1968 Heatilator Fireplace: updating glass doors and fans

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

Cindy1078

New Member
Aug 2, 2021
2
MA
I'm renovating a large 1968 Heatilator fireplace that has two vents on both sides of the tumbled marble fireplace surround with old fans in the bottom vent that no longer works. There is also another fireplace in the basement that seems to be connected to the vents on this fireplace. Originally, there was a glass bifold door that needs to be replaced. We are looking to install a new glass door and need recommendation on what kind of door would make this fireplace most efficient? Is it best to install a door that has ceramic glass so the door can be kept closed while in use with a front vent? My research indicates a tempered glass door needs to be open when using the fireplace. Also, is it necessary to replace the vent fans? If so, any recommendations on where to purchase them? The opening is 42" wide x 27" high. See the photos. Any help would be greatly apprecaited!

IMG_5211.jpg IMG_5212.jpg IMG_5213.jpg
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,791
South Puget Sound, WA
Look at Stoll fireplace doors for starters. They will make the fireplace a little bit less inefficient if the doors are closed when the fire has died down to coals.


The fans could be replaced with axial fans that match the specifications and size from Grainger or McMaster-Carr. Or take it to a local electric motor repair shop for a replacement.

Better yet would be to install a wood-burning insert if the intent is to get some efficient heat from the fireplace.
 

Cindy1078

New Member
Aug 2, 2021
2
MA
Look at Stoll fireplace doors for starters. They will make the fireplace a little bit less inefficient if the doors are closed when the fire has died down to coals.


The fans could be replaced with axial fans that match the specifications and size from Grainger or McMaster-Carr. Or take it to a local electric motor repair shop for a replacement.

Better yet would be to install a wood-burning insert if the intent is to get some efficient heat from the fireplace.
Thank you for the info. I considered inserting a wood-buring insert but after finding out this is a Heatilator unit with a metal interior box, isn't it similar to an inset especially if I install a ceramic glass door?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,791
South Puget Sound, WA
At best, with glass doors the fireplace may be 10-25% efficient depending on how it's run. . A good insert will be 65-75% efficient. It's a huge difference.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
25,667
central pa
Thank you for the info. I considered inserting a wood-buring insert but after finding out this is a Heatilator unit with a metal interior box, isn't it similar to an inset especially if I install a ceramic glass door?
No not similar at all. The double wall box of the heatilator may be similar. But the combustion efficiency of an insert is simply not possible with an open fireplace
 

Poindexter

Minister of Fire
Jun 28, 2014
2,382
Fairbanks, Alaska
Do you want the "look" of a working fireplace in shoulder seasons, or do you want useful heat for your home out of that area of the floor plan?