Double Sided Firplace - insert or wood stove

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pirates712

New Member
Dec 13, 2020
20
Rochester NY
Hello!

I have a double sided fireplace that is useful for evacuating all the air in the house (~1500 sq ft) and making the room smell like smoke :)
I'd like to be able to have a fire that actually makes the house warmer without worrying about sparks flying out onto the carpet. Main heat is provided by a heat pump with electric resistance backup, so the ability to heat the house in the event of a winter power outage would be very nice.

The existing openings are about 36" wide and 27.75" (28"?) tall, and the total depth between the two openings is a little over 36". There is a steel "box" above that funnels smoke to a pivoting/chain operated steel damper. The hearth extends 17" from the brick face.

I understand there isn't such thing as a double-sided wood stove or insert, and that's fine. I'm wondering if it's possible to fit a wood stove inside the existing fireplace, or if I'd have to go with an insert. I think it would have to be fully inside the fireplace because I don't have a large enough hearth to put it outside. I'd prefer a stove because I think it would look better from the other side and you'd still be able to see though the fireplace to some extent. It looks like some of the Jotul stoves have a short leg kit that would make the stove as short at 26" so they might physically fit, but it's not clear to me whether this sort of installation is good for the stove. There's also the slightly more complicated matter of making sure the stove flu outlet lines up with the existing damper.

Thoughts on these options? I've attached a photo, note this is from before we bought the house, the TV and cable race has been removed.
Thank you!

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,729
South Puget Sound, WA
Options are slimmer as we wait for 2020 compliant stoves to return to the market. Based on the dimensions, the Jotul F45 with the Short Leg Kit #157636 would fit. That is their hearth mount option. It would work. The Hampton H300 with the short legs would have fit and met the criteria, but it has not returned to the market yet.

The stove will need a 6" stainless liner and a block-off plate at the damper is recommended.
 

agonyzhou

New Member
Nov 29, 2019
97
Maryland
A freestander's backside does not look nicer than a insert's backside. A rare situation is also a rare opportunity to do something truly original; For example you can have an insert on one side and a fish tank on the other? Some tropical fish need to be heated.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,729
South Puget Sound, WA
Clever idea, but I think a heat shield would be needed. Without one, that might end up cooking the fish. Another solution is to put some sort of screening on the backside. This could be expanded or perforated metal. It will allow some heat to convect on the backside.
 

danham

Burning Hunk
Jan 12, 2012
122
Cape Cod, MA
Our Jotul insert works great in our double-sided fireplace. We have glass doors on the non-insert side and open them if we want heat in the dining room (stove faces living room).

56A61ECA-2117-48C7-87DA-D81DADE659A4.jpeg
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,232
NE Ohio
So the double sided inserts are gone I take it...Duet I think it was?
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
735
SE North Carolina
I really like my hearth mounted Jøtul. The back side isn’t beautiful and has the UL listing plate that can not be removed but it is not ugly. I do think free standing stove with legs look better than an insert and no surround. Consider a blower as I think it really helps with a hearth mounted stove. Do you want to keep the double sided look?

Bit of a spit ball idea but I will throw it out there is to remove hearth on back side (im guessing this is the sliding door side as it’s not needed bit I’d wait till you redo carpet/floors ) and extend it on the other side mounting a rear vent stove completely outside the fireplace opening. Gives you more of the see through look and hides the back of the stove as it won’t be as easy to see from the back side. Two reasons thoughts one is completely aesthetic. That is a really tall piece of brickwork you have there and stoves look really good in front of tall walls. The other is the room can get more radiant heat from the stove. Just some thoughts.
Evan
 
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pirates712

New Member
Dec 13, 2020
20
Rochester NY
Freestanding fish tank or insert? :)

My understanding was the duet insert was really meant for new construction, very difficult to retrofit. It also isn't worth the $$ to me compared to a normal stove or insert.

If possible I'd like to keep some of the double-sided character. I think I could achieve that with an insert w/out surround or a stove, the difference being an insert would have space between the top of the firebox and the lintel whereas a stove would have space between the bottom of the stove and the hearth. I'm thinking with the glass doors removed a stove would look better than an insert without the surround. If an insert would be objectively better in this situation I would use the surround and figure out a way to make the other side look decent, but the jotul f45 for example would have a 6" gap on either side so you could still see through to the other side.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,232
NE Ohio
If possible I'd like to keep some of the double-sided character. I think I could achieve that with an insert w/out surround or a stove, the difference being an insert would have space between the top of the firebox and the lintel whereas a stove would have space between the bottom of the stove and the hearth. I'm thinking with the glass doors removed a stove would look better than an insert without the surround. If an insert would be objectively better in this situation I would use the surround and figure out a way to make the other side look decent, but the jotul f45 for example would have a 6" gap on either side so you could still see through to the other side.
One of these "TV fireplaces" for the back side? ;) :p ;lol
1607960237016.png
 
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pirates712

New Member
Dec 13, 2020
20
Rochester NY
Webcam on the front side streaming to a TV on the back side, that could work....

Is it correct that if a stove physically fits in my fireplace it's ok to run it that way? Any risk of damaging the stove or chimney bricks?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,729
South Puget Sound, WA
Webcam on the front side streaming to a TV on the back side, that could work....

Is it correct that if a stove physically fits in my fireplace it's ok to run it that way? Any risk of damaging the stove or chimney bricks?
Yes, properly installed it will work ok without risk to the chimney or stove.
 

pirates712

New Member
Dec 13, 2020
20
Rochester NY
Called the local fireplace shop today, they have a couple f 45's in stock at a quoted price of $2200 plus $600-$1200 for the liner depending on whether it needed to be insulated or not. They said since the f 45 isn't catalytic I might not need an insulated liner but I'll have to do some research on that.
 

pirates712

New Member
Dec 13, 2020
20
Rochester NY
Visited the fireplace shop yesterday and put down a deposit on the last f45 they had in stock. Owner will be coming out to take measurements and quote exact price for liner+install. Only concerns at this point are getting the stove into the fireplace since I only have 2" to spare and making sure I have clearance for the liner to be connected. They are currently scheduling installs towards the end of January but said they've had issues getting in orders of gas stoves so they might be able to get me in earlier.
 
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Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
G
Visited the fireplace shop yesterday and put down a deposit on the last f45 they had in stock. Owner will be coming out to take measurements and quote exact price for liner+install. Only concerns at this point are getting the stove into the fireplace since I only have 2" to spare and making sure I have clearance for the liner to be connected. They are currently scheduling installs towards the end of January but said they've had issues getting in orders of gas stoves so they might be able to get me in earlier.
Good luck with your new set up!

Someone really needs to figure this double sided fireplace insert thing out. Doesn't seem like an overly complicated thing, and this question comes up frequently. A double sided fireplace is a really nice architectural feature, and to turn it into a good heat source would be really great.

In any event, that stove will look cool in your fireplace and be a great heater as long as you make sure to have an insulated block off plate. You just have to decide what side the door goes on, which you probably already have.

One other cool thing about the double sided fireplaces, all that masonry in the middle of the house will soak up the heat and you'll have a nice masonry heater going after the stove goes out.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
735
SE North Carolina
Insist on a block off plate, and insulated liner. It’s way easier to do before the stove is installed. I just got around to making and installing a block off plate (haven’t insulated it yet). And it make a huge difference getting the heat into the room. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do mine.
Evan
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,859
Downeast Maine
So the double sided inserts are gone I take it...Duet I think it was?
I do not think they made the 2020 cut as both the Duet and Vison are above 1.5g/hr. The duet does appear to be made for new installs but the Vision being a freestanding stove had more freedom.
 

pirates712

New Member
Dec 13, 2020
20
Rochester NY
They said the f45 doesn't need an insulated liner because it isn't catalytic, and an insulated liner costs twice as much. From my research it sounds like an interior chimney is less likely to need an insulated liner than an exterior chimney?

When I asked about a block off plate they also said they usually just stuff mineral wool insulation in around the liner, but I'll ask the owner when he comes to measure. If I can get the damper plate out I might be able to cut a hole in it for the liner and use that.

Spent the morning removing the doors and scrubbing the firebox. It certainly doesn't look new, but it's a lot cleaner than it was.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,729
South Puget Sound, WA
The reason for the insulated liner is not just heat retention, it is to reduce the liner to zero-clearance which is code if the chimney does not have the required 2" clearance from combustibles all the way up. In this case, given it is freestanding, it may be ok. The block off plate is optional and stuffing mineral wool around the damper area is the typical, low-skill way of solving the issue in the installer's mind. But it will be leaky. Insulation is porous. A proper block-off plate takes more skill with cutting and fitting sheetmetal. It not only seals off the damper area properly, it also stops insulation dust from coming into the room.
 

pirates712

New Member
Dec 13, 2020
20
Rochester NY
Here are some pictures of the fireplace with the doors removed and of the damper area, anyone have suggestions as to how I might construct a block off plate? There's some angle iron just below the metal damper box that looks like it would be ideal for attaching a sheet of metal, only thing is I'm pretty sure I'd have to do it after the stove is installed because otherwise there wouldn't be enough clearance to connect the liner.
I also took a picture of the damper with my ir camera phone attachment. It's low resolution, but basically the yellow outline is the edge of the damper plate. I think it's warmer because of the warm air leaking up past it.
 

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,729
South Puget Sound, WA
Are you intending to move the stove out of the way or just approach it from the backside with the stove in place? The blockoff plate will be easier to install at the time of installing the liner. You could have it prefabricated and ready to install before the liner.
The question is, where will the stove's flue collar be once the stove is installed?

How good are your measuring and sheet metal skills?
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
Here are some pictures of the fireplace with the doors removed and of the damper area, anyone have suggestions as to how I might construct a block off plate? There's some angle iron just below the metal damper box that looks like it would be ideal for attaching a sheet of metal, only thing is I'm pretty sure I'd have to do it after the stove is installed because otherwise there wouldn't be enough clearance to connect the liner.
I also took a picture of the damper with my ir camera phone attachment. It's low resolution, but basically the yellow outline is the edge of the damper plate. I think it's warmer because of the warm air leaking up past it.
I'd fasten it to the bricks, with tapcons on the sides perpendicular to the angle iron, on folds or tabs bent into the sheet metal. The bottom of the angle iron would be a nice level, if there is room.

Make no mistake, a block off plate is tough to fabricate. Probably easier with the two sided fireplace than a standard fireplace, though. It can be made much more manageable using a premade template out of poster board or cardboard, and by making it out of two pieces of sheet metal rather than one. If you play with the template material first, it'll be a much easier and better outcome.

If you are an experienced sheet metal fabricator, just ignore my words.
 
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Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
I'm just adding here- there's another recent thread that shows someone else's solution to the double sided dilemma. Looks like someone welded two stoves together after cutting out the backs. Makes me want to learn how to weld. Pretty cool.

 
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pirates712

New Member
Dec 13, 2020
20
Rochester NY
If I make a block-off plate I would install it after the stove is in place without moving it out of the way. I'm not confident that I can predict exactly where the flue collar will be.
I'm certainly not an experienced sheet metal fabricator :)

Here's a question - when the chimney is swept, will I need to disconnect the liner from the stove? The stove will be configured for the flue to exit from the top so there won't be a tee. I also won't be able to remove the top of the stove so I'm not sure where the "sweepings" will end up.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
87,729
South Puget Sound, WA
Is your installer flat out refusing to put in a block-off plate, even if that could be a deal breaker? Adding one is not that uncommon an install. It makes me wonder about the level of experience of their crew.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
If I make a block-off plate I would install it after the stove is in place without moving it out of the way. I'm not confident that I can predict exactly where the flue collar will be.
I'm certainly not an experienced sheet metal fabricator :)

Here's a question - when the chimney is swept, will I need to disconnect the liner from the stove? The stove will be configured for the flue to exit from the top so there won't be a tee. I also won't be able to remove the top of the stove so I'm not sure where the "sweepings" will end up.
The sweepings go right into the stove, no problem. This is where the sweepings go for almost everyone with a stove insert or setup like yours. The baffle would probably be removed first to avoid damaging it, assuming there is a baffle.