Looking to replace ZC fireplace with insert or EPA fireplace..

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New Member
Sep 14, 2017
Hi everyone,

Newbie here, and great forum. I have a Heatilator EC42 fireplace with prefab chimney that I would like to replace with something far more efficient that will help heat our home this winter. The room itself is a 2 story living room that is mostly open (colonial style), with approx. 3000 sf. of space (including upstairs bedrooms). There are no ceiling fans in the living room - just a large chandelier above that we don't plan on replacing.

Originally we looked at a few ZC inserts, but I still am concerned about going with an insert stove in a ZC fireplace w/prefab chimney, as apparently there still could be a fire risk. Another drawback is we would have to go with a smaller stove (current fireplace opening is 21(h) x 35 x 18, and I've read here that ZC approved stoves don't throw as much heat as other stoves/inserts.I looked at a few stoves that might this space - such as the Regency H200/300 - but they simply looked too small overall.

With that in mind, I am now looking at EPA fireplaces, such as the FPX 36 and Kozy Heat's Z42. Though they aren't as efficient as actual inserts or freestanding, I do like the fact that they take up minimal space and are ZC approved. I also like the large viewing area as well as compared to a small/medium insert. With that in mind, I would appreciate any input overall and any general thoughts on EPA fireplaces. Also, I'm curious if any major work would have to be done on our existing fireplace/chimney setup, as we'd like to avoid having to spend thousands on prep work alone just to be able to convert our existing ZC fireplace to an EPA approved one like the two models mentioned above. If indeed major prep work would be needed, then I'd probably go all out and do a full conversion so that I can put a large insert in.

Finally, I won't be considering doing a freestanding stove in this space, as I want to maintain a clean look while taking up as little space as possible. And as for heating expectations, I live in a relatively mild location (Central MD), so if the unit can help with 50% of the heating of our home or greater on cold days, I'll be more than happy. I'm definitely not expecting to not have to use our dual zone heat pumps, but obviously the less the better while still keeping our home warm.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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Looking at the specs for each unit, with your Heatilator at the top, you will see if MAJOR framing modifications are required...You most definitely will need to replace the existing venting.
I am almost finished replacing a ec42 with a Pacific Energy Fp-30. Its been a lot of work, but there is something to be said for starting from scratch and having complete control over the finished product.

I will tell you that you should be prepared to spend at least 7-8k depending in your choice of materials. My total cost is going to be right at 10k.

Feel free to pm me with any questions and I will do my best to answer them.
I will tell you that you should be prepared to spend at least 7-8k depending in your choice of materials. My total cost is going to be right at 10k.


see my avatar for my ZC EPA FP. heat n glo northstar. it's okay. wish it was deeper. rivets in front of the glass leave black marks from the air wash; bad design. we'll see this year as i'm used more seasoned wood finally.