Advice request for wood insert

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andertrack753

New Member
Oct 5, 2022
6
Sagamore Beach, MA
Hi all. We have a fireplace we are looking to convert to wood insert. We tried replacing the chimney cap with one that is more windproof but that hasn't resolved smoke drafting back into the house no matter what we try. Chimney is a bit short (less than 2 stories), which I think is the main issue.

In any case, was wondering if anyone had advice on wood insert that can heat about 1000 sq feet. Opening is 34 inches and depth is about 22.5 inches.

We are looking at the Regency CI2700 but are concerned it may put out a little too much heat for the space.

PXL_20221005_161822121.jpg
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
97,863
South Puget Sound, WA
There are several factors that can cause this issue. Has this always been a problem? A short chimney is possible, but more commonly it is a poorly designed or built fireplace, poor chimney location, or negative pressure in the room. Is this fireplace on the first floor or basement? Can you post a picture that shows the chimney and house from the outside?

What is the lintel height of the fireplace? Are you looking for a flush, contemporary look or something more traditional? How will the fireplace be used, nights and weekends, and holidays, or for 24/7 heating?
 

andertrack753

New Member
Oct 5, 2022
6
Sagamore Beach, MA
There are several factors that can cause this issue. Has this always been a problem? A short chimney is possible, but more commonly it is a poorly designed or built fireplace, poor chimney location, or negative pressure in the room. Is this fireplace on the first floor or basement? Can you post a picture that shows the chimney and house from the outside?

What is the lintel height of the fireplace? Are you looking for a flush, contemporary look or something more traditional? How will the fireplace be used, nights and weekends, and holidays, or for 24/7 heating?
Thank you for the repsonse :)

Its been an issue since we moved in end of 2020. Chimney is on first floor in family room. We had weatherization work done this year which helped to seal up the house (especially drafty doors). Haven't had a fire yet so its tbd if that is going to make the downdraft better or worse. I know one thing that hasn't helped is keeping the doors open a bit more than we probably should to hear the fire (something I know we will have to give up with an insert).

Besides (hopefully) remediating the downdraft issues the other goal is to more efficiently use our wood supply since it is expensive where we live.

I think we are looking for flush contemporary but are open to something that sticks out a little.

Mass winters get pretty brutal and with the increases in natural gas prices we are looking to be using this for heat almost 24/7 from Nov to March.

Our short chimney :(
PXL_20221005_180904411.jpg

On left is to fireplace, was hoping this wind resistant cap was going to resolve the downdraft but it had little effect
PXL_20211214_140712702.MP.jpg
 
Last edited:

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
97,863
South Puget Sound, WA
That helps a lot. The issue could be a combination of a short chimney and the location next to the taller roof of the house. "Hearths installed in single-story sections of two-story houses almost always perform badly." An insert may also have an issue here unless the chimney is extended.

 

andertrack753

New Member
Oct 5, 2022
6
Sagamore Beach, MA
That helps a lot. The issue could be a combination of a short chimney and the location next to the taller roof of the house. "Hearths installed in single-story sections of two-story houses almost always perform badly." An insert may also have an issue here unless the chimney is extended.

Thank you for that article. That would explain why we have continued to have issues even with the vacuum cap. I guess we have to seriously think about if we want to go down the insert route until/unless we have extended the chimney (I don't want to know how much that would be :| )
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
97,863
South Puget Sound, WA
The chimney can be extended by 3-4'. The object is to get it above the exterior positive pressure zone. This can be done with brick or with a metal, stainless class A chimney section that would act as an extension to the 6" stainless insulated chimney liner that connects to the inser.
 

andertrack753

New Member
Oct 5, 2022
6
Sagamore Beach, MA
The issue (besides cost) with extending the masonry higher is that it would be difficult/impossible to get to the top of the chimney for maintenance (at least from my non professional perspective - I wouldn't feel comfortable being on a ladder on the asphalt shingles), and unfortunately I don't think it would look right to have a stainless steel pipe sticking up 3-4 feet from the chimney.

I think we may have to take a gamble that an insulated liner and a windproof cap at the top of the 6" liner will be enough to combat the pressure issues
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
97,863
South Puget Sound, WA
Cleaning of the insert can be done from below, bottom-up. In the least have them put an 18" stainless extension on the liner.

You'll want an easy breathing insert, one that will work on a 12-13' flue system. Regency, Pacific Energy, & SBI (Osburn, Drolet, etc.) inserts typically are easy breathing.
 

andertrack753

New Member
Oct 5, 2022
6
Sagamore Beach, MA
Thank you, I really appreciate all the help and advice. Going to have a local vendor come out to do measurements soon. I think in light of the pressure issues I think we will look into gas as well since it looks like direct vent is not as susceptible to downdraft.