Travis Industries Fireplace Extraordinaire 44 Elite Question

  • Active since 1995, is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.
Not open for further replies.


New Member
Apr 8, 2012
I was looking at buying this fireplace but then I ran across this in the owners manual.

"Operating the Fireplace During a Power Outage
This fireplace includes a blower to dissipate heat from the firebox. During power outages build small to
medium-sized fires to prevent the fireplace from over-firing (especially if you have a gold face)."

Uh, I know I'm new here but doesn't this kind of defeat the purpose of owning a fireplace?

I guess I'm back to looking at the Northstar or the BIS Tradition, now.
One of the main reasons I have a wood stove is for power outages, which strangely have not happened at all since the stove was installed. I am not sure how much difference you'll find between the various brands of fireplace. I think none of them will work quite the same without the fan.
I believe you'll find that most every appliance designed to be installed inside an existing fireplace...whether it's called a "Fireplace" or an "Insert"...probably has a blower installed or at least a blower kit available. Reason being that we're trying to get meaningful heat into our homes from these appliances. When the thing is buried in a masonry or prefab fireplace and a front surround installed, then the surface area for radiative & natural convective heat transfer to the living space is reduced to just the front of the appliance. To take dramatically better advantage of the heat the appliance is producing, an electric blower is typically employed to take in room air (usually from beneath the front of the unit), circulate it around the outside of the firebox (inside the enclosure), and discharge it (significantly warmer) back out into the living space. This forced convection vastly increases the effectiveness of the appliance as a space heater. When the power goes out, none of the blowers on any of these units is going to run. I think just a little research will show you that both the other units you mentioned have electric blowers installed to do the same thing I've described. You'd be hard pressed, I think, to find one that didn't. You can still burn in them, you just won't get the kind of heating into your living space that you will with the blower running. Rick
Maybe I didn't clarify my concern. I realize that these types of units utilize a blower to circulate air around the firebox then back into the room. During a power outage, obviously these blowers will not run. Therefore, you are left with mostly radiant heat and very little convective heat. My concern with the statement in the owners manual was that it sounds like with the FPX44, there is actually a danger in running the fireplace during an outage unless you keep the fire small to medium, which may not provide much of a heat source during an outage. I haven't found any statements like that in the other units I am considering. Should they also make this statement or is it not a concern with the other units?
I don't know of any reason, nor can I think of any reason that any one of these units would be different from the others in that respect, but to get some definitive information related to your concerns, I'd recommend directing the question, just as you've described it here, directly to the manufacturers of the units of interest to you. My expectaion is that Lopi will say they were just being conservative with that cautionary is prudent for anyone in that business.

ETA: Lopi may also be predicting (possibly accurately) that during a power outage when the appliance isn't performing in the accustomed manner, the user will be tempted to build even bigger than normal fires in it. Dunno...speculating here as to why they included that statement.
They're saying that they designed the unit to work with the blower removing heat, and that the heat could rise too high (not enough heat being removed by the blower) for some parts/details (note the reference to gold face).

In practice, they're probably just underlining the need for caution if you're pumping it very hard during an outage and not paying attention to overall temperatures. Without the blower, there's no question there will be less air circulation around the house, and you might be tempted to overdo it.

The insert should have enough control to let you damp air down and slow it down though.

But if you're going to be worried by this, get a different unit.
One of the disadvantages of most of the ZC fireplaces (like the FPX 36 and 44 Elites) is that they require a blower to effectively get heat into the house (I'm currently having an FPX 36 elite installed in my house right now). As you've correctly surmised, without electricity the blower cannot be operated, which can lead to a quasi-overheated fire box if you built a raging fire in it. I'm sure FPX has over-engineered the boxes to tolerate a hot condition like this, it's just not preferred, especially on a regular basis. These fireplace units also use twin cooling ducts which draw cool air into the firebox to cool it before being routed up the outer shroud of the air-cooled chimney. This cooling duct system serves to cool the firebox in the event it gets really hot.

There are other ZC fireplaces that apparently operate well without electricity. I was thinking about getting the Lennox Montecito Estate, which is a big, handsome unit similar in size to the FPX 44. This unit is capable of either running off a blower or can also give off convective heat without the use of a blower. But it has these large, ugly ventilation grills to achieve its passive heat transfer ability, which aesthetically I didn't like over the fireplace. I decided for my personal druthers I'd just get a backup generator that I could use in the event of a winter power outage (not just to run the blower but for lights etc as well). But realistically, most of the power outages in my area happen during hurricane season and not in the dead of winter. In fact, I don't ever recall an outage in my area during the winter. So for me, I decided to go with what in my view was the better overall unit (the FPX Elite 36).
For what its worth..... I have the FPX 44. We rarely have a power outage so this issue isnt really much of a concern for me. We did have an extended outage this fall in the Halloween freak snow storm that knocked power out for 3-4 days for us. I ran the 44 w/o power to help take the chill out of the house through radiant heat. I ran it pretty hot because it isnt very effective heating w/o power and did not have any issues (I do not have a gold face plate).
Not sure how many times the power is off due to storms in SE TN but if it is that much of an issue get a freestanding stove with a rear exhaust like the woodstock's. A backup genset would be a great addition as well, most of us insert owners have some kind of backup for power outages.
reminds me of the earthstoves with plastic fan blades that melted when the power went out.

its likely they've had some warranty issues with their plating and they are just covering ass
  • Like
Reactions: Armoured
Many thanks for all the replies. After consulting with more than a few dealers locally and elsewhere, I have decided to go with the FPX 44. I have a small generator that I can tie into the electrical panel for emergencies so I should still be able to run the blower should the need arise. We did have a severe snow storm here about 8 years ago that knocked out power for several days so it does happen, even in TN. Thankfully, I had 2 propane fireplace inserts that got us through that. I plan to use this unit as my primary heat and it is good to know that I can still use it even with an outage.
Harbor Freight has an 800 watt, two cycle generator for sale from time to time about $100.00. They say it is good for 5 hours and it uses 1 one gallon (plus the oil). I have a 15kw unit with 400 gallons for the propane for outages, but I got one of the 800 watts units just in case.

Not open for further replies.