Replacing a heatilator prefab with FPX Apex 42

spmane

New Member
Aug 7, 2019
10
Indiana
I have a 3500 sqft. (plus 1000 sqft basement) all electric house built in 2007 . Electricity bills during winter months are expensive here in Indiana. I have a builder installed Heatilator EL36 fireplace and I am looking to replace it with Apex 42. I have a couple of quotes for demolition, install and finishing (simple facade, mantel and hearth). The quotes range from $12.5k to $15k. I am not sure if it is worth going for it. I love the ambience and the heat from a wood fireplace but finding it hard to convince SO to drop >$12k. Any advice/alternatives?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,252
South Puget Sound, WA
Maybe check out some other options that fit the same sized space as the Heatilator that is to be removed so that reframing is not required? Look at 36" ZC fireplaces like the Flame Monaco, Pacific Energy FP36, RSF Opel.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dmitry and spmane

rtros956

New Member
Oct 26, 2018
30
Thornhurst, PA
I just finished a similar project and the costs you were quoted were in line with what I spent. I did some of the work myself - demo and framing. I had the fireplace itself installed with the new venting then I had a mason finish the stone work. I installed a Quadrafire Pioneer. My original choice was the Pacific Energy FP30 but there was not a local dealer. I chose these models because they were not catalytic. I feared the maintenance costs of replace the cat every few years. I have propane heat so my ROI on the install is well into the next century!!! I made the investment due to my location. Most of the winter a propane truck can't get down my driveway. I have to be mindful of utilization or I will run out. Installing this new fireplace gives me an alternative way to heat the house extending my tank of propane.
 

mpaul

New Member
Oct 3, 2019
23
New York
I just finished putting in the 42 Apex clean face fireplace. The clean face cost a little bit more but the sleek design looks great in our modern style home. I had a local fireplace company actually install the unit and I did all the finish work. The unit installed cost ~$10k. I then had about another $3k in stone work, mantel and hearth. It’s in a room with an open two story cathedral ceiling that’s centered in the room so I the stone work is on all 4 sides of the unit. The temps have started getting down to the low 30s so I have began using the unit a little bit. This definitely throws some heat off and warms my entire house. My wife and I believe we might be able to eliminate the use of our boiler for most of the winter. Depending on your heating bills you have to consider the ROI. We were paying about $300/month on propane keeping the house at 64 degrees. Based on the math we’ll have the fireplace pay for itself in just a few years.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,252
South Puget Sound, WA
Got a picture or two?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
81,252
South Puget Sound, WA
That came out nicely. Each setup and finishing is unique. Was this a double-sided fireplace before?
 

mpaul

New Member
Oct 3, 2019
23
New York
Got a picture or two?
I think anyone who has done a fireplace remodel has pictures. Here are a few of mine showing the before (has two sided non-functioning fireplace) and the new 42 Apex.
That came out nicely. Each setup and finishing is unique. Was this a double-sided fireplace before?
Yes it was a two sided before that my wife was heartbroken to part ways with. Two sided high efficiency wood burners just don’t exist. In the end a working one sided beats a non functioning two sided.
we both feel it came out great. A lot of work but worth it. I started the demo and rough opening started just after Easter, had it installed the first week ofJuly and finally finished it by the end of August. Only working on it on weekends tends to take a lot longer
 

Rickb

Minister of Fire
Oct 24, 2012
1,025
St.Louis
Looks great! And that fireplace has gotten some good reviews here.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mpaul

MAD MARK

Feeling the Heat
Jan 31, 2016
416
Pittsburgh PA
That's looks 100 times better after IMHO.

Good job, pricey....but good things arent cheap.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mpaul

webby3650

Master of Fire
Sep 2, 2008
10,821
Indiana
We replace a lot of pre- fab boxes with the Kozy Z-42. It’s an easy fit usually, It will be substantially cheaper than an Apex and is a respectable heater.
 

spmane

New Member
Aug 7, 2019
10
Indiana
Finally, I had the fireplace installed. Here are some progress pics. I’ll be doing the finishing myself in the upcoming weeks ...



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: webby3650

mpaul

New Member
Oct 3, 2019
23
New York
Enjoy it! Are you going to do another brick front like the old one? What type of mantel are you deciding to go with since the apex doesn’t allow wood mantels?
 

spmane

New Member
Aug 7, 2019
10
Indiana
I have had a couple of fires so far and we love it. I am planning to put stone veneer and a concrete mantel. Any recommendations for concrete mantel?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

mpaul

New Member
Oct 3, 2019
23
New York
Fireplace xtrordinair offers a concrete mantel with the apex units. I felt they were a bit pricey and wasn’t keen on the look. Not sure where else to get one but I elected to get a metal mantel with my unit and am very happy with it. A lot lighter than concrete, easy to install and comes in a multitude of options and colors.
We haven’t turned our heat on yet, fireplace definitely heats the entire house. It got down to 18 degrees last night and this unit kept the entire house between 70-75 degrees.l with one load of wood.
i think you made the right choice with this unit. I’ve heard several people say here that the Travis units are a bit pricey but you get your money’s worth.
 

spmane

New Member
Aug 7, 2019
10
Indiana
Didn’t know about metal mantels. Do you like your mantel? Any recommendations?


I have used the fireplace a couple of times to cure the paint. So far I am very impressed at the heat it puts out. Can’t wait to use it during the cold spell that’s heading our way next week.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

mpaul

New Member
Oct 3, 2019
23
New York
When the paint cures it definitely smokes the house up a bit. It set off all my smoke detectors. Luckily I was able to build a test fire after installation in July which did the curing but having all the windows opened certainly helped.
I bought my mantel from Stoll Industries. The company who did my install recommended them and I bought it through them. You can see what it looks like in the picture I posted earlier. We chose a standard finish, textured black in color. Looks great with the fireplace in my opinion. Only thing I didn't like was the color was so pure black it almost makes the fireplace look gray in color. But it is hardly noticeable. Depending on the look you are going for they also offer metal mantels that look like wood too!
www.stollindustries.com
 

woodhtr

New Member
Feb 13, 2019
11
Norcal
Finally, I had the fireplace installed. Here are some progress pics. I’ll be doing the finishing myself in the upcoming weeks ...
It looks like its going to be very nice.

I installed the 42 Apex clean face myself earlier this year. We live in a mild climate (low 40s at night) and it heats our whole 3400 sq foot house.

I like the hearth you installed. Can you tell me how it was done? It looks like stone tile over a layer of bricks laying on their short side. I re-did my hearth at the time of install, but it doesn't meet the R-value requirement given in the Apex install manual, and will likely need to re-do it. As an aside, I don't see why the manual requires such and extreme R-value. Its not like you will be running the unit with the door open allowing for burning logs to fall out. Many wood stoves have only an ember protection requirement for in front of the door, but 42 Apex requirement is the same as for all of the other Travis fireplaces.
 

spmane

New Member
Aug 7, 2019
10
Indiana
I didn’t know that the hearth needed insulation underneath. The installer didn’t put anything below the limestone hearth. Should I be concerned?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

spmane

New Member
Aug 7, 2019
10
Indiana
I didn’t know that the hearth needed insulation underneath. The installer didn’t put anything below the limestone hearth. Should I be concerned?


By the way, the limestone is 2.5 inches thick if it matters.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

woodhtr

New Member
Feb 13, 2019
11
Norcal
I didn’t know that the hearth needed insulation underneath. The installer didn’t put anything below the limestone hearth. Should I be concerned?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Ah, ok so its solid limestone? It looks very pretty.

Well, technically the hearth requires an R value (measure of thermal resistance) of 0.5. According to the chart from https://chimneysweeponline.com/horvalue.htm limestone should be about 0.4 at 2.5 inches thickness. This is certainly adequate for any practical purpose, but not exactly up to spec to the manual.

Mine is much less, but I'm thinking about the pros and cons of ripping it out and redoing it with proper R value. It seems like proper R value would be important for an open fireplace, where a burning log could potentially fall out, but not really for a zero clearance fireplace.
 

woodhtr

New Member
Feb 13, 2019
11
Norcal
@woodhtr not sure if you are referring to my hearth or spmane.
My hearth has two layers of durarock with slate tiles. I’ve attached another photo of just the hearth during the install.
It looks really nice. Thanks for sharing. Your wood floor planks must be very thick to be flush with them.