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Q&A Wood Stove Insert in Wood Frame Chase

Post in 'Questions and Answers' started by QandA, Nov 24, 2007.

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  1. QandA

    QandA New Member Staff Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
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    Question:

    Dear Sir- We recently purchased an existing home with two fireplaces one in the basement and one on the main floor. The house has an A-frame construction with cathedral ceilings-- A wood framed (fake rock covered) chase runs from the basement to the roof... Now the problem. We recently had a fire in our main floor fireplace. The plywood and 2x4 headers caught on fire apparently from radiated heat from the top of the fireplace. The fireplace is a Black Bart-- and appears to be a wood stove that has just been inserted into the chase. The chase has wonderboard lining it, to about 1.5feet above the stove. My question is... Is this type of instillation safe??? It seems that there is an awful lot of heat that will always be radiated into the chase from this setup... Our contractor wants to simply put a non-combustible in front of the stove pipe, but that certainly won't cover the entire chase. In speaking with someone in the area, they said that this type of stove/fireplace is not designed for this type of installation, but rather I need a ZC fireplace. Is this true??? If so... are there any ZC's (wood burners) that will provide the kind of heat that I got from the Black Bart? Thank you for your time.



    Answer:

    It sounds like what you had what a poorly designed alcove, which must be designed properly in order to be safe. You can still have the same type of design if you desire, but the problem you will find with another alcove-approved wood stove is that each model will have certain maximum size & protection requirements. The reason for this is that: a) You need to protect the back and side walls, and protect the header (via ceiling plate) which was your problem. b) Heat must not be allowed to build up in the alcove, hence maximum size restrictions. I have a feeling that what you will find is that you have an existing installation which may be inadequate for most alcove-approved stoves requiring a lot of alterations.

    Three options:

    One: Look at alcove-approved stoves (e.g. Vermont Castings), and pick out the model that fits your heating needs. Review the alcove requirements and see if it's feasible given your existing site.

    Two: Review factory different types of built fireplaces and see if you can adapt them to your installations. You will find that you probably will not be able to receive the same amount as your Black Bart (I'm unsure of B.B.'s Btu rating). But there are several good models which will give you good heat during operation. One I'm familiar with is the Majestic Warm Majic, but I'm sure that Craig can also provide you with a few other names that are also decent heaters. Get a FP with a blower option (circulating model). Keep in mind, however, that you will not receive the overnight burn time with a FP because you cannot limit the air the way you can with a wood stove. And, they will not be as efficient.

    Three: Rip the whole thing out and start anew.

    Go through the Hearthnet web site, especially Travis. If you are into wood stoves, take a look at Jotul, HearthStone, Woodstock Soapstone. Look at the Majestic web site at www.majesticproducts.com and look at the Warm Majic. Then, get a professional (via local dealer) at your house and have them look things over. Armed with all of that information, you can now make an informed decision.

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