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Woodburning Zero Clearance Fireplaces

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by builderbob, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. builderbob

    builderbob New Member

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    We are planning a new home and want a woodburning ZC fireplace.

    We are looking into the Napoleon High Country NZ6000, the Lennox Montecito Estate, the RSF Opel3, and the Regency Z2510. We would like to get a decent viewing are---say 14"+ by 26"+.

    We have been unable to actually see any of htese models at dealers yet.

    Any experienced owners on any of these models? Comments? Pros and cons? Satisfaction level with your model?

    Thanks,
    Builderbob

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  2. scfa99

    scfa99 New Member

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    Hey Bob,

    I have the Quad 7100 and love it. Do a quick search on it and should bring you back a lot of feedback. I also have a review on the stove review section. If you have any other specific questions on the quad let me know i'd be happy to help.

    Matt
  3. builderbob

    builderbob New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback.

    But doesn't the Quad 7100 have a somewhat small viewing area---maybe 12" x 24"? We got that impression somewhere and didn't consider it further.
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Are you intending this thing to heat or just entertain? IMHO, the difference between 12x24 and 14x26 is trivial and shouldn't be your primary criteria. Go for the stove with the strongest quality, reputation, burn time and dealer support in your area. Stay open to all the qualities of the stove and don't worry too much about the marketing literature. In the long run, you'll be happier.
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    RSF are top-notch. They were making these fireplaces before the other companies ever thought about them. Regency has been at it a long time also.

    There are a lot of good models, but local (or semi-local) dealer support can be helpful unless you are a DIY type or have a very skilled contractor, so dig around for dealers in your area. It is typical for dealers not to show every model, especially built-in wood units, but maybe you will get lucky.
  6. builderbob

    builderbob New Member

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    Let me clarify as to our desired size viewing area---we would like 14"+---meaning minimum 14" but would like larger. Same with the 26"+---like 26" but prefer larger. Can anyone tell us what are the actual viewing glass dimensions of various models?

    We would depend on heating only for supplemental or emergency heat. Ambiance and decent viewing area of fire is main factor, while heating ability would be a pleasant bonus. But we do not want a loss of home heat while fireplace not in use, hence we are looking at the sealed door high efficiency woodburners, and not the low efficiency airgap doors type of prefabs (which do have large viewing areas).

    So, what models high efficiency woodburners have decent viewing areas of *at least* 364 sq inches (=14 x 26). The Quad 7100 apparently has area of only 288 sq inches (12 x 24), and that Quad difference from our minimum is not trivial.

    Thanks everyone for feedback.
  7. scfa99

    scfa99 New Member

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  8. builderbob

    builderbob New Member

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    Thanks for the reference to the BIS Panarama. It looks good. We also noted at the BIS site the BIS Tradition (which I think is now the same as the Lennox Montecito Estate which was on our short list).

    We also think the RSF Opel 3 which also is a single door *may* be a candidate, but it is apparently a new product from RSF, and we can't tell the viewing area dimensions for sure. I emailed RSF yesterday as to dimensions and availability but got no response yet.

    Anyone out there know anything about the RSF OPEL 3?

    Thanks again all for responses and help. I never knew planning a new house would be so much detective work!!

    builderbob
  9. scfa99

    scfa99 New Member

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    What size house and floorplan? with the units you're looking at you'll be surprised how much heat you can get out of them.
  10. builderbob

    builderbob New Member

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    3100 sq feet two story, with 2100 sq ft main level and 1000 sq ft upstairs. 15 x 20 living area with 14 foot ceiling. Interior fireplace will serve as a partial divider of living room from 15 x 30 eating and kitchen area (9 foot ceiling)---that is the back of the fireplace module will face the eating area. Also a 6 foot opening from side of fireplace module is walk thru opening from living room to eating/kitchen---that is the fireplace module of 6 feet wide and the walkthru opening to eating area of 6 feet wide together make the 12 foot side of the eating area which is the common edge of the living room. Also have a 6-1/2 foot wide entry hall to living room near this area.

    In other words, fairly open floor plan.

    buiderbob
  11. bmstove.com

    bmstove.com New Member

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    Don't know if you're still shopping or not but here's my two cents worth...

    I am surprized you have not considered the Fireplace Xtrordinair 44 elite. Now THAT is an awesome machine and the chimney wont cost as much as the fireplace. Don't let the air-cooled chimney scare you off. Just do the cold-climate install and love it. The Napoleon is the only thing that comes close in performance and the way they pump cold air directly into the chimney the gasses are gonna cool just as much anyway. The Napoleon does give you a few more square inches of glass but the XTR is way beyond in proving itself in the market.

    Jack
  12. builderbob

    builderbob New Member

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    Thanks for the info on the Fireplace Xtrordinaire. In fact we were aware of it. It is the only woodburning ZC fireplace unit actually on display in our town.

    The aircooled chimney is a concern, as you suspected.

    Also, I was leary of the catalyst and expense of having to replace that periodically. All the other units we are considering are noncatalytic, and I find that to be a bonus.

    Also, the actual viewing area of the Xtrordinaire gets down to only about 12" tall. We would really like a few inches taller minimum. We have been spoiled by a 20" by 41" masonry fireplace built in 1968 in our current house and are finding it hard to give up the large viewing area.

    But as you say, it seems to Fireplace Xtrordinaire is popular. At least two dealers have spoken highly of it to us.

    Thanks for the input, and I am still hoping for much more input and all units and possibilities out there.

    buildbob
  13. bmstove.com

    bmstove.com New Member

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    Actually the GLASS measures 19X32 on the 44 Elite which I just measured in the showroom. That is the width and the highest part of the arch. If you see one burn you will notice the tremendous mass of fire in its huge firebox.

    I am not an advocate of catalytic combustors in most cases and tend to encourage my customers towards non-cat designs. The elite is deffinitely my exception to that preference. I have been quoted in regards to the elite as saying, "The only real good case for catalytic combustors". Of course this is a stretch, they do have their place. However, the elite's catalyst feature is a tremendous advantage in more ways than one.

    1) it is extremely simple to move in and out of position.

    2) with it slid back out of the path of the flue, the elite offers unrestricted exhaust for having huge roaring fires with the screen only without backpuffing or smoking. With a non-cat fireplace the path of exhaust often remains the same whether in fireplace or efficiency mode.

    The air cooled chimney is not a big deal in my opinion. It saves a lot (costs about 1/4 of class A) of money in chimney cost. Xtrordinair offers a cold climate kit for the fireplace to stop any cold air infiltration and if you simply install the intact ducts with a "s-trap" configuration there will be no thermal siphoning when not in use. The biggest complaint (perhaps ONLY complaint) is that there is cold air infiltration when the fireplace is not eing used. This happens when the cold air ducts are installed in their simplest possible way, up and out.

    WOW I hope I am not sounding like I am giving a sales pitch, I just have a lot of experience with these and see how others try to compete with this model. I sell several competitors and none gives more satisfaction than the elite in my opinion although the Quad and the Regency do well. As far as the Lennox(USA)/BIS(CAN) models, consider their marketing as "rough estimate" at best. Yes, I sell those too. Just being honest from what my customers tell me.

    Be aware of a little smoke and mirrors Regency puts into their unit. The arch surround measures out AS wide as Xtrordinair, but the metalwork is almost twice as wide. Maybe the same between the stones but the actual window is much smaller. Otherwise, the regency is a good performer.

    I could buy any one of them but in my house for my money, XTR has nothing left to prove to me. The owner has one in his house. it is 26 feet to the peak of his ceiling and it does a nice job at keeping the place comfortable.

    OH, XTR has one other thing against it if it is a feature you MUST have; it does not duct heat into other rooms. With its posi-pressure system that limitation is found to be no sacrifice once the unit is actually put to work.

    I hope this info helps you out in making your decision. Have a good week.

    Jack
  14. builderbob

    builderbob New Member

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    Thanks again for input on actual experience. This type of info is valuable to us.

    On the Xtrordinair, I suppose since one of my worries *is* cold air infiltration when not in use, we could just close the airtight sealed doors. Voila---no cold air draft from the fireplace!! And no house warm air going up the flue either when fireplace not in use. And then the aircooled chimney would become less a concern too. Am I correct in my thinking on these points?

    Another concern on the aircooled chimney would be less strong draw (when fire burning) up the flue than with a solid pack chimney. Since we intend an interior install, and since the chimney would go up through a upstairs closet chase also inside the house, then perhaps this point would be less a worry. That is, a solid pack chimney inside the house for all except maybe the 5 feet or so above the roof, compared to an aircooled chimney in the same circumstances may show less advantage to the solid pack chimney as to strength of draw, and avoidance of puffing out the fireplace itself.

    As to the Lennox Montecito Estate models you suggest their literature is *approximation* at best---meaning the unit does *not* measure width/height/depth as stated? Or do you mean the BTU production is guestimate. Remember, we are interested in fireplace for viewing, enjoying ambiance as main criteria. We want a unit to give us this, and *not* siphon off house heat when not in use. We would find heat production during use a welcome bonus, as we would not depend on unit as primary heat source, but welcome supplemental heat and emergency heat. So, the Lennox could provide us this ambiance and not act as siphon of house heat when *not* burning a fire? That is the most important thing we would want out of it.

    Thanks again for all the info and thoughts and sharing of experience.

    Anyone else feel free to chime in too!!

    builderbob
  15. builderbob

    builderbob New Member

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    PS----Anyone with RSF OPEL experience?
  16. mlouwho

    mlouwho New Member

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    I have the Opel, love it, burns great, looks great, heats wonderful. Highly reccomend it.
  17. bacsales

    bacsales New Member

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    Check out the Napoleon NZ6000. It is listed with both air cooled chimney or solid packed chimney. A big bonus is that you can use other brands of chimney on this unit like the Quadrafire or Fireplace Extrordinaire. The BIS or the RSF are made by companies that make their own chimney. You must use their chimney only.
  18. bmstove.com

    bmstove.com New Member

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    The only thing about the Napoleon is that either the expensive packed pipe chimney OR double wall chimney is going to be air cooled. Napoleon got around EPA by dumping dilution air into the chimney; This got their cubic foot of volume up to change the classification of their appliance and what they would have to conform to. The difference in Napoleon and Xtrordinair is their chimeny is cooled from the inside.
  19. builderbob

    builderbob New Member

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    Jack,

    Thanks for the comments on the NZ6000. It is one model we have been looking at. Do you have one? What has been your experience with it?

    builderbob
  20. bmstove.com

    bmstove.com New Member

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    I do not have one but I have sold and installed them for customers. I will add that the customers have been extremely pleased with the extra money spent on the Napolean. It is a fine fireplace. I sure don't want to sound like an Xtrordinair representative here.

    I caught on to the chimney air thing when trying to figure out why such an applinace would not show any testing information. If you're gonna send huge volumes of air up the chimney to classify as a fireplace and not an airtight stove, Napolean did it the right way. I was really just trying to make a point that under the circumstances, Xtrordinairs closest competitor also has an air cooled chimney no matter how much it costs.

    If the look of the Napolean and the idea of its slightly larger fire viewing area are what sends you that route I would predict you will always be happy with the decision. Only being out a couple of seasons now track record is yet to be established for the NZ but based on the company's reputation I would say it is a fairly safe bet it will do well. We have had no waranty or breakage issues with ours in the field.

    Jack
  21. bacsales

    bacsales New Member

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    I just took the product line on this spring so I don't have any personal experience with this unit. I was just trying to make sure you had looked at it also.


    OOps I just re read your first post. I was being redundant. sorry
  22. builderbob

    builderbob New Member

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    Thanks guys for the Napoleon info.

    Back to the Xtrordinair------from reviewing the company website, I didn't really see much about burning the fires with the doors open such as we would want to do quite often for ambiance. And I did not see firescreens for sale or mentioned at the company site. I did see refernce in the owners manual in the standard boiler plate language section that seems to be standard for all manufacturers, that one should have a fire with either the doors fully opened or fully closed, not partway open. But that is all I saw, yet the company does not offer firescreens for sale (for use with doors open).

    I wonder if burning the Xtrordinair with doors open is an "encouraged" use by Xrtordinair company? If doing so would void warranty? Also don't recall seeing warranty info on the Xtrordinair.

    Also, I was wondering if any complaints about creasote forming on doors and frequent need for cleaning with the Xtrordinair?

    Thanks for all the input people. You folks are just great!!

    builderbob
  23. bmstove.com

    bmstove.com New Member

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    The Xtrordinair web site underwent a major facelift this spring. Maybe someone forgot something? They do have a very nice firescreen available for the elite series. The catalyst moves completely out of the way for this leaving a wide open flue to use as an open fireplace. The screen is very simple in that it just pops on with its friction tabs and pops back off easily. You can read the full warranty from the Xtrordinair manual available from the web site. Using with the screen does not affect the warranty and is perfectly ok. As far as the brand specifying fully opened or fully closed, I'd say that would be an overheating issue that may be present with say the door cracked a bit- causing huge fire but not enough air cycling through to keep things cooled down.

    About the glass...

    I believe I have had complaints (or concerned inquiries) from new owners of about every product we sell. Xtrordinair specific, I have had some calls. These windows are huge. Xtrordinair pumps air from the sides and it does a great job as compared to the old days of washing air from the top down on an arched glass (oops).

    Like any product out there that can be restricted, the Elite will soot up the window when the air is turned off. This is worse when the wood is wet. Most of the combustion air is washed over the glass to feed the fire. This is how air washes work. When we cut off this air flow, you basically do not have an airwash and the glass will soot up. However, like anything else, fire up the fireplace real hot with the air open and the glass will clean back off. In my opinion the airwash works almost as well as a good airwash on a free standing stove.

    All glass gets dirty but they come back pretty easy.

    Jack
  24. youngstr

    youngstr Guest

  25. builderbob

    builderbob New Member

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    Good thread on the Xtrordinair. Always glad to hear of a satisfied customer with any product I am considering.

    Has anyone had experience on replacing Xtrordinair catalysts yet? Like how often? I found one site where replacements were sold and they were $450 each. Yikes. But, initial price of the Xtrordinair with AC chimney compared to say the Napoleon NZ6000 with solid pack chimney---the savings on that initial price in favor of Xtrordinair would pay for a few catalysts. And if they don't have to be replaced too often under normal circumstances, maybe that isn't an issue to worry about?

    builderbob

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