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Convert Prefab Fireplace

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Converting a prefab or zero clearance (ZC) fireplace to produce more heat
You’ll find some other long posts in our Forums about the subject, but here is a summary to make it easier….
Three choices:
1. Most economical – buy a fireplace insert that BOTH fits and is approved for use in pre-fab fireplace – line chimney to the top with new stainless liner and connect to stove. This is often not possible with older ZC fireplaces, but worth checking.
2. Other: Rip out ENTIRE assembly, firebox and chimney and replace with new metal chimney and stove or built-in high efficiency fireplace
You cannot take just any old stove and place it in front or in and pipe up. It must be an insert approved for such use. This is because of two reasons –
first: the chimney in many prefabs is not tested with anything other than the open fireplace and is not as heavy duty.
second: there is wood in the walls a few inches from your fireplace and a stove in front – and it’s pipe – will not meet the required clearances. Here is another article on the subject with more info:
3. If the ZC fireplace's cavity is large enough after removal, then it might be possible to turn it into an alcove and install a freestanding stove in that space. The stove must be approved for alcove installation and the clearance requirements (including the ceiling height) must be met or exceeded. A new class A chimney gets installed at the ceiling which is often specced out at 7' mininum. The stove gets connected with double-wall stove pipe with its closer clearance.
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