Anyone have any comments on the Bellfire?

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Taidot123

New Member
Sep 25, 2009
6
ne us
I was looking at fireplace inserts like the Quadrafire,and Lopi but I am also now very interested in the Bellfire fireplace. I know that this is not an insert but I am told (by the salesman) that it is a very high heat output efficient fireplace design. I am willing to sacrafice some heat output but still want some supplemental heating. Also, what about the heat lost at night with an open damper? Any comments will be helpful, thanks to all.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,319
South Puget Sound, WA
I'm not familiar with the product, but from their webpage it appears that these are all open fireplaces. They will not heat like a stove or a well designed zero-clearance unit. They will project radiant heat into the room when burning and most likely suck it out at night as the fire cools down. Zero clearance units that have a traditional look are made by RSF, Excalibur, Lopi, Quadrafire, Heat & Glow (North Star), etc.

For a traditional look in a free-standing stove that will produce a lot of heat, look at the Jotul stoves, or Quadrafire cast iron units, or perhaps a soapstone from Woodstock stoves?
 

DeePee

Member
Nov 15, 2008
123
Mississauga, Ontario
It was my interest in Rumford and Bellfire fireplaces which led to my initial discovery of hearth.com. I was looking for ways to improve the performance of an open fireplace, and the Bellfire seemed like a good option. The retrofit units seemed a bit expensive to me, especially as I started reading about all the benefits people were experiencing with the new EPA phase II stoves and inserts. After even more research, I could not ignore the efficiency, safety and environmental impacts of a wood burning insert in my case. Installed with liner, my insert cost less than having the Bellfire kit shipped to Canada and installed locally. One of the primary deciding factors is how important the aesthetics of the situation are - I miss the open fire and tall flames to a degree, but in the end I am happy with the choice.

I would like to see a Bellfire in action one day, I'd like a chance to see what I missed. In a situation where an insert is not an option, I'd bet these units are really nice!

As an aside, I read the "The complete works of Count Rumford" after purchasing a home with an open fireplace. This led to investigations into Bellfire fireplaces, all kinds of inefficient and dangerous gizmos, and finally to hearth.com.

Best regards.
 

Taidot123

New Member
Sep 25, 2009
6
ne us
Hey Dee Pee,
Thanks for your response. The cost of the Bellfire is a problem but I am still leaning and probably will get it....purely for esthetic reason (well, it IS a lot better then a REGULAR fireplace). If I do, will post my review here.
 

Jags

Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
18,211
Northern IL
redhook said:
.....but I am told (by the salesman) that it is a very high heat output efficient fireplace design.
Thats kind of a funny statement *snicker, snicker*.

By design, fireplaces are NOT usually high heat output or efficient. I wouldn't bank on a lot of usable heat to be generated by it, as well as the loss of heat during the cool down period. In some cases that actually makes open fireplaces net a negative heat gain.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,319
South Puget Sound, WA
In some cases that actually makes open fireplaces net a negative heat gain.
Maybe in most cases?
 

DeePee

Member
Nov 15, 2008
123
Mississauga, Ontario
The trick to this one is that it seems the OP is not looking for a primary heat source and may not want to go the insert/stove route. The retrofit kit, shipping and installation is not going to be inexpensive with these units. I wonder if installing a better damper, a stack-top damper or one of the inflatable devices would be a bit more cost effective and prevent energy loss while not in use. If burning occasionally for ambiance, entertaining or a romantic evening, the cost of the lost energy over time should be compared to the perceived benefits and cost of a retrofit. The effect burning a fire will have on the rest of the living space should be considered too. A secondary concern I had was that there were no installers experienced with the product, and I didn't feel like paying to be a guinea pig.

In my own research, I could not find a cost effective way to make a fireplace in any way efficient for my situation, but I like to have a fire burning all winter long. The leap to near primary heat source evolved with obsession fueled by friends here at hearth.com.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,319
South Puget Sound, WA
That's cool, as long as the Bellfire design allows for an insert to be installed later on when the lack of heating vs fuel consumption comes to light. If too shallow, it may mean a complete tearout when heat becomes more important. Something to think about.
 

DeePee

Member
Nov 15, 2008
123
Mississauga, Ontario
Yeah, you'd have to remove it or get a hearth stove and knock out the flue.
 
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