Large open sided concrete fireplace help

Jakus

New Member
Dec 26, 2018
14
New Mexico
AF33170E-8EC0-4280-9688-F10C10C8BBBB.jpeg BB7A3C4A-D5B8-40BA-996A-114EC382F560.png E7EAF106-A27A-4BCA-A334-544CB001B1A4.jpeg
We are the proud new owners of a mountain home that we hope to make our primary residence this spring. Our house is at 9000’ in the mountains of Northern New Mexico and I have been reading up a lot of the great info this site has to offer.

Here’s the basics. 2100 sqft main level with a 700 sqft upstairs loft. Down stairs has a Superior BC42 fireplace and upstairs has a large concrete fireplace with a masonry brick interior. Both fireplace flues share a central chimney. I would like to be able to heat the entire house with wood as the current electric baseboard heaters are very expensive to run and propane would be the only alternative. There is no duct work in the home as there is no need for AC.

I think my best course of action would be to put a stove in the upstairs to handle that space alone and remove the downstairs fireplace to accept a large enough stove to handle all that space seperately.

The opening dimensions for the upstairs fireplace are 24 deep, 52 wide, 27 tall (more clearance above if needed). See pictures above.

1. Does anyone make a wide but short stove that would better match the dimensions for the upstairs stove? I really like what I’ve been reading about Blaze King for long burns as this would be needed for significant portions of the year, but I have found one that seems to fit the opening.

2. I’ve seen several older threads regarding the superior BC42, and it generally appears to be too short of an opening to get an insert installed of any meaningful size. It certainly doesn’t seem like i could find something that would fit and be able to really heat 2100 sqft. Is that still true today? Many of the threads I found were older. It would seem a full tear down and proper stove install is the proper course here, but any advice is much appreciated.

Thanks
Jake
 
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moresnow

Minister of Fire
Jan 13, 2015
1,174
Iowa
house is at 9000’ in the mountains of Northern New Mexico
May as well rub it in and show us pics of the place outside;lol
Advice will be coming. Supply details on the existing chimney composition/liner type etc. Looks like a great place! Welcome here.
 

Jakus

New Member
Dec 26, 2018
14
New Mexico
EB67EC2E-DA59-467F-A0D3-398ABD59911D.png We got about 10” of fresh snow so far today.

Here is the chimney above the roof line.

At some point the second floor loft was added on. If you looks closely at the picture of the upstairs fireplace you will see rock facade that encases the original chimney sticking through the second floor loft.

There are quite a few local chimney companies here since so many people burn wood. I’ll have one of them out soon to access the chimney fully. The house was originally built in 1982 if that helps at all.

I’m planning to go to a local stove retailer later this week to look over in Taos. There are also Blaze King retailers in Santa Fe.

Just looking for some input before I start getting sales pitches.

May as well rub it in and show us pics of the place outside;lol
Advice will be coming. Supply details on the existing chimney composition/liner type etc. Looks like a great place! Welcome here.
 
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weatherguy

Minister of Fire
Feb 20, 2009
5,749
Central Mass
That wood mantle on the fireplace is going to cause a problem as far as clearance to combustibles.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,462
South Puget Sound, WA
A couple options for upstairs.
1) put in an insert with no surround
2) put a freestanding, rear vent stove on the hearth (thinking the Ideal Steel here)
 

Jakus

New Member
Dec 26, 2018
14
New Mexico
A couple options for upstairs.
1) put in an insert with no surround
2) put a freestanding, rear vent stove on the hearth (thinking the Ideal Steel here)
The ideal steel is a very nice looking option. Forgive my ignorance, but wouldn’t it be too large a stove for the upstairs area?

I showed my wife some pictures and walked her through these options and she very much prefers the idea of an insert without the shroud to setting a stove in front of the fireplace. With that in mind, is there anything else I should should consider besides the BK Princess, Sirocco, or Ashford?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,462
South Puget Sound, WA
The ideal steel is a very nice looking option. Forgive my ignorance, but wouldn’t it be too large a stove for the upstairs area?

I showed my wife some pictures and walked her through these options and she very much prefers the idea of an insert without the shroud to setting a stove in front of the fireplace. With that in mind, is there anything else I should should consider besides the BK Princess, Sirocco, or Ashford?
There are many options for inserts without the shroud if considering non-cat too. Otherwise stick with the BK inserts for cats.

The Ideal Steel should be ok. It's a nice open space. You control the heat and the IS will handle a wide range of output. How high is the ceiling in this area? If it is very high then that is another reason for a large stove.
 

Jakus

New Member
Dec 26, 2018
14
New Mexico
The ceiling in the loft is peaked in the center at 9’ and angles down to 5’ on the sides.

I was able to go to the only stove dealer in Taos today. It’s about and hour drive from my house. The owner was very helpful and had some good input. He very much agrees with my wife that downstairs should be the focus as it is the bulk of the living space and based on the homes layout heat from a downstairs stove would likely drift upstairs. He suspects that when the zero clearance comes out I will find masonry and concrete behind it, but the only way to know for sure is to remove it. If that is the case he would suggest mounting a free standing stove is the void left by the removal of the zero clearance. Run with one stove for a bit and decide if the upstairs stove is a needed.

A few other suggestions. He sells almost no stoves with blowers as home in this area have ceiling fans everywhere since there is no AC up here. He sells ultra quite transfer fans to mount over bedroom door if people want or need them.

For woodstoves he sells more Pacific Energy than any other brand, but he stocks Jotul, Morso, Hearthstone, Regency, and a few others. His recommendation would be the PE Summit. He does not do any installation, but he has contractors he recommends, and some that he does not.

I hadn’t considered PE before walking through his door, but the proximity and years of experience in my area are certainly pluses. There is a Blaze King dealer in Santa Fe, 2 hours away weather permitting.

Based on the amount of positive feedback BK seems to get around here I was almost sure that was the route I was going, but now I don’t know. Am I just seeing the sales pitch or does the closer option with a few local referrals seem like the path of least resistance????
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,462
South Puget Sound, WA
He suspects that when the zero clearance comes out I will find masonry and concrete behind it, but the only way to know for sure is to remove it. If that is the case he would suggest mounting a free standing stove is the void left by the removal of the zero clearance.
We have a big PE stove. No regrets, but I am concerned about this statement. Placing a freestanding stove in the area where a ZC fireplace was takes planning. This would become an alcove installation and there are some strict clearance requirements in this situation. It can be done, but requires planning and research on clearance requirements including ceiling height. Another option would be to replace it with a modern EPA ZC fireplace. There are some good units on the market including from PE. The FP30 has a firebox derived from the Summit.
 

Jakus

New Member
Dec 26, 2018
14
New Mexico
We have a big PE stove. No regrets, but I am concerned about this statement. Placing a freestanding stove in the area where a ZC fireplace was takes planning. This would become an alcove installation and there are some strict clearance requirements in this situation. It can be done, but requires planning and research on clearance requirements including ceiling height.
The old man that owned the home and installed the massive concrete fireplace upstairs was in the concrete business. It’s so heavy that they pour large extra footings under the house. I’ve got the brochure on the clearance to combustibles for the Summit, but there’s a chance when this zero clearance comes out that I may find steel and concrete behind it rather than wood. Being wrong is of course always a possibility, but in any case step one appears to be finding out what’s behind the downstairs zero clearance and going from there. Even if an alcove must be constructed that’s find as long as we can at some point minimize the use of our baseboards.

While I am tackling the stove I’ve got my wife looking at sewing up some window coverings for the substantial amount of glass we have on the first.

Think a Summit will handle 2200ish square feet with a steady diet of pine and aspen? It’s -3F outside right now...
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,462
South Puget Sound, WA
Here are the alcove clearance requirements for the Summit.
Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 7.59.11 PM.png
 

Jakus

New Member
Dec 26, 2018
14
New Mexico
67E2828C-22A5-4F3D-A394-C348BC05DCD2.jpeg 9A182FB8-90F1-4384-96B5-809A5779F6C3.jpeg 0D8222AB-57A5-4789-A673-186F71C53ABE.jpeg
Well, six months later I am finally back to the project. We also will be moving to the mountains full time in another month. So I should be able to tackle this full time before fall.

My dad and I tore out the old Superior fireplace today to see what we would find behind it. It was a bear to get out without damaging the finish stone. No old mason fireplace behind and a lot of combustibles.

Can a stone or brick wall be added to the read to make the space work with a wood stove or insert? Same question of the “ceiling” framing, can some kind of shield be added to protect the combustibles. I am still looking at stoves from Pacific energy since they have the closest dealer.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
21,388
central pa
View attachment 245005 View attachment 245006 View attachment 245007 Well, six months later I am finally back to the project. We also will be moving to the mountains full time in another month. So I should be able to tackle this full time before fall.

My dad and I tore out the old Superior fireplace today to see what we would find behind it. It was a bear to get out without damaging the finish stone. No old mason fireplace behind and a lot of combustibles.

Can a stone or brick wall be added to the read to make the space work with a wood stove or insert? Same question of the “ceiling” framing, can some kind of shield be added to protect the combustibles. I am still looking at stoves from Pacific energy since they have the closest dealer.
You cannot reasonably make that space suitable for an insert. And it is very unlikely you will have room for the required clearances for a wood stove either without making the opening much larger.
 

Jakus

New Member
Dec 26, 2018
14
New Mexico
You cannot reasonably make that space suitable for an insert. And it is very unlikely you will have room for the required clearances for a wood stove either without making the opening much larger.
The more I look the more I agree. A Pacific FP 30 might be workable. I may be 4 inches short on total height clearance.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,462
South Puget Sound, WA
What are the dimensions for the hole left by the Superior?
 

Jakus

New Member
Dec 26, 2018
14
New Mexico
What are the dimensions for the hole left by the Superior?
The opening in the decorative stone is 44”w by 34 3/4” tall.

The internal width between the cinder block side walls is 55”

The depth is 26 1/2” to the wood studs in the back.

The height from the floor in the box to the wood structure above is 80”.

I am really thinking a Pacific FP-30 would fit if the 84” height clearance requirement could be decreased a bit with some shielding.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,462
South Puget Sound, WA
Pulled the FP30 post, you are right, it's 84". The Flame Monaco (or Osburn Stratford) has an 80" ceiling clearance. There may be others too. Some RSF fireplaces allow a lower ceiling clearance if the fireplace cavity is vented into the room.
 
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Jakus

New Member
Dec 26, 2018
14
New Mexico
Update

I went back to my local stove dealer to go through a dimensioned sketch and discuss the clearances. The only dimensions that needs attention is the clearance inside the cavity to the 2nd floor joists above. The owner of the shop provided me some ceramic knobs and suggested they be used to mount a sheet metal shield to the underside of the floor joists with a 1 inch air gap around the perimeter to allow it to breath. This should be adequate to allow for a reduction in the height clearance.

Additionally we have decided to take on the downstairs only at this time. Some of the heat from the downstairs fireplace is going to make it upstairs, and after living with one stove for a while we’ll decide if we want to put something in the concrete fireplace upstairs.

The stove dealer was also able to recommend a certified installer to handle the flue pipe change. The installer will also deliver the stove and help me get it in place for him to hook up the new flue to. I will be removing the mantle and making the opening taller to allow install and connection to the flue this week.

Should have the stove in and burning before things cool down too much here.

I’ll update with pictures soon.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,462
South Puget Sound, WA
Will you be going with the FP30?
 

Jakus

New Member
Dec 26, 2018
14
New Mexico
Yes, sorry, I should have said that. I went with the FP30 Arch. I did not get any of the add ons the O/A kit, optional ducted supply, or craftsmen surround.

The dealer stocks Security chimney pipe, and I’ll leave the climbing on my metal roof to the installer.
 
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Jakus

New Member
Dec 26, 2018
14
New Mexico
19C5EE94-0831-4A85-8760-9EF686FBC7A3.jpeg 5FF76089-4E82-407D-A251-AD84D78BA709.jpeg 14A47200-703C-4B8C-AADF-53F4E328C141.jpeg The prep is done

Mantle, stone, and cement board down. Anchor bolts cut off. I also installed sheet metal shields with ceramic insulator stand offs below all the wood hanging below the 84” clearance mark. My installer is bring the stove on 9/7 and redoing all the flue.

My next big decision will probably happen once the stove is in place. I’m not sure if I want to finish the install with cement board in between the cinder block walls or go ahead and put the cement board across the whole face including the cinder blocks.
 
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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,727
Philadelphia
Late to the party, and started just skimming after the first ten posts, so I don’t have much to add on the FP-30 or stove selection. Moot point now, anyway.

But I can discuss heating a larger home with multiple stoves or fireplaces. I grew up in a large house partially heated with three fireplaces, and now I live in a very large home partially heated by two BK Ashford 30.1 wood stoves. The level of time and/or equipment required to keep two big stoves fed for an entire winter is way beyond what all but a few would be willing to do, for a stretch of many years.

This can be lubricated with dollars, you could buy your wood, but most here seem go into this endeavor with a plan to harvest their own. So your current compromise of installing just one FP-30 is a good way to go, you can get a sense of all of this, before making the decision on whether you want to double this work.
 

Jakus

New Member
Dec 26, 2018
14
New Mexico
30C00A54-33C1-4431-8246-6C5A517D118A.jpeg 6625A6B4-F169-41E6-839C-90C5B48A7EFF.jpeg FP30 install

Fireplace went in today. New flue all the way up

We will probably do our first burn in the next week or so. Planning to burn it at least a few time before the finish facing goes up.

It ended up making the most sense to flush the body of the stove with cinder blocks. I’ll end up facing the entire thing with cement board and the adding decorative rock on top.

My installer has a Summit he feeds a steady diet of Fir and Aspen. He said he like to start his fires with that and if the outside temp drops below zero he like Piñon or Ponderosa Pine.

Looking forward to learning to heat with this thing.
 
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Jakus

New Member
Dec 26, 2018
14
New Mexico
Did the first burn in the new FP30 last night. Instructions had been included with the documents for a 45 minute "medium" fire followed by 45 minutes of a hotter fire. We did follow the advice of opening windows to ventilate while the stove cooked off any residual materials, but this was done by the time the "medium" fire portion of the start up was completed.

The biggest relief of the night came 45 minutes in when the blower finally kicked on. When I wired the stove I found there was a difference between the wiring diagram in the printed manual, and the wiring diagram shown next to the terminal strips in the bottom of the fireplace. The manual diagram showed Ground (left), Line (center), Neutral (right), while the diagram in the stove showed Ground (left), Common (center), Switched (right). Looking at what was down stream from terminals I was fairly confidant that the stove mounted diagram was correct and wired it accordingly. It was a little frustrating that the diagrams did match perfectly in position or verbiage. Without jumping or blow torching the thermodisc sensor, lighting a fire is the only way I could see to tell if I had wired it correctly.

I built the initial fire using a top down method I had seen here and on Youtube, and was presently surprised with how well this worked. I did underestimate the amount of wood needed establish a good bed of coals in a completely cold stove, and found that my initial load of wood went pretty quickly. Once the stove was hot enough to trigger the blower I ended up adding some more splits to burn the second phase of the initial firing.

At this point the house was very warm, and the room with the fireplace bordering on too hot (it was a pretty mild night at around 50 at this time). Since I had a pretty good bed of coals going, I decided to throw a small round and a couple of quarters in and play with turning the damper down to low and letting it go overnight. It took me a while and some more reading here to get the new logs get going enough to turn the damper down by about 90%. I woke up with morning glad to see my living room a few degrees warmer than normal and few remnants left if the fire box.

I'll get plenty of practice running this thing in the coming months, and I'll be sure to post up pictures once I get the cement board and finish tile put back up.

Thanks for all the help!
 
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