Trying to ID woodburning fireplace insert.

TechWrench Posted By TechWrench, Apr 11, 2018 at 6:54 PM

  1. TechWrench

    TechWrench
    New Member 2.
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    Apr 11, 2018
    9
    1
    Loc:
    Glenville, NY
    New member, but been burning wood for many years. I just purchased a new (to me) home in PA, the northern Pocono's. It was built in 1993, and has what appears to be a built-in Heatilator type fireplace, which I have not been able to ID, as of yet. I have not been able to locate any type of ID plate or serial number so far. It seems small, as far as fireplaces go, and it has an intake vent/grate below the firebox, and about 14" above the firebox, there is an exit vent. There is a blower unit in the space below the fire box. There are two adjustment handles built into the lower vent grate. The one on the left side slides left/right and open and closes two square openings located on either side of the inlet space below the firebox. The 2nd handle, located on the right side of the vent grate, moves in and out, and opens and closes two long narrow vent covers that are located on either side of the area below the firebox. I am including, I hope, a pic of the unit.

    The unit measures about 27" wide, and is 24" high and the center of the two arched glass doors. The exit vent above the fireplace measures about 27" wide by 8" high. The blower unit seems to work, but I have not had much luck in getting the fireplace to work without getting a lot of smoke inside the house. Because of the design, I can't see up the flue, and there does not appear to be any type of flue damper. If anyone has any idea as who the manufacturer might be, or where to expand my search, I would appreciate it. There was no paperwork on it in the house, and the original owners were not available to ask about it.

    Thanks for any assistance.
    0408181148b.jpg
     
  2. TechWrench

    TechWrench
    New Member 2.
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    Apr 11, 2018
    9
    1
    Loc:
    Glenville, NY
    Ok, I finally had a chance to get back to house in PA, and went over stove with a fine tooth comb. Actually it was a good vacuum, and under about 1/2" of dust/debris in the blower compartment under the burn chamber, I found the ID plate. The fireplace is manufactured by Mendota Hearth, a Division of Johnson Gas Appliances, in Cedar Rapids IA. It is a model MHW-1E, circa 1991. An online search found the company, still in business, but apparently some time ago they got out of the solid fuel line and now only build gas fired units. According to information I found, this line of fireplaces was considered to be a well made, upper end unit. There was no support or documentation I could find on their site, but I was able to locate one of those online manual sites that has the original installation booklet, in digital form, which I can purchase. Once I get new door gaskets, and make some adjustments to the door closure handles, I will fire it up and see what happens. I checked the flue, and it looks in remarkably good shape. The original documentation suggest that the fireplace is rated for over 50k btu, and should be sufficient to heat a 3 bedroom house. We will see.

    If anyone has any information on this company or this model fireplace, please chime in.

    Thanks for all who read post, and for anyone who has any further info to add.
     
  3. begreen

    begreen
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    Nov 18, 2005
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    Before firing it up make sure there is no obstruction in the flue like a bird or bee's nest.
     
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  4. TechWrench

    TechWrench
    New Member 2.
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    Apr 11, 2018
    9
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    Loc:
    Glenville, NY

    I thought I mentioned that I did check the flue, all is good. But, thanks for the reminder.
     
  5. stovelark

    stovelark
    Minister of Fire 2.
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    Oct 10, 2009
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    I have been selling Mendota since the late 90's, their gas fireplaces and inserts are top notch. Very solid hearth company, well respected and are known for quality. I'm not familiar at all with any wood products from them though...
     
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  6. webby3650

    webby3650
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    Sep 2, 2008
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    I was aware that Mendota started out making wood burning fireplaces, but I’ve never actually seen one.

    I loved my mendota insert! I had to leave it in the last house unfortunately.
     

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  7. TechWrench

    TechWrench
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    Apr 11, 2018
    9
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    Loc:
    Glenville, NY
    Ok, an update for all.

    Last weekend, while in PA, I stopped in the local Woody's Fireplace shop in Honesdale, PA. They were listed as a Mendota Dealer, so I thought I would see if I could find out any more information on the insert. I spoke to one of the store managers, Bill, who was very easy to talk to, and as it ended up, a wealth of information. When I asked about the Mendota solid fuel units, at first he was not sure if he could help. He seemed to remember that they did, a LONG time ago, sell the Mendota wood fired units, but he wasn't sure when they were in production. As we spoke, and I provided more information on the unit, his memory of them came back. He said that, as he recalled, they only sold two of those units, back in the early 90's. He said they were really well built units, but they were very expensive, and they were hard to sell in that local market. As we talked, I described where my house was, and showed him a picture of the installed unit. It was then that he remembered that back then, he was just an apprentice at the shop, and he was involved in the original install of the unit in my house. And he went back several years later, to repair a failed blower fan. He said that they were, in his words, a very solid unit, built like a tank, but just too overpriced for the market. Apparently Mendota only manufactured these units from 1989 till some time in '93/94. And, since they were such a hard sell because of the pricing, Mendota decided to get out of the solid fuel line, and concentrate on gas fired units. Once I get the doors re-gasketed, and cleaned up, the fireplace should, in his opinion, give me good service. I can't wait to see how it performs, once I figure out the controls and how to use them.
     
  8. webby3650

    webby3650
    Master of Fire 2.
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    Sep 2, 2008
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    Mendota has always been high end, still are.
     
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  9. spudman99

    spudman99
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    Jan 26, 2018
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    That is too funny. Gotta love the old time stories and the small world with which we live in. Thanks for sharing Bills remembering your stove.
     
  10. tmham243

    tmham243
    New Member 2.
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    Jul 11, 2018
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    Loc:
    Arkansas
    Hi there, thank you so much for following through and updating this thread, youve solved a multi year mystery for my wife and I as to what in the story was behind our mendota fireplace.

    If you dont mind me asking what did you do with the handles? The thread with the locking mechanism snapped in half leaving us unable to fully seal the door and I would love to hear some ideas.

    Also, would you happen to have any information on your blower motor? It appears the previous owners removed ours and decided to just leave a phantom switch in the wall.

    Thanks again for the information!
     
  11. TechWrench

    TechWrench
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    Apr 11, 2018
    9
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    Loc:
    Glenville, NY
    From what I can determine from the copy of the owners manual I downloaded, the fans, there are two, are 120vac motors, and the parts breakdown gives a part # 15-02-00021. No indication of price, or if they are still available. I am not in PA this week, so I can't see if there is any nomenclature plate on the motors. I doubt these motors are still available from Mendota, but it is possible an aftermarket motor that matches the specs of the oem motor might be found. Also, if you are missing the fan blades, that would be another issue to solve.

    As for the handle problem, without actually seeing the damage, it would be difficult to comment on what may be needed to repair the latch assy., the manual also lists part #s for the handles. There apparently were two different trim levels, a plain black finish, and a Walnut trim finish. The part #s I found are as follows:

    Door Handle Assemblies: Black trim, LH - HA-10-00042, RH - HA-10-00043 (the RH handle assy., includes nuts, heatshield & latch pawl )
    Walnut trim, LH - HA-10-00044, RH - HA-10-00045 (this one also includes the extras listed above.)

    Again, no mention of cost, and the availability may also be suspect.

    At the moment, that is the best information I can provide.

    Good Luck
     
  12. begreen

    begreen
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  13. TechWrench

    TechWrench
    New Member 2.
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    Apr 11, 2018
    9
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    Loc:
    Glenville, NY

    I can't say for certain, because I am not able to view the fireplace since I am out of state at the moment, but I feel that the blower motors indicated in the links you provided may be for the newer gas fired units. These units are what I like to call, 'squirrel' cage type blower, but I seem to recall that the blowers in my wood fires stove were more like a standard shaft type motor with a fan blade. Again, I am relying on a 'recollection' memory that my not be accurate. I don't recall specifically studying the motors when I was searching for the ID plate. The parts breakdown that I have only lists one part number for the blower motor, so I just assumed that both motors were the same and not different units for the left/right sides. When I am next in PA, I will take a closer look.
     
  14. TechWrench

    TechWrench
    New Member 2.
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    Apr 11, 2018
    9
    1
    Loc:
    Glenville, NY
    OK, Back in PA, and had chance to look at blower system in our fireplace. As I thought, the wood burning unit, like mine, uses a different style fan than the one listed in an earlier post, which I believe are for the gas fired units. The fan system in my fireplace looks to be a pair of square box fans (not unlike the case fans in a computer tower). The two fans are encased in a frame, side by side, centered under the firebox. The fan frame is mounted to the base with screws, and it has a pig-tail wire harness that is connected to the power source with standard wire nuts. I haven't checked it with a meter yet, but it looks like the fans are directly wired to the 120vac supply from a wall switch which turns the fans on/off. I am sure that the actual fans would be easy to source from most any electrical supply house. But the enclosure that they are mounted in is another issue. It may be possible to fabricate an enclosure for them.
     
  15. begreen

    begreen
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  16. TechWrench

    TechWrench
    New Member 2.
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    Apr 11, 2018
    9
    1
    Loc:
    Glenville, NY
    Yes, now that I took a closer look. The enclosure I mentioned is actually a face plate mounted to two studs on the floor of the unit, The two fans are fastened to the plate with small machine screws and nuts. I will try to attach some pics. The fans you linked to should work, as long as they will handle the heat. With the right measurements, the face plate should be fairly easy to make.

    I checked closer, and they look to standard size square axial fans. The Dayton 4 11/16 square units with 4 1/8 mounting holes look to be the right size. The 4WT46-49 units are the right size, the only difference being the CFM rating. My only concern is the ambient temperature rating of 158 degrees. Not sure how warm it gets below the firebox.
     

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  17. yooper08

    yooper08
    Feeling the Heat 2.
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    Jan 4, 2016
    451
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    Loc:
    SE MI
    This is going back a several months when I was just playing with my IR gun, but I don't recall seeing temps that high on my insert in that area. I recall seeing most surfaces under 100. You get a lot of cool air being pulled underneath via convection.
     
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