Q&A maintenance/repair

QandA Posted By QandA, May 26, 2007 at 5:52 PM

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  1. QandA

    New Member 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 27, 2012

    Help me Oh Webmaster!

    We purchased a house last year which has a fireplace insert. The building inspector said it was a good one and that it was installed properly. The chimney sweep confirmed this. We used it last winter and enjoyed it immensely. We have two problems. The recurring blackened windows! I read a couple of your answers to people about starting a fire hot so as to get the draft going quickly. Being as it is an insert and the air intakes are on the front, I gather that black windows are something we will just have to clean now and then! But, is there a time when we should detach the doors and spray them with Easy Off or something to get all that black crap off the doors themselves? Another question (I guess I miscounted and really have three), the chimney sweep said we don't need a grate. We tried it both ways last winter, as we already had a grate. A fire is easier to get going with a grate, so does it really matter? Should we not use one because we don't have to, are we defeating the design of the insert?

    Last question: the only identifying mark on this thing is "Carolina" on the damper handle; no model number or anything else that is _visible_. We were left no information by the previous owners. There is a blower, but the fan only hums. It either needs a long overdue cleaning, or it needs to be replaced. The question is, how do we get to it?! There are two screws (one on either side) which appear to hold the bottom face plate on, behind which is the blower motor and electrical switches. The air is evidently drawn in down there, is warmed and comes out a vent on either side of the firebox. When we remove those two screws, we can't get the front cover to budge. It seems ridiculous to me that there would not be a way of getting to the blower motor etc. without taking the entire unit out of the fireplace. _Please_ tell me I'm right and there is some simple solution! Well, tell me whatever is correct, I'll just hope that there's a simple solution!


    There is little that you can do about dirty glass on older stove models such as yours. This was before the time of "air wash". Airwash brings air into the stove along the top of the glass windows. This air then falls quickly, sweeping the smoke away from the windows.

    If possible, use the heavy-duty glass cleaners available at stove and fireplace shops. I've heard that certain oven cleaners can harm the glass-ceramic used in stoves. More info on this glass and cleaners is available at https://www.hearth.com/robax

    A small grate will make starting easier, as it lets air under the fire. However, make certain that your grate is very low, as you do not want it to make the firebox smaller. If you decide not to use a grate, simply build your fire with one or two sticks on the bottom headed front to rear, and these will act as a temporary grate while the fire catches.

    Amazingly enough, there were some stoves made which had the blower located on the rear. Buck Stoves were a popular brand that had this design.

    Some designs had the blower in a "drawer" under the unit. Yours may be one of those. In this case, you'd have to pull quite hard after removing those two screws. It's almost certain that the blower can be removed from the front.
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