Old Heatilator and wood burning insert

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Blackmountain

New Member
Nov 14, 2020
9
California
Hi guys, thanks for reading this. I’d appreciate any feedback you can provide.
I have a masonry fireplace built in the late 1970s around a Heatilator unit. It basically sucks. I want to just slide a wood burning insert in and let it just vent up through the existing chimney etc.
Is this possible? Safe?
One that I was looking at us a used Buck stove. Hopefully the photos of my fireplace and the stove that I’m thinking about buying show properly. Thank you.
 

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Hi guys, thanks for reading this. I’d appreciate any feedback you can provide.
I have a masonry fireplace built in the late 1970s around a Heatilator unit. It basically sucks. I want to just slide a wood burning insert in and let it just vent up through the existing chimney etc.
Is this possible? Safe?
One that I was looking at us a used Buck stove. Hopefully the photos of my fireplace and the stove that I’m thinking about buying show properly. Thank you.
No you need a liner run from the stove up through the chimney to the top
 
Why is that? That seems prohibitive given the damper structure and all that. I don’t see how that could be removed. Thank you for replying.
Because that is what is required to do it safely and legally. To put a liner in you need to cut that stuff out of the way.
 
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Let me ask this follow-up question please.

Looking up into the damper, cutting enough to make a 6" hole for a liner pipe would of course permanently destroy it. One option that I'm thinking might work given the size of the existing gaps...is two 4" lines. Could I use some kind of Y on the back of the stove, go through TWO gaps (that are a tad over 4" each) with two pipes would fit through, and then either just run two 4" lines all the way up or combine them back into one 6" pipe or whatever? I just really would like to avoid cutting everything up.
 
Let me ask this follow-up question please.

Looking up into the damper, cutting enough to make a 6" hole for a liner pipe would of course permanently destroy it. One option that I'm thinking might work given the size of the existing gaps...is two 4" lines. Could I use some kind of Y on the back of the stove, go through TWO gaps (that are a tad over 4" each) with two pipes would fit through, and then either just run two 4" lines all the way up or combine them back into one 6" pipe or whatever? I just really would like to avoid cutting everything up.
Nope it won't work.
 
Nope it won't work.

What won't work? Ok man, you have to understand that not everyone can do everything 100% by the book and not bend the rules. This isn't the military. Of course it will work, it's just a matter of whether the parts are available and whether it's perfectly by the book.
 
What won't work? Ok man, you have to understand that not everyone can do everything 100% by the book and not bend the rules. This isn't the military. Of course it will work, it's just a matter of whether the parts are available and whether it's perfectly by the book.
Well I have been doing this a long time and seen lots of things tried. Splitting into two liners does not work well if at all. And no the parts do not exist. I am sorry but to install an insert legally and safely in a fireplace like that you need to cut a pretty big chunk out of the damper area. That buck stove also needs an 8" liner to work properly not a 6".
 
I also just noticed your location. I am pretty sure you cannot legally install that insert in california regardless. Which would cause problems with insurance
 
Well I have been doing this a long time and seen lots of things tried. Splitting into two liners does not work well if at all. And no the parts do not exist. I am sorry but to install an insert legally and safely in a fireplace like that you need to cut a pretty big chunk out of the damper area. That buck stove also needs an 8" liner to work properly not a 6".

Ok, fair enough, and I do appreciate you taking the time to respond. I'm not totally sold on that Buck stove, it's just $250 compared to a LOT more for a new one. I was quoted $4,000 for a Lopi medium size installed, with liner to the top or whatever. I'd have to cut the damper open. I just really don't want to cut any of that open, it would render the whole thing unusable.

Do you mind me asking what's really the issue with not using a liner and letting the smoke just go up the chimney straight out of the stove or maybe running pipe up to the damper so it at least has a couple of feet of run? Thanks again.
 
I also just noticed your location. I am pretty sure you cannot legally install that insert in california regardless. Which would cause problems with insurance

Because it's not efficient enough? They sell/install lots of inserts here, so generally they're allowed but yeah I'm not sure about that particular model.
 
Ok, fair enough, and I do appreciate you taking the time to respond. I'm not totally sold on that Buck stove, it's just $250 compared to a LOT more for a new one. I was quoted $4,000 for a Lopi medium size installed, with liner to the top or whatever. I'd have to cut the damper open. I just really don't want to cut any of that open, it would render the whole thing unusable.

Do you mind me asking what's really the issue with not using a liner and letting the smoke just go up the chimney straight out of the stove or maybe running pipe up to the damper so it at least has a couple of feet of run? Thanks again.
It lets tons of dilution air in cooling the exhaust gasses leading to creosote buildup. The expansion of the gasses into the firebox and smoke chamber do the same thing. When that large ammout of creosote catches fire you then have a very large intense chimney fire with absolutely no way to shut off the air supply to it.

Installs like that burnt down lots of houses which led to the code change
 
Because it's not efficient enough? They sell/install lots of inserts here, so generally they're allowed but yeah I'm not sure about that particular model.
It is a pre epa model and I believe they are not allowed to be sold or new installs of them done in ca. But you would have to check state law to be sure
 
Cutting a notch to clear the liner does not permanently destroy it. A plate could be welded back to patch it if that was desired, but it rarely is.
 
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In California several counties have there own rules but they can not prevent from a 2020 epa certified wood burning appliance from being installed but they can subject residents to burn bans. Honestly I would not waste my time, energy, and a good liner on that old smoke dragon. My parents neighbors had one of those old bucks the glass was so black I thought it was painted steel. You would be much better getting a cheaper 2020 certified insert like a drolet 1800. If you are subject to burn bans, as much as I hate to say it gas would probablly be the way to go.
SEC. 2.
Section 41815 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

41815.
(a) (1) A district may not adopt or implement any rule or regulation that restricts or prohibits any of the following:
(A) Installation of any clean-burning solid fuel appliance in any new or existing residential structure.
(B) Replacement of a wood-burning fireplace with a clean-burning solid fuel appliance in any existing residential structure.
(C) Installation of a gas-burning appliance in any new or existing residential structure.
(D) Operation of a wood-burning fireplace, wood-burning heater, or wood-burning stove at any new or existing residence that meets any of the following criteria:
(i) Is located 3000 feet or more above sea level.
(ii) Cannot be serviced by a commercial natural gas or propane company.
(iii) Utilizes wood burning as its sole source of that.
(b) Any district that adopts an episodic wood burning curtailment program for implementation in its jurisdiction shall include the following two-level curtailment system in that program:
(1) A “Level I Curtailment” that is triggered when the state board determines the Air Quality Index to be at least 150 but less than 170 in the district, and in which a person may not operate a wood-burning fireplace, wood-burning heater, or wood-burning stove, but a person may operate a clean-burning solid-fuel appliance.
(2) A “Level II Curtailment” triggered when the state board determines that the Air Quality Index is projected to be 170 or higher in the district, and, in which a person may not operate a wood-burning fireplace, wood-burning heater, wood-burning stove, or a clean-burning solid-fuel appliance.
(c) For the purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Clean-burning solid fuel appliance” means an appliance that meets any of the following criteria:
(A) Is a wood fuel appliance that meets the standards established in Subpart AAA of Part 60 of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
(B) Is a wood fireplace that satisfies any clean-burning standards established by the state board after January 1, 2004.
(C) Is a pellet stove.
(2) “Gas-burning appliance” means a fireplace, stove, gas-burning log set, or fireplace insert that burns natural gas or liquified petroleum gas, including, but not limited to, a conventional masonry or factory-built fireplace installed with glass doors and a gas-burning log set.