Gas Heatilator replacement with Zero Clearance

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bvanh16

New Member
Jan 8, 2022
2
Silver Lake Wi
I have been thinking about replacing my current gas fireplace (Heatilator) for a long time now. Outside of aesthetics I get nothing out of it, and would like to have something that is able to heat my 2000 Sq Ft ranch house in Wisconsin. It doesn't need to be the only source of heat, but anything I can do to supplement the normal gas furnace would be appreciated. In looking at my options, I think a Zero Clearance Fireplace would be my only option based on the layout of the space and the chase up. I am going to attach a couple of pictures that shows what I mean by this. The entire chase is combustible materials. Additionally the depth of the space right now is only 19.5 inches. I cannot find anything that would fit into that size for a zero clearance. What I am thinking of doing is removing the gas fireplace, building out the depth another 5 inches using some sort of barn beams to frame the opening further out. Thus getting me to a depth of 24+ that would then allow for other options with a ZC. I am not sure if I would need to do anything to the chase as is also? It's framed out as you can see in the picture, but insulation and other combustibles exist. I would have to pull some of the stonework off the area right around the opening to remove the current Heatilator and then once the new one is in reinstall like stones. Any thoughts as to options with this type of setup? Am I on the right track with looking at ZC? The room the opening is in is about 20x20 with vaulted ceilings. It then opens up into my kitchen and dining room. I'd like something with good efficiency and have access to plenty of oak for wood burning. From the list of ZC for the 26% tax credit, it doesn't look like anything is out there outside of the Astria Montecito. Is anyone aware of anything else available or coming soon? Due to cost, I may just look for a ZC that doesn't qualify, but maybe has a rating in the low 70's. Im guessing I would also need to do some sort of hearth as well in the front, should I have any concern based on weight? The house was built in 2005, and just has normal TJI floor joists underneath. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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Brawndo71

New Member
Nov 21, 2021
36
MO
I am in a similar situation, looking for new high eff ZC fireplace. Got an old Heatilator ZC woodburner. These new ones weigh ~400-500#, i don't think that would be an issue over the surface area, could always install extra joist in that area maybe. The stonework would be way more weight than that. I am going to just rip out my brick and do a veneer stone from floor to ceiling. There are already sister joists, 2x10 underneath where my fireplace is. That will limit the weight. Yea no tax credit on anything that will fit my corner install, unless I go with a stove. I don't like the stove look. I am looking at Osburn, Valcourt and Hearthstone. I am a year out from starting anything on this, estimating $7k-10k for completion. Sure I won't make the money back in utilities, but house value maybe.

20180901_193321 (2).jpg
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,996
SE North Carolina
I have been thinking about replacing my current gas fireplace (Heatilator) for a long time now. Outside of aesthetics I get nothing out of it, and would like to have something that is able to heat my 2000 Sq Ft ranch house in Wisconsin. It doesn't need to be the only source of heat, but anything I can do to supplement the normal gas furnace would be appreciated. In looking at my options, I think a Zero Clearance Fireplace would be my only option based on the layout of the space and the chase up. I am going to attach a couple of pictures that shows what I mean by this. The entire chase is combustible materials. Additionally the depth of the space right now is only 19.5 inches. I cannot find anything that would fit into that size for a zero clearance. What I am thinking of doing is removing the gas fireplace, building out the depth another 5 inches using some sort of barn beams to frame the opening further out. Thus getting me to a depth of 24+ that would then allow for other options with a ZC. I am not sure if I would need to do anything to the chase as is also? It's framed out as you can see in the picture, but insulation and other combustibles exist. I would have to pull some of the stonework off the area right around the opening to remove the current Heatilator and then once the new one is in reinstall like stones. Any thoughts as to options with this type of setup? Am I on the right track with looking at ZC? The room the opening is in is about 20x20 with vaulted ceilings. It then opens up into my kitchen and dining room. I'd like something with good efficiency and have access to plenty of oak for wood burning. From the list of ZC for the 26% tax credit, it doesn't look like anything is out there outside of the Astria Montecito. Is anyone aware of anything else available or coming soon? Due to cost, I may just look for a ZC that doesn't qualify, but maybe has a rating in the low 70's. Im guessing I would also need to do some sort of hearth as well in the front, should I have any concern based on weight? The house was built in 2005, and just has normal TJI floor joists underneath. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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I think it would be cheaper to install a free standing stove in another location. I find it unlikely that you would be able to keep the current stone. Most likely the entire wall would need reframed to meet requirements of chosen unit.
 

bvanh16

New Member
Jan 8, 2022
2
Silver Lake Wi
Thank you for the replies. I should have mentioned the stone is a stone veneer. I have extra from when the house was built. The stone is just attached to ply wood. I would remove the stone needed around the opening (area designated by the brown coloring in the last picture. Then once I reframed the new unit, would reinstall as necessary. The width of the current heatilator framing is 42 inches wide, 19.5 inches deep, and 35 inches tall. One ZC I am looking at is the Valcourt Lafayette II. It requires a framing depth of 24 7/8 deep, 37 3/4 wide and 41 5/8 inches tall.
 

Brawndo71

New Member
Nov 21, 2021
36
MO
The plywood i dont think can stay. Cement board/non combustible needs to be front and above the fireplace. See install manual. I am going to remove all the drywall, and use metal studs where needed and cement board. Then put the veneer over that.
 
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