Anyone Have Experience With Sealed Gasketed Doors on a Prefab Firebox - Heatilator Accelerator Wood Fireplace

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Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
I am building a new house which will have a 42" Heatilator Accelerator installed in it. It's pretty much just one of those typical metal box prefab units (almost). The neat thing about it is that the circulating model allows for a pair of gasketed glass doors and an outside air kit with air control.
I know this still isn't going to be nearly as efficient as an EPA certified insert, but it's better than a standard open firebox. To get a true EPA certified insert is an additional 6k from my builder which is hard to justify.

Does anyone have experience with similar units and gasketed doors?

I'm curious as to what kind of burn time I can get out of such a unit with the doors and airkit and if it will be able to heat my house. The new build is on a 10 Acre wooded lot and i'm hoping to heat with wood as our southern Virginia winters are not very cold (usually 40 - 50F) and my house is smallish (1400sqft) with an open floor plan.

Fireplace: https://www.heatilator.com/products/accelerator-wood-fireplace
Gasketed Doors Info: https://downloads.hearthnhome.com/i... Glass Door Kit Installation Instructions.pdf
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
If you're building a new house and want to heat it with wood, why make it so hard on yourself? There's no need to pay to build a fake fireplace and a chase (or worse yet, an actual masonry chimney), and then pay again to work around the problem that you just paid to create... and after all that, to end up with a third-rate heater.

Just plan a good central location for a stove. More heat, less wood, less construction.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,780
Iowa
This^
 

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
If you're building a new house and want to heat it with wood, why make it so hard on yourself? There's no need to pay to build a fake fireplace and a chase (or worse yet, an actual masonry chimney), and then pay again to work around the problem that you just paid to create... and after all that, to end up with a third-rate heater.

Just plan a good central location for a stove. More heat, less wood, less construction.

There was a lot of drama with regards to just getting a stand-alone wood burning stove unfortunately. It's going to have to be something integrated into the wall and the builder only offers a few choices so I am kinda stuck with the "fake fireplace". Does anyone have any idea how usable, if usable at all, these things are with an air control and the gasketed doors?
 

john26

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2008
542
Wildwood MO
Since the builder uses Heatilator why don't you see if they could install a Heatilator Constitution. High efficiency ep zero clearance fireplace. My cousin just built a new house with a 42" superior ZC now he wants an insert in it which is not allowed. He asked me what I would do. I told him I would rip it and replace it with a free stander or high efficiency ZC fireplace.
Those doors will soot up very badly with no air wash
https://www.heatilator.com/products/constitution-wood-fireplace
 
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Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
Since the builder uses Heatilator why don't you see if they could install a Heatilator Constitution. High efficiency ep zero clearance fireplace. My cousin just built a new house with a 42" superior ZC now he wants an insert in it which is not allowed. He asked me what I would do. I told him I would rip it and replace it with a free stander or high efficiency ZC fireplace.
Those doors will soot up very badly with no air wash
https://www.heatilator.com/products/constitution-wood-fireplace

I wanted to do that, but that was the option that cost 6K more than the Accelerator. I don't have that much wiggle room in my budget. I appreciate the advice on just going with something else all together, I understand why people are suggesting that. But I'm really just looking for people who have used a similar setup with the gasketed doors, blower, and outside air regulation. Curious as to if this setup can provide any sort of useful heat for a small house.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,393
NE Ohio
There was a lot of drama with regards to just getting a stand-alone wood burning stove unfortunately. It's going to have to be something integrated into the wall and the builder only offers a few choices so I am kinda stuck with the "fake fireplace".
You are the customer, tell them to stick their fake fireplace...because it is just that, fake...I'd forego the whole thing (for $ credit) and then put in a free stander later on...
 
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Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
You are the customer, tell them to stick their fake fireplace...because it is just that, fake...I'd forego the whole thing (for $ credit) and then put in a free stander later on...
I'm starting to consider it at this point! The only problem is that it's a $600 change order fee along with a drafting fee (probably about the same amount) to get rid of the fake fireplace. It's hard to just let $1200 go down the hole.

I really wish the builder just did stoves, that would have made all of this a lot easier. I didn't realize how inefficient these builder grade fireplaces were. I think most people, including myself, assume they can be used as a heat source.

Also, still interested in hearing if anyone else has experience with the setup that I am currently stuck with :) ! ( gasketed doors, blower, and outside air regulation )
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,393
NE Ohio
The only problem is that it's a $600 change order fee along with a drafting fee (probably about the same amount) to get rid of the fake fireplace.
Boy, that feels a little scammy...change order and drafting/engineering fees to just build plain walls instead of a "fireplace" :rolleyes:
 

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
Boy, that feels a little scammy...change order and drafting/engineering fees to just build plain walls instead of a "fireplace" :rolleyes:

Just wait till you hear about the 18% "administrative" fee on any site work cost overages (they're 25K overbudget so far). Nothing like paying someone extra for getting an estimate completely wrong. But alas, that's a rant for a different forum ;)
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,393
NE Ohio
Just wait till you hear about the 18% "administrative" fee on any site work cost overages (they're 25K overbudget so far). Nothing like paying someone extra for getting an estimate completely wrong. But alas, that's a rant for a different forum ;)
I'd lose my cool on somebody...probably end up on the evening news...
 

Keith E Cantrell

New Member
Aug 16, 2021
3
Seattle, USA
I'm starting to consider it at this point! The only problem is that it's a $600 change order fee along with a drafting fee (probably about the same amount) to get rid of the fake fireplace. It's hard to just let $1200 go down the hole.

I really wish the builder just did stoves, that would have made all of this a lot easier. I didn't realize how inefficient these builder grade fireplaces were. I think most people, including myself, assume they can be used as a heat source.

Also, still interested in hearing if anyone else has experience with the setup that I am currently stuck with :) ! ( gasketed doors, blower, and outside air regulation )
Right. I also like to hear about such experiences.
 
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moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,780
Iowa
Maybe someone needs to invite a certain engineering firm to Hearth.com. Sounds like we might get a healthy cut in the future.....;)
 
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jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
If you wanted a decorative wood burner it wouldn't matter, but you want to heat primarily with wood.

The difference between a heatilator and a good freestanding stove is easily worth $1200, both in wood savings and in performance.

All that "free" heat feels a lot less free when you're dragging logs out of the woods, bucking, splitting, stacking, hauling, and restacking.... get an efficient stove and you won't be doing so much of all that!

A space heater also has an easier job to do if it's in the middle instead of on an outside wall.
 
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Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
If you wanted a decorative wood burner it wouldn't matter, but you want to heat primarily with wood.

The difference between a heatilator and a good freestanding stove is easily worth $1200, both in wood savings and in performance.

All that "free" heat feels a lot less free when you're dragging logs out of the woods, bucking, splitting, stacking, hauling, and restacking.... get an efficient stove and you won't be doing so much of all that!

A space heater also has an easier job to do if it's in the middle instead of on an outside wall.

At this point it's starting to sound like a reasonable option. I have a pet peeve about things that take up space and have no function so I am kinda irritated that they sold me this fireplace. I think it's going to bother me once I move in too unless it turns out it does an OK job of providing heat with the upgrades. It is in a central location which is nice (see picture).

Still trying to find someone with a similar setup too, though it sounds like most people on this forum would probably know to steer clear of such a setup so I might be hard pressed to get some answers on actual performance.
 

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brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,393
NE Ohio
The other thing is to have the stove in a place that is easy to get wood to without tracking a mess across the house...from where you show the FP in your drawing, I'd want it moved to the opposite wall...just inside the front door, and right down the hall from the garage...its a little more central in the house this way too (better heat distribution to the whole house)
 
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john26

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2008
542
Wildwood MO
Is the master bedroom sharing a wall with the fireplace? If so you could you could run a duct into the master bedroom, this would be a must have for my wife.
 

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
Is the master bedroom sharing a wall with the fireplace? If so you could you could run a duct into the master bedroom, this would be a must have for my wife.

Yup, it shares a wall with the master bedroom. I wonder if any heat would radiate out of that wall into the bedroom. I'm not sure if this model supports connected ducting but I like that idea. Guess I could always sawzall a vent into that wall to better take advantage of any radiant heat :p .
 

john26

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2008
542
Wildwood MO

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
I have researched hi efficiency zero clearance for my parents fairly extensively, If I was building a house and wanted a ZC fire place I would use one of these primarily FP25 or FP30 depending on square footage of the house , and yes they heat ducting so does the Heatilator constitution.
https://www.pacificenergy.net/produ...ss=fireplaces&really_curr_tax=102-product_cat

Thank you! The vendor that the builder uses does not offer any Pacific Energy products, they do however have the Constitution. That is also a 6K upgrade from the standard Heatilator though which is going to be hard to dig up on a project that is already 25K over and hasn't even broken ground. Maybe a miracle will happen and they will stay within budget from here on out.
 

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
A thought just occurred to me, with the gasketed doors, outside air intake with baffle, and blower, don't those upgrades bring similar functionality to that of a wood stove. Obviously it doesn't have all the EPA measures like cats, but it would appear at first glance that this should be able to produce some decent heat, no? Haha, there has to be someone with a similar setup out there!
 

john26

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2008
542
Wildwood MO
I feel your pain on this subject I walked away from building a new house due to the same subject. Builder did Fake wood or Fake gas only refused to to give me a price on the Constitution and refused to install a class A chimney with chase so I could add a free stander. There was few other issues with garage size as well. I showed up one day asked for my deposit back.
Does your builder only offer Heatilator products?
 

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
I feel your pain on this subject I walked away from building a new house due to the same subject. Builder did Fake wood or Fake gas only refused to to give me a price on the Constitution and refused to install a class A chimney with chase so I could add a free stander. There was few other issues with garage size as well. I showed up one day asked for my deposit back.
Does your builder only offer Heatilator products?

They also offer the Heat&Glo NORTHSTAR. Though the price is exactly the same as the constitution. https://www.heatnglo.com/fireplaces/wood/indoor/northstar-wood-fireplace
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,501
South Puget Sound, WA
Thank you! The vendor that the builder uses does not offer any Pacific Energy products, they do however have the Constitution. That is also a 6K upgrade from the standard Heatilator though which is going to be hard to dig up on a project that is already 25K over and hasn't even broken ground. Maybe a miracle will happen and they will stay within budget from here on out.
Why do you have to use the builder's vendor? What other ZC fireplace brands do they sell?
 

BCC_Burner

Feeling the Heat
Sep 10, 2013
450
Uptown Marble, CO
Most production builders are not willing to go through the AHJ's change order process to change out the standard FP option they applied for the permit with. This is particularly true if the jurisdiction has a Registered Plan Program for production homebuilders.

And an AHJ isn't going to give you a CO on a house where the plans show a fake gas FP, and the inspector shows up to find a woodstove installed.
 
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