Bellfire versus Ahrens Retrofit and one additional question

shadowsowner

New Member
Jul 8, 2019
1
Pennsylvania
Hello,

We have a large fireplace in our family room that has never had great draw from the chimney and on recent video inspection was noted to have a cracked flue tile and mortar missing from many spaces. Additionally, the region of the smoke chamber was not sized correctly which explains why we have had problems with the drafting all along.

We'd like to keep it as a wood burning fireplace and are now looking at the Ahrens and Bellfire systems (both have been recommended by different chimney repair contractors). I can't find any direct comparisons online and it looks like the costs of the system would be about the same so I'm really looking for help as to if one is better than the other.

Lastly, although I'd prefer to keep the fireplace as a wood burning one, my wife keeps bringing up the option of gas - we know we definitely don't want a retrofit gas insert as it would significantly downsize the opening of the fireplace and also change the esthetic of the room. I would however at least consider a regular venting logset at somepoint down the road and was wondering if either the Ahrens or the Bellfire could be converted over to gas if we wanted to at a later point.

Even if we go to gas directly, we are still looking at a full reline for our chimeny because of the cracked flue time and missing mortar.

Many thanks for all the great info on this forum.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
19,131
central pa
Hello,

We have a large fireplace in our family room that has never had great draw from the chimney and on recent video inspection was noted to have a cracked flue tile and mortar missing from many spaces. Additionally, the region of the smoke chamber was not sized correctly which explains why we have had problems with the drafting all along.

We'd like to keep it as a wood burning fireplace and are now looking at the Ahrens and Bellfire systems (both have been recommended by different chimney repair contractors). I can't find any direct comparisons online and it looks like the costs of the system would be about the same so I'm really looking for help as to if one is better than the other.

Lastly, although I'd prefer to keep the fireplace as a wood burning one, my wife keeps bringing up the option of gas - we know we definitely don't want a retrofit gas insert as it would significantly downsize the opening of the fireplace and also change the esthetic of the room. I would however at least consider a regular venting logset at somepoint down the road and was wondering if either the Ahrens or the Bellfire could be converted over to gas if we wanted to at a later point.

Even if we go to gas directly, we are still looking at a full reline for our chimeny because of the cracked flue time and missing mortar.

Many thanks for all the great info on this forum.
The two systems are very similar. I think the aherens is a little easier to install but not enough to make much difference. And yes either can have gas logs installed in them.