1977 Home with Zero Clearance Factory Fireplace upgrade to Wood stove . . .

JMBoriss

New Member
Feb 10, 2019
49
Columbus, Indiana
I'm buying a 1250 sq ft house built in 1977 with a zero clearance factory fireplace. I put in my offer and they accepted. I have inspection tomorrow so I plan on measure the firebox and getting the make and model number of the existing ZC. I also plan on looking at the existing chimney and possibly the chase as well. See attached for two pictures of ZC fireplace.

The chimney chase is in the garage, behind the fireplace all the way through the ceiling. I assume it just goes straight up through the roof.

I don't really want to do the small insert and 6" SS liner like the Buck 18 although that probably would be the cheapest route.

I've always loved wood stoves and I love the alcove look. However, I want to put a TV on the wall above the stove live the attached picture.

Questions:

For a 1250 square foot size home, what wood stove do you recommend? I'd like to have enough space above to put some heat fans on top of whatever stove I buy.

Regarding the chimney, please see picture for questions - I don't want to heat the chase, so that's why I was thinking block off plate with some Roxul comfortbat however, in the chase, north of the block off plate behind the wall and TV does it then need Class A pipe?

I plan to do all the mock ups in sketchup and plan to post my progress.

Thank you all,
Jon
 

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
84,195
South Puget Sound, WA
It doesn't look like an insert would be permitted in that old ZC. Tearing it out and creating a fireplace-like alcove is not trivial. It would have to be reconstructed entirely non-combustible and a new chimney system would need to be installed. The chimney pipe would come down to and be supported by the non-combustible alcove ceiling. The mantel, if combustible, would also figure in clearance requirements. So possible, but with some important planning.

Note that what is pictured may not be a legal or safe installation. We see a lot of this.
 

JMBoriss

New Member
Feb 10, 2019
49
Columbus, Indiana
So I had the inspection today and spent a lot of time in the house. The existing zero clearance is a Heatilator Mark 123 Model 3036.

The chimney is a 8" inner diameter double walled pipe in great shape.

I was able to pick up a brand new Napoleon Oakdale 1402 for $800 from a friend. It will fit with minor modification to the facing of the Heatilator, around the frame. The face plate should fit. If not, I can always redo the woodwork.

From top of chimney to fireplace insert outlet is less than 20 foot so I plan on buying a 25 foot 6" SS liner kit and send it through and be done with it.

Looking forward to it.
 

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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,122
07462
This is not going down the right path.
First thing first is to understand what a zero clearance fire place is, its a self contained fireplace that has been engineered to have venting included in its design to safely open burn within itself while installed within an open cavity framed of combustible materials.
Not all commercially sold zero clearance fireplaces are created equal, but they all meet the ansi standard ul127 code which is also adopted by the nfpa (of which all homeowners insurance will follow)
Some zero cl fp's are specially designed for ambiance burning only and in the manual itself will specifically state not to have continuous burns greater then 12hrs (generally builders grade systems) others do not require a class a chimney, they will run an air cooled chimney meant for the cooler flue gases from an open burn, but are not meant to support a solid fuel burning appliance like a epa rated zero clearance fireplace, or wood stove.
Historically speaking from experience on this forum , I have seen few wood burning inserts safely or code compliant installed into an existing zero clearance fireplace. Generally this is because the existing zero clearance fireplace has never been tested to have an insert installed within it, or the fireplace has to be modified to fit the insert in it which pretty much automatically voids the ul list code (any venting that has to be blocked, shields that need to be altered, ect.
Why is this all a big deal? Well the worst - you can burn your house down, creating a danger for you, your family, pets, neighbors if there close and the first responders that will come to put out the fire. Secondly, if there is a fire, after its investigated by the fire marshal or insurance adjuster, if the fire is traced back to the fireplace that was altered out of code, they don't need to cover the claim, to bad, so sad, better luck next time will be the answer, rather then a check.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
22,123
central pa
So I had the inspection today and spent a lot of time in the house. The existing zero clearance is a Heatilator Mark 123 Model 3036.

The chimney is a 8" inner diameter double walled pipe in great shape.

I was able to pick up a brand new Napoleon Oakdale 1402 for $800 from a friend. It will fit with minor modification to the facing of the Heatilator, around the frame. The face plate should fit. If not, I can always redo the woodwork.

From top of chimney to fireplace insert outlet is less than 20 foot so I plan on buying a 25 foot 6" SS liner kit and send it through and be done with it.

Looking forward to it.
An insert is not allowed to be used in a heatilator mark 123.
 

JMBoriss

New Member
Feb 10, 2019
49
Columbus, Indiana
I had a chimney sweep of 30+ years come out today and laid it all out for me. He said the Napoleon manual states the 1402 is allowed to be used with inserts but the Heatilator manual, while doesn’t specifically state inserts can’t be used, it only allows Healitator parts.

he said while most don’t recommend this combination he’s installed hundreds of inserts in ZC fireplaces with no issues. I’m going to do the 6” SS insulated liner.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
22,123
central pa
I had a chimney sweep of 30+ years come out today and laid it all out for me. He said the Napoleon manual states the 1402 is allowed to be used with inserts but the Heatilator manual, while doesn’t specifically state inserts can’t be used, it only allows Healitator parts.

he said while most don’t recommend this combination he’s installed hundreds of inserts in ZC fireplaces with no issues. I’m going to do the 6” SS insulated liner.
So he has ignored code and manufacturers instructions hundreds of times? Is that the person you want working in your home? It isn't about recomdations it is all there in the heatilator manual. And the second you do something not allowed in the manual the fireplace is no longer listed. Which is required by the insert manual so you are then no longer following either manual. It is all written to eliminate any liability or responsibility that could fall on the manufacturers.
 
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blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,523
WI, Leroy
short story- late 40's to early 50's home, friend 's place, fireplace standard open type of that era all brick/stone even had heat pipes/vents in surround pretty upscale system complete with glass doors and the spark screen curtains. one night kinda late things did not seem just right brick surround seemed pretty warm but no alarms going off. So he felt around a little more and there were some very hot spots . Called fire department as by now there was a scent of smoke - never had that before. Over the years and because he was using 24/7 the support structure had become charred and it finally began to burn inside the walls. What it was - semi prefab fireplace( metal box framed tight and then the brick overlay installed in box and facade. He was very lucky to have caught it before it really went ballistic- another 1/2 hr or less and the whole side of the home would have been up in flames. There were no clearances to the framing. There is a second fireplace in the basement directly under this one same construction, common flue. Reconstruction was north of 10G. He purchased the home in the mid 90's- . To the OP- this why there more stringent codes now days including clearances. Both the first and second floor walls had to torn open - looked like a couple bombs went off after the fire department left.
 

john26

Burning Hunk
Oct 27, 2008
239
[email protected]
Besides the fact its not allowed good luck getting it to fit and the chimney liner connected properly. I installed the the same insert in a large masonry fireplace it was a bear to get in and connected. Mine was previously installed in a ZC it was removed under recommendations of an inspector. Also looks kind of odd with the ash lip up off of the hearth.
x69130246_10104711099840294_7016650099669336064_n.jpg
 

JMBoriss

New Member
Feb 10, 2019
49
Columbus, Indiana
Besides the fact its not allowed good luck getting it to fit and the chimney liner connected properly. I installed the the same insert in a large masonry fireplace it was a bear to get in and connected. Mine was previously installed in a ZC it was removed under recommendations of an inspector. Also looks kind of odd with the ash lip up off of the hearth. View attachment 262844
What was the dimensions of the zero clearance fireplace it was installed into?