Convert B Vent (masonry chimney) to direct vent?

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New Member
Oct 7, 2014
My house is 19 years old. We moved in last June. The fireplace is a Superior (model CHCE-8040N) gas insert. It is rated at 45,000 BTU. It is installed in/under a masonry chimney/external wall.

This unit LOOKS great but produces little heat when the flu opens. We are wanting to convert to a direct vent insert and use the existing masonry chimney. From research it looks like this can be easily done - the installer just puts in the new insert, connects the double walled pipe, runs up the chimney and puts on the proper cap/terminator.

A woman I work with, her husband is a fireplace tech for a local building supply and has been doing it for years. We talked for around 40 minutes last week and I sent him a slew of pictures.

He looked them over and got back to me. He told me it can cost between $5,000-$7,000 as they would need to rip out the bookcases and drywall on the wall, install the unit, rebuild the firebox, etc and them the proper chimney work.
This seems rather steep. I am waiting on a callback from another company to come out and look.

I would think that its a rather 'simple' job of just pulling out the old insert, installing new and pretty much thats the end of it.. Am I way off?

See pictures for reference.


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Simply pulling the old unit out is a chore, because it's NOT an insert. It's a gas fireplace.
It's installed during initial construction & is secured to the framing members in the wall.
Your friend's husband is correct. It's at least an all-day job, & may take more than one...
Ok this makes sense. I didn't realize it was built into the house, i thought from research, etc that it was a upgrade after the home was built.

That being said this unit has a glass panel that can lift off..and mesh screens that can be pulled shut.

I have read some mixed input on wether it can be operated with the panel off. The manual states to keep the panel on (Maybe its a consumer cautionary statement so people don't get burned)

It does have an external combustion assist add on that pulls air from the outside.

Maybe if I take the glass off I can get some more heat into the room, and then just close the mesh screen.. Still waiting on the call from my local installer..they are quite busy I imagine.
I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but you WON'T get any enjoyable heat from that unit. The rating plate reads "Decorative Gas
Appliance - Not a source of Heat." It's for looks & inefficient, wasteful burning of fuel only. Because it is a natural (B-Vent) appliance,
as it vents the byproducts of combustion, it will also suck the warm air - which you have paid to heat - out of your home.
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