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Zero Clearance Fireplace?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by velvetfoot, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I don't know if I even have the right name for it?

    I'm thinking, one day, to take out the small insert and the zero clearance fireplace I put it in, and replace the whole thing with a stove, like a fireplace, but one that is efficient like a wood stove. Is this also a zero clearance fireplace, or is it called something else?

    Is there a list of them somewhere or recommendations?

    Thanks.

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  2. Jack768

    Jack768 Member

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    Lennox and RSF make some very good zero-clearance units that are high-efficiency and very effective heating units. I have the Lennox Montecito which is excellent.
  3. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    If you are looking for High-Efficiency units try the following link. http://www.valcourtinc.com/products.aspx?CategoId=20

    The nice thing about ZC is they get close to being a forced air furnace. In addition of the built in blowers that come with ZC you can typically install a 'gravity kit' which captures the convection heat and you direct it back in the room or into floor registers above or to an adjacent room.

    You can also/either install a forced air blower to turn these to really supplement your home heat. You can either dump the warm air in your furnace ducting or into another room. Valcourt is the only brand I'm aware of where you can put the forced air kit on a thermostat and program it for 2 zones (most brands put the blower it on a manual switch). ie. place the thermostat on 'Heat' in the remote room you want to heat and the blower will kick in when calling for heat. Place the thermostat on 'cool' in the same room as the Fireplace and the blower will come on when the temp gets above thermostat set point.

    It is programmable with multi-speed and multi-kick in point. All this means is you tell the program at which temp to kick-in the blower. Depending on the temp the blower will speed up.

    Disclaimer: I work for the company.
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I looked at the manuals, and so far, they seem to have molded refractory liners, which have got be costly to replace.
  5. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    Yes, you have the right name for it.

    I essentially did what you are thinking. Totally ripped out an old zero clearance fire place (and hearth) and put in a new efficient zero clearance FP. I went with FPX 44 Elite chosen mostly based on the recommendation of the local company I used to install it. Turns out, I love the choice. It heats my house - the oil man only gets to heat my hot water now and the rare occasion when oil heat is used as a back up for times we are away.

    Good luck!
  6. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Just looked at the owner's manual. It uses replaceable refractory brick, so it's on my list!
    Thanks.

    Is the Quadrafire 7100 a competitor? I believe it too uses brick, and both are big.

    I'm finding I wish my little insert was bigger.
  7. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I see that FPX has three different sizes, which is nice.
  8. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    Why would you want to replace them? Unless you take a running start when chucking your wood in, you should get years of service out of them.

    Also you'd be hard pressed to find an EPA Phase 2 (Washington State) below $3,000. Yet the Valcourt FP11 is about $2,700. You can afford a fair amount of bricks with the money you save.
  9. Jack768

    Jack768 Member

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    Keep in mind that FPX is a somewhat different system from most zero-clearance units -- it uses positive pressure to diffuse heat through the house and has an air-cooled chimney system. Some reviews are very positive, some not (there have been debates re whether it lets cold air into your house when not burning, I believe, and whether it functions better in more temperate climates).

    Re the refractory issue -- the BIS fireplace I have was made in 1984 and has yet to have refractory problems. Lennox Montecito refractory seems durable as well, although it's only been one season.

    These units are great if a freestanding stove doesn't work in the room and you don't have a masonry fireplace that will take an insert. They amount to a high-efficiency EPA stove in your wall. With the blower and/or gravity air kits, they heat well and move convective heat effectively. I would not get one that doesn't have either gravity air or a blower -- the unit I replaced with the Montecito was set up that way and was pretty ineffective, as a radiant heater that radiates only from the front.
  10. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    The Quad 7100 uses the same chimney system (I believe SL300) that the old Heatilator zero clearance fireplace used. The Heatilator was never fired up, we've a liner to the insert for 5 years or so.
  11. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    I guess they don't make them like they used to. My BIS Ultima refractories (6-7 years old now?) need yearly repair with furnace cement and/or refractory mortar. The surface just crumbles away otherwise, and the back piece cracked clean through. I think I can maintain them indefinitely with my patching regimen, but I sure would prefer commodity firebrick instead.
  12. 98dingo

    98dingo New Member

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    Check out the Kozy Heat Z42. Its fairly inexpensive but it works amazing! I heat my house all winter with the gas furnace hardly ever kicking on.
  13. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot Burning Hunk

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    I have a Quadrafire 7100 that I just did my first break-in burn on Sunday. I'll be posting pictures and my observations once I have real Internet access this weekend when the FiOS man comes. With just a few pieces of pallet wood and a couple of small splits, it warmed the main level of my 2900 sq. ft. house from 68 to 72 quite easily.

    I am looking forward to long burns and low as bills this winter.

    As mentioned, it does use 8" SL300 pipe for the chimney.
  14. Jack768

    Jack768 Member

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    When I looked at the FPX it seemed that the "positive pressure" concept involved pulling outside air into your house to create slight pressurization, which I can see working better in a Georgia winter than in, say, Minnesota. That's a separate issue from air-cooled chimney, but lots of things I've read recommend Class A, not air-cooled, in cold Northern climates (probably because Class A drafts better b/c it's insulated). Quad 7100 looks interesting. Lennox also makes a big model, the Montecito Estate, which is what I should have bought, given my big open floor plan.
  15. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    The Kozy Heat Z42 seems interesting.
    Are those (what look to be not totally standard-sized) firebrick rugged?
    Do the firebrick, as the install manual seems to indicate, actually go over the firebox?
    That seems like it'd be extra hassle when cleaning.
    Interesting that it uses a 6" insulated chimney system. I guess I'd have to replace the existing air-cooled SL300 pipe then.
    I didn't think you could use anything but air-cooled in the FPX or Q7100 - I'll have to look farther.
  16. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    I'm in Dutchess County,NY (not Minn but we certainly get winter weather) and have the FPX. I have found the POS concept to work great. I have some drafty spots in the house and when the FPX fan is running it pressurizes the house effectively stopping the drafts. Moves the hot air real well throughout the house.
  17. Jack768

    Jack768 Member

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    Does cold outside air infiltrate when it isn't running? I have no personal experience but I recall when I was looking at different options and googling/checking this site, there were some reports to that effect (and others who were perfectly happy with the units).
  18. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I just looked at the Heat n glow Northstar. Nice looking unit. It uses firebrick, not the vermiculite brick, but some are long on the sides.
    Again, huge firebox, nice looking unit. Has handle to control outside air on stove.
  19. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    I have not had any issue with this. I read about the issue here as well but think they corrected it. Not sure but can certainly say I have not had any issue with it.
    Should also say that when its cold out, its running!!
  20. Mastoo

    Mastoo Member

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    Hello people, first time poster here. I had a Montecito installed recently. I've just tried it once but we have air infiltration - when our AC would kick on we would smell smoke near the fireplace, even weeks after it had been used. I noticed the door gasket wasn't quite as snug as recommended so hopefully replacing that and adjusting the door will be the answer. (the glass had a crack so it is being replaced along with the gasket)
  21. Jack768

    Jack768 Member

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    There was a hinge issue with some models. Mine was fixed under warranty. Gasket needs to pass the dollar bill test -- close it over a bill and there should be some tension at every point. Would talk to your dealer. Once the kinks are worked out for you, it should be a great unit.
  22. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    we are in the middle of installing our Napoleon NZ3000 as we speak, it combines beauty with a reputible heat output....looking forward to getting it going here in the next week or two...just poured the hearth pad this afternoon, pics and description of my journey will be posted here soon.....ZC's are the way to go if you want the look of the fireplace and the efficiency of a EPA stove.....they are pricey but I think they are well worth it, if you want the looks and the function.....and like another poster pointed out, if you are careful not to slam your wood into your stove when you load it up, you should get many years of life out of the refractory liners......I plan on buying an extra set to have in case of an emergency....
  23. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    Took a picture our our FPX 44 install for you to see....

    Attached Files:

  24. madison

    madison Minister of Fire

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    Very cool looking hearth and fireplace. Was the existing hearth a similar stone, and the new one rebuilt with the old stone around the FPX?
  25. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    Thanks. We love the look.

    No, I ripped out everything and started from scratch. I didnt really like the prior hearth (red brick). I actually scrounged all the stone and did the hearth under the guidance of an experienced friend.

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