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Replacing a gas fireplace with a PE Summit Insert

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Stewart McKenzie, Oct 11, 2007.

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  1. Stewart McKenzie

    Stewart McKenzie New Member

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    Northern Virginia
    Hi, I'm new here, and new to fireplace inserts.... I'm buying a PE Summit insert to replace the existing gas fireplace in my new home. Has anyone had any experience in taking out a gas fireplace and putting in a wood burning stove insert?

    The existing chimney only goes up around 12 feet, so I'll have to add another 15 feet or so to get up above the roof line, and then insert a SS flex flue. Has anyone done this before? I'd like to try building it all myself because I'm quite handy.

    Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Cheers,
    Stewart.

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  2. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Well nobody else answered your post let me take a stab at it First of all we do not have enough details an insert csn only be installed in
    an EPA 211 approved masonry firebox and chimney.

    We need pictures of the fire place and that chimney I can't imagine what you are talking about here needing to install 15 more feet of masonry chimney.

    I have to see what you are talking about
  3. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    I would agree, we need pictures. If it's a prefab gas fireplace, you probably couldn't use an insert, but might well be able to use a pre-fab or Zero Clearance (ZC) fireplace - however this would likely require replacing the existing chimney.

    Is this "new home" a "new construction" house, or a "new to you, but previously owned" house? If it's new construction, can you get any details from the builder as to what was put in when the home was built? If it's an older house, can you give an approximate age and likely history of any changes to the fireplace?

    Plus our usual "questions for newbies" (Maybe Craig ought to make a prefab form to fill in as the first post? %-P )

    What part of the country are you in?

    What is your heating season like?

    What are you currently heating with? How much fuel are you using?

    What is the size and floor plan of your house?

    What sort of setup do you currently have for burning? - make and model if possible, how is it vented, anything else you can tell us...

    I'm sure others will add to the list :lol:

    Gooserider
  4. Stewart McKenzie

    Stewart McKenzie New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    OK, I'm going to try and be a bit more specific here!

    I think it's a pre-fab gas fireplace... here's a photo of it when the house was being built, also I've attached a photo of what the chimney looks like from the outside. It's one of those half chimney's that are framed like the rest of the house, and NOT masonry.

    It IS a new construction house (or it was when we moved in 2 years ago)!

    I live in Northern Virginia, and probably will heat from late Oct - early April...

    The house is currently heated with propane.... and our fuel bills are ridiculously expensive (hence the possibility of having a wood insert instead) ... plus we have a ton of fallen trees on our property, and a pile of around 25 of them left from when the builder did the septic field. I've probably got around 4-5 years worth of wood to burn!!

    The house is 2900 sq ft, and has a pretty open floor plan.

    I hope this adds a little more to my first post?!!

    I was looking to buy a PE summit insert from Justin (the guy in Texas) on Ebay... but wanted to make sure it is doable BEFORE I make the purchase.

    Other questions I have are:

    Do I need a masonry chimney in order to have an insert? ...or can I add to my 'half chimney' and add a liner inside? Can the liner be one of the flex type liners, or does it have to be the rigid kind? Does it have to be double insulated? ...etc...

    I really have no idea which way to go, so any help is greatly appreciated...

    Cheers,
    Stewart.

    Attached Files:

  5. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    You need to start shopping for EPA rated wood burning fireplaces OR freestanding wood stoves. Those are the two most efficient ways to get where you want to be. Installing a PE Summit insert in your situation is not possible from a safety/code compliance pov. Everyone hates the FPX Elites but I think they're good. VC sequoias are good too. Someone else will be along with the list of their prefered models shortly.
  6. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    You can't put any insert into that. Looks like a Lennox direct vent gas fireplace.

    Your only easy solution would be to tear it out and put in a Pellet Insert (installed as a built in unit). Those can be vented out the back like the gas unit is.
  7. hilly

    hilly Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
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    If it were me, I would leave the gas fireplace there and look for another place to put a wood burning stove.
  8. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    Good thing you didn't buy the Summit insert yet. As mentioned, there's no way to put a wood burning insert into that unit. Since you have easy access to free wood, I would not go the pellet route, even though it would be a bit easier and less expensive to install. You would just end up replacing a portion of your propane bill with a pellet bill. Granted you would lower the total but why pay for fuel when you have the free wood.

    As Shane said, I would look into EPA rated wood burning fireplaces. I have heard good things about the FPX units and Quadrafire makes some very nice ones as well. You'll have to re-build and extend the chimney also.

    Depending on the layout of your home, you may also want to look into a free standing wood stove in another location. That may make the installation a bit easier, depending on the areas available. Of course you will still have to consider the chimney and a hearth for the stove.
  9. Stewart McKenzie

    Stewart McKenzie New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Northern Virginia
    Thanks for the answers.

    If I can have a wood burning fireplace (provided I build onto the chimney)... why can I not have a wood burning fireplace insert?

    Is it because its needs masonry chimney? Does it actually need a masonry chimney?

    ...Basically what do I have to do, in order to have a wood burning fireplace insert such as the PE Summit?

    Lots of questions I know, but I don't want to screw this up!! ;-)
  10. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Remove all of the existing bump out and chase. Dig down below the frost line and pour a concrete footing to support the masonry fireplace weight
    From below the ground the masonry brick and block is built up to reach the first floor level the exterior of that wall need to have a 5' wide by 56" high opening cut in and again properly headed off to support the weight above. Inside the home infront of the fireplace the floor joist have to be cut 2' by 5" wide to make room for the concrete hearth

    Again this will require extensive framing and doubling up joist and heading it off From this point up a standard masonry fireplace and fire box can be built say 30" high by 32" wide

    theses dementions can vary The 5 foot fireplace can be reduced in to accommodate an 8/8 clay flue the rest of the way up to 2" beyond the peak.

    Another way would be incorporating a class A chimney instead of masonry to make the run up the side of the home.

    If I were to estimate a cost including the PE summit and installation I would think between 12 to 15K would get it done

    Now if you want an economical solution What you probably have is a builder's special decorative gas fireplace. Meaning the heat it produces 50%

    is exhausted up the flue. Now if you were to swap it out to a high efficiency model, you could claim productive heat returned to the living space in the low 80%

    If you considered a free standing wood stove and a class A chimney that might make sense In all probability even a high effeciency wood fire place would require total reframing ot the bumpout and eliminating the partial existing chase. and build a much larger one or have class A pipe run along the siding exposed.

    There is no cheap easy solution to a summit insert or any other brand insert with your current setup
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I think i'd go for a pipe chase to the roof covering that shiney chimney.
  12. petejung

    petejung New Member

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    Depending on the size of the doghouse there, couldn't he convert that doghouse into an alcove and install a pellet stove? I think he'd need to extend the vertical dimension of the doghouse, but he should have room to do that... I think. Hard to tell w/o measurements.
  13. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    OK thanks for the added info - it's more or less what I suspected...

    1. You CAN NOT install an insert into the current setup. An insert is intended to go into an already existing masonry or (sometimes) pre-fab WOOD fireplace. It would require major (spelled Expen$ive) work to put enough of a structure in to install an insert.

    2. There is practically nothing of the existing structure that is useable in it's current form to put any sort of replacement prefab ZC fireplace in. The bumpout shell might be big enough, but not likely, and it would need serious modifications to use it.


    This leaves your options as I see it -

    1. Modify the bumpout and install a pre-fab Zero Clearance fireplace unit -

    2. Replace the gas insert with a pellet unit, however this option may not save significant amounts on your fuel bill as pellets can be pricey.

    3. Wall up the bumpout, or possibly turn it into an alcove, and place a free-standing wood stove in front of it,

    4. Leave the gas unit the way it is and put a wood stove in someplace else in the house.

    Gooserider
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