single or double walled. If I stick my hand up the chimney flue above the fireplace it 'feels' like it is single wall. Did the code state in 1995, when the house was built, that zero clearance fireplaces have to vent through Class A chimney piping? Or could they get away with single walled piping in a large chase?

    I've been doing some research today and it seems the best bet is to get a zero clearance wood stove installed which essentially would act the same as a fireplace insert. Prior to making this post, I was completely unaware of this option. My wife and I really like the look of a fireplace and mantle in this area of the house hence the reason why we insist on keeping it. But a zero clearance wood stove enable us to keep the mantle and a look of a fireplace. A circulating fan is not an issue for us at all. I am concerned with the existing chimney pipe. If the existing chimney pipe is sufficient for the wood burning fireplace currently installed, can it be reused for a wood stove type application?

    I know I could just run the boiler - and that's what I do now - but I want something that's a little easier and simpler to run as well as make BETTER use of what is there. Right now the fireplace is sitting there and never get's used because its inefficient and doesn't heat anything.

    Like I said - unless someone steers me away from this - I really think the best solution is to rip out the fireplace and install a zero clearance wood stove. This will be better than installing a real masonry fireplace (not a fake one) and then installing an insert.

    Thanks for everone's input!! Does anybody have any suggestions for a zero clearance wood stove???
  8. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    That chimney is likely not Class A. Its an air cooled chimney found in most Pre-Fab units.

    From what I have researched, the BIS units are rated to install in a Pre-Fab without the need to install Class A.

    Maybe look them up? They can be installed with the use of AC (air cooled) chimneys.

    http://www.securitychimneys.com/residential/fireplaces/BISUltra/
  9. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I think what you may be talking about is an efficient, wood burning zero clearance fireplace. I don't know of any wood stoves that are zero clearance. Zero clearance fireplaces are expensive and, as I understand it, would require a different chimney also. HeatnGlow, Quadrafire and others make zero clearance energy efficient wood burning fireplaces.

    You may be able to use your current zero clearance prefab fireplace and chimney by buying an approved insert and liner for your existing chimney. Not all inserts will be approved for your current set-up. I have a small Quadrafire insert in my Superior prefab fireplace, and it does great for occasional use. Adding a chimney liner was a requirement. That would make better use of what is there.
  10. Mike Bergeron

    Mike Bergeron New Member

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    Loc:
    New Hampshire
    your best and easiest bet would be to put a stove in front of your zero clearance wood burning firebox. This way you wont have to modify your mantle and current finish work. Look up a Hearthstone Homestead, It is a perfect stove for that application. You will run a stainless tee/cleanout from the back of the stove into your firebox and then a 6'' stainless liner all the way up your current air cooled metal chimney.

    If you like the way your current fireplace looks and want to try and keep that look and still burn wood take a look at majestic's Sovereign wood burning fireplace. It is probably a very similar size to what you have and you can get it in a circulating model w. glass doors to meet some of your heating needs.

    The most efficient heating wise is to go with the freestanding stove in front of your current firebox.
  11. mattd860

    mattd860 New Member

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    Loc:
    Eastern, CT
    I think a zero clearance wood burning stove and fireplace are one in the same. Both are located inside a wall/mantle and look like a typical fireplace. However, a zero clearance wood stove has the ability to dampen down the flame like a typical wood stove so the fire doesn't always burn full bore. In a fireplace, there is no control over the burn rate of the fire. Without a circulating fan, a zero clearance wood stove / fireplace will be very inefficient.

    I am toying with the idea of tearing out the existing fireplace, building a simple masonry wall, and then place a free standing wood stove in front of it. However, this wall may get very heavy and I have no way to support the floor below since there is a basement bathroom located directly below - and I just spend thousands redoing the bathroom too :). I wonder if a non-combustible fire rated faux masonry wall will suffice? Any product like this?
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yes, you can use a stone or brick veneer to save weight and wall thickness. Many folks do that. The veneer won't provide much clearance reduction by itself, but you have options here. One is to buy a stove that has close clearances. Another is build the hearth deeper to honor whatever the stove calls for clearances. And the last is to build a ventilated air gap into a non-combustible NPFA spec wall to reduce clearances (if the stove mfg. permits this). Done correctly the last option can reduce clearances by 2/3ds.
  13. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    Please dont confuse the terms. A Zero Clearance fireplace is a real fireplace designed, built & tested with enough insulation etc.. that you can put it literally against a wall or studs (therefore zero clearance definition). You then frame around it and decorate as you would a masonry fireplace. It's a totally different beast than a stove and you cant use them interchangeably in the same sentence.

    Before you go any further decide what your budget is. Ripping the old fireplace and replacing it with newer ZC with venting will cost you $6K - $10K or more in appliance and material.

    As far as your other ideas are concerned, please submit pictures and I'm sure a lot of people will join in with their suggestions.
    Jack768 likes this.
  14. Creature

    Creature Member

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    I replaced my Majestic ZC and triple wall chimney with an Alderla T4 (for close clearances) and class A chimney. I couldn't find an approved insert for mine, but I was more interested in going with a stove. I wouldn't recommend piping a class A through the triple. I looked into that too, but it seemed like I was adding complexity if there were any problems with the system in the future.

    It was and expensive upgrade, but in my opinion, it was the right thing to do.
  15. Jjm457

    Jjm457 Member

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    Loc:
    SW Virginia
    My house built in 1988 came with crappy Majestic RC36 ZC with triple wall
    through chase. I didn't get much support from Majestic when I inquired about an
    insert. With that said, the end of last year, I had a local dealer order and
    install a Regency i1200 wood insert, along with a 6" stainless steel liner. It
    went in with an offset and does the trick for me, it's very small, but it fit.
    I am not a full time or overnight burner, but this does put out some heat,
    especially when blower on.

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  16. par0thead151

    par0thead151 Feeling the Heat

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    south eastern wisconsin
    i have a enviro venice 1700. it is one of the few RATED for Zero Clearance use.
    look at those before throwing a ton of money at a complete overhaul.
    my insert heats my 3K SQ ft home without the furnace till it gets to around 15 ferenheit outside. then it kicks on only a little. house is built in the past 12 years, so it has pretty good insulation.
  17. Jack768

    Jack768 Member

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    Loc:
    Long Island
    I replaced an old ZC fireplace with a new one (w/blower) 2 seasons ago and it's great. Not cheap, but cheaper than building a new brick/masonry enclosure. The better units are fully equal to a good EPA woodstove. But you have to determine what, if anything, you can fit into your current chimney setup. I had a 7 in Class A chimney, new unit not rated for it, had to run 2 1/2 stories of 6 in Class A. Expensive.
  18. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
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    I ripped out the old sero clearance fire place and chimney piping. Install new pipes and FPX 44 zero clearance. See my avatar. Good decision for me.
  19. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    I dont know if this deserve its own post but we've researched the issue of wood inserts inside a ZC appliances. There seems to be confusions as to what you can or cant do or what classifies an approved installation.

    This is the best answer we could come up with. If anybody knows differently let me know.


    It is possible to install a wood insert into an existing factory-built zero-clearance fireplace. However, there currently exists no UL or ULC standard specific to that type of conversion. The first thing that must be verified is that the factory-built zero clearance fireplace is listed (it must be certified by a competent certification body such as Omni or Warnock Hersey). It must be suitable for use with solid fuel and nothing in the owner’s manual must specifically prohibit the installation of a fireplace insert. When in doubt, check with the fireplace manufacturer. The installation of the zero-clearance fireplace MUST be thoroughly inspected by a professional in order to ensure that it still meets the manufacturer’s specs and code conformity. The chimney must be of at least 1" (25 mm) larger in diameter to accommodate a required continuous stainless steel liner running from the flue collar to the top of the chimney termination.

    Never remove parts that serve to insulate the zero-clearance fireplace from combustible material. Only readily detachable parts that are easily replaced, such as damper parts, screens, and doors, are to be removed from the fireplace. These parts must be stored nearby and available for retrofit if the insert is ever removed. Removal of any parts which render the fireplace unfit for use with solid fuel requires the fireplace to be permanently labelled by the installer as being no longer suitable for solid fuel until the removed parts are replaced and the fireplace is restored to its original certified condition. Furthermore, any air vents, grilles, or louvers that serve to create an air circulation pattern around and outside the zero-clearance fireplace shall never be removed.
  20. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    The Quadrafire 2700i is also a nice little insert for a small zero clearance fireplace.
  21. bdaber01

    bdaber01 Member

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    Loc:
    south Jersey
    Hey Guys, im in a similar situation and looking for some advice since the web is full of mixed reviews (as is this thread). At our last house we burned round the clock with a Napoleon 1402 installed in a masonry fireplace. We just moved and the house has a zero clearance Majestic MRC42 fireplace containing a gas log set. I cant find a manual online, but the manufacture stamp inside the box says it is rated for wood burning. I want to be able to burn wood at the new place, but cant find the information i need to say whether its okay to install a wood insert into this box. Id much prefer to install an insert over ripping out the current firebox and installing a new zero clearance wood burning unit.


    For those that have installed wood inserts into a ZC, can you point me to the material you used to base your decision?

    For those who have a new ZC high efficiency firebox, do you really get good heat output?

    Thanks
  22. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    It is possible to install a wood insert into an existing factory-built zero-clearance fireplace. However, there currently exists no UL or ULC standard specific to that type of conversion. The first thing that must be verified is that the factory-built zero clearance fireplace is listed (it must be certified by a competent certification body such as Omni or Warnock Hersey). It must be suitable for use with solid fuel and nothing in the owner’s manual must specifically prohibit the installation of a fireplace insert. When in doubt, check with the fireplace manufacturer. The installation of the zero-clearance fireplace MUST be thoroughly inspected by a professional in order to ensure that it still meets the manufacturer’s specs and code conformity. The chimney must be of at least 1" (25 mm) larger in diameter to accommodate a required continuous stainless steel liner running from the flue collar to the top of the chimney termination.

    Never remove parts that serve to insulate the zero-clearance fireplace from combustible material. Only readily detachable parts that are easily replaced, such as damper parts, screens, and doors, are to be removed from the fireplace. These parts must be stored nearby and available for retrofit if the insert is ever removed. Removal of any parts which render the fireplace unfit for use with solid fuel requires the fireplace to be permanently labelled by the installer as being no longer suitable for solid fuel until the removed parts are replaced and the fireplace is restored to its original certified condition. Furthermore, any air vents, grilles, or louvers that serve to create an air circulation pattern around and outside the zero-clearance fireplace shall never be removed.
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Try to get a copy of the manual from Monessen Hearth customer service:
    http://www.mhsc.com/contact.html
    (859) 987-0740
  24. bdaber01

    bdaber01 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    south Jersey
    Great, thanks for the contact information. Its so hard finding any information on this model.

    inside the firebox there is the UL approved label but it does not have a number, thats the key at this point as i have several inserts that are certified so long as the pre-fab is UL 127

    are there databases available to see what models have been approved?
  25. madtrapper

    madtrapper Member

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    Loc:
    Mt. Pleasant Mi
    I just installed a kozy heat z42 zc fireplace although I have only uses it a few times so far it puts out a ton of heat without the blower on and with it on it roast you out of the house granted the cold it has been is 35 so far. It was pricey with the unit and class a chimney along with the stone work but wife wanted no part of a free stander with young kids in the house

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