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

  • 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.

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
Why do you have to use the builder's vendor? What other ZC fireplace brands do they sell?

That's just their policy, I can install with a different vendor after the build is done, but if I want it installed and ready for when I move in I am stuck with their vendor. And it's about $1200 at this point to remove the fireplace and replace it with just a wall ....
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,503
SE North Carolina
That's just their policy, I can install with a different vendor after the build is done, but if I want it installed and ready for when I move in I am stuck with their vendor. And it's about $1200 at this point to remove the fireplace and replace it with just a wall ....
So any change you do will cost more. 1200$ seems like the cheapest short term change. I’d probably just keep it as is and think longer term for what I want. You need minimum 12 months to get any wood seasoned to burn. So you are minimum a year out from move in date to to really heat with wood. See what it’s like see if you want to burn more often. Personally spending more on a the highest efficiency hvac install you can afford would be more important if I were building new. Saves money summer and winter.

if you don’t make changes now to the fireplace odds are it won’t change for the next 10 years. That might be worth 1200$ to me. You can’t pay to have it removed for that. Changed my mind. Go with a plain wall it’s worth it.
Evan
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,853
Iowa
That's just their policy, I can install with a different vendor after the build is done, but if I want it installed and ready for when I move in I am stuck with their vendor. And it's about $1200 at this point to remove the fireplace and replace it with just a wall ....
Communist.... Does every 5th home have the same key? It's your house for heavens sake!
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,199
central pa
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!
Not nessecarily. It could still and probably does still send most of its heat out the chimney the benifit is you aren't also sending combustion air that was already heated out of the house with it.
 

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
So any change you do will cost more. 1200$ seems like the cheapest short term change. I’d probably just keep it as is and think longer term for what I want. You need minimum 12 months to get any wood seasoned to burn. So you are minimum a year out from move in date to to really heat with wood. See what it’s like see if you want to burn more often. Personally spending more on a the highest efficiency hvac install you can afford would be more important if I were building new. Saves money summer and winter.

if you don’t make changes now to the fireplace odds are it won’t change for the next 10 years. That might be worth 1200$ to me. You can’t pay to have it removed for that. Changed my mind. Go with a plain wall it’s worth it.
Evan
I was so excited about it that I cut, hauled, and split wood from my property a couple months back and have it stored under a tarp! So I do have wood that should be seasoned by the completion date, probably not enough for the entire cold season though (I have my doubts that the house will even be done before next summer though).

Yeah, I guess there is always the option of just going with a plain wall and then doing the install sometime after. You're right, 1200 is waaayyy cheaper than the cost of ripping it all out later.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,199
central pa
Communist.... Does every 5th home have the same key? It's your house for heavens sake!

Change orders always cost money. That's just how it works
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,600
NE Ohio
I was so excited about it that I cut, hauled, and split wood from my property a couple months back and have it stored under a tarp!
Good work...way to start to get ahead!
Just make sure your tarp is not totally covering the stack...it can make the wood get moldy, and some types will just flat out rot...not to mention that it won't dry as well, or as fast as it could with good airflow through the stack...top covered with about a 6" overhang on each side is about ideal.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,199
central pa
It's a national big box budget custom builder, so options are a little limited.
They aren't custom if options are limited. But an actual custom builder will cost much much more.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
90,660
South Puget Sound, WA
It's a national big box budget custom builder, so options are a little limited.
In that case I would consider opting out of getting a fireplace from them. Have it framed out and ask for a rebate on the fireplace. Maybe even consider a nice freestander instead.
 

BCC_Burner

Feeling the Heat
Sep 10, 2013
452
Uptown Marble, CO
They aren't custom if options are limited. But an actual custom builder will cost much much more.


Yup, and even a custom builder is going to charge for change orders on a "time and materials" basis.

Part of the reason the builder in the OP's case is resistant is because this change involves an awful lot of work on their end. They need to draw up and submit new plans to the city/county showing the change, pay an hourly review fee for the change order, wait 2-4 weeks for the change order to process and be approved, pay the permit issuance fee, manage a second set of approved plans on the site/in the job trailer (oops, only the #1 set is here, no inspection for you today, try again next week). Then they'll have to abandon their existing mechanical permit for the FP install and apply for a new one of those for the ZC/woodstove installation. And that's just the extra administrative work involved.

This is a house that is likely being built in under 120 days from groundbreaking to final inspection, it makes perfect sense that a production builder would not make the changes you're asking for.

Builders in my jurisdiction hate going through the change order process, and they're all building custom homes that run $1200-2000/square foot to build, so it's a bit of a pipe dream to think that someone like Toll, Quadrant or any other national production builder is going to jump through those hoops for a client.
 
Last edited:

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,199
central pa
Yup, and even a custom builder is going to charge for change orders on a "time and materials" basis.

Part of the reason the builder in the OP's case is resistant is because this change involves an awful lot of work on their end. They need to draw up and submit new plans to the city/county showing the change, pay an hourly review fee for the change order, wait 2-4 weeks for the change order to process and be approved, pay the permit issuance fee, manage a second set of approved plans on the site/in the job trailer (oops, only the #1 set is here, no inspection for you today, try again next week). Then they'll have to abandon their existing mechanical permit for the FP install and apply for a new one of those for the ZC/woodstove installation. And that's just the extra administrative work involved.

This is a house that is likely being built in under 120 days from groundbreaking to final inspection, it makes perfect sense that a production builder would not make the changes you're asking for.

Builders in my jurisdiction hate going through the change order process, and they're all building custom homes that run $1200-2000/square foot to build, so it's a bit of a pipe dream to think that someone like Toll, Quadrant or any other national production builder is going to jump through those hoops for a client.
I understand completely. And I would bet most true custom builders will charge more than the $1200 for change orders that require plan modifications and permit approval etc.
 

BCC_Burner

Feeling the Heat
Sep 10, 2013
452
Uptown Marble, CO
I understand completely. And I would bet most true custom builders will charge more than the $1200 for change orders that require plan modifications and permit approval etc.


Absolutely. I tend to quote your posts when I agree with them and want to flesh them out for folks who have less of an "inside" perspective. Sorry if it comes across otherwise.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bholler

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,199
central pa
Absolutely. I tend to quote your posts when I agree with them and want to flesh them out for folks who have less of an "inside" perspective. Sorry if it comes across otherwise.
I got that.
 

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
Good work...way to start to get ahead!
Just make sure your tarp is not totally covering the stack...it can make the wood get moldy, and some types will just flat out rot...not to mention that it won't dry as well, or as fast as it could with good airflow through the stack...top covered with about a 6" overhang on each side is about ideal.

I'm used to splitting and stacking wood for outdoor fires, but moisture content is usually not too much of an issue with those so this is my first time putting a tarp over our stack. I realized that after I noticed how humid it was getting under the tarp when I first covered it, been running with it just on top and the wood seems to be doing alright now. Thanks for the tip!
 
  • Like
Reactions: brenndatomu

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
Yup, and even a custom builder is going to charge for change orders on a "time and materials" basis.

Part of the reason the builder in the OP's case is resistant is because this change involves an awful lot of work on their end. They need to draw up and submit new plans to the city/county showing the change, pay an hourly review fee for the change order, wait 2-4 weeks for the change order to process and be approved, pay the permit issuance fee, manage a second set of approved plans on the site/in the job trailer (oops, only the #1 set is here, no inspection for you today, try again next week). Then they'll have to abandon their existing mechanical permit for the FP install and apply for a new one of those for the ZC/woodstove installation. And that's just the extra administrative work involved.

This is a house that is likely being built in under 120 days from groundbreaking to final inspection, it makes perfect sense that a production builder would not make the changes you're asking for.

Builders in my jurisdiction hate going through the change order process, and they're all building custom homes that run $1200-2000/square foot to build, so it's a bit of a pipe dream to think that someone like Toll, Quadrant or any other national production builder is going to jump through those hoops for a client.

Yeah, I think this is probably why they are just recommending that I shell out the 6k or so and upgrade to one of their EPA rated fireplaces. Which I would like to do .... if they weren't so over budget already. I'm not positive, but my guess would be that option would not require them to resubmit any paperwork to the city.
 

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
Not nessecarily. It could still and probably does still send most of its heat out the chimney the benifit is you aren't also sending combustion air that was already heated out of the house with it.

With the blower running and the doors closed, I would think it would at least be able to heat the room? I mean just based off some of the other prefab fake fireplaces I have been around, I recall that they put out heat similar to a small (700W?) space heater, and with the doors and blower I imagine that it would be a bit more with this unit. What do you think?
 

john26

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2008
643
Wildwood MO
My parents lived in neighborhood with many Preway ZC fireplaces with bifold doors most of the neighbors that tried to burn with the doors closed cracked the glass and all turned black. Dad always burned open and used the screen. Most of the neighbors converted to natural gas, due to massive amount of wood consumption. Theses were not sealed doors by any means. The fireplace through out some heat you could feel it if you were setting on the hearth but on a Friday for about 6 hours they would bur about 2 days worth of wood.
 

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
My parents lived in neighborhood with many Preway ZC fireplaces with bifold doors most of the neighbors that tried to burn with the doors closed cracked the glass and all turned black. Dad always burned open and used the screen. Most of the neighbors converted to natural gas, due to massive amount of wood consumption. Theses were not sealed doors by any means. The fireplace through out some heat you could feel it if you were setting on the hearth but on a Friday for about 6 hours they would bur about 2 days worth of wood.

Hmmm, maybe with sealed doors and air regulation I could pull off 12 hours of burn time for 2 days worth of wood (or better would be nice). That's not based on anything, just talking out loud!
 

BCC_Burner

Feeling the Heat
Sep 10, 2013
452
Uptown Marble, CO
If it were me, I would have the builder install a direct vent gas FP, then once you spend a bit of time in the house, you can figure out a good location for a freestanding stove.

There will still be plenty of chilly autumn (can we stop calling it "fall," please) and spring nights where it will be nice to be able to push a button and have a little ambiance and warmth, then you can run your woodstove when it's actually cold.

Lots of places don't allow two solid fuel burning appliances to be installed in the same home anymore, so your options will be a lot more open down the road if you go with a DV gas fireplace from the builder.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,600
NE Ohio
  • Like
Reactions: moresnow

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
If it were me, I would have the builder install a direct vent gas FP, then once you spend a bit of time in the house, you can figure out a good location for a freestanding stove.

There will still be plenty of chilly autumn (can we stop calling it "fall," please) and spring nights where it will be nice to be able to push a button and have a little ambiance and warmth, then you can run your woodstove when it's actually cold.

Lots of places don't allow two solid fuel burning appliances to be installed in the same home anymore, so your options will be a lot more open down the road if you go with a DV gas fireplace from the builder.

Also a good option. But we don't have natural gas lines, only electricity and city water (but not sewer for some reason).
 

john26

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2008
643
Wildwood MO
I would suggest a small wood furnace in the basement in conjunction with the ZC wood fireplace but it looks like no basement?
Also are you planning a TV over the fireplace?
 

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
I would suggest a small wood furnace in the basement in conjunction with the ZC wood fireplace but it looks like no basement?

The build is in Suffolk, VA, so it is pretty much at sea level, no basements unfortunately. The HVAC is in the attic (which is always fun to get to to work on). Thankfully the water heater is on the ground floor though.
 

Braxvang

New Member
Aug 14, 2021
29
Virginia Beach, VA
Just bumping this up one last time to see if anyone has experience with the setup I mentioned originally -
Heatilator Accelerator with gasketed doors, controlled outdoor air intake, and a blower.

Thanks for the posts so far everyone!