12-08-2005, 01:49 AM
I just bought a 6 year old house and it has a Heatilator pre-fab fireplace in it.
The house has a crawl space.
My wife asked me could we install LP fireplace logs in the fireplace. My first answer was no since the fireplace, hearth, sheetrock etc etc is 100% finished. I said the previous owner should have done this before the fireplace was finished off.
Then I told her maybe I would ask on this forum.
Can it be done?
Also if YES it can be done. I looked at the knockouts in the side walls. So if you knock out the hole then does that negate ever burning wood?
Our house is total electric and if we lose power it is one cold house.
12-08-2005, 07:09 AM
if you can get a gas line in there it sould be able to be done. Some places will even run the gas line for you.
Not sure about the knockout thing, I assume you could still burn wood in there because a lot of times those are knocked out with log lighters coming in for wood. Also the wood fireplace itself has to be approved for use with a gas log kit, that would be something to ask a dealer about. I'm sure hearthman knows more about all the ANSI codes and stuff :)
12-09-2005, 09:03 AM
If you provide the model Fp, it would help.
In general, factory built Fps are listed to UL 127 for wood burning. In addition, UL makes provision for installing vented gas logs up to 100,000 BTU/ hr. input. If the mfr. elects, he can also list the Fp for use with ventfree gas logs up to 40,000 BTU/ input max. Heatilator does NOT list their fps with ventfree logs and specifically forbids their installation.
The Fp has a conduit in the sides bilaterally with corresponding knockouts in the refractory panels. These are intended for a 1/2" black iron pipe during the testing but local codes will dictate alternative materials such as copper or Corrugates Stainless Steel Tubing( CSST) such as Titeflex, Trac Pipe, etc.. If you use a tubing coated with plastic, you must peel the plastic back as the Fp has a stated clearance to combustibles. Again, using the HL in question, the gas line requires a 1.5" clearance for a distance up to 4.5 inches away from the outer skin of the Fp.
When you route the gas line into the side of the Fp, be sure to pack around it with insulation. Regular fiberglass is fine for this. Then, be sure to caulk btw the gas line and refractory panel with a high temp. cement. This is a known source of fires. Use a small mirror to be certain you sealed circumferentially around the pipe.
For log lighters, you must use 1/2" black iron---period. However, for most gas logs, you can use CSST(best) or copper (worst). The copper is undersized and tends to kink. You'll need a shutoff within 6 feet of the Fp. Most people install a "key" valve such as the Dante brand in the floor or wall, which comes with a pretty brass or chrome escutcheon plate and tee shaped wrench. You can get all sorts of decorative keys with swans, dolphins, etc. Just be sure your valve stem matches: either 1/4" or 5/16".
For vented logs, you must remove the damper or block it wide open. This means 365 days a yr., heat is escaping or cold air is infiltrating. Yes, you can install glass doors but keep in mind several things: these doors are far from air tight as they need room for thermal expansion and combustion air; they must be wide open during burning, their cost, and on factory built Fps, you MUST use the mfrs. listed doors! Failure to use the mfrs. doors could result in fire, shattered glass, injury, or spillage of smoke including carbon monoxide.
West_seth, you say you are thinking about logs for backup heat. They are decorative. Sure, they throw some heat at you but about 4-600 cfm of warm room air are sucking up the chimney. If you want heat, don't want to lost warm room air, don't want cold air, don't want CO or smoke, want a backup heat source that is listed for use as a heater and can be controlled with a thermostat, has realistic fiber logs with glowing embers, realistic firebrick look, then I suggest you check out the Firebrick inserts from Heat & Glo. Most mfrs. have a high quality LP gas insert, so I'm not knocking them. However, I am biased towards this firebrick look and it stores heat unlike sheetmetal boxes. Go to http://www.fireplaces.com to check some out.
As for the LP supply, this is determined by NFPA 58 as to where the tank can go and where the second stage regulator can be. Tell them you want a larger tank, buried if possible, and you want the second stage regulator as close to the Fp as possible while meeting '58's clearance to windows, openings, and ignition sources (generally at least 10 ft.). The gas line into the house and Fp is covered by your gas code--NFPA 54 or Intl Code.
Guess you can tell I'm snowed in this morning. Hope this helps!
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