power outage with zero clearance high efficiency wood fireplace

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New Member
Feb 21, 2022
New York
Hi, all. Can zero-clearance high-efficiency wood fireplaces operate safely and effectively in a power outage? Also, is there a particular model you would recommend? I've been looking at the Pacific Energy FP30. Others have mentioned Valcourt, Supreme, and RSF.

Northeast U.S., 4,000 square feet, 20'+ ceilings in some areas, built 2003, pretty good insulation, lots of big windows. The main heat is four-zone forced air using ground-source heat pumps (aka geothermal). I also have two large, open, pre-fab fireplaces. I'm looking to tear out and replace one or both of these with something that can provide supplemental heat (with blowers) from fall through spring, and sole-source heat (without blowers) if the geothermal goes down in a power outage. Otherwise I would need a massive standby generator to run the geothermal system, and I'd prefer to put the money into something that I can use regularly. I have more or less an endless supply of free firewood.

Has anyone run one of these type of units without blowers in a power outage? Is it safe? How does the heat compare with a freestanding stove--less output, I'm sure, but can you give me a sense how much less? Thank you.
That would be a good question for the manufacturer. I want to say yes for the manufacturers listed. I don't recall any caution in the documentation regarding running without the blower, but it's good to verify. If outages are frequent, it might be worth investing in a UPS system for the blower, or a generator.
I run a quad 7100 and never use the blower. I can’t recall ever reading anything in the manual that says you have to. I don’t use the blower because it’s actually too much heat. That’s in a fairly good size living room with 15 foot cathedral ceiling and a lot of glass.
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We have the fp30, maybe 4 years now. We would install it again. Our home sounds similar, 3500 sqft, geothermal, lots of windows. We have used it during a power outage for a few hours, upstairs was livable temp wise.

I am wanting to figure out a batter backup/solar recharge option for peace of mind with the wife and kids.
power outage with zero clearance high efficiency wood fireplace
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I missed part of your post. I can not speak to comparison with a freestanding stove but think a free standing stove would provide lots more heat.

We do have the two additional blowers installed. They go down into our basement. Original thought was if it was too warm we could dump air down below to heat the floor and turn off the primary blower. With the high ceilings we don't have the problem. Low 70s on main floor. It does keep the basement a bit warmer. I am not sure if I would put the blowers on if I had to do it again. I would for sure do the additional blowers if the unit was centrally located in the home and I could push air to say a room behind or down the hall.

power outage with zero clearance high efficiency wood fireplace
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Thanks Drewman. This presents the caveat. If the system is setup so that it is dependent on convection fans to deliver heat to remote locations then the performance may not be as good.
I just recently tried running my Hampton HI300 insert without the fan. I have a thermometer with a thermocouple sitting on the top plate. Normally, I try to keep it below 700F. With no fan, the flames were quite low at 700F. I was surprised.
I can't recall the amp hours of my camper batteries but when I had an insert I was able to run the blower off the battery for 7-8 hours. I set up my solar panels outside. Not sure how well it kept up as 7-8 hours was our longest stretch without power.