Considering a new unit

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Jan 16, 2017
Northern CA.

We are looking to replace our existing gas unit with something newer. Or, at least, we think that's the right direction to go. We are open to opinions.

This gas unit has been here since when I bought the house in the mid 2000's. There are no identifying marks on it that i can find. The squirrel cage is toasted. Had a repair person out several years ago when it wasn't starting. He said he didn't know what it was. he was able to install a new switch to get it to work.

This unit has been fine for us heat-wise, though I suspect it is not very efficient. We like to use the fireplace to heat the front part of the house in our mild northern California climate, leaving the bedrooms cold. However, our gas bill is pretty fat each month for doing so. I've attached pictures of the current unit for reference. The stones are having issues due to a poor previous install. The plan was to remedy that if we replace the unit.

The zero clearance unit is from 1978. The opening is .41"w x 33.5" high. I have to confirm the height measurement, as I'm not in front of it right now.

Assuming a new unit is the best option..we would love to be sub $5k. That's the range we've seen from the showrooms we've frequented. Here what is currently on the table:

Kozy Heat Chaska 29, traditional log set, arch front.

Local shop will sell that for $4524 all in. Unit is $2537, $375 for Mission Front, $250 for front panel, $450 for vent, $650 for labor. This quote is from my neighbor who is very happy with his unit (just installed). He never had an insert before, so not sure if my vent or labor would be different.

The other shop in town sells Valor/Heat & Glo, Mendota, Napoleon, Majestic, Empire, Quadrafire. We visited there and was told $7000 for a heat and glo/valor I think G4.

the only other dealer nearby is Heat Tech. I am not familiar with their product.

I assume it would be best to go with a dealer, but I am open to getting something online. I have a chimney company that would install the unit.

Thoughts on options? Is my assumption that the newer ones are much more efficient correct? I imagine something with a blower and thermostat will be a bit of an improvement. Thoughts on pricing?

Thank you!


fireplace2.jpg fireplace.jpg


Full Time RVer
Staff member
Dec 2, 2008
Wherever we're parked
Morning. You may be seriously underestimating the pricing on a new install,
once you have a hearth specialist stop by to see your existing set-up.
If that ZC unit is on an exterior wall, it can be removed from the rear, after removal
of the siding, sheathing & stud wall. Then the cap & venting needs to be removed, &
that part of the process is generally about 4 hours. The new install will take as long,
or even longer depending on what the installers find when they have to fit the new
unit in, & how the venting needs to be run. In all likelihood, you will have damage to
the stone facing during the process.
If the unit is on an interior wall, some or all that stone will get damaged,
but the labor might be a little less.
Good luck with your install & stop back if you have more questions.


Jan 16, 2017
Northern CA.

we were only planning on replacing the insert, not the whole ZC unit.

it is an exterior wall with a fauxwood frame ‘chimney’ surrounding the flue /liner/ exhaust. We are actually going to be demoing the other side in another project in March to add an office. I have a pic of those plans if that helps.

this is a tract neighborhood and my neighbors have the same ZC unit and their price fir the kozy heat was going from no unit at all to install.

I’m trying to figure if that unit is a decent one or should be looking at other brands. My knowledge of gas inserts is limited.