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)

Zero Clearance Fireplace to Wood Insert

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by jdp1152, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Messages:
    767
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Had my brother over this evening and lit a fire in the insert. Liked what he saw and is considering replacing his zero clearance fp with an insert. Legit concerns over safety, feasibility, and cost. Figured I'd do what I can to help out with research and this place is a wealth of good information. External clearances will obviously need to be modified, but that's easy enough with the literature for each insert. My question here is what are some viable starting points for research into making this swap. Only thing I have to go on right now is the ZC is:
    Superior
    Model BR- 36


    Things interested in learning:
    - Inserts ready made for this transition
    -Things to consider when making such a transition

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. RSNovi

    RSNovi Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    298
    Loc:
    Michigan
    I am installing a Jotul c350 in a Superior BR-42. Both Jotul and Lennox said it was safe.
  3. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    706
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    There are a number of inserts approved for installation into ZC fireplaces. Look at the various inserts on the web, find the style you like, then check the documentation to make sure it is approved for your ZC. A good stove shop should be able to help you with the initial search. It WILL be noted in the installation guide if it is approved for ZC fireplace installation. If you cannot find it in the manual contact the manufacturer.

    Once you have selected the insert download the installation guide to determine the requirements for your installation.

    There are a bunch of people here that have already done the same thing that will pipe in with suggestions and helpful advice.

    KaptJaq
  4. ernie

    ernie Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    67
    Loc:
    Missouri
    Buck 18 and small Regency will work.
  5. glenncz

    glenncz Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Messages:
    20
    Get the largest one you can fit. A couple of months ago we put in the Travis Large Flush Wood Insert and are generally happy with it. However, it is a big expense and the costs of the chimney liner you might need and installation might run as much or more than the unit itself. One of your big choice will be whether the insert protrudes or not. Our is flush. There are pro's and cons of each. One fireplace store we first shopped said none of them are safe in a ZC, but I think he was off he rocker! I would go to every store in your area with a picture of your current set up and the measurements and see what fits.

    It is a lot of work to keep the insert going, if you plan on keeping it going 24/7. I am lucky to live in the country and have all the wood I want right on my property. I don't think it would be worth it if I had to buy wood. For sure an insert will throw more heat, how much of your house it'll heat will depend on the size of your house. I don't have that figured out yet, waiting for oil bill, but i have a large house and my furnace is still running regularly.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,170
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Just to clarify. He will not be replacing the fireplace with an insert. Rather he is considering installing an insert into the ZC fireplace, right? Size and fit are the first order of business. How large an area is he hoping to heat? What is the layout of the house like? Open floorplan with central fireplace or closed off space with the fireplace at one end?
  7. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Messages:
    767
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Insert into ZC, open floor plan, fp on exterior wall, total house is 2300, down stairs is 1400, Not looking for 24/7 burning. Just evenings and weekends to help knock the oil bill down a bit. His home builder has lost a few lawsuits recently for some corner cutting so they'll likely have to get a pretty good inspection on the set up to make sure the fireplace is up to code.
  8. Mr.Hardwoods

    Mr.Hardwoods New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Central Michigan (Fenton)
    I have been reading posts here about similar set ups. I too am looking to retrofit an insert into a ZC fireplace. The size I am working with is very close to the Superior BR36. The inserts that I have come up with so far that could work are:

    Country Flame 02
    Regency CI 1200
    Regency I 1200 S
    Quadra-Fire 2700i
    Buck Stove 18
    Jotul C 350 Winterport

    I hope this sets you on the right track
  9. Comanche79p

    Comanche79p New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2012
    Messages:
    82
    I will chime in. I have a Heatilator Brand 36" ZC and recently installed a Sierra Cricket in the firebox along with a 6" SS liner inside the 8" inner pipe.
    Not much room for wood but it does put out more heat than the fireplace but it takes a lot of babysitting. 16" wood is the max east to west, 12" north/south.
    If I were to do it over I would start over and put in a heater because want to heat 24/7.
  10. NickDL

    NickDL Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    Messages:
    89
    Loc:
    Souderton, Pa
    We're in the same boat as you. We have the Heatilator 36 as well and it will only take the smallest insert. I was very disappointed to hear that news. We want to burn 24/7 and the smallest unit is rated for around 6-7 hours, I'm sure that real world times are probably less. So now to save up more money and rip out what we have to put a larger unit in that will heat our home well and not need constant attention. We are even toying around with going with a stove, still undecided.
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    49,170
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Another possible is the Enviro Kodiak 1200. What are the actual interior dimensions of the fireplace? What about extending the hearth and putting a rear-vented, freestanding stove on the hearth?
  12. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Messages:
    771
    Loc:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    Just to clarify. There is no such thing as an insert approved for ZC. It could be a MFG specifically states it ok to do. But this is a grey area and no testing is available to approve or disallow such installation. You are free to put whatever inserts into your ZC as long as you follow the basic info below...


    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.
  13. KaptJaq

    KaptJaq Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    706
    Loc:
    Long Island, NY
    I used the wrong phrase. Some manuals say the insert may be installed in a factory built ZC fireplace, others have language to indicated that they probably should not. For example from the Vermont Casting Montpelier manual:


    The Montpelier Medium Insert is listed for installation within a properly built masonry or heat circulating, masonry-type fireplace that is constructed in accordance with the requirements of recognized building codes. A heat-circulating masonry-type fireplace must conform to building code standards for masonry fireplaces, and must consist of a factory-built metal firebox with air circulation pathways that are surrounded by masonry materials. Air circulation pathways must not be blocked by the insert or surround panels...
    ...The Montpelier Medium Insert is not listed for installation in factory-built fireplaces.

    If a Montpelier was installed in a ZC and there were problems it could become a litigation/insurance nightmare. "Approved" was the wrong word. I wanted the OP to check the insert documentation or with the manufacturer to make sure there were no limitations or concerns relating to a ZC install.

    KaptJaq
  14. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,843
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Mine is in a Heatilator A36R.
  15. madison

    madison Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Messages:
    1,412
    Loc:
    41.33°N 74.18°W and 44.67°N 111.0°W
    Thoroughly research the option of removing the zero clearance fireplace. It will open up (literally and figuratively) a lot of options. It will add some labor, but if you have to modify the existing hearth for front clearance, you are already into some construction....

Share This Page