Just moved in. Should I get this old stove working again? Convert back to traditional fireplace?

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ngrover

New Member
Dec 9, 2020
7
Calgary Canada
Hello! First post. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Recently moved into an older ( 1973 ) home. At some point, the fireplace was converted to have a wood stove. As best I can tell, the model is a 1982 Lopi X.

I will try and attach a pic to this post.

I just had a chimney sweep come by to evaluate "my situation".

Details:
- The stove is in the basement level of the house (half underground). Concrete floor.
- The brick chimney extends up the side of the house and goes well above the roof line.
- As it turns out, this thing was basically "shoved in there". It does NOT have a liner that goes to the top of the chimney.
- I found the original manual. The stove was installed with acceptable clearances in all but one way. It should have 41 inches of clearance in front of the stove. I only have a couple inches.
- The original fireplace flu is still intact. The stove also has it's own flu.
- In my picture, I circled what I'm told is a gas valve for a "log lighter". This was used in the original fireplace to pre-heat the chimney and prevent smoke coming back into the house?
- When I insured my home, I mentioned we had a fireplace. Nothing else was said.

The sweep was careful with his words and suggestions ( I gather this is to prevent him from being implicated in any insurance related matters etc ). But here are my options (as far as I know):
1) Have a full liner installed. I gather the original flu would be removed etc.
2) Remove the stove and restore it back to a traditional fireplace. Additionally get the log-lighter working.

I'm looking for any advice/thoughts.
What would you do?

Pros and Cons as I currently understand things:
1) stove puts out heat (pro)
2) stove doesn't have the required clearance in the front according to manual (con)
3) restoring to a traditional fireplace may be cheaper? I didn't get any quotes. I don't mind doing some of the work myself where I can (pulling old stove, putting mesh curtains on etc).

I don't really know how I plan to use the fireplace or stove. How many times a year? Not sure! I've never owned a fireplace or stove to know just how much I'm going to fall in love with it and therefore use it.

Thanks!

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,791
South Puget Sound, WA
The 41" is for combustibles like furniture in front of the stove. As long as the hearth has 16" in front of the stove and is non-combustible, it is ok. (Area rug would need to go) The sweep is correct, the stove should have a liner. As is, this is called a slammer install that is no longer to code.

You'll need to decide what is your priority. Do you want to heat or just have a nice fire? If you want heat you will need to get a 6" liner for the stove installed. If you want to use the fireplace and the sweep has found the current chimney defective, then you will need to install a larger chimney liner to fix. If you do decide to heat with wood then you will need a good supply of fully seasoned wood. That is hard to get at this time of year. And you will need a place to store it.

One thing you can do now is check draft. Take a cigarette, incense stick or just a small roll of lit newspaper and hold it inside of the stove. Does the smoke get pulled up with none spilling into the room? If yes, that is a good start.
 
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ngrover

New Member
Dec 9, 2020
7
Calgary Canada
The 41" is for combustibles like furniture in front of the stove. As long as the hearth has 16" in front of the stove and is non-combustible, it is ok. (Area rug would need to go) The sweep is correct, the stove should have a liner. As is, this is called a slammer install that is no longer to code.

You'll need to decide what is your priority. Do you want to heat or just have a nice fire? If you want heat you will need to get a 6" liner for the stove installed. If you want to use the fireplace and the sweep has found the current chimney defective, then you will need to install a larger chimney liner to fix. If you do decide to heat with wood then you will need a good supply of fully seasoned wood. That is hard to get at this time of year. And you will need a place to store it.

One thing you can do now is check draft. Take a cigarette, incense stick or just a small roll of lit newspaper and hold it inside of the stove. Does the smoke get pulled up with none spilling into the room? If yes, that is a good start.

Great help, thanks begreen.

I get the sense either route is equally do-able, I just need to pick what I prefer.

My wife likes a traditional fire place. I'm partial to the iron beast. The ability to heat our home using wood scratches a weird itch for me. Either way it doesn't look like we are having a fire by Christmas with all that is going on in 2020 so patience is to be exercised not matter which route we go.

I think I'll chase the stove idea little further. I want to confirm the stove I have is worth the effort. No sense in dumping good money into a quality liner if the stove is garbage.

To that end, any tips on how to asses the state of stove itself is appreciated.
 

rwhite

Minister of Fire
Nov 8, 2011
1,800
North Central Idaho
What do you mean by "the original fireplace flue is intact, Also the stove has its own flue" ? Are there 2 flues in the chimney? The stove is old and certainly not as efficient as new models but likely it is still functional. They were quality units in their time. I wouldn't put a bunch of money into it but if it's working you can always upgrade the liner and wait a few years to install a newer one to help defer costs. The rub is whether your municipality requires everything to be brought to code during a major renovation. If that's the case will they let you use the old stove when a liner is installed?
 

ngrover

New Member
Dec 9, 2020
7
Calgary Canada
What do you mean by "the original fireplace flue is intact, Also the stove has its own flue" ? Are there 2 flues in the chimney? The stove is old and certainly not as efficient as new models but likely it is still functional. They were quality units in their time. I wouldn't put a bunch of money into it but if it's working you can always upgrade the liner and wait a few years to install a newer one to help defer costs. The rub is whether your municipality requires everything to be brought to code during a major renovation. If that's the case will they let you use the old stove when a liner is installed?

Sorry I should have said "the original DAMPER is intact". I mixed up "flu" and "damper". I'm learning!
 

ngrover

New Member
Dec 9, 2020
7
Calgary Canada
Quick update. I yanked the stove out. I may regret this. In fact, I'll hang on to the stove for a while in case I change my mind.

I'm left with a crusty old fireplace that needs some attention.

Specifically:
1) The original damper doesn't seem to shut completely.
2) I have a capped gas line for a log lighter which I'd like to get working.
3) I'm waiting to hear back from my sweep as to when they can come and re-check/clean if necessary.
4) I need a mesh screen or glass doors etc. Haven't even looked into this yet.

Thanks all.
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,254
SE North Carolina
Couple thoughts. I personally would not run a slammer install. So I would look it over and if looks good to burn price out an 8” liner. Then price out a new stove and liner. If all the stove needs is a couple new gaskets I’d consider installing them and the liner myself. If I am paying someone to install it I’d probably just get a new stove and 6” liner. I burned our open fireplace for one winter probably 4 fires. Smoke rollout into the house was bad enough I didn’t ever burn it again. Glass doors didn’t help much. They keep the smell contained after the fire is over. Custom doors are not cheap. I wonder what the chances of getting an appliance adapter to hook that stove up to a liner would be? When considering costs check out the insert Drolet insert Costo sells.

just my thoughts.
I really like my stove.
Evan
 
Dec 14, 2020
173
Lisburn, PA
I'm new here also but have been around woodstoves and fireplaces since 72 and on my second wife. You have several options and based on your photo you need to remember sage advice from an old man.
"Happy wife, happy life"
Fireplaces are not created equal and this one may or may not work well, but it appears from the grate that it had wood fires in it at some point. Fireplaces burn copius amounts of wood to provide ambience and a little heat with cold drafts coming from somewhere outside to get draft or you get smoke. If your wife wants ambience once in a while your easiest option may be the fireplace.
It also may be possible to do a ventless or vented gas fire with logs and decorative stones. These are easy to install since it appears you have gas in the fireplace. They are easy to operate and you can probably get Alexa to turn it on. They can also heat the room they are in, but are not for heating the house.
If you are serious about a wood stove, sell the old one for whatever you can get.
There are many manufacturers that have woodstoves/inserts with glass doors that deliver both heat and ambience.
If you have never burned wood, spend time getting educated. Woodburners Encyclopedia is a good start. As mentioned above you will want to check with local code officials. They are not created equal either.
Good luck
Perry
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,974
07462
Thats some older iron there, what size is the flue collar? Im guessing by the pic its close to 8"? you would def need some help with a cut off wheel to attach the liner correctly to stove, also does the stove have any type of baffle on the inside or is it just a hole on top that you can see from the fire box?
 

ngrover

New Member
Dec 9, 2020
7
Calgary Canada
Thanks @EbS-P ... I love the kind of feeback that tells me I'm thinking about this all wrong. I really don't have much experience with any of this. A smoke filled house is something I want to avoid. I am wondering if a log lighter would help in this regard.

@kennyp2339 I just measured the flue collar. It is 8" ( inner diameter). The stove has a baffle at the top (as shown in the photo). It does NOT have any additional baffle inside. I think I see where you are going with this. Without any understanding of how a liner attaches, I'm guessing it needs to clamp around a stub of pipe on the top of the stove (which is absent). I do a lot of welding/fabrication for my Jeep, so if need be I could probably fabricate a collar? Haven't given that any thought. If you look at my photo, there is not a lot of clearance above the stove to work with. All that said, you mentioned a "cut off wheel" which at first I didn't understand why I might need one. But looking at the stove again you might be right in that I could cut off the plate at the top that has the baffle on it. Under that top plate there is a 1" gap and piece of pipe sticking out of the cast iron stove. I could perhaps attach a liner to that, but then I've lost my baffle.

The general condition of the stove looks fine to me. The seals on the door look fine. About the only damage I can see are some cracked bricks which I assume can be replaced. Otherwise this thing would probably polish up nicely.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,146
Downeast Maine
If you want to heat with wood I think you will be disappointed in that old smoke dragon. You could get a pretty nice 6" liner and probably do it yourself and then get a budget EPA approved stove and upgrade to something nicer if you like it. That stove will be hard to connect with the clay liner in your chimney and chew through wood like you wouldn't believe.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,974
07462
The general condition of the stove looks fine to me. The seals on the door look fine. About the only damage I can see are some cracked bricks which I assume can be replaced. Otherwise this thing would probably polish up nicely.
I was just curious about the inside guts to get an idea about efficiency, to be honest, unless you either know or want to do some minor homework @coaly and build a baffle out of some plate steel for the inside, the stove might not be worth trying to salvage when compared to new tech which uses far less wood.
The other consideration is the actual liner size to the existing chimney , will a 8" liner fit down the masonry, does the masonry have the proper clearances from combustibles (your house framing and sheathing) or will that 8" liner need to be insulated which will make it almost 10.25" od?
It might be less effort to do the 6" liner and a new insert if you choose.
 

moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,794
Iowa
Putting a 8 inch liner in to match a ancient stove is questionable at best considering most modern stove/insert models use 6 inch. Something to consider.
As mentioned already, maybe you should measure up your opening and take a look at the Drolet brand insert kit's with the liner included if you want to burn wood at a reasonable price point. And get useful heat. Looking is free at this point.
 
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ngrover

New Member
Dec 9, 2020
7
Calgary Canada
Thanks guys.

Sounds like installing an 8" liner for an old stove isn't wise.

I'm not rich but I'll spend where I need to get it right. I'm somewhat handy so I'll do what I can.

I'll research a few stoves. I'm in Canada. Looks like the hardware (stove and liner) will run me around $2k (or less) and then some labor which will vary depending on what I do myself.

In summary, current thinking is that:
1) I've ruled out using the old stove
2) I'll look at new stoves
3) I'll keep my appointment with my sweep to see what is said about using it "as is". If it's not going to cost me much to run as a standard fireplace. I'll give it a go. If I drown in smoke then it's an easy decision to buy a new stove. If I don't drown in smoke... I may still want a stove anyway ;)
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,146
Downeast Maine
The fireplace is ultimately a net loss in heat, but it will be very visceral.
 

rwhite

Minister of Fire
Nov 8, 2011
1,800
North Central Idaho
The 8" liner would be the deal killer for me. The added cost of a larger liner and the possibility that the stove would get changed out and the liner not work would be enough for me to bite the bullet and get a proper liner and new stove.

There is always the possibility that your stove may draft on a 6" liner. It may be worth a try if your planning a new one anyway (if you wanted to defer the stove cost until later).
 

ngrover

New Member
Dec 9, 2020
7
Calgary Canada
I somehow missed your post @PA Mountain Man . Lots of good advice there. A gas insert is not something I'd considered yet. Not where my mind was going but I'll tuck that idea in my back pocket. You say "Fireplaces are not created equal"... that's what I'm hearing and I'd like to know if mine is a good or not. If it's not, then my wife might come around to a new stove ;)

@rwhite cheers. I'm getting good advice here. I'm not going to screw around with the old stove any longer though. For starters, I've already hauled it out of the basement and they are HEAVY ! If I can sell it for $300 or so (Canadian) then I consider it a bonus to have come with the house. I'll leave it at that!
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,146
Downeast Maine
I somehow missed your post @PA Mountain Man . Lots of good advice there. A gas insert is not something I'd considered yet. Not where my mind was going but I'll tuck that idea in my back pocket. You say "Fireplaces are not created equal"... that's what I'm hearing and I'd like to know if mine is a good or not. If it's not, then my wife might come around to a new stove ;)

@rwhite cheers. I'm getting good advice here. I'm not going to screw around with the old stove any longer though. For starters, I've already hauled it out of the basement and they are HEAVY ! If I can sell it for $300 or so (Canadian) then I consider it a bonus to have come with the house. I'll leave it at that!
Good plan.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,791
South Puget Sound, WA
There is always the possibility that your stove may draft on a 6" liner. It may be worth a try if your planning a new one anyway (if you wanted to defer the stove cost until later).
I don't think so. There is no room to install a slotted transition piece on top of the stove. That fit is tight! If an insert is the choice then a modern stove that will not need that transition or adapter is by far the best way to go. A gas insert is also a good plan if that better fits your lifestyle.
 
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