Even small fireplaces generate too much heat?

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New Member
Mar 30, 2021
Hello, first time poster. I am looking to replace an old Heatilator Mark 123 that I believe is original to my home. The fireplace is in a single-story family room that has vaulted ceilings and measures approximately 24' x 24'. This room is above the garage and, while it is connected to the rest of the home, shares relatively little wall space with the main part of the house.

Here are some pictures (please don't mind our clutter):

I have called around to my local fireplace shops in search of a replacement ZC fireplace that will allow me to build a fire that will actually heat the room. The feedback that I am getting seems to be that even a small EPA unit like the Ambiance Elegance 36" will throw off too much heat for my room, and I would need to find a way to route the excess heat elsewhere. On the other hand, a traditional style ZC fireplace will just send the heat up the chimney.

Is there something I'm missing here? Is there not a solution that will get me some heat from the fire without cooking me alive?
A 2 cu ft EPA fireplace shouldn't overheat the room, especially on cold CT winter days. Burn partial loads and let the fire go out if the room is warm enough. The PE FP16 @ 1.6 cu ft is even smaller.
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Thanks. This is the unit I had been looking at in our local store:

But now I am wondering if something from Valcourt might be a better option, such as this one:
Both are quite a bit larger than the FP16, but the Valcourt is closer.
Thanks again. Just so I understand, when you say these are larger than the FP16, you are referring to the volume of the firebox?

There is a PE dealer near me, so maybe I will go take a look at that one. From the pictures on the internet, it looks tiny. I'm concerned that what I want is not really available to me - a nice large firebox that will give the aesthetics of a traditional fireplace with a roaring blaze, but also one that will provide the right amount of heat for the room.

Maybe the Valcourt is the best option.
That should work. You can always build smaller fires in milder weather. Check the minimum chimney height verify it is met.
I went to see the Valcourt in person. As my wife said, "It looks like a microwave." We are going with the Ambiance Elegance 36, and we'll just burn smaller loads and/or adjust the burn rate down as needed.

Thanks again for your help. Much appreciated.
Hi everyone,

Thanks again for the great information - what a wonderful community this is. I thought I would post a follow-up showing the first fire in our new Ambiance Elegance 36. Let me tell you, it has the room quite toasty! We're very happy with how it all turned out.

Looks great!

I grew up in CT. Looking to eventually move to SE CT.
Looks awesome. Seinfeld fan too !
I wouldnt worry about top end heat if your referring to btu charts on what the epa fireplace can achieve, thats like only 20% of the burn, I'd think practicable and go with a unit that can heat with burn times of 10-12hrs per load or 2.5cu ft firebox, plus with a larger firebox you can get normal split wood sized 16-18 possibly 20" in lengths and be good to go.
With some epa fireplaces they offer optional ducted runs so you can dump heat above or below the unit on a separate floor not in the stove room if you meet that application with space.
You should do it! I am not a CT native, but I think this is a great area.
Well done. It looks awesome. Nice fire too.
We came from CT many years back, up in the NW corner in Cornwall.