Gas Fireplace Insert Install Question

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sagosto

New Member
Aug 27, 2020
10
North Jersey
I live in North Jersey and finding it difficult to get accurate install information. My house is 27 years old and has a Marco wood fireplace that was converted to gas logs by the previous/original owner. The gas control valve is leaking so I would rather replace it with a gas inset so I can utilize the ability to heat part of my house that we spend the majority of time. The current fireplace has a viewing area of 38.75"W X 18.25"H so the majority of fireplaces would be a significant reduction. Unfortunately, the height is under 19 3/4" so I would need to remove the bottom louver to gain an additional 4-6". I am interested in the Mendota FV44i and Lopistore 616 to get the maximize amount of viewing area. Both of these units seem to be in the $6500-$7500 range w/o gas/electrical costs.

I contacted a few dealers and have gotten a few conflicting things:

1) Everything I have read was the gas insert would slide into the existing box and input/output lines would run to the cap. A local HVAC told me that they would need to open up the wall from the hearth to the cap to remove the box/vent and then reframe the wall for a new fireplace and install box/vent pipe. That doesn't sound right to me.

2) To support the larger inserts, the lower louver would need to be removed so the new insert would sit flush with the floor allowing for additional height. The dealer made it clear that I could not go back to a wood burning fireplace and the town would be notified. They mentioned they have only done this a handful of times. I don't see an issue -- I would never use wood and I can't imagine this being an issue with the next owner. They can re-install a new box if they wanted to. Is anyone concerned?

3) Given inserts use the existing fireplaces, they will have to be installed with existing surround/tile/etc. For mine, I would need a panel that would cover all of the existing black Marco box that borders to a gray slate stone. How would any of the existing surrounds work? After the face/profile is installed, the surround would need to be installed and it appears that nearly everyone would need a custom cut to ensure it seamlessly fits into the existing fireplace.

Marco
Model 792864B
Door kit 793412
Grate 498859
Blower kit 793623
Serial 90915

Existing Box
24.75" back width
17.5" depth flush to door + 1.5" bricks removed
36" width flush to door
19.75" height
Overall: 41"W x 36.75"H

Viewing Area: 38.75"W X 18.25"H

Log Set: 21.5"L X 13"D
 

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I live in North Jersey and finding it difficult to get accurate install information. My house is 27 years old and has a Marco wood fireplace that was converted to gas logs by the previous/original owner. The gas control valve is leaking so I would rather replace it with a gas inset so I can utilize the ability to heat part of my house that we spend the majority of time. The current fireplace has a viewing area of 38.75"W X 18.25"H so the majority of fireplaces would be a significant reduction. Unfortunately, the height is under 19 3/4" so I would need to remove the bottom louver to gain an additional 4-6". I am interested in the Mendota FV44i and Lopistore 616 to get the maximize amount of viewing area. Both of these units seem to be in the $6500-$7500 range w/o gas/electrical costs.

I contacted a few dealers and have gotten a few conflicting things:

1) Everything I have read was the gas insert would slide into the existing box and input/output lines would run to the cap. A local HVAC told me that they would need to open up the wall from the hearth to the cap to remove the box/vent and then reframe the wall for a new fireplace and install box/vent pipe. That doesn't sound right to me.

It ISN'T right for an insert install...
If you were replacing the wood burner with a gas FIREPLACE,
your HVAC guy would be correct, an entire new venting configuration would be required
Gas insert venting utilizes the existing flu, if the liners will fit.


2) To support the larger inserts, the lower louver would need to be removed so the new insert would sit flush with the floor allowing for additional height. The dealer made it clear that I could not go back to a wood burning fireplace and the town would be notified. They mentioned they have only done this a handful of times. I don't see an issue -- I would never use wood and I can't imagine this being an issue with the next owner. They can re-install a new box if they wanted to. Is anyone concerned?

You may have to refer to the owner's manual for the Marco, if you can find it.
Modification to the existing unit may NOT be allowed. If you DO modify it,
& something drastic happens (ie. FIRE), your insurance company may not cover any damage.


3) Given inserts use the existing fireplaces, they will have to be installed with existing surround/tile/etc. For mine, I would need a panel that would cover all of the existing black Marco box that borders to a gray slate stone. How would any of the existing surrounds work? After the face/profile is installed, the surround would need to be installed and it appears that nearly everyone would need a custom cut to ensure it seamlessly fits into the existing fireplace.

You will need a custom surround. The company I work for, makes them ALL the time.

Marco
Model 792864B
Door kit 793412
Grate 498859
Blower kit 793623
Serial 90915

Existing Box
24.75" back width
17.5" depth flush to door + 1.5" bricks removed
36" width flush to door
19.75" height
Overall: 41"W x 36.75"H

Viewing Area: 38.75"W X 18.25"H

Log Set: 21.5"L X 13"D
 
Marco has been out of business for over 20 to 25 years. Both lopistove dealers contradict each other. One says DVL 34 can be used because it has a bottom Louver for the controls but the Mendota and Lopi 616 can’t be placed on the bottom due to heat transfer. The other dealer said no problem and put it on fire bricks.

I’ll call dealers directly and hopefully get a clear answer
 
Lopi 616 has a specific clause in the installation manual (https://www.travisindustries.com/Docs/100-01298.pdf) that allows the bottom of the box to be removed:

The metal floor (“J”) of the firebox may be removed in certain cases*.

*CAUTION: Firebox floor removal is not covered under the appliance safety standard (ANSI Z21.88 CSA 2.33) used in the safety certification of this appliance, however, this method has been tested by Travis Industries and it has been determined to be safe following the instructions below. Before installing the appliance using this method, contact the Authority Having Jurisdiction to determine if this installation is acceptable in your area. The sheet metal base (or metal wrap) of the fireplace must be left in place and a minimum ½” cement board sheet placed under the entire length and width of the appliance.
 
Lopi 616 has a specific clause in the installation manual (https://www.travisindustries.com/Docs/100-01298.pdf) that allows the bottom of the box to be removed:

The metal floor (“J”) of the firebox may be removed in certain cases*.

*CAUTION: Firebox floor removal is not covered under the appliance safety standard (ANSI Z21.88 CSA 2.33) used in the safety certification of this appliance, however, this method has been tested by Travis Industries and it has been determined to be safe following the instructions below. Before installing the appliance using this method, contact the Authority Having Jurisdiction to determine if this installation is acceptable in your area. The sheet metal base (or metal wrap) of the fireplace must be left in place and a minimum ½” cement board sheet placed under the entire length and width of the appliance.
Travis industries cannot tell you it is ok to cut apart someone else's up listed appliance
 
I read that as it’s ok if the town agrees with us
If the town gives you a written code exemption for the violation yes. If they just pass your inspection without an exemption it is still s code violation.
 
As a home owner, I rely on the town inspection to basically give me the ok. I shouldn’t have to know about the difference.
If you read the inspection report it will tell you they carry no liability for missing code violations. Now if you have it installed by a pro the liability will fall on them as long as they are in business and for whatever period after that there insurance policy covers. But that doesn't make it safe.
 
So, I have 3 dealers telling me:

1) You can't do it. Then I show them the installation and they said they would assuming the town is OK with it.
2) You can put the insert on fire brick
3) You need to rip out the existing chimney.

As a customer, it's extremely frustrating and I am not quite sure what to do.
 
So, I have 3 dealers telling me:

1) You can't do it. Then I show them the installation and they said they would assuming the town is OK with it.
2) You can put the insert on fire brick
3) You need to rip out the existing chimney.

As a customer, it's extremely frustrating and I am not quite sure what to do.
Get a gas fireplace not a gas insert
 
From one of the 3 local dealers that can't figure out how to install their own product? No thanks. And, it would cost another $1-2K.
I am just telling you what the actual code requirements are. Do with it what you will
 
I appreciate the help. Are you speaking strictly for the Mendota and Lopi above? Because the Heat N Glow specifically allows the bottom to be removed: https://downloads.hearthnhome.com/installmanuals/2532_980_SUPREME-I25-30-35-IFT_INSTALL.pdf

How can that be against code? Please help me understand.
An insert manufacturer cannot over ride the fireplace instructions. Unless the fireplace says it is ok to remove the floor to install an insert it isn't allowed by code
 
Given it’s nearly 25 years old and the manufacturer has been gone for same years, how could one get a manual or be advised by fireplace manufacturer ?
 
The town responded:

The caution warning disqualifies you for approval by the code
Actually it is senseless to even offer that as an option
Sorry

The Kozy Heat and probably others don't mention that the floor cannot be removed so I guess I need to target them. I see a few other options from Kozy Heat/Napolean/Regency (smaller viewing area...)/Enviro/Heat & Glo that might work. Are they all a tier below the Mendota/Lopi?
 
The marco manual clearly states no inserts. So the crazy idea of cutting out the floor doesn't enter into it regardless. No insert is allowed at all.
 
Given it’s nearly 25 years old and the manufacturer has been gone for same years, how could one get a manual or be advised by fireplace manufacturer ?
A simple google search is all that is needed for the manual
 
That sounds like crazy money for an insert. I would reconsider your plan and think about ripping it all out and going with a DV zero clearance gas fireplace and reventing. Look at regency and other brands. Those numbers are high sounding
 
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