Malm gas fireplaces - opinions?

Warrigal Posted By Warrigal, Jun 26, 2018 at 1:14 PM

  1. Warrigal

    Warrigal
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Jun 20, 2018
    5
    1
    Loc:
    Tehachapi, CA
    I'm in the process of figuring out how to heat our 875sf fixer-upper cabin in the southern California mountains (winters not too bad - lows usu in the low 30s/highs in the low50s). It's an open floor plan with the bedroom about 25 feet from where the stove will go, so we want quiet operation, and ideally thermostat controlled. Although we're on propane only, we have decided it will be worth the extra cost to operate a propane fire to have the instant gratification of flicking a switch for ambiance, along with less mess/maintenance compared with pellets or wood.

    However, now I've completely fallen for the Malm Spin-a-Fire or Carousel fireplaces, and I'm not even sure if these are legitimate, house-warming, efficient solutions. There is little information in the way of reviews or efficiency ratings, so I'm hoping someone on this forum may have opinions and thoughts. I'd like to call Malm directly and ask some questions to help this assessment, but at this point I'm not even sure what to ask, or what information I'm missing. Here are the features listed on the webpage:
      • BTU Input Natural Gas 63,000 / Propane 55,000
      • Wall Clearance 6"
      • Requires Class A All-Fuel Chimney
      • Adjustable Flame Height
      • Remote Control Included
      • Thermostat Control Optional
      • Piezo Ignitor
      • Millivolt pilot system does not require power
      • Includes pipe to 8' ceiling height
      • Ceramic fiber logs with glowing embers
      • 12 & 16 Gauge Steel Construction
      • Ceramic Glass provides 360 view of fire
      • Can be placed directly on carpet or wood floors
      • Limited 5 Year Warranty
    Are there red flags I'm missing based on this features list? (Aside from no stated efficiency rating)
    If we got one of these, would we still need to get another source of heat, i.e. propane furnace or electric baseboard/wall heat?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
     
  2. Warrigal

    Warrigal
    New Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Jun 20, 2018
    5
    1
    Loc:
    Tehachapi, CA
    OK, for the benefit of posterity, I'll report back on my findings after some conversations with a few Malm dealers, along with the Malm manufacturing facility. Information is scant.

    The Spin-a-Fire is considered a decorative fireplace, not a heater. While the wood burning unit is reportedly efficient for a wood fireplace (est. 40% but I don't see this in writing anywhere), the gas version is estimated to be more like 25% efficiency. At 55,000 BTUs input for propane, my estimate is that it would output 11,000BTU. (I noticed that the Zircon model has an Energuide rating in the 60s, though, which seems comparable with some of the Jotul stoves - though lower BTU output).

    It is not meant to be a primary source of heat, so I will be on the hunt for a very efficient propane wall furnace - perhaps one of the Rinnai models, although I find it very difficult to distinguish among them based on Rinnai's page. We will look at the Malm as a piece of art, and any heat it might generate as a bonus. But the propane furnace will be good for keeping the pipes from freezing when we're not there, and providing a quiet (and dark) operation when we are sleeping 25 feet away (since our house is very small and largely open). I'd love to hear suggestions for an efficient, primary wall furnace for an 875 sf cabin, decently insulated.
     
  3. Trouthead

    Trouthead
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Oct 29, 2010
    67
    5
    Loc:
    Wyoming
    Installed the largest Rinnai natural gas wall heater in a Wyoming house of approx 1000 sq. ft. at 5400 ft elevation. Renters love it. It is very quiet, and puts out heat instantly. You might not need the biggest size, but It will make it warm faster. Install was pretty easy, as my plumber did it. I posted about it in an earlier post.
     

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